February Ecommerce Digest

What a great month for blogging. While physical clouds were blowing cold rain and snow all over the Northern Hemisphere, virtual clouds and ecommerce were providing excellent fodder for Building Keystones blog posts. February was definitely focused on SaaS, with posts like:

We also shared our knowledge on miscellaneous ecommerce best practices like how to improve cross-sell conversion rates and optimizing registration forms:

Meanwhile, our peers in the blogosphere focused on similar topics like SaaS, international pricing strategy, and geomarketing.

It Might Be Time To Ditch The SaaS Monthly Subscription Model | TechCrunch – A large part of our SaaS discussions focus on different monetization techniques. Peter Sheldon from Forrester Research outlines various models like subscriptions, service tiers, trials and freemium, microtransactions and usage-based billing.

In this article, Ray Sobol argues that time based subscription models like recurring revenue are wasteful to customers. He writes that people do not like paying for things they don’t use and therefore, pay-per-use (usage based-billing) is the wave of future payment models, especially in SaaS.

In line with a few dissenting opinions in the comment section of that post, Mike Volpe, CMO of HubSpot, noted that it is difficult for people and businesses to budget in advance for pay-per-use products. He writes,

“One of the pieces of feedback we got from our customers and prospects during interviews was that they were willing to “overpay” in order to have predictable prices that they could factor into their budgets. Basically, they did not want “pay per use” pricing because they might pay $300 (or $3000) one month and $800 (or $8000) the next month and the variability caused enough problems for them that it was not worth the cost savings.”

GEOIP Detection
Source: KISSmetrics

Lack of Local Currency Pricing Suppresses Global eCommerce Sales| Marketwire – Another one of our favorite topics centers around international pricing strategies. After surveying 30,000 respondents, a recent report indicates that many online shoppers who live in some of the largest markets outside the US experience displeasure when they are unable to make online purchases using their local currency. The full report commissioned by E4X can be found here.

Should You Ask The User Or Their Browser? | Smashing UX Design – Creating a comfortable and familiar experience for website visitors across the globe is necessary for optimizing online shopping experiences. But forcing your visitors to make more decisions than necessary means diverting focus away from calls to action. This post from Smashing Magazine makes the case for building better web experiences by having your site automatically detect the IP address locations and browser language settings of your visitors.

“Adding more checkboxes, drop-down menus and radio buttons to a website is the easiest thing in the world. The technical implementation is straightforward, and the UX trade-offs are well defined. Putting in the extra work to remove interface elements is sometimes thankless.”

A More Global Outlook For U.S. E-retailers | Internet Retailer – This article from Internet Retailer builds off the same principles as the article from Smashing Magazine with one new piece of advice. In addition to providing a browsing experience based on automatically detecting IP locations and language settings, e-tailers should also utilize shipping address validators.  This is especially important for online software vendors who send physical products like back-up CDs across the globe.

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