e-commerce

5 Important eCommerce Security Tips

omologyinfo

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5 Important eCommerce Security Tips
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This articles was originally posted on omology.co.uk

Shopping online has become a lot more popular than it was a decade ago. Consumers have the convenience of ordering items online instead of wasting time, gas, and money travelling to the nearest mall to buy stuff. However, convenience does pose some serious risks for shoppers. Like any other transaction over the internet, e-commerce security isn’t foolproof. This means consumers could be at risk of compromising their sensitive financial data. Below are five reminders folks should keep in mind to stay safe.

Verify URLs

When making a purchase, you should take a look at the vendor’s site URL to ensure the security of any transaction. At the beginning of the URL, it should read “https” rather than “HTTP.” The former is an indication that the page is encrypted, which is a good thing. Moreover, it is important to check for “https” at the beginning of each page’s URL throughout the entire process. The same precautionary method also applies to shoppers using their mobile devices to make purchases.

Supply Essential Information Only

Online shoppers don’t have to supply an excessive amount of information to buy stuff from e-commerce stores. When filling in any purchase form, only fill in the fields that the vendor requires. This significantly will reduce your risk of supplying sensitive information that hackers can use to steal money or harm you in other ways. However, if the site requires customers to supply information, such as your social security personal info, then it would be wise to buy from another site that doesn’t. Practising these precautions alone significantly can reduce the danger of compromising any confidential data.

Research Site Validity

Legitimate sites usually will have About us and Contact us pages containing legitimate info regarding the company. The latter page, in particular, should have valid contact information (preferably a working phone number). The website should have a strong social media presence as well. Reputable eCommerce stores are active across major social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Moreover, the site should have a decent amount of followers. If so, that’s a good sign that the site is legitimate.

Check Consumer Reviews for Complaints

Consumer reviews are a great way to determine the legitimacy of any e-commerce site. A quick Google search is all it takes to pull in both good and bad info regarding a particular online store. Be sure that the reviews are made by actual users on reputable sites dedicated to providing these kinds of informative reviews.

Another thing to look out for is whether or not the virtual store is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Nonetheless, if multiple BBB warnings are posted about the organisation, then it’s best to make purchases through another website.

Use Credit Cards

Using a credit card for processing online transactions is far safer than using a debit card. The former mode of payment usually comes with online fraud protection that negates the risks of losing sensitive banking data. Additionally, payments are made from the banking institution as a loan, instead of it coming straight from the shopper’s bank account. On top of all this, excess charges and errors are easily identifiable on credit card statements, so consumers can contact their banks immediately and have these mishaps reversed.

Shopping online is hugely convenient. That’s why it has become so popular. However, while e-commerce security is being continuously improved, hackers diligently find new weak points to penetrate and use to steal from consumers. Instead of relying on banking institutions to fix the problems once they’ve occurred, it’s best to take precautions to avoid these risks. That said, the five tips listed above are amongst the most effective methods of reducing the dangers associated with online shopping.

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Digital Marketing

What Is a Sales Funnel and How It Works

Francesca Taylor

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what is a sales funnel

We all are aware of a funnel; anything put as an input narrows down through its whole length and gradually gives us the desired output is a funnel.

Sales funnel is one of the core and most essential digital marketing concepts.

A brief on what is a sales funnel in digital marketing

Before understanding what a sales funnel is in digital marketing, let’s quickly decipher a sales funnel first.

Sales funnel, also known as revenue funnel, refers to the multi-step process that potential customers go through, from the first contact with a business until they complete a purchase and become loyal customers. It is the journey a customer goes through from being completely unknown of the business to being its promoter. The length of the funnel depends on every individual business’s particular funnel strategy.

What is a sales funnel model?

Sales funnel works on the AIDA model, which consists of the following phases:

1. Awareness phase

This phase is where a business catches the consumer’s attention. It could be through various channels such as ads, social media posts, or Google searches. Consumers are now aware that the business exists.

2. Interest phase

The lead shows interest in the business by conducting product research, comparisons and thinking over various options. The business tries to develop consumers’ interest to further take them forward towards a decision.

3. Decision phase

This is when the consumer is ready to make a purchase. This is the best time for the business to make a luring offer – like a discount code, free shipping, or any other offer – that is so irresistible the consumer cannot help but purchase it.

4. Action phase

This is the final phase, where the consumer has finally decided to make a purchase and become a part of the business’s ecosystem. However, the digital marketing funnel doesn’t end here. Customer retention should be a priority of every marketer’s agenda. Customers should be made to feel valued by inviting them to give feedback and honoring their problems or issues if any. This approach is highly effective in building brand awareness and reinforces customer loyalty.

This phase is followed by advocacy in which the customer becomes loyal to us and starts to promote the business by referring to other potential customers in his social vicinities such as his family, friends and other knowns. In this process, the business becomes a brand with time.

Why is a sales funnel so crucial in digital marketing?

  • Landing upon a marketing strategy

The marketing sales funnel gives you a strategy for entering the market and presenting your business to the masses. You could portray your business to the customers in the online market and provide value strategically.

  • Acquiring customers

Acquiring customers is the most daunting task for any business, especially newbies. Sales funnel targets the right potential customers with detailed targeting and reach them at a very attractive cost.

  • Developing a list of future prospective customers

Once a prospect enters your funnel, it sends you all his details, journey stage, and interests. In this way, you could develop a list of these prospects and pitch them any time in the future. Also, you can upsell and cross-sell them in the future. This makes a colossal Lifetime customer value (LTCV).

  • Boost in sales

With the proper targeting, remarketing, and list of interested customers, the sales funnel can drastically boost sales.

  • Brand development

It helps in developing a business into a brand. This is very crucial for any business’s long term success.

How do you build a sales funnel for free?

Digital marketers must try to capture as many leads as possible and then nurture prospective clients through a purchasing decision journey while narrowing down these prospects in each stage of the funnel.

You shall offer your clients in the same way as you would do to your best friend.

Following are a few tools that play an essential role in all this process:

Blogs with good content

Social media

• Online reviews

• Search engine optimization (SEO)

• Display ads

• Paid ads

• Remarketing

The prospecting strategy varies from client to client depending upon the stage the client is standing on in the buying cycle.

Strategies for an effective sales funnel

Here are the tactics effective at each of the five stages of the buying cycle of the sales funnel:

1. Lead

In the lead stage, something caused the prospects to realize the need for the product. They became slightly interested at this point, which progressed to spending time researching more about it.

Here the most crucial requirement is that you should attract your ideal client. This is the very first step to being successful. For instance, on Instagram, businesses post pictures of their products. If you don’t have a following, your traffic will be lower, your exposure will be lower, and you will attract only a few people, and therefore, only a few people will know, like and trust you. The solution is to create awareness about your business through online campaigns.

In this stage, since the audience is cold, you could attract them through a lead magnet, such as an e-book, video series, audio series, e-mail course, free training, free consultation, free audit or any other free offer. These would attract them to your ecosystem and eventually collect their contact information.

2. Prospect

This is the time for the business to build trust, recognition and branding. This is the time to use relevant content to push your audience further into the funnel. It aims at creating content around the topics that differentiate your offering from your competitors.

You will further keep on contacting them through different online channels and continuously understanding your prospects’ needs.

3. Qualify Prospect

At this stage, you verify whether or not the prospects need your product, whether they are interested in making a purchase, they see value in your offer, and they have a sufficient budget for a purchase. This process can be lengthy and complex.

This stage involves a lot of nurturing. Nurturing is being in touch with them, providing them content regularly and being present at every possible digital place in the market. The point is to gain their trust by creating authority for your business in the marketplace. They should get habitual of your valuable content or quality products so that they get assured that they would get enough value by becoming your paid clients.

Now you should reinforce the benefits of the services you offer by promoting your content. Use paid ads and free platforms to announce events, opportunities and tours, and obtain newsletter subscribers. Address any objections and barriers. Keep your content relevant.

In this stage, a tripwire could be offered. Tripwire is a no-brainer offer that is priced irresistibly low for the sole purpose of converting prospects to clients.

4. Commit

Now the prospects have built trust in your business and your content. They have started engaging with your business, have been habitual of your content, consider your content valuable and are ready to spend on any offer that you make.

In this stage, the core product is offered to the prospects to explain the product with complete details.

5. Transact

Finally, a few prospects purchase your product and become loyal clients. It is your responsibility to fulfill all the promises done with the clients. Value their feedback, improve accordingly and keep giving value for long-lasting relationships.

As soon as you succeed in closing a sale with a client, it is time to upsell and cross-sell. Upselling means offering a comparable higher-end product compared to the product the client purchased. Cross-selling means offering products complementary or related to the purchased product.

Those prospects who do not purchase your product you can down-sell to them. Downsell means to offer a lower-priced product than that of the previous offer.

In this way, you have created a relationship with your clients. The development of a relationship removes the price barrier.

Your clients will promote your business to their knowns due to complete satisfaction from your work.

Now it is time to collect testimonials and use them as proofs of your good service. This shall convert into a sales multiplier for your business as you could easily attract more clients into your funnel with them.

Here, it is essential to understand that non-buyers are equally vital for the business as the buyers as there is always a very high chance that you can sell to them in the future. In this way, you could build a list of prospective clients that can be used for future promotions.

Conclusion

After reading this article, it should be pretty clear to you what a marketing funnel is. This system pretty much works like Google maps: This is where you are, this is where you want to go, and you learn the route that you need to take to skip all the traffic, avoid all competitors and get there the fastest.

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Digital Marketing

Three Landing Page Optimization Hacks for Successful Conversions

Mary Jones

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Landing page optimization

Three Landing Page Optimization Hacks for Successful Conversions

Although limited in scope, landing page optimization is still a sure and proven way to increase website sales and overall profits. Most website owners assume that landing page optimization includes loads of split testing on various sales tools like the header, offer, and perhaps the price point. Others might even believe that any type of website optimization is somehow related to SEO or perhaps even the same thing and thus will help boost online sales by generating more traffic to the page. As strange as it may sound, both of these assumptions are right—AND wrong! You see, landing page optimization boils down to generating more online conversions. But to effectively increase website sales, you need to dothe following to see results:

  • Revise Direct Response Copywriting
  • Refine Landing Page Design, Layout, and UI Features
  • Modify Business Model/Pricing Structure
  • Adjust Back End Programming
  • Implement or Refine Social Media Marketing
  • Adjust On-Page SEO
  • Website Split Testing to Verify Results

Depending on the website’s complexity and specific conversion issues, a landing page optimization can get quite involved and may require multiple experts with particular skill sets to complete. This is why EVERY optimization project should first begin with a detailed website evaluation that includes comprehensive web traffic analysis. These “vital stats” are what landing page optimization experts use to isolate conversion rate issues and make the “needle-moving” gains that increase website sales.

However, conventional website traffic analysis has its limits. Here are just a few of the conversion rate problems that even a detailed web evaluation can miss:

Wrong Price Point: Sure, web traffic analysis can reveal that a landing page isn’t converting well, but it can’t determine whether the price point is the issue unless the site is specifically configured for testing pricing.

Too Many or Poorly Placed UI Features: While all website owners want to keep their visitors engaged via compelling user interface features, how can typical website analysis tell you when there are too many UI features, or they are ineffective? Again, unless the landing page was specifically configured for testing UI features, it can’t.

Wrong Business Model: Is it best to sell a product or service directly through the website or use the site instead as a lead generation tool that only sends prospects to a dedicated sales rep? The answer to this question could well determine website optimization’s success or failure. Unfortunately, traditional website traffic analysis alone cannot answer this question for you.

Quite the mess, isn’t it? So if website analysis is critical to successful landing page optimization but fails to help isolate conversion rate problems in some cases, how will you increase website sales if you can’t find all issues suppressing your results? Well, for the price point, UI, and business model issues, here are three of the most closely guarded website optimization secret strategies for resolving these:

1. To Increase Website Sales, Separate Price Point from Other Web Sales Tools

Most typical website landing pages serve two primary purposes:

Generate Interest: Look, you can have the absolute best-priced widget on the planet, but if your website copywriting and site design fail to generate interest or make the widget relevant to the visitor, they won’t care what the price is. Worse, you won’t make the sale or convert them into a qualified lead.

Prompt Purchase at Given Price Point: This challenge is essentially solved (or not) by the “Offer Details,” where the direct response copywriting helps build value and justify the pricing so the prospect will make a purchase or become a qualified lead.

As you can see, these are very different functions, and Internet marketing experts use various tools to overcome these challenges. However, while website analysis can tell you whether a landing page is converting or not, it cannot tell you whether people aren’t buying due to a lack of interest or the price point.

To solve this problem and ultimately increase website sales, you need to create a “Stratified Sales Funnel” and thus separate off the “Offer details” onto a separate page in the funnel. Some people refer to this separate page as a Pre-Order page since it’s not the landing page nor the shopping cart. But regardless of what you call it, this separate page helps you not only isolate pricing from interest, but it can also help you quickly dial in the price point for maximum profit.

The point here is that by separating “interest-generating sales tools” from “offer details,” you can see precisely what effect pricing has on your website conversions. If you leave all of these components on the same page, you’ll never be able to tell if you’re losing conversions due to a lack of interest or pricing. That’s why the stratified sales funnel is vital to successful website optimization. It helps you increase website sales when used correctly.

Warning:

Please note that you will want to have the “interest-generating sales tools” and “offer details” on the same landing page for maximum conversions in most business models. This is because creating additional steps or hoops in your website sales funnel typically lowers conversions as people bail or leave the funnel with each extra step you ask them to walk through.

However, for dialing in a price point and making sure you are charging the best price for maximum profitability. This stratified sales funnel should be included in any comprehensive landing page optimization and WILL help increase website sales.

What this means is that once the ideal price point has been isolated (and you have verified strong interest by seeing a solid click-through rate from the landing page to the new pre-order page), you will want to move those “offer details” back to the main landing page, so all of the sales tools are on one page again.

Now, this sounds like a lot of work—so is it worth it? Absolutely. This little-known landing page optimization strategy can literally boost online conversions by up to 100% or more. Even more, it can help you avoid hours upon hours of website split-testing trying to figure out whether “visitor interest” or pricing/offer details are the main conversion rate problem. So yes, it’s a bit extra work, but this is one landing page optimization strategy that can make your year when executed properly.

2. Increase Website Sales Using Heat Mapping Analysis

So what is heat mapping analysis, and how can it help you increase website sales? Well, a heat map is a computer-generated map based upon the mouse-scrolling habits of your visitors, so it shows not only where they go on your landing page—but also any links or UI features they engage with.

Please be aware: While heat mapping analysis is by no means a replacement for traditional website traffic analysis. It provides several distinct advantages when performing any landing page or website optimization, including:

  • Indicates What % of Visitors Are Engaging with UI Features
  • Records Visitor Scan Times to Isolate Weak Sections of Content
  • Aggregates Heat Maps to Highlight Broad Trends in Your Market
  • Excellent for Testing Different Traffic Streams

Again, you can gain most of this information using traditional web traffic analysis and a specially-designed landing page. Still, heat mapping analysis can dramatically reduce the necessary time to complete a landing page optimization for faster lead conversion at less expense.

3. Increase Website Sales by Switching to Qualified Lead CTA

In some cases, the most effective and beneficial use of a website isn’t to directly sell a product or service. While this may be a more effortless and less time-consuming use of the website, it can often backfire and alienate visitors who otherwise might have become customers. In some web optimization projects, the fastest way to increase website sales is to use the site as a funnel to send qualified leads to a sales rep who can close the deal in person. This will certainly increase the customer acquisition costs in terms of labor required to complete a sale. However, the added expense of a sales rep might be lower than the customer acquisition costs of attempting to sell directly online in many situations, such as:

  • When Selling High Price Products or Services
  • When Selling Complex Services or Products
  • If Product or Service is Truly Novel or Revolutionary

It’s simple: If you are struggling net consistent and profitable conversions and selling an expensive, complex, or novel product or service, then your best bet to increase website sales would be split-testing against a lead generating version of the landing page. In fact, it’s often best to avoid talking about price points altogether and simply create a compelling CTA providing a valuable lead-generating product or service in return for contact information. So in many cases, your landing page optimization would include creating a simple squeeze page with the new CTA to split-test against the original landing page.

Now clearly, a free lead generating product or service will convert much higher than trying to sell something directly. But the point here is to document how many leads you need to capture to make a sale and then compare that (with sales person time included) to the direct sale page. Then, with facts in hand, determine if switching to a lead-generating CTA is the best landing page optimization strategy to increase website sales ultimately.

Concluding Thoughts

Landing page optimization is one of the surest and fastest ways to boost online conversions. Although a website evaluation with comprehensive traffic analysis is vital to any website optimization project’s success, it can isolate all potential conversion rate problems. The three landing page optimization strategies outlined above will help you overcome any issues with pricing, business model, and UI features to boost online sales and reduce customer acquisition costs for maximum profitability.

 

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Social Media

Top 8 Social Media Tactics to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Site

omologyinfo

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Top 8 Social Media Tactics to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Site
Image by https://unsplash.com/@apx90

Social media plays a vital role in running an e-commerce business. In most cases, consumers turn to social media so that they can get information before buying a product. Thus, you need to build trust with your prospects and customers through social media. Establish marketing strategies in such a way that you can lure your customers effectively. Follow this guide to build a trusted brand online. Before you set up the strategies, you need to keep the following in mind.

1. Set Goals. Before deciding on the marketing strategies to use, you need to set goals for what you are planning to achieve.

Your set goals should consider the:

  • Amount of traffic
  • Number of followers
  • Conversion rate
  • Audience growth rate

2. Understand your Customers. Before you start posting, you need to have a clear picture of what your customers need.

3. Track your progress. As your social media strategy goes on, plan on how you will track your progress. Create reports and revise your plans when necessary.

4. Analyze Data.
The behavior of your website will tell you the type of information that your customers want. Rely on this data to engage with your prospects and customers.

Here are the strategies.

1. Optimize your social media posts.  You can do this by using high-converting keywords to boost the chances of increasing your online visibility.

2. Share Valuable Content.  As an entrepreneur, you need to provide useful and shareable content. You need to socialize with your followers through your posts. Post educative and entertaining posts to attract your audience’s attention.

3. Add Social Sharing Buttons.  Provide sharing buttons to all your product pages. The sharing buttons will allow your customers to share your products easily.

4. Use Visual Content.  Visual content tends to be more engaging compared to text-based posts. This makes visual content a perfect fit to market your business on social media platforms.

5. Be Interactive.  Social media sites are the best platforms for interacting with your prospects and customers directly. Make sure that you monitor your daily posts closely. Ask questions, reply to comments, and take part in discussions.

You can also promote your engagements by:

  • Joining groups.
  • Connecting with influencers.
  • Having live chats.

6. Post Consistently.  Posting regularly improves customer engagements and drives more traffic to your website. Sharing content consistently shows that you are knowledgeable about what you are doing and that you also have passion about it.

7. Use Hashtags.  Hashtags organize content and expand your target audience. They also promote interaction on social media platforms. When you use hashtags, your content will be easily visible.

8. Use Paid Advertising.  You can use Facebook ads and promoted tweets to promote your business online.

When the above strategies are put into place, the chances of your business growing are high. All you need to do is monitor and take account of the changes taking place in your business.

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