You’ve decided to start working on your eCommerce strategy to sell online successfully and improve furniture sales. Now what? We’re going to showcase, with the help of our partners at eMerchant, some of the areas that will lead you to a stronger eCommerce foundation for success.
Have a Cart Abandonment Plan
When you’re setting up an eCommerce strategy, you need to anticipate the abandoned carts. Not all customers will be ready to check out when they’re browsing your website. Cart abandonment is a term we use for eCommerce that represents a visitor who put items into your online shopping cart but left your site without making the purchase.
Visitors abandon carts for different reasons. For some, the checkout experience is too cumbersome. For others, it may be price with shipping costs showing in the cart. There are many explanations for abandonment but here is a list from Statistica of common reasons customers will abandon an online shopping cart:
- Shipping unavailable to their location
- No coupon codes
- Long and/or confusing checkout process
- Concerns about payment security
- Just researching now and buying later
- No guest checkout options available
- Unexpected shipping costs
- Not enough payment methods
Your goal is to monitor the rate of abandoned carts and decrease it over time. But that means you need a plan to sell online successfully. So, work with your staff and your website partners to take some of these common cart abandonment areas and improve them.
And for the carts that still sit unpurchased, market to those shoppers. This is a great way to get customers back to your website to finish shopping. And a cornerstone to sell online successfully for all retailers. If you’re able to collect the contact information for the abandoned cart, you can reach out to find out what stalled the checkout. If your team is reaching out to customers who abandoned the cart, make sure they’re tracking the reasons in a central location. This data will help you make better decisions over time.
Advertise Your Ecommerce-ready Products
You might be starting the pricing process now to sell online successfully. For some brands on your website, pricing is simple. For others it can be more complicated. No matter what your pricing strategy is, you can start marketing for eCommerce early.
eCommerce marketing is different than your other marketing efforts. When you’re starting the process, make sure to consult with a marketing partner to develop a strategy that fits your budget, goals, and timeline.
If you’re working with a marketing team on advertising, this is a great time to start advertising your priced items. Using display ads, you can begin to encourage your website visitors to show online for your products. This will coordinate well with your overall eCommerce marketing plan.
For retailers that use social media to connect with followers, take your advertising social. Your social media can become a shoppable content engine with priced products from your website filling news feeds of your followers that live locally to the store—a factor that will be invaluable with local-focused shopping post-pandemic. Use different types of posts and paid social boosts to get your audience familiar with your eCommerce prices.
Use your website content to help promote these priced eCommerce-ready products. Develop a strategy for your digital shopping cart using website banners, call to action links, and blog content to link shoppers to your products. And if you’re incorporating SEO in your digital marketing strategy, you can leverage this tactic to promote your eCommerce products.
Set Up Digital Shopping Cart Tracking
Arguably one of the most important parts of your eCommerce launch is tracking and reporting. Many elements of your reporting will be automated within the website platform you purchase. But you need a 360-degree view of this initiative. eCommerce is an investment in your company. It’s a second store location. So you need to develop the appropriate tracking and tools to measure its success over time. Because it won’t be overnight and won’t always reflect in the cash register
eCommerce sales don’t always happen in the shopping cart. Make sure your in-store staff is monitoring the customers who come in to complete the online shopping cart purchases. These are eCommerce sales!
For the very advanced eCommerce solution, you can use Google Analytics Help Center tools to help you take your eCommerce to the big leagues.
Accept Payments Online
To accept orders securely through your eCommerce store, you need a payment gateway.
A payment gateway encrypts and authorizes a payment transaction by the customer when the credit card is not present. (It also accepts echecks, ApplePay and debit cards.) The customer’s payment is then placed into the retailer’s merchant account until transferred to the retailer’s business checking account.
There are two options for opening a gateway account:
Typically you’ll need and want a merchant account specifically for card-not-present transactions as these transactions have different risk and rate than retail (card-present) transactions. But if you have a merchant account for MOTO transactions (Mail Order/Telephone Order), that might work for eCommerce. You’ll have to confirm with your payment solutions provider. To proceed with a gateway-only account, you’ll provide the following information:
- VAR sheet from your payment solutions provider
- Voided business check
- Signed service agreement
Gateway Account/Merchant Account
It’s recommended that you set up a gateway account and a new merchant account simultaneously for card-not-present transactions. That way, your gateway account will be automatically linked to your new merchant account. No additional work required. Here’s the information you’ll submit to open these accounts:
- Business questionnaire
- Gateway account and merchant account applications
- Voided business check
- 3 months of processing statements from your retail merchant account
- Signed service agreement
In either case, a payment gateway account is often ready to go for an established retailer within 24 hours of submitting the completed documents. Yes, that fast! That’s great news because if your eCommerce store is ready to launch you’ll be anxious to see online sales.
Rest assured, a good payment solutions provider will walk you through either application process. They should offer multiple payment gateways (e.g. USAePay, Authorize.Net, Payflow Pro), advise you on which gateway is the best for your business, ensure your gateway account is set up correctly, and guide you through critical settings such as fraud protection.
Connect Your Gateway to Your Furniture Ecommerce Website
Once your gateway account is open, you can log into your account using a web browser. Here, with a click of a button, you’ll generate a “source key” to easily copy and paste into the gateway settings of your eCommerce store. Sound simple? It really is.
Bonus Tip: You may need to generate different source keys for your various systems that process card-not-present payments. For example, you may need two different source keys for your eCommerce store and your mobile terminal at events. Be sure to type in a descriptive name for the “title” of each source key. For example, if you’re using MicroD’s OmniVue platform for your online store, label that source key “MicroD.” For mobile terminal, consider labeling the title “mobile – trade show.” This is really important if you ever need to reference a particular source key for potential troubleshooting or to avoid accidentally deleting a source key that’s in use.
Use a Payment Gateway for Online/Offline Sales
It’s not just for eCommerce.
A payment gateway has a virtual terminal feature that allows a retailer to type in credit card information without the card being present. During COVID-19, retailers with closed brick and mortar retail stores continue to accept credit card payments by phone or even by mail (MOTO). This current shift in your selling strategy may even become part of the new normal. Your online store may become the first place customers do their browsing; some customers will buy online and some will buy by phone. It may take a while for customers to feel comfortable visiting your retail store. Only time will tell. Use a payment gateway to accept orders any way your customers choose to shop.
When events and trade shows are back, your payment gateway can be connected to a mobile terminal for you to accept orders on-the-go. You might not sell big-ticket items like sofas at an event, but perhaps smaller items such as home décor. This enables you to grow your customer database for future marketing opportunities.
A payment gateway also gives you options to:
- Create an invoice for customers
- Create a web payment form (e.g. for a custom order)
- Create recurring billing
Breathe. This may seem like a lot of information. That’s why choosing an experienced payment solutions provider can be so helpful. Start by getting a payment gateway for your online store. Then your provider should be able to guide you through advanced features and options whenever you’re ready.
Guide to Sell Online Successfully
When you’ve made the decision to start a digital shopping cart and take your online store to the next level, you have a long road ahead. Getting to eCommerce successfully is a challenge. But we hope that you’ll find this information helpful. If you want to learn more about furniture store eCommerce, contact us.
This article is co-authored by MicroD and our partners at eMerchant, Inc.
About eMerchant, Inc.
Since 2002, eMerchant has supported more than $8 billion in payment transactions with our retail, mobile and ecommerce payment solutions. Since 2013, eMerchant has been integrated into the MicroD OmniVue platform, enabling retailers to easily and quickly open a gateway account for their ecommerce store. Contact eMerchant today for information or to get an online payment gateway for your business.