Crealytics Insights


Break down silos in ecommerce to drive performance

eCommerce Insights: 5 Split Testing Ideas To Boost Product Sales

Working to improve the conversion rates of your product pages and website is an ongoing task for eCommerce companies. Tweaks can always be made. Visitor behavior can change over time. Split testing never ends: there is always more work to be done.

But where do you start? What areas of your website should you put the most focus on? While all websites and customer bases differ, there are a few simple split tests that eCommerce companies can run to improve their product pages’ conversion rates.

As you look for areas to split test, keep these sections in mind. They could potentially have a huge impact on your product sales:

Shipping Costs and When to Display Shipping Pricing

Did you know that unexpected shipping costs are the number one reason for eCommerce cart abandonment? Your shipping price—and where you reveal it—plays a key role in a  shopper’s buying decision. You can’t blame them, either. High shipping costs radically diverge from what they expect to pay. Showing customers the shipping costs at the end of a checkout process may take them by surprise…and cause them to back out.

Research Now’s recent study shows just how important shipping costs are to customers. When asked about the reasons behind their cart abandonment, respondents overwhelmingly cited shipping costs as a primary driver.

 

 

And it’s not just about when you disclose shipping costs, either. Other shipping-related information can have a big impact on your sales. NuFace, a skincare eCommerce company, experimented with displaying a “Free Shipping Over $75” above their main navigation area. The test resulted in a 90 percent increase in orders. It also triggered more than a 7 percent bump in average order value.

 

 

Product Pages and Social Proof Elements

 

Social proof is critical in eCommerce. Customer reviews and testimonials play a huge role in your conversion rates. According to a study by Nielsen, 70 percent of people trust a product recommendation from someone they don’t know. That number surges to 92 percent when they know the person.

 

 

Experiment with making the social proof elements on your product page more prominent. Remove barriers to seeing reviews: having to click a link first makes audiences less likely to read them. Remember, customer reviews play a prominent role in your ability to sell. Keeping them hidden from the customer seems counterproductive.

Vegan Horizon, a lifestyle company, improved their conversion rate by nearly 10 percent after installing Sales Pop on their Shopify store. The app shows pop-ups for recent customer purchases, exposing visitors to more products and providing additional social proof to every webpage.

Security Badges and Trust

Shopper confidence matters in potential transactions. Does your product page include security badges to verify that your brand can be trusted? With so many eCommerce companies out there, customers are right to be picky about who they share their data with. A recent study showed that 13 percent of shoppers stated that security concerns were an issue for them when buying products online. Try placing those badges on your product page or even your homepage. See how their inclusion effects conversions.

Payments Options

Customers will abandon purchases that don’t accept their preferred payment method. BizReport’s report showed that as many as 28 percent of shoppers abandoned their cart when their preferred payment method was unavailable. Ensuring that you give your customers multiple payment options—and making that fact clear—could play a huge role in your overall conversion stats.

Call-to-Action Buttons and Messaging

It may seem like common sense, but call-to-action buttons on eCommerce sites have a big impact on the way their customers shop and use their website. This includes the “Buy Now” and “Add to Cart” buttons, and any other action you’d like your users to take on a specific page.

Lifeproof, a company that sells phone cases for extreme conditions, made a simple change to their main CTA button on their navigation panel. They saw their monthly revenue increase by 16 percent.

 

Source: Optimizely

 

Black & Decker, a tool supply company, made a few changes to their call-to-action buttons to produce jaw-dropping results. Namely, they changed their “Buy Now” button to “Shop Now” and enjoyed a 17 percent growth in click numbers.

 

 

Source: Optimizely

An Ongoing Effort

Split testing never ends for eCommerce companies. New products may bring new audiences to your website, and it’s an ongoing battle. However, by paying attention to the areas of your website that matter most, you can put yourself in a position to run tests that have the most impact on your sales.


What is the relationship between PPC and SEO in eCommerce?

Many eCommerce companies treat Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as entirely separate categories. In most setups, you’ll find completely separate teams for each: unique operations with limited interaction. After all, each remains a distinct discipline requiring different skills.

But here’s the thing. They’re both different sides of the same coin: search.

Scratch the surface and you’ll quickly see the two can—and should—form a productive relationship. Make it happen, and more effective search marketing isn’t far away.

Today’s blog offers some direct ways in which PPC and SEO can benefit you:

Stand Out From The Crowd

A synergy between PPC and SEO boosts visibility. It’s an obvious benefit: you’ll enjoy increased exposure in search engine results pages (SERPs). Lots of companies reduce their PPC budget for a keyword when they reach a top position for it organically. But that can lead to lost sales. And actually, 64.6% of people click on ads when searching for a product or service.

Source: Slingshot

Look at the above image. You can see how quickly the click-through rate falls the lower you are in the organic listings. Holding something below the top two positions offers an extra incentive to continue bidding on that keyword. If the PPC listing remains profitable…and it brings in more customers vs. the organic listing on its own…why pull your PPC ads for that keyword?

For super-competitive keywords, you may wish to continue bidding for prominence on keywords you already rank highly for (thus boosting visibility for that keyword). Reducing PPC spend for that keyword could risk a larger dip in sales than anticipated: even if you hold the top organic position.

PPC Data can Inform Your SEO Strategy

PPC data can be extremely useful for SEO. The mutual exchange of information between campaigns will help identify more profitable keywords (and the customer intent behind them).

Let’s say a specific keyword performs well for your PPC campaigns: it has a high conversion rate and high levels of user engagement. That keyword would typically make an excellent target for SEO campaigns. From a long-term perspective, you might eventually secure conversions through that keyword without paying for each click.

These days, Google doesn’t give organic marketers the same data it once did. Incoming keyword terms often remain hidden. This keeps users from identifying those that send them traffic. You can use PPC campaigns to test new keywords before targeting them in organic search strategies. That way, you don’t waste your time targeting keywords that provide low returns. Instead, you can focus on ones with a track record of success with your products.

Additionally, you can use the “low competition” filter in your keyword planner. It offers a great way to generate a quick list of keywords to target in your PPC campaigns. After that, you can integrate the best-performing low competition winners into your SEO projects.

Use PPC to Nurture Organic Visitors Through Retargeting

Keep your products on your shoppers’ radars through retargeting

From a PPC perspective, retargeting can really boost eCommerce companies. As a reminder, this is the practice of displaying ads to users that have already interacted with your brand before. Gaining ground in organic search takes time. It can be hard work…especially when only 2 percent of first-time visitors convert.

With retargeting, you can show ads to people who’ve already visited your website on the likes of Google and Facebook. It helps keep your products on their radar…and encourages further engagement.

PPC Provides Fast, Reliable Usability Data for Shaping On-Page Strategies

Google places lots of value on engagement and participation in its organic search results. When visitors come to your website and stay for long periods to interact, it knows it has delivered a search result that reflects what the searcher was looking for.

PPC offers a great testing opportunity. You can explore how users engage with a specific page before targeting it in organic search. Being able to test a certain page’s engagement via PPC helps you put that page in a better position in organic search. Because the latter takes much longer, it can be difficult to test how certain page changes can affect user engagement. PPC gives you a baseline. You can tweak changes while waiting for your page to climb up the SERPs. Without this opportunity, you may never reach the first page at all.

More Organic Backlinks

SEO-optimized landing pages usually boast a higher experience score in Google AdWords. PPC activity brings more traffic. This means more pages shared by users…and more organic backlinks: crucial for building site equity.


How to Collect and Harness Data…and Improve eCommerce Personalization

eCommerce professionals value the importance of personalization. Its use in eCommerce marketing makes customers more likely to buy from a retailer, increases conversion rates of product pages, and helps customers develop more positive feelings about a brand.

However, personalization requires data to be effective. The more that you know about your customers, the more personalization you can inject into your website and communications with them. For many, making the effort isn’t the hurdle. Several solutions exist to help eCommerce companies speak to the individual.

The disconnect comes from collecting and harnessing that data. For a start, most eCommerce companies have significant gaps in their data collection strategies. Even those that fare better than others likely miss out on opportunities to access useful information. Being able to identify these gaps is important for building out your personalization strategy…and developing deeper connections with your customers.

Ask Your Customers for Data

Sometimes the best course of action is just to ask your customers to tell you more about themselves. In the checkout process, many companies opt for minimal data collection to improve conversion rates. This can be a smart strategy that leads to measurable improvements in revenue. However, just because you choose not to collect that data during the checkout process, there’s no harm in trying to collect it at other periods.

Why not provide a coupon in return for a completed survey? Incentivizing customers to share information can work wonders, and reveal useful data for marketing campaigns.

For instance, encouraging buyers to rate their purchase out of 10 can unearth fresh information. You could also present them with a list of items and ask them to rank them from “most interested” to “least interested.” Engaged customers will appreciate the chance to air their opinions on your products, making it easier to personalize what you offer them. Plus, recommending similar products will also boost your Average Order Value.

Collect and Utilize Viewed Products, Not Just Purchased Products

Most eCommerce companies fuel product recommendations with things their customers have previously bought. But the items a customer views are nearly as valuable. People may spend days or weeks evaluating a product before making a buying decision. Recognizing this interest – and using it to keep certain products in the limelight – can help personalize your content.

Use Wish Lists to Flesh Out Customer Profiles

Shopping list…or wish list?

Looking for clues as to which products your customers may be interested in in the future? Why not ask them to put a list together?

In the above example, you can see the Amazon Wishlist creation page. It allows users to create a list of items that they are interested in buying, or having bought for them.

Amazon incentivizes their customers to put these lists together by providing some additional benefits:

Amazon’s dynamic wishlists

The lists also function as a platform for price-watching. Customers receive notifications when items on their lists go on sale, or change price. You can bet that Amazon harvests data from those interactions to better understand what matters to its customers.

Adjust Navigation Menus Based on History of Use

What makes a great navigation system for your customers? One that’s easy to use, for a start. It should also require minimal clicks to get them from homepage to product pages (or any other pages important to them). In a previous article, we discussed how static homepages have become a relic of the past for forward-thinking eCommerce companies.

A personalized, non-static navigational experience increases conversion rates and revenue. But more broadly, the way that users interact with your website can be a data goldmine. You should collect every click and action a customer takes. The results will help you provide a personalized experience that matches their browsing habits.

Measure Engagement

Many forms of personalization exist. Building out a deep and intricate web of tailored marketing communications helps eCommerce companies in many ways, but not all are foolproof. Sometimes, a seemingly positive change can yield unforeseen negative results. Be alert to this. Measure everything.

Identify Gaps In Your Data Collection Strategy

Try to identify any gaps in your data collection strategy. Putting processes in place to collect and harness information will be an ongoing battle; but with each new data source, you give your team more of it to work with. You’ll also be helping to build a foundation that will serve your company for years to come.

 


The Power of Effective Referral Programs (and how to run them)

There are few eCommerce marketing tactics more reliable and beneficial than referral marketing. Also known as word-of-mouth marketing, referral marketing is simply the practice of buying products based on the opinions, influence, or referral of someone that has bought that product in the past. We’ve all done it. Maybe you’ve been recommended a new product by a friend or from an influential person that you follow on social media.

Referral Marketing a Powerful, Often Overlooked Revenue Growth Strategy

Referral marketing should be at the top of every eCommerce company’s to-do list. It’s an extremely powerful tactic. And besides: it’s cheap, simply managed, and easy to implement. Several factors make it a reliable (and profitable) lever in eCommerce, including:

  • Precision Targeting. Referral marketing is extremely targeted. When people recommend a product to friends, it’s because they know that they would be interested in it. Your messaging will spread more reliably through word-of-mouth marketing than it would through other channels.
  • Trust. This plays a huge role when it comes to convincing someone to buy your product. When you receive a recommendation from a friend, that trust is built-in. According to a Neilson study, referrals represent the most trusted form of advertising by a large margin.
  • Reach and Awareness Acceleration via Social Media. In previous decades, the reach of referral marketing isn’t what it is today. Now, anyone can take to social media and inform their closest friends and families about their favorite products. Accelerating awareness about your products through referral marketing can be just as quick and impactful as an advertising campaign.

If you want to start putting more focus on referral marketing, keep in mind these tips to help grow your sales and make a smooth transition:

It All Starts With the Buying Experience

Great referral marketing starts with the experience a customer has when dealing with your company. Great products are a must, but if shoppers don’t have a good experience when buying from you, they aren’t likely to recommend your company to their friends. A great buying experience lies at the core of any effective referral campaign. It’s also a core tenant of long-term referral marketing success for eCommerce companies.

Make The Buying Experience Share-Worthy

You want to impress your customers. You want to wow them when they receive your product for the first time. Going the extra mile to ensure exceptional presentation goes a long way toward helping your referral marketing experience.

Consider this example from Thelma’s Cookies:

Stand-out packaging has helped to grow brand awareness; largely due to exposure on social media. It makes their customers want to take a picture and share it with their friends on social media. It’s cool. It’s professional. It’s worth sharing. Find innovative ways for your own company to provide customers with that “wow!” moment and you’ll see your number of referrals begin to skyrocket.

Referring Can Be Simple

Nothing harms referral marketing efforts more than simply expecting your customers to share your products with friends. Sure, some will, but a majority will just enjoy it for themselves. Check out how the MeUndies brand made referring new customers simple and straightforward:

Even a simple menu button can go a long way. It gets the idea in front of your customers. They may never have thought about referring your product to a friend before seeing that button.

Provide Incentives with a Referral Program

People are more likely to do something for a friend when they receive something in return. If you want your customers to refer more friends to your company, giving them something for doing so can be a great way to drum up motivation and increase your referrals.

You don’t need anything complicated, like a points system or tiers. You can keep it simple. Check out how MissionCute incentivized their customers to refer friends:

 

A simple email form and a customer-specific link are all they need to increase their referrals.

Referrals an Effective Long-Term Strategy

Few sources of new revenue are as lucrative as referrals, and all eCommerce companies should look to improve this aspect of their business. What is there to lose? Compared to other forms of advertising, the cost of giving your customers options for sharing your products remains low. And the potential for long-term returns is much higher!


How to Encourage Product Reviews on Your Website

You have lots of exciting product pages. But how do you convert casual visitors into eager buyers? It’s one of the most important goals for eCommerce businesses, and there are few aspects more influential than customer reviews.

Surveys have shown that online reviews influence 90 percent of customers’ buying decisions in some way. A further 88 percent of customers state that they trust online reviews as much or more than an in-person recommendation.

Let’s say you send an interested visitor to a product page with no reviews. It can seriously harm your chances of converting them into a buyer. The solution? Take steps to encourage customer reviews: and provide a better experience for new buyers.

However, this can be a bit of a challenge. It’s asking your customers to take an extra step that they may not be eager to take. But fear not; these strategies can help you:

Improve Review Visibility On Product Pages

How do customers access reviews that others have left, or leave their own reviews after purchasing a product? Asking that your customers take too many steps to leave a review can hamper the chances of them doing so.

To improve the frequency in which customers leave reviews, you must get the review panel in front of them. Include reviews from previous customers, in their full text, directly on your product page. Add clear buttons that lead previous customers to review the product. The more clicks that you expect your customers to make, the fewer reviews they will leave.

Improving the visibility of reviews on product pages will not only increase the number of reviews that your customers leave, but it will improve conversion rates for highly rated products as well.

Prompt Buyers to Review Via Email

If you aren’t already asking your customers to review the items that they purchase via email, you should be. The above example provides a simple but effective review request email.

Keep in mind certain things when it comes to emails like this. First, you don’t want to send it too early. Review requests should come after the item has been shipped, at the very least. Even then, you should probably give them a week or so to use the product before you ask for a review, as you don’t want them to rush to judgment. You can stagger several email requests for reviews over the course of weeks or months depending on the product.

Communicate With Customers That Leave Reviews

A customer that leaves one review is more likely to review other items that they buy as well. When a customer leaves a review, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and thank them for doing so. This is especially helpful for new companies looking to jumpstart their customer reviews quickly.

Letting a customer know that you appreciate their feedback helps to build a personal connection with them. It also increases the likelihood of future reviews. Let them know how important customer reviews are to your business.

Provide Incentive to Leave Reviews

Incentivizing your customers to leave reviews also works well. And it makes sense — it takes time and effort for your customers to leave a review, who are under no obligation to do so. In exchange for their time, offering them something in return represents good business.

You can offer coupons or discounts on future items in exchange for a public, honest review. If you choose this route, make it clear to your customers that you want honest reviews, positive or negative, and aren’t paying for a positive take on the item that they purchased. You don’t want to give the appearance of buying positive reviews, because then those customers will not trust other reviews that they see on the site.

Optimize Your Review Process for Mobile

In 2017, mobile accounted for 24 percent of all eCommerce spending, according to comScore. If you take a look at your analytics, you’ll find a significant share of your visitors likely come from mobile too.

For this reason, you need to make things as simple as possible for mobile reviewers. Don’t make them navigate through a desktop page to leave a review on their phone. Rework your review processes to be mobile-friendly or responsive, and simple to navigate from any mobile device.

eCommerce Reviews are Vital for Conversions

According to Capterra, 40 percent of customers will take action after reading a positive review. Having a healthy number on each of your product pages is vital for increasing conversions and giving your customers peace of mind when buying a new product. Use the tips in this article to encourage customers to leave reviews…and make the process of leaving one simple.


Strategies for Increasing your Average Order Value

In the eCommerce industry, you’re always looking for ways to increase sales, retain customers, and improve the conversion rates of your product pages. Sadly, eCommerce companies often focus too much on driving new traffic and generating new buyers. In fact, they could increase their revenue more quickly by catering to existing customers.

If you run a mid or large-sized eCommerce store, increasing your Average Order Value (AOV) by just a few cents per order can have a profound impact on your bottom line. By working to optimize your AOV, you can generate reliable growth without having to increase marketing budgets or make radical changes to your marketing or sales strategies. It also plays a large role in determining Customer Lifetime Value. 

Before we dive into the strategies that you can use to increase the value of your average order, let’s start with its definition:

One of the big factors Average Order Value is the average amount of money spent per transaction on your website. The formula is simple:

Total Revenue / Number of Orders = Average Order Value

To increase the average value of each order, you’ll have to convince customers to add more items to their cart before checking out. There are a few strategies that you can use to reliably increase your average order size:

Recommend Similar Products

Customers can get tunnel-vision. They may come to your website so intent on buying the product they have in mind that they don’t take the time to shop around and see what else they might be interested in. Naturally, this leads to smaller order sizes.

To help resolve this issue, try displaying some recommended items on your product and checkout pages. Recommend products that would be complementary to a customer’s original purchase, or products you have reason to believe would interest them based on their previous buys.

As usual, Amazon serves as a great example of this tactic. Its product pages display a list of recommended items based on other customers’ shopping histories:

Enticing your customers with a handful of recommended items can be a great way to increase AOV organically, while increasing customer satisfaction.

Make Adding Accessories to Carts Simple

In the same vein as the previous strategy, displaying accessories on your product pages can help increase the value of your average order. Try hand-picking products you think will complement their current purchase – it will help convince your users to spend more.

For instance, if you are selling an item that requires batteries (but doesn’t come with them), prompting your users to purchase some with the product can reliably increase the AOV on that product. If you were selling a camera, you might display camera lenses, batteries, or a photography guidebook. These are items that the customer is likely to want! Giving them an option to buy them with the main product can save them headaches down the road.

Install Free Shipping Thresholds

Sometimes, incentivizing customers to spend a few extra dollars can convince them to spend more. One of the most straightforward ways to incentive larger purchases is to install free shipping thresholds. For instance, many companies offer free shipping on orders above $50, $75, or $100.

Recent research from the University of Florida backs this up. It found that the AOV of a store with a $75 minimum threshold for free shipping saw order Average Order Values of $64.68, compared to $46.04 for stores that offered free shipping to all customers.

Create Bundle Deals

To boost your Average Order Value, you need to either raise your prices or convince customers to buy more items. Why not try bundling products together at a lower price than they would pay if they bought them individually?

You can offer these products as a bundle on their own product page. Alternatively, you could give customers the option of bundling items that they choose for a specified discount amount. Let’s say you run an eCommerce cosmetics store. You could allow your customers to create their own makeup bundle, including items from multiple different categories to create a custom makeup kit.

Here is a great example of giving customers multiple options for bundling similar products together:

Customers who bundle can save a large amount compared to what they would pay for each item separately.

Add Live Chat To Your Website

There are few things more beneficial to your AOV than answering your customer’s questions quickly and easily. Installing live chat services on your eCommerce site can facilitate this…and nudge them toward making larger purchases. It also gives your agents the ability to make personalized recommendations and upsell products in real-time.

AOV…a No-Brainer for Revenue Growth

Working to increase your Average Order Value is often easier and more reliable than trying to bring in new customers. Using strategies like offering recommended products, bundling products, and adding free shipping minimum thresholds are great ways to organically increase the average value of the sales that you already make in your eCommerce store.


5 of the Most Critical Key Performance Indicators in eCommerce

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. For eCommerce companies, having a strong understanding of your internal metrics can help you spot issues early, as well as identify areas for improvement. But tracking data is only helpful if you track the right metrics. Of course, you’ll find an unending number of metrics out there. However,  only a few are truly critical for assessing your performance.

Customer Lifetime Value

Source: Kissmetrics

 

Is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) one of eCommerce’s most important KPIs? We think so. With CLV you can measure a customer’s value over the course of their “lifetime” (around 12-24 months). A critical metric, it dictates how much you can spend to acquire them…and plays a direct role in your marketing budget.

CLV casts a spotlight on multiple areas of your business. It helps you evaluate success at the product level. With this KPI you’ll be able to improve your advertising and customer acquisition strategies, price items more intelligently, and better optimize your inventory.

Conversion Rate

According to BigCommerce, the average conversion rate for eCommerce product pages is between one and two percent. They apply to all actions you would like customers to take—including buying products, signing up to your email list, or filling out a survey. It all matters, and conversion rate forms the basis for any ongoing optimization you do.

To calculate the conversion rate of an eCommerce product page, you can use this formula:

Conversion Rate = # of Sales / # of Visitors

So, if you have 100 visitors and make three sales, your conversion rate is 3 percent.  Conversion Rate is vital for evaluating the effectiveness of your product pages (and measuring improvement over time). Most analytics tools for eCommerce will automatically calculate conversion rates for your product pages.

Cart Abandonment Rate

The rate at which customers abandon their shopping cart plays a key role in generating revenue. According to a study from the Baymard Institute, would-be shoppers abandon 69 percent of all orders before completion.

Most eCommerce analytics platforms will help reveal your Cart Abandonment Rate. You can also track it in Google Analytics by enabling Enhanced eCommerce on the platform.

There are many reasons why customers might abandon carts with items still in them. Quite often the shipping costs were higher than expected, changing the total and increasing their spend. Unsatisfactory checkout processes can be another reason. Perhaps the form is too long. Remember, asking too much of your customers can cause them to change their mind.

You should be able to identify why your own customers abandon their carts…and take steps to rectify those issues.

Average Order Value

Increasing your Average Order Value (AOV) can be a great way to boost revenue without having to generate more traffic or sales. You can encourage customers to spend more (when they make a purchase) in different ways:

  • Upsell. Persuade them to make an additional purchase, or upgrade their current buy to a more expensive version of the same product. Offering an accessory or complementary item on the checkout page can be an effective yet subtle way to increase AOV.
  • Bundle Products. You could also bundle several complementary products together. A great example of this comes from gaming consoles. Sure, you could buy just the PlayStation itself, but a bundle comes with a controller and an additional game…all at a much lower price than if you’d bought each separately. Simple, but effective.

ECommerce companies should always work to improve their AOV, as it’s easier and cheaper than acquiring new customers. Calculate it by finding the total sum of revenue generated by the total number of orders.

Return on Advertising Spend

First, a disclaimer. Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) has its own issues. Significantly, it doesn’t account for incremental value, i.e. to what extent sales may have happened anyway.

That said, it can offer a straightforward way to evaluate your digital advertising operations. ROAS directly measures the efficacy of digital advertising campaigns. It helps eCommerce companies evaluate the methods that work, as well as identify areas for improvement.

When calculating ROAS you should take all potential costs into account, including vendor costs and affiliate commissions. An acceptable ROAS is situation-dependent and is influenced by several factors, including profit margins and operating costs.

eCommerce Data Drives Growth

These are just a few of the many eCommerce KPIs available to evaluate and improve your business. Don’t ignore the data you have on-hand. It’s essential for growing (and maintaining) your company’s health. Depending on your goals and areas of focus, the KPIs and metrics covered in this article can be great starting points for improving your operations and growing your revenue.


How Retailers Can Bridge The Gap Between Digital and In-Store Interactions

For shoppers, the line between online and offline experiences has become increasingly blurred. As more retailers implement new technology and practices that help to bridge the two, they set new standards in their wake. Consumers have begun to expect that their online interactions with brands will translate to their in-store experiences.

Future success in the retail industry relies on companies’ ability to bring the two closer together. As you look at different ways to attract shoppers, take these tips into consideration:

Bring Your In-Store Experience to Online Channels

Your long-term customers love your brand for what it is. If you’ve been a retail-first company for some time, they will appreciate any USPs that are apparent in physical shopping locations. They already relate to—and engage with—your brand.

When companies look to improve their omnichannel offerings, far too many focus on bringing digital experiences to their physical stores. Replicating your in-store experience in the digital world is more straightforward: the messaging and branding is already in place. Plus, translating the experience requires little to no new technology.

In-Store Devices Can Make a World of Difference

Sometimes, all you need to bridge the gap is an internet-connected device. Having a TV screen or wall-mounted tablets for shoppers to use can work wonders. They can access reviews, articles, and information on your website to help make a buying decision. Besides, it costs far less to add wall-mounted screens throughout a store than, say, overhauling your broader strategies.

Offer Incentives to Encourage Interactions

Retailers with omnichannel policies should get in-store customers to interact with them digitally (and vice versa). If you want them to embrace the other side, they need a reason to do so. Advertising an exclusive in-store special or offering freebies for social-media follows can be great examples. But be warned. Such strategies only work when the deals are enticing enough to warrant the action.

Use Social Media to Get Involved Locally

Sometimes, waiting for your customers to interact through both digital and physical channels isn’t enough. You have to lead by example. Try using social media to create connections with other businesses and events in your area. It will help you to create a dialog, and get your brand in front of new audiences. Don’t be afraid to get behind causes and inject real personality into your online brand. Shoppers connect with brands that come across as more genuine (i.e. real, live people behind the social media accounts).

Be Consistent

Half the battle is showing up. There will never be a singular solution that ends your problems and instantly connects your brand’s real-world and digital channels. Over time, a variety of tactics will help you inch closer to your goal.

Some strategies will have a big impact. Others will fall flat. The key to success is consistency across your platforms. Everything that your brand does communicates something to the customer. When you make bridging digital and in-store experiences a priority, your customers will begin to see it as one as well. Give them clear messages through consistent action and they will follow suit.

Creative Ideas Bridge Digital and In-Store Experiences

Spend five minutes walking around any big box retailer today. You’ll likely spot several different strategies used to boost their omnichannel experience for customers. In the end, finding creative ways to get customers out of their comfort zone (and interacting with you through different channels) will help you improve. The more you connect your physical store with the digital world, the deeper the connections with your audience.


5 Tech Trends that Will Reshape Retail In the Next Decade

The retail industry is changing at a rapid speed. As consumers shift their spending habits toward digital mediums, retailers have looked to establish a competitive edge—and give customers more reason to shop with them.

Over the next decade, several emerging technologies could play a key role in retail’s future. Keep an eye on these tech trends:

Personal Data To Play a Central Role in Most Brand Experiences

Many brands have already begun to integrate big data into everyday shopping. However, the next ten years will see it merge with other technologies (outlined in this article) to deliver truly personal, in-store experiences. Take store terminals and devices. Once they become aware of in-store interactions, marketing materials will be able to reflect individual shopping histories.

Internet of Things (IoT) Devices Will Change the In-Store Experience

Picture the scene. You walk into a store and receive a personalized notification on your smart device. It includes coupons for items you regularly buy there. You might also pull up an app to check which specific items are in stock, browse similar brands, or see a pricing history for each product.  Nearly eighty percent of retailers describe the provision of omnichannel experiences within their stores as “mission critical.” IoT devices provide the most straightforward way for retail businesses to communicate with brick and mortar customers, based on their personal data history and location.

Augmented Reality Will Help Customers Make Decisions

Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality. However, it doesn’t completely replace the real world, it adds details that supplement real-world vision. In the context of retail and shopping, holding your phone up to products could reveal their price, inventory details, or directions to other complementary items. Imagine walking into your favorite clothing store, holding your phone to a shirt, and then seeing a lifelike recreation of you wearing it. Augmented reality will change how shoppers interact with products…and provide them with more information before they make a buying decision.

Mobile Wallets Become Hassle-Free Payment Method of Choice

Could mobile and digital wallets become the preferred way to pay for purchases? We think so. In China, the market for digital payments and mobile wallet transactions has already eclipsed $5.5 trillion. While western countries have been slower to adopt the technology, the convenience of being able to pay for every purchase with your smartphone will eventually eclipse the reliance on other mediums, like debit and credit cards. With Amazon debuting their cashierless shopping experience in Amazon Go, it is clear that smart devices will play a critical role in the future of payment processing.

A.I. Will Limit Interactions and Order Daily-Use Items

In the near-future, A.I. could rapidly change consumer shopping habits. Running out of everyday items like milk or bread could become a thing of the past. A.I. would simply recognize the situation and automatically place an order to re-stock them. They would then be delivered to your doorstep…and you wouldn’t even have to leave your house.


How Retailers Can Prepare for Digital Wallets and Mobile Payments

Shoppers increasingly rely on their smart devices. They use their phones to research products, read customers reviews, and compare prices between locations. In the near future, they will do the same to make payments at cash registers. Mobile payments aren’t a new idea. They have been a source of discussion and concern in the retail industry for years. But the adoption rate has been slow.

Western countries have seen the first surges in digital wallet and mobile payment usage. However, China and other Asian countries are in the middle of a mobile payments boom. The Chinese market has already eclipsed $5 trillion. This is driven primarily by a lack of accessible debit cards—and concerns about carrying large amounts of cash.

Western Adoption of Mobile Wallets and Proximity Payments

The west’s digital wallet revolution will likely be slower (debit and credit cards remain widely used). Today, only 27 percent of all consumers—and less than half of all smartphone users—are interested in the technology. That number will climb, and quickly, as more consumers become familiar with the technology’s benefits.

Many shops already accept mobile payments. Amazon’s cashier-less Amazon Go stores are already being met with rave reviews; the experiment has provided interesting insights for retailers. By 2021, a report from Forrester estimates that mobile payments will triple in the U.S., reaching $282 billion.

So, how do you prepare for the upcoming boom in digital wallet use? Luckily, a few simple steps exist to help:

Update Point-of-Sale Systems to Accept Mobile Payments

Many POS developers have already rolled out their first updates with mobile payment integration. While there may not be a high demand for the technology now, getting things in place early will give you head start later. Retailers should communicate with their POS system providers. If you can’t currently integrate mobile payment technology, develop a roadmap as soon as possible.

Understand the Mobile Payment Market

Many companies have expressed an interest in entering the mobile payments market. And they come from a variety of industries, from smartphone manufacturers to banking institutions.

Apple device users can use Apple Pay for iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. Android Pay is available to Android users.

Both systems allow the user to enter their credit card information into their app. Shoppers simply hold their phone up to the wireless near-field communication (NFC) terminal to complete their payment instantly. PayPal and Square have their own app-based solutions. Banks are quickly rolling out their own mobile payment tech.

It remains to be seen which option will rise to the top. There remains a chance that different mobile payment options could split the market as it grows. Either way, in accepting mobile payments as a retail store, be sure to have a lay of the land; keep an eye on developments as the market matures.

Convenience Leads the Way

 

Several big-box retailers have already cranked up the convenience factor for shoppers. Digital wallets take that convenience a step further; making payments takes just a wave of a phone. Forward-thinking retailers should take cues from China. This means embracing mobile tech early, and positioning themselves for its growth.