If you think your brand’s reputation speaks for itself, that you can rely on traditional marketing strategies and neglect the burgeoning world of mobile shopping, you’re dreaming. Shopify may be the biggest thing to happen to retail since online shopping and credit cards. The new mobile Shopify app can supercharge your sales. Think it’s not for you? Think again. Continue reading “5 Things You Need to Know About the New Mobile Shopify App”
As retailers continue to lament the nosedive retail sales have taken, eCommerce is a bright spot amid an increasingly bleak retail outlook. Sales are notoriously difficult to predict, especially online, but 2015 can teach us much about what to expect in 2016. Make sure your brand is ready for the season with these 2016 eCommerce holiday shopping predictions.
Online Sales Are Booming
Online sales are growing like never before. In 2015, eCommerce grew by more than 13%. On Cyber Monday alone, consumers shelled out more than $3 billion. And retailers who think that only brick and mortar stores benefit from Black Friday should think again. Consumers spent $2.74 billion on Black Friday in 2015.
Consumers appreciate the convenience and privacy of online shopping. They don’t have to deal with pushy sales representatives, can spend hours curating the perfect shopping cart, and don’t have to fight lines or traffic. For your business to capitalize on these preferences, you need to make the eCommerce sales process as seamless and stress-free as possible. That demands an optimized site, clear pricing, and detailed information about each of your products. A helpful live chat can close the customer service gap, and may even close the deal on a few extra purchases.
Consumers Buy for Themselves, Too
Ecommerce retailers who market only giftable products make a potentially fatal error. Consumers shop for themselves during the season of frenzied purchasing, spending an average of $139. Use this trend to your advantage by offering a variety of sales, including on items that customers typically only purchase for themselves. Because consumers often purchase gifts that they’d like to receive themselves, buy one get one deals can be especially profitable. Consider also offering gift certificates or discounts on a future purchase to customers who shop during the holidays. This is an investment in future sales that can help you start 2017 on a high note.
Discounts Are Waning
Big box retailers entered the 2015 holidays season with leaner inventories than in previous years. That trend may continue in 2016. This means that retailers have fewer incentives to offer major promotions since they don’t need to offload lots of inventory.
This means that businesses which offer incredible sales may pull consumers away from big box retailers. It also means that your sales might not have to be as big as you think to get the attention of customers. No matter what eCommerce pricing strategy you use, make sure to build excitement in the weeks leading up to a sale. Customers can’t participate in sales they don’t know about.
Some Days Are Bigger Than Others
Cyber Monday and Black Friday are the perennial favorites of discount-hungry consumers, but they’re not the only big shopping days. Plan your sales around other popular days and watch the business flood in. A Google Analytics study points to the shopping days on which ads most often lead to purchases. Those are:
- The second Monday in December (December 12th in 2016)
- The second Tuesday in December (December 13th in 2016)
- The third Monday in December (December 19th in 2016)
Since your ads are more likely to translate into conversions on these days, plan a more aggressive marketing strategy, and don’t shy away from spending a little extra cash.
Mobile Shopping is Big
Consumers are increasingly shopping on mobile devices. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, if your apps don’t work well, or if product descriptions disappear on your site’s mobile page, you’re losing business for no good reason.
Consumers often build a shopping cart on their desktop, then buy on the go. And sometimes they curate their cart on the go, then purchase at home. Ensure your site can easily switch between mobile and a desktop by making it easy for customers to set up an account that saves their cart.
Shopping Lasts Longer Than You Think
Very few consumers finish their holiday shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Indeed, many continue a shopping spree well into the new year. Accommodate this trend by continuing sales after the holiday, and offering incentives for consumers who want to return purchases or buy something for themselves.
People Purchase an Idea
The advent of sites such as Pinterest make it clear that consumers aren’t just purchasing objects. They’re purchasing ideas, and often entire lifestyles. You will make more sales if your products fit neatly into consumers’ dreams for their lives. Selling products that work well together — shoes and bags with the same print, a bookshelf that matches a baby crib — helps consumers envision how a product will work in real life. It also makes your products ripe for use on sites such as Pinterest, where a wider audience with a large disposable income may see them.
Last-Minute Shopping and Fast Delivery
The advent of free or cheap overnight delivery on sites such as Amazon means that more consumers are waiting till the last minute to make their purchases. Compete with these sites by shipping items quickly and offering affordable last-minute shipping. Retailers that delay shipping for days, that don’t provide tracking, or that routinely deliver items later than promised stand to lose out in an increasingly competitive market. Consumers want their merchandise now, and if they have to wait, they’ll go somewhere else.
A model can make even a lackluster piece of clothing look gorgeous by highlighting its silhouette, showing how the garment fits with other pieces, and encouraging an aspirational approach to buying. Of course, almost no one can afford the best models, and few small business owners can afford professionals. This leaves most businesses to choose between mannequins (or other displays, such as fancy hangers) and amateur or part-time models. Continue reading “Model vs. Mannequin: Which Produces More Sales?”
In just the past few years, the eCommerce space has developed by such leaps and bounds that online retailers now have countless tools at their disposal to streamline the process for consumers, allowing them to remain competitive in the face of a wildly growing industry. Among the most popular resources for eCommerce sites is Shopify.
Since its founding in 2004, the company has created increasingly sophisticated software designed specifically with online retailers in mind. It’s a tremendous tool that more eCommerce businesses should be utilizing to strengthen their products’ reach. Continue reading “10 Secrets to Success with Shopify”
Anyone who’s been in the retail business knows how important capitalizing on the shopping wave during the back-to-school, or BTS, season is. Depending upon which expert you ask, this potential boom in sales is the 2nd, or 3rd, biggest one during a calendar year.
As summer camps draw to an end, parents start a frenzy of last-minute shopping for school, which, combined with back-to-college shopping, translates to a whopping $68 billion spent. This means that merchandising and marketing strategies, and the ever-important multi-channel shopping experience at retails chain, all need to be tweaked.
Let’s take a closer look and delve deeper into seasonal retailer and e-tailer techniques for riding the back-to-school wave, and what exactly BTS and BTC mean for retailers.
Understanding the Significance of Back-to-School Shopping
The BTS season is a little different from the boost in sales during ‘normal’ holiday seasons. In a nutshell, it’s longer than these other ‘boosted sales’ periods.
Parents may begin their research on products, prices, and promotional offers — usually online — as early as July. They compare the collected data and make their decisions by the month of August, making the purchase around the same period. Last-minute frazzled trips are usually done and dusted by September. This means that retailers have a longer window of potential sales compared to other big sales days, such as (say) Black Friday.
Products that receive a boost during the BTS shopping window include office supplies, apparel, electronics, and books. This long list of products, and the relatively longer sales window, make strategies a little more complicated during the BTS season.
Brick-And-Mortar Stores Rejoice!
As more and more e-tailers take over territory originally occupied by brick-and-mortar retail outlets, you could be forgiven for assuming that retail stores won’t be doing much business. To the contrary, though, it’s these stores that will see more traffic than their online counterparts. While parents will head to their laptops to buy devices and wearables for their kids, all other purchases will get them walking into brick-and-mortar stores.
School supplies such as notebooks, textbooks, and writing materials drive parents to stores, with kids in tow. Stores are the primary choice for parents buying writing materials and books (87%). These are followed — in terms of brick-and-mortar store demand — by shoes (80%), jewelry and accessories (64%), and clothes (64%).
Even as store-based retailers gear up for wars with e-tailers during the upcoming holiday season, they are set to receive a boost in sales from BTS parents.
It’s easy to see why: parents need to shop with their kids to accommodate their preferences, and most feel this is best done at a store, rather than online.
Tailoring Your Strategies Accordingly
Since we’ve already discussed the massive potential of this season, let’s take a look at marketing — and merchandising — strategies designed to help you achieve optimal returns.
First, you’ll need to understand that customers are primarily concerned with who offers the best deals. As a retailer, your first priority would be to think along those lines, and come up with a strategy that helps you put your brand right there. Even Apple — not a brand known for offering sales — caves in during the BTS season, offering discounted ‘student’ and ‘education’ prices.
Clothing giants such as Urban Outfitters and H&M target children from middle-school through college age with carefully planned ads. Take a closer look at textile e-tailer websites, and you’ll probably see smiling school and college kids, with huge blurbs advertising discounts up to 70%.
Take a look at your competitors, and make sure you stay ahead of the game. Build marketing strategies around the BTS shoppers, and you’ll see your sales numbers rise.
E-Commerce-Specific Strategies, Techniques, and Ideas
With so many consumers spending so much of their time online, the retail industry today — while still relying on in-store interactions — has grown to depend on big data and online transactions.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to embrace social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. In fact, that last tweet-broadcasting platform now has a ‘buy’ button, letting you sell products right off your Twitter timeline. If you aren’t aware of what the ‘Twitter’ timeline is, your brand’s social media game is in need of some serious updates this BTS season.
Seeing as 41% of college-goers base their buying decisions on smartphone-based research, M-commerce is another concept that needs to be embraced in order to ride the BTC wave.
Wherever your potential customers spend their smartphone browsing time is where your brand needs to be front and center. For instance, the humor app ‘9GAG’ had 164 million visitors in December 2015 alone. Considering that most of these users are college students on their phones, this is a great place to advertise.
You can use retail analytics software providers such as Intelligence Node to help you build strategies based on big data and competitor trends.
Embracing concepts like new social media platforms and big data, and understanding the significance of a strategy tailored to buyer trends in the BTS season, you’ll be able to capitalize on the buying trends of parents scurrying to stores with school-going kids close on their heels.
Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group launched ABOF on 16th of October’15 and entered a space that is dominated by category specialists Jabong and Myntra. When you consider the fact that Aditya Birla is the largest fashion player in India through Madura Fashion and Pantaloons, which were acquired by it in 1999 and 2012 respectively, its foray in fashion e-commerce seems natural. Plus, it’s hard not to be tempted by the traction ecommerce has been getting with a string of multi-million dollar mergers & acquisitions and VC funding activities over the past few years. According to various estimates for the year 2020 from sources like Goldman Sachs & PwC, the Indian ecommerce market is slated to be worth $60 to $100 billion.
Remember seeing the words, ‘you might also like’ while you are shopping on-line? Or the ‘people you may know’ on LinkedIn or Google Plus? How many times have we actually stumbled upon these words and ended up clicking them, just to find out a little something different?
When Big Data is mentioned, ‘benchmarking’ is often mentioned in the same breath. As amazing and accurate as benchmarking with data is, it is not the end all of big data. There is something more to Big Data- that gives it so much more value. It is called a “Recommendation Engine” in industry lingo.
Recommendation is that one step ahead of benchmarking or comparing data. Because, comparing data against your competitors is great from a ‘getting insights’ perspective. The next logical, and often-times undeniably important step, is using those insights productively. A recommendation engine is what turning insights into actions is all about.
Confused? So are we! Let’s put this into perspective- with ecommerce sales worldwide reaching $1.47 trillion in 2014 alone, we are talking of a HUGE number of people, who log in to shop online everyday!
Research shows that one of the major reasons for products to reach the wishlist but not the shopping cart, is size. In fact, recently consumers regularly shopping online were surveyed, on the parameters of why there are instances when they turn away from purchase- and their answers were, bluntly put, size and payment modes.
The splashes of red and romance in the air- Valentine’s Day is when all and sundry capitalize on love. Love is the music of the soul- at least that is what numerous ads will have us believe. 14 February may fall on any day of the week; but we are prepared for it, even before the month of February begins.
At IntelligenceNODE, we have been looking at the various ways that love is built up into the best commodity there is. And why not! Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for you, the retailer, to gift the carefully crafted dreams of the people, by the people and for the people, to them.
We realize that some of the best deals, the whole year round, are on offer in preparation for or on Valentine’s. To cite an example, this year, the city of Newark sold 100 vacant lots for just $1,000 to couples, with the condition that each couple must build a home on its lot within 18 months and become full-time occupants. We think this was a great deal! And an amazing way to build a community, augment the job market, spread some more love…
LOVE IS NOW MOBILE!
Consumers are in the zone these days, where experimenting with different products and ideas has become their new way of life. When it comes to gifting that ‘special someone,’ there is no holding back. Consumers are prepared to buy on impulse and at the last minute. The huge rise of mobile usage and online shopping means that mobile increasingly plays a key role in the path to purchase.
Data collected from a random sample of 500 million online shopping experiences showed that retailers gained up to $35.3 million in incremental revenue and experienced an 11% improvement in average order value the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Total conversions also increased by 24%. All this circa 2013.It has only increased now!
After all, If the Indian Online Retailer Myntra can contemplate going exclusively mobile…
The trend has been mobile was winning. Now it has WON.
-Eric Schmidt, Google
CAPITAL IS ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE OPTIMIZATION
Get personal. Get real. Get recognized. These words seem to be the new mantra. We find that people like to see and feel real- not larger than life- real. And marketers are getting this too. A lot of brands have done just that. Engaging their consumers through the social media- marketers have successfully created product stories.
Be it a cool video series like GAP’s new campaign, where the brand has teamed with The Daniels on GAP’s first Instagram micro-series as part of its Spring “Dress Normal” campaign. Or Hallmark’s #PutYourHeartToPaper Campaign which already has a couple of million views! These ads ensure that conversions happen- online and offline.
ONLINE & IN STORE ARE CONNECTED
Valentine’s Day happens to be one of those holidays tied to emotions. So an element of surprise and generosity are the most important aspects that retailers need to keep in mind while designing their marketing strategies.
Creating an amazing and innovative omni -channel experience is the major target for retailers worldwide, on any given day. But even more so on Valentine’s. And this works online as well as in store. In one example, BloomSnap, a feature found on the online flower marketplace BloomNation, allows customers to see the bouquet of flowers they purchased in the form of a photo sent directly from the florist before the bouquet is shipped.
Valentine’s Day is all about love. But these insights we have come across are for the daily as well we think. As a retailer, you are involved in the amazing business of making sure that love is tangible. After all, who needs cupid when we have you? At IntelligenceNODE, we hope to honor this connection through our link with you!