Posts categorized ‘Commerce’
Zmags Co-Founder Speaks on Growth of Tablet Commerce & ‘Couch Commerce’, a Shopping Behavior Facilitated by the Zmags Platform
Zmags’ Jens Karstoft on Tablet Commerce
Couch commerce –which is not synonymous with “purchasing a couch” – has emerged as a prevalent shopping behavior in the ecommerce world. Shopping from home and online shopping are certainly not new concepts, but the emergence of the tablet has opened up new ways in which customers interact with retailers and purchase online.
“Couch commerce” can be defined as any online transactions that happen on tablets from the comfort of one’s own home, often in the living room or bedroom.
Tablet = Dominant Device used by Couch Shoppers
Mobile apps and mobile versions of websites have their place in the digital shopping spectrum, but couch commerce is first and foremost a tablet trend. Due to size of screen, load time, and other factors, users on tablets are on average seeking a longer and more comprehensive visit than mobile users. This is a true browsing and shopping visit: conducting research, viewing images, and making purchases.
Mobile is sufficient for the online shopper who knows exactly what he/she wants and where to get it, but for the couch shoppers that want to dive into the browsing experience, read, view, and make multiple purchases, tablet is their device of choice.
The return on couch commerce tablet sales is well-documented: Users on tablets are spending 54% more on their purchases than their mobile counterparts and 19% more than those on desktops.
While tablet shopping has been established for a few years, statistics – as mentioned above – point to the fact that “couch commerce” it is still in the early stages, and continues to evolve as the landscape of digital hardware and software shifts.
Zmags remains at the forefront of this paradigm. CTO and Co-Founder Jens Karstoft spoke last week on the subject, at an event titled “Tablet Commerce: Fad or Future?” , hosted by Mobile Monday Boston. The event agenda covered tablet strategies and success stories, and was born from the fundamental idea that “The retail sector is moving forward quickly to build experiences for consumers who shop in a lean-back, interactive tablet experience.” Karstoft spoke about industry trends as well as Zmags-specific customer data to support the idea that tablets are used more on weekends, tablets elicit longer visits, and that tablet shoppers have higher order values.
Crafting the Experience
Mobile is all about on-the-go convenience. Tablet is about convenience, but is hardly about on-the-go. The tablet shopper has slowed down and wants to relax. The digital catalog is perfectly suited for these devices, and offers an immersive experience that syncs content and commerce. The user can flip through pages, view content, watch videos, and with one touch get more information on products or add products to cart. This seamless experience is befitting to the couch commerce mentality: convenience, all in one place (no need to get up!).
These consumers don’t want to step outside and head to the store, so why would those same shoppers put up with needing to leave one page to purchase on another? Or want to deal with small images that make it hard to see the product up close, like you would in a store?
Karstoft also talked about several Zmags clients who are keeping these questions in mind while creating new digital assets and designing their digital catalogs. Marketing teams are now letting images speak for themselves, relying on quickviews (pop-up windows) to provide the pricing, materials and sizing details. However, with consumers demanding this immersive and visual visit, they already feel like they’re playing catch up.
How is your brand crafting a great tablet user experience?
Building a brand that is unique, consistent and powerful across all channels and at every point of engagement is imperative to your customer experience as well as your company strategy.
Delivering that brand representation online often requires a suite of web assets that provide the same look and feel online as if you are in store or interacting directly with the brand offline.
At Zmags, we recognize how powerful these web assets are. The release of our Commerce solution opens up the possibilities of bringing those directly to your online publication.
An online magazine, catalog, lookbook or other publication is an engaging linear way to drive consumers though an interactive shopping experience that can leverage your rich media assets and commerce suite. If a consumer knows what they want, they will ultimately use Google to find the product and buy it. That’s not shopping, it’s buying. Your shoppers want to feel like they are interacting directly with your brand as they seek for ideas and inspiration. That branded experience that your consumers know, love and believe in is what then encourages purchase.
The Zmags Commerce Advantage
Your website will already have the vehicles to drive those conversions that occur when a customer knows what they want. An online Publication or Catalog is the vehicle to drive your “shoppers” through an experience to inspire purchase and it’s at this point you want to bring your commerce infrastructure to the forefront for transaction. A branded journey, from click to conversion.
Hello Zmags Commerce. Using either Zmags Plugins or new ecommerce platform integrations, Zmags enables existing ecommerce functionality to be layered onto your online catalog – ensuring shopping carts can be filled and customers can continue to shop. Shopping behavior translates from in-store to the online catalog: a shopper will walk around the store selection items, making sure he/she has seen everything to make the best available purchase decisions.
Zmags is a self-service platform that is designed integrate seamlessly with your existing infrastructure. Zmags Commerce layers can be married with other powerful rich media assets to drive a fluid shopping experience that delivers true ROI.
In essence, your Zmags-driven online content is “talking” happily to your web infrastructure, so when a customer clicks on a product in your Publication it calls up the product information from your website. This seamless integration utilizes the quick view and product information you have already designed to be in-line with your brand. You can add clear call to actions, product videos and other rich media to entice and encourage clicks and embed the Zmags content directly into your site. Being a self-service tool, it’s quick and easy to build commerce-enabled online catalogs and requires no development, coding or anything “tech-y”. As our product evolves, additional features become available and as your product views or information changes it is automatically represented across all online content (past, present or future).
I can write with confidence that Zmags have both the product and the service team available to ensure success with the new Zmags Commerce solution.
At last week’s MITX Great Mobile Migration Summit, I spoke to an audience along with Joan Connor from PartyLite, a home fragrance direct selling company, on “Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones: Trends And Tips To Optimize Every Customer Interaction“.
Our main objective? To provide marketers and agencies with some creative ideas on how to capitalize on the distinctions between tablets and smartphone users – with the goal of helping them improve the digital experience for their customers.
Tablets are used more during leisure time (at night and during the weekends), while smartphone users tend to be on-the-go, looking for quick-hit website searches, directions, etc. So, consumers are in a more relaxed mindset on tablets, often lingering on websites longer and viewing more content and pages – with up to 1.7x more pages viewed on tablets than on smartphones. This multi-screen behavior of “couch commerce” while watching TV can lead to impulse buying and larger average order values among the tablet segment of shoppers.
Here are the Top 5 Tips we covered in detail
2. Shoppable online catalogs
3. Sales enablement
4. Device recognition
5. Tablet apps
PartyLite has been a Zmags client for several years, but has been printing catalogs for nearly 4 decades! At first, PartyLite’s Zmags were just digital replicas of its print catalogs. Several pages, such as candle ordering grids, did not translate well on screen – forcing shoppers to spend extra time just zooming in on all of the details. At Zmags, we noticed this in the data, and recommended designing for digital, using interactive elements and a streamlined layout to create a better user experience, especially on tablets.
Joan’s team at PartyLite took this advice, and have since had incredible success with new optimized digital catalogs that focus on key collections they want to promote in their assortment, instead of long, comprehensive books. The response has been extremely positive among Consultants (direct sellers) and their customers. The PartyLite creative team, seeing the clear benefits, now photographs and designs for digital FIRST and print SECOND!
Take a look at PartyLite’s latest Zmags catalog, a great example of the rich photography and crisp layout that works well to inspire purchases on tablets.
For a complimentary copy of the presentation, please contact us!
Online merchandising is a less-talked about part of ecommerce that, in theory, should achieve a similar goal as its in-store conterpart: to “display products in such a way that stimulates interest and entices customers to make a purchase”.
However, the layouts of most traditional ecommerce websites look more like image libraries (organized by item type, size, gender, etc.), rather than well-thought out displays or showcases! Despite good intentions, even website features such as ”You may also like”, “Recommended for you” and “Related products” just don’t have the same effect as in-store merchandising — where products often pack more punch in combinations than each would individually.
Why are websites so far behind?
And how can online catalogs help? By enabling the creation of orchestrated e-commerce experiences.
In other words, if done well, online merchandising within digital catalogs blends tactics from both traditional offline and online sales channels — bridging the gap between stark websites and creative brick&mortar window displays. While print catalogs allow for the same kind of curation, they don’t give you back the same kind of data to learn from! Digital versions can be rearranged and segmented based on analyses of user behavior within the catalog, such as which pages are attracting the most attention, which products are clicked on most, etc.
Some ways to make the most of your digital storefront:
-Start with traditional merchandising tactics: Product groups or displays used in stores can provide the basis for website layouts, before in-catalog web analytics comes into play.
-Experiment with creative combinations: Look at recent sales data. Which types of items are people often buying together? How can you encourage them to purchase additional items? One great example, below, from The Container Store, places shoe storage containers alongside mothballs and air fresheners.
-See what’s attracting attention: Heat maps (or in-page analytics) show what your site visitors are clicking on most; shopping cart funnel data reveals which items are carted but for some reason not checked out.
-Look at other key performance metrics for your digital content: Analyzing what works and what doesn’t work over time (test, adjust, retest!) can paint a clearer picture of how to combine your online content and merchandise for optimal performance.
-Vary merchandise combinations by segment, such as website entry point: Where a visitor came from can help predict what they’re looking for. Product images or combinations shown could be served up differently for users who come from social networks vs. search engines vs. particular referral links (etc.).
The results will be better sales, higher conversion rates, and better engagement metrics for your catalog. (Recently, a kids’ toys and apparel brand saw an increase of over 300% more dollar spent, and 250% more items carted, when they featured related items on the same online catalog pages!)
The fourth topic in my series of Top 5 Metrics when evaluating digital catalog and content performance is the Shopping Cart Funnel — which is really a related group of metrics rather just one (sorry, I cheated a bit!).
For brands using online catalogs with a goal of driving incremental revenue, understanding the shopping cart funnel is critical when assessing the ROI of these marketing and ecommerce efforts. Where to begin?
Look at all metrics in the online catalog shopping cart funnel:
- Catalog cart creation rate = percent of total visits (desktop and mobile) that created a cart divided by total catalog visits. This means a shopper added at least one item to their cart from the online catalog.
- Catalog check-out rate = percent of total visits that checked out a cart directly from the digital catalog (i.e., clicked on the button to go to checkout).
For the segment of visits that went through to checkout, you can also see:
- average cart value
- number of items per cart
- total cart value
- total number of carts
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that these metrics all represent shoppers’ behavior within the
catalog – so are really measures of its revenue potential. From there, your 3rd party web analytics tool (e.g. Google Analytics, Omniture, Coremetrics) can help round out the story (which I’ll dive deeper into next week in my post about KPI #5!).
The example above highlights most of the data that’s available on in-catalog conversions. For instance, here you can see that 1 out of every 10 visits to this home goods retailer’s online catalog added at least one item to their shopping cart while in the catalog (averaging 2.5 items per visit); over 6% of total visits went to checkout.
How can you use this information?
1. Assess whether your Zmags online catalogs are driving incremental revenue based on shopping cart conversion rate and total value of orders through the catalog. How does the conversion rate compare to your standard ecommerce site?
2. Look for any blockages in the funnel. Are certain products getting a lot of exposure but not converting? Why?
Remember, you can learn more about metrics #1, total visits, #2, time spent per visit, and #3, read-through rate in my earlier posts as well.
In 1867, Harper’s BAZAAR became America’s first fashion magazine. The magazine has now achieved another first with the launch of ShopBAZAAR, a breakthrough online store that allows the viewer to complete the purchase without leaving the magazine, closing the gap between seeing and buying. The readers, inspired by the items on display, can purchase in a fully integrated and seamless experience.
Unlike conventional ecommerce stores where business managers decide what to sell, the editors of ShopBAZAAR handpick items for sale. This brings to life an authentic content-to-commerce preposition, allowing viewers to experience special one-of-a kind products inspired by editorial features and enjoy contextual shopping experience to the fullest. ShopBAZAAR showcases about 1000-1500 products at any given time, with global brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, Salvatore Ferragamo, Derek Lam, Hirshleifers, Les Nouvelles, and Donna Karan Cosmetics.
In March this year, Harper’s BAZAAR embarked on a brand transformation exercise that started with a redesign and culminated in ShopBAZAAR. The BAZAAR Book app provides the monthly mag-alogue and the contextual shopping experience to iPad users. ShopBazaar.com also appears as a sub-domain of www.harpersbazaar.com, accessible as a “Shopping” tab on the home page. A tab on the Harper’s BAZAAR Facebook page takes the users directly to the BAZAAR Book on harpersbazaar.com. The innovations are poised to continue, with Digimarc watermarks that allow readers to shop the pages using smart phones. Expect that in early 2013.
ShopBAZAAR was launched in collaboration with American Express. American Express card holders receive exclusive perks and benefits, including access to specially-produced pieces from key designers, special gifts and private shopping events.
Check out the full online shopping experience to get an idea of how BAZAAR has truly used digital publishing to their advantage.
The August 2012 Abode Digital Index study “How Tablets are Catalyzing Brand Website Engagement” reveals that consumers are showing an increased preference to tablets. The study also highlights the fact that tablets are all set to displace the smart phone as the most popular mobile digital touch point by 2013. Smart phones, however, will continue to increase its share in the total web traffic.
So where does this leave the traditional desktop or laptop?
As of now, the PC generates the lion’s share of web traffic. As on December 2011, there are six PCs for every tablet, but web traffic through PCs is 19 times greater than web traffic through tablets. For each brand website visit made using a tablet device, there are 3.2 visits made through the desktop or laptop.
Consumers still prefer the PC owing to the larger real estate, convenient access to desktops at work or home, the nascent stage of the tablet app industry as opposed to the all-pervasive nature of web browser and websites, and the limitations of the tablets in accomplishing many tasks that are easier on the desktop.
These inherent advantages of the PC will continue in the near future, and while the tablet and smart phone would nibble away at the PC’s market share, the desktop or laptop would still retain its dominance in the near future.
However, the ability of the tablet (or any other mobile digital touch point) to upstage the traditional PC would depend on:
* Tablets leveraging the cloud to access services that now requires the memory, storage and software of a PC
* Developers adopting HTML5 and other technologies that deliver platform independent solutions. This will provide consistency when accessing content across devices.
* Brands competing to leverage the enhanced functionality and benefits of the tablets to engage with customers better
* Enterprises adopting the tablets in a big way for their routine day to day operations
Regardless of device, you need to have a seamless experience across all touch points.
Consumers now access content through multiple devices. The diversity of touch points is not just limited to devices such as desktops, tablets or smart phones, but also to mediums such as web browsers, dedicated apps, Facebook and others. The challenge before marketers is to not just ensure that their content remains optimized across all these multiple touch points, but also ensure that the content presentation, and by extension, the customer experience, remains consistent across the diverse channels and devices. Side by side, the marketer needs powerful analytic capabilities to understand what works and what does not work, and the extent to which the popularity across content, segregated by touch points, actually translates to revenue.
Little Tykes / Play Power, a seller of playground equipment has deployed Zmags Professional solutions to ensure all these, and more.
Apart from ensuring a consistent brand image across devices and channels, Zmags Verge spruces up the catalog and facilitates slick, tablet-optimized navigation. The attractive visual representation of the playground equipment complete with descriptions and pop-ups to relevant links apart, catalog viewers can configure the playground equipment in different colors and settings, visualize how kids interact in different equipment, mix and match different equipment, read social media reviews, and do more, all without leaving the catalog.
Zmags also provides for a truly integrated experience by allowing the consumer to complete the shopping within the catalog itself, meaning that the consumer can complete the entire marketing lifecycle right from initial product enquiry or curiosity to actually making the purchase and even providing feedback, without having to stray from the catalog at all.
How can you improve your customer lifecycle marketing with digital catalogs?
Comscore reports that as of April 2012, almost 85 percent of US audience viewed online video. An adult viewer watches 21.8 hours a month on an average and this is double the corresponding figure in 2010.
The emergence of multiple digital touch points with enhanced multimedia capabilities has further facilitated the popularity of videos as a content medium. A 2012 study by the etailing group sponsored by Invodo revels that one in two smart phone users and more than six out of ten tablet users watch one or more product videos in a three month period.
Such a steep increase in the popularity of the video is forcing marketers sit up and take notice. The Social media examiner reports that 76 percent of all marketers plan to increase the space of video in their marketing plans in 2012. This is likely to yield good results, with the Internet Retailer reporting that 85 percent of the prospects who view product videos would most likely make the purchase. Those who view video are 17.4 percent more likely to make a purchase versus those who do not watch videos.
There are many reasons for such a high conversion rates:
- Videos provide the most appropriate engagement medium for those who prefer visual or audible communications over written or verbal communications. Such people constitute about 60 to 70 percent of all shoppers.
- Videos help consumers progress to a “ready to buy” state by educating them with product information and specifications. Evidence suggests that people who watch videos spend more time on the website and engage better. When they purchase, they purchase with confidence, with lesser cart abandonment compared to those who do not watch videos. After making a purchase they are less likely to return the product.
- For the marketer, incorporating video provides an added benefit of improved SEO optimization, resulting in improved search engine ranking and thereby better visibility.
How are you using this medium to increase conversion rates?
In today’s multi-touch point world, the content matters more than the device. People no longer use specific devices to access specific content, but use multiple devices. For instance, they may watch a video or browse a website through the desktop, the tablet or the smart phone. In this scenario, only the content that remains resilient enough to adapt to the multi-touch point world stand a chance of widespread acceptance.
Oliver & Ohlbaum (O&O)’s annual survey on media consumption trends corroborates this view. The survey reveals that almost half (48%) of all tablet users use the device to watch TV. The corresponding figure last year was 33%.
A bulk of the multi-screen viewership for television is for content strongly linked to apps. 12% of the survey respondents actively use companion apps when watching TV through tablets, and 65% of those who did so felt that it as an engaging way to add value to the TV viewing experience.
However, popular demand is for free catch-up services rather than subscriber video-on-demand services (SVoD). The former is growing at a rapid pace whereas the growth of the latter has flattened out. The survey also reveals that the three most popular video channels viewed in tablet are BBC’s iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD in that order. YouTube takes the fourth place.
For marketers and content creators, success depends on not just optimizing the various inherent features of the device to provide a truly immersive and enchanting experience, but also on syncing content across various devices to provide consmers with a consistent and integrated experience.