A Conscientious Merchant

Majority of shoppers use some sort of plastic card to pay for their purchases. With regard to online shopping the numbers increase, after all you can't really pay cash via your computer. All ecommerce retailers need to have some sort of credit card processing system in place. There are many companies offering their services and while most are legit, some will do anything to get a couple more dollars out of you and your website.

Granted everyone is human and not all processing errors that occur are with the intention to rip you off, which brings us to our main point, a merchant MUST be on top of his credit card processing. He MUST be sure to read through his monthly processing statements. If you are like most merchants, a paper or email with numbers, dollars, and fees, especially when it's .15% is not something you enjoy poring over. But it is SO important. Numerous times there have been merchants who unfortunately only discovered after much time had elapsed that they had been charged astronomical fees for no reason, and because they had never perused a statement this information was all but hidden from them. It is important to know how much is the normal percentage for credit card companies to be charging per transaction and any larger amount should garner your attention and you should either make a phone call or send an email questioning the mount. Processing companies who see a conscientious merchant will most likely stay far away from trying to pull any tricks on you, after all they see that you are on top of it. if for some reason this system wont work for you hire an experienced accountant to routinely audit your statements for anything funny.

Additionally a merchant should be aware of the terms of his contract. no credit card company is going to say now that you have increased the amount of processing transactions you are eligible for a lower rate. A merchant needs to be familiar with all the terminology and he needs to tell the company, "As per our contract now that i have exceeded x amount of transaction i am eligible for a discounted service rate, etc." because the company isn't coming running to enlighten him with the great news!

A conscientious merchant is a successful merchant. A merchant who makes sure no parts of his business are over-looked is already many steps ahead of the game.

The Advantage to Usability Testers

After tireless efforts your website is now up and running. You eagerly anticipate the fantastic amount of traffic and conversions that are sure to take place on your website. But as the weeks go by the visitors are not generating many conversions. On the screen your site appears as if all is good and well, running smoothly but apparently something is not. Why is this happening? What aspect of your site is not satisfying your visitors need? And why are they leaving without any sort of conversion?

If this scenario seems at all familiar, it may be a good idea to employ the services of a user testing site. A user testing site will run through the usability of your site to determine why people are not converting. For a nominal fee they can perform any task you want, whether it's a specific run through of selecting and purchasing or just a basic browsing through your site to test the navigation. You can have them try subscribing to your newsletter or run through the log in process. These testers can perform any task just as a regular customer will, except they will give you feedback on why they would feel compelled to look elsewhere for their desired product. They will be honest with you if the shopping cart loading page takes too long for the typical busy browser or whether the design needs a little pizazz to encourage further browsing past the landing page. With their help you can really get to the bottom of this mystifying situation. Sometimes it may take more than one or two testers to uncover the problem, but it's worth to keep at it until the problem is discovered.

Computers with all the knowledge and 'brains' they posses are still an electronic device. There's nothing like a good old human to test out your website and ensure it's operating to suit the whims of the typical visitor.

Frenetic Friday

Okay everybody get your credit card out and ready to swipe with the beginning of the holiday shopping season traditionally known as Black Friday. The name originated in Philadelphia sometime before 1966 and was originally used to describe the heavy car or foot traffic occurring the day after Thanksgiving. By 1975 the term had gained popularity outside the city as well and a more shopping-themed explanation was associate d with 'Black Friday' as the day in which retailers see an increase in profits or are 'in the black' (as in out of the red...!)

Since 2003, (aside from 2004 when it ranked second) the day after Thanksgiving is known to be the busiest shopping say of the year. Due to the fact that many employees have Thanksgiving as their day off, major retailers feel that this increases the number of shoppers around and they most stores offer some kind of price reduction on their products to capitalize of their expanded customer base. Depending on the retailer, you can have some retailers with specific sale start and end times and others that are open the whole day. Most probably to increase the urgent feeling of the need to shop, many stores will limit the hours of the actual price reductions.

Black Friday is known for its dramatic sale prices especially on electrical appliances and technological devices. But the shopping frenzy has overflowed onto most retail clothing and shoe stores as well. Generally store open in the we hours of the morning, as early as 4 AM! to admit the masses who await to enter. New for 2011 many stores like Target, Macys, best buy and even The Children's Place (in some locations!)have announced that they will be opening as early as 12 AM and remaining open straight through the following day. Staying up late to shop seems so much more appealing to me than convincing my rational self to get out of bed in the semi-darkness of those predawn hours. Even more than the actual money saving aspects, I think its the frenzy and excitement of those early shopping hours and the thrill of pre-dawn adventures that gets people up and about! Whether you have something specific you need or you just want to be part of the action, grab a coffee and a sweatshirt and have fun! And stay tuned for ecommerce tips on how to best utilize Cyber Monday...

The Inner Circle

I'm sure many of you have had similar discussions about the so called "Inner Circle". You know what I mean. The "Inner Circle" are the ones who you think have it made. They are rich, influential, powerful, and like everyone else you want to be a part of it. It can range from people like your boss or friends with connections. Instead of looking at it that you want to be a part of their "inner circle" view it from the angle that they are in g-d's inner circle. G-d wants them to have what they have and you should try get into that "inner circle".