E-commerce is a growing market, with more and more Americans making purchases online. This holiday season’s digital sales are predicted to be the largest ever, and increasingly, mobile is opening up a new platform for e-commerce that is set to expand the amount of online shopping Americans participate in by orders of magnitude as the tech is fine tuned. As digital becomes a more pressing concern for businesses both large and small as they try to stay relevant and competitive, making the most out of digital sales funnels through analysis and fine tuning should be something that all business owners take time to pursue. Beware of cart-abandonment. In an article on the subject from the Washington Post, cart abandonment was cited as costing online merchants an estimated four trillion in lost sales in 2014. One suggestion for combating shopping cart abandonment from the article was retargeting, or tracking customers who navigate away from a full cart in order to increase the odds that they will double

Along with the introduction of the plural generation, mobile payments and pre-election year politics, 2015 also promises more development of the “internet of things”, a concept that small business owners may or may not be already familiar with. According to a Wired.com article on the IoT, the name refers to the increasing spread of networks as well as the proliferation of “smart” devices capable of using the internet to receive and collect information, bridging the gap between the internet and the physical world. How does the internet of things relate to small business? There are many ways that businesses both large and small could be changed by the increasing connection between the web, interenet enabled devices and people in the next few years. Here are a couple that business owners should take into account. Mobile payment technologies. The news that Apple will be moving into the mobile payment space brought the possibility of widely adopted seamless payments back into focus, as the challenge of balancing retailer concerns

A large number of independent business owners employ either dedicated web developers on their staff or a team of remote developers to manage the creation and upkeep of their websites. Learning how to effectively work and negotiate with web developers is an important skill to develop in the event that you are not going to be directly managing the coding of your website. But apart from managing the creation of the site from a technical perspective, small business owners should also be aware of the need to test drive the customer experience of their sites as well in order to guarantee that they are providing the means to effectively access the core services your business provides. What pages are entry points to your website? In order to begin to appreciate what your site feels and looks like from the standpoint of your customers, identify using your analytic suite what pages are the main landing pages that customers enter the site from. Usually this will be your

In a study released by Magid Generational Strategies, marketers were introduced to the newest American generation, now officially recognized as different from the Millennial generation currently entering the workforce. In 2014, the last Millennial will turn 18, marking an important milestone and signifying the formation of a new generation called the “Plurals” for their diverse ethnic backgrounds and open attitudes towards issues including immigration, gay marriage and equalization of traditional gender roles. As the Millennials enter the realm of adulthood, with the increased purchasing power and political influence that entails, the Boomer generation will enter into their 50’s, again a significant shift in demographics that will see a shift of targeting and message through the media channels that target the 18-49 year old demographic with the most significant impact on purchasing in the US, as the golden years, according to the analysis, are characterized by staunch brand loyalty and moderate spending habits. What are the Plurals like? Changing technology, parenting strategies and legislation in the US

The holidays are a time when business tends to pick up, with some small businesses making large percentages of their yearly sales in the months leading up to the New Year. Because of the higher concentration of sales being made as well as the heightened traffic web pages experience, the holiday season represents a great time for business owners to gather and analyze data on the effectiveness of their landing pages. Whether it is figuring out which pages convert the most, or A/B testing to fine tune the appearance and functionality of their e-commerce pages, taking advantage of this busy time to improve processes is in the best interest of business owners who are serious about having the best sites possible. Get acquainted with Google Analytics. Setting up Google Analytics can help your business with a great amount of insight on traffic patterns and the rate of conversions that your business can expect. Conversion tracking can tell you not only how many sales you’ve made, but

Saturday last weekend gave small business owners all over the country another reason to feel thankful, with increased attention and business from consumers in recognition of Small Business Saturday. The day was first popularized by American Express and has been gaining recognition across the country each year, with this year’s events serving as a foil to a Black Friday that saw less activity than anticipated. According to Bloomberg, Black Friday sales fell an estimated 11% compared to last year’s numbers, a sharp decline that means today’s Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday have become more important challengers to the former dominance of Black Friday among holiday shopping days. Small Business owners need to keep their efforts sustained to win the business they need to this month.  The poorer Black Friday statistics don’t necessarily need to alarm business owners, since Saturday saw many independent businesses all across the country opening doors to eager customers. The lower numbers last Friday suggest to some analysts that consumers don’t feel

With disruptive technologies, start-up culture, the rise of mobile and the unfolding battleground of mobile payment technologies set to be major influences on the business world in 2015, small business owners need to be prepared to adapt and stay up to date on what matters most; that being what it is that their customers want. Shifts in consumer habits are being influenced by the increasing integration of technology into the ways that people look for and purchase goods, and should business owners ignore these persistent trends, they do so at their own peril. Be mobile friendly. Your customers are going to become more mobile-oriented as time goes on. The power of smart-phones continues to increase, and as a result, a larger percentage of the population is turning to mobile apps in order to locate stores within their areas when they want to make purchases. Review apps such as Yelp can also decisively affect customer perceptions of small businesses before they even set foot in a store,

E-commerce has gone from being a somewhat convenient novelty to a major source of consumer spending, as well as revenues for businesses that are able to attract and accommodate online shoppers. The annual growth of e-commerce is expected to continue, with this year expected to be the biggest yet, so business owners should make sure that they are prepared with special offers and site support that can help them make the biggest possible profit. One idea that can help business owners turn a larger percentage of their traffic into conversions is through enhancing the on-site support for their customers. Chat support. Simple to set up and reasonable to afford, a chat client can help your sales team interact instantly and powerfully with on page shoppers. Having the ability to reach out to chat the second that your customers get stuck on something or want a recommendation is a great way to streamline their path to conversion into sales, and can help you make sure that the

  Small business owners are a group who can vary widely in their familiarity with technology, from extremely adept bordering on savant, to uninterested and skeptical on a fundamental level. That being said, for small business owners in the modern age, a lack of technological inclination has gone from quirky to borderline irresponsible, as the value of e-commerce as well as the exposure that can come from having a place on the internet grows. In fact, this year is projected to be the biggest ever for e-commerce spending, something that business owners without websites have no means of tapping into. When bad credit  business financing concerns are added to the equation, it can be harder for business owners to convince themselves to spend on a website. That said, odds are good that if they take the time to sufficiently research and plan the development of their website, it will be able to repay them for their investment. For one thing, even if their business does not

The holidays are a time when business owners are often at their most busy, as commerce picks up and many Americans spend the most that they will spend all year. While this trend hasn’t changed for years, the ways that people are shopping for goods and services have been, to the point that this year might very well be the biggest year for E-commerce to date. Last year, holiday spending via desktop e-commerce clocked in at a record $46.5 billion dollars, representing a 10% growth over 2012, with the biggest percentage growth being a 21% increase in the amount spent on Thanksgiving day from 2012 to 2013. Additionally, last year had a few extra challenges that made it less of a number posting year, for one thing because of a smaller number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, for another because of the icy polar vortex and reduced discretionary income among many consumers. In the face of these challenges, the growth numbers posted for online

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