tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/product-pages-merchandising Latest Product pages & merchandising content from Econsultancy 2016-04-13T14:16:07+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67727 2016-04-13T14:16:07+01:00 2016-04-13T14:16:07+01:00 The Competition & Market Authority issues open letter about fake reviews Edwin Bos <p>The results showed that - unsurprisingly - reviews influence consumer purchasing habits (it estimates that <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-acts-to-maintain-trust-in-online-reviews-and-endorsements" target="_blank">54% of UK adults consult online reviews</a> before making a purchase).</p> <p>At Reevoo <a href="https://blog.reevoo.com/the-government-cracks-down-on-fake-reviews-are-you-safe/" target="_blank">we reported on this</a> just as Amazon announced that it was introducing a new “machine learning” based review ranking system that promotes verified reviews over others (as much as an algorithm alone can, anyway).</p> <p>But the survey also brought to light more shady tactics by businesses trying to influence potential consumers.</p> <p>These ranged from posting fake reviews on to review sites, eliminating negative reviews (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/8638-bad-reviews-improve-conversion-by-67/">even though this isn’t a good strategy</a>) and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67645-google-s-got-it-right-instead-of-bribing-bloggers-sort-out-your-website/" target="_blank">paying for endorsements in blogs</a> without making it clear to the people watching and reading.</p> <p>The CMA has now written <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/512560/An_open_letter_to_marketing_departments__marketing_agencies_and_their_clients.pdf" target="_blank">an open letter to marketing departments</a>, marketing agencies and their clients about the investigation and offering guidance on how to make sure they’re complying with industry standards.</p> <p>Most of <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/online-reviews-and-endorsements-advice-for-businesses/online-reviews-giving-consumers-the-full-picture" target="_blank">the advice</a> is pretty obvious. For example:</p> <blockquote> <p>Don’t pretend to be a customer and write reviews about your products or other businesses’ products.</p> </blockquote> <h3>See what I mean?</h3> <p>But what is even more clear is that businesses which don’t comply with these guidelines could find that the consequences are significant:</p> <blockquote> <p>Writing or commissioning a fake review – in relation your own products or someone else’s – is a breach of consumer protection law and may lead to civil or even criminal action.</p> </blockquote> <p>Although it’s good to see the issue getting attention, I don’t think the CMA goes far enough, despite the stern wording.</p> <p>If the CMA was serious it would have regulated the industry rather than sending out a letter.</p> <p>There is plenty of incentive for businesses (£23bn of consumer spending is influenced by customer reviews) to publish fake reviews.</p> <p>However, regardless of the CMA’s guidance, I firmly believe that businesses shouldn’t be tempted into faking reviews or deleting negative ones. There's too much to lose.</p> <p>Consumers prize transparency and authenticity. Untampered user-generated content is one of the best ways brands can gain consumers’ trust.</p> <p>And as we’ve seen in recent scandals, trust is one of the hardest things for a brand to earn but one of the easiest things to lose.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67717 2016-04-07T11:07:50+01:00 2016-04-07T11:07:50+01:00 Ray Ban’s 10-month delay in sending post-sales email isn’t as strange as it seems David Moth <p>At first I assumed it was a glitch, as Ray-Ban was asking for me to review my ‘recent purchase’.</p> <p>But that strange turn of phrase aside, it’s clear that the email was actually very cleverly timed.</p> <p>Allow me to quickly avail you of the three reasons I’m a fan of this email.</p> <p><em>The email in question</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3692/Screen_Shot_2016-04-06_at_15.19.30.png" alt="" width="551" height="638"></p> <p>And for more on this topic, book onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/email-marketing/">Email Marketing Training Course</a> or check out these posts:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/">Ecommerce consumer reviews: why you need them and how to use them</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67358-nine-email-marketing-trends-set-to-dominate-2016/">Nine email marketing trends set to dominate 2016</a></li> </ul> <h3>1. The email neatly coincides with the beginning of summer</h3> <p>Ray-Ban’s email was cunningly timed to coincide with the clocks going forward, which means it’s technically British summer time.</p> <p>Obviously it’s actually still cold and raining here in London, but the evenings are longer and there is the sense that summer is just around the corner.</p> <p>The email imagery and copy reinforce that feeling and attempt to associate both my sunglasses and the Ray-Ban brand with summertime.</p> <p>This increases the chances that I’ll leave a positive review.</p> <h3>2. I’ve had time to use the product</h3> <p>As mentioned, it’s common for post-sales emails to arrive within a few days of the product.</p> <p>For most items this is a good idea, as you strike while the iron is hot and the customer is still excited about whatever it is they bought.</p> <p>Give the customer long enough to get some initial use out of their new item, but don’t wait so long that they’ve lost interest in it.</p> <p>In the case of my sunglasses, you need to remember that I live in England so even though I bought them in the summer there’s no guarantee I’ll have got much use out of them. I’m not Bono.</p> <p>Thankfully I’ve been on a few holidays recently and have fallen deeply in love with my Ray-Bans.</p> <p>So although 10 months is potentially a bit too long to wait before asking for a review, there’s a strong argument for giving customers a bit of time to get good use out of the product before asking for feedback.</p> <h3>3. It might spur me into another purchase</h3> <p>Ray-Ban’s email might purport to be asking for a review, but it’s also a timely reminder that summer is almost upon us.</p> <p>I’m not the sort of person who buys new sunglasses every year, but some people do.</p> <p>These people might be spurred on to browse Ray-Ban’s website to check out the latest product options, potentially clinching both a product review and another sale.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Not all companies are going to benefit from waiting 10 months before asking for a review. </p> <p>For example, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67014-fast-fashion-how-to-keep-up-with-the-new-ecommerce-trend/">fast fashion brands</a> rely on the fact that customers are constantly replenishing their wardrobes. A 10-month gap would mean the item is likely discontinued and the customer would have forgotten about it and moved on.</p> <p>And I’m not entirely convinced that Ray-Ban will achieve great results from this particular email. Who really writes a review 10 months after buying sunglasses?</p> <p>But it’s definitely worth testing this type of email marketing, particularly if the timing (e.g. the start of summer) is relevant to the brand.</p> <p>It might not garner many reviews, but it keeps the brand top-of-mind and might encourage some additional sales before summer.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67699 2016-04-05T10:09:00+01:00 2016-04-05T10:09:00+01:00 How online retailers can improve price optimization strategies Arie Shpanya <p dir="ltr">Challenges such as trying to quickly adapt to new technologies, and reprice against behemoths like Amazon, has revolved around the idea that you have to be the fastest and most aggressive when it comes to succeeding in ecommerce.</p> <p dir="ltr">But maybe retailers should take their foot off the gas, at least when it comes to their pricing strategy.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the beloved tale of the tortoise and the hare, we're taught a valuable lesson: that slow and steady wins the race.</p> <p dir="ltr">When you're too busy being flashy and hopping around from spot to spot, it can do your store more harm and good.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/5GW9llu2CIm0TSoWOIO4uN1QZ29mDqETdjwHlXUd2PpaiNZgtIrI-yfOicZ-ogNUSUtzgeB0mh1hH3eocVh2w7e4_V2LRnW2VY7hdjhI8HkMw3DPmUNzwZhW6sTBDygnPoeduH-c" alt="" width="384" height="335"></p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to your pricing strategy, more specifically price optimization, retailers need to channel their inner tortoise and hare. Yes, it's important to move fast, but randomly changing your prices to keep up with competitors can be detrimental.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Under pressure</h3> <p dir="ltr">But it's easy to understand where the pressure to move fast comes from. In ecommerce today, <a href="https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/retail-consumer/retail-consumer-publications/global-multi-channel-consumer-survey/assets/pdf/total-retail-2015.pdf">85%</a> of shoppers believe that price impacts where they will actually make purchases, so you know they're looking for the right deal at all times.</p> <p dir="ltr">Not to mention that <a href="https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/retail-consumer/retail-consumer-publications/global-multi-channel-consumer-survey/assets/pdf/total-retail-2015.pdf">56%</a> of shoppers actually go online in search of better prices.</p> <p dir="ltr">This can give some retailers a panic attack. Knowing that shoppers are really looking for the best price possible can create a sense of alarm, and lead to some poor decisions when it comes to pricing strategy.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the past, static pricing was the norm. But now that retailers like Amazon are changing their prices hundreds of times a day, some retailers are hopping from price to price without any calculations involved.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/kKo49-0XvmaDHo9dXmVzxVcitNGW7Y2kRUyMyRgy9bnquGI2Tf1yxJZixixSX5EY-PQCvwWpkIh5ucyxbv_5x93pm1qfWP8lAdnAh2dV9bEQMSE1zRGLKq8cpOFBovXgFtZWiuN9" alt="random prices.PNG" width="624" height="273"></p> <p dir="ltr">Static pricing is bad, but how about random price changes? They can actually be worse. Not only because they often deplete margins, but because they leave the retailer with little to no time to analyze the effect it has on their demand and sales levels.</p> <p dir="ltr">Giving yourself time with each price change to measure the results is the best way to build confidence in your pricing decisions moving forward.</p> <p dir="ltr">It sounds strange to take your time with price optimization, especially as retailers are constantly undercutting their competitors.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the fact of the matter is that chasing those retailers is like going down a rabbit hole.</p> <p dir="ltr">There may be no coming back from drastic price cuts, as consumers might only be hooked on your product due to its ridiculously low price, and when you move it up to earn back margin you could lose sales. </p> <p dir="ltr">As retailers become more equipped with tools to measure competitive intelligence, it's time they monitor things a little differently.</p> <p dir="ltr">Make price changes a little more calculated and increase the interval between each change.</p> <p dir="ltr">Doing this can help you measure your products' elasticities and help you understand where you have pricing power, or where you need to be more competitive to win over the shopper.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/mWNhVGe0h84qz1gKjlhVHkTsbt87q_hs3ogzdW6tZSijKtfvnU6C10mdHDfTe-Ajr0TtIlfhCAPXsRKxUQEJ65qGYFlE1C8LglBaVQjGREEYY_0hrUxX1PxEq0Ztk6WCh61nlX0F" alt="test to win.PNG" width="624" height="273"></p> <p dir="ltr">It's important to keep up with market changes. But at the same time, it's just as important to test your prices and act on a winning strategy.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you find a price that wins a lot of sales for your products, take note of your competitors' prices at the time. If it's higher, you know you can command a price premium.</p> <p dir="ltr">The future of price optimization is now. In order to get ahead, retailers have to combine the best of the tortoise and the hare to price smarter, not necessarily harder.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67152-four-reasons-to-get-your-pricing-strategy-in-order-before-christmas/"><em>Four reasons to get your pricing strategy in order before Christmas</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/67699-how-retailers-can-improve-price-optimization-strategies/edit/Four%20top%20pricing%20hacks%20for%20online%20retailers"><em>Four top pricing hacks for online retailers</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65327-why-dynamic-pricing-is-a-must-for-ecommerce-retailers/"><em>Why dynamic pricing is a must for ecommerce retailers</em></a></li> </ul> 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/67158 2015-11-09T11:28:00+00:00 2015-11-09T11:28:00+00:00 Why Lush is the undisputed master of 'B-commerce' Ben Davis <p style="font-weight: normal;">Compare <a href="https://www.lush.co.uk/">Lush</a> to the <a href="http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/">Body Shop</a> website (a decent site with lots of best practice features) and one gets a sense of the evolution of web design.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The Body Shop feels like an ecommerce site that happens to be branded as the Body Shop.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Lush feels like...Lush's website that happens to sell stuff, too. There's a big difference.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Let's look at it in more detail.</p> <h3>Gorgeous product display (including GIF headers!)</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The most startling difference between Lush and Body Shop is the way products are displayed.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Head over to Body Shop and you can browse collections of bottles and tubs. All bottles and tubs look pretty much the same.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Lush, however, always takes the product out of its container, photographing dollops of it, and using GIFs to show the product in action.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Given these products are so personal (and mysterious) and Lush's shops are based on sensory experience, this approach to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63462-ecommerce-product-pages-where-to-place-30-elements-and-why/">product display</a> online is vital (and a brand differentiator).</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Lush also champions 'naked packaging', giving the customer the option of taking the product home without packaging, so the website conveys this green message well.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Every Lush product page has a GIF hero image</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8785/lush2.gif" alt="lush product gif" width="317" height="163"> </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Lush lotion category page (dollops)</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8786/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_13.50.31.png" alt="lush lotions" width="615"> </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Body Shop lotion category page (bottles)</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8787/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_13.50.51.png" alt="body shop lotions" width="615"> </p> <h3>Persuasive (and trustworthy) ingredients pages</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">If you were tasked with selling a particular Lush product to a customer in store, it's likely you'd focus on the benefits of its ingredients.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">That's why it makes complete sense that Lush does this online, not only championing ingredients in product listings, but highlighting them in category page editorial.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Major ingredients have their own pages, which rank very well in search, and there's editorial around their provenance. You can also browse products that contain a particular ingredient.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">You can't fail to get the impression that all this stuff is accounted for and you're buying sustainable and non-harmful products.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Exactly in line with the brand, and something which Body Shop used to have a monopoly over.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Lush flags ingredients on its category pages</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8792/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_14.15.27.png" alt="lush category page" width="615"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Lush's rose wax ingredient page ranking number one in Google</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8788/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_13.57.54.png" alt="rose wax in search" width="615"> </p> <p><em>A Lush ingredients page</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/8741/screen_shot_2015-11-05_at_19.10.01-blog-flyer.png" alt="bergamot oil page" width="470" height="252"></p> <h3>Editorial on the homepage (softly softly, catchy monkey)</h3> <p>The Lush homepage does feature eight individual products, but crucially it does not invite the user to 'shop' a range or simply to view a bunch of products.</p> <p>Every call to action is framed as a feature and seems editorially driven. Indeed, many of these features do not include products at all.</p> <p>This is what the homepage should be for. Too many retailers use it as a second bite at the header menu, with yet more links to category pages.</p> <p>But this is a place for the brand to tell a story, not simply a product range.</p> <p>Below I have screenshotted the entire Lush homepage and colour coded the features. </p> <ul> <li>Red: political features that do not feature products.</li> <li>Purple: editorial features that do not feature products.</li> <li>Blue: product collections with editorial-style lead-in.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8769/Lush_Fresh_Handmade_Cosmetics.png" alt="lush homepage" width="407" height="1080"> </p> <p>Compare a couple of Lush and Body Shop homepage features, below.</p> <p>One retailer feels like it is trying to educate and entertain the user, the other feels like it just wants you to buy stuff as soon as possible.</p> <p>Educating the customer shows how passionate a brand is about its products. Lush demonstrates that even taking the direct route, it's easy to soften the sales pitch - 'Prepare your cruelty-free winter pout...', 'Reasons to smile: sparkling new mouth products' and so on.</p> <p>The Body Shop does have educational features (about trends and beauty regimes), but this lives in the header menu (where users go when they're looking for something specific) and isn't given more room to breathe and intrigue on the homepage proper.</p> <p><em>Examples of Body Shop homepage features that feel rather brazen, focusing on the act of purchasing rather than the reasons for doing so (or even the product itself).</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8771/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_11.08.22.png" alt="body shop cta" width="615"> </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8772/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_11.11.56.png" alt="body shop cta" width="615"></p> <p><em>Lush makes more of an effort with homepage features, either with dedicated editorial or refined copywriting.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8775/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_11.12.48.png" alt="lush homepage feature" width="615"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/8774/screen_shot_2015-11-06_at_11.12.10-blog-flyer.png" alt="lush homepage feature" width="300"> </p> <h3>Educated cross-sell in the (uncluttered) basket</h3> <p>The Lush basket and checkout is beautifully bare but does include an element of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66856-cross-selling-online-why-it-s-important-how-to-do-it/">cross-sell</a> (and yet more ingredients features).</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">This cross-sell is smartly done, highlighting a product from the same range as the one I had added to basket, mirroring what would happen if I were buying this product in store.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">It's unfair to keep comparing Lush to Body Shop, whose website is overdue investment, but comparing the baskets of the two sites shows just how much has moved on in ecommerce in the last three years with responsive design.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Lush basket page with cross-sell</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8793/Add_to_basket___Lush_Fresh_Handmade_Cosmetics.png" alt="lush basket" width="615"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Body Shop basket page</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8796/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_14.24.27.png" alt="body shop basket" width="615"></p> <h3>Economy of words (no waffling)</h3> <p>Lush uses big chunky typography, a lovely trend in web design that makes a refreshing change from size 10-12 font.</p> <p>What this means is that Lush doesn't throw text in willy nilly. The retailer is concise with its calls to action and its product previews.</p> <p>This reduces clutter on home and category pages, implies complete faith in the product (the image of which can come to the fore), and exudes confidence. I've no doubt it also reduces friction throughout the whole customer journey.</p> <p>Where many online retailers are rushing to include more text, erring on the side of clarity for Google, Lush is making sure the user has a clean experience (no pun intended).</p> <p>Here are a few examples...</p> <p><em>Homepage product previews include title, category and a catchphrase (of sorts) but no waffling description.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/8776/screen_shot_2015-11-06_at_11.42.01-blog-flyer.png" alt="lush product preview" width="300"></p> <p><em>Product category pages again let the products do the talking, using only a well-considered tagline as introductory text.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8778/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_11.54.45.png" alt="lush category page" width="615"></p> <p><em>Where words are necessary, product descriptions for example, text is large and clear.</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8777/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_11.52.15.png" alt="lush product page" width="615"></em></p> <p>Here are a contrasting example from Body Shop, where text clutters up the experience.</p> <p>The text on this little feature carousel is extraneous. It's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/">copywriting</a> for the sake of filling a space below the imagery.</p> <p>It's also arguable the photographs are not distinct enough to interest the user (all generic Christmas reds and greens, rather than contrasting or showcasing products).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8779/Screen_Shot_2015-11-06_at_12.02.11.png" alt="body shop feature carousel" width="615"> </p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>I think I enjoyed using the Lush website more than I enjoy going into store (certainly at Christmas).</p> <p>That says all you need to know about how well Lush manages to inject its brand into the purchasing journey online.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/2773 2015-10-30T12:38:33+00:00 2015-10-30T12:38:33+00:00 Online Merchandising - Selling in the Digital Age <p>As e-commerce matures and customers are trained by your competitors to expect more, marketing and commercial professionals must be able to satisfy customers whilst also increasing profits.</p> <p>Ian Jindal, a thought-leader in e-commerce, heads up this course examining online merchandising. This course takes a whole-business approach to the art of selling online, from promises made to customers, right through to post-purchase selling.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67017 2015-10-16T14:26:00+01:00 2015-10-16T14:26:00+01:00 Social commerce: merchandising for a new generation of stars & fans Philip Rooke <p>UK Vine stars Stuggy &amp; Ashton, YouTubers like Stampy Cat, iBallisticSquid and Sweden’s Sp4zie have huge audiences who engage with them, are entertained and share ideas.</p> <p>To outsiders it can often seem very silly, but what isn’t silly is the size of their potential market, which can be global.</p> <p>Stuggy &amp; Ashton have over 190,000 Vine followers, nearly 60,000 on YouTube, and 1.2m Facebook likes. </p> <p>For these social media stars, merchandise has become another way of engaging with their fans and sharing ideas. It doesn’t have to be about selling in the first instance.</p> <p>Initially they can just put a funny thought, cool new design, or amusing slogan on to a t-shirt and share it online.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/79SjRrZhIDQ?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>Then they can see whether anyone likes it, make changes, improve it and then offer it up for sale on a print-on-demand basis. The scope for spreading ideas is only limited by their imagination. </p> <p>This approach appeals to their fans, millennials who instinctively understand the significance of sharing online. They are eager to engage with social media stars and keen to spend on merchandise when they have had a hand in creating it themselves.</p> <p>Which may be why social media stars are bigger business than Hollywood in this age of instant commerce.  </p> <p>US marketing research suggests that <a href="http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/youtube-stars-more-influential-than-big-screen-ones-youth-say-51967/">young fans will spend far more and engage more readily</a> with these social media stars than with offline celebrities.</p> <p>This upcoming generation of consumers illustrates that digital stars may well have more relevance than traditional stars in the very near future. </p> <p>AdWeek’s research reveals that generation Z’ers and millennials spend nearly 21 hours per week watching digital content and nearly six out of ten prefer digital content to TV. </p> <p>These new stars are plugged in to pop culture and use their creativity to drive sales.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XGeD3N9X9QA?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>For them, merchandising isn’t just about flogging t-shirts, it’s about engagement; spreading ideas, sharing your humour, incorporating your fans’ ideas, and then offering the best for sale. </p> <p>They get what makes the next generation of shoppers click on 'buy'. </p> <p>That social media stars are in the ascendant can be seen by the rise in global talent agencies and other services springing up to supply them. </p> <p>We’ve partnered with some of the largest global talent agencies to tap into YouTube talent for about an additional $5M in revenue. </p> <p>The biggest agencies are in Los Angeles, but we’re now working with major YouTube talent agencies in six different countries, including Fullscreen and Maker Studios.</p> <p>Most of today’s top YouTubers are international stars with an engaged global audience, but are probably still very small businesses in terms of people. </p> <p>They want to effectively outsource merchandise, shipping, payments and other services. It is no surprise then that YouTubers are one of our fastest growing sectors and a big revenue channel. </p> <p>They keep us on our toes though. This new generation is driving the mobile-friendly focus across the industry. It means we are constantly working on improving our platform and all our services for them. </p> <p>Social media stars reach global audiences through their ability to share and spread ideas. Merchandising is part of this engagement; a way of sharing and spreading thoughts and designs online and offline. </p> <p>In our steps to become a $1bn game-changing business we’re making merchandising easy and relevant in an age of instant commerce. </p> <p>Social media stars are already taking advantage of this.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66155-11-examples-of-marketing-campaigns-starring-youtubers/"><em>11 examples of marketing campaigns starring YouTubers</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65765-how-asda-succeeded-on-youtube-with-mum-s-eye-view/"><em>How Asda succeeded on YouTube with Mum’s Eye View</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67014 2015-10-16T11:02:45+01:00 2015-10-16T11:02:45+01:00 Fast fashion: how to keep up with the new ecommerce trend Georges Berzgal <p>They bring new and trending styles to the market faster and cheaper, whether the inspiration comes from the catwalks of fashion weeks or celebrity magazines.</p> <p>The creation, marketing and selling of these garments has become big business for high-street retailers and is putting established fashion brands under a lot of pressure as they struggle to keep pace with the quickly changing demand.</p> <p>So how are businesses able to take advantage of this trend? Read on to find out, and for more on this topic check out Econsultancy's report on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/fashion-ecommerce-and-content-marketing/">Fashion Ecommerce and Content Marketing</a>.</p> <h3> <strong>Create fast</strong> </h3> <p>While traditional brands follow the annual seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter and require up to nine months from the design stage to the sales floor, fast fashion brands have compressed these cycles into a couple of weeks.</p> <p>‘Rapid fashion’ companies like Boohoo.com claim to be even faster, stating that they design, manufacture and start selling a celebrity-inspired outfit in just a few days.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8067/Screen_Shot_2015-10-16_at_10.51.01.png" alt="" width="1187" height="812"></p> <p>While traditional retailers have looked to Asia for cost-effective product creation, many of the fast fashion brands are increasingly manufacturing within close proximity to their headquarters.</p> <p>For example, the Guardian reports that over half of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/apr/07/fast-fashion-online-labels-boohoo-missguided">Boohoo.com and Missguided’s stock is being produced in the UK</a>, and Zara has retained a substantial part of its production in its native Spain.</p> <p>This makes it easy to get new items made and in the hands of consumers as quickly as possible.</p> <h3><strong>Market fast</strong></h3> <p>Marketing is far and away the key driver for fast fashion - and again speed is key.</p> <p>Marketers must create the desire for these new designs close to the time of creation in order to bring it to market as quickly as possible.</p> <p>Many fast fashion brands are seeing the best returns on image-based social platforms, such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65826-what-is-asos-doing-so-right-on-pinterest/">Pinterest</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67020-why-instagram-should-be-the-channel-of-choice-for-marketers/">Instagram</a> and Facebook, where celebrities as well as millenials post pictures of their latest purchases. </p> <p>By continuously and quickly releasing new products, these brands are also able to drive consistent traffic and engagement with their website throughout the year as customers visit the site more regularly to make sure they don’t miss out on the latest styles.</p> <p>Missguided’s founder and CEO Nitin Passi plans to capitalise on the fast in fast fashion by <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2015/04/85199/future-of-fast-fashion-boohoo-missguided">updating its website every hour with new items instead of only once per day.</a></p> <h3>Sell fast</h3> <p>Last, but by no means least, is the ability of fast fashion retailers to test small batches of fashion items in their stores and online and then quickly produce more if the goods are selling well.</p> <p>Thanks to their highly responsive supply chain, these brands are able to deliver new fashions as soon as a trend emerges while established brands will be unable to respond quickly to a sudden rise in popularity of a certain colour or shape.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8068/Screen_Shot_2015-10-16_at_10.50.49.png" alt="" width="1402" height="997"></p> <p>Because fast fashion retailers don’t order in the same volumes as many traditional businesses, opting instead to increase batches on products that sell well, they don’t have piles of unsold clothes to get rid of.</p> <p>This means less need to discount. It also increases the urgency for the customer to visit frequently to get their hands on the latest fashionable items.</p> <p>Studies found that <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/operations/2012/06/zara_s_fast_fashion_how_the_company_gets_new_styles_to_stores_so_quickly_.html">customers are visiting Zara stores an average of 17 times per year, compared to only four to five at the Gap</a> – we can only imagine what the difference online could be!</p> <p>A number of traditional high-street brands are beginning to baulk at this speedier trend for disposable fashions, opting instead to market their products as ‘long-lasting’ and staples of any wardrobe.</p> <p>But with the Gap, possibly one of the most established fashion retailers on the high street, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/gap-backs-earnings-guidance-1440100878">recently announcing its own trial of fast fashion</a>, it looks like the ability to create new designs and bring them to market quickly is a trend that is going to stay.</p> <p>By speeding up the process of creating, marketing and selling garments, retailers will do more than just become faster, they will also help their bottom line by streamlining each of the three key areas of their business. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63977-how-fashion-site-missguided-made-the-switch-to-responsive-email/"><em>How fashion site Missguided made the switch to responsive email</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9908-q-a-boohoo-s-chris-bale-on-digital-marketing-for-fashion-retail/"><em>Q&amp;A: Boohoo's Chris Bale on digital marketing for fashion retail</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66956 2015-09-24T14:45:00+01:00 2015-09-24T14:45:00+01:00 How consistent should desktop and mobile experiences be? Patricio Robles <p>In <a href="https://blog.paribus.co/2015/09/20/the-double-whammy-of-being-poor-making-less-and-getting-charged-more/">a blog post</a>, Paribus, a company that aims to help consumers get money back when products they purchase online drop in price, pointed to an interesting example of how desktop and mobile experiences can vary in significant ways.</p> <p>When Paribus began investigating why one of its users never seemed to apply discount codes to his orders even though they were prominently displayed on the websites he was ordering from, it noticed that those discount codes weren't prominently displayed on mobile.</p> <p>In fact, at one point in time on the Banana Republic website, a 40% discount code wasn't displayed to mobile users at all.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/7261/gap-deal-no-deal1.png" alt="" width="634" height="433"></p> <h3>Oversight, discrimination or smart business?</h3> <p>As Paribus sees it, this had a discriminatory effect. The customer "had no idea he was being charged 40% more than everyone else," Paribus' Eric Glyman argued.</p> <p>Of course, it's entirely possible that the issue was the result of oversight.</p> <p>When adding content to a responsive site, there's always the potential that something will be missed, resulting in content not being visible across all resolutions.</p> <p>And even when content is displayed across all resolutions, screen real estate can dictate that it's displayed more or less effectively, as can be seen in other discount code examples. </p> <p>It's also possible that Banana Republic made a conscious decision not to display the discount code in question on mobile. For example, it's conceivable that in some instances, a retailer would opt to provide greater incentives to only some users based on the knowledge that it didn't need to provide those incentives to others to get the desired results.</p> <p>Just as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65327-why-dynamic-pricing-is-a-must-for-ecommerce-retailers">dynamic pricing</a> has <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62699-online-price-discrimination-a-surprising-reality-in-ecommerce">been the source of controversy</a>, such behavior might leave a bad taste in one's mouth, but it increasingly takes place in some form because it's smart business for companies to use data to optimize their results.</p> <p>At the end of the day, it's clear that there's often a strong rationale for there to be differences between desktop and mobile experiences, but that doesn't mean companies shouldn't be thoughtful about just how different they allow these experiences to be. </p> <p>Retailers don't succeed solely by maximizing individual transactions. They succeed when they maximize customer relationships, and the lifetime value of those customer relationships can easily be affected over time if customers have drastically different experiences based on the devices they prefer to shop with.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66924 2015-09-16T11:19:06+01:00 2015-09-16T11:19:06+01:00 How purchase intent data can help you understand the customer journey Duncan Shaw <p>You know all about the actual purchase event and a bit about what a customer was looking at just before the transaction. But you have very little data to tell you what they were looking at and thinking before they hit your landing page and who they were talking to in the early part of the shopping journey. </p> <p>Think of it as a massive spotlight on the actual act of pressing the ‘buy’ button.</p> <p>You have lots of web analytics and other <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66615-the-importance-of-multiple-touchpoints-for-consumers-during-purchase-stats/" target="_blank">touch point data</a> to help you <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66273-data-sources-that-can-help-optimize-the-customer-experience%20" target="_blank">personalise </a>the journey and understand their <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66788-should-situational-data-be-the-bedrock-of-your-personalisation-strategy%20" target="_blank">situation</a>. But it starts to get a bit murky the further back you go. </p> <p>A <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/single-customer-view-myth-or-reality/" target="_blank">single customer view</a>, such as it is, becomes much less singular if you include the whole customer journey, especially earlier on. Because shoppers look for ideas on sites that you don’t own, they use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66607-google-reveals-cross-device-conversion-stats" target="_blank">multiple devices</a> and they get feedback on social media where you cannot see it.</p> <p>A recent study, <a href="http://www.maybe.xyz/whitepaper%20" target="_blank">Understanding how millennial shoppers decide what to buy</a> (registration needed) by Professor Neil Towers and supported by Maybe Solutions, has helped with our understanding of how complex, subjective and difficult to get data on customer journeys really are. </p> <p>But there is a way forward and here’s what the research found...</p> <p>Lighting up the full customer journey needs ‘purchase intent data’. This is the special data that describes the behaviours of individual shoppers across all their devices and all the channels they use.</p> <p>It includes their interactions with different retailers on their journey and with their friends and shopping advisors.</p> <h3>Every single customer’s ‘purchase flightpath’ is different</h3> <p>Customers embark on very different journeys with different lengths. Each is influenced by different touch points and uses different media and devices. </p> <p>Each has their own individual experiences and expectations. They can move through extremely diverse, long and complicated shopping journeys before they purchase a product.</p> <h3>Customers reach out and are influenced by other people beyond the control of any retailer</h3> <p>They use social media platforms that are nothing to do with any retailer. Customers do a lot of things before they make their final purchase decision. They seek content from different retailers. And they ask for social validation of their decisions from their social networks both online and offline.</p> <h3>Customers use a mixture of different ideas source, which makes it tough to remember.</h3> <p>The survey respondents used a variety of online and offline sources to get ideas for what products to buy.</p> <p>Customers were asked where they looked for ideas and inspiration:</p> <ul> <li>41% said "from a variety of high street shops"</li> <li>39% said "from a variety of shopping websites"</li> <li>32% said they got "ideas from partners, friends and family"</li> <li>25% said from social media</li> <li>21% used printed sources</li> <li>18% used TV</li> <li>15% said search engines</li> </ul> <p>This suggests that ideas are predominantly drawn from product placement in the retailer’s digital and store domains and from social media sources.</p> <p>But how do these ideas mix for any particular customer?</p> <p>What was most striking was not the variety of channels and sources that shoppers used – it was how this mixture of sources made shopping difficult.</p> <p>Taking ideas from different online and offline sources and using different shopping websites seemed to force them into using lots of different ways to remember their shopping ideas. </p> <h3>Customers take opinions from very different sources</h3> <p>When customers were making their final choice of which item to buy, they asked the following for their opinion:</p> <ul> <li>48% asked their partner or spouse</li> <li>37% asked a friend</li> <li>35% asked a family member</li> <li>10% asked a shop assistant</li> <li>6% asked a work colleague</li> <li>3% asked people in online communities or forums.</li> </ul> <p>This indicates that a reliable and trusted opinion was required in the final "ah-ha" moment.</p> <p>The impact of opinions was important as well: between 65% and 80% of respondents stated that feedback validated their opinion.</p> <h3>Customers behave differently with different journey lengths and prices.</h3> <p>Face-to-face communications was the most frequently mentioned. But as their shopping journeys got longer, shoppers used more technological tools to ask opinions from their contacts.</p> <p>It was also found that the use of some digital channels increased as estimated price increased. But as estimated price increased, face-to-face opinion seeking hugely decreased from 71% to 31% of respondents. The higher the price then the more digital the pre-purchase conversation was.</p>