Ecommerce companies need to adjust to the rapidly evolving pace of technology better than their rivals do, or they’ll get left behind. Online retailers need to have the tools to keep up, because the marketplace only expands as smartphones become more common.
In 2013 about half of Americans owned smartphones, and by early 2019 that figure has risen to just over 80%. Echoing this growth, in 2013, as much as 5.8% of all retail sales in the United States were ecommerce transactions, and this figure has nearly doubled to 11.1% in the years since.
When 5G is fully rolled out, the speed and functionality of smartphones will take a leap forward that will change how people interact with the internet in ways that may be hard to imagine from our current perspective.
One thing is for sure: in the future, ecommerce is only going to grow.
Online retailers need more than just a popular product the market wants. To really thrive and stand out in a crowded landscape, they need a modern business-facing, enterprise-level customer management and recurring billing platform capable of processing billions of dollars in transactions annually. The powerful and smart features offer digitally native vertical businesses the payment gateways, security, analytics and hosting capability that let them scale up sales, and keep them protected with world-class security.
Let’s examine how the right business-facing ecommerce platform drives today’s world of online retail.
Modern Payment Gateways
Given the global nature of ecommerce, online businesses need to be able to accept local and international payment types.
Deep third-party partnerships with multiple payment gateways allow a business to offer their customers the flexibility and comfort they expect when making payments on the internet. This is an important step in making customers less hesitant to make a purchase online, a major obstacle every ecommerce business needs to overcome.
There’s also a need to facilitate subscription-based payments, as online retailers need powerful features custom-built to help subscription-based ecommerce businesses thrive. Companies in different industries offer subscription-based services, with products ranging from monthly delivery of regularly consumed products to news subscriptions and more.
Every ecommerce business needs flexibility so it can adopt any of these payment models, or aspects of each one, as it sees fit.
Today’s enterprise-level ecommerce platforms offer integrations with over 100 payment gateways, so merchants can accept payments from customers around the world.
Improving Rebill Rates
Improving rebill rates is an important way ecommerce businesses grow sales and maximize revenue. There are a few ways to achieve this.
One new and sophisticated method is a feature that helps to retain customers by ensuring that their credit card information is always current, something extremely valuable to subscription-based ecommerce businesses. The goal is to make payments continue as long and as effortlessly as possible.
Leading ecommerce platforms automatically analyze all the different reason codes for credit card updates on recurring transactions and link new card information before rebill cycles. This keeps customer payment data up to date, which reduces hard declines and strengthens customer relationships.
Any time a customer has to manually update their credit card information after getting a new card or a new credit card number, they may potentially reconsider and revaluate their purchase. Proactively keeping customer payment information current before a billing cycle improves rebill rates, and spares consumers a needless hassle.
The trickle-down benefits include reduced customer service expenses and processing costs, one more way online merchants save time and money.
Chargeback Alerts and Representments
Today’s ecommerce businesses need automated chargeback alerts so they know in real-time when a chargeback has been launched against them.
Managing chargebacks effectively and efficiently reduces operational costs, and helps to avoid penalties and fees. So it’s also necessary to have experienced representment specialists to fight chargebacks when they do occur.
When there has been a chargeback, having the backing of an experienced representment specialist will dramatically increase your win-rate and keep your merchant accounts balanced. Getting assistance from trained specialists who know your business inside and out saves you time and money, while the information they collect related to alerts and chargeback data allows for decision support for Analytics that is more complete, accurate, and deep.
LimeLight reduces chargebacks by allowing merchants to blacklist or cancel the subscription of customers who have been flagged for chargebacks.
Powerful Reporting and Analytics
Knowledge has always meant power in business, but in an online world where data is king, companies must know precisely what data matters for each component of their operation.
Features found in industry-leading ecommerce platforms such as LimeLight’s analytics are powerful and smart enough to help companies identify which marketing campaigns have been effective, so they can allot money accordingly. Key metrics like loan-to-value, cost of goods sold, churn rate and more can be measured easily in real-time.
Modern tools like predictive modeling can improve results and manage risk when it comes to marketing, so companies feel confident that their advertising investments will be worthwhile before the campaign begins.
The reports and analytics provided help your company accelerate by showing the metrics that matter. To help you see the larger picture, the latest ecommerce platforms offer more than 20 different dashboards giving clear insights into a company’s economic health, customer lifecycle trends, and others. This data can be tracked from anywhere in real-time with visualizations measuring monthly recurring revenue, products & lifecycle, rebill rates, active subscription forecasting, and more.
Whereas brick and mortar stores have sales associates trained in the art of upselling and cross-selling, DNVBs marshal data so customers are shown what they are most likely to buy.
Intelligent data allows DNVBs to cross-sell and upsell effectively by making sure customers see products that are complementary and of similar quality and price (cross-selling), or superior but more expensive (upselling). Data that is truly smart can function as a sales associate, helping businesses increase sales and leaving customers with a satisfying and positive experience.
Additionally, the data can be used for custom reporting for further analysis, as it takes no effort to export the data gathered in our platform to a .CSV file.
Growing Requires Scalability
Every business needs to think about the future, and this means something very different for ecommerce companies than for traditional brick and mortar stores. In a physical store, there needs to be sufficient physical space for people to shop and to stock product.
Growing in ecommerce means making sure the cloud technology underlying your website can handle surges of affiliate web traffic. As your business grows, web traffic increases too, but it might come in sporadic bursts.
Online businesses need a desktop and mobile experience that delivers the speed, reliability and scale to ensure their customers always have a smooth shopping experience. Statistics show that 22.2% of visitors bounce from a website if page load times are 5 seconds or longer.
Aside from satisfying customers once they’re already on the website, site speed needs to be as fast as possible to organically rank higher in Google.
Upload speed is especially important on mobile devices, which for the first time is expected to have more conversion rates than desktops. Don’t accept less from a CRM than 99.998% uptime and less than 2 second transaction execution time.
With flexible application programming interfaces, today’s leading ecommerce platforms supply a boost in productivity, so companies can get their business to market quicker. It’s smart for online businesses to get the tools to grow in the early stages, so they can confidently scale up their business without having to scramble when sales begin to climb.
Robust security is absolutely essential in any ecommerce business. Whereas traditional stores invest in security guards, CCTV cameras, alarms and locks, ecommerce companies need powerful, complementary measures in place to prevent fraud.
The stakes are high: the cost of fraud in the US has tripled since 2013, going from 0.5% of sales to 1.8% in 2018. The EMV chip technology in credit cards, which replaced the magnetic strip technology, has greatly reduced what’s known as Card Present fraud. Now, it’s much harder to get away with credit card fraud when making an in-person transaction.
But EMV chip technology has actually made Card Not Present fraud increase — this is the type of fraud where credit cards are used over the phone or to make purchases online, meaning it directly affects ecommerce companies.
At least tens of billions of dollars are lost to online merchants every year because of fraud, though estimates vary — by nature, the precise extent of fraud is a difficult thing to peg down to the dollar and cent.
Limelight is PCI-DSS Level 1 compliant, the highest level of Payment Card Industry compliance for a partner handling sensitive payments data. PCI-DSS is a standard for best practices and security controls: we meet or exceed all industry-standard payment security practices, protecting merchants and their sensitive customer data.
Online retailers minimize risk to their business by having their cardholders’ data sent directly to us. Any merchant or merchant service provider must be PCI compliant if they accept, transmit, and/or store cardholder data.
The number of records exposed by data breaches has skyrocketed to 446.5 million in 2018, from 36.6 million in 2016. The surge of high profile hacks in recent years affecting companies and even prominent political parties has put a spotlight on cyber security, and it’s unsurprising that public awareness is growing just as the risks of a breach are increasing.
We can help meet the standards that merchant bank accounts require, standards which also ease broad consumer worries about security. Aside from processing credit cards and protecting sensitive data surrounding financial information, other aspects of an ecommerce business demand security too.
Pair Up with Kount
Online retailers must know that the customer is who they say they are when processing payments. We offer our own managed service of anti-fraud specialists who offer a turnkey solution, because we actually manage the account. On average, our anti-fraud measures result in a 20% reduction in chargebacks.
We work in combination with Kount, an industry-leader in combating fraud who offers features such as: device fingerprinting, supervised and unsupervised machine learning, a robust policy and rules engine, business intelligence tools, and a web-based case-management and investigation system.
This unique partnership can accommodate the individual security needs of any business. Preventing fraud is something best left to professionals; not only is it time-consuming, but the unique circumstances of each business require a custom approach.
If an ecommerce company tries to eliminate fraud entirely it may be successful, but it would have to come at the cost of also inadvertently rejecting genuine customers, and the harm would likely outweigh the benefits. Each company needs an approach to security based on its own business model, balancing sales and security.
Our security specialists and partnerships are designed to give each company the flexibility to walk this tightrope how they see fit. This way, attention will be focused on real customers, rather than scammers who cost businesses time and money.
One of the essential layers in our security toolkit is 3D Verify, which filters for fraud effectively while being incorporated seamlessly into the checkout process. In less than three seconds, it can verify the identity of the cardholder to confirm the transaction is legitimate.
Having an authenticated payment system transfers the risk involved with chargebacks to the card issuer instead of the merchant. This way, companies can focus on growing their business and let Visa or Mastercard deal with the fallout of fraud.
Investing in ample security can lead to a considerably greater return on investment. It also helps customer relationships, protects sensitive data, and preserves the merchant’s brand and reputation. The online retail market is too large for companies to ignore, but the threat of fraud requires an adequate response.
Modern ecommerce businesses must still address the concerns that retailers have always had — tracking sales, revenue maximization, security, and the ability to scale up and grow. Only now, the tools for doing so are both ultra sophisticated and simple to use.
In an interconnected globalized world where international online sales are expected to reach $3.46 trillion in 2019 — an increase of 17.9% from last year — ecommerce is taking over faster than many experts expected.
Online merchants need an enterprise-level, business-facing ecommerce platform that can deliver powerful analytics and reports, multi-layered security, up-selling and cross-selling functionality, and back-end scalability. It’s possible to stick out in a crowded and wildly competitive online retail landscape, but you need the right technology.