In today’s changing world of eCommerce, PinnacleCart continues to provide opportunities and options for what I believe is the next generation of interaction between the small business owner and their customer base. The phrase we are using within our company is “off-site commerce.”
Traditionally, small businesses had a pretty straight forward business proposition in relation to getting people to purchase from their website. If you drive traffic through the traditional channels of marketing, you simply needed to do the best you can to convert site traffic into sales. This is still the case for about 95% of active small businesses today. In the coming months and years, transactions occurring in an off-site commerce concept will increase and eventually replace the traditional website as the primary sales channel.
Let me explain what we believe off-site commerce is and why it will be a fundamental shift in how consumers purchase products.
In the simplest of forms, off-site commerce is exactly what it sounds like – transactions and purchases occurring off your traditional eCommerce website. Most of the top shopping cart platforms today have already been unknowingly building and integrating the concept of “off-site commerce.” The real difference is having a few features vs. committing to the concept and looking for new ways to expand the sales outlets for merchants. Here are a few examples:
Of the top 10 platforms, we all have features that create a sense of extending sales beyond the website. Data feeds to Amazon, Ebay, Google Base, Facebook apps and stores, mobile stores, etc.
All the options above were developed as part of this over-reaching idea of a feature war that for some reason this industry continues to thrive on. Is there really that much difference between Cart A with 473 features and Cart B with 479 features? I could continue the rant about the ridiculous nature of our industry, but let me get back on topic.
Transactions are starting to occur directly on Facebook and on our merchants’ mobile sites. Everywhere you look, you can see the “giant” increases in Facebook transactions and mobile activity. Just remember to keep it all in perspective as a 250% increase in growth from .00001 is still pretty small!
Anyway, let me introduce the game changer.
Ladies and gentleman, Mr. QR Code. I know a large portion of the readers won’t even understand what a QR code is, so pause here for a minute and read this link and come back – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code
Ok, done reading? Great.
It is hard to paint a picture with words about how QR codes will change buying habits, so I’ll provide you a few examples that bring it all home. For many of you that have scanned a QR code, you probably were yawning a bit and have yet to see the true value. I can certainly attest to the boring nature of most QR code delivery. Almost all of companies using it today just don’t get it yet. Please quit wasting my time by having some bland, boring information on your QR code. For the early adopters like myself who scan often, you actually do your brand a disservice by attaching junk messaging to something as tech-forward as this.
But before we get into how it will be a game changer, let’s talk about why it’s the game changer.
- Fast food society – Without any question, our society is looking for instant gratification and ways to make our life as easy (you could insert lazy for easy) as possible.
- Smart phones – All the rage and rightfully so. The growth percentage on smart phones is a big number and this number does matter.
- Mobile payments by phone – The who’s who in the money game are currently in the mobile payment space. I don’t have a pony in the race and don’t really care who wins, but I want my phone to be my wallet, yesterday.
Consumerism is driving the concept of faster and easier; QR codes shorten the buying cycle and deliver on faster and easier in almost every way imaginable. For all the direct marketers that think they are hot shots, QR codes will be your best friend and give you a pure scenario of a call to action. No more worrying about who called, who clicked, who used a promo code. Tomorrow it will simply be scan & buy.
Here is a link to a quick video we created for QR codes that can paint a picture better than I can explain. We created this video because today, we’re the first shopping cart platform to be announcing and delivering on QR codes as a core feature in our software! Pinnacle Cart now allows you to auto-generate QR codes in a print or web format for your entire product catalog!