October 9, 2014

Four Ecommerce Essentials That Make The Big Difference

There’s a plethora of resources and intelligence on the keys to Ecommerce success. We’re not going to cover the requisite basics needed prior to launching an online business, but here’s a quick checklistbefore we get into the really good stuff.

Business Opportunity – Identifying the white space (the space no one else occupies), knowing everything about the core target for this space and their essential product sensibilities as it relates to the business…and the white space must be scalable.

Merchandise Strategy – ensuring the product/merchandise aligns with the business opportunity.

Marketing Plan – crafting a unique and powerful launch and post launch marketing strategy covering all channels including social, content marketing, SEO, CRM, et al.

Quality Across The Board – this isn’t just quality customer service. Kley recently created “The Standards of Greatness” for one of our Ecommerce clients; everything they do must fulfill the promise of world class greatness across merchandise, service, content, user experience and customer service.

Now onto the goodies. So what are the big differentiators, not so much relative to success but, in exponentially kicking major ass?

Essential #1 – Kick Ass UX

The core of UX success is knowing your targeted users and designing a superior experience aligned to those users. Developing thorough and insight-driven user personas and profiles are key to getting it right. Moreover, each persona should include the identification of shopper type, of which there are five: product focused, browsers, researchers, bargain hunters, and one time shoppers.

Great experiences lead to happy customers, resulting in return visits and increased purchase events and frequency. If you don’t think UX should be at the front and center of priorities, here’s some expert data that might change that.

1. 14.4% more customers are willing to continue purchasing from an Ecommerce site if their experience was positive vs. the competition.

2. Companies that offer the best UX experience in their industries have 15.8% fewer customers likely to do business with a competitor.

3. More customers will recommend you; 16.6% are likely to recommend you and your products if the experience is superior.

4. There is an average of 5 steps in the checkout process according to a review of the top 100 grossing Ecommerce sites by the Baymard Institute. This could be because pages are wasted on getting users to create an account (24% require an account to complete a purchase), register for their newsletter (81% opt you in automatically for their newsletter), or to promote complementary products. While all those things are great for retailers, if the result is a more cumbersome process that ends up deterring buyers, it may be time to reprioritize the UX re: checkout.

5. 50% of sites ask for the same information more than once. 50% of sites ask for the same information more than once. See how annoying that is? Why do I have to give you my billing address if it’s the same as my shipping information? The answer is you don’t.

The Equally Essential #2 – Kick Ass Added Value

If the online shopping experience doesn’t add value through resonating content, you’re left to compete on price alone. Think of it this way, you’re not only in the business of selling SKUs, you’re also selling an experience, information, and entertainment or at least finding the sweet spot intersection of commerce and content. Really, you’re both a merchant and a publisher. If you’re not able to add meaningful value, the only thing you’re left to compete on is price.

Kley has utilized a range of added value tools for Ecommerce clients, including but not limited to:

• Rewards/Affinity Programs
• Celebrity Integration/Brand Ambassadors
• Curated Merchandise Events (each time BA’s have featured, curated, merch – Staff Favorites
• Customer Reviews
• Strategic Content Partners
• Philanthropic Alliances

The Equally Essential #3 – Kick Ass Mobile

While some rightfully question the effectiveness of mobile display advertising or predict the demise of the QR code, mobile commerce is, undoubtedly, alive and thriving. Especially when it comes to the “power of mobile window shopping.”

In fact, mobile devices have changed the way people research, browse, buy, and transact on the Web. Supporting stats:

1. 59% of U.S. smartphone owners have used their devices to research an item before purchasing it, compared to 65% for tablet owners.

2. Locating a store is the most likely activity among smartphone shoppers (76%). After they make purchases, 26% of smartphone shoppers comment on their purchases using social media.

3. 73% of U.S. mobile Internet users used Amazon via browsers or apps in Q4 2013.

4. Mobile devices will account for 30% of global Ecommerce spending by 2018, up from 15% in 2013.

5. 54% of Hispanic smartphone owners visit shopping sites from their mobile browsers during a typical month.

6. In June 2013, 91% of tablet users and 90% of smartphones users accessed a mobile Ecommerce Web property. That’s compared with the 78% of desktop Web users who accessed Ecommerce sites. The importance of Ecommerce on mobile devices is further reinforced by the fact that 35% of visitors to the most popular Ecommerce sites only access those Web sites from mobile devices.

7. Consumers prefer to use commerce apps on smartphones, but browsers when using tablets.

8. By the end of 2017, U.S. mobile users will spend $90 billion via mobile payments, a 48% increase over the $12.8 billion spent in 2012.

9. Mobile payments are revolutionizing how consumers spend online, and 50% of current smartphone users say they will use their mobile wallets for daily transactions as early as 2016.

10. 95% of shoppers say that they look at weekly sales circular before shopping, and more than 50% of mobile shoppers report that they would be more likely to look at the circular if they could access it on their phones.

11. 80% of mobile users’ purchasing decisions are influenced by the mobile channel, even though they may not use their devices to complete the final purchase.

And Yes, The Equally Essential #4 – Kick Ass Social Activation

Social commerce is growing quickly: The top 500 retailers earned $2.69 billion from social shopping in 2013, according to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500, up more than 60% over 2012, while the Ecommerce market as a whole grew only 17%. But most importantly, social commerce is where a large majority of customers begin their purchase process…or “the first click.”

Social commerce is even larger in terms of revenue generation when looking not at traditional direct referrals, or the last click before purchase happens on a social-media site, but when looking at where consumers began their purchase process, i.e., the first click. Growth is sure to accelerate and conversion rates should improve as Twitter and Facebook roll out “Buy” buttons, which will allow social-network audiences to initiate an Ecommerce purchase by clicking on a retailer’s post or tweet. And now the empire has entered the fray big time with Apple Pay.

Currently Facebook is the clear leader for social-commerce referrals and sales: This is due in large part to the sheer size of its audience — 71% of US adult internet users are on Facebook. A Facebook share of an Ecommerce post translates to an average $3.58 in revenue from sales, according to AddShoppers. On Twitter, a share or retweet is worth only 85 cents. But other sites are gaining, and even leading on, specific metrics, like average order value (AOV): Polyvore, for example, sees $66.75 in AOV from social referrals, according to Shopify. Pinterest sees $65. That’s compared to Facebook, which sees $55 AOV. Pinterest also drives more social sharing of retail content than any other network including Facebook.

If your Ecommerce site architecture, UX, added value components and social integration follow these guidelines, Ecommerce success will follow big time.