Should Your Business Be Using an SMS Payment System?

This has probably been a hot topic for a while—should you transition to an SMS payment system, or stick to old methods? While this may seem like an intimidating decision, it’s not so scary once you educate yourself about the positives and negatives associated with an SMS payment system.

The Benefits

Nearly everyone has a mobile device now, which means that there are a lot of positives to using an SMS payment system—for both you and your customers. First, SMS payment systems are usually much more convenient for customers, making it a lot easier for them to pay you—and what business doesn’t want more sales?

Second, SMS payments usually use a third-party system, which comes with potentially significant benefits for retailers who use this payment system. For example, using a SMS system decreases company expenses when you don’t have to spend hefty sums on sale equipment, paper, and ink. Furthermore, an SMS payment system improves company cash flow, speeding up payment transaction processes.

Common Concerns

While there are so many benefits to using an SMS payment system, it doesn’t come without its share of concerns. The biggest concern most merchants have with SMS is lack of security. When using online payment platforms, there is always a small risk of fraud and hacking.

However, there are also several ways to combat security concerns so that you can feel more confident using an SMS payment system. First, make sure that you and your customers implement some type of authentication verification. That way, it makes it much more difficult for hackers to steal credit card information. Second, make sure that you use a certified mobile payment platform with good security. Finally, educate customers on telling the difference between fraudulent information versus safe information, like fraudulent emails or apps.

Embrace the Change

As your company is considering moving your payment system to a SMS payment system, recognize that the business world is forecasted to shift from old-fashioned methods to doing everything online—including online payment methods. Rather than being forced into the transition later, you should consider making the decision now to transition from the past’s tried-and-true methods to the modern methods of the century. Don’t fall behind!

The world is changing. Technology is in the hands of nearly everybody. Incorporating an SMS payment system just might be the right option for you. Although you may have some concerns, the benefits will outweigh those thoughts as you embrace this change.

Here’s another article you might like: How to Boost the E-Commerce Side of Your Business When Your Stores Are Closed

How Your Point of Sale System Impacts the Rate of Cart Abandonment

Point-of-sale (POS) systems have changed the ways that businesses take their payments and, in some instances, make sales. However, this incredible technology that has saved countless companies also comes with its risks. This is most commonly seen within the e-commerce industry, where making the sale depends on a smooth checkout process. If you have been noticing an increase in cart abandonment, the following information is for you.

User Experience

Having your own e-commerce business is one of the best routes to take when capital is an issue. It doesn’t take much to start one up and keep it running. However, you also take on the challenge of having customers who can leave for the competition in an instant. This is why it is so important to always make sure that the user experience in regards to your point of sale is a good one. According to Bold Commerce running into a confusing screen or one that makes them sign in within multiple windows can become a little frustrating for the customer, and when then happens you risk losing the sale. Always make sure that your checkout process is not only visually pleasing but also causes as little frustration as possible for customers.

Addressing Problems

Most issues regarding a company’s point of sale can be easily fixed. Therefore, often, the issue is not the system itself, but the talent you have looking over it. When business leaders begin to realize that their POS is the cause of most of their cart abandonment issues, the only logical step is to run through the process yourself to identify pain points. Celerant explains that POS software training and analysis can be used to identify user experience issues and how to fix them. Sometimes, they are as easy as simply downloading updates to your POS, or it could be something more serious. Nevertheless, training is crucial for finding the exact problem as fast as possible.

Feedback

Among the steps you can take to identify issues regarding your POS, only the customer can give you an exact and unbiased answer as to their experience. Therefore, business leaders should always seek feedback from their customers at the end of a transaction. This will provide you with valuable data regarding aspects of your POS system that are working or could be improved upon.

Point-of-sale systems are great tools for any retailer to have. This type of technology is often the most important part of a sale, and it must be understood and maintained continuously.

Would-be customers often rely on the feedback and reviews you get from already existing customers. Watch these videos to see how our app can also help you rescue carts before they are abandoned for good!

Improving the Shopify Sales Cycle, Cart Abandonment, and Grassroots Referrals

The Shopping Cycle of Cycle Shopping: Boost Sales and Increase Referrals in your Shopify E-Commerce Online Store? Improving Cart Abandonment Rate and Shortening the Sales Cycle from Window Shopping to Viral Customer Grass Roots Marketing

How do Shopify owners boost sales and increase referrals in a Shopify e-commerce online store? Here are some PollCart thoughts on improving cart abandonment rate and shortening the sales cycle from window shopping to viral customer grassroots online marketing.

Boost Sales. Give your customers the ability to ask their friends and family AFTER they check out. At PollCart Social Commerce, our bottom-line commitment is to INCREASE SALES. Sales from keeping your customers out of the e-commerce black hole, sales from referrals with a new interest in your site or sales from customers who enjoy the novelty to social commerce, we’re not picky, so join our email list to participate in the conversation.

Increase Referrals. Your customers may not want to “market” to their friends and family, but they’re glad to involve their opinions in their consumer journey.

Cart Abandonment. Potential buyers need feedback from family members about the budget, product reviews from experts, and general opinions from friends. These are three great reasons to leave your site, even with good intentions, and possibly never return.

Shortening the Sales Cycle. Everything from Initial Contact to Closing and Referral can potentially happen in one visit. Listrak averages the current abandonment rate at 77% and no one knows for sure how many of those customers will return.

Avoid the E-Commerce Black Hole. The E-Commerce Black Hole is where a customer that leaves your site goes for an hour, a week, a month or a year before they may or may not return to buy.

Viral Customer Grass Roots Marketing. PollCart uses texts and emails from your customers to their friends and family to spark interest in your product. Potential buyers can block ads and ignore spam marketing, but welcome the opportunity to participate in a friend or loved one’s online purchase.

Install PollCart for Shopify. If you own a Shopify store, the PollCart Social Commerce gives you the ability to make these improvements to your store by adding our patented “Ask Some Friends” button to checkout.

Install PollCart Social Commerce for Shopify or join PollCart’s email list today.

How do I keep my customer from entering the E-Commerce Black Hole?

Rich's last article addressed his journey with Bombas.com: People often ask if the socks we donate are the same we sell. The answer is no, we donate something special and thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of those who are homeless.

One way to prevent the E-Commerce Black Hole is to provide a medium for buyers to communicate with experts, friends, family and coworkers as part of your checkout. Making this channel available nurtures Social Commerce, user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services. Users who can complete checkout, pending approval from those they would otherwise leave your site to seek out, beforehand, check out the first time and never enter the E-Commerce Black Hole.

Users who can complete checkout with a Social Commerce option avoid the Black Hole. Their purchase is approved afterward by the ones they would otherwise have to leave your site to ask. They can buy the first time they visit your site. They will be confident that if their social or expert circle doesn’t approve the purchase, they won’t have to return the item or cancel the purchase.

Social Commerce prevents the E-Commerce Black Hole by not only preventing your customer from ending up there, but the right Social Commerce platform can provide insight into many of the questions asked in the E-Commerce Black Hole and answers to other issues previously addressed outside of your retailer range.
Social Commerce gives us the ability to respond to questions like this:

  • Who are they talking to?
  • What are they saying?
  • When will they buy?
  • Where will they buy it?
  • Why are they waiting?

Social Commerce lets us dig deeper, too, learning:

  • Who are my future customers?
  • What will future customers buy?
  • When will these referrals return?
  • Where will these references look when they have a similar need?
  • Why didn’t I embrace Social Commerce sooner?

I like that last one best. Why don’t you embrace Social Commerce?

Inside the E-Commerce Black Hole or My Abandoned Cart Buyer’s Journey with Bombas.com

This anecdote is how I describe the e-commerce black hole. Here’s what you know, a buyer with a unique IP or email address landed on your homepage after an organic Google search, navigated to a few of your product pages before landing on a particular product, actively spending two minutes browsing the page, adding the item to their cart and ultimately…

VANISHING

We knew so much. Our analytics and inbound marketing software worked as promised, the customer responded to our Call To Action, then, gone. Where did our customer go?

THE E-COMMERCE BLACK HOLE

We can identify them if they return, and we know what they’re interested in, but our information stops there. We don’t know who to associate with that email or IP address. We don’t know what they are saying or thinking about the product. We don’t know when or whether they will return. We don’t know where they will buy the product or which product they’ll buy. We don’t know why they left, good guesses maybe? And we don’t know how they will buy and if our analytics and inbound software will detect a continuance of the buyer journey or count the first contact as an unfulfilled abandoned cart and the new purchase as a short, successful journey.

Now here’s the e-commerce black hole in my personal life

I recently saw an extraordinarily moving Bombas Socks commercial recommended and liked by some my Facebook friends. I immediately embraced their call to action to provide socks for the homeless and headed straight to their website to buy my first eight-pack of Bombas socks.

That’s when I realized that Bombas socks are $12 per pair. Even with a free pair going to a homeless shelter, $6/pair is considerably more than I’ve ever spent on even the nicest pairs of socks, like Under Armor or Nike.

I became a devangelist. I took to Facebook while still in sticker shock and wrote the following:

Rich Williams was feeling skeptical. January 16 · Plano “I’m going to Walmart and donating 100 pairs of socks to Dallas Life Homeless Shelter. It will cost considerably less than six pairs of Bombas socks. Love the ad, though…”

That’s WHAT I was saying.

But I had left bombas.com and dove deep into the e-commerce black hole. Bombas had some insight into my black hole experience on account of my Facebook broadcast, but following the customer journey through the e-commerce black hole is rarely that simple. Bombas took the opportunity to reach out to me in the black hole:

Bombas “Hey Rich, give our socks a try, and if you don’t think they’re worth every penny, it’s your money back. That’s our Happiness Guarantee!” January 19 at 8:38 am

But my consumer journey wouldn’t continue for another two weeks.

A week later, I wore my Hanes socks with my Asics Onitsuka Tiger fencing shoes to work on a day I’ll never forget. Some out-of-town visitors to our office wanted to try a Mexican food restaurant a mile away from our offices, and the group was excited to walk the mile to and from the restaurant. Something about the Tigers and the Hanes combined with my sweaty feet to cause enough friction to create a baseball-sized blister on the bottom of my left foot. I complained to a co-worker the next day who commented that my socks might be to blame for my nuisance injury and my subconscious got busy.

On February 2, 2017, I ordered three pairs of Bombas socks. My consumer journey brought me back to their website where a free shipping offer encouraged me to buy three pairs instead of two, and I couldn’t wait to wear my Bombas socks with my New Balance shoes that fit a little better for the next work-related lunch adventure. Coincidently their largest socks were too tight for my size 14 feet, but I could feel a considerable difference and notice their striking design right up until my circulation slowed and my feet fell asleep.

So what am I now? A dissatisfied user who will probably return the product which is also a brand evangelist for a company I have either loved or hated since I saw the first video. The socks don’t fit me, but they’ll probably fit you, and I get the appeal. They also donate a pair to a homeless shelter for each pair bought. I’m assuming Bombas will accommodate my wife and preschooler.

So do you clearly understand how I feel about Bombas? Probably not. No one ever said what you see when you have insight into the customer’s buying journey through the e-commerce black hole would be clear.

My satisfied purchase came from Under Armour on Amazon.com nine days later once I realized the Bombas weren’t going to work. They had considerably more cotton and reliably come sized to fit large feet.

So let’s break down my buying journey with Bombas so far including my two weeks in the e-commerce black hole.

WHO …is the buyer?

Some pertinent facts about me:

  • I’m a sucker for good marketing
  • I like the Tom’s Shoes’ buy one give one concept
  • I feel strongly about clothing (and feeding/housing) the homeless
  • I like tattoos (see video)
  • I am an entrepreneur
  • I’ve bought socks in the premium athletic range before, not just Walmart or Hanes
  • I like feeling like someone is reading my Facebook comments
  • I’m funny and like to reward brands I like.
  • I’m listening to Sleigh Bells and Lana Del Rey while I write this.

WHAT …was I saying?

Bombas caught me talking smack about their prices. I tagged them for fun but was not expecting a reply. When they saw the comments on my post, they also noticed my friends agreeing that though my friends had visited bombas.com, they too felt like the socks were too expensive.

WHEN …would I buy?

About 16 days would pass between my first rendezvous with Bombas and my paid checkout of $33.60. The jury is still out on whether or not I will return the socks.

A major factor in my purchase was my ill-fated walk to the Mexican restaurant that I’m pretty certain had nothing to do with Bombas.com. Bombas had done an excellent job of educating me about their superiority to traditional blister-enhancing socks before I suffered the worst blister I had ever experienced.

WHERE …will I buy the product?

“Where” is a major unknown. Though I eventually bought three pairs from Bombas.com for $33.60, I later experienced a satisfied purchase from Amazon of 6 pairs for $15. I also like the XL socks available at Walmart (not Target) and frequent Destination XL Big and Tall Men’s Clothing.

WHY …did I not buy the first time?

In other words, why did I leave the lot? Bombas had me where they wanted me; I had “ugly cried” over their homeless Facebook video and gone straight to their site. They even had socks they claimed would fit my large feet.

BUT

One pair cost as much as six pairs of the competition. I felt so strongly about this BUT that I took to Facebook to make jokes at Bombas’ expense. I haven’t felt so strongly about a BUT since Anna Nicole’s GUESS Jeans campaign.

HOW …will I buy?

I need my laptop with my credit card autofill software and $35 available to make this purchase. I prefer not to enter a credit card on my iPhone, and the purchase date coincides with a payday occurring between discovery and purchase.

Who experiences the e-commerce black hole?

Retailers experience the e-commerce black hole when a prospective customer arrives at their site and spends time with a product, possibly placing the item in a cart or obtaining pricing, then disappears, often without identifying information. The customer may be comparing prices, soliciting feedback, disinterested or low on budget or simply waiting.

Who are your customers asking?

Customers ask co-buyers such as spouses, roommates or coworkers about budget accessibility. Customers ask their friends and family with experience or knowledge of the product.

Customers seek out acquaintances or even strangers who have expertise on the product. Young customers may require permission, as could a boss/worker relationship. Feedback comes in the form of:

Support: Financial, Agreement, Social

  • “Can we afford this right now?”
  • “Is this something we would all use?”
  • “Would you go out in public with me if I had these pants on?”

Permission: Parent, Boss

  • “Mom, can I buy this Arcade Fire t-shirt?”
  • “Boss, does this laptop meet corporate security requirements?”

Advice: Expertise, Experience, Opinion

  • “As a lighting designer, which light bulb would you use?”
  • “Did you like that weed eater you bought at the home improvement store?”
  • “Do you think the black guitar would look better on stage than the red one?”

Who benefits from understanding the e-commerce black hole?

A retailer who knows their customer’s experience in the e-commerce black hole can market more efficiently, price for the opportunity, advertise to a more appropriate target and understand which customers not to focus energy and resources. Retailers can predict their sales cycle more accurately and budget, stock, and market accordingly. Tools that provide insight into the e-commerce black hole give retailers an edge when many unknowns become known or at least more familiar.

What are your customers saying?

Customers have developed an opinion about your product based on their first online impression, and though they have not purchased, they could already be evangelists or “devangelists” for your brand. The evangelists would have already bought your product if it wasn’t for _____* and devangelists think your product is too expensive, poorly designed and useless. Winning over a devangelist is harsh, but allowing an evangelist to capture a buying opportunity before they enter the e-commerce black hole might be possible given the right tools.

*If only we knew that 🙂

When will the customer buy?

Understanding what marketers call the Effective Frequency or “the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made and before the exposure is considered wasteful” also means understanding the “Rule of Seven” and its associated duration.

“I do not know who created the concept, but “The Rule of Seven” was widely popularized by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.”

“A good starting point is the ‘Rule of Seven,’ formulated by the marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant. It states that to penetrate the buyer’s consciousness and make significant penetration in a given market, you have to contact those people a minimum of seven times within an 18-month period.” 

I must have seen/heard Bombas.com twenty times during my two weeks of Bombas denial.

When will the customer return?

How can we affect the buyer’s return time? One could argue that the ideal time between first contact and paid purchase is none, buying the item immediately.

How can we encourage the user to buy immediately without scammy pricing gimmicks or ransomware threats?

One recent experience I had with a custom watch band company DaLuca Straps sent me some friendly emails offering to help me complete checkout after I had abandoned a cart where I had added a few bands to compare prices.

Would making it easier to compare prices decrease abandoned shopping cart rates? Does it matter?

Where will the customer buy the product?

I also add “Has the customer bought this already from somewhere else?” to this question. Will the customer buy the same product or a different product from another retailer? Will the user log on to your website with a different email address from a different IP address and order the product later? You may never know. Can you track that type of behavior?

Pardot claims to be able to track anonymous users on different devices and starts at $1125/mo. for up to five users with SalesforceIQ.

Where is the customer looking?

Walmart has cookies. Walmart has aisles of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and Oreos. Not the kind of cookies we need, and if the buyer sees your Stainless-Steel Casio Men’s Atomic-Solar G-Shock Watch on your website for $95.92 but goes into Walmart and buys one with cash from the jewelry counter along with some Oreos.

So without “a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing,” we may have lost the buyer’s journey forever, never knowing why.

How can we prevent the (else) WHERE?

  • Don’t let the customer leave the lot
  • Be a price leader compared with brick and mortar
  • Offer quick shipping and get the product in the mail fast
  • Provide superior customer service before and after the sale
  • Educate the customer further and better than a brick and mortar employee can
  • Track the buyers ATM and credit card spending, GPS location and sleep habits
  • Offer both kinds of cookies on your website

Where is the customer looking for advice, expertise, and information?

  • Can you provide more trusted reviews than consumer reports?
  • Can you accumulate more quality reviews than Amazon?
  • Are you the buyer’s brother?
  • Are you the cable guy installing digital at the neighbor’s house?
  • Are you the buyer’s boss’s “guy” in your industry?
  • Are you Richard Karn from TV’s Home Improvement?

No? But what can you do? Get BUILT.

Remember Both, URLs, Information, Links, Time.

  • Appeal to BOTH your customers and those whom your customers seek feedback from, like by providing a simple explanation for your customer and then the technical specifications for his brother that works at Radio Shack.
  • Make your URLs direct and shareable for feedback.
  • Provide honest, accurate INFORMATION.
  • LINK to unbiased external reviews.
  • Treat the buyer’s TIME as if it were yours.

Why is the customer hesitating?

Our CRM HubSpot addresses some of these in their article, “8 Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment.”

Can control: Price, Fit, Variety, Trust, Stock

  • Price would include the inability to afford.
  • Fit could be a t-shirt, an auto part or a laptop bag.
  • Variety could be a lack of color or customization options.
  • Trust could mean your website looks insecure on account of spelling or too little information.
  • Customer privacy concerns? Guest checkout.
  • “Stock” would be if you are simply out of the particular product the user wants.
  • Tender, accept different forms of payment, not Tinder.
  • Medium, mobile, responsive, other technical.

Can’t control

  • Window shopping
  • Information gathering for someone else
  • Competitor sale, special pricing, different than everyday price competition
  • 5pm? Battery dead? Red light, green? Dropped phone in the toilet?
  • However fast your shipping is, the buyer needs it sooner.

Why do retailers need insight to the e-commerce black hole?

If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.

How can I know my customer better?

Last week, my team read that the best way to know who your ideal customer is to look at your current customers.

Before we had any customers.

Bad advice? No, just not timely before you have one single customer.

Here are some things I’ve done to get to know my customers before I had any:

  • I went to a meetup and spent three hours shaking hands with potential customers who use a particular software platform we work integrated.
  • I paid for a booth at a guitar show to show off a guitar sheet music app.
  • I called ten failed customer journey participants and offered them $50 each to tell me why they didn’t buy through a series of questions.
  • I’m writing an article about the E-Commerce Black Hole for customers unfamiliar with the concept.

I also recommend inbound marketing software and analytics packages if you have the time, resources and knowledge to make meaningful interpretations of their data.

How can I keep my customer from “leaving the car lot?”

I’m going to look online now for the actual source of the concept for used car salespeople. Hold, please.

Ok, see, “Salesmen Have Ways to Mess With Your Head” for the car keys trick in WiseBread’s Life Hack, “17 Things Car Salesmen Don’t Want You to Know.”

So, take their keys.

Or do the math.

Customers in the e-commerce black hole are meeting particular needs and lining up ducks that for some reason have to be in a row before they return and purchase your item.

If you can help them line up those ducks during their first visit, might they never leave? What if their ducks were in such a row, they felt comfortable buying on the first contact. What do those ducks look like?

Does your customer even have to enter the E-Commerce Black Hole?

Filthy Rich Williams lives in Dallas, has a four-year-old, watches comedy and rocks shows, and likes socks, Shark Tank and Lana Del Rey.

Why disrupt a simple streamlined checkout?

Why disrupt the streamlined, simplified checkout?

A lot of internet business models suggest finding ways to charge other people for something they can already do for free. PollCart’s value add is in its integration with checkout.

We love to talk about checkout. Get email updates to continue the conversation about  maximizing checkout, increasing sales and solving other common e-commerce dilemmas.

Why involve yourself in checkout?

When your friend or family member polls you on the decision to buy a Google Home voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant, your opinion matters. This purchase rests on your ability to research the brand and product and literally vote on whether or not the sale goes through. You aren’t participating in a meaningless opinion poll, and that’s why you care enough to find out more about Google Home and [gasp] maybe even buy one too!

Why not just send a successful poll recipient a link to buy the item?

Investors and advisors to PollCart have advised us to find ways to charge individuals to text their friends and get their thoughts on something. That’s already free. We charge retailers a reasonable commission so that the impulse buyer can buy NOW and not abandon their cart in favor of free opinion gathering tools already abundant and free.

In a Shopify article about cart abandonment, Shopify recently quoted the Baymard Institute, a web research company in the UK, saying, “67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned.” PollCart buyers visit and buy during their first visit, and their friends seriously research and consider your product, too.

Because the purchase that wouldn’t have happened otherwise depends on their feedback.

PollCart isn’t bullsmart marketing. It’s not a gimmick. It’s a real connection to the buying process and an invitation to participate coming directly from someone you know and care about. Not spam. Not inconsequential. Legit.

Shopify owners can install our app today with a free 30-day trial. My phone number is 469-387-6294 and I would love to help you install it. We’re e-commerce experts by the way.

That’s why PollCart is integrated into checkout. We call it Checkout 3.0, and you should, too.