Italy as a great ecommerce cross border opportunity
Every thing about Beacons
Best Practices for Optimising Local Search
5 Ecommerce Site Design Trends for 2016
April is upon us already and with it the event season. This edition of Infinity is sponsored by Internet Retailing Expo. This leading industry event which takes place in Birmingham in the UK in just a few weeks , so if you haven’t already done so secure your free ticket by just clicking on the link on the inside cover and it will take you through to registration. Additionally we are featuring two forthcoming industry events taking place in London, the first is eTail Europe and second the Programmatic Pioneers Summit. Take advantage of the Infinity reader promotional rates by booking using the codes provided. Contents wish, we have eleven articles covering everything
from ecommerce website design trends through to an article highlighting Italy as a great and often unrecognised cross border opportunity for ecommerce retailers. There is also an great background piece about Beacon technology that may be of helpful to all our growing multi channel retailer readers. We hope you enjoy this April edition and If you are a new reader please do subscribe. We are always in search of interesting subjects to highlight and explore that provides new insight into eCommerce technology, markets and trends that our readership from around the world would benefit from. Please ask your company PR and communications team to put us on their circulation lists.
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Contents of this Months’ Issue
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Quality find search requests
Everything you want to know about Beacons
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10 Best Practices for Optimising your Retail Chain for Local Search 13 Mobilising the Retail Trendsetters of Europe 17 5 Ecommerce Site Design Trends for 2016 18 How Business Can Win with Gamification 22 Time to think of Italy as a great ecommerce cross border opportunity 24 The current state of Ecommerce Search 28 Cloud holds the Future for Fulfilment 29 Study in Ecommerce and Behavioural Differences
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Looking for an industry leading Key Word Search engine? Here’s what our clients think; “A SUPER THING INDEED!” “COOL FIND ENGINE” “CONGRATULATIONS, THE SPEED WITH WHICH A RESULT ARRIVES IS MINDBOGGLING” “PRETTY FAST“ “THE FIND ENGINE WORKS REALLY WELL“ “I HEARD ABOUT IT FROM HEIDI, SHE’S BEEN RAVING ABOUT IT“ Watch our YouTube video (Click Here)
Thank you, our new find engine is obviously catching on! Online advertising, as we know, reaches its target group only if it uses those words that are being searched for on the web. The ArgYou ‘find engine’ screens over 450 search engines plus social media in 29 languages, ArgYou finds those words. With the help of our new ‘find engine’ you can now easily test as many keywords as you need, without assistance. Simply enter your own keywords and in a few seconds you will know how many users are actually searching for them in the web. At www.ArgYou.com/en and Enter your Find-Engine Its so simple to use but if you have questions we are available to speaking with you, just telephone +41 (0)4176708 28 or email info@ArgYou.com
Quickly find search requests Imaging a tool with which you can find out what internet users on all channels are searching for, just now, or even in the last thirty days. Online market researchers from ArgYou have built the “find machine”. This is based on twenty years of research into all digital channels that use search engines or social networks. Now, your advertisers and agencies can also use the new “find machine” from ArgYou to create independent measurement. Market research in real time Previously, it was necessary to request a very expensive market research project, with a project time of between 3 and 9 months, when a detailed report would be available. Unfortunately most of the results were too old and the latest trends had since changed. The figures were hardly usable and have even led to wrong decisions. Today, in the digital age, faster and independently measured / validated reliable market data is becoming more and more important. The problem is how do you get this data in a reasonable time? The market researchers and analysts of Argyou solved this problem some time ago. TV as a driver of innovation Around two years ago our customer demanded measurements on ProSieben Sat.1. We needed to obtain measurements in a direct so our colleagues in TV could react faster to digital trends, says Glauser. In the TV business, there was a problem as the advertising
effect online was not as good as the TV programs themselves. Glauser built the high-tech Argyou measuring technology so that at the level of individual keywords, products, stars and claims in the whole internet can be measured in real time. The first successful tests with the Find Machine, made it clear that rapid results were helpful for agencies. The first step for the birth of a Find machine. The real challenge was the speed with which the online market is measured and the security of the applications that run in the background. Then came the technological development of the market researchers with faster applications. They developed the fastest market research machine in the world from scratch, to meet the needs of the potential "Finder". It is now used world-wide use in 29 languages and 40 countries. Effect barometer for customers and agencies Although the find machine is scientifically, neutral, independent of and not influenced by the advertising market outside of Switzerland, the first foreign agencies have started using the machine in the their projects on a regular basis. In contrast to the free data generated by search engines and social media providers, the agencies took advantage of their own measurements for recommendation marketing. This was essential for Sobu the online shopping platform from Swiss Post, launched 3 years ago and built on the principle “buy, share and earn”, to win new customers.
Recommendation marketing is not new for ecommerce, but was never systematically combined with social media. The big plus of this platform for operators of ecommerce sites: you win new customers without a fixed advertising expenditure. Costs are incurred only if something is sold. Sobu users share on social networks, the products they have shopped online for and recommend them. In turn they receive a cash commission of between five and ten percent when friends follow recommendations on specific ecommerce sites. The friends of professionals also receive a welcome gift or a special discount with their first order. Sobu already has 200 online shops as partners. Sobu is big in data protection. The platform does not work with the operators of social networks and there is no unnecessary data. ‘Shop and earn money’ – was Sobo’s national advertising campaign last year. The idea of a live casting with five people earning as much money as possible, went well. The number of the registered users has grown to 60,000 and rising. This resulted in the World Forum 2016 choosing Sobu from six nominees for "coolest startup" young companies. With the ArgYou ‘find machine’ as a key element of the service deliverable. Watch the ArgYou YouTube video: https://youtu.be/Fw_6dHugrrk Link to Find-Machine: www.ArgYou.com/en
Everything you may what to know about Beacons Increasingly, retailers are looking to beacons to enhance the instore shopping experience while simultaneously bridging their physical and online experiences. These Bluetooth-enabled devices are being installed in an increased number of stores. Even with the deluge of media and retailer interest, beacons are still in their comparative infancy and there’s little clear data yet showing the difference they make on in-store sales. So what are beacons, and what can they realistically offer retailers and their customers? Beacons are small devices that uses a type of radio signal (Bluetooth Low Energy) to repeatedly announce their presence to anybody in the area that cares to listen. They don’t receive anything, they just send out their small signal over and over again so that people know they’re there. A basic beacon packet comprises a UUID, a major and minor as well as a transmission strength indicator. These aspects allow the detecting device to identify exactly which beacon they’re detecting, and approximately how far away it is. Beacons can be detected by nearby smartphones and other mobile devices which are Bluetooth enabled. Then when the device has the appropriate associated retail store app installed it will be able to receive personalized media such as ads, coupons or supplementary product information to enhance the shopping experience. They can also be used as point-ofsale systems and to collect
information on those consumers — particularly how consumers manoeuvre through stores. So should customers be excited about them? Depends on the customer’s taste for advertising. Research has shown that people are typically averse to mobile advertising, but it seems consumers are open to mobile ads as long as they are relevant to time, place and activity. Beacons allow for content to be delivered on an incredibly precise scale, but it’s still a fine line between annoyance and utility. If a message is about something that’s not of interest, potential consumers are likely to turn off the App. What are the benefits for retailers? The projected benefits are threefold: the ability to message consumers while they’re in store, probably equally or more
importantly the ability to collect consumer data and thirdly, payments. Beacons can enable your customers to pay for products on their smartphones through a digital wallet. The process is almost the same as completing a check-out in regular e-commerce and could be a crucial way of engaging with millennials who are used to shopping on-line. Retailers believe that pushing ads and coupons to consumers while they’re perusing the aisles will induce them to buy and therefore combat “show rooming,” i.e., the consumer practice of researching products in stores only to buy them later off an e-commerce platforms like Amazon. What are the potential advertising uses? Beacons allow stores to potentially create their own instore advertising networks. An
example would be a Grocery store placing beacons in their beverage aisles to promote specific brands. This brings a potential revenue benefit, with brands bidding for exclusive right’s to advertise via those beacons. Will people actually use these beacons? Getting consumers on board is a major obstacle. In order for the retailer to use beacons to reach consumers, the consumers have to first download the store’s specific app. Then remember to open it when they’re in store. In addition they have to and turn on their Bluetooth signal. That’s a lot of steps just to be able to have a store serve you a push note about a sale on tee shirts or similar! Even so a Business Insider report projected that beacons will directly influence $4 billion in sales at top retailers in 2015. That number is expected to increase tenfold to about $44 billion in 2016.
What’s the difference between a beacon and an iBeacon? iBeacon is Apple’s attempt to standardise how beacons work with their products; it’s a description of how the messages that beacons send out need to look in order to work with Apple products and not actually the devices themselves, although people will call them that. The important thing is that whether something is referred to as an iBeacon or a beacon, it works the same way and all types of devices can work with them. You don’t need to install two types of beacon to work with two types of smartphone. iBeacon is technically a packet layout for beacon transmissions that’s owned by Apple. There are other packet formats, notably Eddystone developed by Google.
Are any big companies already using beacons? Yes! Apple in their Apple Stores, in America Macy’s in a nationwide roll-out of more than 4000 beacons, Virgin Atlantic in airports and even Major League Baseball have all completed successful pilots and deployed live beacon projects to their customers. In the UK Tesco integrating the trial with its MyStore app. Waitrose started a similar test at its concept store in Swindon. Then Asda and John Lewis launched trials into 2015. An alternative approach, Bluetooth LE and LED Lighting In France, supermarket giant Carrefour has invested in an alternative approach. While beacons use Bluetooth LE to determine the distance of a shopper, Philips has developed an LED lighting system that transmits promotional codes to smartphones via light waves. The Carrefour trial in a Lille store uses this Philips system and functions in a similar way to GPS-based maps. Each LED transmits a distinct location code, which can be picked up by a shopper with a compatible app using their smartphone
camera. From this, special offers and location data are sent to the shopper, enabling them to search and locate their preferred promotions or discover promotions and products around them. Contextually integrated This technology has the ability to deliver real value to both consumer and retailer. The opportunity to deliver personalized experience and dynamic value is there and with that shoppers will gradually adopt this new technology because it will be contextually integrated into their buying habits enriching their retail experience, delivering convenience and value. Many thanks to Marek Narkiewicz of GWDevices for the assistance with this article . GWDevices connect brands with people. They draw on their experience of connected device projects for huge international organisations to help deliver a true omni channel strategy. They provide inspiring ideas and solutions to ensure different channels complement rather than compete with each other. t: +44 (0)114 279 9089 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: http://gwdevices.com
Do you specialise in digital marketing? Yes, will we have the perfect event for you this year! We are working closely with the Programmatic Pioneers Summit, Europe's most seniorlevel event dedicated to all aspects of the rapidly developing programmatic marketing ecosystem. Is this something you might be interested in? Keep reading as we have a discount to offer! In May (24-25), over 150 senior Digital leaders will attend the inaugural event in London to hear new ideas on developing their programmatic roadmap and optimising their programmatic strategy. Whether you are brand new to the space or a programmatic veteran, the Programmatic Pioneers Summit will give you practical takeaways and learnings to assist your transition to the programmatic world. Download the agenda to see just how you will benefit from being there: http://bit.ly/1UO46bl Infinity Magazine is a proud partner of Programmatic Pioneers Summit and we are pleased to offer you a 15% discount off the price to attend. Use the code “PPSINFINITY15” when you register online here http://bit.ly/1pJBWD7 Join the senior Advertisers, Publishers, Agencies and Adtech providers shaping the industry and future of programmatic. Take part in over 45 interactive sessions with industry innovators – purpose designed to help you fine-tune your media buying and programmatic strategies.
How The Programmatic Pioneers Summit 2016 delivers an ROI • Learn from the entire European industry, with experts coming from The UK, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Turkey and Sweden • Discover how to advance your programmatic mobile strategy and capitalise on the fastest growing marketing channel • Unleash the potential of your own creative programmatic campaigns to target individuals in exciting and original ways Remember, book early if you are planning to attend and claim your 15% discount by quoting “PPSINFINITY15” when you register online here http://bit.ly/1pJBWD7
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Best Practices for Optimising your Retail Chain for Local Search Whether your retail chain has five locations or five hundred, it is important to ensure each location is optimised for local search across both mobile and web channels to provide the necessary details that your potential customers need. Understanding The Search Needs Of Your Audience To best optimise for local search, you should first consider the intent of your audience and what they are expecting when searching for your products. Customers that conduct local searches are often looking for the address of a business, the hours of operation, the phone number, or to confirm the price and availability of a product in store. Google and other search engine algorithms have evolved to cater to these common local searches and reward sites that have most relevant information to answer these queries. To better prepare your company, start by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and ask how you can provide the best answers to fulfil their search needs. In other words, start researching popular keywords and applying that data into your SEO and content campaigns. For example, a shopper looking to remodel their home in west London may search, “west London home improvement shop”. Google then understands to propagate the most relevant information that the customer is likely looking to receive, and the results are as follows. Wickes is well positioned in this search because they have
included the keywords, “home improvement” in their description and, while a broad topic it is likely a common search term for their audience. In addition, they have listed their store’s physical address in London to fulfil the location needs of the search query. Optimising Your Web Content For Local Search Generally, the first step to optimising for local search is including your company name, phone number, business hours and company address in your website’s metadata and throughout you contact pages. However, when managing local search for a larger retail chain with multiple locations, this process can get much more complicated. To inform search engines that you have more than a single location, you should create content around your local sites within your domain. These pages can be designed similarly, but each should highlight the unique characteristics of each of your brick-and-mortar locations, in addition to including local information such as physical address, phone number and business hours. Heading back to the Wickes example, if we continue with the search, we can see that the information Google propagated in the search is also found within a local page that Wickes created for their west London (West End Ln) location. You’ll notice that each page includes the physical address, a nearby physical address, store details, a map, reviews, and
popular times, which are likely to be common searches for the area. It’s important to notice that these local sites are included inside the company's primary domain and not within their own microsites. In the past, some businesses have tried to game the search system by creating multiple websites and including their target location in the domain. Search engines consider this unnecessary and this strategy can potentially damage your search reputation.
Increase Local Community Involvement Another best practice for improving your local search efforts is to increase your involvement within each local community that you are targeting. Implement policies to encourage management and other employees to join local community groups, social gatherings and consider participating in the local chamber of commerce. Joining these organisations can help build brand recognition and credibility in the communities where you operate, and in addition can provide link building opportunities that may improve your local search performance. Also, we shouldn’t fail to mention that genuinely participating and giving back to your community is socially good and generally the right thing to do. For example, by actively participating in the community and giving back when applicable, you can gain recognition within local news
publications and media outlets. Often times these publishers maintain an elevated local ranking within the search engines and associating your brand with them can improve your local SEO. Additionally, you can increase your local search presence by submitting your site information to the search engines directly. Make sure that you try these features for a variety of local listing sites such as, Yell, Welovelocal, Yahoo Local, Bing Places and Google Listings as well as other local citation sites. Depending on how many retail outlets your business has, it might be necessary to use Moz Local, Yext, LocalHub or another local listing service that can properly automate the process of having all your locations listed across the local search engines. To better optimise for your audience, you should think about both broad and specific keywords that customers are likely to search when looking for
your products and then incorporate that information into local sites for each of your brick-and-mortar locations when applicable. Additionally, plan to increase community involvement and implement policies to encourage employees to actively participate with local organizations. By following these best practices, your retail chain can be better prepared to achieve success within local search. Many thanks to our friends at eTail Europe and Brian Honigman for this contribution.
eTail Europe 2016 brings together 1,000 ecommerce directors, VPs, and C-level attendees from Europe’s biggest retail brands. You’ll learn how the best in the business are moving their marketing forward; with 80+ speakers, there’s something for everyone, including 15 of the UK’s top 18 retailers. It’s a hands-on experience, with roundtables and small group discussions, and also fun, games, drinks and a wild reception that will have you bragging to your colleagues for weeks to come. Download the agenda here: http://bit.ly/1px4jDR and make sure you stay ahead of the competition this June in London! About Brian Honigman: Brian is a content marketing consultant and the CEO of Honigman Media. He's a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and others. Follow him on Twitter@BrianHonigman
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Mobilising the Retail Trendsetters of Europe: A look forward to eTail Europe 2016 The ÂŁ55 billion spent in the UK through digital channels in 2015 represents a continuation of a trend that has seen digital commerce grow by an average of 10% for the past five years, with no signs of slowing. The mobile channel alone was forecast to grow by a margin of 71.8% year over year in 2015, to a valuation of ÂŁ6.61 billion, or 15% of total retail ecommerce sales in the UK for that fiscal year. The clearly observable trend is growth across all digital channels, and this creates an imperative for retailers to develop seamless multichannel experiences. On the surface level, linking the experiences of a single customer across platforms is an elegant and increasingly necessary concept. However, as retail brands actually move forward with multichannel strategies, a Gordian knot of challenges begin to emerge from behind that overarching goal. Today, brands that are succeeding in fully taking advantage of and integrating their operations with digital channels all have on thing in common- they are breaking new ground. With almost 80% of eTail Europe attendees representing brands based in the UK, the prominence of that digital market serves to ensure that some of the most innovative brands are in attendance year over year. The forward thinking nature of the conference is reflected in some of the key themes that define the 2016 agenda.
2016 sees the emergence of personalisation as the new gold standard. One of the key features of the multichannel landscape is the huge influx of data that it creates, as well as the potential applications that can be unlocked on the strength of this new wealth of information. A critical hurdle to overcome is how to break down the siloed nature of customer information from a single channel. Brands already know that their customers are not just interested in mobile versus brick and mortar or desktop purchasing, and on average they will cross from channel to channel, expecting to get a unified experience through each one. In fact, the majority of retail brands have already reacted to this reality, and have made strides to create mobile responsive sites, apps that tie in to their physical retail experiences, and generally unify the customer experience. Now the challenges that are front of mind are based around what comes next as a wealth of data pours in. Personalisation is one of the arenas where leading brands are competing for an edge. Customer data is the fundamental oil that makes this lamp burn bright, however while an app or a website might be able to learn and react to demonstrations of preference, how can you translate those actions into the same experience
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should they walk into a physical store? Brands are focused on implementing 360 degree customer views, and these are predicated on the creation of a common identifier that can track them across channels. For this reason, technologies such as geo-fencing and in-store interaction with mobile devices are being explored by cutting edge brands, which hold potential to unite digital and physical experiences by recognizing customers and their preferences. The ultimate differentiator that personalisation can bring to an experience is the sense of familiarity and convenience that customers crave. By contrast, a brand that must re-learn what their customer wants in each interaction is going to be perceived as clumsy and stuck in the past in comparison to their more adept peers.
Beyond personalisation , brands are actively modernising based on customer preference. In 2016, A/B testing is being fervently embraced by brands that wish to preserve their forward thinking appeal. With the democratisation of choice that digital channels bring to customers, their preferences are rightly being seen as the guiding forces behind brand transformations. Much in the same way a riverbed is dug by forward flow of water, brands are A/B testing in order to identify the preferential pathways that naturally lead their customers to the purchase. In fact, smart A/B testing is so effective at identifying positive improvements to layouts and branding schemes that it can be the case that the most significant barriers to implementing results are tactical. Creating CMO and CTO buy-in, then implementing new designs and technology, then finally proving it has a positive effect on ROI are usually among the more challenging components of a redesign. However, without this work in the trenches, brands stand to lose out as their branding and sales tools age. Customers in the multichannel era have the ability to quickly detect when something is fading out of the cutting edge, and also have no qualms about moving on to what they perceive as the next big thing. In tandem with efforts to streamline conversions across all channels, fulfilment is also coming under the lens of reinvention. Retailers are living in a fulfilment environment that has a long shadow cast over it by the presence of pure-play retailers, notably including Amazon Prime and Google Shops, both of which are mobilising to
dramatically cut down delivery times in their key market locations. Convenience around fulfilment and ease of purchase has been the unique value proposition driving much of the success of pure-plays, and now with the rollout of same-day shipping as standard for some items and locations, there is powerful pressure on traditional retailers to streamline how they get purchases to the customer. Outside of improvements to overall fulfilment networks, traditional retailers are seeking to leverage assets that pureplays don’t have, namely their physical stores. As an multichannel customer is typically more valuable to a brand than one who is not, buy online and pick up in store programs present an elegant opportunity for brands to improve their fulfilment times while simultaneously opening customers up to in-store engagement and the ability to make further purchases on location. Currently, however, very few retailers have succeeded in fully exploiting the tactic, and with consumers now expecting more and more instantaneous digital shopping experiences, this avenue is only one of several options that retailers need to seriously explore. This year’s eTail Europe conference will see the brightest minds in retail come together, exploring solutions around these problems and more in a collaborative environment.
From the 21st to the 23rd of June, the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London will be abuzz with professionals sharing ideas and strategies. For those on the cutting edge, or retail executives looking to evaluate the benchmark of what it means to be excellent, it will be a truly unique event not to miss.
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5 Ecommerce Site Design Trends for 2016 In 2016, ecommerce websites may start to look a lot more alike as designers use a similar set of user interface design patterns, employ cards and card-like layouts, and even use similar ways to get new email subscribers. Often changes in site design are the result of changes in site usage. In 2016, mobile site use is driving nearly every trend on this list. Design patterns are providing shoppers with similar and convenient shopping experiences. Card layouts work as well on a smartphone as they do on a large screen, and even dynamic content may improve experiences across devices. Common User Interface Design Patterns In software development, and by extension ecommerce site design and development, a design pattern is a reusable solution to a common problem. User interface design patterns, more specifically, are possible solutions to common user interface challenges, like how to make a navigation menu that is easy to use on a smartphone. In the past few years, site designers have been settling, in a sense, on several widely used design patterns. This is particularly true for responsive designs displayed on smartphones or for sites that rely on CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation. This trend toward design pattern continuity could have two possible impacts on ecommerce site design.
First, sites may start to look a lot alike. Page designs will be variations on a theme, not dramatically different layouts. Second, shoppers may find that the similarities between ecommerce sites make them easier to use and navigate. Following these patterns may make for a better shopping experience, particularly on mobile devices.
Several common user interface design patterns can be seen on each site.
As an example of this trend, look on a smartphone at the ecommerce websites in the image above: Chuck Levin’s, an online music store; Collared Greens, a clothing store; and Di Bruno Bros., a gourmet food store. Notice that each site places a “hamburger” menu, featuring three horizontal lines at the top of the interface. Each site has a search in the header behind a magnifying glass icon, and each site has a shopping cart icon in the header. And all three sites show a graphic of a featured item. In 2016, expect to see common user interface design patterns even more frequently. Card and Card-like Layouts In the website design vernacular, a “card” encapsulates images, text, and other resources
associated with a single topic. Cards are a way of organizing different topics in a way that is at once pleasing to the eye and easy to use. Card layouts also lend themselves well to responsive designs. Cards are, in fact, a design pattern as described above. This particular pattern is just starting to heat up, if you will, and could become much more prevalent in ecommerce design in 2016. As background, cards and card layouts appear in a few different design guidelines, but their inclusion as a component in Google’s Material Design (and, therefore, in Android) may have helped this design pattern’s popularity. Many ecommerce examples can be found. On the Lord & Taylor website, cards are used to featured categories or products.
On the Lord & Taylor website, cards are used to feature categories or products.
In a similar way, Rejuvenation uses a card-like layout, featuring large product images, to organize its home page
You do not need to look too far to see examples of big pictures on ecommerce sites. Open the Best Made site and you are greeted with a full-wide lifestyle photo. The Ann Taylor site is just one example of a large, omni-channel retailer using modals on-site to promote email subscriptions.
Rejuvenation uses a card-like layout, featuring large product images, to organize its home page.
Belk uses a card layout to promote sales.
Pop-ups and Merchandising
The driver is the fact that email marketing is one of the most powerful tools available to online sellers. Marketers understand that if they can get more email subscribers, they can get more sales. Thus, they use any means, seemingly, to attract subscribers.
In 2016, these pop-ups will become so common that perhaps as many as a third of the National Retail Federation’s top retailers will use them. Marketers will be selective though. Pop-ups probably won’t show up every time you visit the site. In some cases, you will have to take some action, like scrolling, to display the modal.
So-called pop-up advertising was, perhaps, one of the most hated forms of online promotion ever. The first popups, in the 1990s, opened new browser windows with ads or even whole websites in them. Many pop-ups were deceptive. Consumers generally hated these ads. Pop-up blocking services became common and, before long, web browsers were blocking these disruptive ads too. Interestingly, this sort of interruption marketing is making a comeback in website design. In its present form, the pop-up is a modal, typically offering a discount in exchange for joining an email list or following the site’s various social media profiles.
Big Lots also uses a pop-up to promote email subscriptions
Large Photography and Videos “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and a video might be worth a few million words. In 2016, ecommerce sites will feature large pictures and an increasing number of videos. What’s more, designers and developers will optimize how these rich materials are delivered to boost site performance on all platforms.
Many thanks to Armando Roggio who is contributing editor for Practical Ecommerce and the director of marketing and ecommerce for a multichannel retail chain. He has 17 years of Internet and marketing experience. firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Armando • Ecommerce tweets at @ecommerceboy
How Businesses Can Win with Gamification Although "gamification" was defined less than twenty years ago and began picking up steam only in the past five, it has seen massive adoption among the business community. Now, the gamification market is expected to grow 48 per cent by 2019. By applying game-like elements such as challenges and scoring to everyday activities, as well as rewarding valuable actions with badges, points and more, brands can better engage, understand and retain participants. Increasing desired behaviours With gamification, the main objective isn't for a business to turn its entire digital property into a game; rather, it's about incentivising the behaviours that are most closely aligned with the organisation's goals. If a business wants to generate brand awareness, it can offer special badges to users who share the most content or products with their social networks. On the other hand, if a brand is trying to increase time-on-site in order to boost CPM rates, it can give users points simply for viewing more pages. Turning these types of behaviours into competitions or cause for reward with gamification gives consumers an incentive for taking the desired actions. As a general rule of thumb, brands should reward "actions of value" across their websites or mobile applications, but other ideas for scoring include: purchases, check-ins, joining live events, posting
comments, writing reviews, participating in polls and fostering brand loyalty. Gamification rewards These can come in many forms, such as points, badges, leader board rankings, discounts and free merchandise. However, one thing is certain: recognising and rewarding customers means greater retention and revenue. Statistics show that companies offering rewards card programmes see 46 per cent higher customer spending. Gamified rewards like giving a customer free merchandise for reaching a certain level on a mobile app, or offering a 25 per cent discount for writing an honest product review not only increases engagement, but also makes customers feel valued. Stimulating such feelings of exclusivity and membership results in increased conversion rates and lifetime brand loyalty. Generating user data With every click, point gathered or achievement earned, participants are actively sharing information about themselves with a brand. Not only is there an opportunity to collect more data, but the data collected through gamification is also more accurate: 51 per cent of consumers agree that if a layer of competition were added to everyday activities, they would pay more attention to their behaviours When consumers participate in gamified environments, their actions are particularly meaningful, supplying businesses with high quality
insight. These detailed data points can help guide future marketing campaigns across channels like email, advertising and more. Brands can use the information they collect via loyalty programmes to see which gamified activities motivate customers to convert, and further incentivise those actions. Improving lead scoring With gamification, B2C companies can also implement a lead scoring strategy to track the engagement levels of their customers. By assigning values to particular interactions, just like in B2B lead scoring, B2C brands can better gauge how likely an individual consumer is to convert.
For example, imagine a publisher assigns ten points for every article shared and five points for every comment left. It is then easy to determine that a user with a score of 100 points is more engaged (and more likely to subscribe to premium content) than someone with a score of 50 points. As consumer attention continues to become increasingly difficult to command and engagement becomes the new standard for conversion, understanding how gamification works can make all the difference when it comes to building lasting, engaged customer relationships. Many thanks to Richard Lack, Director of Sales EMEA for Gigya.com the leader in customer identity management.
Time to think of Italy as a Great Ecommerce Opportunity The facts speak for themselves Italy is a market to watch when it comes to e-commerce. It’s currently classed as “immature” as the country’s internet access and broadband speeds lag behind the rest of Europe. But the necessary investment is being made to change that. Combined with an improving economic outlook, this could unleash Italy’s e-commerce potential.
The recent recession leaves a legacy of consumers who are shopping smarter, which is feeding their appetite for online shopping. There is also a willingness to look abroad to find the desired products as many domestic retailers aren’t yet online. For those that successfully target the market earlier in its development, the rewards could be huge. As with any new market, however, retailers need to do their homework to make the most of the opportunities.
Watch this short YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=-fAx5mK_Pk About the Economy Italy is the eighth largest economy in the world, and the third biggest in the euro zone, after Germany and France. But it’s yet to reflect that strength when it comes to e-commerce. Some of that is down to the country’s relatively poor internet access; some of it is down to the country’s economy. Encouragingly, both are changing for the better. While growth prospects –
and the people – have taken a severe knock in recent years, Italy is outperforming several of its southern European neighbours. And for any retailers looking for the right time to enter the market, there are signs of recovery on the horizon.
For foreign brands that can strike the right balance between affordability and desirability, there are likely to be strong opportunities to expand in this market as the economy improves and consumer spending power strengthens.
Unemployment, while high at 12.5 per cent, is nearly half that of neighbouring Spain, for example.
Retailing in Italy
GDP is also forecast to rise at 0.6 per cent in 2015 and 1.3 per cent in 2016. Although this is modest, it would mark a turning point for the Italian economy after three years in recession. Reassuringly for international retailers, government efforts to cut red tape, reform the labour market and increase competition deserve some of the credit. The Italian economy has traditionally been fuelled by small and medium sized family owned businesses, as well as specialist manufacturing across categories ranging from automotive and high-end fashion to furniture and food. There are fewer global companies than in other major European markets and food; drink and textiles are among Italy’s main imports. Those entering the market will find a decent consumer appetite. Household consumption is similar to the levels found in France and Switzerland, at 60 per cent of GDP, and per capita purchasing power is higher than the €13,122 a year average for Europe, at €16,0133.
The retail market in Italy has been undergoing gradual modernisation, and while it is dominated by some major national brands, there remain a large number of regional and local players, with many one-off and family-owned shops. As e-commerce’s share of total retail sales currently lags behind many other key European countries, it is essential that new entrants to the market understand the bricks-and mortar trade that still makes up the vast majority of the competition. Retail sales in Italy were worth $494bn (€463bn) in 2014 and are expected to top €500bn by 2018, according to Planet Retail. The sector accounts for roughly 9% of national employment, says Euromonitor. Domestic supermarket chains dominate the Retail Index chart, led by Coop Italia, Conad and Selex. Coop and Conad also feature on Deloitte’s top 250 global retailers list, based on revenue. Beyond supermarkets, fashion and footwear stores contribute to a significant portion of retail sales, along with consumer electronics and sports and leisure.13 And in a curious
reflection of the complexity of the Italian consumer market, two new Italian entries to Deloitte’s top 250 this year are targeting opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. Prada (225th) is a byword for luxury, while Eurospin (227th) is a chain of discount stores. But there are few big chains in Italy compared with other large European nations. Retail Index reports there are 257 retail companies in Italy with more than five stores or an annual turnover of at least €3m. That’s 100 less than in France and the UK, and more than half the number in Germany. Even within the major cities, one-off boutiques, specialist homeware stores and family-run cafes, bakeries and florists remain the norm. The further south you travel, and the greater the distance from big cities, the higher the proportion is of single-outlet stores, many of which still close for several hours at lunch time and close one day during the week to give the owner-operators a rest in lieu of opening on Saturdays.
more money in consumers’ pockets. • But the Italians are more price conscious than ever, so they will shop around – and across borders – to find the best deal. • Italians also care about what other people think of them, so they are very brand conscious and will shop abroad if they need to in order to find what they want. • Only 4 per cent of Italian retailers currently sell online, leaving a big gap in the market for international retailers to fill. • Legislation is comparable to most EU countries, and there are no import barriers for retailers in other EU member states. • Italy shares a common currency with those in the euro zone, bringing currency and price stability.
Why enter the Italian market? • With a population of 61 million, Italy is Europe’s fourth largest consumer market, making it a sizeable – and as yet largely unrealised – opportunity. • Its rate of e-commerce growth – expected to be more than 19 % in 2015 – makes it one of the fastest growing in Europe. • The government has announced €6bn to improve the country’s broadband infrastructure, so one of the major barriers to even faster growth could soon be lifted. • Smartphone penetration is rising fast, taking mcommerce with it and boosting total e-sales. • Confidence in the economy is starting to return, putting
This is a small extract from : ‘FIND E-COMMERCE SUCCESS IN ITALY ‘ a report published by Asendia the international partnership between La Poste and Swiss Post. From 15 different countries on three continents, their specialists deliver goods, publications, letters and marketing letters to over 200 destinations. Contact Asendia at www.asendia.com/contact
The Current State of Ecommerce Search Our attention was recently directed to an excellent and informative benchmark article, from the Baynard Institute, that emphasizes how important algorithms and interfaces are to the customer. When e-commerce search works, it’s fast, convenient and efficient. That is why so many users prefer searching over clicking categories. Unfortunately, our study of 50 benchmark e-commerce search finds that search often doesn’t work very well. On-site search is a key component of almost any ecommerce website.
Benchmarking the search experience of the 50 topgrossing US e-commerce websites reveals a surprisingly grim state of affairs. Here’s some of the most interesting statistics: • 16% of e-commerce websites do not support searching by product name or model number. • 70% require users to search by the exact jargon for the product type that the website uses. • 60% of e-commerce websites are not supported by searches with symbols and abbreviations. • Autocomplete suggestions are found on 82% of ecommerce websites. • Only 34% allow users to easily iterate on their query by prefilling it in the search field on the results page.
• Only 40% of websites have faceted search, despite it being essential to ecommerce search. • While an e-commerce website eases navigation by offering two types of breadcrumbs, 92% of the top50 websites display only one breadcrumb type or none at all.
1. 34% Do Not Support Users’ Searches by Product Name Users would conclude that a website that displays no results for a query so specific means that the company doesn’t carry the product.
2. 70% Require Searches In The Website’s Jargon To fully support product type queries, the search engine’s logic must go beyond the exact titles and descriptions of products, and look to the categories that products are placed in. Users have to use the website’s exact jargon for their product type queries on 70% of websites. 3. 60% Don’t Support Searches With Symbols And Abbreviations Some products have specifications that are vital to the user’s purchasing decision. If all abbreviations, symbols and full spellings are not mapped to each other, many users will miss out.
4. Auto-Suggestions Found On 82% of Websites
Auto-suggestion is a convention of e-commerce search. Among websites that do have autosuggest, 36% of them have implementations with severe usability problems. 5. Only 34% Prefill The User’s Query On The Results Page Only 34% of e-commerce websites allow users to easily iterate on their query by prefilling the query in the search field on the results page. 6. Only 40% Have Faceted Search Filtering and sorting are vital ways that users find the right product among the results. In both cases, being able to modify search results by filtering and sorting is a powerful and important tool. The quality of the filtering and sorting features and their design often means the difference between success and failure. 7. 92% Have Only One Breadcrumb Type or No Breadcrumbs At All e-commerce websites need two different types of breadcrumb links — namely, hierarchical and history-based breadcrumbs. Yet, 92% of the 50 top-grossing ecommerce websites display only one breadcrumb type (72%) or no breadcrumbs at all (20%). Without breadcrumbs on the product page, users will find it difficult to efficiently browse a collection of products, because they have no way to go one level up in the hierarchy to the product category or to return to the search results page.
The State of E-Commerce Search Each of the 3,000 benchmark scores were divided into the six major areas of e-commerce search usability: query types, search form and logic, autocompletion, results logic, results layout, and results filtering and sorting. Query is at the very core of ecommerce search types, yet support for the 12 essential query types is lack lustre at best. • 16% of e-commerce websites do not support searches by product name or model number. • 18% handle misspellings so poorly that users would have to pass a spelling test in order to get relevant results. • 70% require users to use the jargon of the website, failing to return relevant results when users search with common synonyms. • 60% do not support searches with symbols or abbreviations of units of measurements (or vice versa). Given its key role in the search experience, query types are an area that needs to be prioritized on the majority of e-commerce websites. Filtering and sorting search results is a somewhat overlooked area. Nearly all websites miss out on important aspects of it. Filtering and sorting features should adapt to the user’s query and context. Search: A Competitive Advantage The gloomy state of ecommerce search doesn’t mean that users cannot perform and benefit from search on the benchmarked websites. However, it does clearly indicate
that e-commerce search isn’t as user-friendly as it should be and that users’ success rate could be improved dramatically on most websites. Most websites have an opportunity to gain a truly competitive advantage by offering a vastly superior search experience to their competitors’. A good start would be to look into the seven points we’ve presented in this article:
1. If few results of low relevance are returned, the search logic should broaden the scope and look for closely related spellings. 2. Map common product-type synonyms to the spellings used on your website to ensure relevant results for a query 3. Map all commonly used symbols, abbreviations and full spellings to each other, so that all results are shown regardless of how something is written in the product data. 4. Be cautious about autosuggesting based on other users’ past queries because that often leads to low-quality and redundant suggestions. Regularly check that autosuggestions don’t lead to a dead. 5. Allow users to easily iterate on their query by prefilling it in the search field on the results page. 6. Implement faceted search to suggest filters that match the user’s query more closely. 7. On product pages, provide both traditional hierarchical breadcrumbs and history-based breadcrumbs, such as “Back to results” (72% of websites offer only one type). The fact that search experience and performance are heavily
influenced by non-visible factors, is actually good because the competitive advantage gained from investing in them cannot be easily copied by competitors (unlike, say, a home page redesign). It’s also an opportunity to create an equally substantial and lasting competitive advantage. The findings from the usability study give owners of small ecommerce websites a fair shot at improving their search experience, because roughly half of the 60 guidelines relate to user interface. This is especially true of the results layout and the filtering and sorting experience, which are areas that are usually easy to change but whose performance on most websites is currently below expectations. If you’re interested in exploring the search experience of each of the top-50 websites and seeing how they compare to each other (and not having to review the over 3,000 elements that our team spent months analysing), then see our free search usability benchmark database.
About the Author: Christian Holst is co-founder of Baymard Institute where he where he conducts web and user experience research and writes bi-weekly articles on web usability and e-commerce optimization. He's also the author of the E-Commerce Checkout Usability and Mobile ECommerce Usability research reports. Contact Information T: +1 (415) 315-9567 E: email@example.com
Cloud holds the Future for Fulfilment We recently met with James Hyde, Operations Director and co-Founder of James and James Fulfilment, who have made major strides in fulfilment by building the foundations of a fulfilment platform in the Cloud, and on the way identified some interesting trends from the data generated. eCommerce is still a major growth industry, producing customer delight as e-retailers make constant refinements, competing to offer a better experience faster. Consumers can now select, order and pay for goods in moments, and expect to have them delivered in the shortest time. This frictionless experience has been driven by huge investments in systems and the latest technology. By contrast, the fulfilment sector has hardly changed, and with the exception of one or two global companies, still uses traditional stocking, picking and packing techniques that struggle to keep pace with increasing customer expectation. When a customer order is placed, what happens next is a mystery to most people. The next event is usually an email telling them that the order is despatched and they can then track progress (again in real time) as the delivery van makes it way to them. That leaves a significant gap between order confirmation and despatch confirmation where little innovation has been seen, until now. Faced with huge numbers of
individual orders going to different online shoppers, many warehouse operations have installed a Warehouse Management System; they regularly download orders from sales platforms and import them; they get barcode scanners and compulsively barcode everything. This means they can provide stock reports without a physical stocktake; they can email this to their clients each week. Perhaps they can save the office some typing by integrating with the carriers’ labelling systems. To complete the effect, they can even put the results of their work online somewhere so the clients can download reports of what was despatched. From the outside, this automated data transfer looks seamless. But it’s an illusion of efficiency. Behind the scenes, they’re filling in the
order-to-despatch gap with technology - nowhere near as sophisticated as the Cloudbased retailing platform that generated the order in the first place - and trying to make up the difference with hard work. They still have to remember to import orders at the right time; there’s still a delay between an order being packed and anyone outside of the warehouse knowing it. After all, PayPal don’t have ten thousand employees behind the scenes furiously emailing your bank to authenticate a transaction - and they don’t make you wait till the end of the day to find out if the transaction succeeded! Cloud-based fulfilment
By understanding the architectures that underpin the best-in-class consumer-facing systems, James and James Fulfilment have built the foundations of a fulfilment
platform in the Cloud. The result is one single program online that all users access simultaneously - think Gmail versus Outlook. This allows operators in the warehouses to work on the same underlying data as their clients around the world, at the same (real) time. Behind the scenes, the communication methods of modern browser-based technology can be used to provide API access to fulfilment platforms; while also using web services to pull and push order details from dozens of shops, marketplaces and ERP systems, automatically and without error. The results are dramatic. By using a Cloud application as the backbone of internal processes, a complete view is provided of what operators do, as they do it. Stock values are available in real time, giving retailers a complete overview of their inventory better than many would have if they had their own warehouse next door. Staff can now focus all that hard work and energy on doing the best job possible without having to make up for the shortcomings of an inefficient system. In a new feature named ViewPort, James and James has provided end users and retailers with full visibility of tracked goods, right from the point of payment. This displays all the events in an orderâ€™s journey through the warehouse, keeping the customer updated from the moment they pay to the moment their order is delivered. Online customers have tracking information available to them including for example: date and time packed and despatched, product ID, batch number and freshness dating if relevant, all without contacting the retailer directly. Traceability information
can be accessed at any time by customers, even when mobile. The benefit for retailers is that they are spared much of the cost and resource burden of routine information requests and fewer service calls from end customers. Data insights A Cloud-based e-fulfilment system can reveal powerful new insights into customer spending patterns, giving retailers powerful insights into their data. By analysing aggregate data on spending patterns and trends, they can understand their markets better, down to any level of geo-location for instance. For example, looking at sales data from over 30,000 online food sector transactions, Newcastle upon Tyne was found to be most focused on health with 43% of orders containing health food products or supplements. The highest placed southern city was Plymouth which was placed seventh. London did not make it into the top 30. Although just for demonstration, these data show how insights can be achieved
quickly and easily using a realtime data-driven environment â€“ part of the Big Data revolution. This can help e-retailers to satisfy customer demand faster, and to react more quickly to changes in demand, right down to regional level. A Cloud-based logistics system is quickly scalable as demand increases, allowing retailers to bring on more warehouses in a matter of days. The sophisticated technology deployed by James and James integrates with multiple online shops, accounting packages and customer databases, and allows logistics to be completely automated, meaning even small retailers can see benefits normally available only to very big businesses. Cloud systems represent a fundamentally different approach to traditional systems. In future, retailers can be confident that their logistics chain can be as powerful and effective as their impressive eCommerce system. To learn more about James and James go to: www.ecommercefulfilment.com
Study in Ecommerce and behavioural differences Resent research done by Content Square, the international leader in Web and Mobile optimization, in collaboration with SSI´s panel, has revealed some very interesting and dare we say surprising results in their study of behavioural differences on eCommerce websites. The study exposes, among other things, the main differences between men and women, left and right handers, digital natives and seniors. The study conducted last November drew on a representative sample of 400 people. This multi-sectorial study consisted in a segmentation survey and in browsing recordings, on about 20 e-Commerce sites. They used in-depth methodology, analysing these indicators: number of sessions, number of clicks, display time, active time, inactive time, (active time / display time), scroll rate, last displayed line on screen, viewed pages, viewed product pages rate, average hesitation before click. And here are some of the surprising findings, well we found them surprising and thought they would assist readers involved in content and site structure development. Men versus Women Women interact more and are faster than men: • Women click 30% more on the website than men • Women’s activity rate* is 11% higher than men’s one
• Women view 12% pages than men
• They hesitate** 10% less than men before clicking on an element of the page • They purchase 7% faster than men On average, women are more active than men on E-Commerce websites. They interact more, display more pages and purchase in a shorter time.
* Ratio between interaction time and display time / **Average hesitation time before click Women are picture-oriented while men are detail-oriented: Women’s path differ from men’s one on the product pages of eCommerce websites. They display much more pictures, while men are interested in product descriptions and read them. Lefthanders versus righthanders: Left-handers’ browsing´ behaviour is slower than righthanders’ • Right handers click 8% more than left handers • Left handers take 20% more time to click than right handers • To purchase, left handers are 30% slower than right handers Compared to right handers, left handers mostly use the left part of the menu: • A left hander has 29% less chances to hover over the menu’s right tabs. The menu, key browsing element, isn’t wholly used by left handers.
Pages and menus aren’t yet adapted to left handers. Young people versus seniors Few differences remain between digital natives’ and seniors’ browsing behaviour. • Young people interrogated where between 18-34 years old with Seniors being between45-64 years old. • Between young people and seniors, click rate and display time are almost similar. Seniors are equally active. • Seniors view 4% less pages than digital natives • Notable difference: hesitation time is 30% higher for seniors. They spend more time before clicking. Seniors have equivalent click rates to digital natives and are equally active. Therefore it doesn't seem necessary to adapt your e-Commerce website depending on generations. They also tell us that :
• Internet users display 20% more pages when it is raining than when the weather is sunny • Blondes take 30% more time to click than brunettes • Brunettes average hesitation time before click: 0.49seconds • Blondes average hesitation time before click is 30% higher than brunettes And Finally: • People who declared being under the influence of alcohol clicked 20% less than sober people. Are we surprised??
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The latest edition of ‘Infinity’ our specialist digital and ecommerce and all aspects of digital commerce. Infinity is designed for both mul...
Published on Apr 3, 2016
The latest edition of ‘Infinity’ our specialist digital and ecommerce and all aspects of digital commerce. Infinity is designed for both mul...