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When you think of the word “scary,” what usually comes to mind? Bats? Ghosts? Frankenstein’s monster? For many people, the first thought usually isn’t of their online store.
But what you and many others may quickly realize is that setting up your digital business and accepting online payments is often a lot spookier than expected. From the jumble of technical jargon surrounding online payment processing to the complexities of navigating global taxes, selling digital products or software online can be downright frightening
In keeping with the Halloween theme, here’s a list of the five spooky things that could be haunting your online store this year.
1. Goblins, Ghouls, & Global Regulations | GDPR
As the ecommerce space continues to develop and grow, so will the laws and regulations surrounding it. One of the biggest regulations to roll out during 2018 is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The GDPR outlines a set of policies that protect European Union residents by establishing a new framework for handling and processing personal data. Effective May 25th, this new regulation applies to all companies holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location.
Under GDPR, customers now have a right to be notified when their data is compromised and businesses must receive clear consent from customers to process their information. Being GDPR compliant will not only strengthen your brand in the mind of customers, but it’ll also help you avoid costly fines.
2. A Haunting Lack of Localization | Ecommerce Personalization
Let’s face it, the unknown can be a bit unsettling. That uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach that you get when you’re uncertain of just exactly what’s going on happens to a lot of shoppers.
The root of the cause? A lack of ecommerce personalization.
We live in a world where customers have come to expect personalization everywhere, and their online shopping experience isn’t an exception. Failing to personalize the shopping experience to local realities (yes, that includes local currencies) can create friction in your customer’s shopping experience.
For example, when expanding into foreign markets, your online business needs to realize that English may not be the preferred language of your international customers. Or that some of your European customers prefer making payments using direct bank transfers instead of using a payment card. Being aware of your customer’s unique shopping preferences and tailoring checkout experiences to meet these expectations will promote a more streamlined shopping experience that’s sure to increase conversions.
3. The Unrelenting Ghosts of Unfulfilled Orders | Cart Abandonment
It’s time to put the “E” back in ecommerce – and we’re not talking about “electronic”.
Your digital shoppers want a fast and easyshopping experience when they visit your online store. Forcing your customers to navigate lengthy and complicated checkout processes is one quick way to kill a sale.
To remedy this, consider shortening the checkout process as much as possible. Help save your customer’s time by reducing form fills to only the most important fields like payment information and protect your customer’s trust by avoiding third party redirects. Processing payments using a dynamic popup checkout form natively on your site helps build greater credibility in your checkout process, which will help close more sales.
4. Undead uncollected taxes | VAT/TAX complexities
The scary thing about unpaid or backed-taxes is that they never stay buried forever.
In the past, digital businesses were only expected to voluntarily pay sales taxes when they don’t have a brick and mortar store in the state the digital item was being purchased. But thanks to recent rulings like in the case of Wayfair vs South Dakota, this may not be true any longer.
The full effects of this landmark ruling have yet to be fully observed, but one thing is certain— ecommerce regulation is changing. Is your business ready to navigate these changes?
Additionally, if you’re selling software or digital products to E.U citizens, you have to deal with Value-Added Tax (VAT). The VAT is a broadly based consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. The VAT applies to all imported goods and services bought and sold for use or consumption in the European Union.
Of course, there are a number of benefits to complying with local and international tax laws. Not only does compliance help ensure that you’re legally operating your business according to the local legislation but you also help strengthen the reputation of your brand as a digital business committed to integrity.
5. Harrowing tales of unsatisfactory customer service
Digital businesses must now walk a fine line between customer acquisition and customer retention. Research done by Bain & Company shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by at least 25%. Your business needs to make sure you’re prioritizing excellent customer service to make sure you’re retaining as many customers and protecting your revenue as much as possible.
By continuing to delight your customers with excellent customer service, your business can cultivate a loyal following of customers who will be eager to advocate on behalf of your brand.
Ecommerce doesn’t have to be scary.
If the five items above have you a little spooked, don’t be. FastSpring’s all-in-one ecommerce platform takes the hassle out of setting up and managing your online store so you can focus on more important things, like maybe figuring out what your Halloween costume will be this year.
Focus on growing your business revenue and let FastSpring help you:
- Stay up-to-date with global regulations.
- Create personalized shopping experiences that convert.
- Reduce cart abandonment and protect sales revenue.
- Stay compliant with Tax/VAT complexities.
- Delight customers with award-winning customer service.
If you’d like to learn more tips for software or digital products online, download our guide: What You Need To Know About Selling Online.