How to increase post purchase engagement

How to increase post purchase engagement

How often do you thank customers for every purchase they make with your brand? Whether it’s their regular weekly grocery shop or a shiny new luxury car, customers have made a conscious decision to part with their hard earned cash to purchase your product or service but are often not rewarded for it. To help increase engagement and brand loyalty, customers need to feel valued and appreciated for more than just purchases. Many brands are great at rewarding purchases offline; coffee shops will give customers loyalty cards whilst fashion stores provide vouchers for future purchases. But how can brands translate this success online too?

 

TREAT CUSTOMERS LIKE ROCK STARS

Customers should always be celebrated and rewarded when they make that crucial decision to purchase from you. If you’re looking for creative and cost effective ways to thank them, why not give them the celebrity treatment by making them brand ambassadors instead of some glossy influencer? Leading fashion and beauty brands like Dove, Boots and TK Maxx are well known for using real customers in their advertising campaigns and this is a fantastic way to engage customers by not only putting them centre stage in your brand’s output, but also making them feel important and most of all valued. Consumer marketing is often one of the best ways to encourage customers to evangelise about your brand; they have first hand experience using your products and unlike costly celebrity endorsements, they can provide unbiased reviews to their peers and wider network. Encourage customers to market on behalf of your brand by incentivising them with anything from VIP invites to product launch parties to a glittering drinks reception with your CEO; the more a customer feels invested and included in your brand, the less they feel like just a number and much more like an engaged stakeholder.

  

PERSONALISE YOUR COMMUNICATION

Email marketing is a crucial part of any successful eCommerce growth strategy and brands hoping to increase engagement rates following purchase must ensure their marketing communication is segmented, personalised and automated for effective email marketing at scale. Premium platforms like dotmailer are perfect for eCommerce brands looking for a more data driven solution that provides tangible and measurable results. When a customer chooses to share their email address with your brand, they are inviting you to send them relevant and helpful information without aggressively spamming them. You can do this by implementing a post purchase email strategy where you send a personalised email to a new customer thanking them for their purchase, invite them to leave a product review and encourage them to sign up to your company newsletter. Future email campaigns can be segmented by anything from gender, location and purchase history for a more targeted approach that will result in more conversions. Even with thousands of customers on your mailing lists, your brand should still ensure all emails are personalised where relevant; for example addressing customers by their name and sending them a promotional discount on their birthday. With marketing automation you can ensure personalisation and segmentation is at the heart of your email strategy as that is the most effective way to increase both conversion and engagement rates post-purchase.

 

ENCOURAGE REPEAT PURCHASES

loyaltylion_blackThe challenge for most retailers is how to improve customer retention rates as statistics continue to indicate that it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. Despite these statistics, most online retailers continue to focus on customer acquisition instead of retention. With repeat shoppers accounting for 40% of online sales, it’s absolutely imperative to have a watertight strategy in place to improve customer retention. A popular way of increasing customer engagement rates amongst long time customers is to ensure your eCommerce store implements a loyalty program. It’s important that your program does much more than just reward your customers for making purchases. A loyalty program from LoyaltyLion for example enables stores to reward customers for a wide range of actions including account sign up, newsletter subscriptions, reviews, referrals and much more. By enabling customers to collect and redeem points against products, your store will gradually see an increase in repeat purchases as customers have a much stronger motivation to continue shopping with your brand.

Ebizmarts – The future of retail

Ebizmarts – The future of retail

Technology is driving an unprecedented wave of innovation in retail. However, identifying which technologies will have a lasting influence, and which technologies are just ‘hype’ is not always easy.

On top of this, consumers’ expectations and behaviour are constantly evolving, meaning that creating great customer experiences both online and offline has become incredibly important. According to Cisco, 86% of customers will spend more money for a better shopping experience.

To put it simply, when it comes to ecommerce this means that putting an electronic version of your store catalogue on your company’s website doesn’t cut it as an ecommerce solution anymore. Even click-and-collect, unheard of not long ago, is quickly becoming the minimum standard for customers’ delivery expectations.

Moreover, the high street continues to be relevant to the customer experience, especially with the proliferation of pop-up and concept stores. Indeed, for retailers, providing in-store experiences that distinguish your brand from the competition is crucial.

So, as more and more retailers look for ways to distinguish themselves, it is important now more than ever to create a unified online and offline experience for your customers.

Whilst ‘omnichannel’ may be perceived as just another buzzword, it presents a key opportunity for retailers to create unique experiences for their customers.

Although the term ‘omnichannel’ has a number of meanings, overall the term revolves around merging your different sales touch points in order to put your customers at the centre of the retail experience.

Today, customers come to expect their experience in-store to be the same as online, especially in terms of inventory, product knowledge and pricing, as well as ease of check out. Meaning that even if you are an SMB with one physical location, omnichannel is something you cannot ignore.

At the end of the day, the retailers that will thrive will be the ones who allow customers to shop when, how and where they want.

For example, take click-and-collect. As the proportion of sales fulfilled in-store that were ordered online increase, you now have the opportunity to upsell to collecting customers. Meaning, your in-store customer engagement needs to be adapted.

This is where Magento comes in. Magento makes it possible for you to stay ahead of your competitors through customisable web options and extensions that connect your digital and physical stores.

Indeed, Magento, the world’s most flexible ecommerce platform, allows retailers to achieve commerce without limits.  Being fully open source, the ability to adapt and be nimble to changing consumer behaviour is becoming increasing important, so having the right foundations in place is essential.  Building on these foundations, a true omnichannel architecture can be achieved.

Overall, retail has come a long way from the traditional brick-and-mortar store, and although the advent of ecommerce led many to predict the demise of the high street, for retailers, it is no longer a question of online or in-store. Today top retailers are striving towards:

  • Clienteling – enhanced store assisted selling
  • Queue bustings
  • Apple experience checkout
  • Endless Aisle
  • Multiple in-store shipping options (takeaway, ship to store, ship to home)
  • Buy Online, return to store
  • Inventory visibility across estate
  • Ship from Store (enable store inventory to be accessed online)
  • In-store Carrier Integration

Four years ago, we at ebizmarts realised the importance of merging different retail channels and as a result ebizmarts Point of Sale (POS) for Magento was born.

Coupled with Magento, ebizmarts POS allows you to take Magento into your physical environment. The POS enables retailers to provide an omnichannel experience via a native iOS experience to access Magento, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

To find out more about how ebizmarts POS can take your Magento operations in-store, visit https://pos.ebizmarts.com

How to prepare your website for Easter

How to prepare your website for Easter

Now that the daffodils are out and the days are getting warmer and longer, it’s time to think about Easter. Easter isn’t just about egg hunts but about holidays, entertaining and getting ready for the summer months. This type of event is a great opportunity to boost your sales by adapting your communications and your site’s content. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

easter_emailCreate your Easter email marketing campaigns

Think about what you want to say and when then plan your campaigns.  Whilst peppering your emails with pretty pictures of eggs and bunnies might be fun and attract attention, that shouldn’t be the main objective. Start by letting customers know what you can offer to address their Easter needs (chocolate, that holiday outfit, the vital ingredients for Easter Sunday lunch, etc.) Next make sure to let them know what shipping options you offer and when is the latest they can order by.  And finally, don’t forget to segment your emails.  Not everyone wants the same thing so personalise, personalise, personalise.

Update other marketing campaigns such as paid search

Create a separate campaign for Easter related offers so as not to confuse Easter related buys with normal day to day trading. This will allow you to pick up traffic from people with Easter on their mind and also make it easier for you to measure the results of your efforts as well.

Create an Easter landing page

Once you have created your campaigns, where are you going to send all this traffic?  Create a landing page showcasing all the Easter related things that you have to offer. You can organize this page as a content page containing Easter products or as a separate category on your website. What kind of products can be included in this Easter page? Anything goes, baskets, ribbons, clothes, kitchenware’s, books, etc.  As I said, the Easter holidays are not just about chocolate.

Think about gifting, offers and promotions

Easter is a time when people are more likely to spend time with their loved ones so don’t forget about the gifting angle.  Offer free gift wrapping if you can.  Create gift bundles if you can. And finally, offer promotions if possible.  You will after all be competing with everyone else for those Easter purchases.

Shopify Scripts & Checkout API

Shopify Scripts & Checkout API

Introducing Shopify Scripts

Imagine what you could do if you ran your own custom code right on Shopify’s servers. Shopify Scripts gives you the power to control your online store’s business logic – the conditional behaviors of your online store; giving you previously unheard-of levels of customization that starts at your customer’s first touch.

Shopify Scripts frees you from the headaches of managing infrastructure, provisioning servers and optimizing networks, giving you the freedom to focus on writing the code that will help you grow. We maintain the servers, you focus your energy and budget on building a world-class business.

“Shopify Scripts have allowed us to build out features that we’ve always wanted, in a truly customized way. On the front end, ease of use for the customer is increasing, and on the backend we’re seeing that correlate into more conversions and orders. We see scripts as the missing piece to Shopify’s already robust platform.” – Russell Saks, Campus Protein

We’ve created the following script templates for you to get started:

  • Percentage (%) off a product
  • Amount ($) off a product
  • Percentage (%) and amount ($) off a product
  • Tiered discounts
  • Buy one get one free (BOGO)

Get Shopify Scripts here.

How Are Merchants Using Shopify Scripts?

Automatically include a free gift with a specific item purchase, like MMAWarehouse does with their Gracie Rashguard top & free water bottle promotion.

Automate a percent-off discount with a purchase combo, like Henge Docks and their 10% discount with the purchase of two vertical MacBook docks.

Give price breaks on multiple purchases, like Greats.

This is only the beginning.

If you’re a Shopify Plus customer, you can explore the Shopify Scripts documentation, find several template scripts available in this Github repo, and talk to your Account Manager to expand your store’s functionality today.

If you’re not a Shopify Plus customer, now is a great time to get in touch.

The New Sales Channel SDK and Checkout API

Shopify’s Checkout API and Sales Channel SDK is huge step forward towards Shopify’s vision of “building for the long term” making it possible to enable commerce anywhere you can imagine, while keeping all of your data tucked away neatly and securely in your Shopify Admin.

Magento: custom website design or theme?

Magento: custom website design or theme?

We are often asked why we do not use pre-built “themes” for Magento implementations. Surely it would be quicker and cheaper? For those in the dark, a “theme” is a set of pre-packaged files that customise the layout, design and in some cases the functionality of a website. To quote WordPress: “themes are files that work together to create the design and functionality of a […] site. Each Theme may be different, offering many choices for site owners to instantly change their website look.”

Simplistically, the advantages seem wonderful:

  • They are often free or very cheap
  • Implementation is very quick: simply download it and install
  • They already work (well, provided you are using standard Magento, out of the box)
  • Magento themes and designs seem too good to be true; they are moderately priced, responsive, and usually offer some type of global customization (such as control over colours and fonts)

There’s a dazzling and confusing array of websites that offer pre-designed Magento Themes. However, these themes may not be the best fit for you, and can actually cost you more in the long run.  There are, for sure, a lot of poor quality themes out there – even those that have sold 1000s of copies.

At Screen Pages, we are in the business of designing “bespoke” websites which reflect the brand, product range, marketing and promotional activity, fulfilment and customer service of a business – exactly. This inevitably involves careful and creative thought, analysis, planning and – critically – customisation. There are no technical reasons that we don’t use themes: in every project, our design team works very closely with the development team to ensure that the end product will be one cohesive site, rather than it feeling like a design was forced into place and the inevitable compromises that would bring. The ability to customise an e-commerce website in whatever way required is in fact one of the biggest advantages of Magento itself.

Themes and “customisation”

Themes rarely account for any customization you may require, or want to add in the future – as your online trade evolves and grows. Most themes are based around standard “out-of-the-box” Magento and only style the main Magento pages (home page, category page, basket, check-out and account pages). It would be a miracle if they worked on any additional or bespoke pages you have (e.g. catalogue requests, store locators etc). An area of particular sensitivity would be any customisation in the checkout process.

Generally, a Magento theme will not take into consideration any customisation or unique functionality, which could include visual/display needs (product information/representation, sliders, JavaScript effects) or other product pricing, grouping/fulfilment options.

Most Magento websites we deploy may use at least 5-10 third party modules/extensions: complications may arise with the compatibility of 3rd party modules. It is often one of our biggest challenges to get individual third party modules to function, operate and perform together, let alone entire designs.

Themes and the development process

When we work, our custom designs are given to trained, managed (& Magento-certified) developers with all of the imagery, CSS styles and layouts needed to create the front-end website code (CSS sprites & SCSS where required) and to provide a visual reference for the development process. Recreating this from an off-the-shelf theme would be time-consuming. Similarly we are quickly able to create new elements (and customise those designs) that match the original design.

Example of detailed design deliverables, for custom design development

As a professional (and certified) Magento partner and developer, perhaps one of the biggest concerns we have about building a significant, commercially sensitive e-commerce website using third-party software is around warranty, liability and overall quality control. When we buy and install a third party extension, we have no idea about the underlying code that makes up the theme. It is a real possibility that by installing these themes, we would “corrupt” a Magento website with code that may not been well written, audited, documented or worse, could even pose a security risk. There is a general inability to check the quality of the underlying templates and CSS & supporting Javascript prior to use in order to de-risk the initiative.

Themes could only ever serve as a base to a “mature” website: we are 99% certain that no theme will match any clients’ requirements in entirety and we would quickly sink into the realms of uncertainty: our current design and specification process is aimed at taking the questionable unknowns out of a project scope, so that we can offer a contractually-bound fixed price project fee with the highest levels of warranty, backed by high service levels and a quality ongoing support and update process.

Themes and ongoing support & development

Finally, when Screen Pages designs and implements a custom design for a client, you will have access to all the underlying design files so that should a change need to be made, everything will be readily available, filed and stored in a professional repository and software version control system.

Some clients will also be concerned by intellectual property rights: Screen Pages contracts to give the intellectual property of the entire website and design to the client – if a theme were used, there may be restrictions in this regard.

Nothing is constant but change. You will want to make modifications.  There might be no or little support and once any form of customisation, change or update has been made, it is difficult to decipher where the buck (liability to fix) may stop. Magento itself introduces changes: some theme providers might not be able to keep up with Magento’s development.  As your website trades, you will be studying its performance with a view to optimising conversions by analysing customer journeys (through analytics, usabiity studies or customer surveys). It is a given that this will drive constant (but generally minor) change: conversion rate optimization usually depends on your marketing, customers, product and overall messaging & proposition – you will wish to have freedom to make enhancements without risk or compromise.

Having a custom website built and supported by a properly capitalised, well-structured organisation will give you the peace of mind knowing that your Magento implementation will accommodate everything (and we mean everything) you want now and in the future.

Summary

  • Screen Pages designs and builds custom e-commerce websites that reflect and amplify uniquely and absolutely a business’ brand, product range, proposition and marketing activity. Themes do not do this
  • As professional and certified developers, we would be concerned about code quality, extensibility and maintainability of a theme
  • Where any form of customisation is required (& there generally is for our kinds of clients), there is a potential for risk
  • As a retailer, you will want intellectual property, warranties and high service levels – in practice as well as contractually
  • Our design and specification process is designed to remove uncertainty – not introduce it (in a fixed price project with a clear milestones).
E-commerce responsive design in Magento: the pros & cons

E-commerce responsive design in Magento: the pros & cons

Summary: Specific mobile support for e-commerce websites has economic return. What are the pros and cons for Magento websites of a responsive design as opposed to a separate mobile optimised store?

First, let’s start with a definition of “responsive design”. According to Google, “responsive web design, responds to the needs of the users and the devices they’re using. The layout changes based on the size and capabilities of the device. For example, on a phone, users would see content shown in a single column view; a tablet might show the same content in two columns.”

The man given the credit for coming up Responsive Design as an approach is Ethan Marcotte in A List Apart [see http://alistapart.com/article/responsive-web-design/]

I think we can assume – at the very least for the purposes of this article – that some kind of mobile site is a “good thing”:  in a recent mobile traffic study,  sites with mobile support converted over twice as well (1.31% versus 0.55%), with a 4%+ reduction in the bounce rate. Thus,  we can deem the alternative to be a “mobile-optimised” version of the website. In the Magento world, that means a separate store (in the same Magento instance), with its own URL, catalogue and set-up.

Responsive design

Force4’s responsive e-commerce website


So what is the business rationale for a responsive e-commerce website?

1. One website, many devices
The most obvious advantage of responsive design is that a responsive online store can provide a great user-experience from the same, single website across tablets and mobiles.

Let’s take the following example. Someone searches for a product on their smartphone during a lunch break at work. They find an online shop that has the product they’re looking for, and decide to continue researching this product on the same site when they get home. Except, when they get home, they will use their desktop instead of their smartphone. Later on, when purchasing the product, they’ll probably be using a tablet.

If the site in this example is responsive, this person will have a positive user experience when transitioning from mobile to desktop because they will view the same site on their desktop as they did on their smartphone. On the other hand, if the site is a dedicated mobile site, this person may become frustrated with the fact that they have to locate the desktop version of the site, then possibly go through a different process to find the right product all over again.

2. Easier to Manage
Having a separate desktop and mobile site theoretically requires having separate catalogues, product information & banners, marketing campaigns (emails, SEO, affiliates – which site do you send the traffic to?). Whilst in Magento it is straightforward to mark your content (I use the term in its broadest sense, to include copy, data, images, e-commerce operating settings and website paramaters) for a specific “store”, there is still a process to go through to deploy the same content.

It is fair to say that the reduction in content management effort will reduce the complexity of managing your website.

Sample CSS with “media query” to determine behaviour on different screens

3. More chance of your marketing “reaching” your customer

According to Campaign Monitor, 42% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. The Pew Research Internet Project discovered “67 percent of mobile owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls – even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.” No matter the study you examine, one thing is clear: whilst your marketing may be sensitive to device size, it will not know what kind of device will be used to take action.

Even if your email is mobile friendly, your landing page also has to be as well. A mobile-optimised email sending the visitor to a desktop website will not prove effective.

One study from KISSmetrics reported that 90% of people will delete emails if they don’t open or click through properly; this is further exacerbated by the fact that click-rates decrease on mobile devices when compared to laptops in the first instance.

Since customers are regularly going back and forth on devices it’s generally helpful if the landing page works equally well on desktop and mobile.

4. Social is mobile

Social media has gone mobile, which you may have noticed. How important is mobile for social media users? According to a study from ComScore, 55% of social media consumption happens on a mobile device.

What this means is that people will share and view content on mobile devices: what’s the point of sharing content on social media if it’s not compatible with mobile devices. Again, if a website isn’t functioning on a mobile device, users get frustrated and leave. High bounce rates lead to low conversion rates.

5. Google says so

With a massive market share, when Google speaks, search marketers listen. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice.

Here’s the bible from Google. https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/

Because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, it’s easier for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. A separate mobile site which has a different URL and different HTML forces Google’s busy spiders to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.

Additionally, Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site.

Ultimately, Google realizes that unhappy people will go elsewhere, meaning that bounce rates increase and the site will not rank on mobile searches. In other words, it’s just bad for business for both Google and all of the websites that aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of responsive design.

At the end of the day, it is much easier for your target audience to find your business online if you only have a single home address, that is, a single website URL.

Watco’s responsive e-commerce website

What Magento says

As a Magento Gold partner and specialist, we are pleased that Magento itself has invested in responsive design – now reducing time to market for responsive work. Prior to this, all the coding for different devices had to be hand-coded into the website HTML.

Here’s Magento’s own words on the subject:

“Responsive is the best mobile solution for many merchants because they can invest in one site that serves customers using any device, while ensuring a consistent brand experience on every device. A single responsive site is less costly to develop and requires less time and effort to maintain than different themes for different sites and different devices.

Responsive is also good for boosting conversion, with a shopping cart and checkout designed to work in any environment and on any screen size. And having a responsive site makes it easy for mobile device-using customers to move from an email offer, for instance, to check out.

All of this is good news for merchants aiming to take advantage of the explosive growth in mobile commerce. eMarketer predicts even more growth ahead, with mobile commerce growing from 19 percent of retail ecommerce sales in 2014 to 26 percent in 2017 in the US, and from 24 percent of retail ecommerce sales to 35 percent in the same time frame in the UK.

There are SEO advantages too, because responsive is Google’s recommended approach to mobile optimization and because it allows merchants to focus all their content energy on a single site. Great content that supports SEO also engages customers, provides a richer site experience and can reduce bounce rates.”

Planning a responsive project

Smashing Magazine has put together a useful guide on how to plan a responsive project [see [http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/03/19/how-to-plan-your-next-mobile-e-commerce-website]

Here’s a quick summary:

Putting together a mobile e-commerce website is a multidisciplinary task that encompasses business management, design, development and marketing. Whatever your agency’s size, create a boilerplate process that you can follow for all websites but that you can adapt to each project’s specifics. In the planning stage of this process, cover the following:

• Who are you designing for (i.e. your customers)? How would they use your website & how do you send them there? What are their buying habits, and what drives them to buy?
• Create designs that are suited to mobile devices, including button design, font size and so on.
• Consider what content and functions should be where on each target screen size
• Generate wireframes with details for all key pages (home page, category page, product page, basket and checkout).

Planning in this way will help you deliver an e-commerce website that is well optimized for mobile, that is targeted at your client’s customers and that converts more visitors into buyers.

Donald Russell's mobile optimised site

Donald Russell’s “mobile-optimised” e-commerce website

Are there any downsides?

Cost

The obvious challenge is cost. Bespoke responsive design and development implies that there is at least two versions of every element on every page: things don’t just end up in the “right” place without consideration.

Whilst the availability of responsive templates from Magento reduces some of the development work, there is always going to be some overhead in customising the size and location of each function, image or content area.

Typically, responsive design can nearly double the design effort and add up to 50% to the overall development effort. QA and testing is effectively at least doubled, because every page needs to be checked and tested for all the target device sizes (not considering all the permutations available in the Android world).

It’s the same site

Some retailers may not wish to have identical product, categorisation/navigation and content on their mobile site – for perfectly sensible marketing and commercial reasons. For example, their catalogues are so large or their product information/configuration is so complex that it just won’t work well on a small screen. Alternatively, their customers’ prime mobile usage is about last minute purchases inspired by promotional emails – not browsing or research.

In these cases, a separately configured mobile-optimised website may perform better.

Speed

People worry about the impact of “big” single pages which include all the HTML, code and content for all known device sizes. Theoretically, they have a point and one that becomes particularly important when considering how customers might interact with your website through a comparatively slower mobile data connection.

However, performance in our Magento world is largely dealt through proper and optimised configuration and hosting. For example, use of cache-ing systems can dramatically improve page load times.

Thinking responsively

E-commerce managers and developers need to think responsively whenever any decision that touches the website is made. Many folk still overlook those small screens – old habits die hard. Content needs to be considered vertically (as opposed to horizontally).

Particular attention needs to be paid to the technical tasks of content creation. Old style HTML tables won’t work: website managers need to use DIVs. Fixed image dimensions will break responsive designs.

Summary

Given the increasing proliferation and range of different sized devices, it clearly makes sense to deploy a mobile offering. The payoff is easily calculated and predictably returned.

The debate is around how: do you go responsive design or mobile-optimised? The former is clearly a more strategic approach, as you are laying the technical foundations for all sorts of different device sizes and planning for a more manageable online presence. However, companies may baulk at the budgets involved, particularly if they have an existing website with which they are happy. Should that be the case, our advice is that if a re-platform or significant redesign/re-brand is being planned – making it responsive will be a time saver and much the best long-term decision.

By Roger Willcocks

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