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E-Commerce is no longer a standalone channel for most retailers. What happens online is co-mingled with what happens in the store and through other shopping channels. Many forward-thinking retailers are revamping their business structure so that the e-Commerce executives can work closely with other-channel executives. Yet, the online environment continues to present unique challenges to merchants, around efficiency of page click-throughs, addition of interactive elements and improvement of the checkout process.

Build Black Friday Online Basket Sizes With Item Affinities And Smooth Shopper Journeys

Many retailers kicked off holiday promotions early to make up for a short buying season, but shopping won’t really kick into full gear until after Thanksgiving: one in three Americans are waiting until Black Friday to do the bulk of their holiday shopping, according to a study by Quantum Metric. While Black Friday doesn’t have the e-Commerce focus of Cyber Monday, retailers can still expect a 500% increase to their web site traffic. Retailers saw a 16% jump in conversions on Black Friday last year, and pages that simply featured the word “sale” saw 10X the average day’s traffic — even if they made no direct connection to the surrounding holiday. Additionally, 22% of shoppers will know exactly what products they want to purchase on that day, and these prepared customers will represent 55% of Black Friday revenue. The opportunity for retailers is that these deal-hungry shoppers are primed to have their basket size expanded. "I think getting a good understanding of what items pair well is important,” said Mario Ciabarra, CEO and Founder of Quantum Metric in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Take Walmart: one of the fun insights the company had was that diapers and beer sell well…

RSR Analyst: Many Sites Still ‘Abnormally Slow’ Ahead Of Holiday Rush

Industry predictions forecast that e-Commerce sales may rise between 14% and 18% this holiday season, with mobile playing a greater role than ever in consumers’ browsing and buying process. Although the signs point to a jolly holiday for retailers, inconsistent site performance and reliability may hurt their revenue potential, according to Steve Rowen, Managing Partner at Retail Systems Research (RSR).  In fact, based on annual research RSR conducts in partnership with YOTTAA, site performance scores are consistently decreasing. It’s not that retail executives are failing to prioritizesite performance in the boardroom and in their annual plans. Rather, they’re adding so many third-party applications to enrich the online shopping experience that, too often,the result is slow load times.

Walmart Deepens Voice Commerce Investment With Siri Support

  • Published in E-Commerce
Walmart has made its voice ordering service available through a Siri Shortcut in partnership with Apple. After shoppers have paired their accounts, they will now be able to add items directly to their Walmart Online Grocery cart. Customers can build their basket by simply saying “Add to Walmart” and listing the products they want. The service was created to emphasize speed and convenience. For example, customers who place their order in their cars can pick it up on the way home or have it delivered to their doors. However, shoppers who aren’t in a rush are free to add items to their cart over the course of several hours or days, using whatever Apple device or combination of devices they prefer.

Capgemini Study: Enhance Personalization, Omnichannel Integration To Grow Voice Commerce

Voice assistants are speaking up and being heard: 78% of global consumers have used them to research and buy products and services, create shopping lists or check order status, according to the Smart Talk: How organizations and consumers are embracing voice and chat assistants report from Capgemini. Additionally, 53% of consumers in the U.S., UK, France and Germany have already used a voice assistant to actually buy products in 2019, compared to 35% in 2017. Despite this growth, just 23% of companies in the consumer products and retail space have deployed voice assistants. Their hesitation is somewhat understandable: 40% of those now using voice assistants started doing so in the last year, and another 43% started using them three or fewer years ago. It’s one thing to order a few small items through voice, and another entirely to make the channel a regular part of one’s shopping habits — but that will likely change with time. "We strongly believe that the reason why people like voice is that it is probably the most natural way to interact and to convey your ideas,” said Genevieve Chamard, North American Partnership Strategy Leader, Digital Retail and Manufacturing at Capgemini in an interview with…

Why Your Business Needs Better Product Experience Management (PXM)

In a crowded e-Commerce market, your business needs to do everything to ensure your products stand out — and that starts with good product data. Small mistakes or discrepancies in listed product attributes such as price, size or availability can mean a lost sale, a return or a negative review. But maintaining accurate product data is no easy feat, especially as customer touch points multiply. Companies must constantly optimize their product listings to avoid frustrating customers or breaking regulations. Unfortunately, many retailers aren’t prepared for this reality.

60% of Shoppers Visit Sites Up To 4 Times Before Conversion, So Make Their Journey Smooth

Convenience is possibly the biggest advantage e-Commerce has to offer shoppers, so it makes sense that factors causing inconvenience are the top three pain points identified by retailers: downtime, degraded site performance and a poor customer experience. These disruptive issues were collectively cited as the biggest worry for 73% of respondents to the 2019 Retail Benchmark Survey by Lucidworks and Retail TouchPoints, titled: Online Retailers Struggle With Performance, Targeted Personalization And Product Availability. Inconvenience also was a common thread behind the other top concerns: stockouts (69%), undiscoverable products (49%) and checkout slowdowns (48%).

With Text And Chat, Pier 1 Imports Cuts Costs, Adds Visuals To Contact Center Interactions

Pier 1 Imports has been looking for ways to save money, including ongoing moves to right-size its store footprint. A customer contact center overhaul has not only cut costs but also made it easier for customers to add pictures to their communications. Pier 1 has moved nearly 20% of its communications to messaging options such as text messaging and online chat by implementing software from Quiq, allowing the retailer to significantly lower the costs related to each interaction (communicating with messaging is approximately half the cost of a phone call). In addition to saving money, Pier 1’s initiative enabled shoppers to choose their own method of communication. Text messaging and online chat are now the retailer’s two fastest-growing communication channels, accompanied by a natural decline in phone and email, according to Laurie Simpter, Senior Manager of Customer Relations at Pier 1 Imports.

Zulily Reveals Holiday Strategy: Leverage Its Mobile Advantage And Publicize Price Transparency

Many retailers are concerned about the short 2019 holiday shopping season, but Zulily is going in with some built-in advantages. The retailer’s customers tend to start their holiday shopping early in any case, and Zulily’s mobile-first approach will be a good fit for a season when mobile is expected to dominate. Zulily also plans to address shopper price perceptions with new, site and in-app price comparison tools. The retailer also has beefed up its leadership with the appointment of Chief Merchant John Lohnas. He brings more than 20 years of retail experience to the job — including nine years at Amazon, most recently as leader of the Apparel division in Europe. “From my experiences from Amazon, they are really fantastic at being a transactional retailer, but the idea at Zulily is that we've got hundreds of buyers that are scouring the earth to identify and present to our customers unique finds that are highly curated and highly personalized,” said Lohnas in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I think it's such an important differentiator and engages with our customers in such a unique way. I still get excited every day when I think about what we're building here.” A Shorter Holiday…

Made-To-Order Jewelry Site Launches ‘Jeweler As A Service’ Drop Shipping Program

Diamondère, a custom fine jewelry e-Commerce site that sources natural gemstones, has launched a jewelry drop shipping program for third-party jewelers and retailers. With the drop shipping program, sellers can make a sale on the Diamondère site while the supplier ships the product directly to the customer instead of sending it to the retailer first. As a result, the jeweler doesn't need to handle inventory or deal with any of the order logistics. As part of a one-month trial, Diamondère provides jewelers with a white-labelled copy of its e-Commerce site along with their own URL. The site comes preloaded with 1,500+ customizable designs and allows customers to change features, such as gemstones and metals, before engraving any personal messages. By using advanced technologies such as 3D printing and computer-aided design (CAD), Diamondère facilitates a faster custom jewelry manufacturing process, giving shoppers the opportunity to be pickier in their jewelry customization. “We re-architected the whole manufacturing process to specifically cater to individually designed pieces at scale,” said Anish Godha, CEO of Diamondère in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Manufacturers in the past used to require ‘order quantity: 10’ or ‘order quantity: 20’ for each design, but now we just need ‘order quantity:…

Bob’s Discount Furniture Revamps E-Commerce Site, Launches Mobile AR App

Like many furniture retailers, Bob’s Discount Furniture has relied largely on its store base to generate sales since its founding in 1991. Today, while many shoppers still want to make most of these high-ticket, high-consideration purchases in person, up to 85% of the retailer’s customers access MyBobs.com at some point in their buying process. Executives at the furniture retailer began to realize that the only way to stay ahead of the pack was to establish an intuitive customer experience across its online and mobile channels, rather than relying on an outdated e-Commerce platform.

Amazon Search Growth Hacks

Search is the heart of Amazon. While some people use Today's Deals or Shop by Category to navigate the marketplace, the vast majority begin by typing something into the search bar. Amazon decides which products appear in these searches using a secretive combination of keyword relevancy, product detail page (PDP) quality and conversion rate, and the result of this calculus is the product's organic search rank. A good organic placement can be an elusive thing on Amazon. It takes time for a product to collect enough traffic and sales history to compete with long-established brands, so you can't rely on organic placement alone. To win in search, most brands leverage Amazon Advertising. Using paid placement not only drives visibility and conversion in the short term, it can boost organic placement in the long term by improving traffic and share of voice.

Exclusive Coddle CEO Q&A: How Tapping Into Lifestyle Trends Built A ‘Smart Furniture’ Brand

Many brands are exploring direct-to-consumer (DTC) retail models as a way to get closer to what consumers really want and need. Furniture company Coddle saw its opportunity to solve ordinary shoppers’ real-world challenges, including small-space living and multitasking throughout their workday. With a vertically integrated supply chain, Coddle launched in 2018 with the introduction of its flagship “smart couch,” and has already achieved the feat of operating at a more than 60% gross margin. In an interview with Retail TouchPoints, Sean Pathiratne, Founder and CEO of Coddle, shared insights into: How the Coddle brand was developed to capitalize on two major consumer focuses: space and body; The infrastructure of the DTC brand, and how it leverages the supply chain of existing B2B furniture company Lifestyle Solutions to cut down supply chain costs; The company’s profitability formula, which includes keeping operating costs down to 10% of total revenue; and The iteration process behind building the flagship Coddle convertible couch, which transforms into 16 positions and includes two built-in USB ports.

Parachute UGC Boosts Click-Through Rate 35%, Lowers Cost-Per-Click 60%

Parachute, a digitally born bedding, bath and home retailer, is an old hand at posting user-generated content (UGC) — the company even promotes its own “Instagram Shop” within its e-Commerce site, powered by the #MyParachuteHome hashtag. But this spring, the retailer discovered that its user content is marketing gold: UGC actually performed better than Parachute’s own editorial content in driving its retargeting campaigns. Through an A/B test, the Parachute team learned that UGC generated both a 35%higher click-through rate (CTR) and a 60%lower cost-per-click (CPC) compared to the editorial content. To deploy UGC across social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, Parachute partnered with Curalate, a platform that aggregates images and videos and turns them into shoppable advertisements for the products.

These Consumer Trends Are Shining A Spotlight On Premium Loyalty

In this Age of the Customer, consumers seemingly have limitless options at their fingertips. Limitless options have created heightened expectations, which make it more difficult than ever for retailers to earn and retain customer loyalty. In fact, the 2019 Premium Loyalty Data Study says that nearly 70% of consumers agree that their loyalty is more difficult for a retailer to maintain than ever before.
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