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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Badge of Honor: Calvin Klein’s Denim Fit Guide

Today we’re awarding our coveted Badge of Honor to one very cool feature on the Calvin Klein ecommerce site. Although sites with lots of bells and whistles can often become weighed down and difficult to navigate, sometimes those little extras can make a big difference when they’re done well. With that in mind, it’s time to check out Calvin Klein’s interactive denim fit guide!

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Upon visiting the denim category on the Calvin Klein site, the user’s eye is immediately grabbed by the denim fit guide at the top of the page… Read More »

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Gap closes the gap between e-commerce and stores (Internet Retailer)
“The ongoing blurring of the line between stores and ecommerce emerged as one of the main themes this week in Gap’s 2014 investor day presentations to Wall Street analysts. The anticipated moves for the coming year build upon the steps Gap has already taken to further bind its store-, web- and mobile-based retail initiatives, and to continue its ecommerce revenue growth—Gap’s online sales increased 21.5% year over year in fiscal 2013, which ended Feb. 1, 2014.”

Mining Reviews for SEO Benefit (Practical Ecommerce)
“Customer reviews are an excellent way to inject unique content into your site to benefit search engine optimization while boosting shopper confidence at the same time. For SEO, reviews fall under the generally beneficial category of user generated content. Because UGC comes from consumers, it’s written in their language instead of the marketing-speak we tend to let slip into web copy.”

Five ways listening to social data can help your business (eConsultancy)
“If you’re only listening to what people say about you (selective hearing) then you’re only scratching the surface of the value that social data can provide. Knowing what people think of you can be interesting, but as a marketer that will rarely affect how you deliver the campaign in front of you. However, knowing what websites your customers really like, or what videos they shared, or what TV shows they watch is likely to be more valuable.”

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Gain Competitive Advantage with Attribution: Predictions from Adobe Summit (Get Elastic)
“In layman’s terms, attribution is determining exactly where people are coming in from (laptop, tablet, mobile, wearable and/or geolocation) and what is bringing them in (social, YouTube, referral, direct, email, organic search) and then using data models or algorithms to detect interesting patterns in engagement and conversion maps.”

Mobile commerce sales are up 101% in Q1 for 350 retailers (Internet Retailer)
“Things are looking up at mobile commerce platform provider Unbound Commerce. According to the Q1 2014 edition of the vendor’s quarterly m-commerce index, which compares Q1 year over year smartphone shopping at more than 350 of Unbound’s retailer clients, sales on smartphones are up 101%, monthly unique visitors on smartphones are up 37%, page views on smartphones are up 56%, average order value on smartphones is up 12%, and conversion rates for shoppers on smartphones are up 29%.”

Alibaba IPO Could Spark E-Commerce Investment Surge (Ecommerce Times)
“Whether Alibaba launches its IPO on April 21 or in the following days, it clearly will be a major event for Wall Street. By any measure, it will be a blockbuster. The company will raise up to US$15 billion in the offering, which would place its value at $200 billion, based on investor community scuttlebutt. These are not unrealistic numbers. The company reportedly posts more revenue and net income than Amazon and eBay combined.”

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Ecommerce Snapshot: Lilly Pulitzer

As I was shopping for dresses on the lovely Lilly Pulitzer ecommerce site, I happened to find an odd little issue. In order to narrow down the selection of party dresses, I opened the “narrow by” menu at the top of the page. There was an option to select my size, and then the options to choose a print or color. But I’m confused. Some of the swatches appear in both the print and color sections. Plus, some of the “prints” are just solid colors, while some of the “colors” are actually prints… What’s going on here?

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I think this ecommerce shop needs to be more clear with their swatches. It’s time to decide which swatches are prints and which are colors, and make sure that each one only appears in one category! This will certainly help to avoid some of the confusion customers may find here.


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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Amazon, Facebook look to differentiate mobile payments with data (Mobile Commerce Daily)
“Amazon has been looking for ways to pitch its trove of data on consumer shopping to retailers for quite some time, and now supposedly wants to speed up the timing of a payment product that would let consumers buy goods via an Amazon account. Last year, Amazon rolled out a product called Login and Pay, which lets retailers and merchants leverage log-in information to speed up transactions.”

PayPal Encourages Shoppers to Buy Now, Pay Later (eCommerce Bytes)
“PayPal has expanded a controversial program to the UK. The “Pay After Delivery” program lets shoppers pay for purchases 2 weeks after hitting the buy button – and funds are taken from the buyer’s bank account on file rather than from funds available in their PayPal account. In a recent letter to select UK members, PayPal positioned the program as a way shoppers could feel more secure when shopping online, starting off its letter with the following introductory verbiage:”

Ecommerce Marketing vs. Shopper Annoyance (Practical Ecommerce)
“Don’t overuse any tactic. Never use a tactic that your shoppers opt out of, such as an email subscription. Likewise, don’t continually flash chat pop-ups if the shopper never engages. Do not display an offer to subscribe to an email just as a new visitor lands on your website. You have not earned that right yet. If it’s a repeat shopper, go ahead and make the offer as he has likely returned because he saw something of interest.”

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Suggesting Swatches for OrientalLampshade.com

While browsing lighting products from ecommerce retailer OrientalLampshade.com, I came across a big problem. Take a look at the screenshot below. For this item, the Geneva 2 Light Flush, there are five product images showing each of the available colors. However, they are not labeled to let the user know which is which!

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When I opened the drop-down color selection menu, I hoped to find some swatches that would give me the answers I need. Sadly, this menu does not show swatches. On top of that, when you select an option, it doesn’t change the image to display the selection. How frustrating!

I recommend a few updates for this ecommerce site. Add labels to each of the images, color swatches to the drop-down menu, and switch the image to the color the shopper selects. This way, customers can be confident in what they’re getting, rather than confused by the options.

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It’s Music Monday

Welcome to the start of another week! Kick it off right with some Music Monday songs. Listen in to our picks below:

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Retailers scramble to plug Heartbleed (Internet Retailer)
“Heartbleed’s biggest impact was on Internet-based data storage and other applications from companies including Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Web Services and web-hosting firm Rackspace Inc. With these systems largely built on open-source technology, they tend to include a lot of OpenSSL encryption technology, Krebsbach says.”

How are companies trying to increase customer lifetime value? (eConsultancy)
“Customer lifetime value matters, so how are companies attempting to improve retention rates? Our recent Customer Lifetime Value: Building Loyalty and Driving Revenue in the Digital Age report (produced with the help of Sitecore) has one answer: improving customer experience. The report finds that 64% rate customer experience as the best tactic for improving CLV, followed by better use of data and personalistion.”

Beauty And ECommerce Brand Julep Raises $30M To Disrupt The $160B Cosmetics Industry (Tech Crunch)
“Founded by former Starbucks executive Jane Park, Julep produces its own nail polishes, mascaras, moisturizers, lip glosses, face creams and other cosmetics that are sold on its site. The brand also has a monthly beauty and subscription service, through which it distributes its own products. What makes the startup unique is its social approach to product development.”


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Badge of Honor: MYHABIT

Another Friday, another Badge of Honor to award! Which ecommerce site gets the prize today? None other than Amazon’s MYHABIT flash sale site. Not only does this site offer some amazing deals on designer brands, but it also offers an intuitive shopping experience that makes it a joy to shop. Let’s break it down.

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MYHABIT is organized on a couple of ways. Users can shop by the category of item, but since it’s a flash sale site, they can also shop by event. What I really like here is that when you open the Events drop-down menu, it shows you today’s new events, but also the events that are ending soon. This is great for giving the shopper that sense of urgency to make a purchase before it is too late to get the deal. Read More »

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

SEO: Why Amazon’s Navigation Works So Well (Practical Ecommerce)
“Judging by the number of Google searches for which Amazon ranks, it’s easy to see that Amazon is doing a lot right when it comes to search engine optimization. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that Amazon does well in regards to SEO, but its navigation is exemplary. Consider the enormous range of products that Amazon has to catalog and provide access to in a way that its customers and search engines can all access optimally.”

US Retail Ecommerce Sales Highest for Computers, Consumer Electronics (eMarketer)
“eMarketer expects total US retail sales to hit $4.732 trillion this year, with ecommerce sales reaching a greater-than-ever share of the total. And as retail ecommerce reaches levels of mature, sustained growth, it’s having an effect on patterns across category sales.”

The Hunt Raises $10M From Khosla For Crowdsourced Shopping (Tech Crunch)
“The Hunt provides a community-driven shopping experience that helps consumers find and purchase items inspired by photos on social networks. Since its launch in January, the site has allowed users to post “hunts,” or pictures of unidentified clothing items from Tumblr, Pinterest, or the like that they want to track down. Community members then jump in to either identify the exact product or to provide suggestions for similar ones.”


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