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3 ways to stop having one night stands with your customers

Increasing repeat sales to one-time buyers dramatically increases your profits. For e-commerce sites, it’s often the simple fix of being intentional about your customer user experience before, during, and after the purchase.

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UX design

Simple UX tweaks to keep ’em coming back

We’ve all been there before. You launch a great product, build an online store, and get people to come to your site. Your sales start off great but start to tank…along with your traffic. No one’s coming back!

Why?! Most customers treat you like takeout from that seedy little Chinese place on Lamar. You are there to fulfill an immediate need, but they don’t want to “love you long time.” Brand loyalty does not exist yet so they will not return to your site unless they get another guilty hankering for orange chicken and egg rolls.

Increasing repeat sales to one-time buyers dramatically increases your profits (how does a 95 percent increase sound?). For e-commerce sites, it’s often the simple fix of being intentional about your customer user experience before, during, and after the purchase.

Use dynamic content to increase both average order value and customer frequency

I’ve got 3 words for you: Amazon. Related. Products.

It’s why they are so successful and it is why I’m so broke. Amazon has mastered the art of not only helping you find what you came for, but also finding everything under the sun related to that product.

There are great ways you can customize the UX around what your customer is looking for: Homepages, product pages, category pages, search results, and the shopping cart page. The awesome part is you don’t have to have the massive size of Amazon to take advantage of this.

  • Dyno lets you customize your copy to fit the traffic source.
  • Unbounce helps you customize personalized landing pages while running A/B variation tests to deliver a tailored experience.
  • Boomtrain powers your dynamic feeds and helps you harvest and apply machine learning data.

Even if your customer doesn’t buy the related product on their first visit, it lets them know that you have what they need. It implants a trigger that says, “Remember that place you got X? Those folks have this other product you need as well.”

Optimize your checkout process

How is this for a juicy tidbit? 66 percent of your hard-won shoppers…who have said “YES!” to your product… are going to abandon their cart. The average customer who comes to you is extremely impatient. They want an easy experience and if they do not get it from you, they will move on to someone else *cough*Amazon-one-click-checkout*cough*.

Check out how your traffic works its way down your conversion funnel. If you find where most customers bounce then you have found where your UX sucks.

Your conversion funnel

  • Do you have products that are easy to find and select?
  • Is it easy for your customers to find variations on a product?
  • How hard is it to add products to the shopping cart?
  • Does your customer receive a notification that their product has been added to the cart?
  • Are there unneeded barriers in your checkout process?
  • Do you require customers to create an account?
  • Do you cookie customers to auto-populate their information?
  • Do you have a one-click checkout option?
  • Is it easy for your customer to checkout?
  • Are there any steps you can remove?
  • Do any of the above answers change for your mobile traffic?

Making the checkout process streamlined and easy will pay off exponentially you will both increase your first-visit customer conversion rate as well as the likelihood that the customer will return.

Maximize your invoice/receipt/shipping confirmation e-mails.

Your customer’s inbox can be a powerful and personal tool that brings back a customer. Deliver a friendly, personalized, customer-centric personality to your customers.

  • Offer discount codes with an expiration date that brings them back to the site.
  • Start or promote your referral program.
  • Show them products related to the one they purchase.
  • Help them discover completely new products.
  • Make sure that they know that your company is here to take care of them.

Avoid being spammy at all cost. However, if you play your cards right, follow-up e-mails can be a powerful method of building your company personality and driving customers back to your site. STAND OUT! Everyone sends digital receipts. Make yours provide value and engage the customer.

Improve your customer UX

It costs far less to keep a customer than to go find a new one. Improving your Customer UX is a fantastic way to increase your retention and activation rates. Create a relationship with your customer and treat them right.

#UXForConversions

Dave Novotny loves writing about cutting edge technology and business innovation. A creative by nature and a number cruncher by blood, sweat, and tears, Dave loves telling the story that the numbers and analytics write in a way that connects to people. When he's not crafting copy, he's out hiking with his wife and two rescue dogs, Jackie and Loki.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sarah Ross

    March 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Unbounce is a great tool. and so worth the price.
    There are a million and 1 (a gross hyperbole, I know) recommendation engines out there masked as simple personalization attempts.

    Can’t say I have ever heard of Boomtown, however I have heard really good things about Blueshift and even Optimizely.

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Business Entrepreneur

What to consider before you pivot your business model

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Many businesses have had to pivot during the global pandemic but maybe yours isn’t one of them. Consider these questions first!

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Two women working at a laptop, no need to pivot business.

When Ross asked Rachel and Chandler (Friends TV show 1994-2004) to move a couch, many of us will never forget his voice inflection and how many times he yelled “PIVOT”! It’s actually a really funny scene and if you’ve never seen it, it might be worth 3.5 minutes of your time. Ross had the best of intentions by starting with a sketch and enlisting help from friends but even that ends up in hilarity as getting his couch in to his apartment doesn’t work and he ends up being offered $4 when he tries to return it (stay for the end of the clip).

The best plans and intentions for your business are often met with what the market and customers demand, where technology grows, and where your ROI is the best. You often know that your original plans will grow and evolve, even in uncertainty and now… a global pandemic.

Many entrepreneurs and small businesses have had to lean on technology to add virtual services (or expand their offerings) to meet our current norm where people are just not out and about like they used to be. Some have seen this work well and others have had to completely re-design their offerings to maintain safe and socially distanced considerations.

The thing is, businesses that have pivoted are being highlighted. But it is also worth looking at what has worked for some businesses that didn’t have to completely shift their strategies in 2020. It is likely that they had to adapt but maybe not a ridiculous Ross-type “pivot” that resulted in a complete failure of the mission.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) shared an incredible article, “You Don’t Have to Pivot in a Crisis” with great insights about what to consider if you think you need to make changes or if you want reassurance you are still on the right track.

HBR shares a powerful thought:

“The lesson here is that when a crisis hits, it pays to resist knee-jerk reactions on how to handle external shocks and ask what is going to work best for your company, based on the particular realities of its business. Ignoring the playbook of rapid cuts plus strategic pivoting can be the smart move… However, staying the course doesn’t mean inaction.”

Here are three thought starters you may want to consider for your business:

  1. What product line or service is best serving your customers right now? Is that one of your strongest and/or could it use some attention?
  2. What product line or service is not quite meeting your needs or customer demands at the moment that had seemingly always worked (not forever! Just right now)? For example, in person gatherings and promotions like events, conferences, trade shows.
  3. Is there something you’ve always wanted to explore? And could now be a great time since people want things more virtually? Examples: Selling branded swag, workbooks, content subscriptions, educational webinars.

These are three simple things but could help point you in the right direction of where to focus your time and energy – at least for now. You may not need a complete re-design or to take a new road, it might be some tweaks and adjustments to hang on to what you’ve worked so hard to build.

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Business Entrepreneur

How to choose the right software for your business

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) What are the best software products for your up-and-coming company? Use these questions to decide which kind is best for you.

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software products

It’s almost impossible to run a successful modern business without some kind of software to help you stay productive and operate efficiently. There are millions of companies and even more independent developers working hard to produce new software products and services for the businesses of the world, so to say that choosing the right software is intimidating is putting it lightly.

Fortunately, your decisions will become much easier with a handful of decision-making rubrics.

Determining Your Core Needs

First, you need to decide which types of software you really need. For most businesses, these are the most fundamental categories:

  • Proposal software. Customer acquisition starts and ends with effective proposals, which is why you need proposal software that helps you create, send, and track the status of your sales documents.
  • Lead generation and sales. You’ll also want the support of lead generation and sales software, including customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. These help you identify and track prospects throughout the sales process.
  • Marketing and advertising. Marketing and advertising platforms help you plan and implement your campaigns, but even more importantly—they help you track your results.
  • Finance and accounting. With finance and accounting software, you’ll track accounts payable and receivable, and countless variables influencing the financial health of your company.
  • Supply chain and logistics. Certain types of businesses require support when it comes to supply chain management and logistics—and software can help.
  • Productivity and tracking. Some software products, including time trackers and project management platforms, focus on improving productivity and tracking employee actions.
  • Comprehensive analytics. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and other “big picture” software products attempt to provide you with comprehensive analytics related to your business’s performance.

Key Factors to Consider

From there, you’ll need to choose a software product in each necessary category—or try to find one that covers all categories simultaneously. When reviewing the thousands (if not millions) of viable options, keep these factors in mind:

    • Core features/functionality. Similar products in a given niche can have radically different sets of features. It’s tempting to go with the most robust product in all cases, but superfluous features and functionality can present their own kind of problem.
    • Integrations. If you use a number of different software products, you’ll need some way to get them to work together. Prioritize products that make it easy to integrate with others—especially ones you’re already using.
    • Intuitiveness/learnability. Software should be intuitive and easy to learn. Not only will this cut down on the amount of training and education you have to provide employees, but it will also reduce the possibilities of platform misuse in the future.
    • Customizability/flexibility. Out-of-the-box software products work well for many customers, but they may not suit your current or future needs precisely. Platforms with greater customizability and flexibility are favorable.
    • Security. If you’re handling sensitive data (and most businesses will be), it’s vital to have a software developed with security in mind. There should be multiple layers of security in place, and ample settings for you to tightly control accessibility.
    • Ongoing developer support. Your chosen software might be impressive today, but how is it going to look in three years? It’s ideal to choose a product that features ongoing developer support, with the potential for more features and better functionality in the near and distant future.
    • Customer support. If you have an issue with the app, will someone be available to help you? Good customer service can elevate the value of otherwise average apps.
    • Price. Finally, you’ll need to consider price. The best apps will often have a price that matches their quality; it’s up to you to decide whether the extra expense is worth it.

Read about each product as you conduct your research, and pay close attention to reviews and testimonials from past customers. Additionally, most software companies are happy to offer free demos and trials, so you can get some firsthand experience before finalizing your decision. Take them up on the offer.

Finding the Balance

It may seem like purchasing or subscribing to new software products will always improve your business fundamentals, but this isn’t always the case. If you become bogged down with too many apps and services, it’s going to make operations more confusing for your staff, decrease consistency, and drain your budget dry at the same time. Instead, try to keep your systems as simplified and straightforward as possible, while still getting all the services you need.

You won’t find or implement the perfect suite of software products for your business overnight. It’s going to take weeks, if not months of research, free trials, and in-house experiments. Remain patient, and don’t be afraid to cut your losses on products that aren’t working the way you originally intended.

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Business Entrepreneur

Simple ways to keep your company’s operations lean

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.

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keeping operations lean

The past year and a half has been challenging, not just economically but politically, and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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