Welcome to Ecommerce Outtakes!

The Ecommerce Outtakes team believes that online shopping can be better, and we’re aiming to improve it, one blog post at a time.  This blog features website reviews by our  ecommerce-savvy authors, showcasing where websites have problems and offering suggestions to make them better. Read our latest posts below!

We know we’re not the only ones who have bad experiences while shopping online. Share yours with us, and we will post them on the blog! The easiest way is to download our free Chrome extension here, and use it to send any websites that drive you crazy directly to our team. 

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The World Cup of Ecommerce [Infographic]

Anyone else missing the World Cup already? We’ll have to wait for soccer, but in the meantime, check out this infographic about the World Cup of Ecommerce! Thanks to the good people at Get Elastic and Baynote for this one. Too cool!

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It’s Music Monday!

Welcome back to another summer work week… sigh. Sure, it’s rough to be inside on a beautiful day, but at least you can listen in to our favorite song picks of the day! Check them out:

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Badge of Honor: BaubleBar

In case anyone was wondering how to do a really great top navigation menu, allow me to enlighten you. BaubleBar, an ecommerce retailer of fashion jewelry, has mastered the art of the drop-down, and it has earned them our Badge of Honor today. Let’s take a look to see what makes this site’s navigation so awesome.

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As users mouse over the various categories in the top navigation menu, a drop-down opens to show them additional options. Of course, shoppers will see the sub-categories on the left, but there’s more. BaubleBar uses the rest of the space to feature products, brands, trends, and more. What’s so cool about this is that it gives the shopper a place to start. With so many jewelry options, the site’s huge selection of items can be overwhelming. Seeing products right away is a great strategy to get users onto product pages sooner. Take a look at how this even includes the product name and price right from here. So nice!

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Each category’s drop-down is unique and offers the shopper some cool ideas. Here’s the menu for the Bracelets category, highlighting a specific brand on the site: Read More »

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Bland Ecommerce Design from Spices Inc.

Personally, I have never bought spices from an ecommerce site. This is mainly due to the fact that I tend to be pretty last-minute when it comes to cooking, and I just pick up what I need from the grocery store. However, I have to imagine that if I were the sort to plan ahead, an online spice store would be super helpful! At least that’s what I thought before I saw the Spices Inc. ecommerce site… Unfortunately “helpful” is not the word that comes to mind when I look at the design and navigation on this online storefront.

Take a look at the home page, below. All the real estate that sits above the fold is devoted to recipes. On the one hand, I can see why this is a good idea. Spices Inc. wants to show their customers how they can use the products on the site and inspire them to make that purchase. However, on the other hand, it’s really important to actually feature some products on the home page. Recipes are nice, but shoppers are still an extra click away from adding products to their cart.

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I decided to explore a category, so I clicked on Seasonings in the top navigation. Here again, I ran into the problem of misused real estate. As you can see, there is one main image here followed by a lot of text. There are links within the paragraphs to actual products, but I don’t think that’s enough. Always go for the visual option in ecommerce! Feature some enticing product images instead of just listing items in the text. Get those shoppers onto product pages!

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Scrolling down, I actually got to some product images, along with some sub-categories. Now we’re talking! I would love to see these options above the fold, rather than at the middle of the page. Place images for New Products, Top 10 Seasonings, Dry Rubs, etc., at the top, and lead people to these pages or provide drop-down menus with the various options. This would make navigating the site easier, and cut down on needless scrolling. Read More »

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Cart Abandonment is Rising: 5 Tips For Cart Recovery (Get Elastic)
“It’s roughly 50/50 split among the 100 retailers studied who enjoy sub-50% abandonment rate and those that suffer from greater than that. And only 79% of merchants report to know their cart abandonment rates. As far as statistics go, that appears high and healthy, but these are ecommerce metrics — that should be 100% of merchants.”

With new app, buy anything online from any retailer in one touch (Internet Retailer)
“It potentially could strike gold with its new Keep Shopping app. The Apple iOS app, which debuted June 25, enables consumers to buy literally anything online with one touch. This eliminates the “friction” of repeatedly typing in shipping and payment data on a tiny screen, which historically has been the biggest hurdle in mobile shopping.”

What is off-page SEO and how can you use it? (eConsultancy)
“On-page SEO can be considered a technical job, although there’s nothing particularly complicated to learn if you want to carry out the basic techniques of good SEO. It’s about adopting a routine or having a checklist in place that ensures you remember the tasks that benefit your page’s visibility. Off-page SEO requires a different discipline or skillset from the above, but the desired outcome remains the same.”

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It’s Music Monday!

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! To help you get back into the swing of the workweek, here are our top song picks of the day. Listen in with us below:

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

10 Tools to Survey your Customers (Practical Ecommerce)
“Polls and surveys are a great way to engage your customers and get feedback on your business. Survey your customers to find out what they want more of, or even gain new exposure by creating topical polls worth sharing. Here is a list of tools to create and distribute polls and surveys.”

Small Businesses Lag In Ecommerce (Forbes)
“The shocking metric we found was that 90 percent of the merchants we surveyed have some kind of presence on the internet,” said Theodore Iacobuzio, vice president of Global Insights for MasterCard, “but even when you factor first world developed economies like Canada and Germany, only 20 percent can accept electronic payment through their web site.”

How e-commerce experts view looming threats to the Internet (Internet Retailer)
“Ecommerce executives contacted by Internet Retailer seem most concerned by the first and the fourth threats: that government intervention will stifle web commerce and that there may be onerous restrictions on marketing via the web emerging from attempts to protect consumer privacy and minimize spam.”

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Ecommerce in Canada [Infographic]

Thanks to the good people at Get Elastic and Nextopia for today’s infographic. Check out some interesting stats about the state of ecommerce for our neighbors to the north. Interesting stuff!

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Ecommerce Video Do’s and Don’ts

By Charlie Rall and Sydney Kudeviz

Ecommerce videos are powerful tools that can work on many levels to engage customers in the the sales funnel. The difference to note between ecommerce videos and “traditional” video content (ads, video blogs, etc.) is that they are conversion focused and typically live on the product page level. But they are multi-functional and can be implemented as micro brand touch points that connect with customers on a personal level. Striking the balance between brand storytelling and directly spotlighting product features in video content can be tough. Some brands are ahead of the curve and really pushing functionality and creative content of their ecommerce videos, while others recognize the value but are still lagging behind. We explored a couple of our favorites, and one that could use some work…

Thumbs up: MODCLOTH (Sydney)

I have been a HUGE ModCloth fan for a long time. Of all their amazing site features, one of my favorites is their extensive video library and ecommerce video integration right in the product page. When I want to see more about a dress I like that ModCloth has a video of, I can see a real person wearing it, showing off different fits and colors. Of course, the pitfall of online shopping is the whole “I can’t actually try it on, touch it, use it, etc.” While that tangible experience may not be fully replicated, having well strategized video certainly helps a lot.

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ModCloth’s videos are typically no more than 30 seconds and stay pretty simple visually: a basic fitting room setting and some upbeat music. And while the voiceover makes suggestions about how you could wear the item, it’s not overly intrusive. It feels like how a real sales person in a store would be. The clothes are always styled and paired with accessories for a subtle upsell. While there are many opportunities for ModCloth to grow their product videos (why not have multiple videos per page showing the particular clothing item on different body types?) so far they are off to a great start.

 

Thumbs Up: MOUNTAIN HARDWARE (Charlie)

Mountain Hardware is an online retailer for outdoor gear. They were early to the ecommerce video game and they still continue to pump out awesome product videos every month. Their videos run a bit longer (averaging around 2 minutes), but their content is engaging and super helpful when shopping their site. Stories behind products are best told when they come directly from the passionate people who designed them. Mountain Hardware puts their gear experts and product development staff at the forefront of each video to highlight product features and give clear demonstrations of how to use them. They rule on content and their site integration is also super sleek and intuitive for the user. Each video lives within the main product description and photo gallery. One click queues the video in “couch mode” where you can lean back and get an immersive experience with each product on screen.

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Thumbs Down: FITTERFIRST (Sydney)

Fitter First is a cool fitness brand. They have some really great products for home gyms and even active office use, but they have some issues with their videos. They are extremely low quality and look like something that came out of the 1980s (and I don’t mean that in a cool retro way). We’re talking betamax garage bands music videos. The on-screen talent in each video can’t even seem to coherently talk about the product! With complex gear, your first priority with video content is to feature a knowledgeable, trustworthy narrator.

 

The videos are only featured on the their YouTube page, which doesn’t really help a customer browsing through their site. Their gear can be pretty unique in form and function so even having poorly-shot videos on the product page would serve some product education benefit to the shopper.

 

It can be a tough for a company to allocate marketing dollars to a new venture like ecommerce video, especially mid-tier brands that are growing and need to make every cent count. But great video is more accessible and affordable than ever before, so marketers can scale up on production to cover multiple products at a time. Knowing how to distribute your videos and get them working on many different levels (from SEO value to fresh social media content) is really how to get the maximum value from your production spend. Plus, ecommerce videos provide a direct evaluation of your ROI so you know what is working and what’s not.

 

 

Charlie Rall and Sydney Kudeviz are the Video Producer and Account Services Specialist at Video Review Labs, a Texas based eCommerce video startup. Video Review Labs is committed to building better customer experiences through video and helping brands sell more online. Make sure to follow @videoreviewlabs on Twitter for the latest content!

 

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Google Analytics For Ecommerce: A Beginners Guide (Shopify Blog)
“For many ecommerce entrepreneurs just starting out, Google Analytics can feel like a confusing mess of technical reports and information that’s difficult to navigate and understand. In this post we will look at exactly how to set up Google Analytics for your store, the basic reports you should be checking and a few other goodies to help supercharge your knowledge and drive sales.”

Japanese e-commerce powerhouse Rakuten launches a $100 million startup fund (Internet Retailer)
“Like many successful Japanese companies, Rakuten Inc. has taken profits from its operations in Japan to expand globally. That continued today with the Tokyo-based company announcing plans to create a $100 million fund to invest in young technology companies that have a focus on improving user experience. Rakuten Ventures, the investment are of Rakuten Inc., said today the new fund will focus on investing in technology start-ups in Israel, the Asia-Pacific region and the United States.”

Amazon.com vs. Alibaba: Omni-channel Competitor and Collaborator (Forbes)
“When it comes to ecommerce, Westerners are very familiar with Amazon.com. Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce giant, is largely unknown. Amazon’s revenues of $74.4 billion dwarf Alibaba’s $8.4 billion. But Alibaba has a different business model.  Unlike Amazon they do not take ownership of inventory, stock it in their distribution centers, and then fulfill the orders. Alibaba has an ecommerce platform and a “community” to connect buyers and sellers.”

 

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