Interview: Thinking of Migrating from Magento to Shopify? What You Need to Know

So your growing e-Commerce store has been a little clunky lately and a move might be in order. While replatforming is imminent and you’ve done your research, you’re still a bit unsure of a few things and that’s stopping you from taking the plunge. 

We sat down with our resident Shopify Certified Expert, Yuvraj Rao, as he clarified some of the many migration perks and pitfalls that affect your e-commerce growth. He’s worked with some of the biggest e-commerce retail brands in Australia, and as a senior programmer, has deep technical knowledge when working with complex databases and applications typical of e-commerce sites.

In your view, what are the key differences between Magento and Shopify and why would anybody choose them?

One of the key differences between the two platforms is that Shopify is a cloud based hosted solution, while Magento is a self-hosted solution. Since Shopify is a hosted solution, there is no extra effort or cost is required from you to maintain or update the solution. Your monthly Shopify fee should take care of it.  Magento is free to install but you are required to pay for hosting and frequent Magento updates. In most cases applying updates is very complicated and requires a professional team.

Self-hosting is quite an undertaking, I would imagine. And particularly if your business grows! Because you’ve got to scale up your hosting as your business grows, right?

Absolutely! Self-hosted solutions can be tricky when it comes to backing your day-to-day operations. For any low to medium traffic stores, regular hosting might be OK. However, in promotional events like Black Friday where you are expecting heavy traffic, it is crucial to have a proper server infrastructure backing your site. With Shopify, since it is a hosted solution, it has  bandwidth to scale as per traffic giving you a surety that the website will be up and serving during crazy times. Take 2012 Click Frenzy for example – it was the first time a one day promotional event of this scale was introduced in Australia, and many businesses did not anticipate it to be the huge success that it was. With all the PR and heavy marketing leading up to the event, on the day Clickfrenzy experienced a huge jump in traffic. Many big brand websites couldn’t handle this surge in  traffic and were brought down throughout the promotional period. In the meanwhile websites which had proper server infrastructure came out on top and took the lion’s share of the promotional traffic and sales

What other things are there that business-owners should know about or take account of when they consider these two options?

Between the two, Magento is a more senior system. It’s powerful, and gives you creative freedom through code. For example, you can have a custom checkout experience for your customer, whereas on Shopify you may not be able to do the same. However, Shopify can easily adapt to 90% of businesses with a retail component and provide a smooth and sophisticated system with proper business process flow. Another thing to consider is data analytics, which lets you know how your users are behaving and performing different actions across your site. The level of insight you get from Shopify is more in-depth compared to Magento -it can even detect the exact point at which a customer chooses to abandon their shopping cart – without having to plug in different components, which you would need to do with Magento. 

Sounds like Magento’s got a lot of base capability, but anything beyond that would then be coming from third party plug-ins. Whereas with Shopify, a lot more is coming squarely with the product?

Correct! For instance, if you are running a trophy business and each trophy needs to be customised before it can be purchased, Magento provides the capability to customise the ecommerce store as per your business needs. In this case, you can achieve a better user experience on Magento than Shopify. But if your business doesn’t require that level of custom user experience then Shopify would be able to tick most of the boxes. 

Even retail giant JB Hi-Fi recently migrated to Shopify (7th biggest retailer in Australia) and experienced a 18% uplift in online sales since replatforming – Shopify Plus migration was mentioned in their 2020 shareholder notes as a key area of focus for the year. I would say one of the reasons big retailers are choosing Shopify Plus is for its ability to identify and profile a customer. From my experience Shopify trumps Magento in that sense. It gives you that data from the get-go and it’s way more customer-centric, with so many different components and plugins available to scale your e-Commerce growth. Particularly when it comes to personalizing e-mail newsletter campaigns around customer segments on your website! Magento can achieve this too, but it’s more labour-intensive and requires heavy programming knowledge and a team of skilled experts.

So I’d imagine there are people who might think Magento is better and vice versa for Shopify, right? What would be the things that a business owner, or a business operator, need to be mindful of when they’re thinking about migrating?

Definitely. The Shopify vs Magento comparison will always be there when it comes to the evaluation of switching platforms. 

Behind every successful ecommerce store migration there is a proper business requirement scoping involved. If you are thinking of migrating from one platform to another then you must think about first going through a business scoping process with your team. This allows you to evaluate platforms from the perspective of what is the best fit for your business needs and allows you to plan the migration comprehensively. If you are migrating from Magento to Shopify, then it is logical to have all your Customers, Orders, Coupons and other historical data migrated too. 

I see. So eCommerce businesses should do a very proper audit of what their capabilities are first then figure out how it’s going to move or if it’s even capable of migrating?

Exactly! Proper planning with a platform migration expert experienced in both platforms will give you the clarity you need. So you can make a solid decision that you won’t regret in a few months.

What are some of the mistakes that people who do a migration fall into?

One of the best examples I can give is the data migration. There are instances where you migrated platforms but didn’t migrate any of your orders. Or say, on Magento, you were given a $50 voucher code that was never migrated to Shopify. So when a customer gets to the website only to find that the voucher code has stopped working –  that’s a really negative experience. Ensuring that customer orders, loyalty points – basically someone’s entire transaction history with your business – needs to be migrated to the new platform so you can preserve the same customer experience.

So is that something the typical e-Commerce business owner can tackle in-house?

To save yourself significant time and any room for error, I would recommend a professional’s take for the analytical process like migration – a component that’s often overlooked. That’s when someone with strong business acumen, combined with a deep understanding of both platforms and technical expertise can tell what data needs to be migrated. A tactical plan with a strong grasp of the kind of data that should be stored and migrated comes with experience. 

So an online business owner who is looking to migrate may potentially miss a few things because they lack the experience to do so?

Yeah, they could end up stuck in a hole with bits and pieces that didn’t migrate and being able to move backwards or forwards in the process. To start with, e-Commerce platform migration requires programmatical knowledge. So a lot would be missing without it. Off-the-shelf tools aren’t enough and a series of testing and discretion is required. In real life, it’s unimaginable to move your entire business without first checking if the new place is a good fit, making sure that there’s functioning equipment and ticking off a checklist to make sure that all utilities are up and running – moving an online business requires the same care, with a lot more moving parts and accuracy at stake I’d say. 

So, in your experience, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve seen eCommerce business owners make?

One of the biggest mistakes is when customer accounts go missing or weren’t migrated over. Another instance is failing to record customers who had active accounts or placed an order just before the migration occurred. If those transactions get lost, you could end up not fulfilling the active order and realise it only when a customer complains.  I have also seen many store owners do not opt for the migration process because it adds more time and money to the project. The way I see it,  not migrating data over to a new platform is very costly and time consuming exercise. If your past customers have to call you to inquire about their lost data , it is a cost to the business as the customer service team will have to spend time investigating and responding accordingly. 

So, what does it take to make the entire shift seamlessly?

So every migration has a dry run, sort of like a dress rehearsal. We migrate once, see how it’s mapping the data, make sure all the necessary data is migrated, then we get the confirmation. A migration plan follows where we migrate all the completed cancel data which is less of a priority but still important. Just before we go live, we migrate the transactional data, incremental data from that point onwards to make things smoother and faster

Ok, so how would this ultimately benefit an e-Commerce business looking to migrate?

A great part of this is that we have extensive hands-on expertise when dealing with a large amount of data. We know the level of detail and understanding required for everything to be mapped comprehensively. This level of experience is quite rare in most digital marketing agencies. Having a deep understanding of both Magento and Shopify is one of our key strengths because we’ve had great opportunities to build stores on both platforms from scratch. Plus we’re stickler for details. We developed our planning process unique to our experience and provides a really thorough analysis that mitigates risk. This helps clients understand the outcome so there wouldn’t be any surprises.

Sounds like the level of insight and details have resulted in some very happy clients!

Haha, yeah! We’re super fortunate, and really thankful to be able to help our clients in a thorough way. Seeing that we’ve been a part of their growth makes me really proud.

Get your Shopify Migration consultation today

Book a free Strategy Session with a certified Shopify Partner.

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Woocommerce vs Shopify Ongoing Costs Comparison [2020 Update]

Currently evaluating whether you should make the move from Shopify to Woocommerce? To help clear things up from a financial standpoint, we put together a comparison table of ongoing costs between the two platforms.

There are few things to consider when making a decision to migrate platforms, one of them being the difference in ongoing costs. You might be thinking, WordPress is free, right? While Shopify charges a monthly fee and takes a % of store earnings.

Not quite.

To clear up these misconceptions, our team has put together a detailed side-by-side cost breakdown between Woocommerce & Shopify to keep you best informed on the financial aspects of your decision.

Woocommerce vs Shopify Ongoing Costs Comparison Table

Notes:

  1. $ amounts are AUD unless indicated otherwise
  2. WordPress Fees are industry average based on comparative specifications

WordPress + Woocommerce Shopify $29USD/month plan recommended Shopify $79USD/month plan
Monthly Fees $0 $29USD $79USD
Web Hosting with CDN (Cloud Delivery Network) $50-90 per month
SSL $50-200 per annum
Web Maintenance (Platform & Plugin Updates) $99-$300 per month
KnownPaid Plugins E.g. Advanced versions of Yoast SEO or WooCommerce Many free and out of the box features to use. For Paid Shopify plugin, majority charge a monthly fee, and are fully maintained
Payment Gateway Fees PayPal
Australian2.6% + $0.30
International/Amex3.6% + fixed fee

Stripe
Australian1.75% + $0.30
International/Amex2.9% + fixed fee

AfterPay ~5% seller fee

ZipPay ~2-4% + $0.15
Shopify Payments (includes Apple Pay Google Pay)
Australian1.75% + 30¢
International/Amex2.9% + 30¢

PayPal, AfterPay, ZipPay No additional fees
Other payment gateways Additional 2% Fees
Shopify Payments (includes Apple Pay Google Pay)
Australian1.6% + 30¢
International/Amex2.8% + 30¢

PayPal, AfterPay, ZipPay No additional fees
Other payment gateways Additional 1% Fees

Detailed Shopify Fee Pricing – https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ztk3eFtZrLeHGB5C_s1VDS5CIgFKaFFrKybyfVhSYY/edit?usp=sharing

PayPal Fees – https://www.paypal.com/au/webapps/mpp/paypal-seller-fees

Stripe Fees – https://stripe.com/au/pricing

In summary, with what you get within Shopify’s monthly fees, the equivalent WordPress + Woocommerce option ends up becoming a lot costlier. 

The difference with WooCommerce is that a lot of these costs are hidden. For example, the % payment fees would have been charged out at similar rates through the payment gateways installed on WooCommerce. Without seeing the full cost picture, a lot of business owners make the wrong decision thinking it was cheaper to go with the WooCommerce option, giving up all the other benefits you get out of Shopify on this basis. We hope this pricing research keeps you better informed when evaluating your options.

Get your Shopify consultation today

Book a free Strategy Session with a certified Shopify Partner.

Enquire Now

20+ Shopify Apps To Boost Your E-Commerce Store in 2020

Shopify is a great starting point if you are new to eCommerce and launching your own products. With over a 1,000,000 businesses in 175 countries, Shopify provides undeniable reliability to you and your customers. The Shopify App store is where you go next after starting your store. This is where you will collections of useful add-ons for your business and digital marketing needs.

This can be daunting at first, but we have hand-picked 22 apps from Email Marketing, Product Recommendations, Social Media Marketing to Countdown Timers that have reliable support, easy to use and mostly free.

  1. Free Shipping Bar
  2. Wishlist Plus
  3. Instant Search +
  4. LimeSpot Personalizer
  5. Personalised Recommendations
  6. SEO Site Audit, Benchmark Hero
  7. Facebook Shop Channel
  8. Instagram Channel
  9. Facebook Chat Box – Live Chat
  10. Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads
  11. AfterShip
  12. Shipway
  13. Instafeed
  14. Email Template Creator
  15. Seguno: Email Marketing
  16. Yotpo: Product & Photo Review
  17. Swell Loyalty & Rewards
  18. Weglot
  19. Ultimate Countdown Timer
  20. Easy GDPR + Cookie Bar
  21. Superchargify – AMP + PWA

1. Free Shipping Bar

Free Shipping Bar displays your free shopping offer in a slide out and customizable bar. It is configurable for display in different pages and auto- detect visitors local currencies and convert the free shipping amount with real-time exchange rates. Responsive for all screens, you can edit your message with emojis and add curated bar background images to increase more conversions.

2. Wishlist Plus

Wishlist Plus offers shoppers the option to bookmark their favorite items and pick up where they left off when they return. Shoppers can save their items without login required and receive nudges such as ‘low in stock’ or ‘price dropped’ for favorited products. A great app to bring shoppers back into your store.

3. InstantSearch+

Search is an important tool that many eCommerce stores overlook, and with InstantSearch+, you can take a smarter approach to AI-based Search to significantly boost conversion. Equipped with Mobile Search, Instant Search & Autocomplete, Typo & Autocorrection and many more InstantSearch+ also provides insightful search analytics to what your customers are looking for.

4. LimeSpot Personalizer

For a more personalized or customer-tailored eCommerce store, LimeSpot Personalizer provides product recommendations and cross-sells across the web, mobile and ad channels. Customize product layouts with the Visual Editor and run A/B/n Test to improve performances of pages. You will be able to track your ROI with real-time analytics from the efficiency and performance of each recommended placement on every page.

5. Personalized Recommendations

Another great personalization app is Personalized Recommendations that adds common product upsells such as Related Products and Frequently Bought Together. Extra features include Email Recommendations with Mailchimp or Klaviyo, and Analytics dashboard to track your sales.

6. SEO Site Audit, Benchmark Hero

With SEO Site Audit, Benchmark Hero you will have a complete and detailed site audit that will give you a deeper understanding to why your site is not generating the traffic you think it should. With each segment, the system will guide you through actionable items to improve your store’s performance.

7. Facebook Shop Channel

Do you want to reach more shoppers from Facebook? With Facebook Shop Channel, you can create collections and post on your Facebook timeline. With this seemless integration, you can manage, track and fulfill orders placed on Facebook.

8. Instagram Channel

With Instagram Channel, you can place your products on Instagram by way of photo tagging. You will be able to tag up to 5 products per photo and let shoppers checkout without leaving Instagram. To further the reach of your products, you can also use Instagram’s sponsored post ads.

9. Facebook Chat Box – Live Chat

Facebook Chat Box – Live Chat is a great way to provide quick customer service when a customer is browing through your website. This integration allows you to set up greeting messages and automatic response time, thereby enhancing customer experience. The app is a great way in improving your business and better understand your customers.

10. Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads

Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads integrates with Shopify with Socioh’s Branded Catalogs to add customization for your product advertising on Facebook and Instagram. With 100s of themed templates, you can add discount information, logo and relevant details all within minutes.

11. AfterShip – Track & Notify

AfterShip keeps your customers updated with their orders through an intuitive, customized tracking page and automated notification. AfterShip has over 450+ carriers covered and features a free sales tool – Automizely to add more sales and conversions to your business.

12. Shipway – Shipment Tracking

Shipway is another alternative to AfterShip with great tracking features. Customers can track shipment status of their order on your website and show shipment status details in real-time. After a successful sale, get order reviews and feedback from your customers to improve your store.

13. Instafeed – Instagram Feed

Instafeed is a great way to create social proof by displaying custom shoppable Instagram feeds on your Shopify store. You can display instagram content with tagged products on your posts, which will drive fresh new content to your store. Fully responsive, you can filter posts by way of hashtags and post up to 3 multiple feeds (Instagram Biz).

14. Email Template Creator

Email Template Creator makes designing emails easy with beautiful templates to choose from that you can tailor to your unique brand. The emails are mobile optimized and you can set personalized campaigns with up to 500 emails per month.

15. Seguno: Email Marketing

Seguno makes email marketing easier by integrating with the Shopify admin, mobile app and Marketing section. Optimize your automated emails with a pre-built library of automated touchpoints such as welcome, new purchaser, abandoned checkout and discount reminder. Track your ROI with detailed conversion reports which tracks the sales from your emails.

16. Yotpo: Product & Photo Reviews

Yotpo has been used by leading brands for review collection such as product reviews, ratings, site reviews and photo reviews. With Yotpo, you can build a powerful brand community and drive high-intent traffic by displaying ratings in organic search results with Google Ads.

17. Swell Loyalty & Rewards

Swell Loyalty & Rewards helps you build a loyalty and rewards program through repeat purchases, referrals and social engagement. Easy to use and fully customizable, grow your revenue through repeat customers as they are often likely to spend up to ten times more per transaction than first-time visitors.

18. Weglot

Translate your store easily with Weglot, and expand your customers from around the world. Weglot detects and translates all your content in any language and provides a unique dashboard to easily edit translation or order professional translations.

19. ULTIMATE Countdown Timer

ULTIMATE Countdown Timer provides a real time countdown timer for sales promotions, limited time offers and product launches. With 20+ customizable themes, you will be able to schedule start and end dates and times quickly with ease.

20. Easy GDPR + Cookie Bar

Easy GDPR + Cookie Bar helps your store stay compliant and possibly from data breaches by a fully featured GDPR compatible cookie banner. You will also get a Privacy policy template and allow your customers to modify their private data rights with ease.

21. Superchargify – AMP + PWA

Superchargify bring AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and PWA (Progressive Web Application) to your Shopify store which boosts page loads and google search rankings. With PWA, your customers can now install your store as an app on their Android or iOS phone with preloading capabilities.


If you would like to learn more on how Shopify Plus can convert more customers to your business, contact us and our team will provide the right solution to your needs.

Social Media and Content Marketing Case Study: Stylerunner

Stylerunner is an Australian online business specialising in women’s activewear. In the past three years, it has seen sales figures skyrocket, growing by a whopping 1736%. This is supremely impressive considering Australia’s limited market, and even more so when you consider that Stylerunner was launched in October 2012, and was a two-person operation. In the five years since, they have become the #1 women’s sportswear store in Australia (Stylerunner now have 64.1% of all online activewear sales in Australia).

Immediately, what is most familiar to most visitors on Stylerunner is its unassuming, almost typical e-commerce store layout. This goes to show, simply, that having a fancy and unique design is often not necessary for success. Much of Stylerunner’s success has been attributed to their clever social media and content marketing strategies, over more “traditional” aspects of digital marketing. In this article, we’ll further explore this strategy Stylerunner employs.

A Strong Social Media Presence

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.27.01 PM-min

In a short amount of time, Stylerunner has amassed 549k followers on Instagram, and 47k likes on Facebook. This is a staggering social media following, but it also begs the question: how did they get there?

Unsurprisingly, founder Julie Stevanja asserts that Stylerunner’s success is largely attributed to a building a strong social media presence early. At this time of writing, their Instagram account has over 12,000 photos uploaded – for its five years that its been around, this would mean that they have uploaded an average of six pictures a day. This is no mean feat when you think about it: a quick glance through their Instagram reveals that each picture posted is high-quality and purposefully crafted for their target audience. This success from their Instagram marketing plan is apparent when you see that Stylerunner’s posts often enjoys a high level of engagement from their followers.

Indeed, Stylerunner’s Instagram feed functions like a “mood board” of sorts, where appealing pictures are curated from different products and brands. This meticulously created Instagram feed is a great way to entice their target market into purchases, and also establishes them as authorities in the women’s activewear market.

Building Relationships with Influencers

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 4.50.00 PM

Stylerunner is known to consistently maintain their relationship with influencers on Instagram by gifting them with free products or by reposting their fitness photos. This further solidifies Stylerunner’s position as a leading destination for women’s activewear, and also extends their reach with the support of influencers. In many cases, Stylerunner does not even pay for these “partnerships”. They simply repost pictures of their customers who use the hashtag #Stylerunner or have the official Stylerunner account tagged in their photos. This means promotion is essentially free – many Instagram users are more than happy to use hashtags if it gives them a chance to be “featured” on a popular social media feed.

As Daniel Wellington has showed, a solid influencer marketing strategy is essential in many markets today – with the help of influencers, their business grew to $220M in revenue in just a year. Influencer marketing is especially important when you are in niches such as, but not limited to: Fashion, Grooming & Beauty, Sports, and Hobbies. However, it would be wise to exercise a degree of caution when utilising influencer marketing, as guidelines for transparency are much more stringent today than they used to be.

A Dedicated Content Marketing Plan

Triple-White is Stylerunner’s online magazine, dedicated to fitness, fashion, health and beauty, and tech. Stylerunner has created an entirely different domain for their content marketing efforts. With the wide range of topics and substantial content on the website, it is easy to see the aggressive content marketing strategy at play. The site also serves as an effective sales funnel – articles on fitness and fashion frequently promote products sold on Stylerunner.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 1.56.30 PM

In addition to these style and fitness topics, Triple-White also dedicates a fraction of their writers’ efforts on healthy recipes, tech gadgets and apps, celebrity interviews and their workout routines. Writing about these topics do not usually allow for promotion of their activewear products, but they do it nonetheless. The reasons for doing so are simple. Writing about a wide range of topics that appeal to your target demographic helps in many ways:

  • Generating organic search traffic from long-tail keywords, and consequently, traffic to Stylerunner (via sales funnels)
  • Establishing Stylerunner as an authority site for activewear, style and fitness, and health – in the same demographic
  • Generating traffic via social media shares and likes, with the potential for good content to go viral

If you do not already have one, a content marketing plan is absolutely essential for e-commerce, for the reasons listed above.

Conclusion

Often, it can be too easy to get caught up in SEO/SEM strategies, and on-page optimisation in order to generate traffic and revenue. While they should still be the bread and butter of any e-Commerce business, it could be worthwhile to implement a highly aggressive social media and content marketing strategy. One of the main benefits is that this could greatly boost your  brand name and recognition much more effectively than SEO-related plansm which tend to have you aiming for product or industry-related keywords. When you have a brand name as recognisable as Stylerunner, you no longer have to worry about being at the mercy of Google and their ever vacillating search algorithm.

Interested in implementing a digital marketing strategy for your e-Commerce business? Web Design Market has all you need to succeed in the ever-changing digital landscape. Contact us today for a free quote!

Amazon is coming to Australia: Five tips to prepare your business

With plans to begin operating in Australia by the end of 2018, Amazon’s arrival heralds a new era for Australian e-commerce and retail. Long established as an e-Commerce juggernaut, Amazon’s instantly recognisable brand name and their formidable logistics abilities are expected to pose a major threat to many retail stalwarts in Australia – household names such as Woolworths, Myer, Coles and Kmart are all gearing up for battle. It is clear that the majority of brick-and-mortar retailers in Australia will be feeling the brunt of Amazon’s arrival  – with retail sales projected to experience a significant decline in the coming years. However, what is less certain is how Amazon will affect the e-commerce landscape in Australia.

At Web Design Market, we are dedicated to helping our clients grow and expand their businesses on the online front. Amazon’s expansion Down Under will no doubt change our clients’ businesses in many ways. This article therefore serves to help business owners understand the impact of Amazon’s arrival, and also how they can prepare for a more competitive online retail landscape.

Understanding the Amazon Threat

AmazonThreat

Currently, many Australian businesses are either unaware, or unfazed by Amazon. In Commonwealth Bank’s recent Retail Insights report, it was found that only 70% of retailers were aware of Amazon’s plans for Australian expansion. Of this 70%, only 14% had a strategy ready for the challenge ahead of them; this means that less than 10% of retailers in Australia are adequately prepared!

This is very worrying when you consider the changes that are likely to come about as a result of Amazon’s arrival. To put the threat into perspective, let’s look at some facts and figures. Market research by Slice Intelligence has shown that Amazon is absolutely dominating the online retail market in the United States: In 2016, a whopping 43% of all online retail sales were done via Amazon –  total net sales of $136 billion in 2016.  And that’s just in the United States.

In Germany, Amazon’s second largest market, retailers such as Zalando and Otto are now far behind while Amazon holds 13.1% of the e-commerce share. German retailer Otto now comes in second, with just 3.8% of the e-commerce market share.

As a consultant for Amazon Australia was recently overheard saying, “[Amazon is] going to destroy the retail environment in Australia“. As brash as that statement sounds, how true is it? What, exactly, would happen to the Australian retail and e-commerce landscape when Amazon arrives? Analysts and experts can only predict the full extent of the impact, but here are some things we are certain of.

1. Prices will fall

Amazon’s arrival means that many products will become cheaper. We expect Amazon to undercut local retailers for their products – as they have been known to do so in the past. The online giant will no doubt be willing to post losses in exchange for gaining a foothold in market share, which will also likely lead to price cuts at other retailers as they try to stay competitive.

2. Expectations for shipping and order fulfilment will change

Amazon is known for its Prime service – with free shipping on millions of items that can be as fast as two hours to certain locations. This will make a massive difference in the expectations of consumers in retail. Amazon’s supply chain management and level of automation in their logistic systems is unparalleled – smaller businesses in Australia may soon find it hard to compete with Amazon for Prime products that customers can receive on the same day, and with free shipping.

3. Organic search traffic will be ‘siphoned’ by Amazon

The Amazon domain name is one of the most trusted and authoritative on the internet. Amazon’s arrival means that smaller, newer e-Commerce retailers will suddenly have to compete with a website that dominates organic search results on Google. For local e-Commerce businesses, this can be very worrying, especially if they do not have a solid SEO/AdWords strategy in place. Many businesses may see a dip in organic traffic with Amazon dominating the front page of Google.

Five Tips to Help You Compete with Amazon

With the three points outlined above, it is not hard to see how many Australian businesses will struggle under Amazon’s enormous power. However, there are certainly effective strategies that business owners can put together at the moment that may allow them to maintain their competitiveness. These are five actionable strategies that we would recommend to all e-Commerce businesses in Australia. These five strategies will help you start preparing for Amazon’s inevitable arrival such that you won’t be severely affected when the time comes.

1. Create an Amazon Seller account

AmazonFBA

As the adage goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Amazon’s arrival is bound to create some tough competition, so why not start selling your products with them? Amazon’s Seller program makes logistics a breeze. The Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program gives sellers the ability to ship their products to a fulfilment center, where Amazon will handle shipping, tracking, and returns. This may mean lower overheads for you, since Amazon will most likely be able to fulfil orders at much lower shipping rates. Products sold through the FBA program also have free Prime shipping, which is enticing to customers shopping on Amazon.

In addition, selling your products on Amazon means a much greater exposure to your target markets. Amazon’s global reach means that your product can easily be introduced to a global market.

2. Focus on building relationships with customer service

CustomerService

Amazon is a massive corporation, and its size and scale means that they are unable to provide personalised customer service. There is bound to be a more corporate, robotic feel to their customer support. What a smaller business can do, then, is strengthen their brand identity by creating meaningful customer relationships. There are many ways to do this, and some creativity may be required, but one actionable task that every business can start with is to improve communication via social media channels: respond quickly to customer enquiries, and keep your customer base in the loop with updates, promotions, and deals.

Businesses should now focus on going above and beyond in customer service – overdelivering on their promises. Stellar customer service and a strong brand identity are essential to creating an audience of loyal customers. Ultimately, this will help you stay competitive with Amazon more than anything else. Loyal customers purchase directly from you, and are also likely to spread positive word-of-mouth if they’ve had a good shopping experience. A smaller business with a reputation for fantastic customer support is likely to stick in consumers’ minds. The key here is to ensure that your customers feel like you care about them as a brand. A commonly-known fact is that customer retention is often much more profitable and cost-effective than customer acquisition, so keep this very important point in mind.

3. Create and market a customisable product

CreateProduct

Something as simple as engraving your customer’s name on your product could be enough to keep them from jumping over to Amazon. Allowing your customers to customise and personalise your products is a great way to differentiate yourself from other competitors in your niche. Introducing personalised products have proved to be an effective strategy for boosting sales, and your customers are much more likely to recommend your products to their friends and family because of the “uniqueness” that your brand offers. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to push your customers in the right direction – encourage them to share their customised products. You should also consider having “templates” set up for customisation, as it may be less daunting to a customer if they don’t have to create an entire design from scratch.

An under-looked benefit of introducing personalised items in your niche is that you can often glean valuable insights on consumer preferences – for example, if a particular colour combination for your customisable dress-shirts is doing especially well, you may consider introducing it as a mainstay in your product line.

4. Become an “authority” in your niche with content and email marketing

ContentMarketing

One thing that Amazon lacks is dominance over niche markets. Their strategy of dominating the entire online retail space means that they will never be considered a premier/specialised retailer for any specific type of product. This is where you can come in: users who tend to make more careful purchase decisions would prefer to buy from a specialised website with good product recommendations and a wide selection. Therefore, by focusing on your specific niche and providing relevant and valuable content, you can establish thought leadership that will pay dividends in the long run. Content marketing is especially effective in this regard; for example, you can provide value to your audience on your social media channels by sharing informative and relevant content. We would also suggest incorporating other tasks in your content marketing strategies, such as writing regular blog posts, creating infographics and editorials, and regular email newsletters packed with interesting and creative content. Remember to show off your expertise in your field/market, and your brand could potentially go viral with the right content.

By establishing yourself as an authority in your niche, you can build a loyal online following that will trust your product selection and recommendations, and also return to you for repeat purchases.  Here are some examples of successful content marketing campaigns that may give you some ideas.

5. Offer free shipping and attractive promotions

FreeShipping

This last tip is the most obvious, but should not be underestimated. Many argue that free shipping is essential to surviving in today’s online retail environment – if you do not offer free shipping on all or selected products on your e-commerce site, you may quickly find throngs of online customers moving on to a platform that does – case in point, Amazon.

However, we understand that this is not suited to all businesses. Perhaps you have products that are costly to ship. You can still adapt, however, by providing attractive discounts and deals, or by offering super-speedy shipping. The key here is to provide massive savings or value that you think would be enough to retain customers.

Conclusion

To the average business owner, it may be very daunting and scary knowing that Amazon’s arrival in Australia will bring about massive changes. However, we strongly believe that a solid marketing plan can overcome many of the challenges ahead. We hope that this article has helped you better understand the threats many businesses are about to face, and how they can adapt to it. This article was not intended to be the be-all-end-all of competing with Amazon, but rather, a quick primer on the many strategies that businesses can explore to strengthen their brand in the face of an e-commerce Goliath.

In this regard, Web Design Market can certainly help with your digital marketing strategies; we have proven results from a large variety of clients. Contact us today for a free quote!

AfterPay, zipPay, zipMoney, OpenPay, Sezzle: Choosing the Right “Buy Now, Pay Later” Program for Your Online Business

With the recent introduction of “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) solutions in Australia, many businesses are now scrambling to integrate these programs with their online front. While these services can be very beneficial for increasing sales revenue, there are now enough options out there that merchants can be confused as to which would best integrate with their business. This article will analyse the different “buy now, pay later” programs that are currently operating in Australia, with a detailed breakdown of each service.

Why integrate “Buy Now, Pay Later” services? 

Layby payment options have existed for a long time in brick-and-mortar stores, but this often carries significant risk for the retailer. This is where BNPL services come in: companies such as ZipPay provide customers with an alternative payment option: they can decide to pay for their online purchases over a period of time. For example, with AfterPay, customers pay with fortnightly instalments. These services are usually integrated with your online store, with the option to use them at checkout.

The main benefit of such services is that they have the potential to substantially increase your sales revenue. As has been the case since the advent of e-Commerce, the more checkout options are available to the customer, the better your web conversion rates will be. Compounding on this simple reason is the fact that these new BNPL payment options can lead to a significant difference in a customer’s purchase decision – many merchants who have integrated AfterPay have seen an increase in their Average Order Value. At the same time, these service providers take on the risk for the timed payments, and charge the merchant a small fee for their trouble.

Afterpay vs zipPay vs zipMoney vs OpenPay vs Sezzle

With that in mind, now comes the tricky part for many merchants: deciding which service to use. Understanding the pros and cons of each service is crucial, as each service has differences that make the choice significant enough to affect your online business.

 At the moment, there are five companies offering Buy Now, Pay Later solutions in Australia:

Afterpay

Afterpay-logo-v3

Afterpay gives customers the option to pay two weeks later, and in four fortnightly instalments – the first instalment payment is immediate for first-time users and for orders amounting to $500 or more. Instalments are charged directly to the customer’s credit/debit card, and Afterpay charges a $10 late fee for instalments unpaid.

 

Integration

Afterpay offers integration with many e-Commerce back-ends: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Neto, IslandPacific, Infinity, Futura4Retail, and Commerce Vision. Integrating Afterpay with these platforms is relatively easy. For example, integration with WooCommerce simply involves installing a plugin.

After integration, the option to pay with Afterpay appears on your product pages, like this:

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 11.30.58 AM

In addition, Afterpay has a technical support team of specialists who can easily assist you with integration and maintenance.

Costs

 Merchants

Afterpay charges 30 cents per transaction, plus 4-6% of the order value. This is higher than credit card companies and most other BNPL services.

Customers

On the other hand, customers do not pay any fees or interest for their purchases.

ZipPay and ZipMoney

zipPay-Logo-Grayscale

ZipMoney

ZipPay and ZipMoney are affiliated companies that offer very similar interest-free BNPL services, but with some basic differences.

For one, ZipPay functions like Afterpay, charging a small percentage of the total order value to the merchant. The difference here is that ZipPay is designed for smaller purchases (under $1000), while ZipMoney is targeted at merchants and retailers who sell more expensive products and services (such as educational courses, digital cameras, furniture etc). ZipMoney allows for purchases up to $10,000, which is significantly higher than with ZipPay. Therefore, the fee structure and procedure for these two services differ significantly.

ZipPay has no fixed instalment payment plan, which means a customer can choose to pay via weekly or monthly instalments. Customers are required to pay at least $40 a month for their purchases.

Integration

Both ZipPay and ZipMoney are easily integrated with e-Commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCartel, and more. In addition, as with most of these new BNPL startups, ZipPay & ZipMoney have a technical support team ready to assist retailers with integration.

Like Afterpay, the option for ZipPay/ZipMoney appears on your product page like so:

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 2.17.43 PM

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 2.19.09 PM

ZipPay and ZipMoney: Note the price difference between these two items.

Costs

ZipPay:

Merchants

ZipPay charges 15 cents per transaction, plus a 2-4% commission fee to its merchant, which is noticeably lower than AfterPay.

Customers

ZipPay is interest-free for customers; however, they will have to pay a “maintenance” fee of $5 if they have an outstanding balance at the end of each month.

ZipMoney:

Merchants

ZipMoney has comparatively stringent requirements for merchants – to be eligible, they are required to have had a revenue of at least $500,000 for the last financial year, and must be in operation for 12 months or more. In addition, ZipMoney fees vary based on the interest-free period chosen by merchants. For example: A merchant who chooses to integrate ZipMoney on their webstore with a 3 month interest-free payment plan is charged a 3% fee, and 6 months of interest-free payments would incur a 5% fee, and so on.

Customers

Unlike ZipPay, ZipMoney charges the customer an interest rate for purchases. Also, ZipMoney customers are subject to credit checks, while services like Afterpay do not require any.

OpenPay

openpay-ana-shared-mediaV2 

Openpay is a relatively new BNPL startup – at the time of writing, their service is offered on a small handful of online retailers. The service shares many similarities with AfterPay and ZipMoney/ZipPay, and can be thought of as having a combination of features of the two. OpenPay has a purchase limit of $10,000, and also allows for a longer financing term of up to 12 months.

Integration

Currently, OpenPay only supports integration with WooCommerce and Magento. Since the startup is relatively new, we can expect integration with more e-Commerce platforms in the near future. From what we’ve found, payment options with OpenPay appear only upon checkout:

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 3.01.57 PM

Costs

Merchants

Openpay does not reveal the fee structure for their service; at the moment, they determine rates based on the type and size of your business.

 

Customers

OpenPay offers interest-free payments for customers. However, late fees apply, and customers have to pay a nominal fee of $2-3 for long-term financing options.

Sezzle

 sezzle

Sezzle is a Minneapolis-based company founded in 2016, with their services currently used by around 700 online retailers. In November 2018, Sezzle lined up a $100 million line of credit from investment firm Bastion, so expect further growth from this startup.

Integration

Currently, Sezzle supports integration with Spotify, WooCommerce, Magento, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, with plans to add Big Commerce and 3D cart to its list soon. At check-out, consumers who are first-time Sezzle users will fill out their details, after which Sezzle will determine their creditworthiness based on the bank account, cash flow, fees charged and so on.

Costs

Merchants

Sezzle charges 6% + 30cents per transaction. For each transaction, the merchant receives the full payment upfront, unless otherwise agreed. As Sezzle is a US-based company, transactions are processed in USD, and currency exchange rates will vary.

Customers

Sezzle offers interest-free payment plans with four instalments; the first payment is charged at checkout, with the remaining payments charged every 2 weeks. However, a $10 fee applies to failed payments, as well as a $5 fee for rescheduled payments.

The Breakdown

Service Provider

Payment Plans Merchant Fees e-Commerce Platforms

Credit Line

AfterPay

Fixed; four Fortnightly interest-free payments 30cents plus 4-6% of total order value WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Neto, IslandPacific, Infinity, Futura4Retail, Commerce Vision

Up to $1200

ZipPay

Flexible (weekly or monthly); interest-free payments, minimum $40 a month 15 cents plus 2-4% of total order value

WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Neto

Up to $1000

ZipMoney

Three-month guaranteed interest-free payments

Varies depending on interest-free period (e.g. 3% for 3 month interest-free)

WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Neto

Up to $10,000

OpenPay Interest-free payments, small fee for long-term payments (up to 12 months) Varies, by consultation WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento

Up to $10,000

Sezzle 4 interest-free payments spread over 6 weeks  6% + 30cents per transaction WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Big Commerce (Coming Soon), 3DCart (Coming Soon)

Conclusion

At the moment, ZipPay and Afterpay are the most commonly used BNPL services in Australia. While Afterpay charges a substantially higher fee on their services, they feature a wider range of integration options with e-Commerce platforms, and are now accepted at a wide variety of major retailers and webstores, such as Big W and Myer. OpenPay is currently heavily focused on offering their payment plans at physical stores, but this could change soon as they hope to expand their portfolio of online merchants. Sezzle is an emerging player in BNPL services; while mainly used by US-based retailers, Australian retailers could benefit if they are looking to capture North American customers.

With all that has been said, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for your e-Commerce business: this depends on several factors such as your product offering and target market/demographic. We hope this article serves its purpose as a quick primer on this new component of e-Commerce that is quickly becoming essential to improving sales. If you are interested in integrating a BNPL service with your online business, why not contact us today for a free quote and consultation?

7 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Why are your shopping carts not converting? According to Baymard Institute, 67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned.

cart abandonment.jpeg

Needless to say, shopping cart abandonment is a big problem. Why do shoppers leave without paying? There are a few possible reasons:

  • Presented with unexpected costs – 56% of shoppers claim that unexpected costs is the reason they leave without completing their purchase. When they decide to checkout, they were most likely presented with additional fees and charges that weren’t listed on the product page, therefore, the product doesn’t seem as hot to them anymore.
  • Website crashed or was too slow to load- Many online retailers host their websites on poor performing servers, leading to slow website loading and crashes. If this is the case, you would want to switch to a reliable web host to sell your products.
  • Price presented in a foreign currency- It is really important that you display, or provide the ability to show, what the cost will be in the shopper’s local currency. This will help save your customers’ time and hassle of wondering what the exchange rate will be and how much it is actually going to cost them. As most online retailers are now accepting international orders, it is important to keep up with the competition.

Methods to help make your checkout more effective:

cart abandonment 2

1. Show Images

Clear thumbnails of the actual items will provide a clear picture to customers.

2. Display Security Logos

The Statistia study showed that 17% of shoppers don’t purchase because they are concerned about security. In a test published by Get Elastic, an online retailer found that by placing a security badge on their site sales increased 4-6%.

3. Make Editing the Cart Easy

Shoppers don’t want to be locked in to the checkout page. If they made a mistake in their selection or need to edit it for some reason make sure it’s easy for them to do so.

4. Offer Different Payment Methods

Consider offering payment by Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Paypal as well as other payment solutions depending on the audience and demographic. FreshGigs reported a 15% increase in their checkout process simply by enabling the option to pay with American Express, which wasn’t offered out of the box with their payment processor.

5. Avoid Registrations

One of the biggest turnoffs in some checkout processes is being forced to register on the website in order to complete the purchase. A study by User Interface Engineering showed a 45% increase in customer purchases when forced registration was removed from the checkout page.

6. Offer occasional Free Shipping

A Deloitte study found 69% of shoppers are more likely to shop with online retailers who offer free shipping.

7. Offer Price Guarantees and Refunds

Offering a price guarantee you give the shopper confidence and peace of mind to the shopper’s experience.

Many online retailers are losing money daily due to cart abandonment. By implementing the techniques mentioned above, you can get more shoppers to complete your checkout process the first time. Also bear in mind that there will always be cart abandonment, hence, your goal should be directed to increase sales instead of converting every lead. Good luck!

Contact us for more information on e-commerce development. As a full-suite digital agency, we can set up your online business or implement improvements that will optimise your customer’s online shopping experience.

References:

Baymard.com. (2017). 37 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics – Cart & Checkout Usability – Baymard Institute. [online] Available at: https://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate.

2016, O. (2017). Shopping cart abandonment rate by industry 2016 | Statistic. [online] Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/457078/category-cart-abandonment-rate-worldwide/.

6 Reasons Your E-Commerce Website Isn’t Converting

Your e-commerce website is up and running but you’re not seeing the conversion results that you want. Here are a few reasons that might be happening, from your homepage to checkout:

1. Your homepage isn’t optimised.

With your home page functioning as your store front, it’s important to create a good first impression. An outdated design, for example, might lessen trust and undermine the authority of your brand from the get-go. Additionally, if your copy is too dense or not easily scannable, customers might find it difficult to get the information they are looking for.

2. Your website is slow

This is an obvious point but one worth looking at. If your website takes too long a time to load, impatient customers will simply search for a quicker website for the products they want.

3. Your checkout is too time-consuming.

If you’re requesting too much unnecessary information from the customer, it’s asking for more effort, hence creating another obstacle to purchase. Too many steps at checkout might also cause customers to drop off at some point. At the same time, the process to “Add to cart” should not be confusing.

4. There are not enough payment options.

You might be losing out customers at the last step of checkout, when they get to the payment stage but your only option is a credit card. With the plethora of online payment options that are available, customers might be looking for Paypal or even direct debit from their bank account.

5. Your product descriptions contain insufficient information.

You might not be providing enough information for customers to make a decision to purchase. Conversely, your product descriptions could just be a copy-paste from manufacturers, and there are not enough unique descriptions between products.

6. Your website has poor user interface.

Whether customers are looking to browse or purchase a specific product, it can be annoying when certain products are hard to find. Taking the time to think through your user interface from the perspective of a customer will lessen the stumbling blocks throughout the shopping journey, from research to checkout. This includes the layout of your website, your navigation structure, and your product categories.

The Takeaway

These are several reasons why your ecommerce website isn’t converting. They should be adapted to fit your brand, product types, and target audience. The main purpose of an ecommerce site would be to make the shopping journey as user-friendly as possible to achieve the results you want.