Data and the Online Path to Purchase [Infographic]

Check out this great infographic, care of KISSmetrics and Baynote, all about how retailers can use data to turn browsers into buyers. Some seriously cool info! Take a look:

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Is The Amazon Fire Phone A Game Changer For E-Commerce? (WebProNews)
“Yes, millions of products at the click of an actual hardware button on the device. Just point your phone at a product in person, and quickly buy it on Amazon. Brick and mortars already concerned about showrooming are going to just love this. A couple years ago, Target stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle in retaliation for showrooming. What will retailers do now that Amazon is offering consumers a device that removes just about any friction from the process?”

Pinterest: How to Create Images that Convert, for Ecommerce (Practical Ecommerce)
“Pinterest can drive meaningful traffic to ecommerce sites. That is especially true when merchants use compelling photos. This article will share best practices for creating Pinterest images that drive traffic to ecommerce sites. It is based on research by Curalate, “the world’s leading marketing and analytics suite for the visual web.””

Consumers Are Showrooming and Webrooming Your Business, Here’s What That Means and What You Can Do About It (Shopify blog)
“Up until recently, there was a lot of gloom and doom talk about how showrooming was eating into the profits of retailers, and that their was nothing they could do to combat its impact. However, retailers have fought back and employed several means to offset showrooming’s impact, and the result has been the rise of webrooming.”

 

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

E-commerce could take 40pc of trade share by 2025 (LogisticsManager.com)
“E-commerce could take a 40 per cent share of overall trade volumes in developed countries by 2025, according to a study by Deutsche Post DHL. Today e-commerce makes up eight per cent of the overall trading volume in Europe already, but the study found that this share could rise up to 40 per cent in developed countries and up to 30 per cent in today’s emerging markets.”

4 Catchy Emails from Ecommerce Companies (Practical Ecommerce)
“Not every email message you send to your subscribers generates immediate sales. In fact, most do not. Running a successful email program requires fresh content and ideas, to keep your subscribers interested and, importantly, to avoid opt-outs. In this post, I’ll review innovative email examples from ecommerce companies.”

Amazon’s Road To Retail Domination (Tech Crunch)
“If you haven’t noticed, Amazon is about to eat retail. It’s been working hard at changing the way we shop for years and is now poised to change the way we interact with products thanks to the Fire Phone. It’s been a long, weird road and here are a few milestones.”

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Site Search, The Secret Ingredient for Ecommerce Success

By Rory Carlyle of SearchSpring

It’s no secret: everyone has secrets. People and corporations alike have to keep them in order to hold a differentiator from those around them. Soda companies keep their mixtures hidden, professional sports teams keep their plays out of sight, and sneaky old grandma had her recipes locked-down like Alcatraz.

It’s secrets like these that make a difference in the eyes of others and make the result special – cherished even.

secret-ingredient-image1

To that same effect, site search is the secret ingredient in creating a successful online storefront. Most merchants currently utilize shopping carts that don’t provide advanced functionality around site search. Even worse, most site search functionality is underutilized in regard to placement within the website design, providing helpful ‘no results’ information and understanding the ever-changing needs of the customer.

It’s like watching grandma look at the recipe box only to pull out a tube of Toll House batter. The results are not the same, the experience wasn’t as fun to participate in, and there’s nothing special about the product. There’s a lot to be appreciative for when she’s using years of experience to make homemade cookies with her special grandma ingredients, not just any old store brand.

Site search can put the secret zing back into an ecommerce storefront.

Site search should be a main ingredient in ecommerce recipes. Here are a few reasons why:

 

1. Shoppers using the site search are typically 3 times more apt to purchase, this is due to the nature of the medium. Search allows for focused buyers to find and complete purchases quickly. Without a search tool, these shoppers have to hunt and peck for possible purchases.

A bad site search experience alienates the most interested shoppers visiting a website.

2. Properly configured site search can bridge language and literacy barriers between the shopper and the merchant using synonym libraries and keyword redirects. Shoppers, who mistype, use regional vocabulary or are searching for related items are less likely to leave when search results aren’t a “search not found” page. Seven out of ten shoppers leave a website within two minutes if they can’t find what they want.

Site search not only increases sales reach, it’s collecting your most valuable customer data for increased optimization and product relevancy in real-time.

3. Site search data is absolute gold. It’s collecting direct intent from the people who businesses should care for the most, the customer. Each word typed into that search bar can be assessed for better optimization. Or, for that matter, leveraged across all marketing channels.

Site search data can be used for:

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  • Optimizing pay-per-click campaigns, creating new ones
  • Customer-driven search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing and merchandising
  • Onsite merchandising campaigns
  • New inventory research/acquisition
  • Expanding existing product offerings
  • Optimizing onsite navigation
  • Content generation

 

Secret Ingredients Make Things Special

As shoppers use the site search, the data gets collected in real-time, allowing for merchants to creatively develop product offerings around shoppers, quickly. The secret now isn’t the site search tool, but what comes from that data. How that data gets used to benefit the shopper is unique to every merchant, thus becoming a secret ingredient.

How this data is fed back to the customer is the key to succeeding.

Shoppers are leaving hints to what they want, every time they visit. Site search gives the ability to serve those needs effectively, building revenue, customer loyalty and energizing intelligent marketing efforts. Grandma never had this much information about her cookies; we’re especially lucky to get this much valuable insight in today’s digital world. Makes you wonder, what would Grandma have changed if she knew the real conversion rate on her cookies…

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SearchSpring® boosts sales by unleashing findability with advanced site search and navigation for your e-commerce store. Providing faceted navigation, smart search results and IntelliSuggest® technology to lift conversions and increase speed, scalability, and intelligence. SearchSpring propels merchants to new levels of e-commerce performance by turning your website into a fire breathing, high conversion monster! Follow SearchSpring on Twitter and Facebook.

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

4 Ways Same-day Delivery Will Transform Retailers (Practical Ecommerce)
“Amazon and Google are expanding same-day delivery services in major cities. These offerings and similar same-day delivery services from other companies could transform retailers online and off, potentially broadening the mix of products sold online and available to shoppers. Recently, Google announced that it would extend its Shopping Express service from the Silicon Valley to Manhattan and West Los Angeles. Similarly, Amazon’s same-day grocery service, AmazonFresh, is expanding beyond Seattle to include areas in California.”

5 Tips to Survive a Social Media Crisis (Retail Online Integration)
“Even the most beloved of companies will at some point in time either screw up themselves on social media or be the target of an angry customer. It’s how a company deals with those types of situations that can help protect their brand, and in some instances turn a negative into a positive.”

Cross-Device Functionality Top of Mind for B2C Content Marketers (eMarketer)
“But in a marketing world driven ever more by data, content marketing remains very much an art form, especially in the business-to-consumer arena. The difference between a viral hit and an invisible flop is still a coin toss for agencies or brands to predict. And, trickier still, there are no universal principles for proving return on investment to justify growing content marketing budgets.”

 

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It’s Music Monday!

Need help getting through another Monday? Check out today’s song picks from the Ecommerce Outtakes team! Listen in with us below:

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

American Greetings is the most trustworthy e-retail site (Internet Retailer)
“American Greetings Corp., No. 254 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, topped the list of the most-trustworthy retail web sites, according to the Online Trust Alliance’s annual Online Trust Honor Roll, which analyzes the trustworthiness of web sites based on data protection, privacy and security. But only 24% of the web sites operated by e-retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide were named to the 2014 Online Trust Honor Roll.”

Alibaba Updates IPO Filing, Names Partners Who Will Control Company (Forbes)
“An updated IPO filing from Alibaba revealed the 27-member cadre that will control the Chinese e-commerce giant, as well as nominations for its board of directors, which will include Chairman Jack Ma and Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and former Goldman Sachs banker J. Michael Evans.”

Mobile drives Indian online retail growth (Warc.com)
“Mobile users in India are thought to spend more than 25% of their total time on social networks and, with roughly 100m Facebook users, the country is expected to surpass the US in the near future for usage. Further encouraging news for retail brands came with indications that the Indian government is reportedly poised to use its forthcoming budget to announce an easing of restrictions for foreign online retailers, Australia Network News reported.”

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Another Great Example of Email Acquisition

Despite the growing power of social media, many studies show that email marketing is still the number one driver of traffic and conversions for ecommerce sites. This is why it’s so important for e-retailers of all kinds to always grow their email list. There are a number of strategies for this, but perhaps my favorite is the lightbox pop-up. I wrote a whole post about it, posing the question of how much information people are willing to give when they subscribe. I tend to think that keeping it simple is best, and even when it’s simple, it can still stand out.

Take a look at this example from Juice Beauty. When users arrive on this organic beauty brand’s ecommerce site, a lightbox pop-up appears asking them to subscribe to receive special offers. This one is very simple; all it asks for is an email address. However, take a look at the image. It shows Juice Beauty’s website on a computer screen, a tablet and a smartphone. This is really cool, because although it’s not stated in the text, it encourages shoppers to use the site on their other devices.

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It’s very likely that when these users open the Juice Beauty email they’ve just subscribed to, it may be on their phone or tablet. Knowing that this retailer offers a functional, visually-appealing mobile experience can drive more traffic from those mobile devices. Gaining loyal mobile shoppers is always a good thing. Food for thought for other ecommerce merchants out there considering the lightbox pop-up. You might want to take a cue from Juice Beauty in your email acquisition strategy!

 

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Wayfair: Letting customers lead the way (Internet Retailer)
“Speaking as day two keynoter on the topic “Connecting with consumers by giving them what they want,” Shah told attendees they can treat customers one of two ways. “You can treat them as smart and meet their expectations or treat them as dumb and lead them into a purchase,” he said. “We chose to treat customers smart.””

Recipe for Responsive Ecommerce Product Pages in 2014 (Practical Ecommerce)
“Since a good responsive ecommerce site design is a matter of taste, it makes sense to think about responsive product page design as a recipe with a handful of key ingredients, including a thin header, a high-priority call to action, product images, and finger-friendly, essential navigation.”

Semantics: Optimizing for the New SEO (Get Elastic)
“Advice that was once solid morphs into myth as Google updates its secret sauce to drown out spam and improve the contextual relevance of its results. Last year, a significant update marked the shift away from using the link graph and keyword matching to a more semantic recipe based on the Knowledge Graph.”

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Best Practices for Creating Engaging Ecommerce Videos

Guest Post By Charlie Rall of Video Review Labs

Product videos are dead. I’m talking about the dull spinning, white backdrop glamour shots with the logo bar at the bottom of the screen. That’s the 360 degree photography made famous by late night QVC. The web has changed, of course, but brands are still throwing money at product videos and getting poor results. Marketers can be getting so much more value from their time and money.

Cue the rise of the ecommerce video, a marketing/sales tool hybrid that focuses on product features and benefits, but builds brands online as well. They’re infused with high-quality branded content that tells the story of a brand and its products. They start conversations with customers, engage them personally, and ultimately drive sales conversions.

Ecommerce creates convenience, but also leaves a void of human interaction. Customers aren’t in the store where they can touch and feel a product or question a salesmen. We as consumers thrive for some interactive element where we can demo a product for ourselves and validate our purchase. Ecommerce videos put products into human context so customers can get as close to an in-store experience as possible. In short, they make the ecommerce experience more human.

To get the most out of ecommerce videos, it’s important to focus on three things: Strategy, Production, and Deployment.

Strategy

Every move you make as a marketer or business owner has a number attached to it– a focused objective. So should your eCommerce videos. Before you put pen to paper or press record on the camera, you need to identify your goals.

What are you trying to accomplish? If you are looking to increase sales conversions by 40% this quarter, or attract twice the qualified inbound traffic to your site, then you’re going the right direction. Lucky for us, ecommerce video can accomplish both those things. In addition, decide where your videos will live, whether on your ecommerce site’s own product pages or your channel partners’ sites. That way you know who you are talking to and how the videos will work with the existing UI.

Explore your current customer base and brainstorm what will turn them on. Do they need to see an in-depth explanation of a mobile tablet interface? See how the fabric of a hiking backpack holds up in the rain? From there you set out your creative plan that aligns with your brand. Remember that ecommerce videos never stand alone. They are new touchpoints for your brand and need to live up to the quality and consistency of all your other marketing efforts to truly connect with your customers.

 

Production

Video production is where things start to get pretty tough for marketers. You have to step outside the realm of what you know for sure about your customers and your sales metrics. You have to put your faith in an external resource to communicate to your customers through video and uphold the integrity of your brand. You’re also dealing with strict budgets and time. The key here is to work with a video production company or ecommerce video company that specializes in scaling high-quality work. They need to understand what you are trying to accomplish, fully embrace your brand, and scale up to meet the scope of your product catalog efficiently.

But this is also the fun part. You’re setting out to show off your awesome products in the setting they were designed for. Get outside the studio and shoot outdoors, at a coffee house, or wherever your customers are really using your product. Last time I checked, no one lived in an infinite white space…

Be careful to strike that fine balance between clearly showcasing product features and benefits and telling the story of your brand. You can’t be dull, but you don’t want to over-saturate your videos with narrative. Shoot for videos between 30 and 90 seconds, depending on the complexity and price point of your products. That’s the sweet spot to hold someone’s attention online.

Deployment

Now that you’ve shot your videos and have the edits in the can, deployment is where you truly maximize the value of your ecommerce videos. You want to integrate your videos into your ecommerce site seamlessly so everything feels like one organic customer experience.

YouTube is still one of the best options for video hosting and embedding, especially with its added SEO value. Depending on your software (Magneto, Volusion, Shopify, etc.) your provider may offer a video hosting platform that integrates into your site best. Feature your videos as prominently as your photo gallery. You want to drive conversions from your current web traffic, and your videos will instill the confidence and product knowledge your customers need to click that beautiful “add to cart” button.

To boost traffic, make sure your videos are well optimized for search engine results. Search engines like Google still organically favor video over all other types of online content, but they can’t really read what is actually in your video. Make sure to optimize them with the surrounding relevant information search engines like Google need to index where they are and bring viewers to you. Fill out every part of your videos’ keyword and description boxes. Be sure to include category and product level descriptions as well as long tail keywords your customers are searching, like “How to clean the Osprey 40L Camping Pack.”

 

We’re just scratching the surface here. However, we live in fantastic times where video production is more affordable than ever and the resources you need to really build a great ecommerce video strategy are often just a few keyboard clicks away. So get moving to build out your ecommerce video catalog. You will enhance the online shopping experience for your customers, boost sales, and build your brand online. Now for some examples…

 

Who is Doing it right?

Easton Sports

Easton makes some of the best baseball and softball gear in the world. Their products carry a hefty price tag too, but they overcome new customer doubt and uncertainty with some pretty badass ecommerce videos about their products. They integrate their videos to be featured right in the middle of their product pages and they look super sleek. Below that they have a customer review section that is big and open to get conversations started about the products. Plus their videos are heavy on narrative to really sell the lifestyle behind the brand. Top notch stuff.

SKLZ

SKLZ is another awesome sporting equipment brand. Their site is big, beautiful, and pretty extensive with content. They have an entire video library of eCommerce videos that can be sorted and filtered to get very niche. They take an approach of Expert Advice and How-To style videos that incorporate their products, which instills a lot of confidence in their shoppers and also positions them as thought leaders in the industry. Unfortunately, SKLZ doesn’t utilize SEO for their YouTube videos very well, so they are not attracting many viewers outside of their site even though they have great, helpful content.

REI

REI is obviously the biggest player in outdoor gear. They have a huge catalog of great products and they do an amazing job at producing videos for most of them. They have a nice balance of studio shots and incorporating lifestyle footage from the field. Viewers get an expert explaining all about the product and clearly showing its physical features, while also seeing how these products hold up in real-life situations. REI also produces tons of great video content that features their customers’ stories, expert advice, and narrative branded content. They are really on top of their strategy for building the brand through online video.

Charlie Rall is the Video Producer 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. Follow @videoreviewlabs on Twitter.

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