Posts Tagged ‘payment processing’

5 Essentials for Moving Your Business Online

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Online BusinessWhat with the internet getting so big and popular and all, it has reached the point where having a business and having a website is basically synonymous. If you don’t have a website, unless you are a market stall, you don’t have a business…or at least, you are not making the most of it.

So to get your business online, you obviously need a website. This is just the beginning though. Too many businesses phone up the first website company they come across, give them some colour scheme and accept what they are given. They then throw their products in and hit ‘Go Live’. Then they sit back and wait for the orders to start piling up in their inbox.

Unfortunately for them there is so much more to it. They may as well not have bothered if they are not willing to spend a lot more time and energy making it the best it can be. There is just so much competition out there that websites need to be of a high calibre to make any impact or provide any return on investment.

Worthwhile Content

The first and most essential element of all is worthwhile content. You can spend £10,000 on your website design and development but if you don’t invest in providing useful, user friendly, valuable information then it will all have been a waste. Ecommerce sites for example need to not only provide pictures and prices; they need high quality images, good solid descriptions and detailed price breakdowns.

A Unique Online Selling Point

Another essential element is a unique selling point. This is something that makes your business stand out online ahead of your competitors. While your existing business may have one in place, this may not do so well online. Good online selling points are things like ‘Free Shipping’ and ‘Free Returns’.

Security

People are very aware of their vulnerability online. This means that anything that seems unsafe, especially when their credit card details are concerned will make them run a mile. You need your site to look professional, be free of adverts (where possible) or any pop-ups and offer reassuring information like your physical address and a phone number. Furthermore, how are you processing payments? This certainly has to be secure and brings about the issue of payment gateways and which payment service provider is right for you and your customers.

On Page Credit Card Gateway

Sticking with reassuring customers and payments; sending them to an external site to take their card details is a major turn off, so it is essential that you nip this in the bud now by immediately applying an online credit card gateway that can be used from the checkout seamlessly.

SEO Services

Finally, search engine optimisation is not technically essential, but you won’t get much traffic quickly without a professional casting their eye over your site and explaining what you need to do to be as attractive as possible to search engines and your customers.

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3 Major Roadblocks Placed (by you) Between Your Customers and Your Products

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

A roadblock in the world of ecommerce is basically anything that stands between your customers and your products. You probably know that online shoppers are like a flock of birds: the slightest little jolt and they are off up into the sky and away. They’re not like ants who will immediately try to find another route to their goal, they will not often back track and look for gaps and ways over, under or around an obstacle. No they know that they can just go back to the search results and start again with a fresh site that probably has what they are looking for and may well be easier for them to get to.

So we agree. Roadblock on websites are bad.

What is a road block exactly?

Well here are three prime and common examples of roadblocks that crop up in ecommerce websites all the time preventing users getting from landing page to payment processing:

Forcing Customers to Register

All too often ecommerce sites are so keen to gather the email addresses and other information about users that they do so before customers have even fully committed to buying a product. Being confronted by a message basically demanding that you create an account before you have permission to actually buy something is terribly off putting and indeed leads a large percentage of users who don’t want to or just can’t be bothered, to exit immediately.

Bad Search Results

Many people prefer to search ecommerce stores through the site search. There are some who are happy to use the normal navigation menus and such but a significant proportion who may be in a rush, may know precisely what they are looking for or who may just prefer it, will go directly to your search box. However, if they don’t get what they want quickly through your search box, they aren’t going to stick around to use your navigation, they’re going to leave and try another site.

External Credit Card Site

Another major roadblock is when customers are transported to another site altogether in order for them to put in their card details. They trusted your site this far and now you are suddenly asking them to trust someone else. No dice. This is a big turn off for lots of customers and will cause many of them to turn tail and leave. Having a payment service provider incorporate into the structure of your site is a better option that is widely provided.

Roadblocks are very serious but are in most cases, including those listed above, fixable. Think of each of these like placing a physical roadblock in front of a bricks and mortar version of your shop and you will appreciate just how important it is to remove them as soon as possible.

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What Do Google’s New Chrome Books Mean for Your Business?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Google Display on LaptopA ‘Chromebook’ is the name given to a new type of laptop produced by Google which looks much like any other laptop, except that they are powered by Google’s own Chrome Operating System. These Acer and Samsung machines are geared towards being used exclusively on the web and therefore have no desktop or file system or any of the normal stuff you expect from a computer as instead the entire machine is basically designed as a web surfing machine.

This means that for starters it is very quick to turn on (about 8 seconds apparently), all your emails, documents, photos and videos etc. are all stored and can be used online, doesn’t need to be updated or patched as this happens automatically and it comes with an unlimited hard drive (i.e. the entire internet). You can find new apps and games using Chrome store just like you do with Chrome currently and as everything is stored online, if you accidently drop your ‘Chromebook’ in a shark tank you can just pick up a new Chromebook, log on and pick up where you left off.

So what does this mean for your online business?

More Customers!

If these take off then they will make it a great deal easier and cheaper for many more people to get online and have the opportunity to have dealings with your business and hopefully, your payment service provider. What ‘Chromebooks’ and their inevitable copycat devices will have in common is that they don’t need to come loaded with large hard drives or require a slew of program software and anti-virus to work. As everything is done online the machines will be quite simple and therefore much cheaper. Cheaper and easier to get online + more and more services available online = good for your business = more payment processing and more profit.

Nothing Immediately

What Google certainly appreciates is that this is a big step forward and may take a bit of time for lots of people to adopt. The advantages are clear but what will stop people from jumping on board straight away is the psychological awkwardness people will feel about saving all their data online, not having a desktop to work from or those friendly icons looking back at you (even though they are normally hidden by a browser). Also, many are fearful that uploading all your data to the cloud places a lot of faith in Google in terms of data security.

Only time will tell how successful this new way of computing will be in the long run. Would you be happy using a Chromebook?

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How to Make an Effective Landing Page

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Landing Page SuccessEvery online business, if they are at all serious about making their website profitable, needs to be thinking about their visitors when they create landing pages. Landing pages are where your users arrive at your website – depending on where individual pages appear in search results, it could be one of a number of pages and not just your homepage. You can more accurately direct your visitors to particular landing pages by using search engine optimisation techniques.

Your landing page (or pages) is the most important page on your website as it is the first moment your visitor gets to see what you are like and first impressions really count online. If you don’t grab them with this page they can easily click away in a split second, never to return again, but if you do grab them, you at least have a chance of getting them to make a purchase. It takes a lot to get a customer from landing page to payment processing, but by putting your best foot forward at the start you multiply your chances exponentially.

Grab their Attention

First thing you need to do is grab their attention. You need to let them know instantly that they are on the right page for what they are looking for and why you are the best and they should stick around and use your services. Create a solid heading which is clear and eye catching that does this then use a sub heading to elaborate a bit more. Having a high quality image right next to or underneath your headings will help to catch the eye and (if the image is right) reinforce what your headings say. Follow this up with some nicely worded copy that offers a slightly more in depth explanation of what your site is for and how it can benefit the visitor.

Reassure your Visitor

If your visitor has stuck around long enough to find out that this site does what they you need it to, next you need to convince them that this is the best site for them to use for this service and that they can trust it. After all they may well have looked at a dozen other similar sites. You can do this by providing good testimonials on your landing page and following it up with security certificates that show your site is safe. You could also include some examples of popular products to try to spark your visitor’s interest.

Get them Moving

Final step: you now need to get your visitor moving forward onto a page with products that they can buy. You can do this by basically demanding that they click on something. By providing a clear, bold and brightly coloured button with an encouraging message on it, you should hopefully get a large portion of your visitors to take the next step into your site and to be on track to make a purchase and make a discernable boost to your internet merchant account.

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