Posts categorized ‘Retail & eCommerce’
I am based in London in the UK, and for the first time in a long while, we have been able to enjoy a great sun-filled summer. The retail press has been full of good news stories for a change, especially for the impact the heat wave has had on fashion retailers who have been able to delay their sales, and reduce sale discounts to show great year-over-year improvements in sales of summer lines.
But, we all know the summer will soon be over, vacations will be distant memories, and the real work starts in earnest as preparations are made for the key peak season.
I wanted to use this blog to provide some inspiration for those currently finalizing plans for peak campaigns. Zmags digital catalogs were used by some of the world’s largest and most renowned brands last year to create stunning digital content experiences to provide gift ideas. And the good news is, they worked!
Here are some performance highlights from brands using online catalogs and gift guides in Q4 2012:
- Share of tablet/mobile visits 22.6%
- Zmags ecommerce conversion rate 173% higher on average than website average
- Average order value for Zmags shoppers increased by 18%
- Average time spent on site increased by 144% for those that viewed a Zmag
Additional results from last holiday season can be found in our 2012 Digital Catalog/Magazine Benchmark report
Zmags has created a lot of statistical research to show how presenting product in a linear experience is leading to higher page views, product views, engagement times, and ecommerce conversion rates – these are amplified through peak season due to the pressure of needing to find gift ideas for family and friends. The Zmags format has proved a more engaging and inspirational way to allow consumers to discover your product compared to traditional website layout.
Here below are just a few examples of what our clients created last year (please note ecommerce links are no longer active):
If you are planning to send any print campaigns to your consumers this holiday season, then having a digital Zmag version that is fully shoppable and can be viewed in HTML5 across devices could be a great way to make your investment in the printed collateral go much further, whilst enriching your website to create a truly joined up campaign. You may also want to create something bespoke for the digital channel, and Zmags is well placed to help here too with best practice advice on techniques to build highly engaging and great performing digital marketing and ecommerce campaigns.
Whether you are bringing a print campaign to digital or starting fresh with a digital publication, consult the Zmags 2013 Holiday Playbook for any e-commerce endeavor this Holiday season. Additionally, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a consultant in your area to find out more about the Zmags Commerce Edition Solution
Zmags is a very versatile digital publishing platform and can be used to drive revenue in several ways. The most obvious way would be by using Zmags’ Commerce solution to facilitate the product purchase directly from the page in the catalog/brochure online. This will seamlessly synchronize with the existing ecommerce infrastructure and allow products to be added to cart in the same way it would from any other product page.
What might not be so obvious is how an online flyer or catalog can help a marketing team to generate footfall to their stores.
I came across this fantastic example from Costco UK today, who present their coupon books 16 times a year through Zmags.
The results we can see from these campaigns are very encouraging. Costco promotes these wholesale offers to its members via email and print distribution. 40% of the visitors spend 2-5 minutes just going through these pages, and the very nature of the content means that around 80% of the visitors view every single page in the Zmag – this is incredible engagement for something which users can then print or save to use in-store. As the offers are only available to the wholesale trade, the aim is that the user takes these offers and buys in-store.
By using specific codes which track the source of the coupon, Costco is able to attribute the source of the revenue to the various campaigns, which along with the comprehensive Zmags analytics allow them the get a full view of how this is working to achieve business objectives.
Do you have similar goals from your online marketing efforts? Are you looking for new ways to generate footfall from online efforts? Get in touch today to get a demo, or speak with a consultant about how this might fit strategically for your business.
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 goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
-Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart
Customer Service, as Mr. Walton sees it, must be married with corporate objectives and the bottom line. I would be inclined to agree.
The customer experience is certainly becoming (or already is) the next competitive battleground or playing field.
Fortunately for Zmags, we have always seen the customer experience as the way to foster brand loyalty and we pride ourselves on the service any of our customers will receive when they interact with our team.
Ultimately, if our customers are successful we are successful. So it’s essential to partner with them, support them, and learn from them to drive us forward from both a service and product standpoint.
We benefit from the word of mouth that a “wow” customer experience provokes and we learn from any negative experiences to improve the customer service throughout the organization.
The bottom line, especially when we compare our services to our competitive landscape, is that offering a fantastic customer service not only supports the product offering but can in essence be a standalone product itself. Meeting expectation is easy; exceeding it is what will ensure that you stand out and have a competitive advantage. Our key drivers are to provide a customer experience that exceeds expectation, to measure & learn from it, and to communicate both back to the customer and the organization.
Providing a Customer Service
- Net Promoter Score – great way to measure not only your service but how likely this service is to positively or negatively impact the business
- Irritant Matrix – Make sure that Support Tickets and feedback is measured and acted upon in the right way.
- Surveys – Feedback, feedback, feedback! Ask your customers for honest feedback and reward them for it.
- Always close the loop – respond to all feedback with gratitude and an action plan
- Beta Programs – Involve your customers in new product developments; they know the product well and love to feel part of the journey.
You may be competing in terms of Price, Product, Place & Promotion but you’ll be nowhere without a Perfect Service.
Yesterday I led a webinar highlighting key findings from our first Zmags Quarterly Digital Catalog/Magazine Benchmark Report. (That is a mouthful. ZQDCMBR? Not much better!)
For anyone interested who was unable to make it, not to worry! You can still watch the webinar recording anytime.
This new quarterly research study defines digital publication benchmark performance on key metrics. To stay within my allotted hour, the webinar focused primarily on the retail/ecommerce and apparel/fashion industries. Key points covered in the session included:
1. Online catalogs and magazines are gaining traction with consumers, and mobile traffic to these publications is on the rise — exceeding over 1 in 5 visits to Zmags in 2012
2. Retailers with online catalogs see much higher conversion rates among this segment of shoppers. In Q4 2012, the average ecommerce conversion rate for digital catalog viewers was 173% higher than website visits that didn’t include the experience.
3. Apparel/fashion digital catalogs performed even better on key metrics than other retail categories. During the holidays though, competition for these consumers’ time is even stronger than during the rest of the year–so brands need to be creative in order to stand out.
The event had solid attendance and some great questions were asked at the end. Two worth sharing:
1. Is it possible to measure the impact of digital publications on in-store traffic?
Yes! There are a few ways this can be done in Zmags:
a. Include links to your store locator page in your online catalog. The number of clicks on these links and CTR are indications of the interest in seeing and feeling products in stores that your catalogs are generating.
b. Feature unique codes (discounts, QR), coupons or even products that can only be redeemed in stores. Calculate total redemptions as a percent of Zmags visits to measure influence and success. (Then, on shoppers’ receipts, feature a link to your newest online catalog in order to repeat the cycle!)
2. Where can I find out more information about the benchmarks in my industry, which is automotive?
These and other detailed results are available in our exclusive whitepaper. To see how Zmags performance varies by industry, see page 9 — which includes key metrics broken down by travel, auto, food and beverage, publishing/media, and more.
Looking ahead, it’s already time to start analyzing the Q1 data! Our full webinar series schedule can be found here; check back soon to sign up for the Q1 2013 Benchmark webinar!
Next Wednesday, April 10th at 11 am ET/ 4 pm GMT I’ll be leading a webinar about the 2012 Zmags’ First Digital Catalog Benchmark Report. The findings detailed in this report are aimed at helping Marketers, Content Strategists, Ecommerce leaders, etc. know what to expect to achieve via this type of collateral.
We aggregated performance data across more than 24K online magazines and catalogs that were activated by Zmags customers in 2012 to establish a baseline on key metrics, including: visitation levels, conversion rates, time spent per visit, and more. Moving forward, quarterly updates will be released to expand upon these learnings – to help you stay up-to-speed on the latest digital catalog trends and developments over the year.
Here is a sneak peak at some of the key points I’ll cover in the webinar:
- More than 1 in 5 visits to online magazines and catalogs are from mobile devices (smartphones or tablets)
- The best-performing online gift guides last holiday season were actually fairly short — fewer than 20 pages — and aimed at specific audiences and segments
- Plus, hear our top 3 digital catalog/magazine predictions for 2013 (hint: ”one size fits all” is a thing of the past!)
Click here to sign-up if you haven’t already!
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 first quarter of the year is always a time when we can digest and evaluate all that happened in the previous year, and hopefully make sense of it all. Looking at 2012, we brought many leading retailers and brands on board, and our customers’ Zmags had 31.8M more visits than in 2011—a 14% jump YOY.
Not surprisingly, as more consumers multi-task, browse and shop on the go, traffic from mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) going to online magazines and catalogs also rose significantly during the course of the year. Android is making up an increasing share of these visits, which were once dominated by iOS devices (iPhones and iPads).
During the holidays, this momentum in online catalog usage was even more pronounced. On Christmas Day alone, Zmags publications saw a 51% increase in visits vs. Christmas 2011*
With analytics on the brain, I also compiled what I consider to be our “top 10” customer stats of the year. The numbers speak for themselves – clearly demonstrating the benefit of digital publications to both key brand engagement and ecommerce metrics.
Top 10 Zmags Stats of 2012:
10. 35 minutes on average spent reading a digital celebrity/TV magazine
9. Home Décor catalog viewers spent 1084% more time on the website than other shoppers
8. Online catalog shoppers went on to view 4x more pages on website
7. 23% of readers clicked on ads in a digital travel guide
6. 35% of cruise e-brochure views were from right within Facebook
5. 56% of visits to a women’s retail ecatalog were from a smartphone or tablet
4. Online candle catalog visitors drove 13.3% total website revenue (during the time period)
3. For every $1 invested with Zmags, a major retailer saw $4.36 in return
2. 9x higher ecommerce conversion rate from online home décor catalog visitors vs. other site visitors
1. An electronics retailer had 2.4M total visits to a single Zmags flyer
Most of the success stories above result from both intuitive digital design (e.g., it’s easy for the audience to view and interact with the content on all devices) and savvy marketing efforts pointing towards the content. Consumers were encouraged to linger more with these brands, and often inspired to make purchases they might not have otherwise.
How do these stats compare with the performance of your Zmags? Against your other digital campaigns? Let us know if you have any specific questions regarding these metrics and trends.
I can’t wait to see how 2013 plays out, and expect to see these metrics improve over time. Stay tuned for periodic updates to this leaderboard!
*This is a significantly above-average lift relative to the top 500 retail sites (See Experian, 12/27/12: “Christmas Day 2012 retail visits increase 27% compared to 2011”)
One of the crucial game changers in online commerce is the user interface. The merit of the product, the innovation of the marketing campaign or the size of the deal offered may all lure customers to the website, but it is invariably the interface they encounter that determine whether they proceed with the purchase or go away.
Marketers have always worked hard to make the user interface as attractive as possible. Successful marketers make sure that such attractiveness does not compromise ease of use. Now, with the advent of multiple digital touch points, marketers need to do more.
Today’s marketers need to offer a clean and intuitive interface that not only caters to seamless engagement and discovery for the customer but also allows the customer to purchase without leaving the catalog. While the focus has always been on allowing the customer to explore or share content-rich pages and dynamic imagery with a quick tap or dab, it is time to allow the customer to move the product to the shopping cart with equal ease. In short, the marketer needs to interpose engagement and commerce to the brand’s online content.
Again, marketers need to not just ensure that they provide a rich and enriching brand experience to customers, but also make sure that such experience remains consistent across all devices through which the customer accesses content.
The new Verge Viewer offered by Zmags facilitates this, as exemplified in the latest catalog of Serena & Lily, the seller of luxury home décor products. The company adopted Verve to provide the next wave of digital experience to its customers. The technology allowed the catalog to sport some intuitive features, such as arresting visuals using maximum available browser space, facilitating swipe based navigation wherein the customers search for products by keyword, accessing the required page with just one swipe or click, and more. The catalog also groups products, displaying the full suite of catalog page below the current page, allowing shoppers to browse or purchase items individually or collectively.
Are you creating a user interface that drives sales?