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Why would a department store close its online store while building a new one?
And, having done that, what should the company do to make sure the relaunch maximises the opportunity?
Here are 10 suggestions for one particular retailer doing exactly that.
At the start of the year, retailer John Lewis announced some impressive year on year sales figures, along with the revelation that more than three quarters of its site traffic on Christmas Day came from mobile devices.
Its profits continue to look very healthy, and mobile is an ever growing proportion of its sales.
So what is it that John Lewis is getting right with its mobile strategy? And what lessons can we learn in order to apply to our own?
These are some of the elements that John Lewis delivered on.
It’s not just about driving footfall to an offline store anymore, when it comes to mobile commerce the big winners are the brands achieving conversions there and then on a mobile device.
Here we’ll be presenting a selection of ecommerce stores excelling at the mobile experience and ensuring a frustration free shopping experience on the small screen.
What will we be looking out for?
As our own Ben Davis discussed in 14 features of great mobile commerce design, here are some of the tools and features that can best aid mobile shoppers:
Pinterest drove an unprecedented amount of traffic to retail sites in Q4 2013 achieving a 50% quarter-over-quarter increase in revenue-per-visit (RPV).
In fact, Pinterest has overtaken Facebook for UK referral revenue and is expected to do the same in the USA this year.
This should come as no surprise. The business case for retailers investing in Pinterest is well past the tipping point. With over 70m global users, Pinterest is now the third most popular social network.
Also, with the amount of Pinterest Pin it buttons overtaking the amount of Facebook Likes on product pages, retailers are realising that Pinterest is a key way to drive sales.
Here are the top 10 UK brands of 2013, as nominated by YouGov's BrandIndex.
This is based on brand perception, acquired by conducting approximately 3,700 daily interviews and asking the question "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"
It seems the most popular brand of 2013 in terms of positive regard is the BBC iPlayer, which has remained at the top spot for the last two years.
Christmas 2013 proved to be a record-breaking period for several multichannel retailers as the trend for shopping online rather than in-store continued apace.
However for some brands the increase in online sales didn't necessarily translate to an increase in profits.
All these stats and more are rounded up in more detail below, including financial results from John Lewis and Debenhams, as well as data from IBM showing the rise in m-commerce...
Amazon has yet again come out on top in a customer satisfaction survey, proving that is remains the company to beat when it comes to ecommerce.
And as if to underline just how successful Amazon is at creating an excellent customer experience, it actually came joint first and second in the Foresee study thanks to its .com and .co.uk domains.
It’s not all good news for the ecommerce giant however, as Amazon.co.uk actually saw a two-point decline compared to last year, down from 86 to 84.
John Lewis came third in the study with 79, followed by Apple on 78 and M&S on 77. Unsurprisingly Ryanair came bottom of the pile with just 60 points.
Predictably John Lewis currently retains the highest social engagement for Christmas ads, but for how long?
As of 10 December 2013, the John Lewis ‘The Bear and The Hare’ ad has achieved 10.3m views, and just over 1m engagements (likes, shares or comments).
However, its engagement-per-thousand-views (EPM) has dropped to 101, from 393 in four weeks.
This seems logical. The more popular and ubiquitous a video is, the less likely that people will bother sharing it as they feel they’re just adding to the noise of what we’ve already seen.
Interestingly though, this viral complacency may lead to a pre-Christmas upset.
One of the benefits of ecommerce is that it’s very easy to present a range of products side-by-side so that shoppers can compare the various features.
This makes greatly helps the decision-making process as customers can select a product based on which has the most relevant features as well as being the best value for money.
Retailers can also present additional details such as special offers and product reviews in order to increase the chances of a conversion.
Shazam announced today that it now has more than 400m users globally, driving 15m Shazams (or tags) every day.
This follows Shazam's recent claims that it generates $300m in digital music sales every year, which is 10% of the digital music market.
It has been terribly busy today. The now leading media engagement company has also announced its ‘top Shazamed songs of 2013’ list, as well as its ‘top Shazamed artists of 2013’, ‘top Shazamed songs driven by television’ and ‘2014’s new artists to watch’ lists.
At the beginning of September 2013, Shazam announced a huge milestone: the 10 billionth use of the music identifying app.
The song: Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’. The man: some guy in New Jersey who was officially the last human being in the Western world not to recognise Lady Gaga.
If you’re unaware of Shazam, quite simply it’s an app that you can use to identify a song you don’t know the name of that’s playing in any location (as long as it’s audible) in a matter of seconds. The process is called ‘tagging’.
Shazam currently processes more than 100m tags a week, this is 150% more than a year ago, and currently has more than 80m global users.
Over the past few weeks online retailers have begun unveiling tools aimed at inspiring shoppers as they search for Christmas gift ideas.
I’m unconvinced as to whether these features have any impact on sales as they often appear a bit gimmicky, but judging by their popularity among retailers they presumably achieve some kind of ROI.
I’ve already reviewed Argos’ rather quirky Gift Finder which offers a unique browsing experience at the expense of usability, so in the interest of fairness thought it would be interesting to take a look at how other brands are catering to Christmas shoppers.
Here’s what I came up with...