In our series on how to grow eCommerce share, we went back to look at an analysis we did when building TempCart.com, a study about pricing. One thing people dread about buying online is hidden fee, people are generally turn off when on checkout the advertise price suddenly change to a higher price.

You must get the Best price
You must get the Best price

According to a survey by visibility.tv, the main reason people abandon shopping cart is high shipping cost, about 72%. This translates into the fact that people are chocked that the initial price significantly increases at checkout, it’s a huge deterrent to the confidence of shoppers.

Most web sites will generate the shipping cost only at checkout, which can be perceived as bait and switch by buyers. Most buyers think it is a way for seller to get them, a way for sellers to make big profits than they normally should, and that considerably hinders the growth of ecommerce.

shipping should not be that Expensive

shipping should not be that Expensive

The change of total price at checkout plays against the argument that it is cheaper to buy online. Most people think the advertise price is the normal price of the merchandise they want to buy and make up their mind on buying base on that assumption. Once the price changed to a higher amount, sometimes unreasonably higher, they feel cornered, they feel they about to get ripped off, and most people will just abandon the cart and site altogether.

At TempCart.com, we study the subject of good pricing early on; we decided to make it simple. Buyers can make purchase on TempCart in two ways: Buy naming their price or by buying from the great deals page.

Free shipping in the entire US!

Free shipping in the entire US!

In both case there’s no hidden cost, when the Seller accept the Buyer named price, it includes shipping location and shipping cost, so there’s no surprise there.  When naming their prices Buyers provide their location, city and state, the seller knows where the item will be delivered to, so shipping is initially part of the deal and the agreed price include shipping. No price shock at checkout.

Items on TempCart.com great deals page are all free shipping in the US and Canada. We advise our sellers to include the shipping factor up front in their pricing model. We are upfront with our buyers, we encourage them to compare our prices with other sites with shipping included, so they can appreciate the potential money saving that TempCart.com offers.

Shopping sites should be upfront on shipping cost, most shipping carriers offers unique or simple pricing on the continental US and Canada, so it should be easier to evaluate and logically factor shipping cost into product cost. Buyer’s likes clarity, people want to make their mind on the whole picture, by advertising closer to real shipping cost upfront shopping sites will increase shoppers’ confidence.

That is a good Deal!

That is a good Deal!

We believe that 72% of shopping cart abandonment due to high shipping cost can be significantly reduce by adopting better pricing policy. Upfront pricing will increase shoppers’ confidence in the checkout process and bring more people to buy online. Ecommerce will grow its share of retails pie as shopping site will feel less like rip off machines to most people.

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TempCart.com is a market place where you name your price for things you want to buy online; our fans call it the priceline.com for eCommerce.

Unlocked Cell phones

Get Unlocked Cell phones for a great price

Lately, at our traditional shoppers’ request, we deployed the great deals page. It’s a page where our sellers display the rock bottom price for stuff in their inventory. It’s a winner, we beat Amazon prices and folks are happy to save money on things they want.

Consumer Electronics

Consumer Electronics at rock bottom prices

Here is the great deals page: TempCart.com/Deals

Happy shopping and lets disrupt eCommerce.

Auto and Car accessories

Auto and Car accessories, get all and save

We care about your privacy

We care about your privacy

For any web site that collects user data, privacy policy notice is a document that informs users on, how the site or company behind the site gathers, manages and uses their data.

Most ecommerce site will require users to provide: Name, email address, physical address, and credit card information. Some go further to request date of birth, social security number, driving license or ID number and some financial record related data.

For anyone wanting to buy online, having to disclose all these personal information can be a great deterrent. Besides the security challenge (covered in previous post [link]), there’s a real privacy issue at stake for online shopping.

Here are some polls on how important privacy policies are to users:

According to Forrester Research, 90% of Americans want the ability to control the collection and use of their data.

According to the Pew survey, 86% of Internet users favor opt-in privacy policies.

We are watching out for you

We are watching out for you

Like we explained in the previous post, people want to know that their personal information is safe; they want to know that their data will not end up in a hand of potential criminals. People also want to know what information is gathered directly or indirectly from them when they visit a shopping site. People want to know how information is gathered from them; they want to be sure that shopping sites are not secretly sniffing their data.

With a lot of talk on, major web site selling users data to advertisers and marketers, potential online shoppers are naturally worried that buying something online will open the floodgate of companies targeting them with commercials. A 2000 FTC report on privacy online found that most did not meet the standard set in the FTC Principles.  Things have been gradually changing since then, much open and fair privacy policy; most major sites provide user notification on changes to privacy policy.

We believe the challenge for ecommerce is to build users trust in privacy policy. Shopping site must make their privacy policy handy for users, accessible from any page on the site.  It must clearly address legal requirement and include any geographical specifics.  Users should have the choice on allowing or not, information collected to be used or shared in any manner different from the original purpose.

Users should be able to contest and or provide input on any point of the privacy policy. Company should commit and apply procedures in their policy on how, what and usage of information they gather from their users. Enforcement mechanisms should be put in place internally, in addition to existing legal provision, to protect against unfair and abusive usage of users data.

At TempCart, we have a clear and precise privacy policy, click here to see the document. We review the document and procedures on a regular basis to make sure that we remain compliant with ethics and legal law in all geographical location where we serve users. We also review our privacy policy internally to make sure our employee and internal applications remain compliant with existing rules to protect user’s data.

At TempCart we do not share or sell users data with any third party. Our sellers don’t have access to buyer information; they don’t see buyer real name, email address, physical address, credit card information or any shopping record.

We strongly believe that the entire ecommerce community will benefit from a strong culture of privacy policy and procedures. A privacy policy that is clear, fair gives users a choice and is compliant with legal and ethics provisions.  Progress is ongoing in the right direction.

Since the nineties, privacy and trust organizations exists with the most influent being, the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), the Better Business Bureau and the WebTrust in Canada. These entities have been doing a lot of work in education, development, monitoring and support of good privacy policy practices on the internet.

Your privacy is very important to us

Your privacy is very important to us

As a result of a better understanding, practice and enforcement of privacy policies, ecommerce will continue to grow by empowering more people to shop online.

The purpose of this blog post is not to pull out of my hat a miracle solution to increase ecommerce market share, I will try instead to look at ecommerce today and elaborate strategies to bring more people to buy online.

eCommerce share is 8% of all retail

eCommerce share is 8% of all retail

The state of affairs:

According to a survey by ComScore from 2011: ecommerce today represents about $142.5 billion, so about 8% of the entire retail business.  Forrester Research estimates that the United States online retail industry will be worth $279 billion in 2015.

The numbers are impressive but the share is still too small, given the effort that companies and manufacturers have been putting in bringing more business online in the past decade.

The question is how do we, in the industry, change these numbers? Why aren’t more people shopping online today? Can we increase share of online shopping by removing barriers preventing people from shopping online?

One of the main issues preventing people from shopping more online is TRUST. Trust here can be broken down in many categories, representing areas where consumers meet challenges:  Security, Privacy, pricing, product.

Security is key in eCommerce

Security is key in eCommerce

Trust in Security:

Shoppers want to know that their credit card information is secure when they make a purchase online. Most shopping sites uses SSL to insure that the transaction itself is secure, people understand this easily; most browsers will show a visual indicator near the address bar to notify the user that the site is secure.

We think the area where most people still have problem, when it come to their payment information being secure, is storage. How secure is my credit card if I buy from your site? A user one asked us.

It’s often reported on the news, that respected brand name companies had their system breached into. These breaches usually results in thousand of credit card information being compromise. Huge lost of confidence from customers.

Ecommerce still have a lot of work to do at this level. Thankfully rules and regulations on how to save and protect payment information exist in the form of PCI Compliance; See more details on PCI Compliance here .

More than the breach itself, the way companies communicates to customers after the fact matter a great deal. Openness and frank communication with users is the next necessary step when any breach occurs on a site.

Companies are not always comfortable being out front to report their failure to protect customer data. We think it’s part of the whole trust scenario, it’s critical that customer trust the companies who own their favorite shopping site to tell them the truth in case of issues. We think people understand when there’s a breach into system of a major company like Sony, that it is a break in, not an absolute failure to protect. That is why people still use Sony platform, customer understand that Sony will double efforts to protect their data. Over time trust grows back.

Not talking to customers in an open and truthful way as quickly as the breach occurs, send the wrong message to customers. It tells them that there’s more to say, it says that the company system is much more in trouble than it admits. This deepens mistrust in people confidence in ecommerce and impacts growth.

To grow ecommerce, companies need to tackle more aggressively system breach by applying rules and regulation on payment information storage (PCI DSS) and access. Additionally we must be quick and truthful in communicating with clients when a breach or unauthorized access occurs in the system.

What we do:

At TempCart, we thrive to protect all user data not just payment and financial data. We use a combination of technology from world trusted payment partners, encryption mechanism for sensitive data, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for all web site transactions and a dedicated team to ensure that customer gets the best shopping experience. The customer is our first partner and gets the right of first to know.

TempCart customers love saving money!

TempCart customers love saving money!

To make reading on this subject more digestible to our readers, we will discuss the remaining trust issues in subsequent posts on this blog. Stay tune.

Next Post: How to grow ecommerce market share? Trust in privacy.

I was talking the other day with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a long time. During the “what are you working on” segment of our conversation I talked about TempCart.com, how it saves people money when they shop online.

That is when I found out that my friend did not do much shopping online; he likes to walk into store, pick what he wants and feel it in his hands before making a purchase. I felt the duty to convince him to shop more online.

I think there are great advantages of shopping online, particularly during this hard felt recession.

I think I was able to change my friend view on online shopping a bit, I convinced him to post few buy offers on TempCart.com.

I am going to share my argumentation on why it is an all win option to shop online. I you are thinking like my friend, here is why you should trade the feeling of your stuff in your hands to simply shop behind your computer.

1- Things are overall cheaper online

Stretch your money with TempCart

Stretch your money with TempCart

Most Sellers store no inventory, which translate into lower cost of doing business for them. They can afford to sell cheaper from a website.

You incur overhead cost when you drive, take a bus, the train or a taxi to a store in gas money or fare price.

2- It’s faster to shop online

With the help of search engines and comparison shopping sites it’s much easier to find a product or its comparable.

It takes time to go to the store, search from one aisle to another then wait in line at the register

3- More selection of product online

Most shopping web site let you browse the product inventory in few minutes. More than often Buyers will end up buying an item different from what they initially wanted. Buyers will change their mind as they see different designs and brands; with a larger selection it’s easier to do that.

4- It’s easier to find what you want online

If you don’t have a particular brand or design of a product you want in mind, search engines makes its quick and easy to find stuff base on the need you have. In store shopping will require you to know what store sells the item you want. Not all stores sells “dehumidifiers”, a quick search online will churn out dozens of choices.

5- Online, you get educated quickly on the product you want to buy

You’re less likely to thoroughly read the manual once you get the stuff at home.  When shopping online buyers mostly decide to buy a brand or model because of its specifications.  This makes it likely that they will get a good knowledge of what they want before checkout.

The more you know about your product the better use you make of it. When used properly an item will last longer, which means you won’t need to replace it soon.

6- You get User ratings online

The feedback you get from talking to customers in store, if you get the chance to do so, are nothing like what  you can get from shopping sites. Most online feedback is anonymous meaning that the author is not under any pressure to tell his mind. Many studies show that under anonymous, people are more likely to be truthful about their feeling and experience about a particular product.  Feedback is a major decision factor in the buying decision of online shoppers, they help provide a close to helpful advice on quality, usability and durability of a product.

It all comes down to cost, during a recession that is a major parameter in our buying decision. Shopping online help buyers save money while getting the best bang for their buck.

TempCart takes the shopping experience one step further by putting the freedom to name the price in the hand of buyers, allowing buyer to actually ask for sale instead of waiting for sales.

This long lasting recession has brought to light what the experts call “recession shoppers”.

Recession shoppers are defined by few words: caution and savings; study shows that this trend will last even after the economy has improved.

Recession shoppers are found both at online and offline retail, this poses a new challenge to sellers who must find ways to adapt or die.

Recession shoppers want value not just discounts; research shows that folks spent more time browsing the web for the best bang for their buck. They are no more willing to settle for cheap stuff according to a report by MarketingVOX

Here are few numbers from the report:

•72% of value hunters seek the best value, regardless of brand
•51% pursue incentives, such as reward points or free shipping
•63% have purchased something online they wouldn’t have normally because of a special offer
•68% of online shoppers perceive “value” as online coupons and special promotions
•45% of value hunters buy something once a week or more over the ‘net
•47% of online shoppers prefer shopping online to shopping in-store
•22% of shoppers plan to make more purchases online this year compared to last year

One shining light of hope for online sellers if the 47% who prefers to shop online than in-store. This shows that growth for online shopping remains steady. The challenge for sellers is to give buyer more room in his quest for quality shopping.

As online buyers become more knowledgeable of what they want, it is a point of opportunity for seller to engage them.

Recession shoppers are still shoppers, which mean they buy stuff. The dynamics of selling is evolving quickly; it is up to smart sellers to become “recession sellers”.

A lot of shopping happen online today, according to Forrester research, online shopping was 11 percent of all shopping last year (2010) with projection of about 8 percent of all retail sales by 2014. These number show that online shopping represents a huge chunk of where people buy stuff. At TempCart believe there’s room and mechanism to grow the industry even more.

With TempCart we are introducing the concept of On demand deal to ecommerce, we think it is a concept that can help boost online shopping. How does that work?

Have you ever stumbled across sales that just ended? People are forced to postponed buying things that they need because it is listed at a higher price than what was previously advertised. It’s not fair to buy the same product as others for a higher price. So most of us just postpone the purchase; keeping our money rather than making a painful buy.

With TempCart we plan to change that, TempCart allows Buyer to post “BuyOffer” of items you want to buy and the price you want to pay. We believe serious seller will compete to give you a deal and make you a happy shopper. No needs to simply wait for the next sale after you’ve missed one.

Sellers win too; most buyer that post items on TempCart are ready to buy. So TempCart brings real buyer to the platform where sellers can pick and chose. TempCart help sellers close sales faster and so help grow the bottom line.