Internet Subscription Services

ecommerce solutionMany business models that were on the brink of extension are finding new life by selling subscription services. Other ecommerce businesses will no doubt follow suit. Why are these services so popular?

Take the magazine and newspaper markets. Competition had driven subscription prices down to unsustainable levels and readers were moving to online content. What did many companies do? They went online and sold much cheaper subscriptions at a much lower overhead while maintain their often revered brand image. Granted the publication world (in America, in Europe subscription prices remain high and magazines continue to do well) is not doing as well as it was, it is not facing extinction.

The same is true for video content. Services like Netflix Watch Instant and Hulu Plus accomplished what many other had tried before, getting people to pay for video content. They did this by offering affordable subscription services that allowed users a lot of accessible content. Piracy is still a huge problem, no doubt, but these companies are also doing exceedingly well.

Some people think that music streaming and downloading will follow suit. Some such services exist but no one has really emerged as a massive force in the industry yet. Other companies have toyed with subscriptions for group coupon services but have not yet been successful.  What other businesses will use subscriptions as an ecommerce solution?

Buying Food Online

ecommerce business

Food culture has become increasingly popular with people in their 20s and 30s. Many of these young “foodies” spend 25% or more of their paychecks of fancy and decadent foods. This demographic also does most of its shopping online so it’s only natural that amount of food being bought online would increase.

Retailers have been quick to respond to the trend. Many food specialty shops now have extensive online stores. They go to great length to ensure delicate foods like cheese, seafood, and produce are packaged to maximize freshness. This packaging, which often includes dry ice and extensive insulation, can be very pricey.

The trend can also be seen in shoppers who don’t necessarily identify as “foodies”. Fresh Direct has some specialty items but many people use the site to buy basic groceries like milk, eggs, and juice. These people are more concerned with convenience and price then finding the tastiest and most exotic foods online. Other supermarket chains like Whole Food and Costco are expanding their online presence hoping to lure convenience shoppers.

The trend in ecommerce business is sure to continue as the economy recovers and people have more income to spend on food. This also leaves the door open to culinary entrepreneurs who can sell hand-made, delicacies online. Food and ecommerce businesses is looking to be a great combination.

Political Ecommerce

ecommerce solutionsOnline political donations are reshaping both the ecommerce business world and the political world.

Part of Barak Obama’s 2008 success was his ability to use ecommerce solutions to raise political funds. In the years prior to the 2008 campaign, many politicians though the days of rounding up small donations of under 100$ were over. It simply was not time efficient to go door to door collecting money. This left politicians to exclusively court rich super donors and bundlers who could offer large sums. With online donation it become financially viable again to court working class people and have them donate as little $5 or $10.

Democrats aren’t the only ones cashing in on the trend. Rick Santorum saw millions of dollars flood his campaign after his February primary victories. Roughly 66% of this money came in checks for under $100.

Online political donation is the silver lining on the dark cloud that is political financing. Now that corporations can donate unlimited money through Super PACs online donation is one of the few egalitarian political systems left.

Donating to a candidate is as easy as buying something online. Just go to their website. Most will take credit cards, PayPal, and other online payment methods.

Pinterest is taking the world by storm. It seemed to pop up out of the blue just mere weeks ago and now there’s a waiting list just to get an account. Pinterest lets people “pin” things from around the web to one virtual board, making collages of things they like or collections of items that seem to go together, from as simple as piecing together an outfit to as large as planning a wedding theme. Everyone wants in on Pinterest. And what regular users don’t even realize is that they are essentially moving the wheels in this machine we called eCommerce.

People pin up things on their account that they love from a variety of stores and businesses, others see it and can choose to make purchases through it. The general internet populous is pushing products but don’t even realize it (or maybe they do, after all, a lot of people have brand loyalty and love to talk about companies they love).

Pinterest is gaining popularity so fast, it’s going to be the next major tab in blog posts and on ecommerce websites everywhere, right next to Facebook, Twitter and Digg.

A new study in the UK by Nielson Group has show than those who own tablets are more likely to make online purchases.  Out of 1,762 users,  40% of table users and 30% of smartphone users agreed that advertising is acceptable on their products. iPad users in particular seemed to more likely to purchase an item after they’ve seen it advertised on their tablet.

In general, tablets seem to be a great outlet for most ecommerce business. Since people seem to be more likely to be accepting of advertising, it’s a smart move for both current businesses and up and coming ones. And since people can order on the go, it helps bring up the count on impulse buys. The ease of ordering through a mobile device makes people more apt to just do it right then and there, instead of waiting to get home to their computers, where in that time they may change their mind on the purchase.

Chances are, even though this study was done in the UK, it can greatly apply to the United States as well. It should be something that all ecommerce websites  consider as part of their business ventures.

With the switch that Facebook is making in just a couple of days to their new layout, there could be great times ahead for ecommerce business. Due to the open nature of Timeline as well as the way Open Graph links people to a variety of internet uses, it could be a positive tool for a variety of ecommerce websites. Some programs will already be  supporting Open Graph, like Magneto.

Open Graph will let customers on Facebook easily mark items they want, already own, or are looking to definitely buy. It gives the companies information on what customers are looking for and leads more traffic from Facebook to them, which considering how many millions use the social networking site, is a pretty huge deal.

Timeline itself is helpful because in using Open Graph, that information will automatically get transferred to that user’s timeline put it on display much more prominently than the old ticker.

As an ecommerce website, you should be looking in to ways you can integrate yourself into these new changes to boost traffic to your site as well as use Facebook as a marketing tool for you and your products.

Bills Fight Ecommerce Tax Haven Status

More and more bills have been proposed and passed in the past couple of years, fighting ecommerce sites that do not charge tax on their items. Amazon.com is often the center of these battles, since they have offered tax free items to most states until these bills started changing that. Now not only does Amazon.com have to collect taxes in New York, Texas and  South Carolina, but Indiana as well by 2014.

Right now by federal law, retailers only have to collect tax in states they have a physical presence. Amazon now has a warehouse in Indiana, so collecting tax has become mandatory. It’s the reason why many ecommerce sites can offer their products tax free, though.

Of course, there are many people out there who want to change the law completely and make it mandatory for every online store to tax their items and there are plenty of sites who want to fight that change.

Would it necessarily deter people from buying online? Probably not, but it may disgruntle those of us who love to search for coupon codes just to get 10% off. So paying an extra few dollars on tax may not be the most embraced  change for online shoppers.

 

Everyone nowadays seems to have a smartphone. Even I, who avoided buying one for years, finally caved in over the summer of 2011 and bought an Android. And while it seems as though you might not need one if you have a computer, you’d be amazed at how much easier it makes things, including e-commerce.

Not only can you make purchases easily online, most of the time you don’t even have to open a web browser to do it. With apps coming out left and right for most major retailers (and even the smaller ones), you can use them to make purchases and store your information so it makes everything that much quicker. Probably a bad idea for the shop-a-holic, but over all a really convenient way of shopping online.

Some smartphones have capabilities to scan bar codes and make purchases on site for vending machines and specific brick and mortar stores.  So not only is it opening up the ability to buy online, but it’s making in person purchases that much easier as well.

Online Shopping App-Style

Online shopping is getting a whole lot of makeover. We thought it was convenient that sites like Amazon and eBay were created. After their big explosion in popularity big name companies re-worked all of their sites to make online shopping a priority. Nobody wants to trek all the way to the mall anymore when all you have to do is type,click, and checkout. It’s a testament to both our laziness and our ingenuity as a society.

Now with the advent of mobile devices we’re seeing this process evolve. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Target, and Starbucks jumped on the mobile app bandwagon. You can now access your accounts, add payment options, and order directly from your tablet or phone. You can be out on the go and still not have to set foot in a shop. So, even when you are outside being active you don’t have to participate in the madness that is in-store shopping. And, should you feel so inclined to head to the stores yourself you can download a bar code scanner to give you product details.

The items are delivered to your door within a few days time and you can get other chores done. Or, more than likely you’re getting leisure-time in the ever-expanding time gap. This is why we created the internet. To make our lives easier and so we relieve ourselves from the stresses of everyday shopping.

Online Shopping As Easy As 1-2-3

It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t enjoy the beauty and ease that is e-commerce. Shopping online is just so darn convenient and e-commerce sales continue to climb each year. Although tons of businesses offer online shopping, not every business is profiting from this new form of technology. Shopping online should be so easy that a small child could do it. Users want simplicity. They should be able to easily navigate your site and find what they’re looking for. Offer them multiple ways to browse and search. Products need be correctly categorized and it shouldn’t take a customer more than a few minutes to find it.

There always needs be a search bar for those of us who know exactly what we want. Each product should have plenty of pictures and a zoom option. I can’t hold this item in my hand so I want to know what every nook and cranny looks like. Descriptions need to be…well descriptive! I’ve seen too many websites that offer practically no information about the product. I don’t want to know just measurements and weight. I need to know how it was made, what features it has, everything I could possibly want to know about it. Customers don’t need a novel, but they do need relevant information that could push them along to make the purchase.

The bottom line is that you need a great website. Without one, customers will X out and find somewhere else to shop. Make web design a number one priority in your office.

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