Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Android’s App Engagement Higher Than iOS But Apple Drives Higher eCommerce Sales (Forbes)
“Android devices are closing the monetization gap with Apple but iOS still drives higher sales and revenue. The following two charts are from the UK and Germany and show that iPad’s revenue per session is higher than Android tablets but that Android apps are starting to catch up in how well they monetize users.”

E-retailers are set to score with World Cup web sales (Internet Retailer)
“Much of the research citing specific sales figures is from countries with a bigger appetite for soccer—or football—than exists in the United States. In the United Kingdom, for example, consumers will spend an estimated 174.71 million pounds ($293.15 million) over the duration of the tournament, according to a report from the Centre for Retail Research sponsored by”

Expedia Now Accepts Bitcoin For Your Crypto-Vacations (Tech Crunch)
“Expedia chose to support hotels first because they saw the “most demand” in the space. It was good starting point because Expedia already allowed customers to pay for hotel rooms on the site rather than at the hotel, making it easier for the site to accept bitcoin and then pass the cash on to hotel owners.”

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

UniteU to Host Worlds Largest mCommerce Responsive Design Speed Test at IRCE 2014 (Consumer Electronics Net)
“UniteU, a leading omnichannel commerce platform provider and eCommerce integrator for retailers and brands, will be hosting the worlds largest live mCommerce speed test at IRCE 2014 as part of its debut of new, shockingly-fast Hybrid Responsive design technology and the release of the latest features to its uMobile POS solution. The mCommerce speed test will allow event attendees to discover how their mCommerce sites compare to industry leaders in terms of load times and conversions.”

PayPal Launches New Reporting for Businesses and Will Share Big Data (eCommerce Bytes)
“Online merchants will be able to visually see transactions over time through new chart and graph options, allowing them to view a particular month, quarter or year, for example. And, for the first time, businesses will be able to quickly access aggregated, high-level customer data such as total customer transactions for a given period of time, and information on where customers are located globally.”

America’s Main Street meets the web (with a little help from China) (Internet Retailer),  a new U.S.-based e-marketplace owned by Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., launched today with between 1,000 and 2,000 virtual boutiques where shoppers can purchase such niche and hard-to-find items as sunglasses made from wood or a Swiss Army-like iPhone case that holds miniature pens and tools. “We want it to be like shopping Main Street from the web,” says Mike Effle, 11 Main president and general manager.”

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The Future of Retail [Infographic]

Today we wanted to share this nice infographic on the future of retail, via our friends at Get Elastic (care of WalkerSands). Interesting to see how much people are willing to spend on a product online without seeing it first. Take a look at the numbers:

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Local Businesses Migrating to Ecommerce (Practical Ecommerce)
“Local businesses with brick-and-mortar stores have not been early adopters of ecommerce. But, with the proliferation of mobile devices and with changes in how consumers research and buy products, most local businesses now have websites, many of them mobile optimized.”

5 Shipping Best Practices You Should Not Ignore (Ecommerce Weekly)
“Studies have shown that, increasingly, shipping practices drive customer decisions – and therefore could very well be a deciding factor of how successful your e-commerce website will be. Make your shipping practices attractive to customers and manageable for your own bottom line by keeping the following tips in mind.” 

3 simple tips to significantly increase your store’s conversion (Bigcommerce Blog)
“When people think about conversion optimization, they likely think about going back and forth between different color schemes while A/B testing, but there are actually much simpler and more effective ways to make sure you are optimizing for conversions. If you’re not doing these things, then it’s time to start.”


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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

A PayPal founder introduces a new way to pay for cash-strapped web shoppers (Internet Retailer)
“Affirm takes on the risk of credit; the merchant receives full payment right away. Affirm makes money from the interest charged to consumers as well as the processing fee merchants pay, which Levchin says is comparable to credit card processing fees. Credit card fees generally average between 2%-3% of the purchase price.”

Five evocative examples of ecommerce copywriting (eConsultancy)
“As content marketing becomes more and more vital to every industry, the ability to create quality copy, even for ecommerce has become a crucial skill. It’s a key way to market your brand and a fantastic way to separate yourself from similar competitors selling the same product. Your excellent copy and the different ways you can use it can also make your brand more trustworthy and foster a deeper sense if loyalty.”

Move Loot Raises A $2.8M Seed Round To Expand Its Online Furniture Consignment Store (Tech Crunch)
“When you think of e-commerce ventures, chances are few of the ones that come to mind deal with furniture. After all, shipping huge crates full of beds around isn’t exactly something that lends itself to a lean startup business given the logistics involved. Move Loot, a Y Combinator alum from the last Winter batch, however, is doing exactly that with its online furniture consignment store.”



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Badge of Honor: Monsoon

Today’s Ecommerce Outtakes Badge of Honor is quick and simple. (Really, isn’t this what online shopping should always be about?) The winning site is Monsoon, a UK-based retailer that offers clothing and accessories for women and children. There are many nice features on this site that are not uncommon throughout the ecommerce world, however, there is one particular reason this site stands apart. Inventory management! It may not sound glamorous, but when it’s done right, it can do big things for an online store. Check it out.

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As I browsed through the products on Monsoon’s ecommerce shop, I noticed a color drop-down and a size drop-down on most category pages. When you select a color, the size drop-down will then show you which sizes are in stock or out of stock in that color. Of course this is very helpful so that shoppers can quickly see which items are available in their size. But what’s even better is that an extra tag appears when items are very low on stock. For example, when I selected a size and color for this top, the site informed me that there are only 3 left:

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This is a great strategy that Monsoon is utilizing. Not only does it keep shoppers informed about product inventory and availability, but it also creates a sense of urgency. If someone likes this item and knows there are only 3 left, they are more likely to buy it right away rather than miss out on the opportunity. We had to give this one a Badge of Honor for that little extra push that we would guess increases conversions on this site. Well done, Monsoon!


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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

Google’s Mobile Search Warning Could Decrease Site Traffic (Practical Ecommerce)
“In its ongoing crusade to deliver the most beneficial search results, Google announced this week that it will warn searchers when a mobile URL redirects to the home page. Will the change impact your organic search traffic and sales?”

@WalmartLabs’ Price Comparison Tech Will Soon Automatically Credit Walmart Shoppers For Competitor Discounts (Tech Crunch)
“Price comparison technology from retail giant Walmart’s R&D center, @WalmartLabs, will begin rolling out this summer on web and mobile, to show consumers competitors’ pricing and offer them eGift cards for the difference, if they could have saved more by shopping elsewhere. The announcement comes at a time when Walmart is facing a series of nationwide protests from workers fighting for better pay and workers’ rights.”

Countdown To Launching Your Ecommerce Business (Shopify blog)
“Launching your business without being prepared can be a recipe for disaster, that’s why we’ve put together this 10-point launch countdown to prepare your business for its launch to the world. There’s a lot of work to do, so let’s get started.”

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Why are Art Supply Sites so Boring?

If I were to open an ecommerce business selling art supplies, my first step in building my website would be to think about my customers. Obviously, I’d be selling to artists, which to me means that I would probably want to create a website that looks visually appealing. Of course it should also be easy to navigate and offer a good user experience, but I would definitely want it to look cool.

After browsing some various existing art supply sites today, it seems that these other businesses don’t share my point of view on this. From Blick to Pearl Paint to DaVinci Artist Supply, these ecommerce stores are pretty…. blah. Granted, art supply stores aren’t necessarily all flash and frills. I have visited the now closed Pearl Paint store on Canal Street several times, and the creaky stairs and sense of near disarray are part of what made the store appealing. However, that feeling isn’t something you should strive to recreate on a shopping website.

Take a look at some examples of home pages to see what first impressions these art supply retailers provide in terms of design and layout. I’ve ordered these from (in my opinion) worst to best:

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DaVinci Artist Supply inexplicably decided to use the entire width of the screen in their layout, leaving tons of weird white space. This banner just floating at the top seems especially strange… Overall, the design leaves a whole lot to be desired. Talk about outdated.

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Oh Pearl Paint, why did you make your page so busy? These jumbled rows of options in the top navigation, plus an alphabetical option to shop by brand, is way too much. I’m overwhelmed just looking at it!

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Blick seems to be a little more on track (at least the banner fits). However, the long list of Departments in the left navigation is still not easy on the eyes.

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Utrecht Art Supplies actually does a pretty good job. Each of those icons in the top navigation opens a drop-down menu with sub-categories. Now that’s what I call organized! This site offers the best layout and navigation by far, plus, the page even looks nice and symmetrical.

Although Utrecht is the best of the bunch, I certainly think that all these retailers can do more to add visual appeal to their online stores. If fashion sites can be creative and interesting, why not art supply sites? I say go bigger and see how the customers respond.

What do you think about these art supply ecommerce sites? Share your opinions in the comments section below! 

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Today’s Top Ecommerce News

EXCLUSIVE – India likely to ease restrictions for foreign online retailers in July (Reuters)
“India could allow global online retailers such as Inc (AMZN.O) to sell their own products as early as next month, removing restrictions that have held back competition in one of the world’s biggest, and most price-sensitive, retail markets.”

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: Personalization, Loyalty and Ecommerce (Get Elastic)
“So what, exactly, are customers looking for when it comes to personalized journeys and relevant experiences? Plenty, but nothing so earth shattering that it should come as a surprise. And what’s more, the customer has the same goal as you: conversion. Illuminate the customer’s path to checkout and everyone wins.”

11 Free Ways to Track your Competitors (Practical Ecommerce)
“Think of it this way: There are several companies that do what you do. If you want to know what works, you could review your records and see which products or pieces of content have done best. Or you could multiply all that by how many competitors you have, and use their work to find out what gets the best results.”


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You Asked for It,!

An ecommerce store in India called submitted their site to the Ecommerce Outtakes team for review. We are always excited to receive submissions from our readers, and we were happy to provide feedback! In fact, we do have some suggestions for the JustStickers site. Read on to find our recommendations.

Arriving on the home page of this online sticker shop, I immediately was stopped by a light-box email subscription pop-up. This is really a great strategy for gaining new contacts for the all-important email marketing list. However, I do have a suggestion here. As you can see, there is a promo code right in this pop-up offering 25% off a user’s order. It’s nice to offer an incentive, but in this case, people can claim the offer without providing their email. I recommend emailing the user this promo code instead to ensure that people are providing valid email addresses for marketing initiatives.

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