New Online Merchant Services: eCommerce Game Changers Or Just Passing Trends?
eCommerce only continues to grow. In the first quarter of 2017, US eCommerce sales totaled $105.7 billion. That’s an increase of 4.1% over the fourth quarter of 2016 and an increase of 14.7% over the first quarter of 2016. On the whole, eCommerce sales accounted for 8.4% of total retail sales in the US.
What’s more, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online. Americans feel that online shopping offers better deals. It also offers more freedom. Freedom like shopping from bed. Indeed, 43% of online shoppers have made a purchase while in bed.
With so many people shopping online in so many different ways, your eCommerce payment processing needs to be flexible enough to grow and evolve with the changing trends of digital shoppers and the online economy.
Here, we’ll examine some of the changing trends in eCommerce and merchant services for online shopping. We’ll determine which trends are game changers you need to adopt and how your merchant service provider can help you make the most of them.
Trends in eCommerce
Because eCommerce is such a fluid and dynamic marketplace, new trends come and go pretty quickly. One moment banner ads are all the rage; the next, it’s all about subscription business. A rapidly changing marketplace requires merchant services that not only keep up with trends, but help make impactful and lasting advancements in eCommerce possible.
Some of the biggest trends in eCommerce for 2017 include:
- Expansion into the growing Asian markets
- Continued ascension of mobile shopping and payments
- Analytics-derived customer experiences
- Growth of subscription-based business models
- Importance of consistent and thoughtful branding and design
- Heightened Security and customer protection
Your payment processor should offer merchant services for online shopping that help you take advantage of some of the biggest trends in eCommerce.
Emerging Asian Market
In the late 90s, eCommerce was a niche market primarily made up by American customers and businesses. That’s no longer the case as online shopping is now global. While American growth rates have relatively stabilized in the mid teens; Asian markets, particularly China, are experiencing astronomical growth.
China has the largest eCommerce economy in the world. In fact, online shopping in China experienced market growth of 26.2% over the previous year. Chinese eCommerce sales represent nearly half (47%) of online retail sales for the entire global market. With online sales expected at around $900 billion this year, the Chinese market certainly represents a massive customer pool with unlimited potential for eCommerce business growth.
And it’s only expected to continue to grow. According to Goldman Sachs, the Chinese eCommerce market should nearly double in the next few years, with an expected value of $1.7 trillion by 2020.
As you can see, access to the Asian eCommerce market, especially China, is no passing trend. This global eCommerce powerhouse is a serious game changer. So, how do you take advantage of this trend and capture some of that business?
The answer is global currency processing.
Global Currency Processing
Your online merchant services provider offers many payment processing options. One of the most important, and often overlooked, is the ability to process global currency. Not all merchant service providers offer global payment processing. Even less offer a complete, global payment gateway that facilitates international payments from around the world.
The best marketing campaign, a desirable product, and the most elegantly designed website available won’t help you break into the Asian market without the ability to securely and efficiently process international payments.
Choose a payment processor that allows you to accept payments from countries all around the world. The best eCommerce payment processing allows you to accept payments in nearly every form of global payment and will enable you to accept credit cards like JCB, China UnionPay, Maestro, Cartes Bancaires, and many more.
Mobile Shopping Continues to Grow
You don’t need statistics to know that mobile device use only continues to grow. That’s because people use mobile devices everywhere for just about everything. People use mobile devices to send pictures, read emails, engage with social media, and they most certainly use them to shop. They use mobile devices to research and purchase products in stores, in bed, and everywhere in between.
Currently, mobile devices account for 19% of all US retail eCommerce sales. That number is only expected to grow, reaching 27% by the end of 2018. That means that one in four eCommerce dollars will come via mobile device.
But that’s not the only way people are using mobile devices to shop. People also use mobile devices to make payments. Vendors even use mobile devices to accept payments. In other words, the flexibility of mobile devices for digital shopping is opening up a more dynamic and intuitive consumer experience. Merchant services for online shopping can help your business engage mobile shopping at every level.
With all those people searching and shopping online, you want to make it easy for them to make purchases on your eCommerce site. Your site should be mobile optimized. This not only gets you better ranking in search engines; it will also help you capture and retain more interested customers.
Mobile customers have the highest rate of cart abandonment, as they abandon nearly 86% of shopping carts. Desktop shoppers abandon 73% of carts. Ensuring your site is mobile optimized can help you reduce this high number.
Mobile optimization isn’t the only way mobile devices are changing online shopping.
Many consumers trust one-click shopping apps to help them make secure online purchases. Offering acceptance of these products can help set your eCommerce site apart from competitors. Giving your customers greater mobile flexibility will help you take advantage of the game-changing mobile trend in online shopping.
A streamlined, mobile optimized payment process will help your eCommerce site minimize abandoned shopping carts and capture mobile sales.
With the ability to accept payments on your mobile device, you can conduct business anywhere. You can set up a pop up shop, take part in a farmer’s market, sell your product at a trade show or a state fair. The world becomes your marketplace when you accept payments on your mobile device.
Analytics to Provide Better Customer Experience
Website analytics provide usable feedback for your eCommerce site. By studying how customers interact with your site you can learn how to better serve your clientele. For example, analytics will help you understand why a percentage of customers abandon their shopping carts before completing their transaction.
Let’s say you’re running a promotion that requires the use of a discount code you sent to your customer email list. Analytics will help you determine what number of customers used the code, what number of customers tried to use the code but for some reason were unsuccessful, and what number of customers did not try to use the discount code at all.
Studying these numbers could help you better understand the way customers interact with your website, how effective your promotional marketing is, and even how easy your website is to navigate. In other words, analytics can help you make better business decisions by understanding the patterns of your customers.
Your online merchant services provider can help you get the most from website analytics with actionable management tools. With customer tracking management tools you can see how customers pay you in real time. Understanding payment trends can help you minimize returns and chargebacks and take advantage of analytics.
Subscription Based Business Models
Subscription business is booming. With growth of over 3,000%, subscription services are proving their value to eCommerce business models. There is no better example of the power of subscription based business than the Dollar Shave Club.
The Dollar Shave Club was founded in 2011 as a way for men to buy quality shaving gear at fraction of traditional retail costs. With a viral ad campaign and an industry shifting model Dollar Shave Club has quickly grown to more than 3 million subscribers.
More than just a cheap, easy way to procure a product that normally feels like a chore to buy, Dollar Shave Club proved that a subscription based business model is great for business. So good in fact that Dollar Shave Club was purchased by Unilever for $1 billion in 2016.
Now, people belong to subscription clubs as a way to get high-quality products at affordable prices. Everything from clothing, to entertainment, even to dinner is available as a subscription.
It’s a great business model that offers consistent revenue and predictable shipping and production costs. But it requires specialized merchant services for online payment processing.
Flexible Payment Structures
Do you want to offer a trial price? Do you want to set up recurring billing? Do you want to set up weekly, monthly, or even annual billing? Do you want to take advantage of the stability and astronomical growth of subscription based business models?
If you need to fulfill these needs, eCommerce payment processing can support recurring billing and other flexible payment structures. With the option to offer recurring billing you can open up subscription based revenue for your business.
Branding and Design
With so much competition in the eCommerce space, how do you set your business apart? The answer is branding and design. Good design and consistent branding are incredibly important for your eCommerce business.
Branding is so much more than a logo and a consistent color scheme, which are both important. Your brand represents what your company is and what it stands for. Your brand is a central component of your marketing and drives the narrative and the “reason why” customers should support your company. Your branding improves recognition, builds trust, supports advertising, and helps generate new customers.
Think of Apple or Nike. Their logo, advertising, and overall aesthetic symbolize everything about their company, including their customer culture. In short, branding and design are important to creating the face of your company. Web design is a big part of that.
In order to keep your brand consistent, you need to customize everything about your eCommerce website, including the payment portal. Your payment processor should provide you with a full list of API resources that allow you to customize sales, authorizations, captures, recurring transactions, refunds, 3D authorizations and 3D sales, verifications, voids, and more.
If you want to build your eCommerce site from the ground up, adding payment options shouldn’t be difficult. Choose an online merchant services provider that offers API resources so you can efficiently build a fully branded website.
Data Security and Customer Protection
With security breaches and personal data theft on the rise, it’s no surprise to see data security and customer protection as one of the key eCommerce trends for 2017. Since 2005, more than 340 million records have been compromised. 80% of those security attacks have targeted small merchants. Don’t be another statistic—use eCommerce payment processing that specializes in state of the art security features.
Customers will only shop online if they feel secure enough to enter their payment information. Providing your clients with a secure checkout is more than a trend, it’s just good business. Solid payment gateway security will help your business develop a trustworthy reputation that gives you a better chance at success.
State of the Art Security
Your payment processor should offer a number of security features that work together to keep your customer’s sensitive data safe and secure. Choose a payment processor that provides fraud scrubbing, secure data encryption, and PCI-DSS Level 1 compliance.
Working with a payment processor that offers state of the art security will put your customers at ease, allowing them to shop comfortably and securely.
eCommerce has gone through many changes since the early days. What was once a specialty market is now a global phenomenon. That doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. The eCommerce market will only continue to grow over the next decade.
Some of the emerging trends are just that, trends that will quickly evaporate. However, many of the newest eCommerce trends can help your business grow and thrive. Your online payment processor should help you take advantage of those trends and turn them into game changers for your business.