Joel York has built an extensive library of SaaS related educational information through his blog Chaotic Flow. His blog posts and e-books explain strategies and best practices on important topics such as networking, monetization and churn management – knowledge that is helpful to all software vendors.
This post summarizes and analyzes the first part of York’s e-book, “Software-as-a-Service Success: 10 Dos and 10 don’ts of SaaS” in which the author showcases an insider’s understanding of proper strategies for marketing and selling SaaS applications.
The most essential concept gleaned from the book is that in order for SaaS providers to succeed in the market, they must capitalize on the social nature of today’s Internet experience. Success is earned by building social elements in the features of a SaaS product and by utilizing social tactics in marketing efforts. Read the rest of this entry »
This March, Building Keystones researched and published blog posts on our favorite e-commerce Twitter accounts, reducing churn with proper dunning techniques and the state of downloaded software vis-a-vis SaaS and apps.
We also kept an eye on the latest developments and insights in how software is sold and delivered online. The links below highlight some of the best articles that we’ve read this month. Use the Comments section below to share your favorite e-commerce articles and videos.
Alex Payne — How Not To Sell Software in 2012: Alex Payne, one of the original employees at Twitter, writes that in our day and age, software vendors need to simplify overly complicated sales processes so that purchasing software is as easy downloading an app.
This quote sums up his position, “Basically, if a given software package or service isn’t free/open, it should be as easy as humanly possible to try it, pay for it, and start using it in production. If it isn’t easy to get started with your product, I’m going to find another vendor.”
The post continues with a list of eight “Don’ts,” those companies that are getting it right, and those companies that are doing it wrong.
Internet Retailer – Amazon steps up competition in cloud services: Amazon is the acknowledged gold standard of online retailing. According to Internet Retailer, this e-commerce behemoth wants to occupy that same position in cloud based service offerings. Read the rest of this entry »
When selling products internationally, it’s critical to be aware of the slight differences between regions. In a previous post, we examined the differences between U.S. sales tax and E.U. VAT presentation. Similarly, date formatting is one of the most common, yet easily solved mistakes made when companies have their virtual passports stamped to sell globally.
In the U.S., the month is typically displayed before the day when writing (MM/DD/YYYY). If you are using a U.S. computer, look at the format of the date display and you will see a date such as 9/15/2010. Clearly there aren’t 15 months in a year so it’s rather obvious that the month is first, day second and year third. However, Europeans will likely see the reverse with 15/9/2010 (DD/MM/YYYY) in the display.
This may seem innocuous enough, but what happens when you have a date such as 3/9/2010? Look at the following example of software maker Whitesmoke:
Whitesmoke Cart Landing Page
This capture was made on August 31, so what they likely meant as the Offer ends date was September 3, but to a U.S. viewer, this looks like March 9, 2010! Is this offer already expired? Don’t make your customers stumble over such trivial details.
Similarly, in Japan, the date is written with the year first, then month, then day. This adds additional complexity when selling into Japan. Here’s a screen shot of the Amazon software store with only the numbers shown. Luckily, 99.7% of all Japanese citizens are Japanese, or else there could be confusion in how Amazon is handling the date.
Amazon Software Store with Date Format Highlighted
Wikipedia has a list of all the countries and common practices in those local countries. Check it out and use these guidelines for date formatting.
Common Date Formatting by Country - Wikipedia
In Western countries there is a simple solution to smooth the rough edges when it comes to date formatting. If you always spell out at least part of the month field with letters, no one will get the wrong idea.
We recommend the following formats:
- 3rd September 2010
- Sept 3rd, 2010
- Sept 3, 2010
- 3 Sep 2010
Of course, you must handle Asian countries differently. Be sure your marketing and e-commerce platforms supports all of the local nuances to prevent marketing campaigns from underachieving!
Keystone: Attention to detail is extremely important when selling internationally. Spell out some part of the month field whenever including a date online because you never know where your customer is coming from.
Do you have any other examples where you’ve been confused when buying online? Often times, companies aren’t even aware that they are losing sales! Tell us your stories.