Win $2,000 in Free Web Design Services!
Did you know that Pinnacle Cart offers in-house website design services? To showcase our skills, we are offering anyone a chance to win a brand new website design package, courtesy of our World Class Design team. Fill out this quick entry form to enter our design package contest. One lucky winner will be drawn at random on or about 6/1/2013. The winner will receive a Platinum design package valued at $2000. Complete the entry by clicking here or on the image below for a chance to win!
Small business owners are 100 percent responsible for their customers’ personal information and credit card data. One of the biggest myths is that security is tied solely to credit card information. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Council will be the first to point out that it is as much about the personal information of your customers as it is about their credit cards. At the end of the day, banks can be a safety net if someone were to get your customers’ credit card information. Unfortunately, there isn’t a safety net if personal information is stolen from an online business.
PCI compliance is still a misunderstood concept. While there is plenty of material available on the topic, a small group of people have most of the information. History shows us that when this type of situation occurs in the marketplace, a lot of people end up buying services that don’t help at all. If your credit card company, ecommerce provider, hosting company, bank or other provider offers you a new service to assist in maintaining PCI compliance, simply ask the following question. “By purchasing this service, are you guaranteeing that you will pay for any fines or loss of business I might suffer if my online store becomes compromised?”
More often than not, the answer will be no. So why would you pay money for something that won’t help you with the problem? The answer is lack of knowledge. Most small business owners don’t have enough time to run their stores, much less to keep up with the security requirements for maintaining an online business. As a result, when a service provider approaches an online businessperson about a new service to secure it customers, it scares many business owners into purchasing it.
The first step
The bottom line is this: online retailers must find the time and take responsibility for protecting their customers. For ecommerce, be sure you are using a PA DSS (Payment Application Data Security Standard) certified application or a business that is PCI DSS certified. That is the first step. After picking the right ecommerce provider, you must take control of the rest of your customers’ security. This can be achieved by going through the PCI DSS process to get your business certified.
Pinnacle Cart, for example, carries the PA DSS certification and works with hosting companies that are PCI DSS compliant. Still, it does not have control over its own destiny. If the company it uses decided to stop offering PCI DSS hosting, Pinnacle Cart would be forced to spend a lot of money moving customers to another data center. To gain control of its security, the company is working on becoming PCI DSS compliant. The process isn’t easy and it costs money, but the return on investment will come to any business that commits to the process. You can show your compliance on your website like a badge of honor, and you will likely see an increase in website conversions.
Mike Auger is president and CEO of Pinnacle Cart, a hosted shopping cart and ecommerce software application that allows you to create, manage and effectively market your business. www.pinnaclecart.com.
View article published in Independent Retailer: http://bit.ly/ecommercesecurityPosted on: No Comments
More and more, we transact and interact online, and nowhere does this shift become more evident than in eCommerce. As new social media and eCommerce platforms make advancements and transform the lives of businesses and consumers, our approach to brands and the purchases we make online will change in ways from the obvious to the surprising. Here are four emerging e-commerce innovations, and how they’ll change the way you do business.
1. Collaborative Commerce
Increasingly, companies are finding themselves working together more closely, often unexpectedly. No sooner do you sign a contract than you find yourself working with a suite of different businesses with large suites of apps. Groupware — software designed to facilitate collaboration can help, but if a single-person business signs up to work with a 60-person company, it might not be a workable solution. So websites are springing up allowing anybody from a project manager down to a small shop owner to work together to create and buy the best possible product.
What this will do is much more closely involve everyone, even the customer. Imagine a world where a customer downloads an app that allows him to hire a designer, commission a custom manufacturing house, and then pay for the finished product. Believe it or not, it’s already happening.
2. Smart Kiosks
We’ve all been to a grocery store and used the self-checkout lane. But in a few short years, we’ll be using kiosks to do everything from pay library fines to buy a few magazines from a stand in an airport. The problem was that in previous implementations, smart kiosks were intended to replace cashiers, but it was quickly discovered that people preferred talking to and interacting with a person. So instead, these kiosks will be used to cut down on lines so cashiers can work with customers who need to return an item or have a question. They will speed up times and improve customer service. Mobile payments will be a huge driver for this form of electronic payment tech.
3. Mobile Payments
Mobile payments are still in their infancy: Google, Facebook, Apple, and other companies are building the infrastructure and trying to get customers more comfortable with the idea of using their phones to buy items in the store. But once the general public gets over that reluctance, allowing a customer to pay for something can be as simple as having him send you a text message or scan a QR code, thus triggering an automated system that fulfills the order and gets it to his door as quickly as possible. The day is not so far away when many customers will use mobile payments exclusively. Instead of a five-step process, it will be a simple “Pay” button, making purchases easier and customers happier in less time.
4. Same-Day Fulfillment
Some of the biggest problems e-commerce currently faces are the laws of time and space. True, shipping networks have becoming stunningly efficient, but websites still lose business to other companies, simply due to convenience. This is why Redbox still holds a slight advantage over Netflix (in my book).
That may not be true for long. Amazon.com recently chose to stop fighting attempts to collect sales tax on its transactions. This is because it’s seeking to build a network of warehouses that will erase any sort of delay in order fulfillment. Instead of buying something and waiting, you’ll buy something and it will be waiting at your house when you get home, or delivered right to your hands. (Read about this ambitious effort here.)
This subtle change might be the most disruptive one in e-commerce. Imagine a moment when your product is sitting in an enormous network of warehouses, and the minute a customer pays on your site, the product rockets out the door and heads straight to him: truly a Jetson’s like experience
This would level the playing field, and even if you couldn’t take advantage of the warehouse network, it would still speed up fulfillment: After all, fewer packages can mean quicker package runs. It won’t happen tomorrow, but it’s coming soon. That’s the way it is with the future: eCommerce revolutions are much closer than you think.
Jordan Foutz is the Director of Marketing for Pinnacle Cart and loves eCommerce, the web, and helping Pinnacle Cart merchants sell the lights out with Pinnacle’s shopping cart hosting. You can also follow Jordan on Google+Posted on: No Comments
Doing your homework is the most important step in selecting a shopping cart provider. With so many options available, selecting the best shopping cart can be a daunting and time consuming process. It’s important to understand not all eCommerce systems are created equally. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate your options and make sure you select the right software for your business.
Here’s our list of the top 3 things to look for in a shopping cart provider:
1) Is it secure?
This is the most simple, but often overlooked, selection criteria. To avoid fines, fees and possible legal action, make sure the software you are using is both PA DSS and PCI certified and compliant. If the eCommerce company you’re looking at isn’t bragging about their certifications, odds are it’s not compliant. Compliant solutions don’t cost any more than non-compliant solutions so if you don’t see “PA-DSS / PCI Compliant” it’s best to move on.
2) Is it scalable?
When searching for an ecommerce provider, many merchants think too short term. Sure a “hosted only” solution will be able to get you started, but once the sales start rolling in do you have the ability to scale without being charged astronomical fees? Having your provider host your store does have its advantages. For example, maintenance and support is typically easier in the hosted model, but stores with high transaction volumes need dedicated and distributed solutions to ensure high accessibility. Once your store is clicking, odds are you’ll rarely need to contact your provider for issues outside of hosting. Some providers prey on successful stores knowing they have no choice but to pay them whatever “hosting” fees they ask. They also understand moving to another solution can be time consuming and difficult so they tend to charge higher rates to stores making more sales. Make sure when the sales start rolling in, you can move your store and scale to the needs of YOUR business, not the needs of theirs.
3) Do they offer support?
Most ecommerce providers offer little to no support. Even worse, some providers offer only “pay-per-incident” support. Think about this for a second…why would you trust your business to a company that has a financial incentive to provide you an inferior product? Under the “pay-per-incident” model, the more tickets and support calls they get, the more money they make. Bottom line, stay away from any company that doesn’t give you access to free support resources.
While this list is short, it’s important to keep these very important things in mind when selecting the best online shopping cart for your business.Posted on: No Comments
On average, at least 50% of online shopping cart orders are abandoned and the products not purchased. One common reason that these carts are abandoned is having too many steps during checkout. Streamlining the checkout process to as few steps as possible can greatly improve the completion percentage of online shopping cart orders.
Having unnecessary steps in the checkout process, such as a site registration requirement, can lead to frustration and cart abandonment. Customers often shop online for convenience and do not want a long checkout process after their decisions have been made. The fewer steps the customer has for checkout, the more cart completion you’ll see.
By eliminating distractions from the checkout process, you are retaining sales for your company. With people’s lives becoming increasingly busy, online shoppers have no time to waste and want a convenient shopping experience. Cutting out the distractions and unnecessary aspects of the checkout process will be greatly appreciated by customers. This appreciation will be seen in more completed orders and more repeat customers.Posted on: No Comments
We’ve just released the latest version of Pinnacle Cart, version 3.7.4. In this version we’ve brought back many of the easy-to-use design tools from previous versions and combined them with the visual CSS editor in 3.7. Additionally you’ll notice we’ve made some changes to DOBA to improve the functionality and speed up the process of loading items into your cart. We’ve also made improvements to our API and released the documentation that coincides with it. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also fixed some bugs in the WYSIWYG editor, inventory and other issues you’ve called to our attention. So go ahead and upgrade to the latest version of Pinnacle Cart, we think you’ll be happy with the results. Most clients will see the upgrade in the control panel of the cart; simply follow the instructions to complete the upgrade. If you don’t see the upgrade in your cart, log to our management area at account.pinnaclecart.com and download the latest version.Posted on: No Comments