July Ecommerce Digest

Just because your kids are at summer camp and your colleagues are on holiday doesn’t mean ecommerce news is slowing down. This month, we wrote about the robust selection of payment methods available to online shoppers across the globe, explaining that part of your ecommerce strategy should involve researching and implementing payment methods frequently used by your customers. We also discussed three major barriers to customer conversions, the new VAT rules set to debut in January 2015 for European customers and, of course, seven ways to stir-up those ecommerce summer doldrums.

For the July Ecommerce Digest, we explore how to test for SEO efforts, Visa’s attempt to facilitate mobile ecommerce, and Microsoft’s approach to subscription billing.

How to Test SEO

How Do I Successfully Run SEO Tests On My Website? | Moz Blog
Everyone knows that a successful sales cycle, or buyer’s journey, or whatever you want to call the process that converts curious humans into paying customers, relies heavily on search engine optimization. But SEO efforts are notoriously hard to measure and, therefore, to test. This degree of difficulty is compounded by the fact that other marketing channels like email and paid search are much easier to measure and test. So how do you gauge whether your SEO efforts are effective? This post examines the process for monitoring attempts to positively affect SEO.

Cart Conversion and Data Security

Visa Makes Big Move to Boost Online Spending | All Tech Considered
This engaging piece from National Public Radio addresses one of ecommerce’s biggest fears – cart abandonment. It notes that Visa, a company with a strong interest in lowering abandonment rates, is implementing a new way to faciliate cart conversions, especially for mobile transactions. Now, with Visa Checkout, online shoppers can more easily complete the checkout process. This service links billing information to a simple authentication process in the shopping cart, thus reducing the need to complete the usual number of form fields. This service also improves data security through a tokenization process. However, as one critic notes, this enhanced security could actually make protesting fraudulent charges more onerous for consumers.

Alternative Payment Methods

Cards Still Rule, But Alternative Payments are Catching Up | PaymentEye
The U.S. tends to generate the most ecommerce revenue out of any other country in the world, and U.S. customers tend to use credit cards to pay for online orders. But, as we have said many times in this blog, the beauty of ecommerce is the relative ease it brings when scaling operations into other countries. As you scale your online presence into new territories, make sure that your localization efforts involve an expanding pack of regionally preferred payment options for various European and APAC regions.

Subscription Billing Model

Microsoft slashes SMB Office 365 prices | Computerworld
Software and subscriptions – what a wonderful idea. And yet, earning predictable recurring revenue is not so easily pulled off. Not only do you have to convince customers to sign up initially for time or usage based billing, but you also have to consistently convert your customers over and over again. This article examines recent pricing and feature changes that Microsoft is implementing for its Office365 cloud product. My hunch is that Microsoft is being challenged by customer churn and competition from Google, and so Microsoft is updating its playbook to keep customers in their ecosystem.

Have you made the switch to subscription billing? What are the challenges you’ve encountered in reducing churn?