It’s that time of year again – the time when men scurry at the last minute to find that perfect Valentine’s day gift. No need to worry, we have you covered. Well, our clients have you covered with engaging and inspiring digital catalogs filled with great ideas for Valentines Day gifts. Take a look below at some of our favorites:
This digital catalog showcases various beauty products such as facial creams, lotions, perfumes, and much more. Liz Earl has created a unique toolbar at the top of their viewer allowing you to search, share on Facebook, and download the catalog.
Get a glimpse of their new Valentine’s collection in this publication and become inspired to get the love of your life the charm, necklace, ring or bracelet that she’s been asking for. But you don’t have to go in-store or open a new browser to their website. Utilizing the external link functionality with the Zmags Publicator tool, Pandora has linked all of their products to specific product pages so you can essentially purchase items without leaving the catalog page.
Nothing says, “I love you” like a nice bouquet of…balloons. It’s unique and it sends just the right message, precisely like this digital catalog. With hundreds of balloon options and combinations, Anagram Balloons has provided a clean, clear and inspiring selection of balloons specific to Valentine’s Day. Download specific pages, or email them to yourself or a friend. Zoom capabilities allow you to act quickly and effectively with your purchase.
Figis has been offering distinctive candy gift packages since 1944, and more recently through their digital catalogs. See something you like? Hover over the image with your mouse (if you’re on your desktop) or tap the image with your finger (if you’re on your phone or tablet), and get brought right to that product’s description page to make your purchase. If you feel the need to share, click the ‘Share’ button in their top toolbar and share ideas with friends and family.
No matter what gift or gifts you choose, the ability to get the perfect gift more quickly and easily than ever before is right at your fingertips…literally. With the ever-growing use of digital catalogs, brands are making it easier to find those last minute gifts.
How have digital catalogs helped you find the products and/or services you’ve been looking for when you have been in a jam?
The most memorable and engaging online shopping experiences deliver more than just a simple listing of products. They provide a complete a complete, cross-platform system of content and context to create a compelling story about how those products look or how they can be used in the real world.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to get consumers to immerse themselves in your brand.
Brands go to great lengths to give the same experience to consumers whether in store or browsing through a lookbook online. They give consumers options to share product information through various social media channels and make certain offers available (both in store or online), which enables consumers to feel as though they are a part of your brand.
Zmags makes it easy to add social share buttons to your online publications, and even to your product windows so you can give your users the ability to share specific products with their friends and followers.
Bonus Tip: Offer a discount if a purchase is made through your online publication for those consumers who share your publication.
The more senses you engage, the greater the chances are that your consumers will purchase a product or products. For example, captivating videos can add a level of engagement and excitement to the shopping experience. Allowing users to see the products in use can really give them the ability to visualize themselves using your brand.
Adding video to an online lookbook is quite simple and can add a unique element of engagement within your brand. Longer engagement times in store, on your website and in your online publications increase the chance for purchase or the chance for more purchases.
Bonus Tip: Keep your videos to 30-45 seconds in length, at most. ‘Vine’ style videos (6 seconds on average) are also effective in an online publication setting as well.
This might sound as if I am contradicting myself given what I have been speaking about so far in this post, but give your users a chance to get out…and by get out, I mean checkout. A seamless check-out process in which consumers don’t have to leave the platform or device they are shopping from to complete their order will delight the customer, as well as increase your rate of completed transactions.
If you’re users are on a tablet or mobile phone, chances are the publication is taking up the entire screen which means checking out requires an additional step in the process. By adding a checkout button to your publication, you can eliminate that extra step that could be the difference between completing the process and leaving the items in the cart believe it or not. Give your users the chance to get out, and they will most likely look to get back in sooner rather than later.
Bonus Tip: Having the option to continue shopping or check out while your users are in your publication is another great way to give them the options they are looking for.
Collectively, these features will enable you to deliver a rich, immersive brand experience that is consistent across all digital touchpoints, and give that experience more of a ‘scene’ as opposed to a ‘screen’ feel. How are you enabling your consumers to immerse themselves in your brand?
Brands have discovered new ways to condense the path between purchase and checkout, yet many still experience high levels of cart abandonment. It is an increasing issue amongst retailers and as consumers become more and more savvy, the chances for these levels to climb higher is much greater.
The issue is not just happening with users that are adding items to their cart through product pages directly – it rings true through digital catalogs as well. While there is no one solution in particular that will eliminate all of the cart abandonment issues you’re having, there are steps you can take alleviate some of the pain.
Make Checkout Button Prominent
If you have embedded your digital catalog into a page on your website, chances are your users are able to easily get to their cart even when viewing a desktop version of your catalog. The header is still accessible and the cart button is visible, making the transition from catalog to cart seamless.
However, if you’re viewing a catalog on your tablet or mobile phone, the catalog experience can take up the entire screen making it more difficult for the user to access the cart. Zmags allows you to choose which feature buttons – including the cart button – you want to display within your publication viewer. By adding the cart button to your features tab, you can give your users a more accessible way to access their cart and increase checkouts all from your digital catalogs.
Offer Checkout Options After Items Are Added
Many retailers miss out on the chance to navigate their users to the checkout page right after they have added an item to their cart. Some believe this practice tends to frustrate the user, when in reality it is designed to act as a “digital associate” assisting you with your purchase.
Adding a “Checkout or Continue Shopping” option can easily be added through your eCommerce platform, which in turn can be prompted to be displayed after a user adds a product to their cart through your digital catalog.
Add A Checkout Link Within Your Catalog
If the features tab is blocking content within your catalog and you do not have ability or resources to add the “Checkout or Continue Shopping” option, you can always create a Call-To-Action (CTA) on each page of your catalog that will bring users to the checkout page. You can easily add a CTA image and link the URL to the checkout page through the Zmags Publicator tool.
You’ll want to call out the option towards the beginning of your catalog so your users know where the button is and what function it serves as well. BONUS – this is also a great way to notify your users how to use your digital catalog, depending on the complexity and features within the catalog, of course.
As users become more savvy Internet purchasers, it will become more difficult to control the navigation path and drive them to where you want them to go on your site. Brands have become increasingly creative and effective with unique ways to decrease cart abandonment – What are some ways you have combated abandoned cart issues within your digital catalog?
In this day and age, it’s paramount when creating and delivering content that it is available wherever your consumer may be, on whatever device they may be using. When done well, an engaging online Publication has proven to drive a higher engagement time, read-through rate and lower bounce than a traditional website.
The linear format and being able to browse through a magazine, catalog, or lookbook much like a physical publication, ensures you have your consumer engaged – so what better time to convert them to a buyer? Moreover, your consumer might be browsing content that they want to purchase – so let them!
The simple and more traditional way to do this is to link products from within a Publication to a webpage for transaction. But what this tends to do is hinder the experience, drive them away from the content and ultimately destroy repeat purchases, or multiple purchases as well. If the user decides not to buy that one product, he/she might not return to the catalog if it’s necessary to leave it in order to purchase.
A more opportunist approach would be to marry your eCommerce infrastructure with the online content you deliver. The beauty of online content is its transparency; so not only will you see users’ behavior, but now this will translate to users purchasing behaviors as well.
This is easily achieved when creating online content. Rather than linking to a product page, change that click to bring the shoppable content into a lightbox – front, right and center. Furthermore, enable the customer to be able to “continue shopping” if they wish to do so. Much like when you are browsing around a physical store, you may want to pick up a number of items and make a final decision on what makes the cut at the point of purchase. Online shopping should be no different.
All eCommerce stores have product pages – these pages can be launched on top of digital content. So you browse a publication, see an item you like, click it and that product page appears. The item is then added to your shopping cart directly on your website, and using existing commerce infrastructure couldn’t be easier.
The way Zmags does this is by either launching content into a lightbox, launching an existing quick view, or easier still, using one of the Zmags Commerce Plugins.
Marrying content and eCommerce has proven to significantly increase cart size and it couldn’t be easier to deliver a shoppable, engaging experience to your consumers wherever they may be. And should inspiration strike them, who knows, they may just be in the mood for shopping!
People have made and hopefully are thus far sticking to their personal resolutions. But what about brands? Making a digital resolution for a brand is a great way to set your sights on something new for 2014 that will push your digital experiences to the next level. With such a rapidly changing landscape, there will be plenty to set your sights on in 2014.
More generally, it’s important to understand the full retail cycle for whatever industry you may be in, and have content in the works for each new seasonal trend that’s upcoming. For instance, once Valentine’s Day is over, it’s only the middle of February, but it’s already time to start thinking about the “Moms-Dads-Grads” period from early May to late June.
Whether it’s for an aforementioned shopping day, or for a specific persona of user or shopper, custom tools and experiences will yield engagement by providing value to qualified users. The holiday shopping season that just ended saw some brands creating unique online experiences built to generate inspiration among users. Tools or apps that help users solve problems and find inspiration, and also suggest targeted product purchases, will help take an ecommerce platform to the next step.
4. Partner Up
Whether it’s with a re-seller or marketplace, or a partner for featuring content, properly executed partnerships prove that 2 brands are better than one.
Similarly for content, having partners that will share your content and vice versa could secure new users and offer your brand more exposure. The trick is connecting with the right partners, so that new users are qualified enough to convert a good rate.
Easier said than done, granted. Every brand is always trying to innovate, but that doesn’t mean it should no longer be a goal. Bonobos keeps their shopping online, but has brick and mortar fitting stores so that potential customers can learn their sizes once and know what to buy online. It doesn’t seem revolutionary, and yet they have carved out a unique niche in the crowded clothing and fashion space. There are always new and interesting ways to engage readers and consumers.
These are just a few trends that Zmags and others believe are worth putting more emphasis on in 2014.
What are some of the New Year resolutions your brand has made for this year?
A recent article from eMarketer revealed that experts are predicting record high online sales in Denmark this holiday season. And apparently not just by a little. Estimates from Dansk E-handelsanalyse predict that the increase compared to 2012 will be 33%, potentially bringing holiday eCommerce sale totals up DKK1.2 billion.
The survey conducted concluded that the more common ’Christmas presents categories’ include children’s toys, jewelry, clothes, cosmetics, and digital entertainment. In fact, one in every four online shoppers said they expect to purchase 60-80% of their Christmas gifts online this year.
Needless to say, this is sure to make it a busy time for many Zmags clients. So what can Zmags clients expect? If the predictions are correct, they can arguably expect more traffic to their digital catalogs and hopefully, a noticeable increase in revenue through their eCommerce enabled publications.
So, are Zmags customers ready to provide a great experience for the consumers and are they ready to benefit from this increase in traffic? We sincerely believe they are, here are a couple reasons why:
Zmags online catalogs have proven to provide a much higher engagement time per reader than a normal eCommerce website and up to 5 times as many page views.
When we are purchasing gifts for family and friends, we are more likely seek inspiration to find that special gift. The nature of Zmags online catalogs gives the reader a curated story and experience that is a perfect environment for this process.
Zmags online catalogs provide a consistent cross-channel experience.
This corresponds very well with the noticeable increase in eCommerce sales from tablet and mobile device. (23%, according to data from IMRG and Capgemini).
It is not hard to imagine that during the busy holiday season many shoppers are likely to do some of their Christmas shopping while commuting or on the couch in the evening using either a tablet or smartphone, or both.
Many Danish retailers have already embraced the holiday season and have put out their holiday catalogs. Companies such as Magasin, Bilka, Imerco and Matas show great examples of digital catalogs that connect with their consumers. It makes their shopping experience inspirational, efficient and, more importantly, joyful.
As was expected, the total online sales on Black Friday once again toppled the $1 billion mark at $1.198 billion. This number represented a 15% increase, according to comScore , from Black Friday online sales in 2012.
Additionally, a new day is emerging in the e-commerce calendar: Thankful Thursday. Thanksgiving Day, the holiday around which Black Friday and Cyber Monday were created, is actually the fastest growing online shopping day in the past five years. Shopping online on Thanksgiving presents none of the logistical problems that in-store shopping does, nor are there any lines. It makes sense that as people are relaxing with their families getting ready for the turkey, they are breaking out the tablets, laptops, and smartphones, and getting a jump on great deals.
For Cyber Monday, USA Today posted an article late Monday night as numbers were being reported. Depending on the time when data was pulled, overall sales were seen to be up between 17 and 20 percent from last year.
The strong numbers posted on both shopping days can be attributed in large part to the rise of mobile. Black Friday saw mobile traffic account for 39.7 percent, which is a 34 percent increase from the same day in 2012. These metrics come from a report from Gigaom aptly titled “Black Friday shopping by the numbers: Mobile-optimized sites win”. All significant metrics related to sales were also up from 2012.
USA Today’s reporting on Cyber Monday stated that 29.4 percent of online traffic came from mobile devices, representing a 61 percent jump from last year. The same data suggested that “shoppers used smartphones to browse but were more likely to make purchases on a tablet.”
Cyber Monday has already stretched into “Cyber Week”, as many deals did not end with Monday. Where will it end? Deal-seeking online shoppers will be active throughout the month of December, preferring sites that are engaging and user-friendly across multiple devices. The increase of online shopping, specifically the use of mobile devices to shop and research, shouldn’t be alarming. Zmags’ solutions are designed to help marketers and retailers engage with deal-seeking shoppers during these high-volume periods.
Automation, and not just marketing automation, has evolved rapidly over the last 5 years, and has changed our way of living. It’s transformed our way of thinking, the way we make decisions, and how we interact with others on a day-to-day basis.
In the business world, it has allowed us to be more responsive, make quicker and more efficient decisions, as well as personalize each experience for our clients. Businesses are consuming information, analyzing data and acting on that analysis faster and faster than ever before. But with the ability to automate so many things, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the finer details that really enhance the user experience.
Let’s take digital catalogs for example. Some software solutions that allow you to take a print version of your catalog and make it digital – such as Zmags Commerce – make it easy to create one publication for all digital channels. However, how those publications render on certain devices can create inconsistent experiences. With the consistent rise in use of mobile and tablet devices to shop, it’s critical that you tailor your publications to each device accordingly.
Since mobile devices have a much smaller screen area than the majority of desktop and tablet screens, the design and layout of a digital catalog on a mobile device is something many companies need to take into consideration.
Designs and layouts will vary depending on your product/service, your branding guidelines, and the story you are trying to tell within your publication. Regardless of your unique brand story, though, there are three actions anyone in any industry can take to enhance the user experience when creating digital catalogs for mobile.
1. Limit the Number of Products You Display to 3 or 4 Per Page
If your print catalog features 10 to 15 products per page, it is going to be very problematic for the user to see those products and shop. Even when you zoom in, it can still be challenging to see them and get a good feel for what they really look like. By limiting the number of products you place on a page, you allow the user to see them more clearly.
For example, this is especially beneficial in instances where there are a few products on model (shirt, pants, shoes) that when tapped, open up a product window. You will not have to worry about the user tapping on the wrong product bringing up the wrong window time and time again – they will most likely become frustrated and it could leave a sour taste with the overall experience.
2. Remove Small Text From the Page
Reading small text, such as a product description, on a desktop version of your catalog can prove to be difficult for many. Translate that over to a mobile device and it makes it that much more difficult to read. Now we’re not suggesting you remove all text in general – what we are suggesting is to keep the text on the page, but shorten the sentences or descriptions you have to 2-3 word phrases instead.
This will allow you to still tell your brands story, while making it easier for the user to read the words on each page. You could even use this on the desktop and tablet versions of your digital catalog as well. It can give you the ability to create a visual story which (depending on your product) can be more impactful.
3. Create Unique Calls to Action
You’ve changed the layout of your digital catalog by lowering the number of products you have per page and you’ve updated the text in your catalog as well. Now, you need to let your users know what to do. Creating a unique call to action is the best way to let your users know what action they should take within the catalog.
Some Zmags clients use plus signs, others use targets, and some even use smaller versions (or variations) of their logo. It all really depends on your branding guidelines and what fits best on each page. One thing to keep in mind is to be cognizant of how many you are putting on a page – too many, and it can take away from the overall look and feel of the catalog while creating confusion, not clarity, as to what to do.
While having your digital catalogs render a specific way across multiple channels is a nice automation, it is still important to take the design element into consideration. As automation and personalization continue to become more and more of an essential part of your digital catalog strategy, don’t allow the user experience to suffer – create consistent experiences across all channels that will keep your users coming back for more.
Are you an online retailer? Do you have a desire to publish exciting content in conjunction with your product line? If you’re not familiar with the capabilities of a high quality digital catalog, such as those enabled by Zmags, here is a primer of what you can accomplish in today’s e-commerce landscape. Hint: it’s more than a print catalog converted into PDFs…
1. Editorial and eCommerce Are On the Same Page
Traditional e-commerce layouts consist of clickable product thumbnails set against a white or plain background. Such platforms might have an editorial spread or photo gallery, but those would be distinct and separate from the product pages. Digital Catalogs allow for a blend of both: editorial layouts and themed spreads. The individual products placed within are clickable for more information and add-to-cart functionality.
The convergence of content and commerce mentioned above is made possible by plugins and integrations from different platforms. Marketers that have an eCommerce platform don’t need to face the tough decision of overhauling their operation just to create engaging content. Plug-ins allow for publications to be embedded into different sites and channels, and plug-ins allow for publications to be synced with eCommerce infrastructures. This integration makes it easier on the publisher in that:
All tools from different platforms are on one dashboard
Content creators don’t need to manage e-commerce initiatives or infrastructure
Inventory and pricing can feed in automatically
Content can be edited on the fly based on what’s selling and what’s not selling
3. Content Sized to the User’s Liking
An issue that digital retailers often stumble over is “how much information is enough? How much information is too much?” The desire to at once keep it simple but also deliver every selling point can feel irreconcilable.
Expandable content in digital catalogs addresses that problem. Within a digital catalog, a two-page spread can feature images prominently with little text. But, should the user want to learn more, he/she can click on any product or image within the spread and bring up a lightbox that offers extensive information in addition to shopping features. Expandable content gives power and choice to the user. This feature allows users to shop entire looks, but also explore individual products in vivid detail, therefore experiencing the brand and merchandise in ways that will inspire purchases. Essentially, the retailer gets to paint a pretty picture AND tell a great story.
When you’re delivering content on a channel users are already comfortable on, the users are more likely to linger and shop around. That’s what social integration accomplishes. Digital catalogs can be embedded on social media channels, so that the user never needs to leave Facebook or another network to view that content. Catalogs can even be integrated with social functionality such as commenting, seeing what friends like, and sharing pages and products.
5. Every Device. No Problem.
Today’s online shopper sees each device as only part of the usage matrix – he/she will rotate between laptop, tablet, and mobile with great frequency. As such, the best shopping experiences will address that multi-faceted shopping approach. Digital catalogs can be viewed on any device, addressing the following:
Consistent Brand Experience – when a shopper begins shopping on laptop and later wants to purchase on tablet, there will be no drop-off or disparities in the two shopping experiences.
Expandable content – Mobile users can move through pages at their own pace, instead of being inundated with text that becomes microscopic.
On The Go vs. On the Couch – Mobile users want information and products quickly, while tablet users want a more engaging visit. Catalogs can offer content for both at the same time.
The above points in the Digital Catalog Primer are not five completely separate features, but different factors stemming from the same principle of creating an engaging experience for a savvy user. These capabilities are, in fact, all connected. Integration allows for content and commerce to blend seamlessly, and exist on social channels and multiple devices with a number of engaging features. If you’d like to learn more about digital catalogs and what you can accomplish, send Zmags a note to get started.
Once November hits, there are a few things that we can bank on: the weather gets colder, the days get shorter, and the buzz starts growing around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Maybe that last one is more for retailers and marketers, but the reach of these commerce-fueled holidays is expanding at such a rate that it would be hard for anyone to ignore them in the coming weeks.
More specifically for e-commerce, sales on Cyber Monday (to no one’s surprise) are expected to hit record highs, with one projection from Business 2 Community totaling around $1.675 billion for that day alone. B2C credits the rise of mobile and tablets – and the subsequent push by brands to be accessible on all devices – for this increase in total sales. Everyone is an online shopper now, not just the person sitting at their laptop or desktop at home.
As Business 2 Community simply puts it “So more potential shoppers equals more possible sales. More possible sales means more total dollars spent.”
Is Your Brand Well Positioned for Shopping Season?
Opportunity abounds for online retailers and marketers during this heightened purchasing period, but success will only come to those who take the right steps with their digital content.
Digital content like a catalog or shoppable lookbook can be befitting to the shopper as well as the searcher. Yes, there is a difference. It is so important to cater to both behaviors during this intensified buying time – online customers come in many shapes, sizes, and behavior paths, so the better coverage a site has for a variety of user experiences, the better that site will perform.
Another key step in being best prepared for this short, powerful buying time is switching out content on the fly. If after one day you see a particular product or editorial spread is yielding extraordinary returns, while another page is getting breezed right over, it is important to adjust your content accordingly to better suit your users’ needs and interests. A platform like Zmags lets marketers and retailers make changes that can be live in a few minutes – ensuring that the right content and products get in front of the right eyes.
Multi-channel deployment and rapid content editing are just two ways retailers and marketers will yield the “more possible sales” alluded to by B2C. Will all your e-commerce initiatives be in place by Thanksgiving week? Contact us immediately for some last minute help.