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How Mobile Payments Add to Your Marketing Power

Mobile payments can transform the smartphone or tablet you already own into a roving and affordable point of sale terminal — but they pack plenty of marketing punch, too. Here’s a look at how mobile payments can boost your marketing power.

Improve customer perception

As more retailers offer conveniences like “pay online/pick up in store” (with items often ready and waiting for the customer to retrieve within a matter of minutes), and the ability to pay without having a physical means of payment in tow, customers have high expectations for businesses of all sizes.

Though such high demands can be a burden for resource-constrained small businesses, mobile payments can multi-task beyond their primary purpose to present an inherent marketing benefit that could improve revenue and customer perception. That’s because some consumer behavior studies indicate that there is a direct correlation between the convenience a retailer offers, and the customer’s perception of the value of its goods and service. In tandem, that perception dictates what the customer is willing to pay. With mobile payments, you can equip several members of your team to use their smartphones or tablets to complete customer transactions from anywhere in the store, at the very moment the customer is ready to pay. Thanks to this optimized checkout service, the customer is more likely to have a memorable and positive perception of your brand.

Ensure your message is seen.

Many mobile payment processors allow you to collect customer data — like email and phone numbers — to deploy mobile marketing campaigns based on the customer’s past purchase behavior and geolocation (with the customer’s permission). Unlike other forms of targeted direct marketing — like postcards, emails and even social media ads — mobile marketing efforts reach customers on the one device they rarely part with — at any time, day or night. (75 percent of mobile users admit to using their device during restroom visits.)

Streamline loyalty programs.

More than half of small business respondents to a Manta survey said the bulk of their marketing efforts are dedicated to existing customer retention. Regardless of how much customers like your products or service, they have options. Loyalty programs can be an inexpensive way to remind the customer to return, provided the offers are meaningful enough to drive repeat purchase — and easy to redeem. Many mobile payment providers equip small merchants with the ability to incorporate rewards programs into the mobile checkout experience. With this integration, customers are automatically credited for their rewards when they transact, and given the option to redeem them during the transaction.

Develop promotions based on context.

Mobile marketing efforts tend be less expensive to develop and execute than traditional media — and far more flexible in terms of customer relevance. Because mobile devices travel with the customer, you can leverage location, purchase preferences, mobile search activity, and your own inventory and sales goals to customize contextually appropriate marketing offers to “low-hanging fruit.” (Data indicates that 70 percent of mobile users buy within the hour of conducting a mobile search.) Because the mobile marketing campaigns allow for flexibility, you’re empowered to control exactly who receives your offer, and for how long it’s valid.

Leverage a not-yet cluttered medium.

Though marketing investment companies claim they’ll make more than  $200 million in the mobile market, this industry remains a largely untapped medium — especially for small-business owners. Unlike junk mail, banner ads and paid social media posts — which have become so commonplace they’re often ignored by recipients — mobile marketing isn’t yet dominated. There is still plenty of opportunity in this space that small businesses can and should leverage to test and learn the ideal timing, language and strategy for mobile marketing campaigns that will deliver on business goals.

Mobile payments can improve your own operational efficiency at the point of sale — and in your marketing programs. With a combination of targeted offers, customer data, rewards and a convenient customer experience, mobile can prove a cost-efficient channel that equips your business to attract customers, generate revenue and cultivate loyalty.

 

About the author:

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, marketing and sales management. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.

 

JXT Group Achieves Google Partners All-Star Status

We are proud and excited to announce that JXT Group was selected as a winner of the 2015 Google Partners All-Stars Competition!

Thousands of leading Google Partner agencies were eligible to compete in the All-Stars Competition.  JXT Group was one of a few agencies that received the All-Star status and were selected to attend the Google Partners Summit at The Googleplex in Mountain View, California.

The Google Partner program is used as a way to distinguish top agencies that follow best practices, reach and surpass performance benchmarks, and have seen continued success and growth in their own business. Not only is it a huge accomplishment to have won the competition, but we are extremely proud and honored to be recognized as one of the top Google Partner agencies. Being selected as a Google Partners All-Star further showcases the hard-work, dedication and effort that we put into helping our customers reach and surpass their goals.

Partners All-Stars 2015 Recap

Menachem Ani and Lindsay Romanelli represented JXT Group at the one day and two night, all-expenses paid (thank you Google!) Summit at Google Headquarters. The event included all-day training with expert industry leaders, a tour of the Googleplex, and a Winning Agency Reception for the Google All-Star agencies.

Tapping into Mobile App Installs and Engagement

Antony Ho, a Product Marketing Manager at Google, kicked off the day by discussing the importance of Tapping into Mobile App Installs and Engagement. One staggering statistic that surprised many people at the Summit was that 95% of new app downloads are abandoned within 1 month, and 20% of these apps are used only once.

Branding in the Digital Age

The second speaker, Jeff Rozic, a Brand Product Strategist at Google, spoke about Branding in the Digital Age and how digital first branding is digital story telling. He shared with the All-Stars that “Consumers choose brands that engage them around their passions and interests 42% more often than those that simply urge them to buy their product” which stresses the importance of connecting with your audience and understanding their needs and desires (2014 TNS Ogilvy Google).

Building Local & Mobile into Your Online Retail Strategy

Another shocking statistic, shared by Gary Sun, Head of Vertical Marketing is that “$970 billion (28%) of US retail sales are influenced by mobile.” Gary’s discussion stressed the importance of using mobile in your online retail plan, especially since there has been an 115% increase in shopping searches coming from smartphones.

Cardboard

One highlight of our day at Google was learning about the capabilities of Cardboard, and we even got our own pair to take home with us! Aaron Luber and Sarah Steele showed some examples of the uses of Cardboard, and how it can be used for brand awareness and advertising.

9 Principles of Innovation at Google

Gopi Kallayil, Cheif Evangelist of Brand Marketing at Google, discussed the 9 principles of innovation at Google. They are as follows:

1. Innovation comes from anywhere
2. Focus on the user
3. Think 10x- think bigger than what you think is possible
4. Bet on technical insights
5. Launch and iterate
6. 20% time- give your employees 20% of time to focus on things they are most passionate about
7. Default to open
8. Fail well- If you don’t fail often, you’re not trying hard enough and pushing boundaries
9. Have a mission that matters

Moments Marketing

Micro-moments have been a popular topic in online marketing. Pablo Slough, Head of Mobile Solutions, gave a thought-provoking lecture about different ways that you can use micro-moments to capture your audience’s attention when they need you the most.

I-want-to-go moments
          2x increase in ‘near me’ search interest
          ◦ 82x use search to find a local business
I-want-to-do moments
          ◦ 70% increase in searches for ‘how-to’ videos
          ◦ 91% use phones in the middle of a task
I-want-to-buy moments
          ◦
82% use phones in store to make a purchase decision

Using Remarketing to Re-engage Past Site Visitors

Tran Ngo, Associate Product Marketing Manager stressed the importance of remarketing and how remarketing reinforces the effectiveness of search.

Cartoon Powered Marketing

Tom Fishburne, the founder of Marketoonist displayed a collection of the marketing cartoons that he has drawn over the years. These hilarious cartoons really captured the audience’s attention, demonstrating that using cartoons can enhance any marketing strategy with a sense of humor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On behalf of JXT Group, I would like to personally thank Google for this fun and educational experience. We can’t wait to use all of the innovative techniques that we have learned during the Google Partners All-Stars Summit. Now it’s time to get back to work and start preparing for next year!

 

 

 

 

Five Steps to Easier Inventory Management

Running a successful e-commerce business is no simple matter. You have to deal with the technology needed to run your site and ensure you have a strong Internet presence, along with most of the challenges of any other retail or distribution business. One of the most complicated issues you’ll face in running your e-commerce business is managing and controlling your inventory. Although it’s a complex task, managing inventory will have more impact on the success and profitability of your business than any other factor, so it pays to make sure you take the necessary steps to manage it well. Here are some ideas that can help make managing inventory easier:

Visibility

One of the most important ways to keep track of inventory is to ensure that it’s organized and visible. If you store inventory on site, invest in some high-quality shelving for storage. When inventory is stored in cardboard boxes of varying sizes, the shelves look messy and it’s hard to keep track of what’s there. Small boxes may slide behind larger boxes, and you may not be able to find the inventory when you need it. Re-using cardboard shipping cartons is a common and inexpensive practice, but it may confuse warehouse personnel because the boxes could have multiple item numbers scrawled on them. Invest in high-quality labels and a small label printer to ensure that items are clearly identified, and consider adding bins for uniform storage of small items. Clear bins make it easy to see what’s inside, so your team can tell immediately when stock is low. You might consider adding a highly visible tag or label to the bins where you store your most important items. The extra visibility makes it easy to do a visual check to ensure you have enough stock on hand.

Off-site storage

Your startup may be in cramped quarters, with little space or resources for storing inventory. You might want to consider an off-site warehouse for inventory management. Most third-party warehouses provide visibility into the on-hand balances and transactions, so you don’t have to give up control of the inventory or the insight into your business. In addition, third-party warehouses have skilled personnel who understand best practices for inventory handling, and some off-site storage warehouses even offer affordable value-add services such as assembly, monogramming or special packaging.

Software

As soon as your e-commerce business grows beyond one or two people, you should give up the idea that you can run your business on Microsoft Excel. While many companies try it, it leads to inefficiency and higher costs. Manual processes allow errors to creep in, and that can adversely affect your customer satisfaction. Invest in simple inventory management software, and consider looking for a cloud solution to provide the insight and control you need without the complexity of managing IT systems in-house.

Go lean

It seems counter intuitive, but adopting lean inventory techniques may improve your on-time delivery performance, reduce the number of backorders, and strengthen customer satisfaction. When you have less inventory to manage, you can focus on improving forecasts, and you don’t have to worry about excess or obsolete goods in stock.

Going lean requires excellent communication and collaboration with your suppliers, but the rewards are worth the time you will invest up front. If you’re not familiar with lean concepts, there are many ways to learn, and not all of them require a lot of time or money.

Adopt best practices

Learn about inventory management best practices. For example, you can spend time recording every transaction manually so you know when you’re running low on product. A simpler alternative is to use a Kanban card or two-bin system that alerts you to re-order signals. A Kanban is simply a card that you place in a bin. When the bin is empty, use the card as a visible reminder to re-order. The two-bin system involves placing a quantity of an item in a separate package or container. When the primary storage location is empty, you dip into the secondary stock to cover requirements during the re-order period. Institute a cycle count process so that you review your on-hand balances against your records on a periodic basis. Cycle counting helps ensure your counts are accurate, but more importantly, it can help identify flaws in your process. Correcting the flaws will help eliminate future inventory issues.

Remember, inventory management doesn’t have to be a burden. By adopting simple processes, like the five steps above, you’re well on your way to a more efficient e-commerce business.

About the author:

Don Amato is Vice-President, Sales of Chicago Tag & Label (chicagotag.com) in Libertyville, IL. The company offers solutions to streamline your business processes and keep your inventory organized and up-to-date.

3 Techniques for Minimizing Chargebacks in Your eCommerce Site

If you run an e-commerce website you’re probably already very familiar with chargebacks. But just in case you’re not, chargebacks are situations in which your customer, the cardholder, goes to their card issuer and challenges the charge from your business.  If the challenge is successful, the original charge for the sale will be reversed, and typically, regardless of whether it is successful the merchant will also be charged a fee from their credit card processor as well as another transaction charge for processing the refund. But perhaps the worst part of chargebacks is that they can cause your risk profile to go up with your credit card processing company, leading to you potentially having to maintain a rolling reserve account or getting dropped as a merchant altogether.

So with those concerns in mind, here are three techniques to minimizing chargebacks for an ecommerce site:

  1. Work Closely With Your Payment Processor

There are two important things you can do with respect to working closely with your payment processor to reduce chargebacks. The first is during the setup phase of your merchant account; make sure that you specify that charges from your company list both your company DBA and a toll free customer service phone number. If you don’t specify this, your processor may default to your entity’s legal name, which in many cases doesn’t provide a customer who is looking at their credit card statement a month later with a clear idea of who the charge was from. Thus, even if the purchase was legitimate, the customer might initiate a chargeback.  By providing the DBA and a toll-free number, the customer is more likely to call you instead of their credit card company.

The second important step is to respond timely to retrieval requests. Once a customer initiates a chargeback, you’ll typically only have a couple of days to respond to your merchant service provider with evidence that the charge was legitimate. By responding in a timely way you not only give yourself an opportunity to successfully contest the chargeback, you also give the credit card processor the impression that your business is sound and that you aren’t at risk of disappearing and leaving them holding the bag for future chargebacks.

  1. Over-Communicate With the Customer

In the context of legitimate purchases made by a consumer with their own card, most chargebacks occur because the customer is unable to communicate effectively with customer service after problems arise with the purchase.  The customer might want a refund due to the fact that the item wasn’t shipped timely, or because the customer was for some reason dissatisfied with it. For most of these types of situations, providing a means for the customer to have their issue resolved that is easier for the customer than initiating a chargeback will eliminate the chargeback altogether.

Good practices in this regard include;

  • making sure that you send an email following the purchase which provides an email and phone number that the customer can use to discuss any issues,
  • providing a 24 / 7 customer service phone number that is prominently displayed on your website, and
  • offering refunds in even questionable situations.

That last good practice recommendation, providing refunds even in questionable situations, may seem like a difficult policy to stomach implementing. But if you recall that a chargeback causes you to incur multiple fees regardless of it’s success, and that the burden is on the merchant to prove that a transaction was legitimate should you decide to fight it, in general a swift refund is the cheapest way out.

  1. Implement Transaction Scoring to Minimize Fraudulent Transactions

Contrasted from situations in which a legitimate customer resorts to initiating a chargeback because they find it more convenient or effective than communicating with the merchant, are those situations involving fraudulent transactions. Fraudulent transactions leading to chargebacks are situations in which the cardholder did not actually make, or didn’t intend to make, the transaction. The most effective way to reduce these is to implement transaction scoring.

Transaction scoring simply means that not every valid card entered will automatically be run for sale once the submit button is run. Rather, a scoring algorithm will first be used to determine the likelihood that fraud is taking place, and when that score is high enough, the transaction will not be completed.

Best practices for implementing transaction scoring include;

  • requiring the customer to enter special digits (CVV2, CVC, CID) to verify card authenticity and that the customer has the card in hand,
  • require an expiration date for further authenticity assurance,
  • using AVS to verify a cardholder’s billing address, and using the resulting code of full, partial, or no match to help determine scoring,
  • set limits to payment velocity to prevent accidental duplicate payments
  • apply higher risk scores for orders shipped to the same address with multiple cards,
  • flagging multiple cards from a single IP address,
  • flagging for manual confirmation rush deliveries and foreign transactions to nations with traditionally high-chargeback rates
Conclusion

Managing chargebacks has become an essential part of any e-commerce business, not only to minimize costs in the short term, but also to maintain attractive credit and debit card processing rates, and reduce the possibility of being required to maintain a rolling reserve or being dropped by your merchant service provider. Thankfully, by following some of the recommendations discussed in this article you can dramatically reduce the incidence rate of chargebacks in your ecommerce company.

 

About the Author:

Rich McIver is the founder of Merchant Negotiators a credit card processing comparison site.

Bing Ads Marketing Event Recap- June 9th

We would like to thank all of our guests who attended the Marketing Event hosted by Bing Ads and made the event a huge success! Below is a brief recap of the topics that were discussed during the event.

The main takeaway from this event was “Why Bing?” and how JXT Group can help you succeed when advertising on Bing.

Why Bing?
  • When advertising on Bing Ads, you have access to the entire Yahoo! Bing Network, which is the combined advertising marketplace consisting of Yahoo, Bing, and related partner sites.
  • You can advertise globally or locally, creating ads that reach customers in a single country or city – even within a specific distance from your business.
  • You only pay for clicks, just when customers click your ad. No click, no charge.
  • There is no minimum fee to advertise on Bing Ads
  • Bing Ads helps drive more clicks to your website at a lower cost
  • Bing powers mobile search experiences (Siri, Cortana)
  • You will get lower cost per lead and per sale when using Bing Ads, compared with other search engines
  • Bing Ads call extensions drive higher user engagement
    • Higher CTR with call extensions (on mobile)
  • Bing is active in 35 countries worldwide
  • There are billions of monthly search queries on the Yahoo! Bing Network
    • 158 million unique searchers on the Yahoo! Bing Network
    • 5.3 billion total monthly searchers on the Yahoo! Bing Network
      • 29% of market share
  • Access exclusive searchers that are not reached on Google

Why JXT Group?
  • Established in 2009
  • We specialize in Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Comparison Shopping Engine Management and many other forms of Inbound Marketing
  • Personal Service & Results – We make every client feel like they are our only client. We deliver the best results on every campaign we manage.
  • ROI driven campaigns
  • We have clients of all sizes, in all industries
    • eCommerce
    • Lead-Gen
  • JXT Group is a member of Bing Customer Council
  • We are a Bing Ads Certified Agency and a Google Partner
  • We have the backing of our dedicated Account Managers at both Bing and Google

We concluded the presentations with a Q&A discussion where guests asked questions about the presentation, as well as how the topics discussed could be applied to grow their business.

We hosted a raffle at the end of the event where all attendees were automatically entered for a chance to win a Xbox One and other cool Bing swag.  We would like to congratulate Akiva on winning the Xbox One, and Igal and Dilan on winning a Bing duffel bag full of Bing swag.

We would like to thank Microsoft and our dedicated Account Manager, Will Martinez for giving us this opportunity to teach our current and future clients about the value of advertising with Bing Ads. We would also like to thank them for providing us with awesome prizes for the raffle.

If you are looking for real results on your Inbound Marketing campaigns contact us today.

Marketing Event Hosted by Bing Ads

 

 

 

We’re hosting a marketing event about advertising online with Bing Ads, and you’re invited to join us!  It will be held at Microsoft Headquarters in NYC on June 9th. It’s a great opportunity to learn about how to grow your business from JXT Group and Bing experts.

We will have a raffle which all attendees will be automatically entered for a chance to win a Xbox One and other giveaways.

 

 

 

 

Refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP as soon as possible,  space is limited. We hope to see you there!

RSVP Now →

Google Partners Connect Recap- May 13

We would like to thank all of our guests who attended the Google Partners Connect livestream and made the event a huge success! Here is a brief recap of the topics that were discussed during the livestream video. The full video is attached at the bottom of this post.

Micro-Moments

The first speaker was Matt Lawson, Director of Search Ads Marketing, who discussed the “micro-moments” that guide a customer’s decision journey, and how businesses can use online marketing to reach potential customers during the moments that matter most. Matt discussed different types of micro-moments and how as a marketer, “your biggest opportunities come from the smallest moments.”

Some takeways from his discussion are:

  • There are many different types of micro-moments
    • I-want-to-know moments
    • I-want-to-go moments
    • I-want-to-buy moments
    • I-want-to-do moments
  • Connect the dots
    • Identify your micro-moments
    • Deliver on-needs in the micro-moments
    • Measure the moments that matter

Grow Your Business

AdWords Evangelist Fred Valleys continued the discussion by talking about how small businesses can better navigate the web and expand their online presence through smarter customer insights.

Here are the top takeaways from Fred Valleys presentation:

  • Understand the results page
  • Using ad extensions results in a 30% boost in CTR
    • There are 12 different ad extensions available
  • Take advantage of Google My Business
    • Claim your business and be found across devices on Google Search, Maps, and Google+
    • 50% of consumers visit a store within a day of searching on a smartphone
    • 72% of consumers who searched for local information on a smart phone visited a store within 5 miles
    • 28% of time online is spent on social media in the US
  • Be mobile
    • 45% of people would rather give up vacation than their smartphone
    • Take advantage of Call-only Ads
    • Use a mobile-responsive design for your website
  • Track everything
    • Track all conversions- estimated conversions help account for all conversions, even when the user goes between mobile, tablet, and desktop, or when they purchase offline.
  • Search Ads lift brand awareness

Thank You!

We concluded the livestream video with a discussion where guests asked questions about the presentation, as well as how the topics discussed could be applied to grow their business. Our team was able to answer these questions, as well as discuss our own personal experiences with using Google for online marketing and advertising.

This event was a huge success, and we at JXT Group would like to thank Google for giving us this opportunity to learn more about the value of digital marketing and to engage with future clients! If you were unable to attend the live stream, or would like to watch it again, you can view the video below, or by clicking on this link.

If you are looking for real results on your Inbound Marketing campaigns contact us today.

 

How Outsourcing Your Contact Center Can Help Your E-Commerce Business

 

 

The benefits of outsourcing your call center — we should really call them “contact centers,” since today’s customer communication takes the form of phone calls, email, chat and social media engagement — are not always intuitively obvious, but they are very real. Accordingly, here is a strategic overview of how outsourcing the contact center improves an e-commerce company’s performance:

Provide 24/7/365 Customer Service

By its very nature, an e-commerce website is open for business 24/7/365. However, staffing a three-shift contact center represents an enormous commitment, and, given the frequently narrow margins of e-commerce, could add enough overhead expense to put profitability in peril.  Moreover, an in-house staff will inevitably experience swings in activity; using an outsourced contact center, a firm pays only for work being done, not idle time.

Speak the Customer’s Language

An e-commerce company that takes orders from customers around the world needs not only 24/7/365 customer service, it must provide it in an array of languages — a daunting hiring task for a company intent on an in-house operation. In contrast, a professional contact center has already hired a multilingual staff, and has the resources to maintain staffing levels when turnover occurs. Communicating in the customer’s language improves customer satisfaction, and customer retention, as well as attract new customers who share that language.

Hit the Ground Running with Stellar Service

E-commerce leaders like Amazon have set a sky-high bar for customer service. Today’s online customers are astute enough to know what kind of service experience to expect, and are quick to abandon e-commerce companies that fail to meet those expectations. Since a contact center is exclusively in the business of customer service, its staff members are relentlessly trained to handle all customer situations in the best way possible. What’s more, because contact centers have dealt with so many types of situations, their knowledge base far exceeds what any individual company could match without decades of similar experience.

Gain Valuable Time to Improve Your Core Strengths

While customer service is vitally important and can never be considered a distraction, it is an area of business that can be outsourced to qualified, competent providers. However, not every element of an e-commerce business is so efficiently outsourced. By relieving itself of the burden of hiring, managing, training and evaluating an in-house contact center, an e-commerce company can make itself stronger in other key areas, putting distance between itself and its competitors. For example:

  • Who knows better than you which new products will attract business, and which products are dying and should be phased out? Merchandising is the soul of an e-commerce business and does not easily lend itself to the out-of-body option of outsourcing.
  • Website development. If merchandising is the soul of e-commerce, the website is the body and does all of the heavy lifting. The more resources an e-commerce company can devote to improving user experience, conversion optimization, website functionality, search engine optimization, page loading speed and scores of other items, the more business the website will generate.
  • Margins. As mentioned earlier, maintaining healthy margins in e-commerce is a challenge. In order to manage costs, a company must devote as much time as possible to purchasing, inventory management, fulfillment, order accuracy, product quality and, as with the website, a host of other items. Managing margins requires working in the trenches; a hands-on approach from top to bottom. It is simply not a function that can be outsourced.

For many e-commerce businesses, there is a short window to become established as a leader in the market. During that critical window, it’s imperative that the business managers focus on merchandising, website development and margins rather than contact center management. IDC predicts that contact centers will grow between 15 percent and 25 percent over the next few years because of the business benefits an outsourced call center can provide.

About the Author:

Darcy Tudor is the Executive Vice President and Director of Operations at Marketing Alternatives Inc. MAI provides flexible, turnkey solutions for businesses of all sizes with its Marketing Alternatives Contact Center Services.  

 

Increase Online Business Sales: Emerging Technologies That Can Help

The e-commerce world is standing at a crossroads now: there is no shortage of emerging technologies that promise to drive sales numbers into the stratosphere. However, as greater convenience and faster delivery times make online shopping more appealing to consumers across the world, online retailers still have to do something special to stand out from the competition.

In order to really capitalize on the possibilities represented by new e-commerce technology and put that technology to work driving better results, businesses need to be able to understand those technologies thoroughly and adopt them quickly. Read on to learn more about some of the most promising new technologies available to e-commerce businesses today, and to find out what they can do for your business.

1. CPQ software

Today’s e-commerce businesses are starting to learn that they no longer have to rely on intuition and guesswork when it comes to providing pricing and quotes for their products and services. With configure, price, quote (CPQ) software solutions, businesses can automate one of the most complicated and time-intensive parts of the entire sales cycle, which will have the dual benefits of ensuring the most accurate decisions possible regarding pricing and allowing businesses to provide quotes for complex product configurations quickly, which helps keep customers moving along in the sales lifecycle.

In addition to making pricing decisions easier and encouraging higher sales through a more convenient sales lifecycle, CPQ software solutions can also integrate with your existing software platforms to accentuate the unique benefits of each of the individual offerings. For instance, you could integrate CPQ with your CRM solution to make sure you know exactly who your customers are and where they are in the buying lifecycle, or with your ERP platform to make sure that you can make just-in-time decisions that help you make the most of your resources.

2. Mobile devices

It’s no secret that mobile device adoption is on the upswing: according to statistics from eMarketer, the number of global smartphone users will top 1.75 billion during 2014, driven by cheaper devices, development of stronger 3G and 4G networks, and a more global reach for device manufacturers. And it’s not just smartphones and tablets, either: wearable tech devices have also created an important new channel that businesses can use to connect with consumers.

So what does all this mean for online retailers in terms of sales? To put it simply, more devices means more opportunities to reach consumers, and more opportunities for consumers to buy, which are both good things. However, online retailers must be able to optimize their experience for mobile devices if they expect to gain from this trend. This means things like making sure that marketing emails look great when viewed on mobile devices, and making sure that it is easy to browse for products and make a purchase decision using a mobile device. Today’s consumers have little patience for retailers that don’t offer a great mobile experience, and will quickly find a competitor that does.

3. Big data

Big data is one of the trends driving the future of e-commerce because it allows online retailers to really get to know who their customers are, and then provide those customers with offers and promotions that are so personalized and well targeted that they feel like a service rather than “marketing as usual.”

Throughout the history of retail, understanding what customers want has always been the first step toward giving it to them. Now, retailers have the opportunity to know what their customers want in a way that previous generations of retailers never could have dreamed. However, like the other technologies mentioned in this post, there is a caveat: big data means more of all types of data, whether that data is useful or not. Retailers must have the technology needed to separate useful customer data from irrelevant data in order to capitalize on the big data trend.

About the Author:

Ron Mouw is the VP of Business Development at Configure One. Configure One is the leading provider of CPQ and product configurator software solutions for enterprises both domestically and internationally.

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