tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/product-pages-merchandising Latest Product pages & merchandising content from Econsultancy 2016-05-24T11:19:35+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67870 2016-05-24T11:19:35+01:00 2016-05-24T11:19:35+01:00 Why ASOS is still leading the online retailing pack Paul Rouke <p>The reality is the core user experience of ASOS has changed very little over the years and for good reason – it’s an exceptional example of delivering an intuitive, persuasive, streamlined browsing and buying experience.</p> <p>What continually surprises me is how many major retailers still haven’t built some of the core foundations that ASOS did years ago.</p> <p>In this article I share what I feel, in my experience, are things which not only make ASOS exceptional, but should also provide inspiration for other retailers.</p> <h3>Site-wide, immediate visibility of its USP</h3> <p>Long before most retailers realised the importance of communicating their unique selling points site-wide in a high visibility area, ASOS had featured three banners underneath its primary navigation.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5154/UVP_header.PNG" alt="" width="595" height="94"></p> <ul> <li>Ensure the messages stand out visually and attract attention.</li> <li>Make it clear there are distinct messages.</li> <li>Use colour/design touches to draw particular attention to the primary message you want to communicate at any one time.</li> <li>Make it clear if the message is clickable to find out more.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing</strong><strong>:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Use icons to provide visual clues to differentiate the messages.</li> <li>Ensure you communicate your USPs across devices – don’t hide them when you simplify your mobile UI, visitors still need to be persuaded.</li> </ul> <h3>Streamlined navigation experience</h3> <p>For as long as I can remember, ASOS has had an incredibly simple primary navigation bar.</p> <p>The reality is, it offers every visitor a simple and relevant first choice to start exploring the huge product range.</p> <p>ASOS was also one of the early retailers to provide <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65357-mega-menu-design-trends-in-ecommerce-2011-vs-2014/">a mega menu</a>, but not just <em>any</em> mega menu – it has always been tailored to suit a range of buyer types and expose a wide range of the brand areas i.e. Marketplace.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5155/Screenshot__2_.png" alt="" width="594" height="405"></p> <ul> <li>Simplify the primary navigation to reduce the choices visitors have in order to start exploring the product range.</li> <li>Provide structure and clarity of the types of navigation categories visitors have to choose from.</li> <li>If you have new-in and/or sale items, provide quick access to these areas.</li> <li>Use cookies to store which core category a visitor spends most time in, and when they come back to your homepage URL, redirect them back in to that category (this is a subtly executed spot of personalisation that ASOS provides).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing</strong><strong>:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Repeat key USPs at the bottom or in the side of the mega menu.</li> <li>Introduce imagery to attract attention to core categories or relevant/seasonal ranges.</li> </ul> <h3>Continually communicate UVPs and USPs throughout the user journey</h3> <p>Not content with making its USP messages “pop” off the page in the header, ASOS has never been shy about repeating these message throughout the user journey.</p> <p>It’s something that another brand I admire, AO.com, also embraces, and I’ve detailed in-depth how it does this previously in my article titled: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/">AO.com: The best ecommerce experience available online?</a></p> <p>So many other retailers simply don’t do this – they feel that as they have a USP bar in their site-wide header, that is enough and they don’t want to waste precious space repeating these messages in important real estate on core shopping pages.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Explore ways of using subtle animations as visitors scroll down a page to draw attention to key messages (ASOS does this on its homepage with the flying plane).</li> <li>Consider ways to repeat a key message in a highly visible part of the product page (ASOS does this under the product price).</li> <li>Add a key message aimed at persuading visitors to purchase in the bottom of the mini-basket.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5160/UVP_in_mini_basket.PNG" alt="" width="562" height="377"></p> <ul> <li>Promote key messages in the shopping basket, whilst ensuring you don’t take the focus away from checking out.</li> <li>Utilise different visual techniques to draw attention to messages, such as simple, common iconography (remember people typically spend 99% of their time on other websites).</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5161/UVP_in_basket.PNG" alt="" width="593" height="384"></p> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Repeat key USPs at the bottom or on the side of your checkout pages.</li> <li>In addition to promoting USPs in the site-wide header, introduce a section within the footer which communicates core brand messages.</li> </ul> <h3>Provide a simplified, persuasive, non-committal way to begin building up your desired products</h3> <p>Wishlist functionality has been one of the out-of-box features for retailers since the late 1990s, but almost every retailer in 2016 requires visitors to register/sign-in to use it.</p> <p>For over five years, ASOS has allowed visitors to start adding items to their “saved items” without any mention or request to create an account or sign-up.</p> <p>Not only does this provide a seamless browsing experience for visitors whether they are logged in or not, but ASOS has always made “Save for Later” a core action it wants visitors to take.</p> <p>Back in 2010, James Hart (the then Ecommerce Director at ASOS) told me that the site literally sees hundreds of thousands of “saves” made every day.</p> <p>Most retailers tend to see wishlists or saved items as a nice to have but very much a low priority focus area for visitors during the browsing experience.</p> <p>ASOS is the complete opposite for good reason.</p> <p>It knows the importance of the commitment and consistency principle, which has been proven to demonstrate the increased probability of a purchase when people make a smaller initial commitment to lead up to the actual purchase.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5162/Screenshot__1_.png" alt="" width="595" height="451"></p> <ul> <li>Don’t force visitors to have to register or sign-up in order to use the save/love/wishlist function – use cookies initially, then encourage visitors to sign-up so they can access their list across devices.</li> <li>Don’t hide away the wishlist/saved items area – encourage visitors to use this functionality and visit this area, giving it similar prominence to your shopping bag.</li> <li>Allow visitors to save items directly from the product listing pages – don’t just provide this on the product page.</li> <li>Within the wishlist/saved items area, allow visitors to move products to their shopping bag, or scroll through individual product images without having to go to the product page.</li> <li>Integrate the wishlist/saved items area in to the shopping basket to encourage increased average order values and average order quantities.</li> <li>Make saving for later an integral part of the mobile browsing experience.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Introduce a section at the bottom of your browsing pages which promote the items in your saved items area, in addition to the typical section showing recently viewed items.</li> </ul> <h3>A focus on simplicity throughout the core user experience</h3> <p>Starting from the primary navigation but moving in to filtering product listing pages, the redesigned product page template, through to the shopping basket and checkout forms, simplicity is the name of the game.</p> <p>Why reinvent the wheel when you can just deliver the essentials really well<em>,</em> <em>then</em> adding in layers of engagement and persuasion to differentiate and keep visitors coming back?</p> <p>ASOS has embraced the approach of utilising white space to provide clarity on the core functions that visitors are looking for, with the product page being a primary example.</p> <p>The product page also provides an excellent example of encouraging visitors to browse through the available images within the big arrows.</p> <p>It sounds simple because it <em>is</em>, and it’s this simplicity that people really want in the vast majority of cases in all my years of experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5164/product_page.PNG" alt="" width="596" height="560"></p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Focus on delivering a smooth checkout process – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64669-21-first-class-examples-of-effective-web-form-design/">form best practice</a> is your best friend, yet for many retailers, that friend is nowhere to be seen – including the often unfriendly error messages when things go wrong.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Streamline <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63444-ecommerce-best-practice-the-basket-add-what-is-it-and-how-should-it-work/">the add-to-bag experience</a> if visitors haven’t selected a size or colour, rather than displaying an error message alert box which visitors have to interact with in order to make a selection. <a href="http://www.very.co.uk">Very.co.uk</a> does this extremely well and I know that it performed significantly better when it was A/B tested against the current ASOS approach.</li> </ul> <h3>What do you think?</h3> <p>Thanks for reading and I hope it has provided ideas and opportunities which you can build in to the foundations of your ecommerce experience.</p> <p>So what are the highlights of the ASOS user experience for you? What areas do you feel it could improve upon?</p> <p>Which other retailers do what ASOS does but more intuitively or more persuasively? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67825 2016-05-10T11:27:54+01:00 2016-05-10T11:27:54+01:00 Fashion faux pas: Five times 'edgy' brands went too far Nikki Gilliland <h3>Urban Outfitters </h3> <p>It seems like there is an Urban Outfitters scandal on a yearly basis, and already 2016 has been no exception.</p> <p>After offending customers with its references to depression, the company recently withdrew the Peachy Head shampoo for ‘suicidal hair’. </p> <p>With similar hullaballoo surrounding the <a href="http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/05/05/urban-outfitters-kent-state-controversy/">bloodstained sweatshirt</a> and ‘Eat Less’ t-shirt, it seems this is one brand that just can’t learn from its mistakes. Funny that.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4783/Peachy_Head_Shampoo.PNG" alt="" width="486" height="621"></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Dear <a href="https://twitter.com/UrbanOutfitters">@UrbanOutfitters</a> think this is an acceptable product aimed at teenage girls? Shameful AND hugely irresponsible. <a href="https://t.co/3gdwadGj5Q">pic.twitter.com/3gdwadGj5Q</a></p> — Sam Missingham (@samatlounge) <a href="https://twitter.com/samatlounge/status/725705184115064832">April 28, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Forever 21</h3> <p>Maybe it’s a case of keeping up with the hipsters, but American brand Forever 21 recently jumped on the controversial slogan bandwagon.</p> <p>A men’s t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Don’t Say Maybe If You Want to Say No” was unsurprisingly met with outrage due to its rape-justifying undertones. </p> <p>After a slew of customer complaints the shirt has subsequently been pulled from the website, but with the recent news that Forever 21 is <a href="http://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2016/05/forever-21-closes-westfield-stratford-outlet">scaling back</a> on its UK stores, the brand has certainly not had the best start to the year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4784/Forever_21.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="732"></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"> Forever21 allowed a shirt suggesting victims are to blame for rape. Let's not allow anyone to spend money here again <a href="https://t.co/cdeJH34ODR">https://t.co/cdeJH34ODR</a></p> — Brad Simpson (@PucksOnTheNet) <a href="https://twitter.com/PucksOnTheNet/status/709445009368604673">March 14, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Primark </h3> <p>Most famously criticised for issues relating to cheap labour, Primark has also stirred up controversy over the kind of kids clothing it makes. </p> <p>Fed up with seeing ‘Future WAG’ t-shirts and high heels for eight-year-olds, online parenting network Mumsnet launched the ‘<a href="http://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/let-girls-be-girls">Let Girls Be Girls’</a> campaign.</p> <p>As a result, the British Retailers Consortium reviewed its best practice guidelines, and high street retailers like Boden and Asda signed up to show support.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4785/British_Retailing_Consortium.PNG" alt="" width="750" height="565"></p> <h3>Dolce &amp; Gabbana</h3> <p>The online launch of D&amp;G’s summer 2016 collection has been eagerly anticipated. However, customers were left shocked (and more than a little bemused) by the name of one item in particular.</p> <p>A leather sandal – complete with pom poms and other colourful embellishments – was absurdly labelled the “Slave Shoe”. </p> <p>Despite quickly changing the name to “Decorative Flat Sandal”, the brand has remained entirely tight-lipped over its latest embarrassment.</p> <p>Combined with the controversial comments about <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/11473198/Sir-Elton-John-calls-for-Dolce-and-Gabbana-boycott-after-row-over-same-sex-families.html">same-sex families</a>, this provides even more ammunition for Elton John’s #BoycottDolceGabbana hashtag. </p> <h3>Zara</h3> <p>Known for its designer-inspired clothing, Spanish retailer Zara took things a step too far in 2014.</p> <p>Despite being marketed as a ‘Sheriff-inspired’ outfit - with its horizontal stripes and yellow star – one children’s top in particular looked a little too reminiscent of the garments worn by Jews during the Holocaust. </p> <p>The company rapidly removed the product and apologised, however it’s hard not to wonder at what point the penny dropped. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What were the designers thinking <a href="https://twitter.com/ZARA">@ZARA</a> ? <a href="http://t.co/SukupXR3XN">http://t.co/SukupXR3XN</a> <a href="http://t.co/hzhcUbO0Kz">pic.twitter.com/hzhcUbO0Kz</a></p> — Nathalie Rothschild (@n_rothschild) <a href="https://twitter.com/n_rothschild/status/504543165429596160">August 27, 2014</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/eylanezekiel">@eylanezekiel</a> We honestly apologize, it was inspired by the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western films and is no longer in our stores</p> — ZARA (@ZARA) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZARA/status/504568804626931712">August 27, 2014</a> </blockquote> 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: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>