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Online retail is rapidly expanding and is expected to become a $1.5 trillion industry this year.
Cart abandonment is cutting into profits for retailers, as 68% of carts are left behind before the purchase is complete.
While retailers can do little about some of the motives, they can ensure that the abandonment rates are kept to a minimum.
If you don't live in the US and need some background on Pier 1, the company was founded in 1962 and did $1.8bn revenue in 2013.
There are more than 1,000 stores in the US, with the brand importing goods from more than 30 countries.
The company has been on a steep learning curve in its ecommerce business and has come a long way in the last two years. Now in-store and online are increasingly integrated, with Pier 1 committed at all levels of the organisation to providing a consistent customer experience.
I was at Demandware's Xchange 2014 conference, where I listened to Andy Laudato, CIO at Pier 1 imports, as he discussed the company's journey from having to close a poor performing ecommerce website in 2007, to efficiently joining up online and offline business today.
Andy gave some context for the current state of retail and then shared some really interesting stats from Pier 1's work. Take a look.
Nothing frustrates the mobile consumer more than forcing them to view your desktop site on mobile.
Today’s consumers are educated and nimble on mobile and their expectations are significantly heightened when engaging a brand on tablet.
With 43% of tablet users spending more time on tablet than on desktop, companies are increasingly optimizing tablet browsing and shopping to make it easier for consumers who want a seamless experience across all channels.
In the UK, the share of clicks coming through mobile search ads almost doubled in 2013, from 24% in January to 43% in December.
According to the latest research from Marin Software, mobile devices will account for 50% of all paid-search clicks globally by December 2015.
The UK is ahead of the rest of Europe, where mobile and tablets only accounted for 20% of paid search clicks in 2013.
That being said, advertisers in Europe increased their investment in mobile paid search by 109% in 2013, while UK advertisers increased their mobile paid search spend from 22% to 35%.
There’s a stat that every retailer should sit up and take notice of. It’s this: half (49.5%) of total U.S. retail sales today are impacted by the web in some way.
What this means is that although online sales represent roughly 10% of all retail, a large majority of your customers interact with your brand online as part of their unique customer journey.
This raises a particular question about in-store tech. Are we about to see a convergence of point of sale (POS) systems and ecommerce platforms?
That’s essentially the nub of this article. Will retailers start to see no difference between online and off-, in terms of data, logistics, shipping and ultimately customer experience? Do some consumers, or even retailers, already think this way?
I’ve been looking at the results of a survey of 200 retail business and technology executives in the US and Europe, conducted by The University of Arizona in association with the National Retail Federation and Demandware.
To add some perspective, here are some of the findings in the context of five fallacies of bricks and mortar retail. Five arguments for a changing customer who is driving many retailers to consider a single platform.
With cross-border ecommerce booming, it’s not surprising that more businesses are launching international websites. Britain generates the biggest online trade surplus in the world, according to research by OC&C.
The value of exports is $1bn more than imports, putting it ahead of the United States and Germany.
It’s not just major retailers such as ASOS and Marks & Spencer that are contributing to this trend. A survey by Royal Mail found six in 10 small and medium-sized businesses are looking to boost their international sales in 2014.
In this two part series key content, consumer and digital marketing trends between the UK and US online marketers are explored.
Transatlantic differences and approaches to content and consumer culture are explained in this first post.
In part two we take a deep dive into UK and US digital, search and social marketers.
The continued growth of ecommerce is nothing new. But what is new and critical for businesses to understand is the role of the touch-integrated customer experience.
Today, the first device a child interacts with is a touch device, whether a smartphone, tablet, phablet or even wearable technology, and consumers of the future will expect the motion of touch integrated fully into every experience they have.
As a result, the next challenge for businesses will be completely integrating touch into the shopping experience.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on innovation in the ecommerce sector for more than a decade now, and it seems to me that we're living in exciting times. We have hit some kind of purple patch.
Why is this? Well, ecommerce has massively matured. It's big business. Digital teams are smarter, and more agile. Sexy new tech such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery allows for sublime user experiences.
As such I wanted to raise a toast to innovation by highlighting a bunch of - hopefully inspiring - examples to you.
But first, a massive caveat: I would severely and mercilessly beat a few of these sites with a big best practice stick. There are product pages with missing information. There are search boxes with tiny fonts. There are usability issues galore.
Secondly, for ecommerce sites, it is all about the data. If you’re not constantly testing, measuring and refining, then you aren’t doing it right. What works for one brand might not work so well for another.
All of that aside, the ecommerce teams that take chances and push the boundaries of are to be applauded. Guidelines are precisely that: guidelines. Rules are there to be broken. And innovation is always to be encouraged, even when it doesn’t work out.
So let's take a look at some ecommerce websites (and one mobile app) that are trying new things, and that are noteworthy for their approach to the user experience. Click on the screenshots to check them out for yourself, and do let me know what you think.
Ecommerce is simple. That’s the premise of this post, which follows on from ‘finding your best products’. The heart of ecommerce is finding your best products and your best customers, in the pursuit of most profit.
The old mail-order mantra of ‘recency, frequency and monetary value’ (RFM) is still useful here. Categorising your customers based on an RFM matrix is the start of identifying your hero customers, and those that need a little more attention.
These posts have been taken from a talk given by Mike Baxter, Econsultancy long-time friend and consultant (author of the Checkout Optimisation guide, amongst other things), at a recent breakfast briefing with Ometria.
Let’s see what Mike had to say…
Ecommerce is simple. Don’t let anyone trouble you with thoughts on mobile, social or personalisation. The beating heart of ecommerce is the triangulation of data and uniting your best products with your best customers to make the most profit.
I had the pleasure of listening to Mike Baxter, an Econsultancy long-time friend and consultant (author of the Checkout Optimisation guide, amongst other things), talking about data triangulation at a recent breakfast briefing with Ometria.
Mike detailed his deceptively simple philosophy of selling online and I thought it worthwhile to put his thoughts down in full, over a couple of posts. Everything you read in these posts comes out of Mike’s presentation.
I think it’s worthwhile dwelling on this idea of knowing your products and customers ahead of anything else. Ultimately it’s the nub of your site design but also your marketing efforts including media spend.
As marketers start to join up data sources, they need to be wary of jumping the gun, trying to stitch up remarketing, social CRM, personalization, before they’ve truly looked at optimising product mix and display.
Here’s what Mike had to say…
Many retailers and pure-plays have expanded into Russia despite some difficulties stemming from changes to import laws.
I’ve previously shared some detail on Russian ecommerce, and the Econsultancy Russia Digital Market Landscape report is well worth a look.
In this post I thought I’d offer some thoughts on search in Russia, shared with me by Hannes Ben, EVP International at Forward3D and founder of Locaria.
Fashion is growing quickly in Russia, with a 42% year on year increase in revenue across clothing, shoes and accessories. In turn, the SEM strategies of these retailers have to be adapted.
So what are the challenges and opportunities of search in Russia?