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A few weeks ago, I wrote an article emphasising the importance of customer data and insight to shaping a retail marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, in my experience, key decisions are too often based on guesswork; following the latest fad, copying the competition or buying a solution that isn’t aligned to objectives and customer behaviour.
This post is designed for those small businesses that aren't yet selling online and are getting ready to start.
I won't pretend this piece is for those with lots of experience online. It's more a starting point to steady the nerves for those that are bamboozled by how complex supplier selection can seem.
Although many ecommerce ventures are small scale, and indeed many choose to stick with online marketplaces instead of going it alone, this doesn't mean the effort involved is small.
Even once a successful ecommerce website build is complete, your small business will rapidly find it has the need for extra resource to keep the beast purring.
The importance of responsive or adaptive design for any site, let alone ecommerce, has long passed the point where the value of it can be argued.
Google explicitly states that it will rank sites that are mobile friendly higher than those that aren’t. For the consumer on the go or away from the desktop, it’s an absolute must that your site is accessible and readable, with simple navigation, easy checkout and visual clarity.
Which ecommerce sites are doing the above, but also providing something more? Here are 14 inspiring examples below.
Once you’ve finished, download our excellent Mobile Web Design and Development Practice Guide for practical advice on design and development for mobile, while dissecting the technical challenges and commercial implications of the key mobile site development options.
Not everybody loves a hero image or a carousel. But imagery is a continuing trend in ecommerce.
Whilst brands don't want to compromise load times, the increasing uptake of tablets and their use for shopping means that images can help a site stand out.
A browsing experience is a lot more fun, and arguably realistic, with some big imagery thrown in.
Here are six websites that hit those retina-popping notes of colour on their homepages and beyond.
What makes for a lovely experience on a mobile commerce site?
Mobile is undergoing big change and still in the area of design testing and optimisation.
Companies, although finally on board with the idea of the smartphone as assisting sales and driving footfall in store, are of course trying to increase conversion and checkout on the mobile itself.
Over the course of a typical year, I attend a number of retail and digital marketing conferences.
Without fail, everybody attending learns a huge amount. But almost everybody I speak to also comments that in heading back to the office they have a whole load more stuff they need to think about.
The ‘to do’ list keeps growing and growing.
Profit margins determine whether businesses sink or swim and this is especially true in the hypercompetitive ecommerce industry.
So what can retailers do to improve profit margins?
Google has a big impact on the retail shopping journey, both online and off.
I’ve previously written about the smartphone customer journey, but given increases in Android market share, retail sales, the proportion of retail sales online, and mobile sales, I thought I should take another look.
So, how does the customer interact with Google services in the course of her journey to purchase?
Be prepared for a stat-fest, from search to mobile, YouTube to in-store.
Here's the latest US stats we've seen around the web.
Intrigue is provided by native advertising, Alibaba hype, Twitter ads, newspapers and our obsession with our phones.
Get stuck in. And make sure you take a look at the Econsultancy Internet Statistics Compendium for more stats.
Happy Record Store Day everybody! It's my second favourite day of the year.
A day where I wake up at 4am to join the masses of other record collectors in the cold dawn with a bacon sandwich and thermos of tea in hand, to queue up for this year's limited batch of releases only available to independent record shops.
Record Store Day is an annual event designed to keep the physical record industry afloat, in particular the smaller labels, bands and independent stores that still hold vinyl close to their hearts.
Of course, this idea of vinyl being a ‘quaint affectation’ is far from the reality. British Phonographic Industry (BPI) revealed earlier in the year that vinyl sales are the highest they’ve been for 15 years. More than 780,000 vinyl albums were sold in 2013, this is a 101% increase on 2012 sales.
Major labels are getting in on the racket too. Titles this year include releases from One Direction and Katy Perry. Now you can be as sniffy as you like about these but I can't say the first singles I bought were any better and if it gets a new generation into record stores than that's all for the greater good as far as I’m concerned.
I like writing about trends in digital marketing and ecommerce and the exciting thing about 2014 is I get the feeling we all have a better idea of where it’s headed.
In 2013, retail sales totalled $15.15tn. $1.2tn dollars (<8%) of this was spent online.
If online retail figures continue to rise (the most ‘virtual’ market is the UK, with 13% of sales online in 2013), it will likely be the product of a new generation of consumers and increasingly sophisticated retailers.
But how sophisticated is ecommerce today? What is achievable and will the holy grail of ‘omnichannel’ commerce ever be realised?
Rather than write pieces about smaller parts of ecommerce, such as order management or personalisation, I thought I’d try to cover all of it in one post.
These trends pick up and expand on some points discussed by Demandware COO Jeff Barnett at Xchange 2014.
Obviously, retailers are in varying stages of maturity, so feel free to let me know if I’ve overdone it some areas and not been aggressive enough in others. And practitioners, let me know what I've missed.
It's clear that brands' current priority is uniting data. Companies are striving for the single customer view, allowing smarter marketing and increasing customer lifetime value or better mapping the customer journey.
Even in the UK, where online shopping is at it highest (compared to offline), the percentage of transactions that happen online is around 13%. That's 87% of purchases happening somewhere in the real world.
That's 87% of customer purchase data that brands and retailers want to capture, if they are to identify and market to all of their customers online (providing they opt in).
And, of course, there are some products bought relatively infrequently online, as a percentage of overall sales. Cosmetics is a good example.
Club Clarins is nothing new, it's nearly two years old. But, the scheme is a simple and effective attempt to incentivise customers to hand over some purchase-history data online, after they've purchased a Clarins product in a department store.
I thought it was worth discussing loyalty schemes in the context of brands' pursuit of the omnichannel grail when selling wholesale and retail.