PCI compliance: why is it important?

One of the biggest concerns for online shoppers is payment security.  Thankfully, there are payment card industry (PCI) requirements that manufacturers, software developers, and merchants have to comply with.  Here’s why PCI compliance is so important and how to determine the difference between PCI DSS and PA DSS.

First, your compliance shows that you are secure and signals to your customers that their data is stored securely.  As a result, you’ll likely increase conversions and see your customers return.  Anything to maintain strong customer relationships will be an asset for your business.

Second, your relationship with other businesses, vendors, and contacts will be strong.  You’re sending positive signals to anyone you do businesses with.  The last thing a customer or a vendor wants to worry about is whether their credit card data is secure.

So, you might be asking yourself if you should be PCI DSS or PA DSS compliant.  The quick and dirty answer is that PCI DSS compliance must be met by any company that deals with credit card information, while vendors need to be PA DSS compliant if they make and sell payment applications, such as Znode’s Multifront software (which is PA DSS compliant, if you were wondering).  However, if your application was written in house and only used in house, you can just PCI DSS compliant.  It’s when you sell the application that prompts a PA DSS compliance.

It might seem confusing if you’re just starting a business, whether online or not.  If you’re just getting started, check out PCI’s comprehensive guides for advice.



Will it be happy holidays for retailers this year?

Five To-Do’s for 2015 that will have you wrapping up the season in the Black (Friday).

Repost from Avalara.com

November and December are no “ho-ho-ho” laughing matter for retailers. Seasonal shopping is serious business. Nearly 20% of total retail sales occur during this period. But shopping trends are a lot like fashion trends; what was hot last year may not be now. Here’s a closer look at some key takeaways from 2014 as well as a “nice list” for what retailers can do this year to keep customers happy and keep them spending.

1.       Get the early birds and the last-minute shoppers

2.       Create a more seamless experience for shoppers

3.      Be mobile-ready

4.       Socialize More Often

5.       Be ready for big data

 Want the detailed data and drivers behind these trends?  Download the full whitepaper “How to Wine at Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

One last to-do for your holiday checklist: Sales tax. Shoppers can be a real Grinch about incorrect or unexpected costs at checkout. Wrap up their purchases neatly by automating sales tax in your ecommerce system, shopping cart or point of sale system.


The Value of Responsive Design in eCommerce

Responsive design is probably the hottest buzzword in the eCommerce world today, mostly because of Google (we’ll explain).  One of our last blog posts mentioned responsive design as a trending topic.  In this post, we’ll go into more detail about how you can add value to your eCommerce site with responsive web design (RWD).

The topic of RWD started trending earlier this year when Google announced that it will award responsive sites more favorably in search.  Essentially, sites that are mobile-friendly will fare better in search results.  Your SEO department or manager will be thrilled!  It doesn’t stop there, though.  Non-responsive sites lose up to 12% of web traffic, making SEO a nightmare.  If you want to be at the top of search results, you must adjust your site to be responsive.  Few people visit the bottom of the first page of a Google search, much less the second page.

Aesthetics and user experience are another piece in this puzzle.  No one wants to visit a site on a mobile device and struggle will the scroll bars and clicking links.  This is especially true for eCommerce stores because if I can’t easily purchase the product, I’ll likely leave the site.  The site should respond to you, the user.  Most users typically leave a site if they can’t navigate with ease.  In fact, 61% will leave a site if it’s unresponsive.  These numbers can’t be ignored.

Also, don’t use flash.  Google will not be happy with your site if this is the case.  It’s really the icing on the cake.

Moral of the story — listen to Google.  Google is king.  Your marketing or SEO manager probably wants to see your store at the top of a Google search because that means exposure, leads, and sales!

Znode’s Multifront platform is a top .NET eCommerce platform, which is also responsive.  Download our product sheet to learn more and discover what relevant eCommerce can do for your business.


eCommerce Holiday Shopping 2015: How to Prepare

Now that it’s October, online retailers can start preparing for eCommerce holiday shopping 2015.  Every year the shopping window grows, with some deals even starting before Halloween.  To help your eCommerce business thrive this season, we’ve compiled our best tips for conquering online holiday shopping 2015.

  • Mobile ready.  As Practical Ecommerce notes, “having a responsive website is not a competitive advantage in 2015; it is a competitive requirement,” making is absolutely essential to have a mobile-ready store.  The same article also notes that 28% of last year’s eCommerce sales came from a mobile device.  67% of consumers are also using multiple devices for online shopping.

  • Abandoned cart management.  As of March 2015, abandoned carts increased 4.3% over two years, making it a great time to invest in an eCommerce platform to get these consumers to revisit your store.  Email reminders are a great way to entice shoppers to checkout, especially when the clock is ticking for holiday gifting.

  • Personalization.  Use content and recommendations to make the shopping experience more personal for your shoppers.  Consider offering personalized offers or deals through your eCommerce platform.  You want to capture those indecisive or unsure customers.  According to invesp, personalized recommendations help up to 45% of online shoppers make a transaction.

Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list; these are trending topics in the eCommerce world, all of which will help your site meet consumers’ demands.

It’s crucial not just to upgrade your eCommerce store for online holiday shopping, but also to keep up with the times in general.  eCommerce is booming and this is not a fad or a trend.  Znode’s Multifront eCommerce platform can help you conquer the world of online shopping this holiday season and beyond.


eCommerce Trends: How to Keep Your Site Relevant

eCommerce itself was a trending topic once upon a time, but now it’s all about the latest buzzwords and trends within the eCommerce world. The eight trends/features below will help you convert more customers and keep your site relevant and fresh.

note: these are not ranked in order of importance and this is not an exhaustive list

1. Responsive design.   It’s one of the hottest topics in the eCommerce world because Google now awards responsive sites.  Think of the boost in SEO if you make Google happy!  What’s more, 61% of shoppers will leave a site if it’s not responsive.

2. Abandoned cart management.  59% of consumers agree that reminder notifications are helpful.  The most relevant advantage of abandoned shopping cart management is an increase in conversions.  This could be email reminders and/or incentives enticing consumers to purchase.

3. Shipping promotions.  Free shipping or shipping discounts can increase your average order value (AOV).  According to Deloitte, 40% of customers will purchase more if they qualify for free shipping.

4. Incentives to sign up for newsletter or register an account.   Providing a point of contact for your site is a cost effective way to acquire new customers.  Get Elastic suggests an overlay or a social sign-up upon opening the site with an incentive such as a 20% discount on your first purchase if you create an account.  Make these call to actions stand out and easily accessible for your visitors.

5. Product customization.  Can it be customized?  Today’s consumer wants to personalize everything.  If your product can be customized then provide a responsive, user-friendly configurator.  If your product cannot be customized, then meet with your marketing team to see if you can offer this.  Customized products are a great way to differentiate your offerings from competitors, according to Forbes.

6. Security.  Don’t store those credit card numbers.  Some shoppers are apprehensive about using credit cards online (especially after data breaches like Target’s), so PCI compliance is crucial.  Give your customers peace of mind.

7. Customer reviews.  Let your customers’ voices be heard.  Reviews and product ratings are a necessity for online shopping.  “Product page visitors who interact with customer reviews convert at a 58% higher rate compared to those who do not,” according to a recent report cited on Internet Retailer.

8. Personalized shopping experience.  This could be anything from personalized ads to shopping habits.  Mobile personalization is also key, especially tailored content.  For example, if you click on a Facebook ad focused on running shoes and clicking takes you to a landing page with running products and promotions.  In this example, marketing activities are targeted to individuals’ lifestyles.

Don’t get carried away with the latest buzzwords.  First ensure that the basics of your eCommerce site are strong with search, navigation, product details, competitive pricing, affordable shipping rates, easy checkout process, order notifications, etc.  Establish the backbone of your site and then build its robustness with these features.

Multifront is the industry’s leading .NET eCommerce platform.  It will help you capitalize on these trends and create relevant online shopping experiences.