Posts categorized ‘Shopping Cart’
Yesterday I came across one of the most compelling blog posts I have seen in my 4 years working for Zmags. It was a post by Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten Inc, about the difference between ‘search’ and ‘shopping’ specific to ecommerce.
What he says in this blog has been the essence of the Zmags value proposition for some time – Search is Not Shopping. You can access the full blog post here:
“One of the problems with e-commerce today is the tendency to equate “search” with “shopping”. They are not the same thing. In fact, they represent two very different visions for the future of e-commerce.Search is what you find when you visit some of the leading e-commerce sites. You’ll find a box. You type in what you want. The technology does its job and sends back a list of products. You evaluate, click and the transaction is done.”
I would personally add that beyond the search box, most retailers rely on customers to use categories to further refine the search, and sophisticated SEO tactics to drive relevant searches from Google directly to the product pages on the ecommerce website. Mr. Mikitani continues:
“Then there’s shopping. In our vision of e-commerce, shopping is not a utilitarian function, but instead, a process of discovery. Think of a time you visited a store and found something wonderful, something unexpected. You don’t have to give that up in order to shop online. Now think of a time when you went shopping but needed advice, so you tapped the knowledge of a merchant or even a fellow shopper. Again, we see no reason to abandon those experiences just to have the efficiency of the digital age.”
Think about this for a moment. What is your footfall conversion metric? 30 percent? 50 percent? Higher perhaps? Now think about the difference between that and your ecommerce conversion rate: 2 percent? 5 percent maybe? What is lost between these environments? Well mostly it is user experience and merchandising. In a store you can use a number of tactics to stack the odds in your favor – product placement, lighting, smell, music, huge lifestyle campaigns, expert sales staff, and control of the journey through the store. Pair these things with the physical product to touch, feel, try on etc and it starts to make sense. But how much of an effort are retailers today making to use the proven science of in-store retail with online shopping? In most cases, nowhere near enough.
At Zmags we try to tap into the concepts of merchandising, by using content, user experience, journey and lifestyle images to foster inspiration. We allow our clients to curate an experience; for example: catalogs, look books, trend guides, gift guides, brochures, magazines. These Zmags contain a certain number of pages in an order created by the design/brand/marketing teams to ensure a retailer can present a story which aids the discovery or ‘shopping’ process. When a consumer is in a Zmag, the technology allows them to take action at the height of their inspiration by showing additional product information and the chance to add to cart without leaving the page – which is a crucial point as it represents the best UX to generate conversion and engagement.
Tony Ward, Head of User Experience at Profero agrees strongly with Hiroshi Mikitani’s post:
“Online retail has become a homogeneous experience, and very often the inspirational content and commerce are often siloed experience and the customers are channeled through either a shop or explore environment. Customers are now becoming more sophisticated and look to be inspired as part of their shopping journey, and more often they’re looking for that retail theatre that’s often lacking, as retailers are more focused on utilitarian side of commerce. Digital can be a platform that helps to captivate the consumer in their research and purchasing life cycle, where they discover, immersed and be entertained, just like they do when they’re in store.”
Zmags is committed to the development of its platform to continue to aid brands and retailers in the creation of digital discovery shopping.
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.
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?
Today’s customers are highly informed and access information about products through various digital touch points (like online catalogs!) by themselves. The role of the marketer is now to guide the customer through the buying process, to provide them with a good experience in whichever channel or medium they choose, rather than dictate terms. This requires a shift from the product centric marketing campaigns to customer centric campaigns, and this, in turn rests on the marketer customizing the engagement with the customer. At the same time, the marketer also needs to ensure a consistent voice and message across the different channels.
Online catalogs as a marketing tool facilitate this trend, which is evident from the experiences of PartyLine, a niche maker of candles, candle warmers, fragrances and premium home décor products.
The company’s online catalog, powered by Zmags Verge, retains its almost one hundred year old reputation of providing personalized service and striking a lasting relationship with customers. The company managed to create lasting relationships by delivering top quality, sustainable and durable lifestyle and home décor products.
The Verve powered catalog, slick in design and optimized to provide the perfect medium showcase such strengths. The rich imagery that radiate the beauty of the products takes on from where the glossy print catalog left and even improves the experience for the consumer.
The catalog, instead of listing each item on stock, lists only a few products with bigger images, and a curative experience when the consumer browses the catalogue. The company merchandises the products exactly the way they want online shoppers to find them.
A preview tab allows the consumer to see the product coming up next, allowing them to delve into it or side step it to some other product.
The rich, in-depth, flexible and engaging experience offered by Zmags PartyLine catalog gels perfectly with at-home parties where the sales agent connects with the potential clients.
How can you use an online catalog to engage your customers?
One of the main reasons why digital catalogs have seen a surge in popularity is its ability to showcase products in its natural settings, while providing the consumer with rich insights without disrupting the navigation or the experience.
A catalog that exemplifies such ability is Joules Christmas Lookbook, developed by Zmags. Joules’ new Lookbook, for the winter shopping season, incorporate statement pieces, key looks and outfitting ideas that aims to showcase the wardrobe, and provides the consumer with a fresh flurry of styles, prints and gift ideas.
The catalog highlights the statement pieces in their natural setting. Each product has a tag attached to it, clicking on which will open a pop up that provides a better image of the product, brief product description, the ability to select the color, size and quantity and add the item to the shopping bag. The pop-up drills down to detailed product description, delivery options, information on exchanges, allows the consumer to share the product through various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and even send an email. All this is without disruption to the catalog navigation, which still remains at the same page, allowing the consumer to resume the shopping experience even after checkout and purchase.
An extensive yet unobtrusive top header menu allows the consumer to locate exactly what they look for and land at the relevant page directly. Alternatively, a footer popup provides a preview of the upcoming pages, providing the consumer with an insight as to what lies ahead even without leaving the current page, useful to make up your mind when browsing! A slide-bar attached to the popup allows for quick and direct navigation to the required page.
Needless to say, catalogs allows brands to position themselves in the best possible manner during this holiday season.
E-retailers expected increased sales during the peak holiday shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and their expectations did come true.
Among the top performers during the just concluded holiday season was CVS Caremark Corp, who recorded a 30% increase in traffic compared to the 2011 holiday season. Mobile commerce through tablets and smart phones accounted for a significant chunk of this increase, as evident from the 300% growth this segment enjoyed compared to the 2011 holiday season.
Many retailers wound up with more mobile traffic than expected. American Apparel Inc., for instance anticipated four times the mobile traffic from Cyber Monday 2011 and actually ended up with 20 times more traffic from tablets and smart phones.
Apart from the obvious reason of customers wanting to shop in comfort of their homes, avoiding holiday crowds at the streets and the brick and mortar shops, what made mobile ecommerce succeed this shopping season was many online retailers offering online only discounts.
The range of discounts offered by many online realtors this time extended to innovative and imaginative promotions that invoked the curiosity of the customers. This included, among other promotions, mobile-only “door buster” discounts early morning, “mispriced mystery products” that allowed shoppers to go on a treasure hunt, “FreeFall” offers where customers could buy as much as they wanted for a limited time frame during which time the prices kept on dropping. Many retailers also went aggressive with referral programs, offering gift coupons and discount vouchers to their customers who persuaded non-members to register and purchase from the e-retailer.
The increasing use of tablets for shopping also has a significant impact on when people did their shopping. The bulk of the mobile shopping was in the evening, and with mobile sales now a significant chunk of the total sales, the overall peak shopping period during this holiday season was between 8 P.M. and 11 P.M.
Overall, if you’re a retailer, you need to become an e-retailer to really compete in the space.
Tablets and smartphones are increasing their market penetration rates and have now become preferred digital touch points to make online purchases. However, an analysis of tablet and smartphone demographics reveals that the spurt in popularity is not uniform across all demographics.
Overall, US mobile shopping data indicates that women purchase less than men do. This does not however mean that men shop more than women do! Women tend to use mobile touch points more for product research and deal savings than for actual shopping.
The demographic differences also extend to what people shop for, when using tablets and smartphones. More men purchase digital content, consumer electronics and entertainment tickets using tablets and smartphones, and they pay relatively high prices for these products. 30 percent of men purchase digital content as opposed to 20 percent of women, 27 percent of men purchase consumed electronics as opposed to just 8 percent of women and 23 percent of men purchase entertainment tickets as opposed to 11 percent of women.
Women, on the other hand are more inclined to use the tablet and smart phone to shop for apparel, shoes, accessories, and house related products. 56 percent of the women purchase these products compared to 41 percent of men. Women also tend to use more mobile coupons than men would. 44 percent of women used the mobile to access online coupons compared to 34 percent of men.
Overall, one out of every two males who use a mobile device for shopping will shop more using the device this year compared to the previous year whereas one out of every three women who use a mobile device for shopping will shop more using the device this year compared to the previous years.
Are you tailoring your experiences to attract both demographics?
More and more retailers are launching digital catalogs as the benefits of using these catalogs is becoming obvious. Nothing more exemplifies the popularity of digital catalogs than the fact that the Apple app store now has a separate category for catalogs.
Ecommerce encourages a “search-find-buy” pattern where a customer will have to search for a product, locate it and make the purchase. This works well when people are looking to buy a specific product, but this is not how the bulk of retailing takes place in the real world. Leading retailers have traditionally encouraged their customers to discover their products and engage with the customer to provide them with a positive experience. The catalog is styled on a “discover-engage-buy” pattern, which relates more closely to what the customer wants.
The digital catalog provides viewers with an inspiring visual experience, educating them about the uses of the products and taking them through how they can best use the product on offer. Traditional paper-based catalogs has a big limitation in that even after providing such an experience, the customer had to break off and approach the retailer separately on their own. With digital catalogs now integrating the shopping cart, the retailer can hope to cash in the positive experience much better and faster.
Consumers spend about three to six minutes on average when browsing through a retailer’s website whereas they spend an average of 30 minutes on a digital catalog accessed through a tablet or a smart phone.
Digital catalogs simplify the online shopping process. Rather than wait painstakingly to input the search parameters, refine it repeatedly to identify the right product, all the while waiting multiple times for the browser to load and then use the keyboard to review and select the product, the digital catalogs allow completing the entire process with a few clicks of the mouse or a quick swipe of the finger.
With tablets and smart phones steadily increasing in popularity, the multiple digital touch point world is here to stay. Brands trying to woo an increasingly tech savvy customer base must indulge in a host of innovative digital marketing strategies.
Publishing online magazines and digital catalogs lead the list of strategies aimed at wooing the digital consumer. Publishing this type of content provides multiple benefits for the high end retailer. It not only provides immediate ecommerce benefits, but also ensures the development of the brand in the long term.
* Attractive content increases brand visibility. The brand remains in the mind of the viewer even if they do not make an immediate purchase.
* Such content creates an excitement centered on the brand. It creates a positive buzz that helps marketers to engage prospects and customers better
Many high end luxury brands have used Zmags to produce attractive product catalogs and other rich digital content to such ends.
Kenneth Cole has released a simple yet powerful catalog that allows the viewer to get a realistic feel of the product and simply click on the required product in its natural setting to make a purchase. The catalog entices the viewer with sleek and attractive images to create a favorable impression that lingers. It solicits the viewers email, promising a special offer, both increasing the chances of conversion and generating new leads for the marketer.
Neiman Marcus has transformed its traditional look into an exciting virtual shopping experience. While it retains the usual easy to use features such as ability to make a purchase with a single click and attractive images, it also adds premium features such as the ability to zoom into any portion of the page for a richer and detailed view. An innovative layout offers a view of related products in the same page without taking the focus off the product showcased.
How can you use Zmags for your digital brands to increase conversions?
In a hyper competitive market, marketers compete on providing a better shopping experience for their customers. One of the best ways to deliver a pleasurable shopping experience is making the purchase process easier for your customers.
This can be done in many ways, including:
1. Leverage Multi-Channel Opportunities
User behavior has undergone a big change. More and more users now undertake multiple activities spread over devices and channels.
Marketers should leverage such multi-channel sales opportunities by providing web users the ability to make purchases during any point of their user experience. For instance, allowing the user to click on the dress she likes while browsing the digital catalog and purchase it would be key to conversions. Or, at the very least, let the user place the dress into the shopping cart with one or two clicks. Very few smart phone or tablet users have the ability or patience to search for the same dress in a dedicated ecommerce website, which would ultimately lead them off your site.
Since social media is so important in this digital age, it makes sense to integrate social with ecommerce.
In the example above, clicking on the dress, which leads to a registration page where the user will have to enter tons of information would be a put off for the customer. What would be even worse would be the registration page leading to a home page away from the dress. Provide alternatives such as accepting an Open ID login such as Facebook. That way, the only information the user would have to fill out would be their purchase information.
This integration not only contributes to making the purchase process easy and fast, it also helps in providing a personalized experience.
3. Ensure seamless and easy navigation
Ensure that the website work across devices by adopting technology suitable across all touch points. The iPad, for instance, supports HTML and not Flash. Asking the user to download a plug-in or the page displaying an error message will drive customers elsewhere.
Again, the user trying to purchase the dress she liked when browsing the catalog should be able to add the dress to the shopping cart and check out at their time of convenience. There is nothing frustrating that the shopping cart disappearing if the user navigates away from the page.
Have you gone through your shopping experience? If you were a potential customer, would you think the process was easy and seamless?