Revenue protection: Preventing Web Scraping

Web scraping, known as content scraping, data scraping, web harvesting, or web data extraction, is a way of extracting data from websites, preferably using a program, or bot (short for web robots) that sends a number of HTTP requests, emulating human behavior, getting the responses and extracting the required data out of them.

Best Practice to prevent Web Scraping

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Tips to increase conversion rate

The basics

Conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action; and measures what happens once people are at your website. Typical examples of actions or events you would like to track the conversion rates are: the percentage of website visitors who fill out a form, purchase a service or product from your online store, share your content on their social media sites, became a registered user, sign up for subscriptions, use a certain feature and so on.

The measurement period you should use is highly depended by your type of business. The key criteria to use to deciding on the period length are:

  1. The time period should be short enough to make an impact on your business but long enough to remove any seasonality/random fluctuations. The trade-off between getting robust data and actionable insights can be solved comparing your current weekly data set with both your historical and forecast trends adjusted with seasonality indexes.
  2. The measurement period should be aligned with you product cycle. Hence, if you follow an agile monthly release plan timetable, then your measurement needed to be adjusted accordingly.  

Optimizing your conversion rates can drastically improve your revenues without raising any additional marketing costs. In 2013, e-commerce sites averaged around 3% conversion rates. When you build up your optimizing model, you shall always keep in mind customers’ price elasticity model.

On general terms, suppose you spend 1,000 on advertising each month to bring 1,000 prospective customers to your website. If your online sales conversion rate is 2.5%, then you’ll secure 25 new customers. Alternatively, if your conversion rate improved to 3%, you would gain 30 new customers. In this latter scenario, you’d gain an additional 60 customers y-on-y for no additional advertising cost, thus boosting your profits significantly.

The Tips to increase your conversion rates

Tip 1: Serve your customers with a simple layout

Study your users’ mental process and noted what actions they expected to perform to achieve their goals. Look at what both your competitors and peers websites are doing it. Then make your website layout easy to be immediately understood, so that when users land over your site they will never ask themselves what to do next. If you sell your product/service globally, then make sure to at least provide your prospects with a localized payment service.

Tip 2: Clearly show the call to action

Make sure that all relevant information, as well as a clear and stand out of the crown call to action is on the most visible and predominate part of your page. In other words, keep the process simple and linear.  

Tips 3: Serve then a quick conversion process

Make each check out steps as streamlined and linear as possible. Give users the option of move back to previous steps, but do not ask them to do so. If additional information is needed to complete the process, then add an additional step rather than push users on an already supposed completed section. Add, when possible, in line help.

A happy customer is likely to use your site again. Then, serve them a tokenization payment process.

Tips 4: Be Credible

Having a trust seal, such as Verisign will always help you increase conversions. Don’t forget to provide contact information including business address, email contact, and phone number at each step as well as clear information about your return and exchange polices. In this way you will increase the confident users have on your websites, as well as limiting your charge back exposure.

Tips 5: Sell emotions not just products

Many people buy for emotional reasons. Make sure they can interact with their social media peers whilst on your website. Know your Unique Selling point and make sure users will be able to feel the same experience whatever touch points they choose to interact with your brand.   

Give your image a human touch. Do not use a mascot or a virtual image on any of your pages, especially when leads/buyers interact with your client desk, but rather publish the image of the best performing representative on your client service team.

Tips 6: Be Clear, Open and Honest

Always reply to your customers on timely fashion with a clear and open message. Always put yourself on your customers’ shoes. Do not overwhelm them with lots of email, but send them coupons and exclusive offers when you know they will likely need them. If a product is out of stock, keep your prospect informed on when it will be available again. Offer the best customer service to your unhappy customers: the viral effect of make just one of those unhappy onto a satisfied buyer will overcome any additional costs.

Tips 7: Keep on testing

Always remember that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Check your site errors report in real time, your sales daily and your performance weekly. Add A/B testing code to your website, and keep on measuring and testing any important feature.

 

PCI DSS Compliance Checklist

PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is a worldwide standard that was set up to help businesses process card payments securely and reduce card fraud. PCI DSS is intended to protect sensitive cardholder data.

PCI security standards are technical and operational requirements set by the PCI Security Standards Council and they apply to all organizations that store/manage/process/transmit sensitive data. If your organization opts for an hosted solution with tokenization functionality, then it must comply to all requirements but requirements 7 & 9.

PCI Quick Reference Guide

PCI Compliance Checklist

Top e-Commerce Websites based on 4 Usability Principles

My own selection of the top e-commerce websites that combine sleek design and good user experience based on the following usability principles:

  • Easy user interface that guides buyers through the purchase process.
  • Visible calls to action such as ‘Buy’ buttons
  • Related suggestions/products/services based on the “if then” model.
  • Product overviews, inclusive of product specifications, price, users’reviews.

1. www.hobbs.co.uk
Sleek design, lovely product page (although I have few issues in adding my selection to the shopping cart), fantastic sleek branded funnel experience, clear call to action. Need to improve the recommendation section. Nice to have the Order displayed during the purchasing process, but I would remove the “change your order” on the payment page.

2. The old JD Sport shopping experience
The oldest version was cleaner, much more intuitive and easy to navigate than the current one, where the use of the word “continue” just drove me crazy.

3. Waitrose.co.uk
Ok, I use it even though they not always delivered what I ordered. But I like the overall site experience, the possibility of changing slot as often as I like (and slot availability), the adding/removal of items on page functionality, and the driver.