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Going Green: How To Minimize Paper Consumption

The sentiment of “saving a tree” is as relevant in e-commerce as in any other type of office operation. Despite all encouragement to the contrary, paper waste continues to this day. In a typical office, each employee discards an average of 350 pounds of paper every year. For even a one-man operation, that’s a big and possibly unnecessary expense.

Going Green

Fortunately, a few policy changes can serve to cut paper waste in half. Making these changes a habit could be the biggest obstacle.

Saving Printer Paper

To cut down on the expense of printing, try to:

  • Go double-sided: There’s no real need to waste an entire side of your paper. By setting your printer to the double-sided option, you will not only lower your overhead but also cut the size of those messy document piles in half.
  • Reuse your single-sided printouts: There’s rarely a good reason to throw away your unwanted documents. Just stack those pages up, flip them over and use them to restock your fax machine or stick them in your printer for use in running drafts.
  • Rethink the settings on your word-processing software: The use of narrower margins and a smaller font could save at least one page per document.
  • Practice electronic drafting: Editing on paper just won’t cut it anymore. Instead, draft your documents on the computer. Those manuscripts should be letter-perfect before you print them out.
  • Preview, then print: If your software gives you the option, a preliminary peek at your file will tell you whether that final sentence plans to consume an entire page of its own. A few adjustments at this stage can prevent it.

Communications

Whether incoming or outgoing, information exchanges have a way of consuming far too much paper. To cut down on this means of waste, remember to:

  • Email always: Where have all the letters gone? It seems that nobody uses snail mail anymore, and probably with good reason. Emails save paper as well as the mail carrier’s back.
  • Never print an email: If you’ve just received a message that you don’t want to lose, that doesn’t mean you have to print it out. Most email apps have a “folders” option, and that’s where you should stash your missive. It will be simpler to pull up later and just as easy to read.
  • Prune your mailing lists: Don’t send out more hard copy ads than necessary. If you haven’t done business with a person in a while, be bold and strike that name from your database.
  • Use your friendly telephone: Is that fax as necessary as you think? Unless you have a particularly good reason for putting your data in writing, pick up the phone instead. You’ll be not only saving on paper but also adding the personal touch that can be so valuable in furthering the fortunes of your business.
  • Give pre-printed documents a second chance: When you’re taking extensive notes, remember that a felt-tip marker with good black ink will overwrite most printed material.

Your Office Kitchen

Although they may seem easier to use, all those paper plates, bowls and coffee cups aren’t doing you any favors. Continual restocking will cost you money, and washing the reusable kind isn’t very difficult.

Lovelier the Second Time Around

Recycled paper products work as well as the non-recycled variety, and some people prefer their appearance. A bit of research will lead you to a number of locations that sell repurposed paper for every need.

Ship Green

What’s a cup of morning Joe without the morning paper? Although most news feeds today are available online, many still prefer the hard copy newspapers. When you’ve finished reading them, however, then what? You can always put them in the recycle bin, but have you considered using old newspapers in your shipping operation? Just crumple them up to stuff those boxes and save in more ways than one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Don Amato is Vice-President, Sales of Chicago Tag & Label in Libertyville, IL. Chicago Tag & Label custom forms, labels and tags help streamline processes in many industries including retail, industrial, manufacturing, distribution and medical environments.

Mobile Payments: What Your Consumers Are Missing

Retailers have embraced new opportunities presented by the technology that makes mobile payments possible. However, mobile payments still cause confusion for consumers. Many consumers are distrustful of the technology, and retailers will not be able to fully take advantage of the technology until consumers are more willing to use the payment option. Here is a look at some of the common ways that consumers misunderstand the mobile payment process.

mobile-wallet

Lack of Understanding of the Mobile Wallet

A general lack of understanding about the concept of a mobile wallet has prevented consumers from understanding the benefits of maintaining one. About 20 percent of consumers have never even heard of a mobile wallet before, and more than one-third believe that a mobile wallet is the same as a mobile payment platform — but wallets that are available on a mobile device offer expanded opportunities beyond making payments.

Only about one-quarter of consumers understand that a mobile wallet can be used to make payments and store personal identification and loyalty account information.

Security Concerns

Mistrust of mobile payments is a major obstacle blocking the widespread use of the payment method. Consumers know that retail giants have been targeted by identity thieves in the past. While the theft of information often involves in-store payment systems that are not used in conjunction with mobile payment platforms, consumers believe that mobile systems pose an even greater threat than wired systems. In other words, consumers feel that, if their information can be compromised on a wired system, it will inevitably be stolen through a mobile payment platform.

Consumer behavior tends to be similar in economically strong countries across the world. A study completed in the U.K. found that only about one-quarter of consumers utilized a mobile device as a payment tool when shopping. People who don’t use their mobile device for payments often have the ability to do so with an app that they have already downloaded on their device. However, approximately 80 percent of people who use a mobile device say that security concerns keep them from using their device for mobile payments.

Retailers can control fears about the safety of mobile payments by providing consumers with safety information. Using trusted apps that have a reputation for safety is the first step to using mobile payments without compromising the security of financial and personal information. Merchants can relay the tips listed below to maintain safety while encouraging the use of mobile payments.

  • Ensure that any personal information stored on a mobile device is kept safe by using a screen lock. Passwords or pattern locks keep thieves from accessing this information if they steal a device. Some devices allow users to utilize a combination of passwords and pattern locks for maximum security.
  • Opt for apps that provide proof of purchase for review. Many apps present an electronic receipt immediately following purchase. These receipts can be emailed for easy access when a consumer is reviewing their finances.
  • Apps should require a password for access to a personal account. This allows for two levels of security when used in conjunction with a screen lock.

While security breaches are rare with mobile payments, consumers should always pay close attention to their financial statements when using any type of credit card or bank account to make payments. Reporting issues within the first 48 hours of a breach gives consumers the highest chance of eliminating or limiting liability.

Consumer Apathy Regarding Payment Methods

A portion of consumers are not concerned about the security of mobile payments, but these consumers do not use their devices to make payments because of a lack of incentive to do so. Nearly one-quarter of Americans who have a mobile device say that they do not use it for payments because they would not earn the credit card rewards that they enjoy when using a traditional payment method.

The biggest issue that has blocked consumer interest is a lack of motivation from retailers. Retailers have not presented consumers with a reason to use mobile payments, but consumers may change their minds if merchants become more proactive about explaining the benefits of the method to them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm providing mobile credit card payment, and also serves on its Board of Directors. She has more than 15 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing.

Single Or Multi-Page Checkout: Which One Is Right For Your Online Store?

Customer checkout—that last hurdle before the conversion is yours. You wouldn’t think it’d be such a sizable one.

A huge percentage of your shoppers may bounce before they finish the sale. They’ve already spent a lot of time browsing your site and choosing their purchase. What gives?

one-step-checkout

You’re not alone. The Baymard Institute recently looked at 19 cart abandonment studies over the last seven years, finding a 67.35% average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate. The most recent studies included are surprisingly high compared to those from past years. (In 2012 for instance, Rejoiner calculated an 80.3% abandonment rate. Yikes!)

“Price” and “shipping cost” are reasons shoppers may leave, but they’re typically factors out of your control. Your checkout page is the place to start cutting your cart abandonment rate.

Online merchants have two options for checkout: single- and multi-page. The difference between the two, however, is not so cut and dry. Which option works best for your business depends on a variety of factors. How do these two strategies compare?

Single-Page Checkout Strengths

It took some time for the eCommerce world to develop the single-page checkout. Since then, it’s become a mainstay tactic for plenty of online stores.

Single-page checkout includes billing and shipping forms on the same page. The strategy typically relies on AJAX to ensure fields are filled out correctly, notifying shoppers of mistakes on the fly.

It’s hard to deny the impact it’s had on many stores’ conversion rates. In fact, A/B testing has proven the efficacy of single-page checkout.

Of course, that proof is situational. In some cases, single-page checkout doesn’t fit the bill. In the cases it does, the store tends to favor three key advantages.

1. Speed

There’s no question that single-page checkout is quicker than multi-page. With single-page, your shopper doesn’t have to wait for a next page to load.

A quick and painless checkout process means less time for the shopper to get distracted or change his mind.

2. Interactivity

Because AJAX responds in real-time, fields are more interactive. They respond to the shopper’s activities, creating a more interactive checkout experience.

3. Navigation

Using single-page checkout simplifies navigation for the shopper by:

  • Organizing everything in one place
  • Showing a clear top-to-bottom path along the page
  • Giving the shopper fewer reasons to hit the back button

Simpler navigation encourages a user-friendly experience.

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Multi-Page Checkout Strengths

Don’t exclude multi-page checkout from your strategy just yet. True, it can be less user-friendly in certain situations. But eCommerce software suites include multi-page functionality for a reason.

Multi-page checkouts should be as simple as you can make them. But sometimes more complex online business requires a more complex process.

You may want to use multi-page checkout if you value these three advantages more than those of single-page checkout.

1. Complex Orders

More complex orders may be easier for shoppers to place through multi-page checkout. Complex orders might include:

  • Gift orders with multiple shipping addresses
  • Bulk orders of multiple products
  • Special orders that may require special shipping or other extras

2. Customer Segmentation

Wholesale stores (or consumer stores with the option to buy wholesale) may need certain types of customer information before they can offer discounted pricing for bulk or special purchases. Shoppers may need to fill out a personal profile before they proceed.

3. Third-Party Processing

Multiple pages may be necessary when you’re working with partners for the checkout process. Third-party situations may include:

  • Using PayPal or another payment processor
  • Paying using an electronic layaway service
  • Including partner offers in the checkout process

Find Your Fit

Remember, there’s no single approach for creating the right checkout process. It depends on your business goals and your audience. Take these into account when choosing whether to go with single- or multi-page checkout.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jimmy Rodriguez is CTO and co-founder of 3DCart, developer of an e-commerce suite for businesses of all sizes. As an authority on e-commerce best practices, Jimmy combines more than 8 years as an e-commerce developer and web programmer with SEO, social marketing and business intelligence.

3 Takeaways From The Bing Ads Case Study Featuring JXT Group

BingAds_Accredited_BadgeWe recently partnered with Bing Ads to publish a case study on the benefits we’ve seen from managing client campaigns on Bing Ads. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Utilize Bing Ads great support team. You can contact them via Live Chat, Email or Phone. They are quick to help you solve any problems you may have and provide campaign advice.
  • Import your campaigns directly from Google AdWords. Bing Ads has a very simple tool where you can enter you AdWords login and import all campaigns instantly. This is a great way to get started on Bing Ads with minimal effort.
  • The new Phone Call Ad Extensions are a great way to make your phone ring and bring in more business. This is really great for lead generation.

Read the full Case Study.

What You Can Learn From Successful eCommerce Retailers

With over 25 years of experience in the payments industry, Greg Constantine provides expert business leadership and marketing strategy development to SecureNet and its clientele as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.  From Fortune 500 companies to successful startups, Constantine has an extensive background in entrepreneurial guidance, marketing, sales, product planning, client services and operations management.

ecommerce

Running a successful eCommerce shop can be highly profitable, but it takes some planning and research to get the venture started. Using ecommerce selling, you can take advantage of the Internet’s marketing potential and the cost-savings available to those who avoid the overhead expenditures of a physical store location.

When you’re starting out, it helps to mimic the qualities of successful eCommerce retailers that you see on the Web. There are some common qualities of successful eCommerce retailers that you can study and learn from as you strategize on your eCommerce venture. Analyze the following characteristics and determine how you can instill your eCommerce retail platform with these same traits.

#1 – Customer-driven– It’s important that you pay attention to any possible input from customers. Many successful ecommerce platforms give customers the opportunity to review products and include testimonials. Needless to say, customers like to have their voices heard, and they will feel more compelled to do business with you when they see that you make adjustments to accommodate their wishes. You can open up communication channels between your company and your clients in a variety of different ways, but on the Internet, social networks are perhaps the best tools when it comes to getting to know your clients and sending them information about your company’s offerings and objectives. As a company, you need to learn to pinpoint those prospects who might be interested in your products and convince potential clients that you offer what they need through savvy marketing and publicity efforts.

#2 – Think Simple– Your eCommerce store should exhibit an appealing simplicity that immediately gives customers the idea that transactions are quick, safe, and convenient, and that the desired item(s) can be located with just a few clicks. Look at your site from the customer’s perspective and anticipate any potential problems that might come up for site visitors. Many retailers make the mistake of developing overly complicated platforms that actually deter users from visiting and making purchases.

#3 – Attractive– Give some thought to design features and to aesthetics as you develop your eCommerce store. On a subconscious level, consumers will be enticed to spend more time on a site that they find pleasant to look at and navigate through, and it’s especially important to give your eCommerce store a professional look that is appropriate to your industry. To get a really great-looking site, you might have to invest in professional web design. It’s hard to get a site to look highly attractive and appealing if you don’t have advanced knowledge in this area.

#4 – Well-marketed– By now, you should be aware of the fact that good marketing can sell even mediocre products. Good or bad marketing inevitably makes or breaks new companies that are just starting out in a venture. Get the word out about your store and promote it using the tools that the Internet provides, including search engine optimization and inbound marketing tactics. If you already have a website, then you have something of an advantage. You can simply add to your online store and use your current site’s popularity and publicity. If you are starting from scratch, it may take some time to get your site developed, bring in traffic, and rank high in the search engine results.

#5 – Easy to use– Above all, your eCommerce store needs to be user friendly. User friendliness is perhaps one of the most important qualities of successful eCommerce retailers. Remember, your clients may or may not have a great deal of experience surfing the web and making purchases online. The process of making a purchase using your site should be self-explanatory and intuitive. It’s very common for those putting together an eCommerce store to overlook any potential user difficulties because they are so familiar with its operations. The entire process of shopping on your eCommerce platforms needs to be as easy as possible, from browsing for items to checking out.

Bottom Line

Incorporating all of these qualities of successful ecommerce retailers will set you on the right track to becoming a respected online retailer. It might take a lot of work to get your store up and running; however, once you’ve successfully worked all of these features into your eCommerce platform, you will see that word catches on quickly about a convenient online shopping platform that offers Internet users products and services that they want.

STUDY: Win With Text Ads And Product Listing Ads [Infographic]

Google published a study on the use of Text Ads combined with Product Listing Ads. The study shows how you can gain from utilizing both ad types.

From this study, we learned that PLAs can:

  • Increase brand recognition: People who see a brand’s PLAs and text ads are 75% more likely to search for that brand within 30 days than those who only saw text ads.
  • Drive more engagement with your store: People who see both text ads and PLAs are 90% more likely to visit the retailer’s website. They are also more likely to visit product pages, add items to their cart, and click on store locator buttons.
  • Drive more conversions: People who see both text ads and PLAs are 83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads.

Check out the infographic below:
text-ads-and-product-listing-ads_products_01

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