fbpx
Ecommerce Apps: 8 Reasons Your Business Needs One

Ecommerce Apps: 8 Reasons Your Business Needs One

4 MIN READ

Increasing numbers of people are shopping on their mobile phones. According to BrizFeel, 49% of consumers use mobile to shop. The popularity of shopping on eCommerce apps is, in turn, rising as people seek convenience and seamless experiences.

People are spending more time in general on their phones than ever before. A report from 2019 finds that in 2018, the total sessions in shopping apps alone amounts to 18 billion hours – that’s a lot of screen time that clever eCommerce businesses can cash in on. 

However, you may be thinking an app isn’t right for you. So, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons and benefits why more retailers are considering eCommerce apps for their business.

eCommerce app usage is on the rise 

Apps are increasingly popular with shoppers, with 78% of people responding to a survey stating that they prefer using an app to a mobile website. More people are downloading and using apps than ever before, with predictions expecting downloads will reach as many as 258 billion in 2020. With increasing amounts of app users and advances in technology, businesses using apps are seeing increased revenues. This shows that it’s a great time to invest in an app for your eCommerce business.

Ecommerce apps can use device features 

With an eCommerce app, you can use phone features to enhance the customer experience and in turn, boost loyalty and sales through more personalised experiences. Consider things like: 

  • GPS: Using location, let your app users know about exclusive offers when they are near your store. You can use location to set the nearest click and collect, or locker locations when at the checkout. 

 

  • Push notifications: These will help you keep in regular contact with your users. Use these notifications for stock alerts, marketing messages, and delivery updates. 

 

  • Camera: Camera access means your app can let customers search using images. You could even implement augmented reality features. AR is great for trying on items, or seeing how larger items will look and fit in the home before buying.

 

  • Microphone: With the rise in voice search and natural language processing abilities, using the microphone can help customers search your app using voice commands. This is also great for accessibility.

Increase customer loyalty with an eCommerce app 

Customers are more likely to keep coming back to you for goods after downloading your app. Accessing an app on their phone is much more convenient than having to log in using a mobile browser. Consider rewarding loyalty with personalised offers for app users and incentives to purchase.

Apps keep your brand visible 

Consider how many times a day you check your phone. Probably too many to count! The average person “will click, tap or swipe their phone 2617 times a day”, according to information from SlickText. Having a native, branded app on your customer’s phone increases brand visibility. The more a customer sees your brand, even if it is just your logo, enforces brand trust and loyalty. This connection keeps you in mind when they are looking to shop again.

Super-fast app checkouts 

There’s nothing more frustrating for shoppers than a bad checkout process. It can result in distrust in your brand and cause cart abandonment. Apps are a great way for maximising on a great checkout process for your customers. Apps integrate easily with Apple Pay and Google Pay, using biometric payments or 1-click checkouts. Offering payment options like these is in keeping with consumer preferences for mobile payments. 

Social media and eCommerce apps 

Integrating social media with your app is extremely beneficial for eCommerce companies. Easier social media sharing increases brand awareness and attracts new customers, with no direct spend involved in social media advertising. It’s all organic. Users can share their own curated wishlists, recommend products and share buying updates on their social media platforms through the app. 

You can also implement social media logins for your app users. This saves the time and hassle of setting up usernames and passwords – not to mention the effort of remembering yet another password! Signing in with social media simplifies the experience so users can get on with their shopping quickly and easily.

Apps offer a better user experience 

Users don’t need to log in with every visit, which means it’s a lot easier to manage orders, returns and deliveries on one simple app. This helps with the decision-making process, removing barriers in the journey to purchase.

Final thoughts 

As mobile use and mCommerce continue to rise, it’s no longer enough to simply have a mobile responsive site. Consumers want the convenience and ease of an app when shopping online. 

If you’re wanting to strengthen your eCommerce offering, give users a unique experience, and increase sales, then an eCommerce app is for you. 

Find out what Venditan apps can do for your business.

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
29th January 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

What To Look For In An SEO Friendly eCommerce Platform

What To Look For In An SEO Friendly eCommerce Platform

5 MIN READ

From new recipes to new cars, settling a debate or discovering a new brand, whatever you’re looking for online, most searches start with a Google. It’s so important for retailers to find an SEO friendly eCommerce platform to help them rank and stand out from the competition. 

With so much choice out there, shoppers don’t just log on and go directly to a brand’s website. According to statistics from Google, 9 out of 10 shoppers are not certain of the brand they want to buy from when they begin searching online. This means there’s a huge opportunity for retailers. 

Shoppers are savvier than ever and will shop around for brands that meet their expectations on things like price, sustainability, and delivery options. Google is the most popular way for shoppers to find retailers that fit their requirements. Using an SEO friendly eCommerce platform puts you in a much better position to target these customers and their preferences.

SEO is super important for retailers selling online. Having the right optimisation in place on your website will help you rank higher for what you want your business to be found for. It also helps target users on specific queries and unique selling points, like sustainable clothing or next day delivery. 

If you’re not entirely sure where to start, we’ve put together some of the features you should look for in an SEO friendly eCommerce platform. 

 

  1. SEO friendly URLs 
  2. 301 redirects 
  3. SEO friendly navigation 
  4. Automated XML sitemaps 
  5. Titles and meta descriptions 
  6. Custom landing pages 
  7. Blogging 
  8. Super-fast websites 
  9. Alt tag editing 
  10. Specification details

SEO friendly URLs 

Whilst on the subject of domains, it’s also important to be able to edit and optimise your URLs for SEO. This means your platform should allow you to use keyword-rich URLs like /blue-tapered-trousers rather than /product-id-815

Set up 301 redirects 

This is especially important for any SEO friendly eCommerce platform to allow you to do. You’ll find yourself often deleting pages as products go out of stock, or new lines come in. Setting up 301 redirects means you can direct traffic from these old URLs to new product pages. 

Automated XML sitemaps 

Automated XML sitemaps let Google crawl your site more quickly which helps improve indexing speed and rankings. An SEO friendly eCommerce platform will do this for you automatically when updates to your website are made so that the most up to date version is available for Google to crawl. 

Make sure you have the ability to update sitemap priorities, where you can mark specific pages as a priority for Google to crawl and index. This works well for exclusives and other landing pages that may change often. Google is always working to prioritise your new and content that undergoes frequent edits.

Editing page titles and meta descriptions 

Your eCommerce platform should offer you the ability to edit page titles and meta descriptions for all pages. This includes landing pages, category and product pages. Keyword-rich page titles and descriptions will help you rank higher for specific search terms and phrases on the search engine results page.

Custom landing pages 

Using an eCommerce platform that allows you to create custom landing pages will benefit your SEO greatly. This allows you to use the research from things like the above Google Analytics capabilities and feed into your website’s pages. Target specific keywords and audience segments based on popular searches and your unique selling points that people may be searching for. 

Blogging 

Content marketing is extremely effective and works across industries. A blog helps add value to your customers whether that’s through entertaining pieces, educational resources, or product support guides. At the same time, a blog helps boost SEO efforts, which is why it’s really important to find an eCommerce platform that allows you to publish a blog. Look for additional features such as a comments section, RSS feed and social media sharing that all contribute to SEO rankings.

Super-fast websites 

Slow websites impact search engine rankings. For Google, user experience is the most important factor and a slow website does not give a good user experience. Make sure you find an SEO friendly eCommerce platform that is super-fast. Site speed also impacts other measurables like bounce rate and time on site, which can also indirectly impact your SEO. Use insights like these on Google analytics to identify any potential issues.

Editing alt tags 

The ability to edit your image alt tags will help your SEO and ranking in search results. Optimised images are extremely beneficial to retailers as you can use as a part of your approach to keyword targeting for the products they are displaying. This is a basic feature for an SEO friendly eCommerce platform that can make a big difference!

Adding extra specification details 

The ability to add extra specification details to product pages is a great way to improve SEO. Find a platform that doesn’t restrict this and allows you to provide certain attributes in separate fields. This makes it easy for users, and search engines, to access and understand this information.

Conclusion 

When searching for the best eCommerce platform for your business, there are so many things to take into consideration (which you can find more of via the link!) Finding an SEO friendly eCommerce platform plays a big part in your considerations. It’s important to remember that not all eCommerce platforms are made equal, and you will need to do a lot of research on what fits best for your business. 

When it comes to finding an SEO friendly eCommerce platform, you may find that there are added costs for plugins and extensions you hadn’t considered before. The more flexible platforms are when it comes to customisation, the more benefit you will see for SEO. You’ll also need to consider the role Google Analytics and tracking will play in your SEO strategy, make sure you’ve got the right tracking code on your website so you can monitor your organic performance. 

 

If you need help in choosing the right eCommerce platform for you, get in touch with our team today for more advice. 

What SEO features do you think are important for an eCommerce platform to have? Leave your comments below!

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
23rd January 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

How The Rise Of Eco-Friendly Shoppers Is Influencing Sustainable Fashion

How The Rise Of Eco-Friendly Shoppers Is Influencing Sustainable Fashion

5 MIN READ

The retail industry is currently seeing rapid growth in the popularity of eco-friendly shopping and the demand for sustainable fashion. The fashion industry isn’t always the most obvious when it comes to environmental impact. However, the UN Environment Programme revealed in a report that 10% of global carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry. Quoting that this is “more than all international flights and maritime shipping.” A further study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature tells us that 35% of all microplastics in our oceans are produced by washing synthetic clothing in our laundry. 

As people are becoming more aware of the very real impacts of climate change and the social impact of clothing production on communities around the world, they’re seeking out a more sustainable way of life. This means changing core shopping habits. Opting for sustainable fashion, ethical sourcing of materials, upcycling and recycling furniture, plant-based foods, and cruelty-free beauty to name a few. The global fashion search platform Lyst saw a huge 47% increase in sustainability-related keywords in user searches. Things like, ‘vegan leather’, ‘organic cotton’ and ‘econyl’ were the most popular.

Increase in demand for sustainable fashion 

Shoppers, especially younger generations, want to spend their money with retailers whose brand values mirror their own personal views. This means socially conscious, ethical, organic, natural and sustainable. 

With increasing consumer demand naturally comes changes to how retailers produce and market their products and brands. We’re seeing a sharp rise in the introduction of smaller ethical retailers into the industry which has had a clear effect on larger brands to make changes too. Big names in fashion like ASOS, Prada, Stella McCartney and Doc Martens’ vegan range to name a few are making changes to their packaging, production and materials. 

The competitive landscape of fashion retail is shifting away from trying to best one another on low prices and affordability to how sustainable and socially conscious you are. 

Highlights in sustainable fashion 

Let’s take a look at some recent sustainable fashion highlights from the big names in the industry.  

 

  • ASOS is rolling out new 100% recyclable bags in 2020. They are made from 65% recycled materials (up from the current 25%). They also introduced a responsibility edit, allowing users to filter and refine search results for sustainable garments. 

 

  • Prada sign a £43m deal with a financial services company for a 5-year sustainability loan in order to meet three eco-friendly objectives. Using sustainable material Re-Nylon, environmentally friendly designed stores and staff working requirements.

 

  • As a lifelong advocate for animal rights, Stella McCartney’s fashion lines have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to environmental friendliness. She’s rpartnering with Adidas to create a bio-fabric tennis dress made of vegan spider-silk. The material is created by tech startup Bolt Threads who make the completely biodegradable yarn from yeast.  She also works with Bolt Threads on other projects, such as mushroom leather. This can be dyed using tea – creating beautiful handbags free from animal derivatives and harmful dyeing agents. 

 

  • More fashion houses ditch the fur. The past couple of years has seen the likes of Gucci, Versace, and Armani leave fur behind in favour of more ethical products. 

 

  • H&M run a global Garment Collection programme that allows customers to bring in bags of clothing (not just H&M brands) for recycling. The incentive is a £5 voucher to use on your next shop. They also sell a sustainable clothing range. 

How you can make an impact 

It can seem a big job to embark on a more sustainable journey for your business. However, it’s important to remember that even small, easier to implement changes can make a big difference. 

Focus on recyclable packaging 

Since we’re all becoming more aware of the horrors of plastic pollution, consumers are wanting more sustainable alternatives when it comes to packaging. Replace plastic where you can with recyclable alternatives. Don’t feel like you have to go 100% plastic-free straight away. Start by making small changes where you can and your customers are bound to appreciate it! It’s also a great selling point and differentiator for your brand against competitors. 

 

Sustainable brand story

Shoppers are really doing their homework on brands now, and those with strong ethical and eco-friendly brand values are extremely popular. Use content to highlight how your brand is helping the environment and what measures you take in supporting sustainable fashion efforts. Not only does this convey your message, but will show customers exactly what they will be contributing towards by shopping with you. 

 

Help charitable causes 

Brands and retailers are finding they need to be a part of the bigger conversation as well as the solution, like the recent movement of both large and independent retailers finding innovative ways to raise money for the Australian wildfires. Not only are acts like this morally good, but also good for business. Many retailers are finding the more ethical and sustainable their business is, the more new shoppers they’re attracting. 

 

Think about the materials 

Potentially one of the harder to implement is re-evaluating where your products are sourced, what materials they’re made of and how they’re made. A survey by Nosto says that 73% of respondents consider using renewable and recyclable materials as an important area for fashion companies to focus on. If you already do sell sustainable clothing, make sure you label these clearly so that shoppers are aware. 

For a comprehensive look at how to make your eCommerce store environmentally friendly, be sure to check out this blog post

Final thoughts 

The desire for sustainable fashion amongst consumers is much more than a passing trend. As more shoppers are actively spending more with ethical and sustainable retailers, making small steps in this direction is not something you should sleep on.  We’d love to know your thoughts on sustainability in fashion too – share them in the comments below! 

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
21st January 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

How To Pick The Best eCommerce Platform For Your Business

How To Pick The Best eCommerce Platform For Your Business

5 MIN READ

Choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business is one of the most important decisions you’re going to have to make. Using the right eCommerce software to support your business is fundamental to your success. Getting this wrong can cause issues and disrupt your entire operation. 

We’re going to go through a few pointers and equip you with the knowledge to help you with the decision-making process. Deciding on an eCommerce platform that works for you and helps you grow, scaling with you at the same time is something that you simply can’t afford to get wrong.

You may be thinking it’s best to opt for the most well-known name in eCommerce software, but popularity is not always a good indicator. It’s not about what company has the biggest or best market share, but what’s best for YOUR business. It isn’t an easy decision to make, we get that, so you need to really think about what your business needs, and what functionality and support you need from your software provider in order to fulfil those objectives and meet your goals. 

Many retailers are still using legacy systems and old inhouse builds that are very limited and clunky. Typically they’re not scalable or flexible with your business needs. Today, there are many specialised options out there on the market for you to choose from but these are very fragmented in functionality. Many rely on different plugins and systems to work for all parts of retail businesses; expensive add-ons and extensions for basic things that end up costing you excessive amounts to be running a basic level of functionality. 

 

Let’s take a look at some of the most important things you need to consider when picking the best eCommerce platform for your business including a checklist. Jump to checklist.

Will it help you achieve your goals?

Your new eCommerce platform needs to deliver on your business objectives and goals. If it doesn’t meet these basic requirements and enable you to do so, it’s time to look elsewhere. 

 

Does it fit well with yours, and your teams, level of technical knowledge?

You shouldn’t have to be a top-level developer in order to use your eCommerce platform. It’s not ideal if it takes a lot of specialised knowledge to navigate. Your platform needs to work for you and be super simple to use and understand. Similarly, you need to consider all users. What teams will be using your new eCommerce platform, and what functionality do they require day-to-day? How tech-literate are they? Consider your current platform’s capabilities and the changes that will affect them by moving onto a new eCommerce platform. 

 

Will it scale with you as you grow?

Your eCommerce platform should be flexible and technologically advanced enough to scale with you as your business grows. 

 

Make sure you use a trusted vendor.

Don’t just take a company’s word for how good they are! Check out their previous work and case studies; have they successfully worked with companies in your industry? Does their technical skill meet your requirements? 

 

Is it SEO friendly? 

SEO is a big part of selling online, and your eCommerce platform should be SEO friendly. But beware – many platforms out there claim to be ‘SEO friendly’ without actually delivering on this. Look for things like: 

 

  • SEO optimised URLs, where your platform allows you to use keyword-rich URLs. For example; /white-cotton-dress rather than /productid-12345. 

  • Allow you to set up 301 redirects – particularly important in eCommerce so you can redirect traffic from your deleted product pages to new ones. 

  • Automated XML sitemaps which will let Google bots crawl your site more quickly, helping rankings. 

 

What are the security features? 

Check what security features are on offer to protect your site and your customer’s data. With increases in online fraud and data breaches as technology advances, it’s paramount that your data and customer data is safe and secure from hackers. So make sure you opt for an eCommerce platform that will go the distance in protecting you by actively seeking out security issues and rolling out regular security fixes. 

 

Does it support multiple payment options?

The payments ecosystem is ever-growing and rapidly changing. You need to keep up with the latest in payment methods for your customers to remain competitive. Make sure your eCommerce platform can facilitate multiple payment options; from the basics to digital wallets and the increasingly popular with consumers, buy now pay later options. If you trade abroad or want to expand to international selling, you also need to consider your next eCommerce platform’s capabilities when it comes to trading overseas like local currency payment options. 

 

What reporting tools does it offer?

With anything that supports your eCommerce function, you need great reporting tools that enable you to track performance. Most platforms do have this functionality. However, you need one that is both easy to use and understand, where you can create customisable reports that are tailored to your business. This will help you gain better insights into the data and real business impact. 

 

Are there any hidden costs? 

Finally, you need to consider the costs beyond the initial set up and migration. Find out about any hidden fees that might come up, what it will cost you month to month, server storage costs and plugin costs. These things are easy to overlook and often end up as rather unpleasant surprises further down the road. Cheaper options aren’t always what they seem and you can often find costs really rising over time. 

 

Checklist

Questions to ask when choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business. 

 

  • Will it help you achieve your goals? 
  • Does it fit well with your level of technical knowledge? 
  • Will it scale with you as you grow? 
  • Are they a trusted and experienced vendor? 
  • Is the platform SEO friendly? 
  • What security features does the platform offer?
  • Does it support multiple payment options?
  • What are the reporting features? 
  • Are the costs in line with your budget? 
  • What ongoing costs will you incur?  

Conclusion 

There’s a lot to think about when choosing an eCommerce platform isn’t there? Whatever you decide, make sure you’re futureproofing your business by choosing the best eCommerce platform for your business. One that will scale with you as you grow, support your business operations and help you achieve your goals. 

I hope our list has gone some way in helping you, if you have any questions about what eCommerce platform is best for your business and to see if Venditan Commerce is the right fit, get in touch with our team today!

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
16th January 2020

Connect on LinkedIn 

Overcome The Most Common Payment Challenges In Retail

Overcome The Most Common Payment Challenges In Retail

5 MIN READ

The payments industry is a really exciting one and is seeing huge amounts of innovation and change. Keeping up with it all can be a hard task for retailers. Advances in technology are facilitating this fast-paced payments scene with FinTech gaining massive amounts of investment and growth right now.  A report by Whitecap and The Department for International Trade estimates there are over 1600 FinTech firms in the UK. This is forecast to more than double by 2030 – many who are changing the way consumers and retailers manage their payments. 

 

Consumers want multiple payment options; fast, convenient, flexible payments that fit around their spending habits. It’s vital that retailers keep on top of trends in payments to keep customers happy and loyal to their business. There are a unique set of challenges that come with payments for retailers and eCommerce businesses. Let’s take a look at some of these issues and explore how to overcome them. 

Customer experience with payments 

Customer expectations are incredibly high when it comes to eCommerce experiences. It’s especially important to deliver on this when it comes to the point of conversion – payments. 

Retailers need to make sure their checkouts are not only secure but look and feel secure for the consumer. Poor design leading to lack of trust for shoppers is a big factor in cart abandonment, why would someone risk putting their card details into a site that doesn’t look secure – even if you know it is. Errors in the checkout will also lead to abandonment; slow payment processing and lack of payment options are big considerations. 

You can optimise your checkout by making sure:

  • Security measures are in place (3DSecure, encryption, SSL certificate) 
  • It’s well-designed with the user in mind 
  • Pricing is shown at all stages, including delivery costs 
  • Your site is optimised for mobile transactions 
  • Offering multiple payment options 

You may also want to show customers that payment support is available should they have any questions or concerns. 

Managing international eCommerce payments 

When expanding your business into a new, international market, figuring out your payments strategy can seem like a daunting task. Technology advances in payments help consumers pay in their own currencies, automatically working out currency conversion for you, aiding easier to manage international selling. 

It’s exciting opening up to new sales opportunities beyond your current market, however, it brings with it a new set of challenges. You need to consider things like localised payment options, tax, custom rates, currencies, restrictions and legislation and, dare I mention it?, the dreaded Brexit. 

It can end up being a confusing and costly business with all the different aspects to consider. Overcome issues with international payments by partnering with a provider who can facilitate simpler cross-border payments. This is the most hassle-free way to do this without investing too much of your valuable resources, time and money. 

Fraudulent eCommerce transactions 

It’s no secret that eCommerce is growing as more and more people opt for shopping online over the high street. The most recent figures show that in 2018, UK eCommerce sales reached a huge £688.4 billion. It’s further predicted that by 2021, 93% of UK internet users will shop online – the highest online shopping rate in Europe. This is great news for retailers selling online, but unfortunately, it’s also a great incentive for fraudsters. 

The amount of money in eCommerce is a driver for criminal activity and retailers need to be aware of the risks, and what steps to take to protect themselves and their customers from it. Merchant verification works to confirm that the cardholder is authorising the transaction taking place. This can be a complex task in online payments and is how ‘card not present’ transactions are enabling fraudulent activity. Ecommerce fraud can range from identity theft and data breaches, account takeovers and chargebacks. 

There are companies out there taking steps and using technologies to combat fraud, protecting both businesses and consumers. It’s not something for retailers to do alone, it’s vital to work with a payment provider that has the latest security and fraud prevention infrastructures in place. For example, our clients have the latest tools and systems for fraud prevention and detection in place through our partnership with Global Payments. Safeguard your business, protect your customers and your profits by implementing secure checkouts on your website; guaranteeing payment and customer data is encrypted, along with CVS and 3DSecure.

Understanding costly fees 

As eCommerce is booming – given those impressive numbers above – hopefully, so is your business. The more money you’re making, however, means the higher fees you’ll be paying. Unfortunately, they’re a part of the territory of the payments ecosystem and one that retailers tend to just put up with and leave unchallenged.

On the surface, payment processes seem pretty simple – but once a customer places an order, they set in motion a complex system of networks that work together in real-time, ensuring the transaction is as smooth as possible. The many different platforms and processes involved in this bring with them often excessively priced fees. 

You can’t avoid them, but more than likely, you can save money on them. The amount you’re paying is dependent on your sales figures, but it’s definitely worth exploring your options to see if switching providers can save you money on your fees. Find out more about how to save money on your merchant acquiring fees, or if you’re on the best rate already.

Compliance and eCommerce 

Naturally, there is a high standard to meet for compliance when it comes to processing delicate information like payment details and personal customer data. Adhering to this is imperative for retailers as data breaches are the main facilitator for fraudulent transactions. You need to consider Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and security certification like SSL. If you don’t have these in place you can risk big fines and penalties. But, don’t worry, your eCommerce provider and payments providers can work to help you with these – you’re not in it alone!

Final thoughts 

Overcoming the challenges that come with eCommerce payments can seem like a mountainous responsibility, especially when you’re a smaller, independent retailer. There’s so much to think about when it comes to payments and they’re only a fraction of everything else you have to deal with when running a business! Working with the right eCommerce provider and payments provider can help. This is why we’re partnered with Global Payments so that we can pass on the great benefits to our clients – enabling them to give their customers the most secure and best possible payments experience. If you’d like further advice on how we can help your eCommerce business, get in touch with our team

Find out more about Venditan and payments here.

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
14th January 2020

Connect on LinkedIn