tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/product-pages-merchandising Latest Product pages & merchandising content from Econsultancy 2017-08-02T11:14:52+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69301 2017-08-02T11:14:52+01:00 2017-08-02T11:14:52+01:00 How 10 online retailers promote free and fast shipping Nikki Gilliland <p>While <a href="http://www2.temando.com/l/86602/2017-07-10/4g564b">the research suggests</a> that 86% of UK shoppers prefer free over fast delivery, the majority of retailers assume that customers want a fast shipping service above anything else. As a result, just 27% of retailers say they offer free standard shipping every day, and almost a quarter of retailers admit that they don't use free shipping as a promotional tool.</p> <p>With this in mind, let’s take a look at how some of the biggest online retailers are promoting the service – and perhaps what they could be doing better.</p> <h3>Argos</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67237-eight-examples-of-best-practice-on-argos-product-pages/" target="_blank">Argos</a> is one retailer that firmly favours fast delivery. </p> <p>Its FastTrack service is highlighted throughout its website, heavily promoting the fact that customers can get their hands on products the very same day as placing the order, seven days a week.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7950/Argos.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="365"></p> <p>While the £3.95 price point could arguably put off customers who do prefer free delivery, its Click and Collect service means there is also a fast <em>and</em> free alternative – a feature that combines the best of both worlds. </p> <p>Interestingly, Argos does offer free standard delivery on selected items (in an estimated four working days), but this option is kept a little under wraps, with the retailer clearly placing greater value on its FastTrack option. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7951/FastTrack.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="434"></p> <h3>B&amp;Q</h3> <p>B&amp;Q is not quite as transparent as Argos, with the price of its next day and standard delivery services only being highlighted at the checkout (or in the dedicated delivery info section).</p> <p>It also fails to use the word ‘free’ alongside its click and collect service, and although this is an arguably obvious detail its exclusion seems like a bit of an oversight.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7953/B_Q_1.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="552"></p> <p>That being said, its free delivery on items over £50 is nicely promoted, making sense for customers who will naturally buy bigger or bulkier items online. </p> <p>I also like the icons on category pages that tell customers whether items are available for pick up in-store at a glance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7954/B_Q.JPG" alt="" width="448" height="412"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>John Lewis is a little less worried about the speed of its delivery service, instead choosing to promote free services – both in terms of standard delivery and click and collect.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7955/John_Lewis.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="444"></p> <p>If Temando’s research is correct, and the majority of customers do value low or no-cost shipping, this could work in its favour.</p> <p>However, the fact that customers need to spend £50 to qualify could mean that people are more likely to go in-store. And while it’s a tactic used to increase overall order value, the trend for webrooming (browsing online before buying in-store) could also contribute to customers wanting to look elsewhere.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7959/John_Lewis_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="448"></p> <h3>Tesco</h3> <p>Last week, Tesco announced that it is to roll out its same-day delivery service across the UK, allowing customers to receive groceries from 7pm onwards if they order before 1pm.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, the supermarket is now heavily promoting this online, highlighting how it can bring customers even greater levels of convenience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7957/Tesco.JPG" alt="" width="625" height="555"></p> <p>While the service costs between £3 and £9, it is being offered free for a limited period for members of its delivery saver service. But according to Temando, price is not a deal breaker when customers really desire convenience. Its research shows that same-day delivery is the service that most customers are willing to pay extra for, with 56% of women and 57% of men agreeing. </p> <p>With the likes of Amazon setting the bar for this kind of convenience, it’s not surprising that supermarkets are starting to introduce it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7958/same_day_delivery.JPG" alt="" width="714" height="515"></p> <h3>River Island</h3> <p>River Island often uses delivery promotions to increase online conversions. It is currently offering customers free worldwide delivery for a limited time only. </p> <p>With a prominent site-wide banner on the homepage and a creative tagline, it’s an effective example of how to use free delivery to boost short-term sales. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7960/River_Island.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="481"></p> <p>Again, it looks like River Island is veering toward free rather than fast as its selling point. It also promises free click and collect, and once the current promotion is over, free delivery on orders over £100. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the absence of visible returns information is a bit of a let down. Over a fifth of women are reported to abandon a purchase if free returns are not available, meaning that this could have an adverse impact on conversion rates.</p> <h3>M&amp;S</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67883-marks-spencer-what-does-putting-the-customer-at-the-heart-of-everything-mean/" target="_blank">Marks &amp; Spencer</a> is one of the few online retailers that does not visibly highlight its delivery information at the top of its homepage – you’ll only find it if you scroll down to the very bottom. </p> <p>That being said, the services are clearly explained here, with M&amp;S favouring the word ‘free’ across the board to pique the interest of customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7961/M_S.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="549"></p> <p>Its product pages also provide a lot of clear and concise information, including an eye-catching 'free delivery' notice in red. </p> <p>In terms of the actual delivery, M&amp;S gives customers a load of options, offering standard delivery, nominated day, free over £50, and click and collect. The retailer could most definitely shout about this a little more on its homepage, even if it means moving its current banner higher up the page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7962/M_S_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="711"></p> <h3>Clarks</h3> <p>Clarks is currently choosing to offer a special code for free standard delivery. While it’s similar to River Island’s strategy of using a short-term shipping offer, the inclusion of a code is a bit of a strange choice, only adding an extra step in the customer’s journey.</p> <p>The fact that it’s promoted on the homepage also means that there is nothing exclusive about it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7963/Clarks.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="453"></p> <p>Perhaps it is trying to make customer feel like they’re getting something extra. However, with most people now expecting free or fast delivery as standard, customers might feel it doesn’t provide anything of real value.</p> <h3>Warby Parker</h3> <p>Warby Parker cements its customer-focused service with the promise of free shipping in the US and selected countries. This is obviously a sweet deal in itself, but it also goes one step further in its customer-centric approach with the ‘Home Try-On’ feature.</p> <p>This allows customers to pick five frames to try for five days, before sending back the four pairs they don’t want for free. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7964/Warby_Parker.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="523"></p> <p>While it is undoubtedly a big expense for the company, Warby Parker demonstrates the value of free shipping, ramping up word-of-mouth marketing and increasing customer loyalty thanks to the service.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Warby Parker has a pretty good selection, you can pick 5 to try on at home and they'll send em for free, don't even pay shipping &amp; handling <a href="https://t.co/lwWI1miSbE">pic.twitter.com/lwWI1miSbE</a></p> — (@Jibaye_) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jibaye_/status/886610566848143360">July 16, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>JD Sports</h3> <p>JD Sports is yet another retailer using free delivery as a limited offer. Its inclusion of a countdown timer makes it one of the most effective examples of the bunch though, using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65348-how-to-increase-conversions-by-creating-buyer-urgency-fear-of-loss/" target="_blank">urgency</a> to prompt customers into action. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7965/JD_Sports.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="548"></p> <p>It also promotes this throughout the website, prominently highlighting free delivery on its category and product pages. </p> <p>Temando suggests that shipping is not just about the delivery of items – extra factors like tracking orders and options for leaving items in safe places are also important. JD Sports has a useful ‘Track My Order’ feature, which also helps to improve the customer experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7966/Tracking.JPG" alt="" width="679" height="579"></p> <h3>ASOS</h3> <p>Finally, ASOS uses reliable delivery to instil loyalty in customers. Its Premier Delivery programme costs £9.95 per year for unlimited next day delivery and click and collect – an undeniably enticing deal for regular shoppers.</p> <p>The brand is pretty adept at promoting the service too, nicely highlighting both the fast and free nature of the service in its marketing copy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7967/ASOS_premier.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="533"></p> <p>Elsewhere, it gives customers lots of choice and up-front information, helping to prevent customers from abandoning purchases at the checkout due to surprise costs.</p> <p>Even using the word 'options' here effectively evokes the retailer's focus on flexibility.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7968/Options_ASOS.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="599"></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68739-how-has-click-collect-evolved-and-is-it-still-in-high-demand/" target="_blank"><em>How has Click &amp; Collect evolved, and is it still in high demand?</em></a></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67322-not-offering-same-day-delivery-you-could-be-losing-customers/" target="_blank">Not offering same-day delivery? You could be losing customers</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66151-ecommerce-delivery-how-fast-are-uk-retailers/" target="_blank">Ecommerce delivery: how fast are UK retailers?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69227 2017-07-11T10:45:00+01:00 2017-07-11T10:45:00+01:00 How to attract lots of quality online reviews to your ecommerce store Andy Favell <p>But how do you build and sustain a wealth of quality reviews across your own sites and those of your partners?</p> <p>Answer: 1) Post-interaction email; 2) syndication.</p> <h3>There are two sorts of reviews found on retailer (and other) sites.</h3> <p><strong>1. Organic reviews</strong></p> <p>These are ratings and reviews that the company has collected itself from its customers, probably with the help of a tool, such as Trustpilot, Yotpo, eKomi, Feefo or Bazaarvoice.</p> <p>Let’s be clear, there are lots of ways that companies can and do elicit reviews from customers. These include incentivized requests (e.g. sweepstakes, coupons); post-checkout web survey; sampling (sending out free product; trialling services); requesting reviews via social media channels (paid and unpaid) and soliciting reviews via a homepage banner.</p> <p>However the most common tactic for getting reviews is to request them via post-interaction email (PIE). According to a 2016 survey conducted by Bazaarvoice among its 5,000 retailer and brand customers, PIE is used by 87% of its brand clients and 64% of its retail clients.</p> <p>This could also be called post-purchase email. But then PPE doesn’t have the same acronym appeal as PIE.</p> <p><strong>2. Syndicated reviews</strong></p> <p>These are reviews that were collected on different sites and/or by different companies.</p> <p>These could be reviews that were posted on one retailer website and then reposted to another site in the same group that sells the same products. For example some reviews for products on Shop Direct’s Littlewoods.com were left by customers on the sister site Very.co.uk – see, for example, <a href="http://www.littlewoods.com/calvin-klein-eternity-moment-100ml-edp/1005793955.prd" target="_blank">this perfume</a>.</p> <p>More commonly these are reviews that were collected by brands, perhaps while customers registered a new product to secure a guarantee, which are then supplied to the retailers that sell the brand’s products. These will be distributed through a syndication network such as Bazaarvoice, PowerReviews or Reevoo.</p> <h3>Why reviews matter</h3> <p>As noted in my previous article, which outlined the importance of putting someone <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69220-who-should-own-customer-reviews-in-your-organisation/" target="_blank">in charge of reviews</a>, consumer opinions of products are influenced not only by ratings but also by the number of ratings.</p> <p><a href="https://www.profitero.com/2017/06/profitero-finds-strong-correlation-between-a-products-number-of-online-reviews-and-sales/" target="_blank">Research by Profitero and BzzAgent</a> (June 2016) backs this up. The report concluded that there is a strong correlation between the number of online reviews a product has and ecommerce sales.</p> <p>As shown in the graph below, just adding one review to a product with zero reviews will lead to a sales lift of 10%. Adding 50 reviews leads to a sales lift of 30%. Above 50 reviews products continue to receive a lift in sales, but at a diminishing rate.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7584/bazaarvoice.png" alt="" width="700" height="436"></p> <h3>Post-interaction email - PIE</h3> <p>When a customer has purchased a good or service or otherwise engaged with a company, it is increasingly common for the customer to receive an email asking for feedback. This will often then be posted to the relevant pages of the website. PIE generally gets good results – or better results than other methods – for the retailer.</p> <p>Data provided to Econsultancy by Bazaarvoice, based on insights from its network of 5,000 retailers and brands, shows that this is certainly the case among its customer base. Of all organic reviews on retailer sites the vast majority come from PIE: 81% in APAC, 84% in Europe and 77% in North America. Of all organic reviews on brand sites 80% in APAC, 70% in Europe and 62% in North America come from PIE.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7267/t8_reviews_pie_bazaarvoice.png" alt="" width="615" height="416"></p> <p>Conversations with retailers suggests that success with PIE is an industry-wide phenomena. Shop Direct, which runs the UK-focused online department stores Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, sends a PIE to every shopper post purchase.</p> <p>Paul Hornby, head of ecommerce at Shop Direct, tells Econsultancy:</p> <blockquote> <p>Our biggest driver for reviews volume is our post purchase email, which goes out weekly to every customer who’s bought from us. The email needs to go out at the right time and must represent a consistent customer journey across device.</p> <p>We’ve found from experience that the email should be clean and to the point, with no sales tactics distracting from the call to action. We also introduced an incentive, which has definitely helped to encourage more feedback.</p> <p>We’re now doing a piece of work to understand the optimum length of time to wait before asking for feedback, depending on product category.</p> </blockquote> <p>The screenshot below shows a PIE from Very inviting the customer to write a review for two products purchased, with the added incentive of a chance to win £500 in a monthly draw.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7268/t8_review_email_shopdirect.png" alt="" width="467" height="492"></p> <p>Requesting reviews by email also works extremely well for smaller ecommerce vendors.</p> <p>PuraVida, a San Diego-based ecommerce startup that sells hand-made jewellery from artisans in Costa Rica, has generated a volume of reviews for its <a href="https://www.puravidabracelets.com/collections/best-sellers" target="_blank">best sellers</a> that would make eyes water at many much larger retailers. See image below.</p> <p>Griffin Thall, CEO of Pura Vida Bracelets:</p> <blockquote> <p>We use Yotpo to gather customer reviews. To date, we have sent out over 1.7m emails and have received over 130,000 positive reviews.</p> <p>After 12 days, the customer receives their first review request, five days later they receive their second, and five days later they receive their third. There’s no particular time, just the set amount of days after they purchase.</p> <p>For the copy, we recommend being sincere, personable, and thankful that your new customer shopped with you.</p> <p>After the customer writes a review, we email them with a coupon code to say Thank You.</p> <p>We also use Delighted to monitor our NPS (net promoter score) on a weekly basis. </p> </blockquote> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7269/t8_reviews_email_puravida.png" alt="" width="615" height="482"></p> <h3>What works makes consumers read PIEs, click through and review?</h3> <p><a href="https://www.yotpo.com/data/benchmark/" target="_blank">Research by Yotpo</a>, based on analysis of the 200,000 stores that use the platform worldwide, finds that review solicitation emails have an 8.1% response rate on average. Of course some PIEs will deliver a much higher conversion and some much lower.</p> <p>As any email marketer would expect, just the smallest tweaks to the format and wording – particularly the subject line – can increase the email open rate and the response rate. Yotpo’s research highlights three dos and don’ts:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Do:</strong> phrase the request as a question (delivers an 86% increase in response rate); use an incentive (18.5% increase) and include your store name (10% increase)... duh!</li> <li> <strong>Don’t:</strong> include urgent words e.g. now, today (delivers a 28% decrease in response rate); include customer’s name (19% decrease); use a TOTALLY uppercase word (5.8% decrease).</li> </ul> <p>Great advice, but we’d add two more tips. Don’t: just take Yotpo’s word for it. Do: A/B test your emails to see which tweaks work for you.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7270/t8_reviews_email_yotpo.png" alt="" width="615" height="443"></p> <h3>When is the best time to send a review request email?</h3> <p>According to Yotpo’s analysis of 4.5m emails:</p> <ul> <li>The best time is Saturday 8am.</li> <li>The worst time is Thursday 3pm.</li> </ul> <h3>Syndication of reviews</h3> <p>Syndication of reviews happens more regularly than most marketers would expect and certainly more often than most consumers would notice.</p> <p>There is a mutual benefit for the brand and retailer. It is in both their interest if product conversions on retailer sites are improved due to having more and better quality reviews and ratings.</p> <p>Research undertaken by Bazaarvoice among its customer base finds that some types of retailers are particularly heavily reliant on the syndicated reviews. For food, beverage and drug sites 98% of the volume of onsite reviews are syndicated; in pharmaceuticals 93% are syndicated and in footwear it’s 91%.</p> <p>Retailer dependency on syndication for reviews also varies by region. In APAC 81% of reviews are syndicated, in North America it’s 67% and in Europe 33% of reviews are syndicated.</p> <p>Companies will commonly syndicate reviews via a network of brands and retailers, operated by vendors such as Bazaarvoice, PowerReviews or Reevoo. These network providers will verify the reviews/reviewers and distribute to the brand pages on participating retailer sites. The networks also notify brands and or retailers when reviews have been posted, particularly negative ones, so the brand/retailer can respond.</p> <p>For example, if you checkout <a href="http://www.boots.com/electrical/electrical-dental/electric-toothbrushes" target="_blank">electric toothbrushes on Boots.co.uk</a> there are a variety of products from Philips, Colgate and Oral-B, some with hundreds of reviews.</p> <p>But closer inspection of the best sellers, shows that many of the 352 reviews for the <a href="http://www.boots.com/oral-b-pro-2000-rechargeable-electric-toothbrush-powered-by-braun-10176433" target="_blank">Braun Oral-B Genius</a> toothbrush are from the Oral-B site or Victoria.co.uk, which belongs to P&amp;G (the parent brand), though many are also from Boots shoppers. The majority of 194 reviews for <a href="http://www.boots.com/philips-sonicare-easyclean-hx6511-50-rechargeable-toothbrush-10090162" target="_blank">Philips Sonicare</a> brush are syndicated from Philips.co.uk (as shown below). Similarly the <a href="http://www.boots.com/colgate-pro-clinical-c350-max-white-one-electric-toothbrush-10176644" target="_blank">Colgate Pro Clinical</a> draws the majority of its 80 reviews from Colgate.co.uk.</p> <p>Some products by comparison have no reviews, including <a href="http://www.boots.com/electrical/electrical-dental/electric-toothbrushes/panasonic-ew-dl82-sonic-vibration-rechargeable-toothbrush-10176652" target="_blank">Panasonic Sonic Vibration</a> and <a href="http://www.boots.com/lab-chrome-sonic-rechargeable-toothbrush-10182106" target="_blank">LAB Chrome Sonic</a>, both products are found at the wrong end of the Boots bestsellers list. If the two brands wish to improve sales, a good place to start would be soliciting reviews from customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7271/t8_reviews_philips_boots.png" alt="" width="615" height="575"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69220 2017-06-30T12:00:00+01:00 2017-06-30T12:00:00+01:00 Who should own customer reviews in your organisation? Andy Favell <p>Larger retailers such as Shop Direct and Argos in the UK have already moved in this direction.</p> <h3>The importance of reviews </h3> <p>A study by the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London asked 18 subjects to give a star rating to 210 products based on an image and description on a retailer site. Then they were shown products with the consumer ratings and asked to rate again. The researchers also studied which part of the brain was used by reviewers (but this is way beyond the scope of this article... or author).</p> <p>The following image, taken from the <a href="http://www.jneurosci.org/content/37/25/6066" target="_blank">UCL paper</a>, shows the same product image of a pair of headphones, one has a summary description and the other is accompanied by a summary of reviewer ratings. Below that is the ratings the subjects gave when they gave their impression of the product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7188/reviews_ucl_study.png" alt="" width="615" height="247"></p> <p>Summarising the research <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170531143651.htm" target="_blank">Science Daily</a> (May 2017), reports:</p> <p>'After seeing the online reviews, participants' judgments were heavily influenced by the reviews and gave ratings that were in between their original rating and the average review score.</p> <p>'The number of reviewers also matters. The higher the number of ratings, the more closely the subjects would align their new rating with the average rating. The lower the number, then less closely the new rating would be aligned.</p> <p>'You don’t need to be a scientist to do some user testing or A/B testing along the same lines.'</p> <h3>A successful reviews/CGC program hinges on four things</h3> <ol> <li> <strong>Building a wealth of quality reviews</strong> and ratings across all products. This is partly down to facilitating native reviews (left by users of your site) or syndicating reviews from elsewhere.</li> <li> <strong>Tracking and analysing reviews</strong>, both across the company’s own sites and third party sites – for example, brands need to be aware of reviews and questions posted on retailers’ sites – and feeding back information to relevant departments, partners and suppliers.</li> <li> <strong>Responding to reviews</strong>, especially the negative ones, and answering questions, as quickly and professionally as possible.</li> <li>Facilitating and taking advantage of other types of <strong>user generated content</strong>, such as images and videos.</li> </ol> <h3>So what part of the business should take responsibility for reviews?</h3> <p>To answer this question it is important to understand the company’s motivation for the reviews and CGC program. Improving online sales is the obvious, and often the main reason, but it is rarely the only one.</p> <p>This is highlighted by the results of a Bazaarvoice survey of over 500 retailer and brand clients (the majority of them European) of its reviews network. It asked: what are the key value drivers your consumer-generated content program is expected to impact?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7187/reviews_impacts_bazaarvoice.png" alt="" width="615" height="388"></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Online sales</strong> was the top motivation for CGC engagement highlighted by 83% of all respondents. Why? Better reviews and ratings sell more products.</li> <li> <strong>Website engagement</strong> is next with 66%. Why? Improved loyalty and customer experience.</li> <li> <strong>Search engine optimisation</strong> at 63%. Why? Reviews help SEO.</li> <li> <strong>Enhanced customer service</strong> at 49%. Why? Close monitoring of reviews means issues can be picked up early, e.g. highlighting need for product replacement; reduce calls to call centre.</li> <li> <strong>Product development</strong> at 35%. Why? Incorporating customer feedback into product design. According to different data from Bazaarvoice 14% of brand reviews and 8% of retailer reviews highlight product flaws.</li> <li> <strong>In-store sales</strong> at 31%. Why? The use of online reviews isn’t restricted to online sales.</li> <li> <strong>Reduced returns</strong> at 28%. Why? Peer reviews help customers make more informed choices.</li> </ul> <p>Digesting these results it's clear to see how many business departments at both retailers and brands would, or should, take an interest in reviews. There are considerations for customer service, customer experience, ecommerce, marketing, merchandising and more.</p> <p>So it’s not immediately clear who should take charge of reviews, whether responsibility should be shared, or whether there should be a cross-department reviews and CGC team.</p> <h3>Should retailers and brands put someone in charge of reviews?</h3> <p>We put this question to Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, VP marketing EMEA at Bazaarvoice who replies:</p> <blockquote> <p>Yes you should have someone responsible not just for reviews, but someone looking after your community and your CGC as a whole. This is community in the sense of interacting with customers via forums and reviews. It’s not social media as that tends to be a different department.</p> <p>Many companies that we work with have allocated individuals and teams from 1 to 2 individuals to larger teams running the program full time. Argos is a great example, with the team also working closely with brands to help drive volume around the products.</p> </blockquote> <p>A bit of cyberstalking on LinkedIn shows that the UK online/catalogue retailer Argos has two “Reviews and CGC managers”. It is unusual to find dedicated reviews/CGC roles like this among retailers. Unfortunately the company was unavailable for comment, at time of publication, so we’re unable to tell you more about these roles.</p> <p>Shop Direct, which runs the UK-focused online department stores Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, has a dedicated Reviews Analyst.</p> <p>Paul Hornby, head of ecommerce at Shop Direct, tells Econsultancy:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Shop Direct product reviews analyst looks after product reviews for our sites, along with other user generated content like questions and answers. They’re part of the Findability team, which includes product recommendations, search and navigation, and syndicated content.</p> <p>Product reviews help to increase conversion, so the reviews analyst’s ‘bread and butter’ is to increase the number and coverage of quality reviews across our sites.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Tracking, analysing and responding to reviews and questions</h3> <p>Inviting/encouraging customers to post ratings and reviews and ask questions is great but the systems need to be in place to ensure that the ratings and reviews are monitored and that questions and any negative reviews are answered swiftly.</p> <p>It is also imperative that such valuable feedback does not go to waste. Relevant departments from Customer Service to Merchandising to Product Development (at suppliers) need to be notified and when necessary to act upon the information.</p> <p>The Shop Direct reviews analyst shares responsibility for answering reviews with the merchandising team and insights are shared across teams.</p> <p>Paul Hornby continues:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Shop Direct buying and merchandising teams have been trained on our reporting and insights tool. They can monitor product reviews and respond when necessary, as well as identify product development opportunities, quality issues and fit insight, for example.</p> <p>When they give valuable feedback, our customers want us to respond. It lets them know we’re listening and acting on their views. And, when the reviews are negative, responding increases trust between us and the customer, and helps us manage their expectations.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the US, it isn’t common to find roles or teams dedicated to reviews and CGC either.</p> <p>We asked Keith Anderson SVP, strategy and insight, Profitero and the author of this useful <a href="https://www.profitero.com/2017/06/profitero-finds-strong-correlation-between-a-products-number-of-online-reviews-and-sales/" target="_blank">ratings and reviews report</a> (June 2017), if it is common for US companies to have dedicated reviews personnel. He said “Not really”.</p> <p>Among retailers, he explained, responsibility usually falls to Marketing or the brand team within Marketing. Sometimes it is merged with social media. Among suppliers/brands, it usually falls to brand managers to monitor overall performance (star rating, review count) and to customer service teams to respond to negative reviews.</p> <p>Anderson believes is important for retailers and brands to track and answer reviews.</p> <blockquote> <p>Reviews are increasingly influential. They're among the most trusted sources of information for shoppers and consumers; the "half-life" of a review or rating is much longer than more ephemeral social media like Facebook Likes or Twitter shares; and reviews are displayed at the point of sale, when decisions are made.</p> <p>Responding to negative reviews helps neutralize negative feedback on a micro level (people appreciate a personal response), but also reflects favourably on the brand in a macro sense – it signals that a brand is responsive and cares about customers.</p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>More on customer reviews: </strong></em></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/67806-are-customer-reviews-becoming-less-important-to-local-businesses/">Are customer reviews becoming less important to local businesses?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3197 2017-03-21T12:14:28+00:00 2017-03-21T12:14:28+00:00 Online Merchandising <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 style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;">James Gurd, 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/68821 2017-02-20T14:24:16+00:00 2017-02-20T14:24:16+00:00 Big brands embrace crowdfunding for marketing purposes Patricio Robles <p>Case in point: Clorox's Soy Vay brand partnered with upstart Three Jerks Jerky and launched <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/threejerksjerky/three-jerks-filet-mignon-beef-jerky-new-teriyaki-f">a Kickstarter for Veri Veri Teriyaki</a>.</p> <p>As <a href="http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/clorox-kickstarter-fund-venture-startup/308014/">detailed by</a> AdAge, Clorox, with billions of dollars in annual sales, certainly didn't need capital. But it turned to Kickstarter for the exposure. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/4001/d0562c5265f2c533e23c5d28144667ce_original-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="313"></p> <p>"The Kickstarter thing just kind of naturally evolved, where we said it made sense as an awareness driver, as a way to build one-to-one connections with consumers in a way that's very important to us and, frankly, as a way to cut against the grain of typical product launches in CPG," said Adam Simons, who is head of emerging brands at Clorox.</p> <p>Clorox's emerging brands division, as the name suggests, seeks to develop emerging brands. It also helps some of Clorox's existing brands innovate and revitalize themselves.</p> <p>According to Simons, "one of the pillars of the [group's] strategy was trying to align our emerging brand with others in the marketplace," and that's where the partnership with Three Jerks Jerky, which had previously been seen on the popular television show, Shark Tank, came about.  </p> <p>One of the companies that Clorox's emerging brands group is helping is Soy Vay. It makes a teriyaki sauce that the founders of Three Jerks Jerky were particularly fond of, so when the opportunity to create a teriyaki-flavored beef jerky using Soy Vay's product presented itself, the founders jumped.</p> <h3>If it doesn't make dollars, it can still make sense for big brands</h3> <p>The Veri Veri Teriyaki Kickstarter closed last week, with 741 backers pledging $29,094, nearly triple the $10,000 goal of the project. That's obviously chump change for Clorox, but the exercise of launching a product directly to the public and doing so in an "entrepreneurial and scrappy" fashion was where the CPG mega-brand saw value.</p> <p>And it's not the only major brand that has found value in crowdfunding platforms despite the fact that the funding part isn't important.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4002/opal.jpg" alt="" width="838" height="249"></p> <ul> <li>FirstBuild, a subsidiary of General Electric, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/07/business/global-brands-taking-cue-from-tinkerers-explore-crowdfunding.html?_r=0">raised</a> nearly $2.8m on Indiegogo in 2015 to launch the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. </li> <li>Sony <a href="https://www.wareable.com/sony/sonys-e-paper-watch-was-the-fes-watch-all-along-534">crowdfunded</a> the launch of an e-paper watch on Makuake, a Japanese crowdfunding site.</li> <li>Queen Games, an established tabletop games publisher with hits already under its belt, turned to Kickstarter <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1016374822/everything-alhambra-big-box-special-edition-and-mo">to promote</a> its game Alhambra.</li> <li>And Grammy-winning R&amp;B girl group TLC <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1507621537/tlc-is-back-to-make-our-final-album-with-you">raised over $400,000</a> to fund their final album using Kickstarter.</li> </ul> <p>Beyond the marketing value of launching a new product or business line using a crowdfunding platform, brands increasingly use crowdfunding platforms to get market feedback and validation. That can be particularly helpful, especially when launching a new product in a new category.</p> <p>After all, it's easy for big brands to make assumptions about consumers and markets, but crowdfunding campaigns allow them to test new ideas and products with consumers directly, and on a small, less costly scale. </p> <p>In some cases, brands can even do this without the burdens of their brand names. Sony's Makuake campaign is the perfect example of this. When the electronics giant created its e-paper watch campaign on Makuake, it didn't initially reveal that it was associated with Sony.</p> <h3>There are risks, however</h3> <p>One of the biggest risks is that as established players increasingly use crowdfunding, they will negatively impact the way consumers view crowdfunding platforms. For many consumers, crowdfunding platforms are seen as hubs in which entrepreneurs and young companies can obtain the support they need, financial and otherwise, to make their dreams a reality. In many cases, they are the places to find the <em>next big thing</em> before it becomes big.</p> <p>If entrepreneurs and startups are eventually drowned out by established companies using these platforms as proving grounds, particularly for already-developed products, it could diminish interest in crowdfunding, eventually reducing the value of these platforms.</p> <p>Platforms like Kickstarter are aware of this threat. In fact, when world-famous director Spike Lee used Kickstarter to raise money, some complained that the campaign would hurt creators trying to make a name for themselves. Kickstarter <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/the-truth-about-spike-lee-and-kickstarter-0">responded</a>, stating that it believed Lee's campaign introduced many individuals to crowdfunding for the first time, likely expanding the pool of backers available to others. The company also reminded the world that the projects on its platform are "not charity."</p> <p>Nonetheless, brands should be thoughtful and selective in determining when and how to take advantage of crowdfunding, favoring experimental products and test partnerships like the Clorox-Three Jerks Jerky relationship over fully-baked products that they plan to launch and promote on a large scale anyway.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68711 2017-01-19T13:01:00+00:00 2017-01-19T13:01:00+00:00 Storytelling might boost your product page conversion rates: stats Patricio Robles <p>Origin's study presented 3,000 consumers in the US with two variations of product pages – one with a "standard" description and another with a description containing some sort of story.</p> <p>For instance, one product page for a bottle of wine contained a standard description of the wine with tasting notes, while the variation contained the winemaker's story instead of the tasting notes.</p> <p>Which page performed better? Consumers were 5% more likely to purchase from the product page with the winemaker's story, and they were willing to pay 6% more for the same bottle of wine.</p> <p>Origin saw a similar trend for other kinds of products. Consumers were willing to pay 11% more for a painting, for example, when the artist's story was included on the product page, and 5% more for a hotel room that was promoted with a real guest's story instead of the standard hotel-supplied description.</p> <p>On eBay, the impact of a story was even more pronounced, as Origin was able to lure 64% higher bids for a set of fish-shaped spoons when the listing was accompanied by a short fiction story.</p> <h3>Why simple stories work</h3> <p>Origin's study suggests that companies don't necessarily need to develop strategic, brand-level initiatives to benefit from the power of storytelling. Instead, the mere inclusion of stories into product pages can pay dividends.</p> <p>That the use of simple stories at a product-level can be an effective way to drive more sales and increase perceived value, in turn boosting what consumers are willing to pay for a product, shouldn't come as a surprise. </p> <p>A 2014 Nielsen study <a href="http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2014/global-consumers-are-willing-to-put-their-money-where-their-heart-is.html">found that</a> globally, over half of online consumers are willing to pay more for products and services offered by companies that they believe are committed to social responsibility.</p> <p>While not every story speaks directly to social responsibility, many stories, such as those that provide information about the person who created a product, piggyback on the related trend of consumers wanting to know where their products come from, particularly on a personal level.</p> <p>Stories can also be used to capitalize on the trend of consumers, particularly young consumers, <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/05/millennials-are-prioritizing-experiences-over-stuff.html">preferring experiences over products</a>. Origin's hotel room product page with a photo and story from a real guest sells the possibility of a real experience, not just a hotel room, and a product page for a wine bottle that contains the winemaker's story sells the creator's vision and journey, not just a bottle of wine.</p> <h3>A worthwhile priority for 2017?</h3> <p>Given the ease with which simple stories can be incorporated at an individual product level, companies should consider using the new year to explore the opportunities they have to engage in practical storytelling, even if they're not convinced or ready to apply storytelling at a more strategic, brand level. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/copywriting"><em>Online Copywriting training courses</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67941-10-nudge-tastic-examples-of-persuasive-copywriting-from-charities/"><em>10 nudge-tastic examples of persuasive copywriting from charities</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64969-five-evocative-examples-of-ecommerce-copywriting/"><em>Five evocative examples of ecommerce copywriting</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68692 2017-01-17T14:20:12+00:00 2017-01-17T14:20:12+00:00 Online merchandising: The importance of showing products in context Nikki Gilliland <p>By reducing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68477-how-six-online-retailers-are-combatting-wrong-size-returns/" target="_blank">doubts about size and fit</a>, and enabling a shopper to envisage how they might use a product, ecommerce retailers can help to reduce basket abandonment and encourage consumers to buy.</p> <p>Here's a look at some of the best examples of brands putting products into context online.</p> <p>And to learn more on this topic, book yourself onto one of these Econsultancy training courses:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/fast-track-ecommerce-online-retailing/">Ecommerce and Online Retailing Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-merchandising-selling-in-the-digital-age/">Online Merchandising Training</a></li> </ul> <h3>Boots </h3> <p>When it comes to ecommerce retailers that sell a wide range of brands, implementing product demonstrations across the board can be difficult.</p> <p>In its 'electricals' category, Boots tackles this problem by making use of videos created by the brand manufacturers themselves.</p> <p>It includes demos from the likes of Braun and Dyson, which adds a sense of authority as the information comes direct from a trusted brand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2938/Boots.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="770"></p> <p>As well as helping to make the online experience more engaging, this also gives shoppers a greater understanding of the product's key features as well as how it can be used in real life.</p> <h3>Nespresso</h3> <p>Nespresso uses context to solve consumer worries about the environmental impact of its coffee capsules.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2939/Recycling_with_Nespresso.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="438"></p> <p>Instead of merely focusing on the product itself, it uses its video on the ‘infinite journey of your Nespresso capsule’ to widen the story, informing customers what happens after the product has been used.</p> <p>By highlighting the surrounding environmental factors, consumers are reassured that they are making a responsible purchase, giving them more incentive to buy.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2xya-LSoIMo?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Under Armour</h3> <p>Though many ecommerce retailers use contextual product imagery on-site, it's less common to see it used in email marketing - missing a trick when it comes to reducing basket abandonment.</p> <p>Under Armour is a great example of how to effectively combine copy and contextual imagery, often promoting its products with seasonal context or consumer motivation.</p> <p>The below email displays the products in a real-life scenario, capitalising on the relatable context of running in cold weather.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2941/Under_Armour.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="747"></p> <p>Even better, this example includes integrated video, which nicely complements the various feature-based images.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2940/Under_Armour_email.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="815"></p> <h3>Bosch</h3> <p>Practical products like household appliances are best shown in-use, especially when it comes to large items like fridges and freezers.</p> <p>Bosch is a great example of this, using visuals to tell consumers how much food and drink can fit inside its fridges.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2942/Bosch.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="689"></p> <p>While sizing dimensions are all well and good, this highly visual element means customers are immediately engaged and well-informed.</p> <p>It also uses demonstration videos to further highlight the product's features in a real-life scenario.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Dz2fSx_yQR0?wmode=transparent" width="500" height="280"></iframe></p> <h3>Teapigs</h3> <p>Visuals are a great way to provide context, but Teapigs proves that words can also do the job.</p> <p>Its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67052-a-copywriter-s-template-for-excellent-product-page-descriptions/">product descriptions</a> do not merely list ingredients or describe the taste of the tea. Instead, it tells the customer how and when the tea should be drunk, describing it in relation to time of day, and even with tips like ‘add sugar if particularly hungover’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2944/Teapigs.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="740"></p> <p>This contextual information makes the brand seem more human, which helps to trigger a positive reaction.</p> <p>Finally, it uses recipe ideas to add extra value, reminding the customer that products can be used in scenarios outside of their common everyday context.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2945/Teapigs_2.JPG" alt="" width="390" height="512"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68677 2017-01-05T10:30:00+00:00 2017-01-05T10:30:00+00:00 How 10 ecommerce sites present returns policies Nikki Gilliland <p>According to <a href="https://www.pressroom.ups.com/mobile0c9a66/assets/pdf/pressroom/infographic/2016%20National%20Returns%20Day%20Infographic%20.pdf" target="_blank">research from UPS</a>, 66% of online shoppers want to be able to return items for free, 58% want a hassle-free return policy and 47% want an easy-to-print returns label.</p> <p>So how do brands measure up? Here’s a look at how 10 ecommerce sites present returns policies online.</p> <h3>ASOS</h3> <p>Users can access information about ASOS returns in two places.</p> <p>Either by clicking on the 'Help' tab at the top right of the homepage, or via the 'Free Delivery Worldwide' banner in the centre.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2769/ASOS_1.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="765"></p> <p>The latter page nicely lists the various options for returns, pointing customers to links for creating free labels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2770/ASOS_2.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="792"></p> <p>Meanwhile, the Help section is set out more like an FAQ page, which is also useful for general enquiries and info on overseas returns.</p> <p>While there is a decent amount of information overall, it seems odd that the two sections are not combined or better linked.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2772/ASOS_4.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="569"></p> <h3>Amazon</h3> <p>Amazon's returns policy is easily located within the 'Help' section of its website, as well as in the bottom footer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2791/Amazon_Help.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="653"></p> <p>There's lots of detail on Amazon's policy, with particularly helpful videos explaining how to send back unwanted items.</p> <p>The below 'Returns are Easy' section is also worth highlighting. By breaking down the process into four steps, with simple imagery to highlight each one, users are reassured that it will be hassle-free.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2764/Amazon_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="498"></p> <h3>Schuh</h3> <p>Schuh sets out its returns policy from the get-go, including it on product pages to inform customers before they've even bought anything.</p> <p>This is incredibly reassuring, and could even help to encourage spontaneous purchases thanks to the knowledge that sending it back won't be an issue. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2773/Shuh.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="591"></p> <p>This approach is continued throughout the site.</p> <p>The detailed returns policy highlights the inclusion of sale items, using copy that is geared around customer-satisfaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2774/Schuh_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="542"></p> <h3>Not On The High Street</h3> <p>Returns policies can be tricky for marketplaces, as it is usually up to individual sellers and buyers to negotiate the logistics.</p> <p>Despite its best efforts, Not On The High Street doesn't do much to clear up the confusion, explaining how to return items in a frustratingly convoluted way.</p> <p>It could definitely be made clearer - and the fact that customers are left to 'bear the direct cost of returning the product' is a bit of a sting in the tail too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2775/NOTHS.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="730"></p> <h3>AO</h3> <p>AO.com is well-known for offering an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/" target="_blank">excellent ecommerce experience</a>.</p> <p>Sadly, despite very clear and concise information about delivery, its stance on returns is less easy to locate.</p> <p>It's not impossible to find, however it does take two clicks (on the 'Help and Advice' tab on the homepage and then the 'Help with my Order' section) until any info about returns is displayed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2796/AO.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="683"></p> <p>From there, users still need to click through to find the policy itself.</p> <p>Luckily, AO reminds us how good it is at customer service with its convenient and free collection service, including additional information about its call centres should you need any more help.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2797/AO_returns.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="676"></p> <h3>Firebox</h3> <p>Firebox takes a no-fuss approach to returns.</p> <p>While its inclusion in the homepage footer isn't as visible as it could be, the decision to plainly label it 'returns' rather than hide it behind a 'help' or 'further info' section is appreciated.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2779/Firebox_1.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="582"></p> <p>The returns policy is succinctly and plainly explained, too.</p> <p>I particularly like how Firebox's fun and friendly tone of voice is extended here, which makes the free and easy process sound all the sweeter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2780/Firebox_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="602"></p> <h3>Zappos</h3> <p>Zappos is a US retailer that's known for its superb dedication to customer service.</p> <p>This is immediately apparent to consumers, with the brand even including its free returns policy in its H1 tag.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2781/Zappos.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <p>Onto the site itself, and although the returns page is slightly hidden in the bottom footer, the clear and concise explanation is one of the best I've seen.</p> <p>By breaking it down into a three-step process, it is super quick and easy for consumers to understand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2782/Zappos_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="656"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>Just one click on the 'Customer Services' tab is all it takes to find John Lewis's returns policy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2783/John_Lewis.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="719"></p> <p>Clicking through from the comprehensive main menu, users are met with a thorough and easy-to-understand explanation.</p> <p>Happily, John Lewis lets customers return to various outlets including Royal Mail and Waitrose for free, highlighting various links and easy-to-print labels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2799/John_Lewis_returns.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="768"></p> <h3>Nike</h3> <p>Nike is another brand that succinctly explains its policy, breaking everything down into easy-to-digest paragraphs.</p> <p>A surprising amount of retailers pack far too much copy into a single page, which can automatically put consumers off, but that's not the case here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2785/Nike.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="549"></p> <p>Alongside links to further help on the right-hand side of the page, I also like how Nike includes information about returns it does <em>not</em> accept.</p> <p>Many brands are reluctant to talk about non-refundable items, however Nike's stance comes off as confident and honest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2786/Nike_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="626"></p> <h3>Threadless</h3> <p>Lastly, an interesting approach from Threadless.</p> <p>Its help section is easy to find, coming in the form of a separate pop-out site dedicated to customer support.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2788/Threadless_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="821"></p> <p>Interestingly, Threadless does not offer returns on any of its products.</p> <p>However, it does offer a 'happiness guarantee' - which essentially means it'll replace any unwanted items with a new or different product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2789/Threadless_3.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="426"></p> <p>This is certainly frustrating for consumers who want their money back, however, I think the slightly self-deprecating tone and quirky approach works.</p> <p>It also helps that the 'return policy' is included in each product page, giving consumers a heads-up about what to expect.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2790/Threadless_4.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="556"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68659 2017-01-03T11:05:19+00:00 2017-01-03T11:05:19+00:00 Three reasons behind The White Company’s boost in profits Nikki Gilliland <p>So, in a year that saw the demise of BHS and American Apparel – what’s behind the White Company’s success?</p> <p>Here’s a bit of insight into what I think the business is doing right.</p> <h3>Knowing the customer</h3> <p>The White Company began when founder, Chrissie Rucker, was unable to find high quality and affordable white homewares on the high street.</p> <p>With the launch of The White Company, she aimed to give fellow interior lovers a slice of ‘affordable luxury’. Since then the brand has gone on to expand its range to clothing, home accessories, gifts and furniture.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, given the motivation of its founder, The White Company prides itself on knowing exactly what its customers want.</p> <p>It has never wavered from its ‘white’ theme, only veering into cream or other ivory-like hues. And while its clean, crisp and elegant designs are far removed from the likes of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68372-how-cath-kidston-used-a-disney-tie-up-to-increase-its-customer-database/">Cath Kidston</a>, it shares a similar reputation for selling a lifestyle - not just a product.</p> <p>While a candle might just be a candle to some, to others the idea of a calm and peaceful home is also part of the appeal. Using storytelling to engage its consumers, everything from its slippers to its range of cashmere robes come with irresistible promises such as “before-bed bliss”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Don't get them just any socks, get them our extra-cosy Cashmere Bed Socks -&gt; <a href="https://t.co/FEdW24O0SK">https://t.co/FEdW24O0SK</a> <a href="https://t.co/6xs5AgrheN">pic.twitter.com/6xs5AgrheN</a></p> — The White Company (@thewhitecompany) <a href="https://twitter.com/thewhitecompany/status/810500181192044548">December 18, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Fusing online and offline</h3> <p>The White Company’s chief executive Will Kernan recently commented that the company plans to "invest in enhancing our customers' experience through world-class new stores across the UK."</p> <p>It is this focus on the physical shopping experience which sets the brand apart, especially among fellow homeware giants like Ikea and Home Sense. In comparison to these other brands, its retail outlets are like an oasis of calm, designed to provide the kind of atmosphere you'd generally expect in a luxury or high-end store.</p> <p>Speaking about the visual nature of The White Company's stores, Chrissie herself has said that "some customers actually tell us they love it so much they often pop in just to calm down if they are having a bad day. We want it to be somewhere you love to spend time in, a bit like home really and somewhere you know you can trust the quality, advice and service."</p> <p>With this is mind, it might not be a surprise to hear that The White Company has opened seven more retail outlets in the past year. By translating its recognisable brand values into a physical experience, it has become one of the most inviting spaces on the high street.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2613/White_Company_store.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="473"></p> <h3>Tapping into demand</h3> <p>That being said, The White Company hasn't sidelined its ecommerce business.</p> <p>Another big reason behind its recent success has been in its expansion - not only in terms of physical stores in the UK, but also into the US online market. Seeing 'significant growth' in this area in the second half of the year, it has clearly been a shrewd move from the brand.</p> <p>Again going back to the customer experience, the brand has also been smart in how it has expanded its categories, introducing childrenswear and a line of fragrances into the mix.</p> <p>The White Company hasn't strayed too far from its origins, or its brand values for that matter. Starting life as a 12-page catalogue, it now runs at an impressive 130-pages, circulating an average of 10m copies in the UK alone each year.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thanks, The White Company for my Christmas brochure - so excited to receive it this morning! <a href="https://twitter.com/thewhitecompany">@thewhitecompany</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thewhitecompany?src=hash">#thewhitecompany</a> <a href="https://t.co/hEsfkMYy4e">pic.twitter.com/hEsfkMYy4e</a></p> — Coolcookingteacher (@Clueduponfood) <a href="https://twitter.com/Clueduponfood/status/789136310510424064">October 20, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>With a dedication to giving consumers exactly what they want, it's easy to see why The White Company has generated such success.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><strong><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/68659-three-reasons-behind-the-white-company-s-boost-in-profits/edit/Three%20reasons%20behind%20WHSmith%E2%80%99s%20boost%20in%20profits">Three reasons behind WHSmith’s boost in profits</a></em></strong></li> <li><strong><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68568-three-reasons-behind-dominos-digital-sales-boost" target="_blank">Three reasons behind Dominos’ digital sales boost</a></em></strong></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68629 2016-12-12T14:26:00+00:00 2016-12-12T14:26:00+00:00 Ikea renames products for new SEO-focused Retail Therapy campaign Patricio Robles <p>Developed by Åkestam Holst, a Swedish agency, the website takes a clever SEO-focused approach to promoting some of Ikea's wares.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/194489560" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>As AdWeek's Angela Natividad <a href="http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/ikea-renamed-products-after-frequently-googled-problems-those-products-solve-175005">explained</a>, the agency looked at common Google search queries in Sweden related to relationship problems. It then selected products that can "solve" them, renamed them with those search queries in mind, and added them to the Retail Therapy site.</p> <p>For instance:</p> <ul> <li>A daybed bearing the name, <em>My Partner Snores</em>.</li> <li>A frying pan called <em>How to Stay Married</em>.</li> <li>A dishwasher that has been named <em>My Girlfriend Won't Do the Dishes</em>.</li> <li>Champange flutes sold as <em>When Children Leave Home</em>.</li> </ul> <p>All told, there are more than 100 products that have catchy, SEO-friendly names featured on the Retail Therapy website, which has the same look and feel as the Ikea website, and links to the Ikea website, where users can purchase the featured products.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2331/ikea.png" alt="" width="767" height="451"></p> <p>While slightly gimmicky, there just might be something to the concept: Already, some of the pages on the Retail Therapy appear to have reasonably good Google rankings.</p> <p>For instance, <em>My Partner Snores</em> is on the first page for the search query, you guessed it, "my partner snores." As is <em>She Doesn't Want to Cuddle</em>, a mattress wedge, for the "she doesn't want to cuddle" query.</p> <p>Will the Retail Therapy website actually drive sales? That remains to be seen, but the campaign is a good reminder to other retailers that in a world where so much product discovery now occurs through search engines, incorporating an SEO perspective into product naming might not be such a crazy idea.</p> <p>Many retailers, of course, do pay attention to product names, as well as descriptions, but Ikea's campaign highlights that there may be interesting opportunities for retailers to think about the problems their products solve when developing product names instead of simply describing the product itself, or the solution the product offers.</p>