According to a 2013 study by UPS, 70 percent of Americans prefer shopping with their favorite retailers online. In the years since, e-commerce sales have only continued to climb — from $307 billion (2014) to $350 billion (2015) to an estimated $398 billion (2016) — and it’s not difficult to understand why.
Consumers can buy everything they need from the comfort of their homes. Better still, they can find lower prices and wider selections than what might be available at the closest physical retailer.
Yet despite the rapid growth of online shopping, many e-commerce merchants are still stuck using outdated tools and tactics. Success in today's industry requires more than simply adding a flashy "BUY" button to your site.
Remember that customers are savvier than ever before, and they are literally surrounded by countless options. In order to thrive in 2016’s e-commerce space, you must:
- Distinguish yourself in today's overcrowded marketplace by providing unparalleled customer support.
- Streamline your operations to reduce costs and increase profits.
Arguably most important, you need to provide users with a safe shopping experience. This is especially true as EMV use in the physical world continues to push criminals into the online world — so where do you begin?
1. Improving the User’s Shopping Experience
The successful e-commerce retailers of 2016 will be those that design their stores with the end-user in mind.
Many businesses provide 24/7 email support — mainly because maintaining a call center is too expensive. Yet with interactive voice response (IVR) technology, providing 24/7 phone support becomes way more affordable.
You should also make it easier for customers to buy what they want. This means expanding your omni-channel marketing efforts and accepting more payment options. If your store only takes major credit cards, you could be leaving money on the table.
2. Streamlining Your Operations
According to Forrester Research, 75 percent of online merchants will increase their technology budgets in 2016.
Where will that money go exactly?
Most of that spending will go to e-commerce platforms, advanced checkout carts, and customer relationship management (CRM) suites.
By integrating tools like these directly into your payment infrastructure, you benefit from:
- Real-time analytics about what customers want and how they behave.
- Automated syncing that ties your payment data directly to your accounting books and order fulfillment software.
- Less time and money spent organizing information and processing requests.
To learn more about integrating payments with your favorite e-commerce tools, check out our collection of plug-and-play payment modules.
2. Making Payment Security a Priority
Shopping online is convenient for customers and merchants alike. Though because the two sides never meet during these card-not-present (CNP) transactions, it's difficult to verify the authenticity of each user.
As a result, credit card fraud is on the rise, leading to chargebacks, refunds and expensive reversal processes.
This is why online payment security should be your No. 1 priority in 2016.
This means investing in:
- PCI-compliant payment processing and secure gateways.
- Tokenization and point-to-point encryption (P2PE).
- Advanced fraud management tools and filters.
The benefits of these strategies will only grow as online credit card fraud continues to soar. E-commerce merchants that failed to make the above investments will have a much harder time gaining and maintaining their customers’ trust.
Making Your E-Commerce Business Successful in 2016
None of the above tactics are automatic. You’ll have to sit with your team and decide how to allocate resources intelligently. Though by providing users with a safe and enjoyable shopping experience, your business has a much better chance of thriving in today's competitive e-commerce market.
To learn how BluePay can help make 2016 one of your most profitable years yet, contact us today for a free consultation.