Talk About a Blast from the Past!

The other day I was searching around for an Anne Cole bathing suit, and I stumbled onto an ecommerce site that gives new meaning to the phrase “lacking in visual appeal.” I really do not want to be mean or hyper-critical, but ClothingStudio.com is truly cringe-worthy. Looking at the home page, you almost have to wonder if it is a real, functioning ecommerce store at all. Just check it out:

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The product images are inexplicably just drawings. This one picture of an actual woman wearing the product is an animation, showing the animated bathing suit switching colors every second on an endless loop. It’s pretty laughable. Who would order an item when they can’t possibly tell what it really looks like? Apparently someone does, because the items are actually sold out in some colors… To make matters worse, the font is difficult to read, and there is no top navigation menu to help users get around the site.

If users scroll down to the bottom of the page, they will eventually find a size chart along with some navigation options and a customer service phone number. Why is this at the bottom?! The navigation menu should definitely be at the top, and so should the phone number.

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The Clothing Studio’s ecommerce store front looks like a blast from the past (and not in a good way). With so many newer and easy-to-use platforms and templates available in the ecommerce market, it’s a great time for this site to make an upgrade. A modern design with simple functionality could help this online shop leap into the future… or even just the present.

 

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

3 Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Doing it Right Online (Ecommerce Times)
“So how does a brick-and-mortar business remain successful in the age of multichannel commerce? Following is a snapshot of three companies that started off as physical retailers, yet have transitioned successfully via digital. These businesses have thrived with a clear online strategy that provides a consistent experience, strengthens their brand, and helps them stand out from their competition.”

Reddit for Ecommerce Marketers: Dos and Don’ts (Practical Ecommerce)
“Reddit users, known as Redditors, prize the strength and purity of their community above all else. They despise blatant marketing messages cluttering up their forums and are suspicious of  sales messages. That said, if you were willing to put in the time to listen and learn and tread very carefully, your efforts would likely be rewarded.”

Get Paid: GoDaddy Links With PayPal, Dwolla, Stripe For A Mobile & Web Payment Service (Tech Crunch)
“As GoDaddy gears up for a $100 million IPO, the domain and web services company is adding on more features that will help it make more profitable revenues from its 12 million small-business customers. The latest of these puts GoDaddy further into the world of ecommerce. Today, it is launching “Get Paid,” a new online and mobile payments service created with existing digital payments heavyweights PayPal, Dwolla and Stripe.”

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Is online retail really ready for mobile ecommerce? [Infographic]

Today we wanted to highlight an infographic from MultiChannel Merchant. It really showcases that even though many retailers seem to know a lot about what drives mobile conversion, they aren’t acting on it! It may be time to reconsider your mobile strategy…

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Abandoned Online Shopping Carts Represent A $2 Trillion Opportunity For Retailers (Business Insider)
For many online shoppers, the ecommerce shopping cart has become a kind of bookmarking tool, rather than an actual indication that they’re ready to “proceed to checkout.” An astounding $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year. But these abandoned carts don’t all represent lost sales. In fact, new estimates from BI Intelligence find that about 63% of volume in these abandoned shopping carts is potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers.”

Start prepping for 2014’s short holiday shopping season now, IBM says (Internet Retailer)
“The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. They spent on average 9.3% more per online order in November 2013 than two years earlier, and 13.0% more per order in December. In 2011, consumers spent an average of $121.38 in November and $108.39 in December. In 2013, those figures jumped to $132.71 and $122.46.”

Online video for ecommerce: what type of content should you create? (eConsultancy)
“You probably already know how important video is for your ecommerce site, but do you know the best ways to effectively harness it? To start, videos should be produced using a scalable process and address content in which visitors are interested.”

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Affiliate Marketing: How to Engage Bloggers (Practical Ecommerce)
“Working with bloggers takes a lot of initial elbow grease, but once the relationship is established, you are rewarded with a solid partnership that drives new, informed customers with strong lifetime value. Unlike other affiliate sites, bloggers educate their readers. When the bloggers refer these readers to your ecommerce site, the readers are typically driven by interest rather than discounts.”

Digital Retail: How In-Store Analytics Align With Online (Get Elastic)
“The new retail analytics, leveraging Wi-Fi, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), GPS geofencing and sensors that can read facial expressions and identify gender mirror many online metrics. And when looped back with web analytics, can drive powerful insights, marketing and optimization opportunities for cross-channel businesses.”

The Bouqs unwraps a $6 million Series A for its high-growth, farm-direct flower etailer (Pando Daily)
“The Bouqs is unique in the ecommerce space in that it operates a lot like a marketplace, sourcing its product from third party suppliers and holding no inventory, but manages to achieve direct-to-consumer caliber margins and brand affinity. By cutting out the multiple layers of middlemen – including, at minimum, distributors and retailers – it’s able to not only reduce its own costs, but pass along those savings to both its suppliers and its customers.”

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Use Compelling Content to Drive Online Sales

By Dawn Mortensen of SLI Systems

Great content is an increasingly significant driver for turning an online browser into a buyer. As more retailers enhance their product pages with social feeds, videos, blogs and other rich content, they’re finding such content to be a powerful tool to aid shoppers’ decision-making.

Some online buying decisions are easy; when it’s time to buy a new refrigerator water filter, for example, shoppers search the web for a replacement number and the only factors to consider are seller, quantity and price (including tax and shipping costs). The more complex buying decisions are those involving products that shoppers haven’t previously owned or examined in a store. In addition to the standard product details of size, color, material, shoppers may want to know:

  • What is the real quality of the item?
  • What do others say about this product?
  • How do others look using the product?
  • Does this product fit in with current trends?
  • Is the product truly as it appears in the product image?

To answer these and other questions, shoppers look beyond the product detail page to social media posts, blogs, how-to articles, videos, photos and even recipes. This additional content provides context for a product’s use that is often more convincing than any details in the product description.

Creative content also helps convert shoppers who are browsing without a definite intention to buy. Think about a few of the ways retailers use content for marketing their products or showcasing their expertise:

  • A beauty supply site writes a blog about the best products for thin hair
  • A collectible toy retailer creates a video to generate buzz about a new release
  • A sports gear site posts Facebook photos of soccer jerseys it’s selling during the World Cup

There are countless ways to create content that informs, entertains, instructs or otherwise creatively entices shoppers to buy your products. Want evidence that it works? According to UPS’ 2014 “Pulse of the Online Shopper” survey, social media posts influence the purchase decisions of one-third of all shoppers and one-half of Millennials. A 2010 comScore study showed that retail site visitors who view video are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.

SLI Systems just released a new e-book, “Use Creative Content to Convince Shoppers to Buy,” with more than a dozen specific examples of retailers that use content to drive sales. It also includes helpful advice for starting or strengthening your own content strategy. Click here for a free download of this new e-book.

 

Dawn Mortensen is contributing editor for the SLI Systems blog, Site Search Today. SLI Systems is the leading SaaS provider of site search solutions for IR 500 clients. To learn more about SLI Systems’ solutions for ecommerce, visit sli-systems.com

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Google Glass is now in stock (Internet Retailer)
“Google Glass has hit the virtual stores shelves of the first retailer to carry the wearable technology. Starting today, the Net-a-Porter Group LLC, No. 102 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will sell Google Glass packages—Glass, a frame, shades, a mono earbud and case—for $1,800.”

Consumers Choose Digital for Product Research, Purchases (eMarketer)
“In addition, digital devices were favored for purchasing products from multichannel retailers, with 55% of respondents preferring to use a desktop/laptop, tablet or smartphone when buying items, vs. 41% who liked to do so in brick-and-mortars. Though smartphones and tablets trailed PCs by a long shot for the preferred digital buying method, that didn’t mean they weren’t seeing any action: 46% of users had made a purchase on such devices.”

How to use packaging to drive new business and repeat customers (Bigcommerce Blog)
“Are you shipping physical products to your customers? Do you have unique packaging? If not, then you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity to drive both new and returning customers to your website to make more purchases. In this post, we’re going to look at ways you can use great packaging to market your business. We’ll also look at who is doing it right and learn how you can do it, too.”

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Ecommerce Review: Hens Night Shop

Today’s post is a little bit scandalous. Australian ecommerce retailer Hens Night Shop, an online store that sells hens and bachelorette party supplies, asked for a website review. As you can guess, this site is chock full of penis-shaped products! Looking past that though, we want to consider the usability and functionality of this site. Some areas are great while others could use some improvement. Let’s dive on in!

The home page offers a nice first impression of the site. From the top down, I like that there is an option to change the currency located in the upper right corner. Always a helpful feature! I also think the top navigation bar provides an easy way for users to browse the different categories. Below the main banner, Hens Night Shop features some new products, along with the best sellers in the “naughty” and “nice” product lines. This is a great way to give the user a taste of what lies in store, without overwhelming them with too many items at first glance.

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It’s Music Monday

It’s time for another Music Monday! Get your week started off with a pep in your step, and listen in to our song picks of the day.

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Can Card Scanning Solve Mobile Checkout Abandonment? (Get Elastic)
“68% of smartphone and tablet owners have attempted to make a purchase through their device, and 66% report they’ve encountered obstacles that prevented them from completing checkout. 47% of respondents say checkout “took too long” according to a survey by Harris Interactive.”

Linking digital audience data to drive conversions (eConsultancy)
“Linking online and offline channels and multiple devices is now an intricate process, but one that ultimately promises big rewards. Bridging the gap, particularly between digital channels such as search and social, promises to benefit both marketers and consumers, delivering targeted ads and messages that are highly relevant to what people are looking for, and driving engagement and sales.”

E-retailers eye e-commerce platform upgrades (Internet Retailer)
“Replacing or upgrading ecommerce platforms tops the budget priority list for respondents to a new and exclusive Internet Retailer survey. The survey sought to highlight ecommerce technology spending plans and priorities in the coming year, and results show that nearly 62% of respondents put “e-commerce platform” at the top of their technology spending list. The survey had 99 respondents in total, and participants could select more than one technology priority area.”

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