If you own or oversee an e-commerce store, you may have heard some scuttlebutt in recent months about how Apple Pay is poised to revolutionize the way consumers purchase products. And while it may be true that mobile payments are the future of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, can the same be said for online vendors? The answer’s not as cut-and-dried as you might think. Here’s a closer look at how Apple Pay could influence the way you sell your goods over the Internet, and whether or not it makes sense for your business.
What is Apple Pay and Why Use It?
Announced in September 2014 and launched the following month, Apple Pay is a mobile payment system designed to streamline financial transactions for owners of the latest Apple devices. Apple Pay utilizes NFC technology to enable secure, contactless transactions both in physical stores and certain mobile apps. It works by allowing consumers to save their credit card information in their iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, and at the point of sale, they confirm a payment via Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner. This added level of biometric security has won Apple praise for enabling increased privacy and security for both the purchaser and the retailer. Since Apple Pay transactions don’t require the presence of an actual credit card, the account numbers of users can’t be stolen by criminals.
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Where is Apple Pay Available?
At the time of its debut, Apple Pay was compatible with terminals at more than 220,000 retailers in the United States. For the time being, Apple Pay is still confined to the U.S., however the company plans to expand the service internationally as well. Aside from physical stores, Apple Pay also works within a set of popular mobile apps, including nationwide brands such as Uber, Target, Groupon, and Panera Bread®. Considering that as of August 2014, Apple products accounted for more than half of all online shopping conducted on mobile phones, and north of 80% of shopping from tablets*, it makes sense that these retailers have chosen to get onboard with Apple Pay. (Though it’s important to note that Apple’s dominance in that area has been dwindling as it continues to lose ground to Samsung and other emerging competitors.)
Apple Pay and E-commerce
Although it’s relatively easy for brick-and-mortar businesses to learn how to get to Apple Pay to work for them, the service is not so simple for e-tailers—nor does it always make sense. For starters, Apple Pay online payment does not currently work with digital goods such as downloadable software, music, or e-books, unless they’re sold through the iTunes Appstore. So unless your business’s offerings are exclusively of the physical type or included in the Appstore, Apple Pay isn’t be an option for you. Also, depending upon the physical location and income level of your typical customer, accepting Apple Pay in your business might not be a worthwhile endeavor. If your average purchaser doesn’t live in the United States, or likely doesn’t have enough disposable income to afford a high-end electronic device, Apple Pay is probably not a good fit for your business.
Additionally—and this is a biggie—Apple Pay does not support standard e-commerce purchases made from desktop computers or from Web-based mobile stores. However, if your business offers a branded app as a means to purchase your products, then Apple Pay can be a viable option for you, so long as you use one of Apple’s approved payment-processing partners to handle your transactions. That list of approved partners includes a few big names like Stripe, Braintree, and Authorize.net, but one company is noticeably absent. Apple Pay does not work with PayPal, and industry analysts believe that it’s highly unlikely that these two companies will strike up a partnership anytime soon.
So What’s a Small Business E-tailer to Do?
While Apple Pay can certainly be a game-changer in traditional retail environments, using Apple as an online store payment method is likely not going to make a substantial difference for small businesses—at least for the foreseeable future.
Owners of e-commerce businesses are constantly hunting for ways to improve the performance of their sites. One of the most common analytical measures is the bounce rate. however, as helpful as this stat can be, it can also lead you astray. A few variables mix with the bounce rate and it does not stand alone as a barometer of success. As with any piece of information, it is just a piece of the puzzle, not the entire picture.
Defining Bounce Rates
What Is Bounce Rate?
A bounce is defined as when a visitor lands on your site and does not click through to a second page. The bounce rate calculation is the number of visitors that only record one hit (i.e. landing on a page) divided by the total number of hits—or entries—to the page. In theory, this raw data can then be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the site.
But, take a breath, because this can sometimes be very misleading. The bounce rate metric is meant to measure engagement and visitor behavior; yet it does not include visitor expectations. In other words, bounce rate analysis can be highly subjective.
What Is an Ideal Bounce Rate?
Whether you have a professionally designed website or used a free website maker yourself, many e-commerce business owners want to know if their site is effective and what a good bounce rate is. Well, that depends—and that’s not a cop-out answer, either! Logic tells us that a lower rate would be best. An average bounce rate is about 50 percent, but that may be a very good or very poor percentage, depending on visitor expectations.
One of the main drivers of those expectations is the industry in which your business operates. An ideal bounce rate is industry dependent. Some industries naturally generate a high number of new visitors to sites, and are therefore likely to have higher bounce rates, while others are prone to more repeated visitor traffic.
Cyber Monday is like Black Friday for people who don’t enjoy being trampled to death. Occurring the Monday after Thanksgiving, it serves as a digital second chance for every frustrated Black Friday shopper who was #42 in line to pick up one of the 40 half-priced laptops at Best Buy.
If you own an online business, you need to come prepared with enticing Cyber Monday deals.
The customers are ready to buy, but if you want to maximize your profits on this important shopping day, you’ll have to consider a few key pieces of advice.
Absorb the following wisdom, and Cyber Monday may just become your favorite day of the year.
Your Web Builder Must Be SEO-Friendly
If you’ve been in the e-commerce game a while, you probably don’t need a lecture on the meaning of SEO.
It simply includes all of the techniques and processes involved in maximizing your site’s search engine visibility.
Research indicates that organic traffic (e.g. Google traffic) accounts for about 20 percent of online holiday sales, so it’s very important to get the most out of your Google presence and collect your piece of the pie.
No one can take advantage of your Cyber Monday sales if they don’t know you exist.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an SEO expert to tackle the fundamentals, as most web builders give you everything you need.
The first thing to look for is an “SEO” or “Search Engine Optimization” menu. You can usually find this under your main site settings.
Here are just some of the most important fields you’re likely to encounter:
Title Tag (or sometimes “Meta Title”): the main title for your site that appears in Google search results. Make sure to include your top keywords, and try to keep it under 55 characters.
Meta Description: A main description for your site, usually 150 characters or less.
Keywords: Some web builders will ask you to input your most important keywords so that it can grade your content accordingly and recommend improvements.
All of these fields can (and should) be filled out for all of your category pages and product pages as well. Just click on any page in your site editor to access its individual settings.
If you haven’t yet chosen a web builder, and you don’t consider yourself to be SEO-savvy, consider choosing a web builder that offers SEO guidance or coaching.
For example, Web.com offers Website Coaches that will analyze your site to determine — among other things– if it’s designed in a way that encourages high search engine rankings.
Responsive Design for Cyber Monday Deals
One of the most important Cyber Monday tips we can give you is to make your site mobile-friendly.
Cyber Monday shopping on mobile phones more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, and the number of mobile shoppers continues to increase.
If your business website doesn’t work smoothly and seamlessly on an iPhone or an Android device, you’re going to miss out on tremendous profit potential.