article ecommerce emarketing

When is the right time to consider outsourcing or insourcing your eCommerce capabilities ? [Software Vendors]

Here is a summary article about a question I received a couple of days ago :

I’d like to hear what you have to say about when is the right time to consider outsourcing or insourcing your eCommerce capabilities ?
This is a question for Software Vendors,By eCommerce capabilities the followings should be considered: payments processing & tax handling, anti-fraud, shopper call center, bits delivery, etc.

Indeed, that’s a good question than software vendors and publishers could consider. Indeed software , shareware , and extended service provides a confortable margin if you have a decent volume of sales. That’s all the magic side of the software market compared to the electronics and hardware market, the cost to produce 1 software copy of 1 millions copies is about the same, only the maintenance, support, and registration cost will be on your volume.
Payments processing is usually depending on a bank, but some website acts both as a bank, reseller, and service providers, so instead of multiplying the provider you can have one to do several key tasks for you. But it has a price.
If you start with your business, and need a very fast integration of a payment method, at least to check if you will have at least your first order. You may consider easy solution such Paypal. Paypal is easy to open, no delay to start, well accepted by users, and the fees is pretty cheap with a fee of 3%.
3% is looking as huge for some newbies, but actually that’s a cost you will have only on the first sales, and without monthly subscription and without the need to give away you last blood exam as you may experience ( I m exagerating a little bit ) to your bank account manager.
As soon as you validate you have really a sale potential, it is highly recommanded to switch a popular payment service provider, you can look for RegNow, Avangate, ShareIt, Plimus, FastSpring, UpClick, SwReg, etc.. ( contact me to have special offer deal and check which one could fit the most your own activity )

Let’s do a list of top reason Why you should Outsource or Insource your eCommerce ?
– Price / commission / fees cost
– Extending the number of paiment methods
– Access new features ( Backup CD, Extended download )
– Access a new affilation network
– Have a specific shopping cart experience
– Complete control of each step of the registration
– Easier customer’s information integration
– Outsourced support for the paiment problems

Are you interesting by a complete and tailored study of this question.  Contact me or leave a question in comments.

article emarketing

How to chose your affiliate’s commission ?

I have worked for several years for VSO-Software, and also for some other software publishers before this one. Affiliation is a popular way to get efficient promotion and additionnal sales. A web site, a forum, a blog, a catalog is listing your products or services, and if a sale of your product is completed after a user clicked on the affiliate’s web site, they receive a commission on the sales completed.

What are the big question to consider if you are interested in this model ? First of all, you need to use a paiment service or a affiliate’s network compatible with your own paiment provider. The 2 most popular service for software publishers ( One of the most active and profitable affiliate market ) are RegNow from Digital River, and Avangate. If you are not selling a software, please contact me, I could give you some other network fitting your activity.

“software market provides commission from 30% to 85%”

What is the most popular commission applied ? Even if recommand to look first at your competitors, it’s pretty safe to say the most popular and default commission is 50%, at least with this one, you don’t have to think if the 50% is what you get or the affiliate, you will have the same. It gives also the feeling to the affiliate you open a balanced deal, a win-win relationship as you split the profit. Any publisher providing a commission of less than 30% will sound greedy and they will need to justify it ( because they have a very popular product, special expenses due to patents to pay, retail distribution channel, etc… ). At the opposite, a publisher provider a commission of 85% ( yes, it happens ! ) will also have to justify how they could do that. As an affiliate, you will look at this carefully, or worst, it could influence their final decision without they know why.

Why you should start with a higher commission than you would like ? Of course, starting affiliation with 50% could sound you risky. As if you split a part of your own body, or revenue. Actually, you need to consider the competition and the time required for an affiliate to list you. People are lazy, and affiliates are persons like other. If competitors or other products offer a better commission, why they will waste their time ? also.. and that’s the key point, imagine you define a commission of 50% or more, and you don’t have any affiliate registering and promoting the product, what you could conclude ? If you set your commission reward too low, you will just miss the opportunities to acquire new affiliate, and even changing the commission, it will be more difficult to convince again. At the opposite, if you have too many affiliate with a high commission ( 70% etc ) , it will be easier to reduce it, especially if you have mentionned the attractive affiliate rate was for a limited time. You have to start somewhere, so save your time, and be dynamic by offering an attractive commission at the beginning or opt to be  assisted by a professionnal affiliation account manage like me ;-)

Few Tips and suggestions ( to be completed by direct discussion with me and your specific case ) :

Reward the early-adopters affiliates. Some people will contact you to discuss affiliation while you don’t have one, that’s for sure people motivated to promote your products, so don’t hesitate to give them an extra bonus to their commission ( 55% instead of 50 ), they are the one you don’t want to dissappoint, they will help you to build a better affiliation program, testing it, providing feedback, so they need a special attention.

Auto-Approval for all,  most system let you the possibility to accept automatically the new affiliates or to review them. Make it simple and auto-approve them, there is nothing worst than killing the move of the affiliate, if he just applied to promote your product, don’t let them give up or forget, he was taking care of your products, let him the possibility to promote them right away and without any delay.

– Explain the tracking method, don’t hesitate to provide a XXX link sample : Just to make the things clear between the affiliate and you, and repeat in a page or after contact page the link you would like to see them uses. Even if you relay on the RegNow or Avangate build links, you won’t lost anything to repeat the way you expect the links to be set.

– No Direct Buy links with affiliate. Wake up, nobody buy directly anymore, you can smartly place some buy links in addition of the

– Set your Rules, be “generous” doesn’t mean you are stupid, you have to define some rules about how the affiliate can market your product, especially about CPC Google campaigns, you can forbid the use of some keyword if you are doing your own campaigns. You can also opt to limit the discount the affiliate could offer from his own margin.

This is only a few points to consider, each software publisher can adjust his affiliation partnership depending on the popularity of the software, speciality, price, margin. Ask your questions in comments, and I will use them for a future article.