Tag: online shopping

10 Nov 2016

How tracking ecommerce metrics makes the holiday season brighter for online merchants

They are the second greatest gift any ecommerce merchant will receive in the holiday season, after the cold, hard holiday cash that can make or break an ecommerce retailer’s entire year, of course. But, surprisingly, in the rush of business that consumes them from Thanksgiving through the New Year, a lot of retailers overlook the valuable ecommerce metrics that flow in along with the cash. And that’s an oversight that can cost heavily in the long-run.

The reason is that every one of those all-important purchases is accompanied by data that can be captured and integrated and analyzed, and then turned into actionable insights that can remake those one-time holiday shoppers into long-term, loyal customers with a lifetime value many times greater than the initial purchase.

The question is which ecommerce metrics to track, and how, in order to foster a high rate of customer retention.

Six essential ecommerce metrics for holidays and every day

If you can think it, you can count it. The reality is that businesses can incorporate a seemingly open-ended range of metrics into their data collection and analysis, especially with the customizable, integrated dashboards now at their disposal. But, if the goal is enhanced customer satisfaction leading to increased customer retention, not all metrics are created equal.

Keeping an eye on the customer retention prize, key ecommerce metrics such as conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment, churn rate, repeat rate, and customer lifetime value can shine a light on what’s right and what’s wrong about the customer experience, and point the way to refining and improving it. And with the assistance of the right tools for the job, tracking key ecommerce metrics no longer has to be the onerous task it was in the manual age.

Conversion Rate

Before a business can take steps to retain customers, it has to acquire them. The conversion rate reveals how well that’s happening. Arrived at simply by dividing the number of site visitors who make a purchase by the number of visitors overall, it’s a metric that undergirds all the rest.

When potential customers enter an ecommerce website, what are the chances they will make a purchase? Across industries, a target rate is three percent, although specific industries will have rates that vary. If it varies significantly in the wrong direction, though, it may be a strong indication that the customer experience is not what it should be. Because conversion rate is a big picture ecommerce metric tracking large numbers of site visitors, it’s one that is often fully monitored and assessed on a monthly basis to review bulk data, but daily checks are also essential because they can pinpoint unusual fluctuations in the rate that may reveal problems with the website itself.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

It’s disconcerting to see a customer get all the way up to the cash register and then change his mind, leaving behind merchandise in which he was clearly interested. But it’s far from an unusual occurrence. Research from the Baynard Institute shows an average abandonment rate of an eye-opening 68.8 percent. Much of that simply reflects the way in which people surf the web, and the propensity most of us have to “window shop.”

But in other instances abandonment points to more serious buyer resistance, perhaps over price or concerns about quality that weren’t laid to rest at earlier touchpoints. Technical issues, too, are common reasons potential buyers leave – too many hurdles to jump in the checkout process, complicated navigation, and concerns about the security of payments among them. For many businesses, an abandoned shopping cart is an opportunity to reach out to would-be customers in the hope of learning why they left and gleaning information that can reduce the rate. Because the metric is closely related to the conversion rate – reducing the abandonment rate will increase the conversion rate- tracking tends to follow the same monthly cycle.

Churn Rate

Like conversion rate, churn rate is expressed as a percentage, in this case the percentage of customers who make a purchase and don’t return, the flip side of customer retention. Given the high cost of acquisition and the acknowledged need for companies to develop long-term, high-value relationships with loyal customers, it’s a must-monitor ecommerce metric.

For ecommerce businesses, knowing what percentage of customers can be expected to churn within a given period becomes both a measure of how successfully it’s giving customers the experience they expect and a powerful predictive tool for balancing acquisition and retention efforts. Churn rate is typically measured in months or quarters, depending on the average time in which the overall customer base will make a repeat purchase.

Repeat Purchase Rate

Repeat purchase rate simply tracks the percentage of customers who make a repeat purchase within a given period. It is one of the strongest indicators of the quality of the customer experience and the success of retention efforts.

As with other important metrics, repeat purchase rate is one piece of the data puzzle that, as the various elements are integrated and analyzed, provides a periodic snapshot of whether targets are being met or missed. It can provide either a bird’s-eye view of how successfully customers are being retained or, thanks to modern, real-time dashboards, home in on specific elements of a marketing campaign by tracking a promotion or other initiative daily or weekly to gauge its success.

Customer Lifetime Value

This is the brass ring, for any business, because the path to business success is lined with loyal customers, as an article in Forbes makes clear. If online retailers manage to retain ten percent of their customers, the author noted, they will double their revenue.

Tracking customer lifetime value (LTV) on a continuing basis provides the ecommerce metric that can put such goals in reach. It’s a projection of the revenue a business can expect from a customer over time, grounded in his or her past behavior as well as the average lifetime spending of the larger customer base.

LTV can guide decisions about budgeting for customer acquisition – how much should a business spend to gain a customer? – and also help calculate ROI. The cost of not knowing LTV can be enormous, as an article on For Entrepreneurs emphasizes. The number one reason startups fail, the author argues, is that it costs them more to acquire a customer than that customer’s LTV will prove to be.

‘Tis the season to begin tracking ecommerce metrics

There’s no better time than the busy holiday season, which sees a large inflow of new and repeat customers alike, to begin tracking these valuable ecommerce metrics. The information gleaned can be a priceless gift for any merchant.

04 Aug 2016
Enhance Your In-Store Retail Experience by Bridging Off Line and On-Line

Enhance Your In-Store Retail Experience by Bridging Off Line and On-Line

You know that iconic image, the one of the triumphant female shopper, bouncing down the city street with her hands clutching her purchases, in brightly colored, luxurious paper shopping bags? Surely, with all those packages in hand she clearly had the shopping trip we all dream about. But today, with the proliferation of e-commerce and especially since mobile apps have taken over, leaving one’s house to shop is almost becoming a quaint memory, a thing of the past like cameras that aren’t part of a mobile device and fax machines. The hard truth is that if there exists a digital option that makes any given action easier and more intuitive, people will stick with that option and leave their old ways behind.

But fear not, if you’re a brick and mortar store owner in 2016, there are lots of engaging ways to bridge the gap between online and instore experiences that will keep customers coming through your door and to your website . Let’s take a look at some innovative ways different brands are bridging technology and the classic in-store experience to keep your brand relevant and your customers connected.

In Store Mobile Apps Enhance the customer Retail Experience

With the fact that two thirds of shoppers are coming in to your store armed with their mobile devices, it goes without saying that mobile is the most important way to reach your shoppers today. Most future-conscious brands already have websites and an app running alongside their brick and mortar operations, but some brands use their apps to drive shoppers to stores as well.

Innovative brands like Target are working to create specific in-store apps, ones that enhance the IRL shopping experience from the shopper’s mobile device. Their in store app, Cartwheelhelps shoppers start their shopping at the comfort of their couch and later on snag in-store-only deals. By selecting in-app deals beforehand, users scan items in store and watch the savings roll in at checkout. Push notifications help keep users in the know about deals they might be interested in and since Cartwheel users have to sign up for the app though their Facebook accounts, all deals snagged are posted to the user’s Facebook page, in a unique social twist.

In-Store Touch screens not Only for High End Retail

Fashion retailer Rebecca Minkoff has given glam shopping a cutting edge makeover. A visit to anyone of her four luxury shops in the US is a tour de force of the confluence of haute couture and digitization. One specific aspect of their plan to keep shoppers engaged in the in-store experience is the strategic placement of touch-screens throughout the stores. Walls are not merely walls, but rather gigantic touch screens that allow the user to scroll through items and then request their chosen items to be sent to fitting rooms across the store. The mirror also makes suggestions about what items to pair with the ones already in the fitting room and can remember what sizes and colors customers prefer.

Calling themselves “The Store of the Future”, Minkoff’s vision is what they call “retail 3.0” – One that’s reinventing both the online and in store shopping experience. They want to take the best aspects of e-commerce and leverage those experiences
in-store to tackle in-store shopper’s most pressing pain points by way of technology.

QR Codes are Not a Thing of the Past

Think about it – why do shoppers prefer to shop from the comfort of their home to going to stores? We all know that part of the reason is that shopping in stores means wading through piles of stuff we don’t want until we find what we do want. To solve this issue Hointer Jeans, a specialty denim shop in Seattle (that eventually developed into a successful e-commerce software platform based on the success of their implementation of innovative digital tools) started adding QR codes to their jeans to make them scannable.

Customers, after downloading the stores app who loathe the idea of hunting for the perfect item find the pair they like, simply walk though the store and scan the QR code of items they like and add in size information, to find it all delivered to their fitting room. Via the app they can request different items to be brought to their firing rooms once they are inside and can pay for the jeans they want right from the or mobile, streamlining the entire experience.

Using QR codes also allows users to scan codes for more information and to find the best prices on similar items. Use QR codes to unlock coupons and deals on products as well.

In-store Mobile Beacons Lets Your Customers Know What on Right Now

Also called Proximity Technology, mobile beacons are the hottest way to say “you are here” at the moment. By way of stickers attached to items that emit BLE, or Bluetooth low energy signals, they send out messages to customers who have downloaded a store’s app to let them know about trending discount and specials when they are close by. Nationwide makeup shop Sephora, aiming at the millennial crowd is using beacons to let their shoppers who have opted to get notifications know about deals on products they are currently looking at or are nearby in their stores.

Click&Collect – Controlled Convenience

We all love to shop from our proverbial couches, but we hate the wait – you know the two to seven day lag between placing an order and delivery. Click and collect, already a big concept in the UK and Australia, allows shoppers to place their orders and then pick up their items from the closest store, all packaged and ready to go. Picking up their own items on their own terms frees customers from that annoying lag time and saves on delivery costs.

Click and collect is a great way to draw customers back into stores after online purchase and a great opportunity to cross sell related items. Retailers like IKEA, Kmart and the UK’s Tesco all use click and collect to provide an innovative blend of the convenience of online shopping and the IRL experience.

Burberry, Taking In-store Retail Experience to New Levels

Then there is Burberry’s.

One of Britain’s biggest retailers, once primarily known for its staid signature brown and red plaid check box pattern, Burberry’s has reinvented itself as the ultimate in combining the IRL and digital experience. A peek into their flagship store in London is like peering into a futuristic catwalk with the notable inclusion of clothing racks and customer associates. Alive with pulsing music, floor to ceiling digital walls that display anything from clothing, to models wearing that clothing to virtual rain streaming down them, and mirrors that relay product information and show other items that match the ones you’ve got in your hands, the store is a digital Mecca, a real life and virtual experience bursting with ways to engage and enthrall customers from the moment they step inside.

From those digital walls and mirrors to the associates armed with iPads for instant information to integration with their social media platforms and campaigns, Burberrys intention is clearly to fuse the in-store and digital experience. And they have it down to a perfectly artful science. Looking for a top to match that tailored jacket? Just touch the mirror, it will give you back ideas for matching items and have them sent to your fitting room. RFID tags on items means that everything is searchable and can even activate those mirrored walls to display those same items in other colors and styles. It’s fully immersive, spanning most senses including sound, touch, sight and smell, all to create an incredibly rich and integrated experience, one that could never be matched online or in app.

Once thought to be on its way down, Burberrys has proven that by embracing digital, any brand can make itself relevant and engage their customers. According to CEO Angela Ahrendt “I grew up in a physical world; and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world; and they speak social.”

What can you do to keep customers coming in your doors?

Digital is transforming the way people shop, online and off. In today’s digitally inclined world, it’s no longer a question of whether or not to bridge the online and instore experience. Brand who want to remain relevant know that they must incorporate digital to keep their customers coming back.

29 Jul 2013
6 Things Your eCommerce Product Page Must Have

6 Things Your eCommerce Product Page Must Have

As most online business, eCommerce websites seek to convert as many visitors as possible. In order to do that there are two different spaces in which they need to work; the pre-click and the post-click marketing. Pre-click is all the efforts and campaigns to get relevant visitors to your website, whether it is from ads or organic search engine queries while post-click refers to getting those users  on your website to make a certain action. For eCommerce sites this action is usually the purchase which is done from a specific product page.

The product page’s role in this process is getting more and more important due to the changes in online users behavior. The popularity of smartphones for example, got consumers to perform more searches for specific product models in order to compare prices with brick & mortar stores. This means that getting product pages listed high in search engines has become as important as having an eCommerce website’s homepage listed there. But getting traffic is merely enough, the page itself needs to be designed and optimized so users add products to the shopping cart and eventually purchase. Here are six things which every eCommerce product page must incorporate.

Exciting Product Page Content

Quality content is extremely important for SEO but we often neglect our ultimate goal which is selling products for online customers. So, a good original copy and personal touch on the product page will definitely help your product get more attention and increase sales.

The copy could be entertaining but at the same time should clearly deliver the product qualities and value proposition. Here is a good example:

eCommerce Product Page content

Awesome Product Photos

eCommerce product pages must provide customers an easy way to view and examine the product. Therefore, it should incorporate large, high-resolution photos and also allow viewing the product from different angles and colors if needed.

With the increasing popularity of image searches in search engines, a quality and accurate product image is also another great way to draw traffic straight to the relevant product page.

eCommerce Product Page Photos

Accessible On-Page and Per Product FAQ

Providing specific frequently asked questions on your product pages has great value in various ways. It gives your website credibility which helps potential customers trust your website. Easy access to information also improves customer experience as it gives as much needed information as possible in advance so customers don’t even have to ask certain questions. Even more crucial for eCommerce sites is the conversion value of on-page self-service assistance. The fact that potential customers can find answers instantly without leaving the product page and abandoning the purchase funnel maximizes conversion rates.

One of the most-common types of search-engine queries is questions – “How Do I…” or “What is the…” or “Does the….” As a result, websites with well-written FAQ pages with original text for each product will be more likely to rank highly in search results when people ask Google specific questions.

eCommerce Product Page FAQ

Objective User Reviews

The best way to earn your customer trust is by providing product reviews and testimonials from other customers who have purchased the product. 72% of people trust online user reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.

So, the use of user reviews will help building customer confidence as well as getting to your product page from search engines which give user reviews more and more weight in the rankings algorithm.

eCommerce Product Page reviews

Various Communications Channels

Offer your customers as many different communicate channels as possible and be sure they are all visible and available from the product page itself. Since not all people prefer to use the same communication channel, you should allow them to choose from contacting your customer service via phone, email, live chat or self-service tools.

eCommerce Product Page communication

An omni-channel approach to customer service is crucial to increasing conversions at a time when peoples’ attention spans are divided between numerous mediums and devices. Quick customer support is one of the most-important factors in e-commerce success. As such, e-commerce product pages need to use widgets that tailor the customer experience for Facebook, mobile devices, live chat, and more.

Clear Call-for-Action

Whether it is an “Add to Cart”, a “Proceed to Checkout” or any other button you must make it highly visible, clear and make sure you are consistent with the message and design and allow easy access to the shopping cart from all pages. Confusion or challenges in finding and proceeding to checking out is a major reason for low conversion rates.

eCommerce Product Page call for action