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Registration and accounts on ecommerce sites have plenty of pros and cons. On the one hand, they can be handy for retention and easy repeat purchases, but they can be a barrier.
They can present a particular problem on mobile especially if shoppers have forgotten login details from previous purchases.
To illustrate this point, here's an example from the M&S mobile site, one which must be causing a number of abandoned purchases.
Detailed product information is essential for achieving conversions as customers obviously can’t touch the product so retailers need to provide all the relevant details through images, product descriptions, reviews and videos.
This is an easy enough task for simple product such as DVDs, books and some clothing items, but electronics and other technical products require a great deal more information.
The challenge is then to try and present all the relevant information in a clear and concise manner that doesn’t cause the reader to lose interest and go elsewhere.
A case in point is the Samsung 3D 51” plasma TV which retails at around £1,800. It’s not the sort of purchase that most people will make on a whim, so retailers have to provide detailed information to ensure customers are happy to part with their cash.
With this in mind, I browsed a number of ecommerce sites to see how they deal with product descriptions for this particular TV.
The EU e-Privacy Directive was introduced last year as a way of forcing websites to be more open about the type of cookies they used to track visitors.
Initially there was quite a lot of apprehension as site owners were concerned that they’d be forced to add intrusive pop-ups and force visitors to opt-in before they could begin using the site.
Around this time last year I wrote a post looking at which of the top 10 UK retailers use Pinterest.
Back then Pinterest was the new kid on the block with bags of potential for building brand identity and driving sales.
To find out whether those brands have persisted with Pinterest or decided the grass is greener over on Google+, I’ve revisited the same retailers to see whether they still use the network and how their strategies have altered.
All ecommerce sites could benefit from having product recommendations, with research showing that they can potentially increase revenue by up to 300%, improve conversions by 150% and help boost the average order value by 50%.
However, the precise format varies from site to site and should be tested to make sure it’s converting the maximum number of customers.
The copywriting needs to fit with the brand identity and it’s also important to strike an emotive chord and pique the customer’s interest.
This isn’t an easy task considering the fact that you generally only have room for about three or four words, but there is still a great deal you can do with the limited space.
In recent weeks I’ve begun looking at the different ways in which some of the world’s biggest brands use social media.
John Lewis has had an excellent start to the year, announcing a 44% increase in online sales over Christmas. You can read more about it in our Q&A with the company’s head of online delivery and customer experience Sean O'Connor.
Unlike Walmart and Tesco, John Lewis doesn’t publish its own social media guidelines online, however in a previous interview its social community manager said that content is key, “with a tailored approach for each social media channel.”
So here’s a quick look at how it uses four of the main social networks...
A recent survey into the functions that consumers most want to see in smartphone apps found that, aside from money saving offers, people value the ability to locate physical stores and to purchase items directly from the app.
Though the research, commissioned by Adobe, was a closed question so respondents were restricted in what they could answer, it highlights the local intent associated with activities on a smartphone.
To find out whether the UK’s top retailers are catering to this need, I tried out four shopping apps on Android to see how easy it is to find store location and contact details...
You need only take a look at Amazon’s homepage to understand the importance of product recommendations to ecommerce.
One report suggests that 70% of Amazon.com is devoted to recommendations, so it’s obvious that they play a vital role in exposing customers to new products and increasing sales.
In fact, according to an infographic from Monetate recommendations can increase revenue by up to 300%, improve conversions by 150% and help boost the average order value by 50%.
Obviously these figures will vary wildly depending on initial benchmarks and how extensively recommendations are used across the site, but the evidence is still too compelling to be ignored.
The retaier achieved a 44% increase in online sales over Christmas, so what lessons are there for other retailers?
I've been asking John Lewis' Head of Online Delivery and Customer Experience Sean O'Connor abut the secrets behind its success...
It's been a slow week for marketing stats, but even so here are some of the best we've seen.
Stats include Boxing Day ecommerce traffic, mobile sales and conversions from Affiliate Window, a record week for app downloads and sales data from John Lewis, Amazon and Next.
For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
It proved to be a fruitful Christmas for John Lewis, with like-for-like sales up 13% in the five weeks to December 29 compared to the same period in 2011.
And the news from its ecommerce store was even more impressive. Online sales grew almost three-times faster at 44.3% and now account for a quarter of all group sales.
In fact it reached more than £800m in annual sales through Johnlewis.com in December.
So how has John Lewis managed to pull off such a massive increase in online sales? Here’s a run down of some of the reasons behind its continued success...
Surprise, surprise! Amazon has come top of Foresee’s online customer satisfaction survey for the fifth year in a row.
In fact the e-tailer comes in first and second position in the table thanks to its separate UK and US domains, easily beating John Lewis and Play.com into third and fourth places respectively.
The findings in the ForeSee Online Retail Satisfaction Index: UK Christmas Edition are based on almost 10,000 customer surveys collected during November and December.
Scores are awarded out of 100 with anything over 80 considered as excellent. Amazon.co.uk (86), Amazon.com (84) and John Lewis (80) were the only brands to exceed this threshold.