Loyalty Miles Go a Long Way With Online Shoppers

 

SANTA CLARA, CA, Mar 22, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –
Loyalty and rewards programs vying for the attention of online shoppers should be focusing on miles and cut back on offers like free shipping when developing programs. These are among the results of a new analysis of online shopping behavior conducted by Billeo, Inc., creator of apps that help consumers save time and money while shopping or paying bills online.

“Miles, free shipping or points — the options for online shoppers are many. And still, the majority of these offers go unused,” said Murali Subbarao CEO of Billeo, Inc. “Online shopping presents a huge opportunity for brands and merchants looking to increase customer loyalty and financial institutions that need to drive card use. The marketing professionals who run loyalty programs just need better insight into what shoppers prefer.”

The data, released by Billeo today, indicates that the rewards being offered by a loyalty program have a direct impact on where the person shops, what brand they chose and what card they use to make a purchase. According to the online shoppers in Billeo’s network, people prefer miles to any other rewards offer they were presented with during the past year.

“Our analysis shows that online shoppers are almost six times more likely to use an offer that includes miles, compared to one that does not, ” continued Subbarao. “The rising cost of airfare has turned
earning miles into a significant motivator for consumers who are shopping online.”

Other findings from Billeo’s analysis include:

Online Shoppers Prefer Rewards Points and Miles Offers

        --  Online shoppers are almost five times more likely to use a rewards offer that includes the ability to earn miles or points than one that        doesn't
            --  Offers that allow online shoppers to earn rewards points or miles
                are more appealing -- these offers average a 14.5 percent click-to
                conversion rate
            --  Offers that do not include points or miles, like free shipping,
                are less appealing -- these offers average a 3 percent
                click-to-conversion rate

Miles Rise to the Top

        --  Usage increases when you look at just miles offers, online shoppers
            are almost six times more likely to use an offer with miles than one
            that doesn't offer miles or points
            --  Offers that include miles have a 17 percent click-to-conversion
                rate, versus the 3 percent click-to-conversion rate of offers that
                do not offer points or miles
        --  Online shoppers are almost one and a half times more likely to use an
            offer with miles than an offer with points
            --  Offers that include rewards points have a 12 percent
                click-to-conversion rate, versus the 17 percent
                click-to-conversion rate of miles offers

How Many Miles? Almost Enough to Fly From Chicago to Tokyo and Back!

        --  The average online shopper earns 11,600 miles a year

Billeo creates free apps that save people time and money while shopping and paying bills online. Billeo also provides banks, credit card companies, credit unions, airlines and loyalty providers, with context-aware shopping and bill pay technologies that help them
better interact with their customers online.

The analysis is based on the 2011 aggregate shopping habits of more than 100,000 online shoppers in the Billeo network. More than 40 banks, 20,000 billers, 1,500 merchants, six of the top 10 card issuers and two of the top five airlines are part of the Billeo network. Cash back offers were not included in this analysis.

About Billeo, Inc.
Billeo, Inc. helps consumers save time and money
while shopping or paying bills online. Billeo’s free browser and mobile apps save more than 1.5 million consumers nearly 10 percent on each purchase, by helping them take full advantage of their financial relationships and loyalty programs. Billeo’s Active Context Platform(TM) provides financial institutions and card issuers like American Express, Discover, US Bank, Wells Fargo and Visa with context-aware shopping and bill pay technologies, helping them better interact with their customers online. More than 40 banks, 20,000 billers, 1,500 merchants, six of the top 10 card issuers and two of the top five airlines are part of the Billeo network. Billeo was listed as one of the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine and named the 2011 best e-commerce site by the American Business Awards. For more information about Billeo, Inc. visit www.billeo.com.

SOURCE: Billeo, Inc.

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

Miva Merchant Named Third Best SEO Shopping Cart Software Vendor

Miva Merchant has been named the third best SEO shopping cart agency by the independent authority on Search vendors, topseos.com, for the month of March 2012. The decision to name them one of the best ecommerce shopping cart solutions was based on their performance in the evaluation and ranking service which compares software vendors based on their features and the results which they are able to achieve for their users. The list is revisited on a monthly basis to include the latest technological advancements and proprietary advantages of each software vendor.

Miva Merchant provides a proprietary SEO software solution with complete PCI compliance, credit card processing solutions, and web design and development services. The features of their software meet the needs of most ecommerce websites and are consistently updated with the latest technologies and trends to ensure each online store can maximize its potential. Through the integration of important features for online businesses, Miva Merchant offers store owners a robust framework to create their own online store.

The evaluations of the best shopping cart software vendors provide topseos.com with valuable information to help them rank the best in the industry. The process involves delving into five areas of evaluation which have been found to best effect the final results of a customer’s use of the software. The five areas include GUI features, basic features, customization, SEO friendly, and overall stability.During the evaluations, Miva Merchant was identified as a top software vendor based on their results in each of the five areas including their exceptional management interface as well as the level of customization available in the software application.

At least three customer references are obtained in order to ask them questions about their use of the software, which features of the software were most valuable to them, and how their use of the software has provided them with benefit. This information is used to compare the benefits and proprietary advantages of each software solution. References are asked general and specific questions about the software solution.The references which topseos.com received for Miva Merchant provided strong feedback and approval of the features and quality of service for the ecommerce platform and the additional services which were offered to them.

Miva Merchant provides a powerful SEO shopping cart platform which includes many basic and advanced features for store keepers hoping to decrease their work load and increase the efficiency of their online store. Those looking for the best SEO shopping cart service should consider Miva Merchant for their shopping cart platform provider.

Printer Ink and Tone Provider Offers Ink and Toner Affiliate Program

Many online merchants use affiliate programs to promote their products and services.  It is a win-win solution to both online merchants and affiliates.  Ink E-Sale Inc. is one of the major printer ink and toner cartridge providers in N. America. They provide top quality printer ink & toner cartridges for all major printer brands. Ink E-Sale Inc. just launched their ink and toner affiliate program to the public.

Bill Zhang, the manager of Ink E-Sale Inc. lists 6 reasons you should consider Ink E-Sale ink and toner affiliate program:

  • You help friends and family save money. Friends and family will love you for sharing great ink and toner cartridge deals from Ink E-sale as they get quality products at unbeatable prices and top-notch service.
  • You make money easily. All you have to do is to share your affiliate link with friends and family through email, social networking sites or your own website. You don’t have to have a website. But if you do, that’s even better.
  • You earn 5% commission whenever someone buys directly through your affiliate link. You receive CA$0.5 when he or she registers as an affiliate or CA$0.2 when he or she registers as a customer.
  • Your earning potential is unlimited with our 3-tier commission plan. Get 1% commission of your first level affiliate sales, 0.5% commission of your second level affiliate sales and 0.1% commission of your 3rd level affiliate sales.
  • The demand for ink and toner cartridges is huge. It keeps growing with the prevalence of Inkjet and laser printers. People replace the cartridges on a regular basis.

Ink E-sale Inc. ink and toner affiliate program membership is free and it only takes a minute or two to set up.  Let Ink E-sale  takes care of everything. You simply share and make money! Join Ink E-Sale’s Ink and Toner Affiliate Program to earn extra cash in this tough economy.

Ink E-Sale Inc provides discount printer ink & toner cartridges with top quality and best service. Inkesale.com is your best choice to buy printer ink & toner cartridges (such as Lexmark x4690 ink and Brother HL-2230 toner cartridges) online. Save on remanufactured ink and toner cartridges, new compatible ink cartridges and toner.

Tips for Spotting Fake Online Product Reviews

Online product reviews play an important part in online shopping.  Before online shoppers hit the “Add To Cart” button, they will usually spend time to go through product reviews to justify their buying decision. The merchant with more positive product reviews normally gets the business.  The recent fake Amazon product review issue has drawn people’s attention to the authenticity of online customer reviews.

Here are some tips that help you spot fake product reviews from real ones.

1. The product reviews are overly positive and rated with all 5 stars.  If you see multiple 5-star reviews within a short period of time, you should be suspicious.  Normally the product review rating can be various and timing can be spontaneous.  Some customers do not even rate though they leave very positive reviews because they simply forget to check the rating.

2. The product review is too general. For example, “I’m very happy with your company, the service, quality and price.”

3. The product review is too detailed.  For example, the review gives out the product’s model number and even the percentage of savings.

4. The product review sounds like the company’s sales slogan.
For example, “ABC Company is worth to try!!!”  “Good quality, good service and price!”

CBS Early Show’s Regina Lewis says some of the review sites do scan for patterns to try and catch reviews that have been paid for and are fake. Regina also mentions some red flags in reviews that help you identify fake product reviews.

So now you know how to identify fake product reviews. I suggest you leave objective product reviews whenever possible. In this way, you not only help other consumers make appropriate buying decision but also help online merchants improve their products and services.

Bribing Customers For Reviews Got Punished

Getting user reviews can be slow and painful for any new online merchant.  Because online shoppers depend heavily upon the user reviews to make a buying decision especially when they shop from merchants that they are not familiar with, some merchants have tried to use “creative ways” to accumulate user reviews.  If you are one of them, you have to be very careful because . . .

The New York Times reported last week that Amazon took a merchant off its site because it was offering a full rebate on $10 leather cases for the Kindle Fire if the buyer wrote an online review.  According to PCWorld.com,

Although VIP Deals didn’t explicitly require favorable reviews in exchange for the refund, the letter to customers did say “we strive to earn 100% perfect ‘FIVE-STAR’ scores from you!”

It appears that most customers were more than happy to drop a review for $10. VIP Deals’ Kindle Fire case had 310 five-star reviews by last week, according to the Times, and most of the other 25 reviews were four stars. Some reviewers acknowledged the bribe, and one said that he would have given four stars instead of five, if not for the rebate.

Amazon considered VIP Deals’ promotion violated Amazon guidelines. It has removed the reviews and the product page. VIP Deals’ other products have also disappeared from the site.

The Federal Trade Commission forbids merchants from paying for endorsements without disclosure. Sometimes it is hard to draw a clear line between bribing customers for a review or using incentive to get a customer review.  As an online merchant, you have to think of legitimate ways to get customers leave their reviews.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

How to Safeguard Online Shopping Transactions

Security should be a top priority for every online entrepreneur with a shopping cart or an e-commerce ambition.  Giving shoppers confidence that their credit-card information and personal details will be safe in your hands can make them more apt to make a purchase and become a regular customer. Conversely, shoppers’ deep-seated worries about fraud mean that if you give them reason for concern, they could back out of a purchase and stay away for good.

Security precautions also can save you money — and maybe even preserveOnline Shopping Transactions Credit Card your business. The costs of a hack can be steep if credit-card information is stolen and you are at fault. Not only could you face huge clean-up expenses, angry customers and scary lawsuits, you also would likely face the wrath of the credit-card companies, which require merchants to abide by what’s known as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. The card companies could fine you, force you to undergo expensive security audits or even bar you from accepting any plastic. (Note: image used courtesy of Image: phanlop88.)

To both instill customer confidence and avoid the horrors of a data breach, experts say a locked down shopping cart system is essential. What’s more, that system should not store any cardholder data. Hacks of these complex software programs are common, and you are a target even if you’re tiny. For example, more than 80 percent of card data compromises investigated by Visa affect merchants that process fewer than 20,000 transactions a year.

How to Find Product Reviews Before Online Shopping

Reading product reviews before online shopping is very useful for online shoppers to make a buying decision. Based on these product reviews the consumer may make a more informed decision about which products to purchase and which ones to avoid. However, there are different types of reviews available and some product reviews are more useful than others. This article will discuss product reviews posted directly on the online retailer’s website as well as product reviews posted on websites dedicated to compiling product reviews.

Reviews on the Online Retailers Website

Many online retailers provide reviews of products they offer for sale directly on their own website. These reviews typically fall into two categories and include consumer product reviews and product reviews offered in terms for compensation. Consumers who are using these reviews to gather information about a product should proceed with caution to ensure they understand what type of reviews are being offered on the website.

Consumer product reviews are typically the best resource for consumers who want to learn more about a product. This includes reviews from others who have purchased and used the product in question. These reviews are usually completely candid and offer great insight into the form and functionality of the product. Online shoppers who find the majority of consumers are satisfied with a particular product may be reassured they have selected a high quality product.

Online retailers also sometimes feature product reviews on their website from reviewers who have been compensated to provide a review. When a retailer compensates an individual to make a review it is usually necessary to divulge this information because the review may tend to rate the product more favorably than they would if they were not compensated to do so.

Websites Provided for Consumers to Review Products

There are also websites dedicated to compiling product reviews. Consumers can browse through a variety of products to find additional information in the form of product reviews. The reviews may be incredibly detailed and useful or they may be brief and provide very little useful information. Consumers are advised to consider these opinions carefully especially when there are a large number of reviews available, which seem to be in agreement regarding the quality of the product. However, when there are only a few reviews available it can be much more difficult for the consumer to formulate his own opinion of the product based on these reviews posted on the website. Consumers are also advised to ignore reviews, which vary significantly from the majority of the other review posted. These reviews may be mistakenly referring to the wrong product or may demonstrate an anomaly.

In short, do your homework to study product reviews before you make a buying decision.

Save Money Shopping Online With Coupons

Smart online shoppers know there are a variety of ways to save money when shopping online. Using coupons and promotional codes can result in a significant cost savings for online shoppers. This article will discuss methods of finding coupons for online shopping and the importance of understanding the restrictions placed on the use of these coupons.

Finding Coupons for Online Shopping

There are many different coupons and promotional codes available for online shopping. The most common types of coupons and promotional codes available are those which offer a discount on the total purchase price of an order and promotional codes which offer free shipping on an order. Both of these offers can be financially beneficial to the shopper if he is able to find these valuable offers. There are a number of different ways in which a shopper may acquire coupons and promotional codes for online shopping.

Many online shoppers receive promotional codes for online retailers in catalogs they receive in the mail. These catalogs may include special offers in an attempt to entice the recipient of the catalog to make a purchase online. The shopper may receive these catalogs because they have made purchased from the online retailer in the past or because the online retailer is advertising to new clients.

Similarly shoppers may receive promotional codes offering discounts via email. This is common for shoppers who belong to buyer’s club organized by the online retailer. These types of clubs typically offer these promotional codes to regular customers to reward them for their consumer loyalty and encourage the shopper to continue to patronize the online retailer.

Still another way for shoppers to find promotional codes for online shopping is via the Internet. There are websites where members frequently post the codes they acquire via catalogs and emails for the benefit of others who may be seeking a discount on a purchase from a particular online retailer. Shoppers can use these promotional codes as long as there are no restrictions on sharing these codes.

Restrictions on Coupons for Online Shopping

Shoppers who utilize coupons and promotional codes while they are online shopping should be aware there may be restrictions on the use of these coupons or promotional codes. Common examples of these restrictions include dates of expiration and required minimum purchase to use the discount. Similar to coupons, which are valid at traditional stores, online coupons or promotional codes usually have an expiration date and the discount is no longer valid after this date.

Another common restriction associated to offers of free shipping is a minimum required purchase. In these cases the consumer must purchase more than a specific dollar amount from the online retailer in order to be eligible for free shipping.

A required minimum purchase necessary to receive a discount can also be a common restriction on online coupons or promotional codes. In some cases the online retailer may even offer a greater discount to shoppers who are willing to spend more money on products or services. For example the retailer may offer a 10% discount on purchases of more than $50, a 15% discount on purchases of more than $75 and a 20% discount on purchases of more than $100.

With all of these different types of restrictions on online discounts it is important for the consumer to fully understand these restrictions before attempting to use one of these offers.

So now you know how to find coupons for online shopping and the possible restrictions on coupons.  Dive into the online shopping world and enjoy savings.

Apple’s Online Store Tops Mobile Shopper Satisfaction Survey

Apple delivers a highly satisfying online shopping experience not only to desktop visitors but also to mobile customers, according to a new ForeSee study. In fact, Apple tops the list when it comes to mobile shopper satisfaction, edging out online shopping heavyweights like Amazon and eBay.

The study found that Apple’s online store achieved an average score of 85 out of a possible 100 from its 3,000 polled online mobile shoppers, beating Amazon by just one point. ForeSee’s research covered both the websites and apps of the top 40 most frequented online commerce websites in the U.S. In a linked ForeSee survey of 8,500 online shoppers at traditional websites conducted for the study, Apple scored 83 overall, tying for second with Avon behind Amazon’s score of 88.

The Basics on Becoming an Online Merchant

Online selling is on the rise because of the changing shopping habits of today’s consumers, those under 30 years old who were either entering into their teens or have just graduated from college when the Internet bloomed in the mid-90′s.

This is the generation who spend most of their time reading and sending Twitpics, shout-outs, reposts or jejespeak on their FB, Flickr, tumblr, and Blogspot pages, in their desire to be visible and look cool on the Internet (now broadband and a powerful tool for business) that has become collaboration-friendly, thanks to Web 2.0 technologies.

Fast forward to a cool question. Do you want to join the world of Internet retailing as a pure player to earn extra income out of the Net Geners whose disposable income will remain ‘awesome’ at least until 2020. Do I hear a resounding ‘yes’ out there? That means you’re getting into a winning ambit.

Online retailing poses the biggest opportunity for all Internet users to earn from the web. After all, you spend more than 4 hours before your computer screens doing any or all of these: researching, working, playing games, online chatting or instant messaging, Skyping.

Caveat: you will not immediately strike gold from your Internet selling but, initially it will give you an extra income and one that will grow in due course.

Consider this data from the March 2010 ITIF (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation) report.

For the last 10 years, among the world’s top 10 Internet firms are those that have been successfully selling products and services like Amazon, eBay, Expedia, TD Ameritrade (into trading services), and of course Yahoo, Google and AOL, which collectively earned $58-B in 2006. Countries leading in e-commerce are UK, US, Sweden and Denmark.

E-commerce is growing in Asia too, where total B2C sales in Japan, China, Korea and India are expected to reach $115-B this year. At 52% (in Asia), Japan has the highest percentage of online buyers, followed by Korea at 45%. China, the world’s second largest Internet population with its 210 million Internet users, is expected to see large growth in its online retail sales – $18 billion in 2010.

In other parts of Asia like the Philippines, about 90 percent of the 28-M Filipinos with access to the Internet visit social networking sites to chat, play games and promote business and civic events. Social media has become a ubiquitous tool in any business marketing campaign.

To cut your mark in online retailing:
number 1 – you must have products or services to sell
number 2 – study the basics like on-time deliveries and packaging (you don’t want the merchandise getting squashed or broken)
number 3 – you must know how to use new media.

It is wise to focus first on a small range of products and know where to source reliable suppliers. Your products or services must be sellable like mobile phones, gadgets, fashion and accessories, souvenirs, homeware, health and wellness, appliances, travel reservation, insurance.

You can earn from your hobbies and interests like bead stringing, cross-stitching, photography, handicrafts, gardening, carpentry, used or antique items.

The Internet gives you the global marketplace, hence there will be customers in Trinidad, Los Angeles, Glasgow, Shanghai, Puchong, Cebu who will like to have those items on your web store.

Here are basic tips on becoming a trusted online retailer in the net world.

Build your website. If you can’t, ask friends and kinfolk who can. It’s an integral part of running an online business. Or you can buy an e-commerce software that has a complete e-trading platform that integrates payment gateways and logistics system for local and international deliveries. This way, you don’t have to worry about setting up payment and distribution intermediary services on your own. It’s never too late to have your own website up and running and be one of the over 80 million dotcoms in the world. Going by their sheer numbers, you’re in great company.

Get yourself discovered through social sites. Your FB friends and Twitter followers will be excellent starting points for engaging with consumers. You can advertise on popular social sites or you can create a Facebook fan page or a Multiply product page. Be innovative in your spiels (but don’t overdo it) about the benefits of your products so that consumers can connect emotionally to them, notwithstanding your commercial agenda.

Attend trainings. Learning additional skills on creating compelling customer content, photo editing, viral videos, SEO, etc. will boost your confidence as a netpreneur and if you cleverly apply them, you’re on your way to building a good customer base.

It’s usually in the first year when it’s all about deciding what to sell, where to source your products, and generating awareness for your online store. You need to keep intact your enthusiasm for your business and your customers so that in the succeeding years, you can get ahead and stay ahead.

Now this is looking beyond 2020, Net Geners and their progeny – because of their online behavior – put premium on time and convenience which online retailing meets 100% spot-on.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to become a trusted online merchant, visit http://smilds.com and click the Open a Shop tab.

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