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The world of e-commerce is developing fast and ever changing, making the e-commerce market more competitive with tech savvy shoppers. Whether you’re a merchant that has recently established a web presence or a long time e-tailer, selling online is big business, especially considering the rate at which e-commerce is evolving.

Below we have developed five elements that e-tailers should implement to stay on top in an industry that is growing and expanding every day.

Mobile optimization: With more people now shopping entirely on their mobile device, this has almost become a necessity rather than something that’s simply nice to have. According to a National Retail Federation survey, “56.7% of smartphone owners used their phone to research products, purchase holiday items, check in-store availability and other mobile shopping activities.”E-Commerce_Five_Musts_Bongo

Focus on millennials: Practical Ecommerce states that “within 10 years, millennials – roughly, those born in the 1980s and 1990s – will make up 75% of the global workforce.” Millennials have all but grown up in front of the computer or with a phone in hand, and they have enabled social media and mobile platforms to expand into what we know them as today. For the potential to increase sales across the largest demographic, e-tailers must create site content that is both timely and visually-appealing.

Payment solutions: In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of providing multiple payment options for your customers. With the right e-commerce tools, payment boundaries should continue to fade, and connections between e-tailers and global shoppers have the chance to grow stronger.

Loyalty programs: In business, loyalty can go a long way. Offering some kind of reward to loyal customers builds a strong relationship that tends to pay off and encourages them to come back and buy from you again.

Personalize it: At times, online shopping can feel somewhat impersonal. After all, you’re staring at a computer screen instead of talking to an actual person. By using geographic information to promote the right products to the right people, or implementing services for individuals based on data and browsing histories, e-tailers can better personalize the experience for their shoppers.

It’s 2016. It’s no longer enough to simply sell online. E-tailers must be up-to-date on the latest trends and make a solid effort to stand out from the competition if they want to stay ahead. Bongo can help.

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Whether you’re a shoe store in Peru or a grocery and general merchandise retailer in the UK, if you are looking to expand your business FAQs_Bongoglobally, you probably have a lot of the same questions.

In the business world, we know that customer satisfaction is a priority. If you are considering going global with your company, but want to know how it might affect customers and/or your business operations, check out some of our FAQs:  

1. What integrated platforms are currently available?  Bongo’s Strategic Integration Alliances offer international solutions to their retail clients within their features or plug-ins. The Bongo development team continually works with a variety of shopping cart platforms to integrate global e-commerce solutions and facilitate international expansion. Click here to view our current alliances.

2. What is Export API?  Export API is a comprehensive global e-commerce solution, with an API-driven model to keep the Bongo International process behind-the-scenes. Your international visitors will choose their ship-to country and pay you directly for the international shipping to complete the checkout process.

3. What set of functions are covered in your latest API?

  • ConnectOrder – Forward us any international order for our fulfillment.
  • ConnectLandedCost – Calculate all shipping and duty related costs for any one or multi-item order.
  • ConnectProductInfo – Synch product database with Bongo. Provide us with basic item details, and we take care of applying all the additional necessary information for like HSCode and Billable Weight to properly calculate all shipping-related costs.
  • ConnectOrderRemove – Remove an existing order.
  • ConnectOrderTrackingUpdate – Update/Add Tracking Numbers to submitted orders.
  • ConnectSkuStatus – Return the product Status.

4. Do you happen to have a glossary of relevant terms I can review with my team?
Of course we do! Click here for our glossary, which contains commonly used terms for the shipping industry, parcel forwarding and international trade. We hope this resource helps you better navigate the logistics of global e-commerce.

5. How do I expand my business into the international market?
Want to open your doors to international consumers? Learn how easy it can be to support global e-commerce with the help of Bongo’s global e-commerce solutions.

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You know the saying; you’ve likely heard it your entire life: “It’s better to give than to receive.”

Today is the day to do just that, as it is Random Acts of Kindness Day! Since its start in New Zealand, Random Acts of Kindness Day has become accepted worldwide, as people everywhere become inspired to do something kind for someone else.Shop_Shop_Ship

But what does being kind have to do with e-commerce? Well, a lot, actually! As a merchant, you want to put the customer first, and that includes offering reasons to come back to your site. We can think of a few kind things e-tailers could do for their customers today, and everyday, to be sure they are happy.

Offer live chat: Since a shopper is not able to have someone physically there to help them, live chat is the next best thing. According to 1to1 Media, a luxury lifestyle brand reported a “1,600 percent increase in conversion rate between visitors who engaged with the chat feature and those who did not.” Offering help to your customers in real-time closes the gap between an e-tailer and consumer, and shows customers that their needs are important.

Efficient delivery: In a previous post, we talked about better and more efficient delivery being an e-commerce trend to look for this year and beyond. This is something that is only going to improve with time as e-commerce continues to grow. Offering your customers fast, efficient delivery is another way to keep them coming back to your site.

User-friendly website: The visual nature of your website, ease of navigation, and functionality are all important aspects of a successful website. No matter what products you offer, an easy-to-use site is an essential part of creating a positive customer experience.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating Random Act of Kindness Day. It feels great to do something nice for someone, especially your customers. Start by offering a global e-commerce solution.

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Remember when the only thing we used our phones for was to place a call and maybe play a game (or five)? Today, people are using their mobile devices to do almost everything, and that includes shopping.

In a previous post, we talked about mobile optimization being one of the top e-commerce trends to look for in 2016. But how can e-tailers get consumers to shop, and keep shopping, on their phones? Browsing is one thing, but the ultimate goal is to convert those browsers into buyers. We have a few ideas about how to do that.Mobile_browsers_Bongo

Secure transactions: According to Total Retail, “43 percent of consumers would shop more on their mobile device if they had more confidence in the security of their transactions.” By safeguarding mobile apps, e-tailers have a chance to ease the nerves of their shoppers and, in turn, have an opportunity to increase revenue.

Fast load times: We’ve all been there. You’re in the process of trying to search the Internet on your phone, and the snail’s pace of the site begins to frustrate you. It’s hard to browse, much less buy, if the site you’re on is taking seemingly forever to load. According to Total Retail, “Of those surveyed, 61 percent would be deterred from purchasing on a mobile device if the site was slow to load. Moreover, more than half of respondents said that if their connection to a mobile website was slow, they would purchase on their desktop or laptop later.”

Easy navigation: If a site is too complicated for consumers to navigate, chances are they will give up and go elsewhere. Don’t push shoppers away with a difficult-to-navigate mobile site. Let’s face it, the easier a purchase is to make, the more likely the customer is to make it.

The rise of mobile shopping provides another opportunity for e-tailers to engage their customers. With security, speed, and an organized, efficient design, mobile browsing can turn into mobile buying!

Ready to engage? Click here.

 

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If you are a global e-tailer, then you understand the importance of making your international customers feel at home when they are shopping on your site. One of the biggest challenges that global e-tailers face is figuring out how to create a more personalized and localized shopping experience for customers worldwide. Below we have outlined five ways to do so.

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As an added bonus, be sure to take advantage of and promote prominent shopping days around the world.

Expanding your e-commerce business globally requires strategy and follow-through. Bongo can help you get there.

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Technology is continuously evolving, and with that, so are the trends. In a world that appears to be dominated by the Internet and shopping, keeping up with these constant advancements in technology is vital to an e-tailer’s success. Below are a few of the top e-commerce trends to look for throughout 2016:

ECOMMERCE_TRENDS_BONGOMobile optimization: As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts, online shopping using a mobile device has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and that popularity is expected to continue increasing this year and beyond. In today’s digital world, we can do so much with our phone. We can pay bills, talk to friends and family halfway across the world, deposit a check simply by taking a photo of it, etc. Why wouldn’t we do our shopping on our phones, too? Mobile shopping is not simply an additional feature; it’s a necessity.

E-tailers worldwide are seeing the importance of mobile-optimization, which serves two key purposes:

  1. To increase a brand’s visibility across the worldwide web, especially in search engines and shopping directories, and
  2. To provide an ideal user experience.

According to an article by Digiday, “the 2015 holiday shopping season was a clear indication: mobile commerce isn’t slowing down. Google searches, email newsletters and social media promotions all lead shoppers to the same place: their mobile browsers.”

Proactive personalization: Online shopping used to be a pretty impersonal experience. It’s not the same as walking into a store and being greeted by a salesperson, who is there to answer any question you have regarding size, color, or style. But you do get to stay in the comfort of your own home and shop in your pajamas. In 2016, instead of waiting on customers to contact them, e-tailers are actively engaging consumers on pages and throughout the customer journey by offering live chat and immediate assistance if a problem arises.

While personalization has long since been a part of e-commerce success, the rise of predictive technology has enabled merchants to offer more appropriate products and services – at the right time and in the right format. Merging data insights with individual shoppers’ profiles can help merchants predict what their consumer will do next, thereby customizing the experience even further.

Better, efficient delivery: Delivery time has become increasingly competitive in the e-commerce world. With so many companies offering free two-day, overnight, and, in some cases, same-day delivery, it’s becoming more difficult for e-tailers not to offer similar perks. Gone are the days of waiting four weeks for that sweater you purchased from the UK to arrive at your house in Brazil.

With e-commerce sales on the rise, e-tailers should be looking to improve the efficiency of their fulfillment operations and workforces. This, essentially, has an effect on (and improves) delivery options.

Keeping tabs on and staying ahead of the latest industry trends are fundamental to success. Let Bongo help you get there.

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Football may be one of America’s favorite sports, but football fans extend way beyond the United States. In 2015, the biggest professional football game of the year was broadcast in 180 countries and 25 different languages.Superbowl_Sunday_Bongo

This beloved sport is referred to as American football in many other countries outside the U.S. Not to be confused with football, which is what half of the world besides the U.S. and a handful of other countries call soccer. American football fans worldwide may not agree on the name of the sport, but they’ll probably agree that the game played this Sunday is the most exciting and significant one of the year.

If you’re an American football fan, whether you’re in Brazil or Belgium, chances are you will be watching this game somewhere, either in person, in a sports bar, at work, or at home on the couch. And chances are, you’ll want to buy some sort of championship.

With Bongo, you can buy that famed jersey and ship it to yourself all the way in Scotland. Maybe you live halfway around the world and have a birthday coming up? Treat yourself with an autographed t-shirt, or better yet, a football.

American football isn’t just an American sport, just as shopping doesn’t have to be confined to your home country. Become a Bongo member today to start shopping (and shipping) internationally!

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Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. Whether you’re single or spoken for, this is a day to show all the special people in your life just how much you love them. Sure, we should be doing that everyday, but who doesn’t love an excuse to eat tons of chocolate?

Contrary to what many may think, Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday solely for women. Men love receiving gifts, too, not only on this day, but on any occasion. Ladies, we’re sure a lot of you have had something picked out for your sweetie for a while now, but for the rest of you, don’t stress! There’s still time.Valentines_Day_Bongo

Check out our top four gift ideas for him this Valentine’s Day:

Facial grooming kit: While a five o’clock shadow can be attractive, some occasions call for a clean shave. Besides, whoever said women are the only ones who love to pamper themselves may have been mistaken.

Beer-making set: Is your guy a beer connoisseur? Let him try his hand at making his own batch! Plus, this could be a fun activity for the two of you to enjoy together.

Wallet: As far as Valentine’s Day gifts go, buying your guy a wallet is like sending a woman a dozen roses. It’s a staple gift for this holiday, and one that he can use for a long time.

Smart watch: What once was simply another wrist accessory is now so much more. Take your watch-giving (and mobile connectivity) to the next level.

Happy shopping, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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No matter what products or services your business provides, having a functional, easy-to-use website is essential. Making it easy for customers to use your site allows them to do the one thing you want them to do: buy from you.

With the proper global e-commerce tools, your site can provide an excellent purchasing experience for customers – one that will adapt to them!

You know that foreign currency conversion plays a large role in providing a user-friendly website for your international customers. But, what else can e-tailers do to make running a global business easier? ECOMMERCE_BONGO_SITE

Well, for one, be sure the checkout tool(s) for your site are mobile-optimized. According to 2015 projections by Internet Retailer and data from the 2016 Mobile 500, “U.S. mobile commerce sales will total $104.05 billion, up 38.7% from $75.03 billion in 2014.” Internet Retailer also estimated that “mobile commerce in 2015 will grow 2.58 times faster than total e-commerce sales, which Internet Retailer projects will grow 15% this year to an estimated $350.64 billion.” Today, people are using smartphones more and more for things we all formerly used a desktop computer for, including shopping online. Now, shoppers on your site can purchase from you when they’re on the go!

Next, be sure to provide quality checkout solutions. How? Allow for easier integration and implementation with a pre-built shopping cart plug-in – an e-commerce solution that enables your business to reach international consumers through your existing infrastructure.

Additionally, provide a localized experience for your international shoppers. It’s important to know where your customer is shopping from, speak their language, bill in their currency and accept their form of payment.

Ease your global consumers’ minds about billing, calculation, exchange rate and other headaches that can come with shipping internationally.

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A big challenge many international e-tailers face is delivering consistent service to worldwide customers. Allowing customers in other countries to find something on your site, proceed to checkout, and complete this process in their language and currency can go a long way, not only in establishing goodwill, but also in growing your business.currency_conversion_Bongo

E-tailers recognize the importance of foreign currency conversion, and making your international customers feel at home is pretty much a necessity when trying to gain customer loyalty.

At Bongo, it’s our goal to offer secure e-commerce checkout solutions, with 22 payment options and 120 currencies accepted. Talk about providing options! Additionally, when you choose Bongo, your business will be able to ship to over 200 countries and territories, making global e-commerce easier and more user-friendly than you may have imagined. To learn more about how Bongo can help you take your business global, visit our ecommerce Checkout page. Let’s #goglobal!