Monthly Archives: March 2015

“Apple Pay Accepted Here” alerts needed to drive adoption

Little Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.21.46 AMLeague baseball season recently started which meant a trip to Sports Authority to purchase the relevant equipment. Fortunately, most of the items for t-ball are in the under $20 each category which makes the financial commitment more bearable. Like most dads, the start of Little League season brings back many fond baseball memories including a controversial meeting of a reigning Miss California. When I say “controversial” I mean it raised a few eyebrows as to why she attended, whom she knew on the team and the outfit she was wearing. It turns out she was dating our team’s assistant coach and used her fashion sense to keep his attention off the game played on the field. Dads enjoyed the game that much more. Moms were furious. Funny the things one remembers from more youthful days.

I was excited about the recent trip to Sports Authority for an entirely selfish reason. I was super stoked for a chance to FINALLY use Apple Pay! When I purchased my iPhone 6 Plus, the first thing I did was load on my bank’s ATM and credit cards. Why? Because I’m a FinTech guy…and this sort of thing gets me just as excited as a chance to meet Miss California. However, my Apple Pay excitement quickly slid down into a “now what?” I really struggled to find a place to use Apple Pay within my network of retailers that I frequent. Based on a recent BI Intelligence survey, just 8% of large US retailers currently accept Apple Pay. Keep in mind this stat focuses on LARGE US RETAILERS. I don’t shop a lot at large US retailers. I’m a keep it local type of guy…or at least keep it regional type of guy. When I did visit an Apple Pay enabled business like Toys R Us the opportunity to pay with my phone slipped by for I was not reminded that my chance arrived.

When it came time to bay for the baseball pants, socks and belt I whipped out my iPhone (that scene from “Blazing Saddles” comes to mind)

with great excitement and said, “OK, I want to use Apple Pay. How do I make this work?” My question should raise grave concerns from Apple and the retailer. However, what happened next should FREAK APPLE OUT. “Uhhhh,” began the clerk. “I don’t know…let me talk to my manager.” I stopped the clerk, saving him a trip to find the manager. I scanned my phone over the payment terminal, used my touch ID and the payment was made. “Oh, great…you figured it out,” the clerk said. So wrong.

This frustration is shared with many iPhone loving friends and FinTech colleagues. Clearly Apple Pay merchant adoption needs to increase and consumers need to be reminded to us it. Hopefully this is all changing with greater merchant adoption and the launch (FINALLY!) of the Apple Watch. The same BI Intelligence survey revealed that 56% of retailers say they will accept Apple Pay by 2018. But doing the quick math, this means that 44% still will not…and we all know these merchants will be the locally owned business.

Eric DunstanSo where does Apple Watch fit in driving Apple Pay adoption? Well for starters, the payment process gets much easier for the watch will be tethered to the iPhone loaded with the relevant cards. Users double click a button on the phone, place the watch near the payment terminal and payment is made. Skin sensor technology verifies the watch is on the verified user’s wrist to prevent unauthorized use. The watch really helps make Apply Pay easy to use. Ease of use means greater user adoption.

Informing users that Apple Pay is accepted is the remaining adoption hurdle to be solved. Frankly, I’m a little surprised this hurdle has not been addressed. It seems easy to solve. Functionally needs to be implemented to push alerts to Apple Watch users when they are near a payment terminal that accepts Apple Pay. Given how integrated watches are to routine interaction and reference, these alerts will be easily seen. Better yet, leveraging the iBeacon technology, merchants can send Apple Pay alerts to customers as soon as they walk in the door and before any purchases are made. Ease of payment may be enough of a factor to push the customer to a purchase decision. I am envisioning personal finance expert, Alexa von Tobel at Learn Vest cringing right now!!!

I’m excited that we are moving closer to not having to carry a bulky wallet anymore. The Apple Watch and alerts to use Apple Pay will train and shape the right habit to eventually push me to leave a wallet at home. Now, if I can only get my drivers license, loyalty cards AND annual passes on my phone I will be wallet-less!

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Increase online sales by optimizing for the highest value keywords

A colleague building a high-end fashion e-commerce site reached out asking for help.  She is pulling her hair out about how best to address a common challenge – how best to drive customers to her website without having to spend a ton of money. “What are simple things I can do, Eric, that don’t cost me anything?” Not only does she need to drive traffic, but she needs to drive the RIGHT traffic…the kind of traffic that will buy $200+ dresses, shoes and jewelry.  The site has really nice items. However, just because the site exists online customers will not automatically find it and start browsing…let alone buying!  Gone are the late 1990’s!MKCollab

How to drive the right traffic to an online store can be a daunting task, but fortunately there are a lot of tools that can be employed and when used strategically, can be very effective.  These tools include search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media, and content marketing (which influences EVERYTHING).  These tools are free to implement and tips and tricks are easily found online. However, the biggest hurdle for the business is to implement the tools strategically and to find the time to optimize.  This takes time.

The next series of posts will share insight on each tool and how best to implement from the standpoint of a budget strapped…or no budget 🙂 business.  Links to additional online content from relevant thought leaders will also be sprinkled in each post.

The first question my high-end fashion e-commerce colleague asked focused on the immediate need of search engine optimization (SEO).  Or, what are the easy things that one can do to help potential buyers find the online store and start buying.  There are 3 easy steps that can be taken to optimize a site to be found by search engines. However, before any of these things can be implemented, the store/site must have web analytics tools in place to track traffic and e-commerce activity.  The most ubiquitous tools are Google Analytics for E-commerce or Yahoo Web Analytics for E-commerce .  Unfortunately, I’ve come across several website managers who have the traffic analytics in place, but have not “turned on” the e-commerce analytics.  Both analytics must be enabled to build the right plans that drive sales.

Step 1:  Identify what keywords drive site customers that result in a sale.

This almost feels like, “well, duh!”  This makes total sense, right?  Unfortunately, many e-commerce site managers focus on understanding what keywords drive traffic only…and don’t follow the analytics to the sale.  For example, the term “fashion design” may be a top phrase users type into Google that leads them to a store’s front page.  However, these users typically do not buy a dress or a pair of shows.  Additionally, the term “vintage coat” may be a low traffic driver, but a high percentage of customers end up making a purchase.  The big tip here is to look for the unique keywords that customers use to find your site and make purchases.

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The biggest hurdle for not tracking traffic all the way through to a sale is implementing the analytics tools and understanding how to use/run the reports.  The implementation information is readily available and any website or store developer can implement these trackers correctly.  How-to guides that define reporting are available online too, but they take time to digest.  The site manager and business owner must invest the time needed to understand how to unlock the analytical power available.  Yes, it’s daunting, but the more a tool is used, the easier it comes to understand..and the deeper the understanding the more the data becomes available.

Step 2:  Identify what pages on the site are receiving the most keyword traffic and driving the most sales.

This step builds on Step 1 above by focusing analysis on the site pages users land on after clicking on keyword search results.  Step 1 focuses on what are the top keywords used for users to find a site.  Step 2 focuses analysis on what are the top site pages that receive this keyword traffic.  In short, this analysis will inform the site manager where within the site potential customers are landing and buying.  This is powerful information, but to obtain this data all site pages must be indexed (or crawled to use a late 90s term) by the search engine.

The question that pops to mind is, “Well, how do I determine if all my site pages are indexed?”  Fortunately, it’s easy to get a sense of this on Google by simply typing in the search box: “site: YOURSITEDOMAIN”.   All pages of the site indexed by Google will appear in the search results.  You will be surprised by how many site pages ARE NOT indexed by Google.

On a side note, inform the site manager immediately of the site pages not indexed by Google.  Google Analytics code will need to be added to each of these pages to ensure they are properly indexed.

When the analytics are correctly implemented, the tool will clearly indicate what pages receive the highest volume of traffic and generate the most sales.  Why is this information valuable and what do I do with it?  The data is valuable for it tells the site manager how customers are finding the site, where users are landing in the site and what customers are buying. This intelligence is invaluable in understanding how to drive more traffic to these pages and products!  See Step 3!

Step 3: Build site content that includes the top keywords and point users to the highest sales generating items.

Once Step 1 and 2 are completed, acting on this information guides completing Step 3.  Two areas to focus on are the ecommerce site home page and on the pages generating the most sales.  For example, ensure that the highest sales generating keywords and phrases are mentioned on the site home page.  If “vintage coat” is a high sales generating term, ensure the term is referenced in the home page copy and includes a link that points to relevant products in the store.  Another option is to consider creating a separate “vintage coat” category on the site home page to more distinctly differentiate these items.

The second area to focus on improving are the pages where these most sold items are listed.  Continuing with the “vintage coat” example, there may be an option of developing a store page that focuses only on vintage coats.  The page could include vintage coat items for sale and other content around vintage clothing and relevant accessories available in other areas of the site.

Knowing vintage coats are hot selling items, the site manager may also want to build out content around this topic off the ecommerce site as a strategy for driving more customers.  I will focus in another post around using content marketing to drive ecommerce sales.

Search engine optimization is a big topic and I’ve covered just the surface level concepts here.  However, implementing these concepts will have an immediate impact on sales. Dig deeper into this topic by reviewing the Google Search Engine Optimization Guide and courses or attend online classes on Lynda.com.  Lynda.com is A GREAT SITE!!


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