How to increase Add-to-Cart rate on your ecommerce store

Add-to-cart rate is a pivotal indicator of your ability to efficiently monetise your website. But are you doing everything you can to optimise your add-to-cart (ATC) rate? When a visitor adds items to the cart (or ‘basket’), they are revealing a high level of buying intent. As such it is a critical step in the purchase process, and is something that you should try to optimise. So what affects add to cart rate? And how might you go about improving it? Let’s explore why this is a crucial ecommerce metrics and take a look at what affects it. How to calculate ATC rate The formula is straightforward: you just need to figure out the percentage of visitors who have added an item to the cart / basket. You can track this via Google Analytics, if you’re using the enhanced ecommerce plugin, or directly via your Littledata dashboard, if you want to cut through the noise. Why is ATC rate important? Add to cart rate is one of the main metrics to keep an eye on if you manage an ecommerce site. It tells you so much about your product selection, pricing strategy, traffic acquisition tactics, merchandising, and user experience. For example, a sudden decline in ATC rate following an increase in marketing spend may be the result of targeting the wrong type of visitors after launching a new ad campaign. Or, it may be that your pricing is out of sync with the market. Likewise, if you’re charging for delivery then shoppers may look elsewhere to save on shipping costs. These things can be quickly adjusted, but only if you’re keeping an eye on ATC rate, and can figure out what is affecting any decline in click rates. How do I know if my ATC rate is good or bad? The average ATC rate is around 4%, though beauty, travel and retail sites tend to perform better than that. You can compare your own performance vs your peers via Littledata Benchmarks, which tracks performance data from a sample of more than 12,000 ecommerce websites. If you connect Google Analytics you'll be able to see your own data alongside the market average. We use AI to determine your category, though you can manually override our selection should you wish to do so. The key things to get right Your inventory is probably the first thing you should analyse. If your visitors are looking to purchase something that you don’t sell, then it’s game over. You can’t expect these people to click the add to cart button. After that, look at the specifics of your product offering. Are you pricing products competitively? Some competitor research will help you to bring your pricing into line with the market average. You should also review perceptions of trust. If your site isn’t trustworthy then people won’t want to buy from it. Conduct some user testing to find out whether you’re sending out the right trust signals. Merchandising also plays a huge part in driving up ATC rates. You need to do a good job of selling, and not just the product in question but also related products and add-ons. Up-selling and cross-selling strategies can improve ATC rates, as well as a bunch of other ecommerce metrics. I’ve already mentioned visitor intent, and that’s something that is going to play a big part in whether people add items to the cart. Are you targeting people who are ready to buy, or people who are not so far along the purchase path? There are of course very good reasons for targeting both, and it’s important to think about ATC rate in the context of multiple sessions and an elongated buying journey. Finally, there are a whole host of user experience pitfalls to dodge, and some optimisation tactics to test... How does the user experience affect ATC rate? If we put the product / pricing / people challenges to one side, we can focus on some of the onsite areas to address. So how might a poor user experience cause problems for prospective shoppers? Well firstly, there’s the simple matter of findability. Being able to easily find products is absolutely essential. That means providing shoppers with intuitive navigation, strong scent trails, excellent onsite search tools, and the ability to sort and filter items. Then, when it comes to clicking buttons, there are all sorts of basic things to get right. Button optimisation is the science of enticing clicks through good practice and persuasion, but it’s also about making sure that buttons can actually be clicked (especially for mobile users). There’s also the gentle art of copywriting, which is a proven winner when it comes to the things you can easily test. Words are incredibly powerful and tiny changes can have a dramatic impact on click rates, and all sorts of other metrics. So what can I actually do to increase my ATC rate? You can work your way through the above areas when conducting an ATC rate audit. Let’s also narrow our focus towards the onsite experience, as I have some specific ideas to help you optimise your buttons. I will outline these below. These ideas are taken from our button optimisation basics mission, which is aimed at improving ATC rate. So then, here are some simple ways to quickly optimise your add to cart buttons. Be sure to check out Littledata Missions for more proven ideas to help you increase the key ecommerce metrics… and online sales. Test, test, test! 1. Add some 'bonus text' within or below the CTA Spicing up your CTA with an extra message around it can work really well. ShipStation uses this tactic with their landing page, as shown below: If you weren’t already tempted to start your trial, you might become more willing after taking the 'no credit card required' message into account. 2. Allow shoppers to add items to cart on product list pages On product listing pages the primary objective is to get the user to buy, not to read information. As such, you should allow shoppers to be able to buy directly from list pages. It will provide a fast-track to the checkout for anyone in a rush to buy. Make your list pages scannable and use contrasting colours for ATC buttons to improve visibility. 3. Create great micro-copy Optimise your micro-copy and CTAs to ensure they never fall on deaf ears. Use of power words in every CTA and super descriptive headlines. 4. Design a button big enough to touch Fitt’s Law states that the bigger a button is, the easier it is to click on. Simple, really. And it usually pays off: studies have shown that increasing a button size by 20% lead to a jump in conversions. Optimising for a mobile platform is a key part of this, as a comScore study found that consumers spend 69% of time shopping on mobile devices. Buttons need to fit inside the screen and be easy to read, before they can be touched. Buttons should be large enough to be clickable, without distracting from the value proposition. 5. Leave enough space between tappable links Mis-pressing is common on mobile devices, as evidenced by all of your embarrassing typos. You don’t want your customers getting frustrated that their finger keeps pressing an unwanted button or link, so ensure that they're a) big enough and b) there is enough space is left between them. 6. Keep conversion elements above the fold Peep Laja has stated that content placed above the fold grabs 80% of our attention. As such this is the obvious place to start when optimising the key conversion elements on your website. Meanwhile, an eyetracking study by Nielsen Norman group found that 102% more attention is paid to information above the fold, compared to that placed below the fold. Things to optimise at the top of the page include your primary call to action, buttons, navigation, basket, personalised content, and merchandising. 6. Lower the commitment (‘shop now’ vs. ‘buy now’) One A/B test compared conversions between three versions of a CTA, which were: “buy now”, “order now” and “add to cart”. The latter saw a significantly increased conversion rate (approximately 11%) in all three sites tested. “Add to cart” does not imply the act of kissing goodbye to your cash quite as much as the other variations do. A shopper may feel much more inclined to react positively to this lower level of commitment. 7. Place risk-reducing messaging next to buttons and CTAs The only way a customer is going to purchase your product is by making them feel comfortable enough to click on all the buttons that stand in their way. Copyblogger emphasises the importance of risk-reducing messages around buttons. It found that one small variation in text produced 34% more conversions than a version that didn't provide any reassurance. 8. Use "click triggers" adjacent to buttons and CTAs It would be great if every visitor to your site would follow your well-intentioned CTA and add things to their carts. Fortunately, it has been shown that this could happen more often if you provide a nudge or two. Nudges can be as simple as declaring potential savings should a customer buy your product during a sale. Other click triggers which can boost your site’s performance include ones which eliminate doubt, simplify the purchase process or provide some kind of guarantee. 9. Use a text call to action for your ‘add to cart’ button Many studies have shown that it’s better to use text within the button as a call-to-action, as opposed to an icon (though you can use both). One such test was undertaken by Fab, which replaced a small, icon-focused button with a larger, text-focused button. This simple test increased ‘add to cart’ clickthroughs by a seriously impressive 49%. 10. Use action words for button labels The language you choose for your CTA can have a real impact on its performance. Words like ‘get’, ‘try’, ‘go’ and ‘add’ are all well worth testing. Start your button optimisation mission today Littledata has a range of Missions to help optimise things like ATC rate. You can launch the button optimisation basics mission directly in the app! We’ll measure the results in your personalised dashboard, and will suggest a bunch of other optimisation ideas to help you improve overall ecommerce performance. In doing so you will also get access to all of the other lovely Littledata features and tools. What’s not to like?

2018-12-18

Optimising your ecommerce store for the mobile-first index

In March 2018, after a long digital drumroll of anticipation, Google announced that it was rolling out mobile-first indexing. What does this mean for your SEO? In short, if your ecommerce site isn’t optimised for mobile, you’re losing out on a huge source of traffic. Source: Google After much research into the way people are now interacting with search engines, the conclusion is that there has been a marked shift towards mobile. In typical Google fashion, what searchers want, searchers get. So, it was decided that mobile would be a top priority. But how dramatic has this turn towards mobile been? The answer is definitely substantial enough to warrant this new shift in Google’s priorities. According to this Statista report, in 2018, 52.2% of all web traffic comes through mobile channels. While that is indeed significant, it is not the most telling fact about the current state of mobile traffic. What is even more noteworthy is the steady pace with which this form of traffic is increasing. The same Statista study shows a rise from 50.3% the year before, which built on 35.1% in 2015. This is not a trend which is fly-by-night. As you already know, when it comes to eCommerce, the success of your business depends on keeping up with search engine best practices and ranking criteria. These best practices can help you boost your ecommerce search traffic. With this in mind, you simply cannot afford to ignore mobile-first. Before I tell you how to adopt this for your eCommerce store, it’s necessary to explore what mobile-first indexing entails. Let’s dive in. What is mobile-first indexing? In a nutshell, mobile-first indexing refers to a method of search engine ranking that makes use of the mobile version of websites to organize SERP items. Google looks for relevant data to decide how best to answer the questions their searchers are asking. If the army of crawling bots find relevant information on your site, you may be moved up the ranks. In the past, Google rankings were based on desktop versions of websites. With mobile-first, the move is towards crawling and indexing mobile sites, rather than their desktop companions. This means that websites must be responsive and suitable for use on mobile, or mobile versions must have the same comprehensive content as the desktop. If you are breaking into a cold sweat as the realisation dawns that all your SEO efforts have been concentrated on your desktop site, take a deep breath. As Google has said, the move is gradual, and will not happen without notification in the Search Console. If they deem your site ready for the move over to mobile-first indexing, you will receive the following notification: Source: Google It’s important to note at this point that the Mobile-first index is not a separate index. Google continues to only have one index, as it always has. The shift means that the mobile version of websites will be prioritised, rather than being a move towards an additional type of indexing system. But how can you optimise for this change? 3 key steps to mobile optimisation 1. Switch to one responsive website As Littledata recently outlined on this blog, moving to responsive web design can be a very good move. What is this responsive design I speak of? Quite simply, it refers to web design that works well across a range of platforms. It prioritises user experience to ensure that the person interacting with your site is able to navigate it with ease, regardless of which device they use. A major perk of this is that whomever is in charge of the upkeep of your store does not have to monitor two (or more) different versions of your site. They have one site to take care of which will, if intelligently-constructed, work for an optimal user experience. If you do prefer to keep things separate, make sure that you pay attention to the mobile version of your site, rather than it merely acting as a subsidiary of your desktop site. As we will look at in step 3, it’s not a given that your SEO efforts will migrate over to the mobile version without some cognisant intervention on your part. 2. Get speedy Hopefully, page loading speed has already been a major priority when it comes to your SEO efforts. Sales in the eCommerce sphere are highly dependent on being able to keep your shoppers engaged and open for conversion to a sale. If your page does not load quickly enough, your customers will not stick around. Note: Check out these case studies on HubSpot for examples of how the speed of your site can affect your profit margins. When it comes to mobile-first however, page load speed is even more integral to your success. It is most certainly a top priority for Google in terms of how they allocated their ranking positions, and should be for you too. Luckily, there are numerous methods to both test and increase your page load speed: Start by looking at what Google’s very own Search Console has to offer. Through their Webmaster Lab Tools, you’ll quickly be able to see how well your site is performing and whether you need to step up your game. Third party tools such as Think With Google can be excellent accompaniments to other Google Analytics tools when it comes to deciphering how your site is faring. Ensure that your web design is not slowing down your whole operation. If you don’t have the technical knowhow yourself, get a developer to run an audit to see if your server speed, content configuration, or baseline coding is placing any obstacles between your users and an instantly-loading page. 3. Ensure your SEO tactics are still powerful If you have spent a lot of time and energy ensuring that your desktop site is fully ”SEOd”, make sure that your efforts carry over into the mobile iteration of your eCommerce store. Here’s a very brief checklist: Is all that beautiful content you created crawlable in the mobile version of your site? Those titles and descriptions that you put so much effort into? Make sure all your metadata carries over! Is the mobile version of your site verified with Google’s Search Console? Some final tips As an eCommerce shop owner, your concerns are not only getting customers to your site, but ultimately converting them. When it comes to mobile, there are specific trends that CROs are highlighting when it comes to transforming your customers into paying ones. In this comprehensive analysis by Shopify, they take an in-depth look at a study done by inflow on Mobile Conversion Optimization Features used in Best-In-Class Retailers. What is particularly useful in this report is what they refer to as a don’t and a do in terms of what is currently leading to optimal conversion rates for eCommerce business owners. As a parting gift, I’d like to share these two insights with you as ways to bolster your own efforts. In summary: Say no to hero slider images. In-depth research into mobile conversion rates has illustrated that customers are less than moved by them. Usher in the age of the top navigation menu. A relatively unused feature in the eCommerce world, all the data is pointing towards its efficacy in terms of mobile conversion rates. The takeway... Point 1: Don’t panic. Google will notify you if they’re switching you over, and will prioritise sites they deem more ready. Point 2: Start thinking with an on-the-go mindset. Make sure your store’s UX for mobile is as streamlined as possible. Make sure that your SEO efforts have carried over. Point 3: Don’t stop at optimising your mobile site for traffic - optimise for conversions too. Understand what will compel mobile customers to a sale. Good luck!   This is a guest post by Charlie Carpenter. He is the co-founder and CEO of Kite. He is a mobile advocate with over ten years of industry experience. After working for large and small agencies for many years, he co-founded Kite; a software solution for print-on-demand, zero inventory merchandise, and personalised photo print goods. As well as an entrepreneur, Charlie is a seasoned product strategist with experience of various types of digital projects which include: Responsive and Adaptive Websites, Mobile & Tablet Apps, Hybrid Apps, Cross Platform App development. You can connect with Charlie on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter.

2018-12-05

Average order value benchmarks 2018: how do you compare? (INFOGRAPHIC)

The holiday shopping period has us obsessed with one of our favourite ecommerce metrics: average order value (AOV). How does your site compare? A new infographic breaks down the stats. Increasing average order value usually has a dramatic impact on profits and ROI from marketing spend. It is also a gift that keeps on giving, as optimisation in this area is something that can deliver ongoing results over the long term. What does ‘average’ look like? Well, that’s going to depend on your sector, as well as the level of optimisation maturity reached by your peers. There’s not much point comparing the AOV of a small jewellery site with a large travel website. It doesn’t tell you anything meaningful. It’s more interesting to deep dive into your niche, and the good news is that we have some sector-specific ecommerce benchmarks to share with you, based on data from the 12,000+ ecommerce websites that have connected to the Littledata app. Below is a visualisation to show you some of our numbers (there's much more to explore within the app). Compare your own performance To see your own data alongside the industry averages, simply hook up your Google Analytics account with Littledata, and the app will show you how you’re performing relative to your peers (it’s free to connect). The app will also show you benchmarks for the other key ecommerce metrics, alongside AOV. No doubt you’re also interested in things like conversion rate, checkout completion rate, product list CTR, and so on. Are you benchmarking your ecommerce site in the best sector to help you increase revenue? We use the IBM Watson API and some smart logic to categorise websites automatically, though you’re able to manually override that should you need to do so. For example, you can compare against similar sized SEO-driven websites in your location, or look specifically at retailers in your vertical (eg. health and beauty products by subscription). Underperforming? We’ve got your back... There’s no need for panic if your numbers don’t look as good as your peers, as the Littledata app will recommend specific optimisation ideas via our new Missions feature. You can launch missions to improve your ecommerce performance and increase sales. I'd love to know what you've done to increase average order value. Do leave a comment below if you have tips to share. PS. Feel free to share this infographic, or include it in your own blog posts, as long as you include a link back to this post and our main website (www.littledata.io).

2018-11-30

Are you looking at the wrong Black Friday metrics?

Paying attention to the right ecommerce metrics can help you establish the best customer base and shopping experience for long-term growth. But many retailers still focus only on the most popular metrics -- especially during the online shopping craze of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (#BFCM). Over the next few weeks ecommerce managers will be obsessing over data, but which stats are the most important? Two popular metrics -- ecommerce conversion rate and average time on site -- may be misleading, so I recommend looking instead at longer-term benchmarks. Here's how it all breaks down. Littledata's ecommerce benchmark data now contains indicators from over 12,000 sites, making it an ideal place to get a realistic view of Black Friday stats. Last year we found that the impact on Black Friday and Cyber Monday was larger in 2017 than in 2016. Using that same data set of 440 high-traffic sites, I dove into the numbers to see how this affected other metrics. Metrics to avoid I think that overall ecommerce conversion rate is a bad metric to track. From the leading ecommerce websites we surveyed, the median increase was 30% during the BFCM event last year...but nearly a third of the stores saw their conversion rate dip as the extra traffic didn’t purchase, with this group seeing a median 26% drop. Some stores do extremely well with deals: four sites from our survey had more than a 15-fold increase in ecommerce conversion rate during BFCM, and nearly a quarter saw more than double the conversion rate over the period. But the real question is: will tracking conversion rate hour-by-hour help you improve it? What could you possibly change within in day? Another misleading metric is average time on site. You may be looking for signs that the the extra traffic on the holiday weekend is engaging, but this is not the one to watch. The time on site for visitors who only see one page will be zero, which will mask any real increase from engaged visitors. Where to focus instead Now, do you know what good performance on funnel conversion metrics would look like for your sector? If not, have a look at Littledata’s industry benchmarks which now cover over 500 global sectors. Littledata’s benchmarks also include historic charts to show you how metrics such as add-to-cart rate vary for the average retailer in your sector month by month. Next try the ‘speed’ performance page to see how fast a user would expect a site in your sector to be. If you see site speed (as measured in Google Analytics) drop below average during Black Friday trading it’s time to pick up the phone to your web host or web operations team. Then, are you tracking return on adverting spend for extra Facebook Ads you're running during the quarter? Ad costs will spike during the peak trading period, and you make not be getting the same volume of traffic conversion into sales. Here are some quick pointers. Facebook Ads. Littledata’s Facebook Ads connection will ensure accurate data, with a dedicated Facebook report pack for automated insights. Shopify. If you're running your site on the Shopify platform, read up on which metrics are most important for Shopify stores and check out Shopify's BFCM Toolbox for seasonal online marketing. Missions. Use Missions in the Littledata app to make permanent improvements to your user experience. BFCM may be over before you can make the changes, but customers will keep buying the rest of the year. For example, can you increase add-to-cart rate with tips such as highlighting faster selling items or recommending an alternative to out-of-stock products? So focus on some clearer metrics and I hope Black Friday brings you every success!

2018-11-19

15 Shopify apps to help you increase average order value (AOV)

We recently flagged up 15 proven techniques to help you increase average order value, which is one of the fastest ways of growing ecommerce revenue. Many of Littledata's customers use the Shopify platform, so I thought I'd take a look in the app store to see what's available to help implement some of these techniques. I found dozens of great apps that can be used to quickly test some of our ideas. In doing so you might just increase conversion rates and other key metrics too. Below are 15 of the best ones - click on the screenshots to check them out in more detail. Many of these apps are paid-for, though normally offer free trials, and in any case the monthly cost is low. You should make back your investment and then some. I've focused on the apps that have high review scores. By installing these apps and launching Littledata's optimisation missions you'll be able to quickly improve ecommerce performance. Do let us know how you get on! CartHook CartHook's app allows you to create a customisable one-page checkout, which helps to simplify the user experience and can improve conversion rates. It also allows you to upsell, by showing customers relevant products after they have completed their initial purchase. CartHook also provides you with the option of showing customers a final thank you page. You can also use the app to build custom funnels for each product. Neat. Littledata integrates seamlessly with CartHook's one page checkout so you can track every part of the ecommerce sales flow. Enquire This app allows you to show customers post-purchase surveys, to help gain valuable insight into what made them buy. You can ask customers all kinds of questions. The default is 'How did you hear about us?', but other questions can help you profile your customers, to gather feedback, testimonials, reviews, or to segment email lists. Use the survey data to refine your marketing efforts, in order to attract the right kind of buyers. Plus, I've heard through the grapevine that a Littledata - Enquire integration is coming soon. Stay tuned! Cross Sell As you might have already gathered, this is a comprehensive cross-selling app. Persuading customers to add more products to their cart is a proven way of increasing average order value. With Cross Sell, you simply hand-pick the products you want to attempt to cross-sell with each item. It comes with the “Smart Cart” feature which recommends cross-sells based on the last product that the user added to their cart. The app will also cover you when the ones you select are out of stock, by showing default products. Upsell Bundled Products Here's another app that does what it says on the tin. Use it to create product bundles. Bundling reduces cognitive load and can be incredibly persuasive, especially when discounts are on offer. This app allows you to package up related products so that customers can buy them with one click. You can create unlimited bundles with the same product, to test different ideas. Discounts can be applied as a set price or a percentage (we advise that you do both, but definitely the former). Countdown Cart This is a widely used countdown app, which has been very well rated. It lets you choose from a wide range of themes to suit your store. The app is free, lightweight and installs very quickly. Features include a classic countdown timer, which puts pressure on the shopper to purchase before the clock hits zero. It also makes use of real-time social proof by show shoppers how many people are viewing items, and how many times something has been sold. This can increase the motivation to buy. Enforcing principles of scarcity can lead to an uplift in conversion rates and AOV. Discounted Pricing You can generate more sales by offering discounted pricing at different thresholds. This app allows you to offer shoppers volume discounts, which is a proven technique to increase order values. Show shoppers how bulk buying becomes more cost efficient, and they might just add more items to their cart to qualify for the bigger discounts. The app allows these discount tables to be visible on all devices, and is quick to set up. AfterShip Returns Center Reduce friction between your shoppers and your store by allowing free returns. This helps to encourage higher spending by creating a ‘risk-free’ purchase experience. With the app, customers are able to submit return requests in a few clicks. The best thing is that you don't necessarily need to lose the spend, as you have the option of adding credits to a customer's account (as well as issuing a refund back to their bank account). Wishlist Plus Wishlist Plus allows users to add products to a wishlist without needing to be logged in. It also syncs wishlists across devices. These features help to remove purchase barriers, and when checking out a shopper may be tempted to add products that are sitting in their wishlist, which will increase order value. The app has gained a 4.9 rating on the Shopify App store, and the reviews reference the "excellent customer service" provided by the developers. Rewardify Rewardify allows you to add credit to your customer’s account when they complete certain tasks such as meeting a minimum spend, selecting a specific shipping option or buying certain items. All great ways to increase AOV. Gift Cards, Loyalty & Rewards You can use this app to offer deals such as a free $10 gift card with the purchase of a $100 gift card, or selling $100 cards for $85. Show these kinds of offers to the right people at the right time and you might just increase AOV. The app also allows you to send gift cards to other people, and to use store credit as an upsell tool. Product Reviews Product Reviews is a simple app that provides a platform for social proof - a key psychological phenomenon to keep in mind when trying to increase AOV. It sends review scores to Google to enhance your listings, and you can also determine which reviews to show and hide. Gift Wrap Plus Many shoppers are happy to pay a few extra pounds to have their products gift-wrapped before they arrive. Installing this app allows you to offer that option, and it is one which can definitely increase your AOV. The app allows for extras such as gift messages, and lets you see your best performing gift-wrap styles. Ultimate Sales Boost Here's another app that focused on urgency and scarcity to boost conversion rates and average order value. It has plenty of features to help you improve merchandising, calls to action, and highlight social proof, such as low stock warnings and 'recently sold' alerts. The app is easy to use and configure, which helps to explain its 4.9 star rating. Smart Shipping Bar Use this to promote shipping offers via a bar at the top of the page, which updates as items are added to the cart. It will show customers when they qualify for free shipping. This is excellent for any store that offers free shipping when a minimum order amount has been reached, such as $50. And that's a proven way to increase AOV. Littledata Before optimising your store you must make sure that you have accurate data, in order to measure the results. We've found that almost nine out of ten Shopify stores have a broken analytics setup, so the chances are that you'll need to make some tweaks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE4nzZycVLE#action=share The Littledata Shopify app fixes your tracking automatically. It also provides benchmarks against over 12,000 ecommerce sites, so you can compare your own performance vs your peers, and includes a suite of AI-based reporting. What should you do with all that data? Littledata's new Missions feature recommends specific ideas to help you improve the crucial ecommerce metrics such as AOV, add to cart rate, product list CTR, checkout completion, and conversion rates. Missions provide step-by-step instructions for proven ways to optimise sales and conversions. Work your way through the missions and get ahead of the pack!

2018-11-13

For every retail loser there's a retail winner

Today PwC's retail survey found the British high street is being reshaped as shoppers shift online - especially in fashion, where a net 100 high street stores closed. This misses the positive side of the story: all those shoppers are buying from independent UK brands online instead, which is one of the fastest growing area of the UK economy. We looked at 30 mid-sized online fashion retailers (with average sales of £1m per month) who get a majority of their traffic from the UK. This collection had grown their sales by an aggregate 21% from October 2017 to October 2018 (year on year). Fashion shoppers love to browse unique designs on Instagram and Pinterest, compare prices and get easy home deliveries. Independent ecommerce brands are bringing original designs to the British wardrobe, and we should celebrate their success.   Behind the research Littledata gathers benchmark data from Google Analytics on over 12,000 websites, including many types of ecommerce businesses. Our customers get insights into their performance and recommendations on how to improve online conversion.

2018-11-09

Ecommerce trends at Paris Retail Week

Physical or digital? We found merchants doubling down on both at Paris Retail Week. At the big event in Paris last month, we found retailers intent on merging the online and offline shopping experience in exciting new ways. See who we met and what the future of digital might hold for global ecommerce. Representatives from our European team had a great time at the big ecommerce event, one of the 'sectors' at Paris Retail Week. Outside of the event, it was great to have a chance to catch up with Maukau, our newest Shopify agency partner in France. (Bonjour!) Among the huge amount of digital sales and marketing trends we observed throughout the week, a few emerged again and again: mobile-first, phygital experience, and always-on, multi-channel marketing. Getting phygital Phygital? Is that a typo? Hardly. It’s the latest trend in ecommerce, and it was prevalent everywhere at Paris Retail Week. Phygital combines “physical” and “digital” experiences in a new ecosystem. This offers the consumer a full acquisition experience across different channels. From payment providers to marketing agencies, everyone was talking about going phygital. One of our favourite presentations was by AB Tasty. They focused on how optimising client experience can boost sales and conversions in the long-term. It’s not enough to promote your products, nor to link to an influencer for social proof -- you need to create a full customer experience. Starbucks and Nespresso are good examples of how this works offline, assuring that a customer who comes in to drink a coffee will linger around for the next 20-30 minutes. By keeping the customers in the shop, they will eventually order more. The goal is to reproduce this immediately sticky experience online too, and focusing on web engagement benchmarks is the best way to track your progress here. Using the example of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for mobile apps, AB Tasty's Alexis Dugard highlighted how doing data-driven analysis of UI performance, on a very detailed level, can help clarify how mobile shopping connects with a wider brand experience. In the end, customer experience means knowing the customer. 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience. Brands that are reluctant to invest in customer experience, either online or offline, will hurt their bottom line, even if this isn't immediately apparent. Those brands that do invest in multi-channel customer experience are investing in long-term growth fuelled by higher Average Order Value (AOV). 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience -- the statistic speaks for itself! Another great talk was from Guillaume Cavaroc, a Facebook Academie representative, who discussed how mobile shopping now overlaps with offline shopping. He looked at experiments with how to track customers across their journeys, with mobile login as a focal point. In the Google Retail Reboot presentation, Loïc De Saint Andrieu, Cyril Grira and Salime Nassur pointed out the importance of data in retail. For ecommerce sites using the full Google stack, Google data represents the DNA of the companies and Google Cloud Platform is the motor of all the services, making multi-channel data more useful than ever in assisting with smart targeting and customer acquisition. The Google team also stated that online shopping experiences that don’t have enough data will turn to dust, unable to scale, and that in the future every website will become, in one way or another, a mobile app. In some ways, "phygital" really means mobile-first. This message that rang out clearly in France, which is a mobile-first country where a customer's first encounter with your brand or product is inevitably via mobile -- whether through a browser, specific app or social media feed. Multi-channel experience (and the data you need to optimise it) Physical marketing is making a comeback. Boxed CEO Chieh Huang and PebblePost founder Lewis Gersh presented the success of using online data for offline engagement, which then converts directly back on the original ecommerce site. Experimenting heavily in this area, they've seen personalised notes on invoices and Programmatic Direct Mail (with the notes based on viewed content) generate an increase of 28% in online conversion rate. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard, to name just a bit of the physical collateral that's becoming popular again -- and being done at a higher quality than in the years of generic direct mail. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard. However, data is still the backbone of retail. In 2017 Amazon spent approximately $16 billion (USD) on data analysis, and it was worth every penny, generating around $177 billion in revenue. Analysing declarative and customer behaviour data on the shopper’s path-to-purchase is a must for merchants to compete with Amazon. Creating an omni-channel experience for the user should be your goal. This means an integrated and cohesive customer shopping experience, no matter how or where a customer reaches out. Even if you can't yet support an omni-channel customer experience, you should double down on multi-channel ecommerce. When Littledata's customers have questions about the difference, we refer them to Aaron Orendorff's clear explanation of omni-channel versus multi-channel over on the Shopify Plus blog: Omni-channel ecommerce...unifies sales and marketing to create a single commerce experience across your brand. Multi-channel ecommerce...while less integrated, allows customers to purchase natively wherever they prefer to browse and shop. Definitions aside, the goal is to reduce friction in the shopping experience. In other words, you should use anonymous data to optimise ad spend and product marketing. For marketers, this means going beyond pretty dashboards to look at more sophisticated attribution models. We've definitely seen this trend with Littledata's most successful enterprise customers. Ecommerce directors are now using comparative attribution models more than ever before, along with AI-based tools for deeper marketing insights, like understanding the real ROI on their Facebook Ads. The new seasonality So where do we go from here? In the world of ecommerce, seasonality no longer means just the fashion trends of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Online events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (#BFCM) define offline shopping trends as well, and your marketing must match. "Black Friday" saw 125% more searches in 2017, and "Back to School" searches were up 100%. And it isn't just about the short game. Our own research last year found that Black Friday discounting is actually linked to next-season purchasing. Phygital or otherwise, are you ready to optimise your multi-channel marketing? If not, you're missing out on a ton of potential revenue -- and shoppers will move on to the next best thing.

2018-10-09

Web design fails to avoid for ecommerce success

Your website is an essential tool for attracting and converting customers. Driven by the uptake in online shopping, having a well-designed ecommerce site is no longer a luxury. It’s now a necessity -- you need to regularly convert browsers into buyers. Web design has the power to really grab your customers attention and portray your messaging. But when it goes wrong, the customers you lose will rarely come back. In this post I take a look at common web design fails that drive customers away, so you can avoid them. They may be common mistakes, but they're often overlooked! Fail #1: The CMS, plugins and theme are outdated You don’t need to modernize your website every day, or even every week, but you do need to make sure it doesn’t feel outdated. That means you should regularly update your website theme, your plugins and your content. Updating your theme and plugins will ensure you have the latest features and boost your security, while regularly updating your content will improve your SEO ranking and make your website more interesting for repeat visitors. Fail #2: Your website is not mobile responsive Over 50% of online traffic is from mobile phones and tablets, so having a website that properly displays itself on those devices is essential. If your website is non-responsive, you’ll be missing out on a massive amount of potential business. Below is the website Dribble, a powerful example of a responsive website (here's a big list of mobile-responsibe web design done well). Plus, your SEO will suffer and it makes your business look unprofessional. Common issues with non-responsive websites are text being displayed too small to read, irregular formatting, un-clickable links and images not loading. How many of your customers are shopping on mobile? Where are they falling out of the checkout funnel? Use this tool to find out. Fail #3: Stock photos and generic content Building customer loyalty and trust -- both of which are vital for repeat business -- begins with establishing credibility and authenticity. Nobody wants to read the same blog they have already read 50 times on your website, or look at stock photos they have seen on other brands websites. Good writing should be original, punchy and relevant to your target audience. And copy should be matched with credible, original imagery. Stock photos are easy to spot a mile off. Using original imagery significantly helps to build a website design that stands out and wins customer trust. Fail #4: It’s slow and your bounce rate is high Speed matters. If your website loads too slowly, you can say goodbye to the impatient modern-day consumer and watch your bounce rates rise. First impressions of a website are made immediately, so if your website takes more than a few seconds to load, your content and design won’t be given the chance to see the light of day. Make sure your images are compressed, limit the amount of videos and animations published within, make sure your hosting provider can handle fluctuating amounts of traffic, and disable any plugins you aren’t actually using. Then make sure to check your speed and performance rates against other sites. Benchmarking is the most accurate way to do this, so you can see how you compare to similar sites in your industry. Fail #5: Your site is unbranded and doesn’t stand out The minute a possible customer comes to your website, they should know exactly whose website they are on. Having a nicely designed logo is, therefore, critical for making a good first impression and improving brand awareness. And best of all, it’s really easy to do. Online tools are readily available to create stunning high-resolution logos in second, such as Shopify’s logo maker. Fail #6: Face it, your site's just not that interesting There is nothing worse than going on to a website and finding it incredibly boring. Content needs to compliment design, so it’s vital you have interesting content throughout to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. Using banners, photos and graphics, along with authentic and interesting copy is the right way to grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to make a purchase or opt-in via a form. Fail #7: It’s not made for converting If your website doesn’t have clear calls to action (CTAs), then it’s not going to have good conversion rates. Plain and simple. This 'fail' can easily be eradicated by using smart opt-in offers, having clear navigation menus ('nav menus' in designer jargon), and writing relevant, targeted content. Evernote use an excellent CTA.   Without a clear CTA, how are your customers meant to know what you want them to do? Simply put, they won’t - they will leave. Every page (including your blog posts) should have a clear CTA to guide your online visitors down the buyer journey. Fail #8: It’s not optimized for SEO Optimizing each aspect of your website begins with understanding what works well and what doesn’t. The only way of doing this accurately is by using analytics to get deeper insights into how your potential buyers are using your site. You’ll be able to see which pages perform well, which keywords attract the best traffic (SEO is an area that you should be continually optimizing), which promotions work best, and which images resonate with your customers the most. As search engines become smarter, continually optimizing for SEO is an excellent way to get a clearer view of what's working and clarify anything that isn't clear. Then you'll be on the road to becoming an SEO-driven business - an easy way to improve revenue. Fail #9: It’s cluttered and noisy If your website is too cluttered, it will create a bad customer experience for any visitor. It will also distract potential buyers away from doing what you want them to do, such as making a purchase, filling out a form or requesting more information via chat. Don’t make the mistake of cramming too much into each page, or filling your web pages with in-your-face advertising. Your website should be easy to navigate, simple and concise. Customers should be able to convert with minimal effort. Conclusion The bottom line: if your ecommerce site has many design fails that impact the user experience, your company may lose out on potential profits. Use the tactics mentioned in this article to get started on improving the design of your website today!   Michelle Deery is the content writer for Heroic Search, a digital marketing agency based in Tulsa. She specializes in writing about eCommerce and loves writing persuasive copy that both sells and educates readers.

2018-10-01

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