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Choosing between a hosted or non-hosted shopping cart solution

For the longest time, the recommended approach to a shopping cart was to buy a script and host it yourself. The logic is simple when you own and run the shopping cart solution;you control all the aspects of both the experience and the outcome. Also, you would never be the victim of sudden price changes to a service. However, cloud and technology improvements mean the decision is no longer in favor of hosting the shopping cart yourself.

Here are three reasons why opinions have changed:

Cost – The most stable and secure online shopping systems charged a percentage of all sales. The percentage is small, but when taken from revenue, and not profit, it becomes difficult to sell any low margin products. Things have changed now with most providers offering excellent features on monthly subscriptions.

Tools – The look and feel of the site and store did not matter as much as they do now. Good design and flow can make a big difference to sales. These online providers now have amazing built-in tools to create websites and stores. Secure Net Shop, for example, has a website builder to create a simple website or a complete online store.

Setup – It was a given that you would need to hire someone with technical expertise to set up and configure the shopping cart. Modern systems are so simple that you can do everything yourself with easy user interfaces and tools. The only tedious part is when you enter all the product details, but even those have bulk import tools.

Four important factors when looking for an EDI solution

Written by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA

When it comes to choosing EDI services, the toughest point is when you begin evaluating options. A business needs scalable solutions that will allow them to grow and have the capacity to support that growth. The capacity, along with expertise should form the basis of your selection criteria. Also, here are four more factors that should play a role in your decision:

Transaction volume

The first step is to gather as much information about your organization as possible. The most important number is that of your monthly transactions. The count should include all documents sent and received in whatever form. In future, all this will be digital, but for the count, include all forms of communication. Now we know how many transactions we have, what sort of effect growth will have on those numbers.

Integration

Most organizations use some form of ERP software. The larger companies will use software like SAP, NetSuite while smaller outfits will have systems like BusinessByDesign. Ideally, the EDI outsource should integrate directly with your ERP and other in-house software, creating one seamless system. This way everything from reorders levels to order fulfillment to warehouse management will be seamless and error free.

Support

Lastly, look at their service and support offerings. If possible, ask for references and inquire about after-sales and other support including issue resolution and triage. Important business critical systems need top-level support in times of crisis.

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Not everyone needs millions of EDI transactions a month. Act Data is a provider of EDI services including web-based EDI solutions.

The number one way to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Written by Secure Net Shop

The high rate of shopping cart e-commerce abandonment is a big issue for online retailers. What many of these stores do not realize is that this is an opportunity to increase sales with just a few changes. With shopping cart abandonment as high at 75%, according to Listrak, this means that only one out of every four completes a purchase. Decreasing abandonment by 25% alone, will double sales. Here is the single change that will bring about the biggest reductions in abandonment:

Free shipping. According to Forrester, 44% of cart abandonment is due to shipping costs. It is the number one cause. Free shipping is available in many places, and customers have come to expect it from everywhere. Even if it involves increasing the price of the product, free shipping is the number one way to increase sales and reduce cart abandonment.

Sometimes there are scenarios where you cannot absorb the cost of free shipping, not can you absorb it into the cost of the product. In those situations, offer free shipping beyond a threshold and make it clear from the start. For example, you can offer free shipping for orders over a $100. E-commerce cart software support conditional free shipping.

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If you want to succeed at running an online business, you are going to need an online store. The commerce shopping cart sold by Secure Net Shop should be at the top of your list.

 

The opportunity benefits of EDI

Written by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA

Going ahead with an EDI implementation has many benefits. There are the strategic benefits such being able to adopt new business processes. Then there are the operational benefits such as cost reduction, elimination of human error and improved cash flow. One aspect that is often not given prominence are the opportunity benefits that EDI services can provide.

There are two primary opportunity benefits: Enhanced image and competitive edge.

Most organizations have to deal with customers one way or another. These customers can be end users and consumers or other businesses. Often customer service affects how the business is seen. The product can be robust, but if the customer service is sub-par then the company image suffers. This is where using an EDI provider comes in. It provides customer service agents or staff the ability, in real-time, to see the current state of an order. This allows them to provide the customer with an accurate estimation of completion.

Competitive edge follows a similar concept. Both the strategic and operational benefits of EDI directly affect the ability of the company to respond to market changes. Potential customers can be won over with the lower costs, accurate delivery estimates, and faster order completion. This competitive edge extends to all parts of the company: customer service, sales, marketing, and management.

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Act Data is an internet EDI provider for retail and supplier environments.

The benefits of using VANS for EDI

Written by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA

EDI is electronically communicating with business or trading partners. The most important component of that is the actual communication between the two parties. There were times when this was done by exchanging physical discs. Unsurprisingly this was found to be inefficient and communicating via data links was adopted.

There are two ways to use communication links to transfer the EDI data. The first is to use in-house links. The other is to use an EDI provider of a VAN, also known as a Value Added Network. There are some major benefits of using VANS over in-house links:

Connectivity

When using VANS, the only concern is the link between the organization and the VAN. Any compatibility issues with other partners is not a concern. It is also much easier to manage than individual links to multiple partners. The links between the VAN and the partner is their concern. The organization need only be concerned about the EDI services.

Security

Most of the information that occurs between business partners is confidential. VANS provide a high level of security. Not only is the communication password protected, but the actual arrangements to send and receive packets has to be set up in advance on both ends.

Audit

There are complete audit trails available for all transactions. Due to the electronic nature of the system, everything is just a click away. However, not all service providers have audit trails enabled. It should be one of the requirements when selecting VANS.

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Act Data is an internet EDI service bureau that provides EDI solutions and logistics standards implementation.

What Makes a Digital Wallet Quality?

A digital wallet is a piece of software that helps users move money using the Internet. Modern digital wallets utilize layers of encryption in order to ensure every transaction is private. This process is called “tokenization”, and it is used to make data anonymous and create a disposable session where the transaction can take place.

All that is useful, but it doesn’t help us understand how to shop for a great digital wallet. What qualities should you look for when you’re deciding where to store your money online? Here are some thoughts on what makes a quality digital wallet.

Basics

Stanford has some helpful ideas on what basics you should be looking for as a consumer. The best digital wallets are extensible, meaning they can handle any of the payment methods you may choose to use at a given moment. Vendors also shouldn’t be able to initiate transactions without your explicit say-so, thus making security extremely important.

Low fees are another great quality to look for, and those are achieved by re-using the same technology. You’ll never get a behind-the-scenes peak at this portion, so shop around for the lowest fees you can find.

And finally, Stanford concludes that digital wallets should be able to run on any device. You shouldn’t need your PC to complete a transaction, especially since smartphone adoption rates are rising.

Other Qualities

Other qualities to look for include discounts and special offers. More digital wallets are working directly with retailers to make sure they offer personalized discounts to customers using these payment methods.

Avoid Scams When You Shop Online

Shopping online is becoming more and more popular, especially with the convenience of smartphones and tablets. When looking for online shopping deals, consumers often turn to less traditional websites that they might not be familiar with because they advertise prices at largely reduced rates when compared to large retailers. This method can be disastrous if you’re not careful.

Avoid scams when shopping online by implementing the following tips:

Only Shop Securely

One of the most important factors to consider when discount shopping is whether or not you’re using a secure website.

Secure websites will always start with “https” instead of just “http”. The additional “s” at the end signifies that the website uses an SSL certificate to ensure that your information is being protected when you shop and when you check out.

Read Reviews of eCommerce Stores First

If you plan on shopping at an eCommerce store that you’ve never heard of before, try to locate customer reviews first. They’ll tell you whether or not the website is a scam, how good the customer service is, and what type of quality you can expect from the products.

Online stores that have mostly negative reviews should be avoided at all costs.

Stay Clear of Rock Bottom Deal Websites

It might be tempting to buy a purse for $50 from a discount website that normally costs $1,000, but in most cases, you’ll either be buying a fake or you won’t receive anything at all.

Deals that sound too good to be true probably are!

 

 

Basic Safety Practices for Digital Wallets

If you want to keep your digital devices, and any digital wallets, safe from harm you first need to understand what’s actually at stake. Then you can formulate a plan, and a backup plan to deal with the rare scenarios that might not ever happen. Here are some of the basic principles people need to be aware of when they use digital wallets.

Encryption

Most people don’t understand that the device itself encrypts the data you’re sending. A few years ago, a new technology known as “Near Field Communication” was put into use that allowed phones to wirelessly communicate payment data from device-to-device. NFC is a protocol, or a method of communicating, that both encrypts and protects any data sent with it.

The device takes care of this on its own, without any required user input.

Account Security

There are two fundamental flaws in digital wallets. The first is a weak password used to protect your initial account. The best method to protect your account is fairly simple: use a stronger password. There are a variety of methodologies behind coming up with a good password, so you can pick and choose the one you like best. The key is to store those passwords securely. There are a variety of plugins for most browsers that do this for you, but you can use password protection apps to safeguard your information as well.

The second security flaw is device security. Most of us keep our phones fairly guarded, but we still lose them from time to time. There is also physical theft of a device to contend with. The best solutions to these challenges, again, come down to users utilizing stronger passwords and security measures to protect their devices.

Each wallet is persistent, meaning it follows the user from one device to another. If your device breaks, or it’s stolen, you can simply lock the account remotely and recover your credentials on a new device.

Using pop-ups to improve sales and conversions

Written by Secure Net Shop

Have you thought about using pop ups on your shopping cart e-commerce website to boost sales, and then been scared that it might remind users of spammy sites?

There is no need for concern, here are several major brands that use pop-ups in their shopping carts and other parts of the website to good effect:

Amazon – amazon.com uses a popup as soon as you load the site to encourage you to sign in. Thanks to the wealth of information they have about you, that is the starting point for recommendations, suggestions, and reminders.

McDonald’s – Since the primary motivation is to get you to enter of their restaurants, the popup on the website asks for your location. From then onwards the menu etc can be tailored to what is available locally along with suggestions of which branch to visit.

Kellog’s – This is a lightbox popup, which darkens the page and gets the user focused on the popup. In this case, it is to encourage visitors to sign up for Family rewards for coupons and special offers.

Colgate – Much like Kellog’s, there is an immediate lightbox which asks for an email address in exchanges for special offers and expert advice.

Pinterest – If you don’t have an account or not logged in to Pinterest, you will see a popup that takes over the page. You cannot see the content or proceed until you have either signed in or signed up.

 

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Sell goods or services from your website with shopping cart systems from Secure Net Shop