Credit Card Processing Blog

Even though the e-commerce landscape is quite competitive, it still offers an amazing way to sell to customers across the United States and even the globe. If your business already has an e-commerce site online but it’s not driving the level of results you want, there are a number of ways to improve it. To help you out, here are solutions to five of the most common challenges merchants face with e-commerce:

  1. Slow Load Times

Consumers expect websites to load quickly. And if a site doesn’t load, people are going to leave. That’s why when Amazon did an internal case study about speed, they found that over the course of a year, a single second of lag time would cost them over a billion dollars in sales! What makes this situation more challenging is e-commerce platforms often have complex features that can slow them down. You can avoid this problem by running a speed test, identifying any sources of slowness and then changing or eliminating them.

  1. Poor Mobile Performance

A big part of why people are buying more online than ever before is they no longer need to be in front of a computer to make purchases. Instead, they can just pull out their phones. However, you will only benefit from this consumer behavior if your site performs great on smaller screens. If this is currently a problem area, a great way to start remedying it is by switching to a responsive web design.

  1. Lack of Engagement

Social media has transformed the Internet from a publishing platform into a two-way communication channel. People want to be able to chat and express their opinions online. So if you don’t feel as connected to your customers as you would like, the good news is there are several ways to change this. The first is to increase your social media activity on both Facebook and Instagram. You can also increase engagement by using your email list to interact with potential and current customers on a regular basis.

  1. Not Enough Traffic

Because there is so much competition online, simply having an e-commerce site up and running is not enough to guarantee that people will visit it. If a lack of traffic is the reason your site isn’t generating the type of revenue you’d like, there are both short and longer-term strategies. In the short-term, paid advertising through Facebook or AdWords can start bringing in targeted visitors right away. Just keep a close eye on your spending. And for long-term traffic, making the right SEO content and link investments can really pay off down the line.

  1. Low Conversion Rate

What happens if people are coming to your site but not buying? One way to start figuring out what’s keeping your conversion rate low is to install a live chat tool. This can help you identify any technical or other obstacles. A less than ideal payment experience is a common culprit. If you find out that people are having trouble when they want to check out, switching to a leading processor can solve this problem for you.

Most of the biggest companies in tech are making major bets on voice. And unlike other technologies such as VR, which had a big push a few years ago but seems to have stalled, many consumers are taking to voice in a big way. That’s evidenced with trends like Amazon’s Echo Dot being the company’s best selling product during the last Christmas season.

Amazon is far from being the only tech giant to put a lot of resources behind voice. Google Assistant is a product that the company has continued to push forward. Given that analysts believe around fifty percent of all searches will be done by voice in just three years, it’s easy to understand why Google is taking this trend so seriously.

Because voice is still an emerging technology, there’s not much for individual merchants to do in terms of optimizing their website or online presence. However, what is worth spending a little time on is looking at how consumers are already using this technology to make payments, as well as what other plans tech companies have for enabling payments through voice.

How Google Assistant Handles Payments

Before we look at exactly how Google is using their Assistant technology for payments, it’s worth clarifying where it can be used. As of now, Assistant comes with Android phones, as well as multiple smart home devices that have Google’s brand. It’s also possible for iPhone users to download a Google Assistant app for iOS.

If someone has any of those devices, they can say “OK Google” or “Hey Google” to engage it. Once someone engages Google Assistant, common requests range from doing an online search to playing a song. And increasingly, requests have to do with making a payment.

One reason that more people are using their voice to make payments is this technology has been present in Google Assistant for a while. Through Google Pay, someone can send money to a friend or family member. What’s compelling about this is instead of needing to open an app and give multiple details, someone can just say the amount they want to send, who it’s going to and for what. The same is true for requesting money.

Making the jump from peer-to-peer payments into e-commerce could be done in a number of ways. For example, when someone runs out of a staple item in their home, they could just tell Google Assistant to order it. Depending on the item, they could also specify the merchant or simply let Google decide, which would likely be a significant new source of ad revenue for the tech giant.

As we mentioned above, there currently aren’t any major changes merchants need to make to take advantage of what’s being done with voice. Just keep in mind that it’s important to have a nimble processing partner that’s always ready to evolve with the times. If you don’t feel that your current processor meets that description, switching to an industry leading processing company is something to strongly consider.

In the months leading up to the required start date for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance, there was a lot of talk about all the different steps that businesses had to take. Most consumers also received a flurry of emails from tech companies letting them know that they were following all the measures required for compliance.

While all of this activity made it seem like GDPR was something that businesses of all sizes were embracing, new data related to this topic paints a different picture. Based on an analysis of where things are at three months after the start of GDPR, it appears that the majority aren’t in full compliance with all of the mandates.

More Details About the Lack of GDPR Compliance

According to a global study, only 1 out of every 5 businesses is fully complying with what’s required by GDPR. Although it’s easy to assume that this number only gets skewed by businesses outside of the EU, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Even when the analysis is limited to EU companies, the compliance rate still just clocks in at 27%.

Given this very low adoption rate, it’s worth looking at the root causes. One major issue is the sheer scope of GDPR. Because it requires so much of businesses, it sets too high a barrier for many. This is reflected in a very interesting data point, which is that 90% of businesses are planning to hire at least one staff member over the next year for a role focused solely on compliance.

Expanding on the burden that all of these regulations create, the cost to actually become compliant can be huge. Around 25% of businesses have spent at least half a million dollars to make this happen.

The other issue that can make compliance especially challenging is for any business that has to deal with a supply chain. This is due to the fact that not only does data need to be managed internally, but controls have to be put in place to help protect it as it flows out of the business.

What Should Businesses Do?

All of this news may come as a surprise and appear to paint a bleak picture. Fortunately, that’s not necessarily true. There are two important things to keep in mind. The first is if you look back at the EMV mandate, it followed a similar pattern.

Even after lots of upfront discussion, actual adoption took a good amount of time. And the second thing to keep in mind is this is actually reassuring for smaller businesses that simply aren’t able to be in full compliance at this time. Any business taking steps towards GDPR without fully reaching what’s required is far from being alone.

One element that can help with tasks related to GDPR is having a strong processing partner. So if you’ve been considering a switch, be sure to look at our list of recommended credit card processing companies.

With the modern political climate, there is a lot of media noise that doesn’t necessarily make sense for business owners to pay attention to. However, there are certain decisions by the administration that can have a direct impact. A recent example of this is multiple announcements surrounding tariffs.

To help cut through all the speculation and focus on what direct impact these tariffs may have on SMBs, we want to share a quick primer on this topic, followed by an analysis of its impact:

Understanding the New Tariffs

A tariff is a tax on a specific class or exports or imports. There are multiple types of tariffs, including a fixed dollar amount on a specific item and a proportional tariff based on value.

The tariffs making lots of news were first announced at the end of May. The initial announcement was focused on aluminum and steel exports, specifically coming from Mexico, the EU, and Canada. Then in the middle of July, a new set of tariffs were announced that target a wide range of Chinese goods.

The list of Chinese tariffs was so large that the country responded by placing tariffs on over $30 billion worth of American goods, including electric vehicles and soybeans. Based on these rapid developments, it’s possible that additional tariffs may be announced over the coming months.

The Potential Impact

Now that we’ve covered what the tariffs are all about, it’s time to determine if they could impact your business. Even though these tariffs aren’t aimed at small businesses, most experts agree that a ripple effect is likely to affect SMBs.

For example, let’s say that your business regularly buys supplies made from aluminum or steel. As the price of those metals goes up, the cost of your supplies may rise as well. Depending on the quantities you’re purchasing, it’s possible for these increases to cut into your profit margin.

Because there’s not much you can do to control these increases, the best course of action you can follow is to keep a close eye on your margins. In the event they start to get squeezed, you may need to make a change like raising prices or finding other options for reducing costs.

At the end of the day, there are certain elements that can impact your business but aren’t within your control. Although that can be frustrating, the silver lining is that there are plenty of elements that you can control. Credit card processing is a great example.

If you have any reason to believe that you may be paying too much for processing credit card transactions, there’s a simple way to find out. Simply go to our list of the industry leading credit card processing companies and see how your current provider compares. In the event you are paying too much, you can easily make the switch to one of those companies.

If you’re looking for a way to increase how much traffic your e-commerce website receives, content marketing is an excellent option. While this approach does require an upfront investment of resources, once the ball gets rolling, you will see ongoing results.

Because the Internet changes so rapidly, not every marketing technique remains useful. So to ensure that you’re on the right path throughout the rest of 2018 and into 2019, we’ve put together the five best tips for finding success with e-commerce content marketing:

  1. Create a Hub

Whether it’s a blog or other location on your website, it’s important to have a central hub for all your content. One reason this type of hub is essential is it will allow you to optimize the types of elements we’re going to discuss in subsequent tips. Another benefit is having all of your content together will maximize the SEO benefits that it reaps from Google.

  1. Utilize Email

Publishing great content is the key to getting people to your website. But because there’s so much happening online, attracting attention isn’t enough to ensure conversions. In order to really move the needle, you need to develop a relationship with these visitors. One of the best ways to do that is through email.

Start by adding opt-in forms throughout the content you publish. The more custom and relevant you can make those forms, the better. Then you can use email to continue providing value. Although you don’t want to send constant offers, you can mix that in with what you send out.

  1. Get Customers Involved

Creating content isn’t something you have to do alone. In fact, it will always be better when you get real customers involved. Whether you ask their opinion through a poll or share their images, this type of collaboration is a proven way to elevate content to the next level.

  1. Use Data

Tools like Google Analytics provide tons of insights into what people are liking, so be sure to use this information to your advantage. You can get inspired for future content ideas and even find specific pieces you’ve already published that may benefit from some revisions.

  1. Focus on Quality

A few years ago, pumping out tons of blog posts was a reliable way to get both search engine and social media traffic. However, times have changed, and these platforms no longer respond to that approach. What will get traction is content with true engagement. So instead of worrying about publishing something new on a set schedule, focus on making each piece you create the absolute best it can be.

By putting these tips into action, it won’t take long to start seeing significant increases in the amount of traffic your website receives. If you want to be sure that new visitors are always able to buy even when your site gets very busy, having a great processing company on your side will help a lot.