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As our world continues to become a much smaller place, the ability to buy goods online from other countries is on the rise.
One valuable target group for UK online retailers are US customers shopping on their sites.
We’ve used our own data to explore the shopping behaviour of this particular customer group to help UK ecommerce companies maximise the revenue opportunity these shoppers bring.
How many box openings does it take to create a box that is a consummate joy to open?
While this sounds like a daunting brain teaser, Apple answers it concretely through usability testing.
Only a select few of Apple’s packaging designers have the mundane privilege of opening hundreds of prototype boxes in a secretive packaging room at their headquarters.
This probably doesn’t surprise you, if you bought an Apple product in the past decade.
Opening the box to your first iPad or MacBook Air might have been an indelible, memorable experience, one in which you couldn’t contain your excitement and surprise as you unraveled the packaging, piece-by-piece.
If your experience was similar to mine, opening the Apple package was probably so delightful that you may have ironically struggled with the idea of parting ways with the box!
Over the past fortnight, two pound shops have launched ecommerce sites, which makes it some sort of trend in my book.
'Value' retailers such as pound shops and fashion brands like Primark have been some of the few success stories during the recession, but will this model work online?
In 2013, 83% of retailers gave customers a choice of home delivery options, though less than half (47%) of retailers offered three or more services.
Micros has released its 2014 Multichannel Retail Delivery Report, in which 239 retail websites were tested for their delivery flexibility, customer service and delivery performance.
Here we’ll be taking a specific look at the range of delivery options available from retail websites and how they compare year-on-year.
Five years ago pure play was the king of the ecommerce jungle. The lean business models, efficient tax structures and minimal property costs were destined to mean the end of bricks-and-mortar retail as we know it.
Now, however, the high street is fighting back from an unexpected quarter.
For anyone thinking of buying online between now and Christmas Eve, one of the biggest questions will be 'can this retailer deliver in time for Christmas?'.
However, many ecommerce sites are still way too vague about this information. This means that people will either decide not to order, or will press ahead and risk disappointment.
With the example of children's onesies (which seem to be like hen's teeth this year), I'll be looking at the approaches of different sites.
Ecommerce sites can use urgency in various ways, through showing low stock levels, encouraging people to buy quickly for faster delivery, or by using email to pull customers into sales.
The tactic can work as it forces the customer to make a faster decision about the potential purchase, based on this new information.
So, here are 15 examples of the use of urgency by online retailers...
Before we get started, I have two apologies to make: one to every company featured in this blog post (my opinion obviously has little bearing on the success of your marketing efforts), and another for writing a post with a wholly negative premise.
In my defence, it’s often a lot easier to run your own emails against a checklist of ‘do nots’, as it arguably supplies some super-quick fixes.
Anyway, off we go.
Delivery has come a long way since the early days of ecommerce, but some online retailers are still failing to offer a range of delivery options to suit their customers' needs.
As stats from a new Econsultancy Multichannel Retail Survey show, customers are demanding more flexibility in delivery options, and retailers need to offer this to increase conversions.
The survey, conducted using the Toluna survey tool, found that 50% of respondents had abandoned a purchase online due to unsatisfactory delivery options.
So which options are customers looking for, and who is offering them?
Perhaps the biggest drawback of online shopping is the time gap between purchasing and playing with goods.
Retailers need to do everything they can to make this after-sales period informative to build crucial customer loyalty.
New ecommerce stats highlight the growing importance of reserve and collect services, with 40% of UK consumers using such services over Christmas.
It looks at attitudes to online delivery, use of mobiles and tablets for shopping, and the role of the web in the research and purchase process. It was conducted online, so we can assume that respondents are reasonably tech-savvy.
Some highlights from the survey after the jump...
On Sunday, The Independent published an investigation into the great 'online delivery scandal' which looked at the 'hundreds of thousands' of people who received less than satisfactory service in the run up to Christmas.
It was accompanied by an editorial which uses the findings to disparage online retail.
As an advocate of ecommerce, my gut reaction is to object to this, but it's clear that 'the last mile' is an issue for retailers, and for consumer confidence in online retail.
So what can retailers do to combat these problems? I asked several ecommerce experts for their views...