tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/customer-experience Latest Customer Experience content from Econsultancy 2017-01-20T17:00:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-01-20T17:00:00+00:00 2017-01-20T17:00:00+00:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68708 2017-01-19T02:00:00+00:00 2017-01-19T02:00:00+00:00 Three key marketing skills for 2017 Jeff Rajeck <p>Naturally, <strong>marketers want to focus on what will give them the most 'bang for their buck'</strong>, though. They need to know what technologies have improved recently or what techniques are producing great results elsewhere.</p> <p>In order to find out what these key skills are right now, we recently asked a number of industry experts to comment on<strong> what they see as the most important marketing technologies and techniques for the coming year</strong>.  </p> <p>Below is the answer from Janet Low, Vice President of Client Services in APAC at Epsilon International, followed by some comments on each of the skills she regards as key in 2017.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5yCH5BFkN74?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>1. CRM</h3> <p>The customer relationship management (CRM) system has been a part of marketing technology for many years.</p> <p>What Ms Low points out, though, is that<strong> the CRM can now provide business value across the whole customer lifecycle</strong>. This means that marketers should become more familiar with the CRM now as it is more than the system used only by the call centre.</p> <p>Marketers from a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67978-three-ways-digital-marketers-in-mumbai-increase-customer-engagement/">recent roundtable event in Mumba</a>i agreed with this notion. Attendees pointed out that CRM data can be used for:</p> <ul> <li>Improving targeting with email marketing.</li> <li>Building audiences with Facebook and Google.</li> <li>Segmenting customers using attributes such as purchase history and website behaviour, and not just age and gender.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/6279/india-indulge-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="353"></p> <p>For those who have not yet tapped into the 'CRM goldmine', 2017 is a great time to start.</p> <h3>2. Applied analytics</h3> <p>Analytics have been a key component of a marketer's toolbox for at least a century, but their usefulness was limited due to the lack of high-quality data. Marketers now have sufficient data to be confident about conclusions drawn from analysis and so applied analytics is now becoming a greater part of their job.   </p> <p>Participants at an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67922-really-big-data-managing-customer-insights-in-china/">Econsultancy event in Shanghai</a> last year, came up with<strong> three ways in which they make decisions using analytics</strong>: </p> <ol> <li> <strong>Delivering customized content</strong> using data from customer profiles.</li> <li> <strong>Changing the frequency of messaging</strong> according to the success rates of email and ad campaigns.</li> <li> <strong>Updating brand creative</strong> based on the feedback they get from social media and customer reviews regarding how well consumers understand the brand.</li> </ol> <p> So, 2017 is the year for analytics to break out of the back room and become part of the front-line strategy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5696/4__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>3. Customer journey mapping</h3> <p>Analytics can also help marketers understand their customers better. Previously, a lot of assumptions had to be made about the customer journey, but now there is data showing which touchpoints consumers have hit along the way to becoming customers. </p> <p>In a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-maturity-in-australia-and-new-zealand/">recent survey</a>, however, marketers in Australia and New Zealand indicated that <strong>only half (50%) of companies in the region had at least an 'intermediate' understanding of the customer journey</strong> and only around a third had any budget allocated for improving the situation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4671/3.PNG" alt="" width="499" height="331"></p> <p>What this means is that<strong> marketers who take up the mantle and spend time on the customer journey are likely to benefit by pulling ahead of the competition</strong>.  Some benefits include more efficient media spend, improved customer metrics such as Net Promoter Score, decreased time-to-conversion, and greater customer retention.</p> <p>With so many good reasons to map the customer journey, it's surprising that more companies haven't done it already. And, as Econsultancy's Ben Davis says, mapping the customer journey <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68681-mapping-the-customer-journey-doesn-t-have-to-be-difficult/">doesn't have to be difficult</a>.</p> <p>So while it still will not be possible for marketers to relearn everything in 2017, there are some key activities which industry experts and other marketers globally will be prioritising this year. To keep up, marketers need to reflect on these topics and ensure that their skills are up-to-date. </p> <p><em>To improve your own digital skills in 2017, check out our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/">global range of training courses</a>. </em></p> <p><em>Or to benchmark your knowledge against industry peers, complete our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite/">Digital Skills Index</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68712 2017-01-18T11:12:00+00:00 2017-01-18T11:12:00+00:00 I beg you, retailers, don't digitize the in-store customer experience Ben Davis <p>Does this increasing love for online shopping mean we have fallen out of love with physical stores? I don't think so.</p> <p>After all, total retail sales in the UK have seen 43 consecutive months of year-on-year growth. We just love shopping.</p> <p>That's why I bristled a little when reading the intro to <a href="https://www.capgemini-consulting.com/resources/making-the-digital-connection">Capgemini's recent report</a> about the in-store customer experience. Two sentences struck me as misleading:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Our global survey – spanning 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives – found that one-third of consumers would rather wash dishes than visit a retail store.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>And..</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Consumers wish to use technology to help them engage with the store at every step of the shopping journey.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>That first stat about washing dishes is a bit of fun, and is even broken down by country (see the graphic below), but it doesn't tell us how many people see online shopping as a similar chore. I certainly don't enjoy shopping online for food, or for Amazon stuff that I 'just need'.</p> <p>The second assertion about consumers wishing to use tech is absurd. We wish to have problems solved, not just to mess about on an iPad for the sake of it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3140/wash_dishes.jpg" alt="washing dishes instead of visiting a store" width="650" height="573"></p> <p>I know I sound critical, but actually apart from a few of these assertions, it's a very good study from Capgemini because it highlights some of the areas in which physical stores need to improve.</p> <p>Coincidentally, many of these areas can be solved with tech, though it is my belief that this tech should very rarely be customer facing.</p> <h3>Where do physical stores need to improve?</h3> <p>Amongst other things, customers want to be able to:</p> <ul> <li>check that goods are in stock</li> <li>compare products</li> <li>find products quickly and check out quickly</li> <li>ensure price match with retailer's online store (including promotions)</li> <li>choose from multiple delivery options</li> <li>earn loyalty points</li> <li>have a good time</li> </ul> <p>The most important points here are logistical, they require the retailer to have one view of stock across stores and warehouses, online and offline. Ecommerce teams cannot be insulated from the retail team.</p> <p>But I cannot see the need for customer facing tech. It too often becomes a white elephant, much like Marks &amp; Spencer's 'Browse &amp; Order' stations where customers can explore the company website in the middle of the M&amp;S carpet. There are exceptions, of course, which may be appropriate for some retailers, such as self checkouts, and loyalty points being added to a mobile app.</p> <p>I can certainly see the benefit of using digital technology to empower retail assistants, however. Systems such as SalesAssist,<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67986-boots-launches-salesassist-app-in-stores-what-are-the-benefits/"> employed by Boots</a>, may allow for stock checks and product comparison to be taken care off by store staff.</p> <p>This customer relationship with human staff should not be undervalued. One part of Capgemini's survey asks consumers to compare the effectiveness of an app with the effectiveness of a store, for tasks such as product comparison. Understandably, the app wins on many counts, but the questioning never mentions store assistants.</p> <p>Yes, an app will quickly give you product information, but the question takes the task in isolation and does not in any way touch on how the best sales<em>people</em> compare with an app. Surely the best experiences with people go beyond what an app can offer?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3143/Screen_Shot_2017-01-18_at_10.53.23.png" alt="app versus store" width="650" height="364"></p> <p>The report also lists digital shelves / interactive displays that help compare products as an underappreciated way that tech can be useful to the customer. In situations with a limited product offering (car showrooms), maybe this is the case, but I can't think of too many other stores where such a tool would be a cost effective or elegant solution.</p> <p>Before I sound too much like a naysayer, it's worth mentioning Lowe's and its <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/30/lowes-introduces-lowebot-a-new-autonomous-in-store-robot.html">Lowebot</a>. The autonomous retail assistant that moves around the store and directs customers to products is a great example of exerimentation / innovation and getting around a big DIY warehouse may be indeed be a good use case.</p> <p>On the whole, however, how much cheaper and more efficient are these robots than staff? Not very, I would wager. Moving robots need maintenance above and beyond a self checkout, and they can't compliment or joke with a customer.</p> <p>When I went to Japan recently, I saw a few shops with their very own Pepper, SoftBank's famous robot. Did Pepper make me want to enter a shop selling shirts and ties? Certainly not.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3142/softbank.jpeg" alt="softbank pepper" width="194" height="259"></p> <p><em><strong>What do you think? Leave a comment below.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68681 2017-01-16T14:29:43+00:00 2017-01-16T14:29:43+00:00 Mapping the customer journey doesn't have to be difficult Ben Davis <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68286-why-mapping-the-customer-journey-is-so-hard-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/">2016 research by Econsultancy in APAC</a> suggested 'understanding of the customer journey' is poor. </p> <p>However, it can be argued that the options that respondents were given in our survey framed the idea of 'understanding the customer journey' as being able to <em>track</em> individuals across channels - an understanding of every customer journey, if you like.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9066/2016-09-13_10_48_07-charts.pptx_-_PowerPoint.png" alt="customer journey mapping" width="715" height="397"></p> <p>Jeff Rajeck asks in his blog post, 'Why is mapping the customer journey so hard?', but actually I'd argue it's not that difficult. Yes, implementing algorithmic attribution might be, but getting everyone round a table to focus on the customer shouldn't be.</p> <p>There are plenty of articles on the internet about mapping the customer journey, but here's my own edit.</p> <h3>How to map the customer journey</h3> <p>Decide on who will be taking part in the exercise (Marketers? Architects? Customer-facing staff? Senior management?) and define the specific customer journey you will be describing.</p> <p>There are obviously many different customers and many possible customer journeys. Journey maps may eventually include the majority of communications and sales channels but, first off, pick one customer story to tell, much as you would do during <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66976-are-your-audience-personas-really-helping-to-inform-your-content-strategy/">persona development</a>.</p> <p>Use a matrix such as the one below, created by Econsultancy contributor and UX consultant Paul Boag (<a href="https://boagworld.com/usability/how-to-run-a-customer-journey-mapping-workshop/">see Paul's own article on mapping the customer journey</a>).</p> <p>The customer journey is split into five parts, 'discovery', 'research', 'purchase', 'delivery' and 'after sales', with five 'whats' for each:</p> <ol> <li>What task is the customer trying to complete?</li> <li>What questions do they have?</li> <li>What touchpoints do they encounter?</li> <li>What emotions are they feeling?</li> <li>What weaknesses are there in the brand's ability to help?</li> </ol> <p>As Paul advocates, those taking part in the exercise can split into groups, with each column given to a group to brainstorm.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3023/boag_matrix.jpg" alt="boag cx matrix" width="615"></p> <p>Other pertinent information that may be considered when filling in this matrix includes:</p> <ul> <li>time frames for each stage or interaction</li> <li>data, where readily available, to support each supposition (from your analytics packages, CRM software, user testing, call logs, social listening etc.)</li> <li>positive interactions that are particularly notable / stand out (often called 'moments of truth')</li> <li>gaps between devices, departments or channels</li> <li>other people that may impact on the customer journey (in B2B this may be colleagues, in B2C it could be peers)</li> </ul> <p>Once the exercise is complete and the results are refined and validated, the customer journey can be represented diagramatically and shared more broadly around the organisation.</p> <h3>Tips on mapping the customer journey </h3> <ul> <li>Get customer-facing teams involved, such as customer service and sales.</li> <li>Involve senior management if possible, particularly those whose understanding of the customer journey is not strong.</li> <li>Examine each brand interaction through the lens of the brand promise.</li> <li>Customer data and user feedback are important, but as in product development, they are not always 'gospel'. Data doesn't always tell you the root of a problem (the 'why?'), and user feedback can vary wildly.</li> <li>Journey mapping exercises may benefit from the group brainstorming using particular words that represent key customer concerns, e.g. 'quality', 'security', 'speed'.</li> <li>Remember the goal of a consistent 'feel' across different channels and interactions.</li> <li>Data analysis may be further involved when validating the final map. </li> </ul> <h3>How to use a customer journey map</h3> <p>A journey map's principle use is to help decide what to prioritise on the product roadmap - often where customer frustration is most evident, and where customer expectations can be quickly matched with business requirements.</p> <p>Though a company may already have a list of product ideas and fixes needed, alongside a strategy of prioritising the easiest and most impactful changes, this list may not be complete (or it may look too far ahead). A journey map can help a business understand where to add further resource e.g. is live chat understaffed?</p> <p>Some customer experience theories posit that improving the later parts of the customer journey will leave a more lasting impression on the customer, but this can be a red herring if there are major frustrations in customer acquisition.</p> <p>A realistic journey map can be used to create an idealised customer experience, which may be useful for internal advocacy. However, it's worthwhile remembering the words of Marcus Casey, VP of CX at Lufthansa, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67938-how-lufthansa-zalando-are-improving-the-customer-experience/">who said</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The tech stack is sometimes old and not flexible. We were not born in an agile world. How do you deal with non-agile processes?</p> <p>Pick small things, change these, demonstrate impact and work on core capabilities.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out Econsultancy's range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/customer-experience/">Customer Experience Training Courses</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:RoundtableEvent/846 2017-01-11T17:14:33+00:00 2017-01-11T17:14:33+00:00 Customer Experience <p>Many companies are undergoing a transition from a product-led strategy to a customer-led strategy. As the focus on customer experience (CX) intensifies, marketers must ask what this means in practice. This roundtable discussion will cover a number of topics pertinent to CX, including:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Instilling a culture of design, from boardroom to office space         </li> <li>Designing your organisation around your customer</li> <li>Creating cross-functional teams for optimisation and product development</li> <li>Mapping the customer journey</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68655 2017-01-10T14:23:00+00:00 2017-01-10T14:23:00+00:00 Cart abandonment emails: Creating content that maximises conversions Greg Randall <p>To drive revenue, the construction of cart abandonment emails requires more thought and planning in three key areas:</p> <ol> <li>Email layout</li> <li>The ideal content recipe</li> <li>Content hierarchy</li> </ol> <p>Before delving into the above let’s first understand the size of the problem.</p> <h3>Cart abandonment rates</h3> <p><a href="https://blog.salecycle.com/stats/infographic-remarketing-report-q3-2016/" target="_blank">SaleCycle produced a report in Q3 2016</a> which found the average abandonment rate from 500 leading global brands to be 74.4%:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2559/screen_shot_2016-12-20_at_10.20.23_am-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="250"> </p> <p>And for lots more stats, see this post: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63466-nine-case-studies-and-infographics-on-cart-abandonment-and-email-retargeting/">Nine case studies and infographics on cart abandonment and email retargeting</a>.</p> <h3>Consumer behaviour trends </h3> <p>Part of building more effective cart abandonment emails comes in a retailer’s better understanding and appreciation of today’s consumer, their behaviours, and what’s motivating him/her to take action.</p> <p>In the context of cart abandonment, there are two consumer shifts retailers should take notice of:</p> <ol> <li>How consumers engage with email content </li> <li>Behavioural shifts because of too much choice </li> </ol> <h3>How consumers engage with email content</h3> <p>In a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68437-10-of-the-best-digital-marketing-stats-we-ve-seen-this-week-2" target="_blank">recent survey of US consumers,</a> Mapp Digital found 72% of respondents regularly check their emails using a smartphone instead of a desktop or tablet. This figure rises to 91% for 18-24 year olds.</p> <p>Regardless of content relevancy, consumers are unlikely to engage with email content if it’s hard to read, has a poor layout, and the actions are unclear.  </p> <p>Here are some tips on what to consider when planning the layout for emails for smartphone screens:</p> <ol> <li>As a guideline, stick with a wide single column format.  </li> <li>Respect the “smartphone” fold. Be strategic in your content hierarchy. If the content above the fold is relevant, consumers are more likely to scroll down the page.</li> <li>Apply a large font.</li> <li>Ensure the images are large enough to be recognisable.</li> <li>Deliver white space to set off images and copy blocks.</li> <li>Ensure all calls-to-action are large “finger targets”.</li> <li>Ensure font and calls-to-action have strong contrast against the background. Email content will be viewed in environments with inconsistent and varied lighting. </li> </ol> <p>The detail behind this guidance can be found in Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-fundamentals-of-email-marketing" target="_blank">The Fundamentals of Email Marketing 2016</a> report.</p> <h3>Consumer behavioural shifts from too much choice </h3> <p>Consumers can struggle to make decisions due to there being too much to choose from. <a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/comparison-shopping-mobile.html" target="_blank">Two examples of what consumers face today</a> and how it affects their decisions: </p> <ol> <li>If a consumer wishes to purchase a scarf, they now have over 200,000 to choose from in Amazon.  </li> <li>In Christmas 2015, 7 out of 10 people received a Gift Card because of this inability to make a decision.</li> </ol> <p>Retailers can capitalise on the effort required to make a choice by <a href="http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/28858/how-to-use-heuristics-to-your-marketing-advantage" target="_blank">leveraging consumer “heuristics”</a>.   </p> <p>A “heuristic” is the consumer’s approach to problem solving that employs a practical method to help make a decision to assist in achieving a goal.  </p> <p>Essentially, heuristics are mental shortcuts consumers use to ease the cognitive load of making a decision.  </p> <h3>What is the “Best”?</h3> <p>The influence of too much choice combined with this development of “mental short cuts” can be seen in consumer search behaviours.  </p> <p>Consumers are now searching for “the best” of things - searches with “best” in the keyword phrase <a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/comparison-shopping-mobile.html" target="_blank">have risen by 50% year on year</a>.  </p> <p>The question then becomes; what digital content, presented to consumers, contributes to having him/her think a product is "the best" amongst a large selection.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/comparison-shopping-mobile.html" target="_blank">three primary content types:</a></p> <ol> <li> <strong>Customer reviews</strong>. In Christmas 2015, reading customer review content was one of the most popular actions consumers took while shopping online.  </li> <li> <strong>Highlighting best sellers.</strong> This is another influencer, which comes from the roots of peer review. If other people purchased a product, the inference is it must be good.  </li> <li> <strong>Presenting products in context</strong>. This is part of a merchandising strategy where retailers are helping consumers visualise the product adding value to him/her based on their need. 64% of women who shop for apparel agree seeing product images in context influences their purchase decision. </li> </ol> <p>While retailers work hard to apply these above content types on their site, there is a clear absence of this content in cart abandonment emails.  </p> <h3>Context: Why are consumers leaving? </h3> <p>Gaining an appreciation of why consumers are leaving assists in the planning to build effective cart abandonment emails.  </p> <p>The previously mentioned SaleCycle research analysed the most recent reasons consumers abandoned a purchase based on those same 500 global retailers:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2560/screen_shot_2016-12-20_at_10.23.27_am-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="306">  </p> <p>One key point to make on the above graphic is about the 23% leaving due to issues with shipping (cost/time).</p> <p>Don’t automatically assume this is a consumer leaving because the delivery time is too long, or the cost is too high. Many consumers leave because this content is not visible on the shopping cart page!</p> <p>For more on this topic, see this post on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64943-12-excellent-ways-to-present-ecommerce-shipping-information/">12 excellent ways to present ecommerce shipping information</a>.</p> <h3>The ideal content recipe</h3> <p>Now that we have a better understanding of behaviours and there is context as to why consumers are leaving, the focus turns to the content required to meet these varied needs.</p> <p>The content recipe can be broken down into two types: content that targets heuristics and content communicating support promises.</p> <h4>Take advantage of the heuristics: </h4> <p>This content helps persuade those consumers who are “just looking” or “researching”:</p> <ol> <li>Email subject title. Deliver a title that catches the attention of the consumer and presents a sense of urgency.</li> <li>Present a customer review (or multiple reviews) of the product. If the consumer is still in research mode, this content will help.   </li> <li>Present other content to help merchandise the product.  </li> <li>Emphasise the product is a best seller (only if it's true).</li> </ol> <h4>Delivering on a promise: </h4> <p>This content helps to de-risk the purchase and deals with the other reasons consumers may have abandoned the cart:</p> <ol> <li>Present delivery times, delivery options, and shipping costs.  </li> <li>Present <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68677-how-10-ecommerce-sites-present-returns-policies/">returns content</a>. This content is highly sought after and contributes to online purchases.  </li> <li>Security symbol/message. Present a security symbol or message (“safe and secure shopping”) to deliver confidence.</li> <li>Support content. Offer contact information to the support team. Some consumers simply will not purchase online no matter how persuasive you may be. This content helps facilitate a purchase for this consumer type.</li> </ol> <h3>The email content hierarchy</h3> <p>It’s great to have a content recipe to facilitate the right actions, but the ordering of this content is crucial.  </p> <p>Once there is clarity on the right ranking of content, the email can be built and translated across all screen types.</p> <p>Below is an ordering of content based on importance and impact, and when it should be presented. This ordering is less important for desktop but crucial for smartphone screens:</p> <ol> <li>Brand – logo</li> <li>Header – main navigation</li> <li>Intro – in brand voice</li> <li>Call to action (above the fold)</li> <li>The product thumbnail and title </li> <li>Heuristic content (whatever form this takes)</li> <li>Delivery/returns/support content</li> <li>Security statement</li> </ol> <p>This ordering favours the heuristic content to persuade and satisfy the pain point of too much choice. Once satisfied, the support promises provide the assurances of getting the product in a reliable timely manner.</p> <p>Here are some great examples of real cart abandonment emails in action:</p> <h4>ASOS</h4> <p> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2561/email_asos.png" alt="" width="373" height="540"></p> <p>The ASOS email is very simple with messaging in the brand's voice ("Don't Forget About Me..") and clear messaging around free delivery and easy returns.</p> <h4>JOY</h4> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2562/email_joy.png" alt="" width="341" height="573"> </p> <p>JOY introduces alternatives to the product not purchased. This is a different approach to merchandising the feature product in a cart abandonment email and may have come from testing.</p> <h4>Doggyloot</h4> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2563/email_doggyloot-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="585"></p> <p>Doggyloot does a fantastic job of tugging at the emotional heart-strings of pet owners with this email.  </p> <p>It introduces urgency and uses great language to keep in brand, "Lots of licks, Your friends at doogyloot".</p> <h4>FAB</h4> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2564/email_fab-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="452"></p> <p>FAB is an example of multiple content recipe elements working together to prompt action:</p> <ol> <li>Great email title.</li> <li>"Free Shipping" and "Free Returns" content.</li> <li>A guarantee to further de-risk the purchase.</li> <li>Content reassuring the consumer the product in their cart is still on sale:  "Smile, it's still for sale".</li> <li>A contact phone number which immediately activates when on smartphone screens.</li> </ol> <p>These emails have their own reasons as to why they are great, but imagine the impact if there were customer reviews intermingled within the above examples. There is opportunity to do more.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>When considering putting more effort into cart abandonment emails, don't think about it as “capturing a sale”. Think about it from the perspective of the consumer and force yourself to ask the following questions:</p> <ol> <li>What information can I provide to help a potential customer feel confident enough this product is right for him/her?</li> <li>And if I can achieve this, is the action clear and obvious enough on the email for him/her to act?</li> <li>And, if I am fortunate in that the consumer is going to make the effort of coming back to my site, is the process to complete the purchase simple and obvious?</li> </ol> <p>Think like this and you can't go wrong. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68549 2017-01-10T11:53:09+00:00 2017-01-10T11:53:09+00:00 How will fintech lenders cope with an economic downturn? Patricio Robles <p>Today, non-bank lenders, many of them generating leads and conducting business primarily or exclusively online, are big players in the lending markets, in many cases having taken market share from banks.</p> <p>These include direct lenders like Sofi, Avant and OnDeck Capital, as well as marketplace lenders like LendingClub and Prosper. </p> <p>The timing couldn't have been better. The slow but steady recovery that has occurred over the past eight years has seen historically low default rates, a boon to the fintech lenders that more aggressively seized the opportunities bank lenders ceded.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-transformation-in-the-financial-services-sector-2016/"><em>Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Sector</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-trends-in-the-financial-services-and-insurance-sector-2016/"><em>Digital Trends in the Financial Services and Insurance Sector</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67202-what-s-the-future-for-big-banks-in-a-fintech-world/"><em>What's the future for big banks in a FinTech world?</em></a></li> </ul> <h3>Underwriting as customer experience</h3> <p>Fintech lenders haven't benefited just because they were willing to lend money when bank lenders weren't. It's also that they have offered a better customer experience.</p> <p>Not only have fintech lenders brought much if not all of the loan application process online, they created user experiences that made it easy for consumers and business owners to complete that loan application process quickly and without hassle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2931/lending_club.png" alt="" width="800" height="460"></p> <p>For example, fintech lenders generally allow borrowers to upload documentation, and in many cases, borrowers can authorize the lenders to automatically retrieve data from their bank accounts, eliminating the need for borrowers to collect bank statements.</p> <p>Borrowers are often also able to sign documents digitally, speeding the application and funding process.</p> <p>But fintech lenders haven't just created winning customer experiences by implementing web and mobile user experiences that make applying for loans quicker and easier. In many cases, they have also reinvented the way loan applications are underwritten.</p> <p>Many fintech lenders have developed their own proprietary lending models, which are often different than those traditionally used by bank lenders. Some boast of using thousands of data points to evaluate borrowers and even relying very little on credit scores from the major credit bureaus.</p> <p>The result: in many cases, fintech lenders are able to approve loan applications much more quickly than their bank lender competitors, and are often able to approve loans for borrowers who banks historically wouldn't lend to.</p> <h3>Are cracks starting to emerge?</h3> <p>The narrative around fintech lenders has been that their underwriting models represent innovation.</p> <p>But there's a problem: the vast bulk of the loans fintech lenders have issued were issued after the Great Recession, and thus, the underwriting models they have been using haven't been battle tested against an economic downturn.</p> <p>Now, as recently detailed by Bloomberg, there are signs that at least some of these models might not have been as strong as fintech lenders believed them to be.</p> <p><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-15/consumer-loans-souring-fast-in-some-bonds-tied-to-online-lenders">According to</a> Bloomberg, several bonds issued by Avant, an online lender that offers personal loans, have breached or are expected to soon breach delinquency or default triggers for the first time ever.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2932/avant.png" alt="" width="800" height="399"></p> <p>Earlier in the year, LendingClub, which later faced scandal, revealed that its write-off rates were higher than it had predicted, <a href="http://247wallst.com/banking-finance/2016/11/16/surge-in-online-loan-defaults-sends-shockwaves-through-the-industry/">suggesting to some</a> that LendingClub wasn't as good at assessing credit risk as it probably thought it was.<br></p> <p>While it's unlikely that fintech lenders will experience a collapse unless and until there's a major turn in the global economy, 2016 appears to have revealed some cracks in the loan portfolios of these companies. Many have taken corrective action, reducing their emphasis on loan growth, for instance.</p> <p>But given that non-bank lenders <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/lenders-step-up-financing-to-subprime-borrowers-1424296649">have been among the most willing</a> to lend to borrowers that wouldn't pass muster with banks, it's entirely possible that they could be at greater risk for loss than most have anticipated when the next recession hits.</p> <p>If that happens, it could offer bank lenders an opportunity to win back business they have ceded in the past eight years by applying some of the fintech lenders' innovations around user experience.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68678 2017-01-09T14:07:00+00:00 2017-01-09T14:07:00+00:00 The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry Nikki Gilliland <p>More specifically, the use of artificial intelligence in the travel industry. Why? Well, it’s already making waves. </p> <p>Providing travel brands the perfect opportunity to connect with consumers and enhance customer service - we’ve seen a number of businesses experimenting with the technology.</p> <p>Here’s how, along with a few of the most interesting examples to catch my eye.</p> <h3>Customer service</h3> <p>Customer service can make or break a hotel’s reputation. Consequently, AI’s ability to pre-empt and predict exactly what the customer needs and wants is one reason why hotels are cottoning on to the idea.</p> <p>Hilton is one of the most well-known examples, last year teaming up with IBM’s Watson to create Connie – a robot that provides help and information to hotel guests during their stay.</p> <p>Connie works by drawing on information from Wayblazer – a travel advice tool that also uses Watson – as well as human speech. Essentially, the more people talk to Connie, the more it will be able to interpret and analyse natural language.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jC0I08qt5VU?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It’s certainly an original and innovative new concept for guests. The question is – will people be put off by speaking to a robot rather than a human?</p> <p>According to a <a href="http://press.travelzoo.com/robophiles--robophobes--britons-divided-over-use-of-robots-in-travel" target="_blank">recent study by Travelzoo</a>, this is becoming less of an issue as time goes on. From a survey of more than 6,000 travellers, it found that two thirds of respondents would be comfortable with robots being used in the travel industry.</p> <p>What’s more, 80% expect robots to play a part in many aspects of life by 2020.</p> <h3>Data analysis</h3> <p>Dorchester Collection is another hotel chain to make use of AI. However, instead of using it to provide a front-of-house service, it has adopted it to interpret and analyse customer behaviour in the form of raw data.</p> <p>Partnering with technology company, RicheyTX, Dorchester Collection has helped to develop an AI platform called Metis.</p> <p>Delving into swathes of customer feedback such as surveys and reviews (which would take an inordinate amount of time to manually find and analyse) it is able to measure performance and instantly discover what really matters to guests.</p> <p>For example, Metis helped Dorchester to discover that breakfast it not merely an expectation – but something guests place huge importance on. As a result, the hotels began to think about how they could enhance and personalise the breakfast experience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The first cup of the day is the best... <a href="https://twitter.com/TheDorchester">@TheDorchester</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Parcafe?src=hash">#Parcafe</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Coffee?src=hash">#Coffee</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheDorchester?src=hash">#TheDorchester</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DCMoments?src=hash">#DCMoments</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/London?src=hash">#London</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParkLane?src=hash">#ParkLane</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LuxuryHotels?src=hash">#LuxuryHotels</a> <a href="https://t.co/FL505EmlaF">pic.twitter.com/FL505EmlaF</a></p> — Nathan Lewis (@_Nathan_Lewis_) <a href="https://twitter.com/_Nathan_Lewis_/status/803941091112288256">November 30, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>With 81% of people believing that robots would be better at handling data than humans, there is also a certain level of confidence in this area from consumers.</p> <h3>Direct messaging</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/" target="_blank">Chatbot technology</a> is another big strand of AI, and unsurprisingly, many travel brands have already launched their own versions in the past year or so.</p> <p>Skyscanner is just one example, creating a bot to help consumers find flights in Facebook Messenger. Users can also use it to request travel recommendations and random suggestions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2811/Skyscanner.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="528">  </p> <p>Unlike ecommerce or retail brands using chatbots, which can appear gimmicky, there is an argument that examples like Skyscanner are much more relevant and useful for everyday consumers.</p> <p>After all, with the arrival of many more travel search websites, consumers are being overwhelmed by choice – not necessarily helped by it. </p> <p>Consequently, a bot like Skyscanner is able to cut through the noise, connecting with consumers in their own time and in the social media spaces they most frequently visit.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2812/Skyscanner_2.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="523"></p> <h3>Future potential</h3> <p>So, we’ve already seen the travel industry capitalise on AI to a certain extent. But how will it evolve in the coming year?</p> <p>Here are a few suggestions:</p> <h4>Business travel</h4> <p>Undoubtedly, we’ll see many more brands using AI for data analysis as well as launching their own chatbots. There’s already been a <a href="https://skift.com/2016/10/11/expedia-plans-to-use-artificial-intelligence-for-customer-service/" target="_blank">suggestion that Expedia is next</a> in line, but it is reportedly set to focus on business travel rather than holidaymakers.</p> <p>Due to the greater need for structure and less of a desire for discovery, it certainly makes sense that artificial intelligence would be more suited to business travellers. </p> <p>Specifically, it could help to simplify the booking process for companies, as well as help eliminate discrepancies around employee expenses. </p> <p>With reducing costs and improving efficiency two of the biggest benefits, AI could start to infiltrate business travel even more so than leisure in the next 12 months.</p> <h4>Voice technology</h4> <p>Lastly, we can expect to see greater development in voice-activated technology.</p> <p>With voice-activated search, the experience of researching and booking travel has the potential to become quicker and easier than ever before. Similarly, as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68499-the-problem-with-voice-user-interfaces-like-amazon-alexa/">Amazon Echo</a> and Google Home start to become commonplace, more hotels could start to experiment with speech recognition to ramp up customer service.</p> <p>This means devices and bots (like the aforementioned Connie) could become the norm for brands in the travel industry.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/" target="_blank">15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68466-could-ai-kill-off-the-conversion-optimisation-consultant/" target="_blank">Could AI kill off the conversion optimisation consultant?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68158-five-ways-artificial-intelligence-can-help-marketers-enhance-the-customer-experience/" target="_blank">Five ways Artificial Intelligence can help marketers enhance the customer experience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68648 2017-01-06T13:40:00+00:00 2017-01-06T13:40:00+00:00 Five predictions for conversion rate optimisation (CRO) in 2017 Paul Rouke <p>Here are my predictions and trends for 2017 which will both enhance and hinder the maturity of the conversion optimisation industry, and its application within businesses across the world.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/"><em>Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2016</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/conversion-rate-optimization/"><em>Conversion Rate Optimization Training</em></a></li> </ul> <h3 dir="ltr">1. CRO goes mainstream (driven by Google Optimize)</h3> <p dir="ltr">It was inevitable that Google would release a newly enhanced, powerful, free A/B testing tool and in 2016 the beta arrived.</p> <p dir="ltr">Much like the launch of Google Analytics provided a quantum leap in the amount of businesses across the world using web analytics data (caveat I am using the words “using web analytics data” loosely here), Google Optimize is also going to start bringing the concept of A/B testing to the masses.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the one hand, this is good news for the awareness and credibility of the conversion optimisation industry. Google’s rubber stamp (and an improved tool from its last effort) will mean that more people will be developing a culture of experimentation.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the other hand, the harsh reality is, when we get something for free, we typically place less value on its importance and the need to invest time and money into it.</p> <p dir="ltr">Google Analytics is one of the most powerful yet poorly configured and utilised tools in the digital industry.</p> <p dir="ltr">Google Optimize has the potential of joining its big brother, if all that it does is encourage more businesses and agencies to <a href="https://conversionxl.com/bs-optimization/" target="_blank">jump on the CRO bandwagon</a> (and practice poor A/B testing based on egotism and opinion).</p> <p dir="ltr">Will SMEs understand the different statistical models they need to use to understand whether a variant on their testing tool is truly the winner? Will all businesses be able to configure their testing tool to their analytics and ensure the data they are recording is correct?</p> <p dir="ltr">Just as Google Optimize will help make the CRO industry visible, it will inevitably bring about poor practice and misinformation.</p> <p dir="ltr">Personally, I’m not prepared to let this happen. The CRO industry deserves to be valued by businesses as a core growth lever. Intelligent, customer-driven experimentation should be part of company DNA. I hope Google shares this view.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">2. The proliferation of AI and machine learning</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2498/landscape-1431110160-terminator-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="235"></p> <p dir="ltr">The machines are coming to take all of our jobs! <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64743-predictive-analytics-machine-learning-and-the-future-of-personalization/">Machine learning</a> is the future that we need to embrace today.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2017, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68466-could-ai-kill-off-the-conversion-optimisation-consultant/">machine learning will take greater prominence</a> in the conversion optimisation landscape. Is this a bad thing? It doesn’t have to be.</p> <p dir="ltr">AI can alleviate some of the day-to-day workload that conversion optimisation strategists and practitioners have, such as small design tweaks, traffic allocation and data analysis.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s these functionalities that make me interested in what AI and machine learning can offer, just as long as businesses don’t neglect HI.</p> <p dir="ltr">Human Intelligence is more important now than ever. To match customer expectations, businesses want to create engaging and exciting online experiences and the only way to do that is through creativity and understanding. At this point, AI can’t replace these two human attributes.</p> <p dir="ltr">To truly draw value from machine learning, you still need to have a human behind the machine, ‘feeding’ it ideas, concepts and designs that have been built from user research and in-depth data analysis.</p> <p dir="ltr">That way, you can get more improvements and solutions in your online experience than you could manually and leave your optimisers and strategists to do what they do best: create.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is no getting away from the fact that AI is going to play an increasing role in our daily lives. The question is, do we just throw in the towel and leave all this to machines? </p> <p dir="ltr">Personally, I’m going to keep hold of my towel for my next holiday.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">3. Full spectrum A/B testing</h3> <p dir="ltr">Very often, at the major growth and conversion optimisation conferences, thought-leading speakers mention “button testing” when sharing their experiences of how many businesses are still ‘conducting’ conversion optimisation.</p> <p dir="ltr">In A/B testing there is a full spectrum of test types for businesses to harness:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Iterative:</strong> Smaller scale and quick to implement tests, that provide immediate commercial impact.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Innovative:</strong> Comprehensive and bolder tests, which enhance the customer experience and generate significant commercial impact.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Strategic:</strong> Tests designed to drive transformation of brand perception and proposition, alongside supporting long-term business growth aspirations.</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">In 2017, we may see the complete flip in approach to A/B testing. Already, I’ve seen more businesses ask for bigger and bolder tests, thinking it will bring about a big result.</p> <p dir="ltr">As happy as I am to see businesses wanting to be more ambitious in their tests, sometimes, it can be a case of ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is why it’s more important than ever to find the perfect blend of the three A/B test types listed above; sometimes a series of small tests might not shift the needle but instead, lead towards a larger, more innovative test that will and vice versa.</p> <p dir="ltr">The businesses that embrace the full spectrum of A/B testing will be the ones that see the dramatic changes in their business growth performance they’ve read about in all the blogs.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">4. The realisation that culture really does eat strategy for breakfast in CRO</h3> <p dir="ltr">Culture eats strategy for breakfast and this will be even more applicable in 2017 as many businesses begin to embrace a culture of experimentation through testing, and shift their focus from being product-led, to customer-led.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first of the four pillars of my <a href="http://www.cromaturityaudit.com" target="_blank">Conversion Optimisation Maturity Model™</a> is Strategy &amp; Culture. Within this pillar are assessment points looking at company mindset, strategic appreciation, having an influential champion, and planning long-term.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2496/4389412220_edb861f8b4_b-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="353"></p> <p dir="ltr">You can have the latest and greatest tools, you can have a multi-disciplinary team made up of researchers, strategists, data analysts, UX designers and developers. You can have a process in place for how you develop intelligent hypotheses for running tests.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, if you don’t work on your company culture, at some stage, you will hit a mighty brick wall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Intelligent experimentation has to become a core part of the company DNA for it to succeed long term.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">5. Less of ‘I know best’ or reliance on machine learning</h3> <p dir="ltr">Throughout 2016 we have seen more and more content being pushed out there about customer experience, and I’m expecting this can only be a good thing. </p> <p dir="ltr">If want to become truly customer-centric, you have speak to your customers one-on-one. Period. You have to respect the ideas and opinions of other people.</p> <p dir="ltr">When you do, ask them for their thoughts on the websites of your competitors. You may just find you get some invaluable, powerful insights which will make decision makers sit up and listen.</p> <p dir="ltr">As we expect business culture to evolve and embrace more experimentation in 2017, more decision makers will begin to harness the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68080-it-s-time-to-reinvent-the-hippo/" target="_blank">new HIPPO characteristics</a><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68080-it-s-time-to-reinvent-the-hippo/" target="_blank">:</a> Humility, Integrity, Passion, Positivity and Open-mindedness.</p> <p dir="ltr">The gap between your perception of how good your online experience is and what your customers actually think of your online experience can be huge.</p> <p dir="ltr">Bridge the gap between your products and your potential customers..</p> <p dir="ltr">Face up to your fears that maybe your product, services or online experience needs some TLC and it will provide you with a more sustainable business.</p> <p dir="ltr">Evolve from being a product-led business, to becoming a customer-led business.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Is the future bright for CRO in 2017?</h4> <p dir="ltr">Amongst the heady mix of AI, machine learning, data clouds, Google Optimize and fixed mindsets within businesses, these five trends will be harnessed by the few brands who choose to step outside of their comfort zone.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2497/7717136134_e7fbc977e4-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="323"></p> <p dir="ltr">The question is, will your business step outside of its comfort zone? It is often where the magic really does happen.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68677 2017-01-05T10:30:00+00:00 2017-01-05T10:30:00+00:00 How 10 ecommerce sites present returns policies Nikki Gilliland <p>According to <a href="https://www.pressroom.ups.com/mobile0c9a66/assets/pdf/pressroom/infographic/2016%20National%20Returns%20Day%20Infographic%20.pdf" target="_blank">research from UPS</a>, 66% of online shoppers want to be able to return items for free, 58% want a hassle-free return policy and 47% want an easy-to-print returns label.</p> <p>So how do brands measure up? Here’s a look at how 10 ecommerce sites present returns policies online.</p> <h3>ASOS</h3> <p>Users can access information about ASOS returns in two places.</p> <p>Either by clicking on the 'Help' tab at the top right of the homepage, or via the 'Free Delivery Worldwide' banner in the centre.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2769/ASOS_1.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="765"></p> <p>The latter page nicely lists the various options for returns, pointing customers to links for creating free labels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2770/ASOS_2.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="792"></p> <p>Meanwhile, the Help section is set out more like an FAQ page, which is also useful for general enquiries and info on overseas returns.</p> <p>While there is a decent amount of information overall, it seems odd that the two sections are not combined or better linked.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2772/ASOS_4.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="569"></p> <h3>Amazon</h3> <p>Amazon's returns policy is easily located within the 'Help' section of its website, as well as in the bottom footer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2791/Amazon_Help.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="653"></p> <p>There's lots of detail on Amazon's policy, with particularly helpful videos explaining how to send back unwanted items.</p> <p>The below 'Returns are Easy' section is also worth highlighting. By breaking down the process into four steps, with simple imagery to highlight each one, users are reassured that it will be hassle-free.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2764/Amazon_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="498"></p> <h3>Schuh</h3> <p>Schuh sets out its returns policy from the get-go, including it on product pages to inform customers before they've even bought anything.</p> <p>This is incredibly reassuring, and could even help to encourage spontaneous purchases thanks to the knowledge that sending it back won't be an issue. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2773/Shuh.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="591"></p> <p>This approach is continued throughout the site.</p> <p>The detailed returns policy highlights the inclusion of sale items, using copy that is geared around customer-satisfaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2774/Schuh_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="542"></p> <h3>Not On The High Street</h3> <p>Returns policies can be tricky for marketplaces, as it is usually up to individual sellers and buyers to negotiate the logistics.</p> <p>Despite its best efforts, Not On The High Street doesn't do much to clear up the confusion, explaining how to return items in a frustratingly convoluted way.</p> <p>It could definitely be made clearer - and the fact that customers are left to 'bear the direct cost of returning the product' is a bit of a sting in the tail too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2775/NOTHS.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="730"></p> <h3>AO</h3> <p>AO.com is well-known for offering an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/" target="_blank">excellent ecommerce experience</a>.</p> <p>Sadly, despite very clear and concise information about delivery, its stance on returns is less easy to locate.</p> <p>It's not impossible to find, however it does take two clicks (on the 'Help and Advice' tab on the homepage and then the 'Help with my Order' section) until any info about returns is displayed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2796/AO.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="683"></p> <p>From there, users still need to click through to find the policy itself.</p> <p>Luckily, AO reminds us how good it is at customer service with its convenient and free collection service, including additional information about its call centres should you need any more help.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2797/AO_returns.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="676"></p> <h3>Firebox</h3> <p>Firebox takes a no-fuss approach to returns.</p> <p>While its inclusion in the homepage footer isn't as visible as it could be, the decision to plainly label it 'returns' rather than hide it behind a 'help' or 'further info' section is appreciated.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2779/Firebox_1.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="582"></p> <p>The returns policy is succinctly and plainly explained, too.</p> <p>I particularly like how Firebox's fun and friendly tone of voice is extended here, which makes the free and easy process sound all the sweeter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2780/Firebox_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="602"></p> <h3>Zappos</h3> <p>Zappos is a US retailer that's known for its superb dedication to customer service.</p> <p>This is immediately apparent to consumers, with the brand even including its free returns policy in its H1 tag.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2781/Zappos.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <p>Onto the site itself, and although the returns page is slightly hidden in the bottom footer, the clear and concise explanation is one of the best I've seen.</p> <p>By breaking it down into a three-step process, it is super quick and easy for consumers to understand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2782/Zappos_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="656"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>Just one click on the 'Customer Services' tab is all it takes to find John Lewis's returns policy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2783/John_Lewis.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="719"></p> <p>Clicking through from the comprehensive main menu, users are met with a thorough and easy-to-understand explanation.</p> <p>Happily, John Lewis lets customers return to various outlets including Royal Mail and Waitrose for free, highlighting various links and easy-to-print labels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2799/John_Lewis_returns.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="768"></p> <h3>Nike</h3> <p>Nike is another brand that succinctly explains its policy, breaking everything down into easy-to-digest paragraphs.</p> <p>A surprising amount of retailers pack far too much copy into a single page, which can automatically put consumers off, but that's not the case here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2785/Nike.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="549"></p> <p>Alongside links to further help on the right-hand side of the page, I also like how Nike includes information about returns it does <em>not</em> accept.</p> <p>Many brands are reluctant to talk about non-refundable items, however Nike's stance comes off as confident and honest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2786/Nike_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="626"></p> <h3>Threadless</h3> <p>Lastly, an interesting approach from Threadless.</p> <p>Its help section is easy to find, coming in the form of a separate pop-out site dedicated to customer support.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2788/Threadless_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="821"></p> <p>Interestingly, Threadless does not offer returns on any of its products.</p> <p>However, it does offer a 'happiness guarantee' - which essentially means it'll replace any unwanted items with a new or different product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2789/Threadless_3.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="426"></p> <p>This is certainly frustrating for consumers who want their money back, however, I think the slightly self-deprecating tone and quirky approach works.</p> <p>It also helps that the 'return policy' is included in each product page, giving consumers a heads-up about what to expect.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2790/Threadless_4.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="556"></p>