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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How to Grow Your Ecommerce Business Without Gaining New Customers

By Dave Landry

 

Ever walk into a cell phone store and hear a new customer get a better deal than you, even though you’ve had their service for a decade? I worked in the cellular business for several years, and I despised this practice. I wasn’t able to offer even my best customers what some new service could get, and I had no existing relationship with most new customers. It was a horrible feeling, but c’est la vie.

Like the cellular business, many companies feel that new customers equal new revenue streams. While this has some truth, it certainly isn’t the most cost-effective way to develop a solid return on marketing/advertising or return on capital. While I’m certainly not recommending you turn away new customers, e-commerce businesses can grow their business without new customers.

Here are the best ways to convert existing customers from first time purchasers to hardcore loyalists.

1. Offer a rewards discount.

Bonus if the loyalty discounts increase over time or with more purchases! Customers don’t want to pay what everyone else is paying. Any time a customer can take advantage of a sale, they will. Keep in mind, repeat customers require much less advertising, as they’re already aware of your brand. In addition, repeat customers spend 67% more than new ones. Many customers who don’t have a specific loyalty are motivated by price, and a solid loyalty program will keep costs lower than elsewhere – ensuring customers keep coming back. This captures both audiences – the price-conscious and the service-oriented shopper.

 

2. Develop better relationships.

After paying car insurance to the same company for years, I still have no loyalty. Why? As long as I keep paying my bill on time, they could care less about me unless I’m ready to leave. If I even mention the “L” word, however, suddenly a guy sporting a plaid sports blazer shows up asking how my kids are, and reminding me how long we’ve been “associates.” (Insurance agents take note: If you don’t know my kids names, don’t ask me how they are. I don’t even know my agent’s name, let alone his family).

Instead, make a sincere phone call. Send a handwritten “thank you” note. Whether the purchase was for one dollar or a thousand dollars, the impact of a simple gesture, like introducing your company personally and asking to take care of the customer’s future needs, will have an impressive and lasting effect. Building better relationships – even through something as simple as a phone call – simply wins more business. Read More »

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What’s to Like (and Dislike) About LikeTwice.com

LikeTwice.com is an ecommerce retailer or gently worn second hand clothes. When you boil it down, this store is a highly curated online thrift shop. You won’t have to sift through the musty junk to find the good stuff, and you can shop it all without leaving your house! It’s a fantastic concept, and there are some really cool things about this website. However, there are a couple not-so-great aspects too. Let’s take a look at what Twice’s site has going on.

The home page is clean and simple with bright visuals. Eye catching and fun! We also see a pretty straightforward top navigation menu, with tabs for the various categories. I decided to check out what’s New.

6488208925786112In the New Arrivals section, I saw what appeared to be a nice left-hand filtering menu. I can filter by size (in both regular and petite) as well as by brand, and even choose to see only the clothes that are new with tags. These are great options! However, I noticed that once I selected a size and scrolled to the bottom of the page, there are still more than 12,000 results. That’s a lot to look through! What I would love to see in this filtering menu is some sub-categories: pants, skirts, long sleeve tops, tank tops, dresses, etc. This way, shoppers can narrow down to view a more manageable list of items. Read More »

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It’s Music Monday!

Hey everyone, welcome back to another Music Monday! Check out what we’re rocking out to today, and listen in with us:

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Ecommerce Badge of Honor: The North Face

We’re back with another Ecommerce Badge of Honor! Today, the award goes to The North Face for some great design elements, as well as a wonderful user experience. Let’s take a look at this popular outdoor brand’s site and explore what’s so great about it.

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Starting on the home page, I really love the design and navigation elements here. This carousel of featured products and topics is really awesome. Users can open the little tabs on the left and see a short description of each one, and click over to whichever they want to explore. It’s a nice way to engage shoppers on this page.

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Read More »

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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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