tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/delivery-fulfillment Latest Delivery & fulfillment content from Econsultancy 2016-09-08T10:52:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68229 2016-09-08T10:52:00+01:00 2016-09-08T10:52:00+01:00 How Casper uses clever marketing & content to sell mattresses Nikki Gilliland <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/26/half-of-women-in-uk-sleep-deprived_n_9076030.html" target="_blank">46% of women</a> and 36% of men suffer from lack of sleep, so it’s a huge problem for many.</p> <p>Tapping into the selling power of a solid eight hours, mattress startup <a href="https://casper.com/uk/en" target="_blank">Casper</a> has built a reputation for capturing consumer interest through its quirky <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content marketing</a> and unique business model.</p> <p>Having recently launched its ecommerce site in the UK, here’s a look at why it’s one company worth keeping an eye on.</p> <h3>The Goldilocks of mattress brands</h3> <p>Do you want a bed that’s soft, firm or somewhere in between?</p> <p>Buying a mattress is traditionally a try-it-and-see shopping experience, but Casper disrupts this by selling just a single ‘universally comfortable’ model. </p> <p>With studies showing that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/21/choice-stressing-us-out-dating-partners-monopolies" target="_blank">too much choice leads to more stress</a> and less satisfaction, this might prove to be preferable for consumers.</p> <p>Casper also draws in its audience with a focus on convenience and value for money.</p> <p>As well as shipping and delivering its mattress in a special vacuum-packed box, it offers a tempting 100-day trial and free returns. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8450/Caspar_dream_team.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="709"></p> <p>By recognising the fact that purchasing a bed is a rare and drawn-out experience, and deliberately disrupting it, Casper’s business model could prove to be a game-changer.</p> <p>Of course, the question is - will consumers be willing to take a leap of faith over the boring but fail-safe in-store experience?</p> <h3>Dedicated to the subject of sleep</h3> <p>Both the copy and design on Casper's website is beautifully engaging.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8445/Caspar_customers.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="728"></p> <p>It attracts consumers with a friendly, conversational and reassuring <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/" target="_blank">tone of voice</a> – but it’s not the only way Casper utilises copy. </p> <p>It has two blogs – both designed to entertain and retain customers.</p> <p>The first, <a href="http://blog.casper.com/" target="_blank">Pillow Talk</a>, is a tongue-in-cheek take on everything bed-related.</p> <p>From ‘The cutest Casper sleepers’ to ‘Eight reasons why this blog post is trying to sell you a mattress’, it is a reflection of the brand’s fun and offbeat personality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8451/Casper_blog.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="691"></p> <p>The second, <a href="http://vanwinkles.com/" target="_blank">Van Winkle’s</a>, is an independent publication that’s dedicated to all things sleep-related.</p> <p>Using sleep as a vertical much like health or lifestyle, Casper's content team writes about the subject in a more informative and authoritative fashion. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8447/van_winkles.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="554"></p> <p>The aim of Van Winkle does not appear to directly promote or sell Casper mattresses (the brand is absent apart from a couple of links at the bottom of the homepage) - instead, it looks to be an extension of the brand as a lifestyle.</p> <p>With syndication on the likes of Huffington Post, articles have previously garnered huge traffic.</p> <p>By adding to the conversation about sleep and getting consumers interested in the topic in general, it could still be a way to increase awareness.</p> <h3>Your mate on social media</h3> <p>Alongside its editorial offering, Casper also wins the hearts of its millennial audience on social. </p> <p>Often tweeting customers using GIFs and emojis, it is unafraid to take the informal style of its main ecommerce site and ramp it up a notch.  </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/yohugogo">@yohugogo</a> <a href="https://t.co/l5IXivIbep">pic.twitter.com/l5IXivIbep</a></p> — Casper (@Casper) <a href="https://twitter.com/Casper/status/768458011048312833">August 24, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Its subject matter is often samey – with jokes about breakfast, naps and the daily struggle of first world problems.</p> <p>Yet, it is chatty and consistent, which also gives the impression that it’s actually there to help.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Everyone should be asking the important questions.</p> <p>Why isn't today Friday?</p> — Casper (@Casper) <a href="https://twitter.com/Casper/status/768825307860180992">August 25, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Taps into trends</h3> <p>Unboxing videos are a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66678-how-the-top-five-uk-ecommerce-brands-use-youtube/" target="_blank">YouTube genre</a> usually reserved for high-tech gadgets and luxury beauty items.</p> <p>Thanks to Casper, there’s been a new trend of people filming themselves opening their packaged mattresses.</p> <p>There are countless videos online, and yes, it is as baffling as it sounds. While it’s probably quite satisfying to see a mattress spring into shape in real life, watching others do it is less thrilling.</p> <p>For Casper however, each video serves as brilliant advertising, and reinforced the vacuum-packed convenience of its USP.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AD9lg11Yyv8?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Innovative but consistent</h3> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/04/04/how-start-up-casper-plans-to-wake-up-the-sleepy-mattress-market/#751a2cb12892" target="_blank">Describing its aim to be Nike of the sleep world,</a> Casper is unashamed in its desire to ramp up its product offering.</p> <p>With its ranges for pillows and sheets, it’s already selling more than just mattresses.</p> <p>In hopes of targeting an entirely new market, it’s also just released a dog-bed in the US.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8448/casper_dog.JPG" alt="" width="615" height="691"></p> <p>It remains to be seen whether these extra lines will be as successful as its main product, however it shows that Casper isn’t afraid to experiment.</p> <p>What's more, it also reflects the brand’s consistent dedication to sleep – regardless of the species.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8449/casper_insta.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="509"></p> <p>Across the board, consistency is one thing that Casper does really well.</p> <p>From Twitter to email, it manages to convey a consistent identity across all consumer touchpoints.</p> <p>Whether you’re in the market for a new mattress or not – there’s a lot to appreciate here.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67683 2016-03-30T11:06:00+01:00 2016-03-30T11:06:00+01:00 How typography will help your responsive website stand out James Hopkins <h3>Be responsive, accessible and different</h3> <p>When someone uses the term ‘accessibility’ in the context of web development, they’ll likely be referring to the practice of ensuring that users who require assistive technologies are able to use your website.</p> <p>However, the topic of accessibility is far wider ranging than the aforementioned scope. Rather, it is ensuring that <em>anyone</em> regardless of device is able to use your application.</p> <p dir="ltr">With such a wide-ranging array of internet-enabled devices (phones, tablets, etc), it’s important that your application caters for these devices in seamless way.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!”</h3> <p dir="ltr">Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen image? Check. Scroll prompt? Check.</p> <p dir="ltr">Did you ever get <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67408-web-design-convergence-what-why-and-does-it-matter/">a sense of deja vu</a>?</p> <p dir="ltr">Chances are, the website you’re looking at is ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66081-responsive-web-design-15-of-the-best-sites-from-2014/">responsive</a>’ - meaning the same webpage will fit in different screen sizes nicely, with the same functionality on offer.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">But why don’t you make a separate m. website instead?</h4> <p dir="ltr">Chances are you’ve seen a URL in your address bar whilst on your mobile that is prepended with an ‘m’ subdomain.</p> <p dir="ltr">The vast majority of the time this’ll denote a standalone mobile-specific website, that is entirely separate from the desktop version.</p> <p dir="ltr">There are some major drawbacks with this model:</p> <ul> <li>Maintenance overhead and development costs associated with several disparate codebases.</li> <li>Reliance on potentially brittle device detection.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">In contrast, a responsive website incorporates the same underlying codebase, with its responsive nature coming from adaptations of its user interface based on environmental variables.</p> <p dir="ltr">These include screen resolution, aspect ratio, and orientation. This concept provides a leaner approach throughout the project lifecycle.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to the technical decisions when constructing a responsive website, design considerations are also incredibly important.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>A typical responsive website, with hamburger menu and 'big picture'.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0005/9589/IDA.png" alt="responsive website" width="615"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Mobile first</h3> <p dir="ltr">Another buzz word in the responsive design sphere is the term ‘mobile first’. Essentially, this means that you should be designing for the smallest device size envisaged, and progressively increasing support for larger resolutions.</p> <p dir="ltr">On larger screens such as a desktop monitor, you can have content elements side by side. There is enough room for it. You can have several items displayed almost at the same level.</p> <p dir="ltr">However on the narrowest possible screen, you have to reduce the number of columns, which forces you to organise your content in a much more linear fashion. Moreover, it forces you to think in terms of information hierarchy and single priority order.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once you work out the order, going back to a larger screen is a much simpler process. And many choose to keep this single order; even keep the hamburger menu (it’s the icon with three lines stacked up and usually reveals a site navigation in some way).</p> <p dir="ltr">They reason “you might as well put beautiful massive images on it. Or make it a video. Nice simple layout. Clear hierarchy. Job done.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Except, that is what a lot of other people are doing. How can we achieve a responsive website that doesn’t look like everyone else’s?</p> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s all about typography</h3> <p dir="ltr">The best responsive designs come with good, considered typography. As far as I am concerned, there are two factors for great typography.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first one is personality. Is the typeface appropriate for what you’re trying to communicate? You don’t warn people of death in Comic Sans (unless it’s for comic purposes obviously). Does it represent the brand? Does it have right level of authority?</p> <p dir="ltr">And the second one is semantic. Typography has to convey the right relationship between each word, sentence and paragraph.</p> <p dir="ltr">To illustrate, this example is stripped off any typographic consideration:</p> <table style="border-collapse: collapse;"> <colgroup><col width="593"></colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p dir="ltr">It’s all about typography.</p> <p dir="ltr">How personality of typeface and semantic affects how you communicate through words.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!” Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen...</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p dir="ltr">And the same text, with some of those considerations added back in:</p> <table style="border-collapse: collapse;"> <colgroup><col width="590"></colgroup> <tbody> <tr style="height: 0px;"> <td style="vertical-align: top;"> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s all about typography</h3> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How personality of typeface and semantic affects how you communicate through words</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!” Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen...</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p dir="ltr">The second example makes it clear that these are heading, subheading and extract, rather than three equally weighted paragraphs in various grammatical styles.</p> <p dir="ltr">It may seem that this is simple stuff that everyone does but awareness of relationships between content and style are critical in achieving a good responsive layout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once style and content are tied together so they are ‘semantic’, layout can be a lot more flexible.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is the same principle as the relationship between HTML and CSS, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67625-making-your-html-accessible-for-the-visually-impaired/">which have separate functions but linked meaning</a>. HTML displays the ‘meaning’ of your content and CSS displays how it ‘looks’.</p> <p dir="ltr">Typography displays the ‘relationships’ of your content and layout changes how it ‘flows’ without changing the order.</p> <p dir="ltr">Having strong typographic principles allows you to move your content around more freely without breaking what it means.</p> <p dir="ltr">Good typography combined with clear prioritisation of mobile devices will allow you to be more flexible with layout at different screen sizes.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>An example of bold typography from agency land.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67376-13-examples-of-websites-with-confident-typography/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0452/Screen_Shot_2016-01-06_at_09.11.42.png" alt="bold typography" width="615"></a></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Think accessibility and beyond</h3> <p dir="ltr">How can you ensure your typography is semantic and communicates what it supposed to do? I found the best way to achieve this is to think in terms of accessibility.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here are some stats around visual impairments you can consider.</p> <ul> <li>70% of UK population <a href="http://www.college-optometrists.org/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm/A60DE8E4-B6CF-49ED-8E0FE694FCF4B426">have mild vision impairment</a>.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Factsheets/Later_Life_UK_factsheet.pdf?dtrk=true">17% (or 11m people) of the UK population is 65 or above</a> and many of them are tech savvy.</li> <li>3% (or 2 million people) of the UK population <a href="https://help.rnib.org.uk/help/newly-diagnosed-registration/registering-sight-loss/statistics">are living with sight loss</a>.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/">4.5% has colour blindness</a>, and <a href="http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/">10% has dyslexia - 4% severely so</a>.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">To give you the sense of scale, current IE8 &amp; IE9 users in UK <a href="http://gs.statcounter.com/#desktop-browser_version_partially_combined-GB-monthly-201501-201601">are about 3.5% combined</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">As you can see, these are not trivial numbers. And on top of making all these new users happy (and hopefully buying your products), by considering them, you can design a better responsive website.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Semantic typography</h4> <p dir="ltr">The way to do this right is to think of semantic HTML. If it’s an article, call it an article. If it’s a button, call it a button.</p> <p dir="ltr">The same principle applies to typography, if it’s a heading, call it heading 1 &lt;h1&gt;, if it’s a subheading call it heading 2 &lt;h2&gt;, etc.</p> <p dir="ltr">It helps the browser to examine your content and really understand the position of each sentence.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Think large and spacious</h4> <p dir="ltr">For those with minor visual impairment, having large text definitely helps. I consider 14pt average sized, as a guide. Having plenty of space that complements typography helps dyslexic audience, as well as creating a clean spacious design.</p> <p dir="ltr">With so many different devices, thinking about ‘the fold’ is pretty much replaced by mobile first, single priority order, which means you can add more space between elements; in fact, as much as you need to create the right context.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Characterful typeface</h4> <p dir="ltr">Those with dyslexia may prefer having a font with distinct shapes for each letter. For example when d and b are just the mirror of each other, it’s hard to distinguish between them.</p> <p dir="ltr">Choose a font that reflects your brand well and works well for a dyslexic audience. Differentiate for yourself and for others.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Make it work without colours</h4> <p dir="ltr">The principle “if it works without colours, it works anywhere”  is a good, plain old usability.</p> <p dir="ltr">Colours can be used to emphasise information and that can be a really powerful design element. However, if it works without colours, that is even more robust.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Mind the contrast</h4> <p dir="ltr">Good contrast helps mild vision impairment and make things much easier to read for everyone.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Consider background colour</h4> <p dir="ltr">Dyslexic audiences may find it easier to read when the page doesn’t have the strong glare of a white background. A softer tone is easier to read from and it will help add a personality to your design. Added bonus.</p> <p dir="ltr">You can see this in action at <a href="https://www.fortnumandmason.com/">Fortnum &amp; Mason's site</a>, where we’ve used soft cream tones to differentiate the atmosphere of the site and create a warm and ambient feeling.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Be different</h3> <p dir="ltr">Taking all these factors into account, you will end up with a clear, accessible, responsive website. And it doesn’t have to look like a wider, bigger version of mobile layout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Push yourself to think differently - as long as you don’t forget the all important accessibility, your responsive website will work well and stand out from the crowd. Give it a go.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>This blog was co-authored by Sari Griffiths, Chief Design Officer at Red Badger</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67406 2016-01-14T15:27:00+00:00 2016-01-14T15:27:00+00:00 What is dropshipping and is it right for your business? Jack Simpson <h3>What is dropshipping?</h3> <p>Here's a picture of an actual ship being dropped. This is not what dropshipping is.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0711/hqdefault.jpg" alt="dropshipping" width="480" height="360"></p> <p>It's really just a fancy word for outsourcing the inventory and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64943-12-excellent-ways-to-present-ecommerce-shipping-information">shipping</a> side of your ecommerce business.</p> <p>Rather than going down the traditional route of ordering in stock, keeping it in your warehouse (or sitting room perhaps, if you’re a fresh startup) and then posting it out when orders come in, you can fulfil orders directly through the wholesaler or manufacturer.</p> <p>So when orders come in you simply transfer them to the dropshipping partner who then handles all of the fiddly delivery logistics. </p> <p>Simple. No warehouse. No inventory woes. No logistical headaches when it comes to getting products out to your customers on time.</p> <h3>Example of a dropshipping partner</h3> <p>Perhaps the most high-profile example of a dropshipping partner is <a href="https://services.amazon.co.uk/services/fulfilment-by-amazon/features-benefits.html">Amazon and its ‘Fulfilment’ service (FBA)</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xb0WDf9nCJU?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>Amazon will store sellers’ inventory, pick it, pack it and ship it across the EU as and when orders are made via the Amazon site. </p> <p><em>Edit: Amazon's FBA qualifies as a third-party logistics (or order fulfilment) provider rather than a dropshipping partner because you still have to buy the stock up front, whereas with dropshipping you only purchase stock once the sale has gone through. </em></p> <p><em>I can feel a dropshipping vs. order fulfilment post coming on... </em></p> <h3>The benefits</h3> <p><strong>More time for other tasks</strong></p> <p>The most obvious benefit in using dropshipping is, as with all forms of outsourcing, an increased ability to focus time and effort on other areas. </p> <p>By letting somebody else take care of inventory and shipping issues, you can spend more time on areas such as sales, marketing, PR, recruitment – all the things that are so crucial to success in the early days of a startup and beyond. </p> <p><strong>Less startup capital required</strong></p> <p>When you’re thinking of starting your first business, unless you’re one of the lucky few it’s highly likely that a lack of capital is going to be one of the biggest barriers.</p> <p>And the fact you’re new to the game means you’re unlikely to get much credit from manufacturers or wholesalers.</p> <p>But because it removes the need to buy stock up-front, dropshipping enables people with relatively low startup funds to deck out an ecommerce site with products.</p> <p><strong>Easier to try new things</strong></p> <p>Trying out new products in a traditional ecommerce format is relatively risky. You’ll likely need to purchase a large quantity of something, so if it doesn’t sell you’re stuck with the leftover stock. </p> <p>But with dropshipping there is no need to order in bulk as you’re going direct to the source. So it’s easier to test the water with new products with relatively little financial risk.  </p> <h3>The drawbacks</h3> <p><strong>Less control</strong></p> <p>Last year I did a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67209-how-one-new-ecommerce-site-hopes-to-banish-missed-deliveries">Q&amp;A with the founders of Postboxed</a>.</p> <p>One of the reasons they gave for keeping and managing their own inventory was that they wanted full control over the packaging and posting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9089/PB-1242.jpg" alt="Postboxed" width="478" height="319"></p> <p>
This is particularly important for gifting sites like theirs, but whatever your business, from a general <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-cx-challenge">customer experience</a> point of view it pays to have as much control as possible over your products: how they’re packaged, delivered, and so on. </p> <p><strong>Tight profit margins</strong></p> <p>Nothing in business comes without a catch. Of course there is a cost involved when using a dropshipping service. </p> <p>Not only that but the nature of dropshipping means you are selling other people’s products, meaning it is very difficult to compete on price, particularly with the likes of Amazon, Argos et al. </p> <p>Which leads me to my next point...</p> <p><strong>Lots of competition</strong></p> <p>I mentioned in my intro that it’s easier than ever to set up a shop and start selling. But paradoxically this means it’s also more difficult than ever to make a success of it because there’s so much competition.</p> <p>Because almost anyone with access to Google can set up a website and start churning out <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66787-how-google-defines-quality-content">'quality content'</a> these days, you are going to be up against lots of other people who have access to the same products and are probably selling them at very similar prices. </p> <p>It is therefore vital that you differentiate yourself in some way if you’re going to make a success of your dropshipping business.</p> <p>This could be through clever marketing or a unique range of products, but either way it’s going to be a struggle. </p> <h3>What’s your experience?</h3> <p>Have you successfully used dropshipping in your ecommerce business? Had any particularly good or bad experiences with it?</p> <p>Let me know what your views are in the comments below.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67362 2015-12-23T14:00:00+00:00 2015-12-23T14:00:00+00:00 Are international growth, shipping, & mergers the big ecommerce topics for 2016? Philip Rooke <p>That said, it’s always important to have a moment to reflect on the hot topics of the past year and think about what we can expect from 2016.</p> <p>I think that in the next 12 months there’ll be a shift from the glamour of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66543-50-fascinating-stats-about-mobile-commerce-in-the-uk-2015/">mobile optimisation</a> to the nitty gritty of cross-border growth.</p> <p>If 2015 was a year of optimisation, 2016 will be about big moves in the market.</p> <p>2015 was definitely the year for optimisation, as retail kept up with the challenge of responding to changing consumer habits.</p> <p>The shift from mobile browsing to actually buying was evident. Retailers responded by making sure their sites not only looked good on a mobile device, but that payment was easier too.</p> <p>At Spreadshirt we found this mobile-first approach gave us a new awareness about customer behaviour online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0289/screen_shot_2015-12-23_at_11.50.39-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="501" height="259"></p> <p>Our research on the shift to mobile shopping revealed some interesting behaviour from last winter: the British were more likely than the French or Germans to shop via their mobile and <strong>30% of sales from the UK came via a mobile device</strong> compared to Germany (25%) or France (17%).</p> <p>This gave us a great understanding into how our site should work too.</p> <p>We put our findings into our optimisation process. As a result we moved closer to our aim of to become a billion dollar business.</p> <p>As 2015 wore on however, the issue of mobile optimisation began to fade. Retailers had either successfully optimised for mobile, or were frantically trying to make it happen.</p> <p>As the year ended it was no longer a subject for discussion and other topics, for example delivery optimisation, had moved up the agenda.</p> <p>Recent Metapak research found that UK consumers were increasingly happy to buy from retailers abroad (around 61%) and valued free delivery over speed.</p> <p>Same day delivery also became a hot topic and a differentiator for some retailers.</p> <p>We think <strong>shipping and delivery will be a key focus in 2016</strong> too.</p> <p><em>One of Spreadshirt's delivery options</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0290/Screen_Shot_2015-12-23_at_11.59.01.png" alt="" width="583" height="344"></p> <p>The details of delivery and shipping will come back on the radar as ecommerce companies seek partnerships with effective carriers.</p> <p>That’s because once you have an awesome product, delivery is the next critical thing for cross-border growth; one of the major issues for the coming year in ecommerce.</p> <p>The global market can only be accessed if you can actually get your t-shirt onto the backs of your consumers in a sensible timeframe.</p> <p>For us, scaling-up our worldwide delivery meant opening a new production centre in the Czech Republic, close to the main distribution hub in Dresden.</p> <p>Our experience of good shipping processes shows that it is all about managing for the best and expecting the worse, especially at peak times.</p> <p>Better to promise a longer delivery time and surprise the customer by a day, than have a frustrated or worried customer.</p> <p>Even off-peak, good shipping is about testing the alternatives to get the best value for customers in terms of service versus cost, and then managing the customer’s expectation to exceed that value.</p> <p>Our key shipping considerations are:</p> <ul> <li>research relevant custom regulations,</li> <li>check your labels (seriously!),</li> <li>choose the right shipping company for your destination,</li> <li>know who will be handling your product and check your products are packaged correctly.</li> </ul> <p>Unfortunately, delivery errors are often learned the hard way, after customer complaints and lost time and money.</p> <p>Shipping and cross-border growth will be particularly important as everyone aims to get big or die.</p> <p>We expect big players to grow their core offerings and launch new niche services. In most ecommerce markets there are too many players, so we predict some mergers and acquisitions activity as the sector consolidates in 2016.</p> <p>Strategic partnerships will be on the agenda, as organisations seek the magical one plus one equals three opportunity. We see this trend continuing throughout next year and into 2017.</p> <p>In the UK, planning for cross-border growth may encourage businesses to think about the country’s continued presence in the EU.</p> <p>Access to a market with a single currency, which is almost as large as the USA, is vital for businesses looking to scale.</p> <p>Companies which can grow in a single, big market are often more investable and scalable from day one; from there they can position for global growth.</p> <p>Spreadshirt has been able to grow by developing in a market of around 400m internet users across Europe, and from there, we’ve used our size to launch into the US market.</p> <p>At the end of 2015 we find ourselves in Canada, Brazil, Australia and now looking at Asia. Without the EU scale this would never have happened.</p> <p>Maybe cross-border growth doesn’t sound as glamorous as mobile optimisation. It means getting involved in the details of shipping, customs and taxes.</p> <p>But we think it’s going to be a big issue for 2016. And one which if done right, can have a major effect on the bottom line.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67225-international-ecommerce-four-things-to-consider-when-venturing-into-foreign-markets/"><em>International ecommerce: Four things to consider when venturing into foreign markets</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66575-five-golden-rules-when-localising-for-international-ecommerce/"><em>Five golden rules when localising for international ecommerce</em></a></li> </ul> <p><em>Or book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/international-seo-ppc-digital-marketing/">SEO, PPC and Conversion: International Strategy Training Course</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67219 2015-11-23T11:37:06+00:00 2015-11-23T11:37:06+00:00 Preparing for Christmas: Key UK online retail stats Luke Richards <h3><strong>Online purchases likely to exceed forecasts</strong></h3> <p>The latest data from <a title="IMRG Press Releases" href="http://imrg.org/press-releases" target="_blank">IMRG</a> saw UK ecommerce grow 12% year-over-year during September – a far better performance than the 5% growth in August.</p> <p>Judging from trends last year, it is quite typical for ecommerce to dip slightly in August and then pick up again in autumn and winter.</p> <p>Indeed, a release from IMRG looking at online delivery volumes saw them grow 18.9% year-over-year in September – already better than predicted.</p> <p>It is also worth noting the increasing acceptability of key dates like Black Friday (this year falling on November 27) in the UK. 30% of shoppers say they are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to shop on that day according to IMRG.</p> <h3><strong>Average order values likely to be even bigger</strong></h3> <p>Recently published data by <a title="Monetate" href="http://info.monetate.com/eq2-2015-lp.html" target="_blank">Monetate</a> gives a great insight into the value of typical online orders among shoppers in Great Britain.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9182/xmasprep1.png" alt="" width="881" height="131"></p> <p>Orders which come via PCs and laptops remain the biggest on average – hitting $98.55 (£64.80) during Q2 2015. </p> <p>Looking at these trends, order values on traditional devices might actually be falling slightly.</p> <p>While being at their lowest in Q2 2015 compared to any point over the last five quarters – it is worth noting just how much AOVs have jumped on mobile devices since the same time last year - AOVs are now not too dissimilar to the peak of $95.66 (£62.91) which happened during 2014's festive season.</p> <h3><strong>Digital having even more influence on the habits of shoppers, on and offline</strong></h3> <p>With Monetate’s average order value data fresh in our minds, recent multichannel data from Savvy makes particularly interesting reading too.</p> <p>According to the recent report <a title="Savvy: The Evolution of the Path to Purchase" href="http://blog.getsavvy.com/more-than-half-of-products-bought-for-more-than-20-are-now-bought-online-for-home-delivery/" target="_blank"><em>The Evolution of the Path to Purchase</em></a>, it found that even if conversions often occur offline rather than online, a massive 69% of all purchases over £20 are influenced in some way by digital retailing.</p> <p>Additionally, most shoppers aren’t simply doing a Google search for such items or going straight to Amazon for pre-purchase research, but they will on average look at more than two sources of information before clicking the buy button.</p> <h3><strong>Further growth in click &amp; collect and more diverse fulfilment options</strong></h3> <p>One of the key talking points of the festive season last year was the rise of click &amp; collect purchases – with 39% of British online shoppers choosing to place orders online and then going to pick them up in-store, according to <a title="JDA" href="http://www.jda.com/view/press-release/nearly-one-in-three-british-online-christmas-shoppers-experienced-problems-with-orders/" target="_blank">JDA</a>.</p> <p>It’s likely such services will play an even bigger role in Christmas shopping in 2015.</p> <p>JDA also found that of those who used click &amp; collect in 2014, 34% said they would intend to use it more this year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9183/xmasprep2.png" alt="" width="792" height="462"></p> <p><a title="Zebra 2015 Global Shopping Study" href="https://www.zebra.com/content/dam/zebra_new_ia/en-us/solutions-verticals/vertical-solutions/retail/success-stories/zebra-2015-global-shopper-study-en.pdf" target="_blank">Zebra’s <em>2015 Global Shopping Study</em></a> (which includes UK respondents) released in September also found that 22% of those they asked prefer to buy online and then collect their orders in person from the store.</p> <h3><strong>Takeaways</strong></h3> <p>Christmas is always an interesting time for ecommerce and multichannel trends.</p> <p>Looking at recent data and comparing predictions with what we have seen happen in recent years, online retailers and marketers are in an ever-improving position to ensure they are reaching potential customers at the right times and across the best channels.</p> <p>With greater choice and more online and mobile accessibility to a wider range of products, the sector is increasingly consumer-led.</p> <p>Those hoping to engage with more customers over the next month or so need to be sure they are offering convenience and user-specific functionality, so shoppers can find and receive the items they want when they want them.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66821 2015-08-18T09:30:00+01:00 2015-08-18T09:30:00+01:00 Key ecommerce statistics from Ofcom's Communication Market Report 2015 James Ellis <p>It seems the ecommerce market is still growing at a decent pace. Figures published in Royal Mail’s latest annual report estimate total parcel volume growth at approximately 4%. </p> <p>The business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-originated (C2X) parcel segments are estimated to be growing at a slightly faster rate, between 4.5% and 5.5%. </p> <p>In 2014, the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) put the value of the UK ecommerce sales at £104bn.</p> <p>This is 14% greater than the value of sales the previous year, and more than double the 2009 value.</p> <p>Online retail is accounting for an increasing proportion of total retail sales.</p> <p>Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 11.2% of total retail sales were made online in 2014, compared to 10.4% in the previous year. </p> <p>Consumers in the UK are also shopping more on mobile devices. 40% of online retail sales at the end of 2014 were through mobile devices.</p> <p><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2InCrO4k7YkZ5OuEoFPpNGSV8-kLcSdWtWOk9THY3a0934kRbYhKEmAopzNFCc1faBFxygwLitb1LWBCr87rNVHGh5ZXvouybzFg7VmmvoANb3qLYrgGePxR3rD3kcOrnNheiI" alt="" width="602px;" height="295px;"></p> <h3><strong>Retail becomes more mobile</strong></h3> <p>As many marketers already know, mobile has become an integral part of retail and digital commerce offerings.</p> <p>Overall, use of mobile phones for retail activities was relatively stable between 2014 and 2015.</p> <p>Around one in four mobile internet users (26%) said they used their mobile phone to purchase goods or services in the month, the same proportion who said that they had used their mobile phone to find the location of a store. </p> <p><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/--afs8_hM2zjxQKCqemkqkO2vcCU8-oXytEGY-P776E6K6_B_dGXspVzxiYOEt79dtvXZ8F_dW56D8o4msfhfN3rCrPBi9h0ACLbO5SetYyAJ6O18mPKmq4W7-wW91-ITntkjAQ" alt="" width="601px;" height="303px;"> </p> <p>With 4G subscriptions increasing it could be expected that these trends accelerate and more consumers will become mobile shoppers.</p> <p>While mobile payments at the Point Of Sale is relatively low, it could be expected to increase once Apple Pay gains widespread traction.</p> <h3><strong>Factors affecting purchase decisions</strong></h3> <p>One in 10 consumers consider that the operator that delivers their parcel is an important factor in choosing a retailer.</p> <p>When asked to name the most important factors when choosing a retailer, over half of UK adults (56%) said that free delivery was an important factor. </p> <p>Around half (49%) considered that quick and efficient deliveries were important and three in 10 that the offer of click-and-collect services was important. </p> <p>Just over one in 10 (11%) UK adults considered that the provider used for delivery was an important factor, suggesting that consumers have little preference who provides their deliveries, as long as it does not add an additional cost to their purchase and it is quick and efficient.  </p> <p><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/lY0n-N3XygzCo2lcrSLssTSPeZWoGht2KRo9cfxlJ9Ukbc5D70UDM0HudD69FYAy8UzLKJAhbaUIEXj0FuwHjCmhR5ZkPIzMMgeqSo72b9oQKUI06Uj4TDbD3iQvh-EoQ3z5qYo" alt="" width="602px;" height="357px;"> </p> <p>A majority of consumers like to have notifications and/or tracking in place for their e-retail deliveries </p> <p>Over six in 10 (63%) of adults said that they liked to have email confirmation at each stage of delivery when awaiting deliveries from online shopping, and a similar proportion (61%) said that they liked to be able to track their parcels online.</p> <p>Features that provide more precise information about when items are likely to be delivered were cited by a significant majority of respondents. </p> <p>Around four in 10 said they wanted greater certainty of the specific delivery time: 43% said that they would like to receive texts with the exact time of delivery and 39% said they liked to have one-hour time slots for delivery. </p> <p><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/RG6xOfY5f829O8uxLJtoy_IbW8OJIobeX1nOUcymvpjptVHN4p4J3HnVRx0AF__T4uDz-vpBgkfDzGSSRNcDYLHBXt9nArXIk7RIUp-wvlMTunTnX6Hy7W1Ovwrl3cmvzOgJaL4" alt="" width="602px;" height="355px;"></p> <p>When it comes to delivery, almost seven out of 10 (68%) adults stated that delivery to the home was their preferred option.</p> <p>For delivery options away from the home, click and collect was the preferred method. 14% said that this was their preferred option.</p> <p>Preferences for other delivery methods (including parcel lockers, parcel shops and post offices) was low. None of these options were the preferred delivery point for more than 2% of respondents. </p> <p><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/4JFFGUI4UJommS5HZxqXSPJk7DprBKFjeD4v4TZsm0z2C3Zw8HNU5qAuJKxdCK55Dx2VSyO6XlbeosTwnc7bEUpNrYMK03BIKOHfsHPeKcGtuZDf4MhaDMl9VRbWFWfGLWFzXLU" alt="" width="602px;" height="325px;"></p> <h3><strong>Amazon still leading the way for digital retail</strong></h3> <p>In March 2015, 32.1m people visited Amazon on a desktop/laptop or mobile device, equivalent to two-thirds (68%) of the digital population. This was the largest digital audience among Ofcom’s comparator online retail services.</p> <p>eBay was visited by six in 10 of the digital population (59% or 28.2m), the second highest total digital audience, followed by Argos with 14.1m (an active reach of 30%) in March 2015.</p> <p>Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, was visited by 12.7m people i.e. 27% of the active digital audience.</p> <p>The number of people accessing the comparator retailers via desktop and laptops was generally higher than those accessing these on mobile devices, although in March 2015 more people accessed Argos, Tesco and Asda on mobile devices than on desktops and laptop. </p> <p><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/JgS90s0FlF4e5FNqxmNw-bgAOL2C-QKynQp_LCBVrSJRF4f0el6nfaSdhZ8PWqhoVgswN9_iuqJfrjXbzvAuNuFFv3ocAHkVBDmEVqqvAQPp715ZtXoB1KGBCdBvlf_qC_3kPQQ" alt="" width="602px;" height="397px;"> </p> <p>As with the other topics discussed in the Ofcom Market Report, mobile’s influence is becoming more important.</p> <p>As the report points out, several of the UK’s biggest retailers saw a bigger digital audience on mobile than desktop/laptop earlier this year. Amazon’s audiences across devices are approaching parity also. </p> <h3>For lots more up-to-date statistics…                                           </h3> <p>Download Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium/?utm_source=Econ%20Blog%20&amp;utm_medium=Blog&amp;utm_campaign=BLOGSTATS">Internet Statistics Compendium</a>, a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media.</p> <p>It’s updated monthly and covers 11 different topics from advertising, content, customer experience, mobile, ecommerce and social.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66749 2015-07-27T15:00:00+01:00 2015-07-27T15:00:00+01:00 Amazon to launch drive-up grocery stores: report Patricio Robles <p>Several years ago, Amazon unveiled <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/11055-lockers-amazon-s-omni-channel-strategy">Amazon Lockers</a>, which make it easy for its customers to avoid missed deliveries and pick up their purchases from nearby locations.</p> <p>Now comes <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2015/07/23/exclusive-amazon-planning-drive-up-grocery-stores.html?page=all">a report</a> that the company may be planning to build a drive-up grocery store in Silicon Valley.</p> <p>According to Silicon Valley Business Journal, Amazon is likely the entity behind a proposed 11,600 square foot store to be located in Sunnyvale.</p> <p>As Silicon Valley Business Journal's Nathan Donato-Weinstein points out, a drive-up concept makes sense in the context of the company's grocery efforts:</p> <blockquote> <p>For Amazon, a standalone drive-up store would signal a new phase in the company’s evolving grocery ambitions. AmazonFresh, Amazon’s same- and next-day grocery delivery service, has been expanding into major metropolitan areas in recent years.</p> <p>A physical pickup spot could help solve the “last mile” problem of getting perishable goods to consumers by having consumers come to Amazon.</p> </blockquote> <p>Nicole Santosuosso, an analyst at Kanta Retail, also believes that the proposed development could be aligned with Amazon's business. "Amazon’s entire value proposition is based on this idea of immediacy, and getting items to the shopper as quickly as possible," she explained. "I could see something like this being tied into that overall value proposition."</p> <h2>May the best customer experience win</h2> <p>Amazon faces significant competition in the grocery space. Google, through Google Express, is active in the space, and upstarts like Instacart have raised significant amounts of money.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, large established players, like Walmart and Safeway, have their own delivery and curbside pickup initiatives.</p> <p>As a result, if Amazon is behind the proposed store in Sunnyvale, it is unlikely to find overnight success. But analysts suggest that the company's prowess, particularly around logistics, could make it a formidable competitor.</p> <p>If Amazon can target the right consumers, and focus on the right products, it could make an even bigger splash in the grocery market sooner than one might expect.</p> <p>Ultimately, all of the companies in the space are trying to identify the optimal customer experience. The good news for companies like Amazon is that there might be multiple customer experiences that win.</p> <p>The face of grocery shopping is changing, and in the near future, it may become commonplace for consumers to use a variety of channels and services to stock their pantries.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66321 2015-04-15T11:28:23+01:00 2015-04-15T11:28:23+01:00 The subscription ecommerce opportunity Darryl Adie <p>Successful subscription services fall into two model categories. On the one hand, there is a utility model for FMCG and staple goods, where lower costs mean that a subscription provider can offer deeper discounts whilst continuing to maintain margins.</p> <p>Internet giants, such as Amazon with its 'Subscribe and Save' service, are already moving fast to grab this space. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/2005/subscribe_and_save.png" alt="" width="600"> </p> <p>At the other end of the scale, curation offers an additional premium margin for luxury products. Consumers will pay more for goods, such as artisan coffees or high-end beauty products, if they have been hand-selected by tastemakers or according to their personal preferences. </p> <p>For customers, the value of shopping subscriptions lies in convenience. The simplicity of a regular delivery removes the thinking from a purchase decision.</p> <p>Subscribers don’t need to remember to reorder every month, reassuring them that they will have whatever they need before they actually need it.</p> <p>Home delivery removes the hassle of making a trip to a physical store or a website to place an order, whilst flat-rate payments help customers stay within budget and offer added value through bundling or special offers. </p> <p>For businesses, the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66034-the-pros-and-cons-of-subscription-ecommerce-models">advantages of subscription services</a> are quite obvious. Recurring sales revenues, along with the cost of acquisition amortised across multiple transactions, can enable either a higher margin model or the ability to offer deeper discounts than on single purchases.  </p> <p>This consistency in revenue also allows subscription providers to easily calculate the lifetime value of a customer, manage inventory and offer simple pricing. </p> <p>As a result, there is competition for the subscription space. Shoppers are unlikely to change their subscription provider regularly so it is crucial that you are first to sign up consumers if you seek to dominate a sector.</p> <p>The businesses that have proven successful in this space understand the importance of personalisation and using data to curate effectively.</p> <p><strong>Retailers must provide an illusion that they intimately understand a customer’s needs,</strong> even if the reality is different. Large supermarkets with their extensive loyalty data, are very well placed to operate a subscription model, but must be wary that not all products are strong candidates.</p> <p>Whilst most FMCG goods could be offered in this way, it will be interesting to see if companies  who offer higher value fashion, such as JustFab and Fabletics, will be successful because a high rate of returns could impact on their margin model.</p> <p>That said, relatively generic goods, such as socks or golf balls, could easily be offered on a subscription basis. </p> <p>Overall, multichannel retailers could well offer subscription services. If they look beyond the pure online sales growth model, elements of subscription marketing could be used to improve their offering.</p> <p>The key is to understand why the customer will not just buy products once, but over and over again. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66263 2015-04-01T14:52:46+01:00 2015-04-01T14:52:46+01:00 Will a complex customer experience hurt the Apple Watch launch? Patricio Robles <p>If any company can convince consumers that there's a place in their lives for a smartwatch that costs anywhere from $349 to $17,000, it's Apple, and there is no doubt many of the company's most loyal customers will purchase one (or two) at soon as they can.</p> <p>But at launch, those wanting an Apple Watch won't simply be able to walk into an Apple Store and hand over their money.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/0728/watch_alerts.png" alt="" width="528" height="277"></p> <p><a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2015/03/29/apple-watch-reservation-only/">According to</a> a training document obtained by MacRumors, Apple will not initially allow walk-in retail purchases. Instead, the documents state that customers will need to make a Product Reservation to hold their purchase at an Apple Store.</p> <p>"If a customer walks in and wants to purchase a watch, offer the option to try on a watch. Then help them place an order online or through the Apple Store app," the document reads.</p> <p>9to5Mac <a href="http://9to5mac.com/2015/03/29/apple-store-revamp-for-apple-watch-revealed-magical-tables-demo-loops-sales-process/">has more details</a> on the entire in-store experience:</p> <blockquote> <p>After a customer books an Apple Watch try-on appointment via the Apple Online Store or iOS Apple Store app, Apple will walk him or her through a try-on and sales process in the Apple Store. First, a customer with an appointment will be greeted in the Apple Store by a specialist. If a customer does not have an appointment, she will be added to a walk-in queue.</p> <p>Like the new Genius Bar walk-in appointment system, customers in the queue can shop elsewhere in a mall and receive a notification via text message when it is time to return for an Apple Watch try-on appointment. After the customer is matched up with an Apple Store employee, she will be taken to the display table shown in the image above to pick out Apple Watch models that interest her. The Watches inside will run a demo loop showcasing their main features, “making it a magical display,” as Apple puts it.</p> </blockquote> <p>After selecting up to two Apple Watch models of interest, customers will be shuffled to a dedicated area where they can try on the watches. Once the customer has selected the Apple Watch model of his or her choice, they'll be upsold on accessories like additional bands and headphones.</p> <p>According to 9to5Mac, customers who don't want to go through this process will have an out: demo units connected to iPad minis will be available throughout stores and there will be a "Landing Zone" where customers can place their orders.</p> <h2>A questionable customer experience?</h2> <p>What should one make of the customer experience Apple has developed for the Apple Watch launch? There could be a number of reasons Apple has opted for a controlled approach.</p> <p>For instance, MacRumors notes that "Apple seems to expect low inventory for the Apple Watches." There are also key differences between selling a watch and a phone or MP3 player which might warrant the process that will apparently be used.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/0723/Apple_Watch.png" alt="" width="568" height="369"></p> <p>But there's another reason Apple might have crafted such an experience: if the Apple Watch is hard to get, and looks like a scarce commodity, it could help create demand.</p> <p>Apple is not just a consumer electronics brand – it's a fashion brand – and its products, to many, are seen as status symbols.</p> <p>This is particularly true when they're first released, so creating an air of scarcity and exclusivity around the Apple Watch might provide some marketing oomph to one of Apple's most challenging product launches in memory.</p> <p>This approach could also backfire, however. MacRumors forum comments like "There is nothing worse than going in store and being told you then have to go online to arrange to come back in store" and "This is a HORRIBLE way to sell a product. I don't want to make an appointment to go in and get pressured into buying something. I want to walk in, try on what I want, and buy or not buy without any pressure" suggest that Apple is at risk of asking too much of potential buyers – even those who are loyal Apple customers.</p> <p>If the public is not yet convinced about the need for a smartwatch, a complex customer experience that requires consumers to jump through a bunch of hoops could deter potential buyers from opening their minds about the Apple Watch at a most critical time.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66215 2015-03-18T13:56:10+00:00 2015-03-18T13:56:10+00:00 Prada’s online customer journey: luxury content, poor UX David Moth <p>In my conclusion I noted that the focus seemed to be on content delivery rather than creating an amazing ecommerce experience.</p> <p>This week I’ve decided to turn the spotlight on <a href="http://www.prada.com/en.html?cc=GB">Prada</a> to see how it attempts to balance luxury with usability.</p> <p>Here’s what I found...</p> <h3>Homepage</h3> <p>The homepage is a great example minimalist design and the imagery is very striking, but usability has taken a backseat.</p> <p>Most of the navigation options are hidden inside <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65511-hamburger-menus-for-mobile-navigation-do-they-work/">a hamburger menu</a> though there are also three text links on the left of the screen.</p> <p>The pros and cons of hamburger menus are open to debate and though it’s becoming more common to see them used on desktop, I’ve not seen any evidence to show that people prefer them to a standard nav bar.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1118/Screen_Shot_2015-03-17_at_10.21.51.png" alt="" width="2534" height="1230"></p> <p>Prada hasn’t even been consistent with its navigation as the ‘Iconoclasts’ link opens in a new tab while the other two open within the same browser window.</p> <p>Within the hamburger menu there’s not a great deal of clarity. What sits within the e-store if not fragrance and eyewear?</p> <p>Also that search tool is very easy to miss.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1119/Screen_Shot_2015-03-17_at_10.37.04.png" alt="" width="2506" height="616"></p> <h3>Content</h3> <p>When looking at Louis Vuitton’s website I found that much of the focus seemed to be on providing high quality content ahead of ecommerce.</p> <p>Perhaps people are more likely to use luxury brand sites for product research rather than making a purchase. </p> <p>Is the same true of Prada?</p> <p>If we look at the FW 2015 Women’s Show for example, the content is presented on a long scrollable page with the various images and videos opening up in full screen.</p> <p>It’s all hi-res, looks amazing, and has prominent social sharing buttons, but one criticism would be that there’s little information about the items other than the imagery.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1120/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_02.45.04.png" alt="" width="2546" height="1234"></p> <p>Within the hamburger menu users can access content relating to all of Prada’s previous ranges and ad campaigns.</p> <p>It follows the same basic navigation template, with swipeable pages giving access to additional images and videos via text links on the left of the screen.</p> <p>In terms of content layout and navigation, Prada offers a much greater level of consistency than Louis Vuitton, which obviously means it's easier to explore the different content sections.</p> <p>The iconoclast campaign, hosted on its own subdomain, is different from the rest of the site.</p> <p>Prada gave various designers the chance to create an artistic installation in its stores to reinterpret the brand’s image.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1122/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_03.35.53.png" alt="" width="2542" height="1238"></p> <p>There were three such events hosted in Paris, London and New York during February and March 2015.</p> <p>For each one Prada has created a series of videos and photo galleries showing the inspiration behind the installation, how it was set up, and then the celebrity-filled launch parties.</p> <p>Again the content is extremely high quality and built for touchscreens, as it all renders in full screen and the navigation is all swipeable.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1123/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_03.50.04.png" alt="" width="2548" height="1232"></p> <h3>Search tool</h3> <p>Search tools are very important for fashion ecommerce sites, but Prada’s is quite difficult to find.</p> <p>However when you click the small text link it opens up into one of the biggest search boxes I’ve ever seen.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1124/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_04.17.50.png" alt="" width="2540" height="1054"></p> <p>Unfortunately its size is about the only redeeming feature as the tool is very unforgiving.</p> <p>Prada doesn’t offer <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10407-site-search-for-e-commerce-13-best-practice-tips/">predictive search or spelling corrections</a>, and to give an example of how specific you need to be, ‘handbag’ returns zero results while ‘handbags’ brings back 300 items.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1125/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_04.21.08.png" alt="" width="796" height="278"></p> <p>And even when you eventually find what you’re looking for, there are no <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62864-nine-tips-to-help-improve-your-product-filtering-options/">filter options</a> to narrow the list down.</p> <p>Overall the search tool provides a pretty terrible user experience.</p> <h3><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1126/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_04.30.28.png" alt="" width="2462" height="1044"></h3> <h3>Ecommerce navigation</h3> <p>On the Louis Vuitton site it was as if each category page has been designed in isolation, so it was very difficult to navigate the different products.</p> <p>There are no such issues with Prada as the ecommerce pages follow the same simple tiled layout.</p> <p>Product options are laid out as square images with no other information immediately on offer, though the price does appear when you hover over them.</p> <p>Product filters are limited, with only two or three options for each category. For example, handbags can be filtered based on type, material and colour (which is spelled ‘color’ on the UK site).</p> <h3>Product pages</h3> <p>The product pages are consistent with the minimalist design found throughout the site.</p> <p>There’s no description as such, just a list of product features. This is a missed opportunity for upselling the benefits and luxuriousness of this item.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1127/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_08.21.46.png" alt="" width="1692" height="1092"></p> <p>Another issue is the limited number of images. Product imagery is hugely important in ecommerce as it has to act in lieu of people being able to touch the item for themselves.</p> <p>Prada’s handbags only have four images each, though on the plus side one of them gives a look inside the bag.</p> <p>This isn’t enough when asking someone to part with £1,600 for a handbag, and particularly when other luxury sites include <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/61817-six-retailers-that-used-product-videos-to-improve-conversion-rates/">product videos</a> on top of a broader range of imagery.</p> <h3>Checkout</h3> <p>As one would expect having seen the rest of the site, Prada’s checkout is incredibly simple.</p> <p>The shopping basket is basically an image of the item, the price and a ‘Proceed to purchase’ CTA.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1134/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_08.33.53.png" alt="" width="2076" height="818"></p> <p>The checkout itself is then displayed <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65588-nine-single-page-ecommerce-checkouts-of-varying-quality/">on a single page</a>, with no mention of registering an account or a login for returning customers.</p> <p>Customers need only fill in a very basic amount of personal details and credit card information, before pressing ‘Buy now’.</p> <p>It’s probably the shortest checkout process I’ve seen and offers no reassurance to the customer that their information is safe or when the product will arrive, despite delivery being a massive £15.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1135/Screen_Shot_2015-03-18_at_08.40.14.png" alt="" width="1776" height="1148"> </p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Prada is definitely aiming for a simple, stylish website rather than one that delivers a brilliant user experience.</p> <p>Admittedly it offers a more consistent UX than Louis Vuitton, which means the site is easier to navigate, but it’s so stripped down that even the most basic UX features have been left out.</p> <p>But it’s not without its charms. I quite like the stripped down aesthetic – nothing appears on the page that doesn’t strictly have to be there in order for people to navigate the site.</p> <p>However, I’m not in the market for a luxury handbag. If I were, I definitely wouldn’t buy one from Prada’s site as it doesn’t tell me enough about the products on offer.</p> <p>Though to be honest, would I ever spend that amount of cash without going in-store first?</p> <p>And I think that’s the point. Even if Prada had created a site that was best in class in terms of UX, people would likely still want to go in-store to reassure themselves and treat themselves to a luxury experience.</p> <p>In which case, it makes sense for Prada to opt for style over UX online, as it probably won’t make a huge difference to the conversion rate.</p> <p>As with Louis Vuitton, the site feels like it was designed primarily to showcase Prada’s imagery and video content, which is of a very high quality.</p>