Posts by: Cat Millar

Meet your visitors: ecommerce segmentation statistics

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When it comes to creating personalized customer journeys, understanding your visitors is key. One way to achieve that is via segmentation.

There are many different ways to segment your visitors, but your ability to create, and then personalize for these segments relies on data. Not only that but knowing which visitor segments represent the biggest opportunity will help you prioritise your personalization strategy, ensuring you’re not wasting time and resource on ‘personalization for personalization’s sake’. In this blog we’ll take a look at the type of data you might want to take a look at, sharing our benchmarks for 4 common visitor segments that should be familiar to every e-commerce marketer.

So, who are they?

We’ve aggregated these stats from over 30 billion data points to bring you insights on 4 crucial visitor segments for e-commerce:

  • New visitors
  • Returning visitors
  • Returning customers
  • Loyal customers

Personalizing for these four visitor segments is the first step toward an intelligent personalization strategy that focuses on the right data, to deliver the right message at the appropriate point in the customer journey. Let’s take a look at which segment has the highest conversion rate, and which drives the most revenue, and more, read on to see what we found…

Which visitor segment drives the most traffic?

When it comes to deciding on your perosnalization priorities, and segmentation strategy, is bigger, better? As we can see from the below chart, new visitors make up the largest percentage of traffic, and our data also shows that this holds true across both retail and travel.

Source: Yieldify data

What this means is that, on average, only around 8% of your visitors have bought from you before. So should discount them when it comes to your segmentation and website personalization strategy? Probably not, but we’ll explore why you might not want to miss out on them later in this blog. First, what else do we know about these new visitors?

“Only 8% of your visitors have bought from your website before”

Well, when it comes to devices, desktop visitors are the most likely to be new (62%). This falls to around 50% for mobile and tablet, where users might already be familiar with you, and driven back to your site via paid search, email or social (all of which drive more traffic on mobile than on desktop, as shown below):

Source: Yieldify data

Taking into account this data, and the fact that modern customer journeys are rarely linear when it comes to device usage demonstrates the importance of developing strategies that work across mobile, desktop and tablet, and continually testing what works best for each.

Another thing to think about here is the fact that most marketers are still strongly focused on acquisition. Our State of CJO report revealed that more than half of marketers are dedicating more than 60% of their time and resources on acquisition rather than retention, and this split is reflected in the visitors we see on the average e-commerce site.

How do different visitor segments compare when it comes to conversions?

Well, now we can reveal why you should never discount the loyal customer group, despite the fact they account for just 4% of traffic on the average e-commerce site. This group has the highest conversion rate of all your visitors, with a conversion rate of 31% in Retail and almost 34% in Travel.

Here’s how conversion rate stacks up across our 4 visitor segments:

Source: Yieldify data

What we can see is that a loyal retail customer, for example, is 8.5x more likely to convert than a new visitor.

“A loyal retail customer is 8.5x more likely to convert than a new visitor”

For travel, we can see that returning visitors and returning customers have a slightly higher propensity to convert than for retail. This is perhaps because this segement has invested more time in researching a more complex purchase or are being driven by urgency around the availability of inventory or their trip timelines.

And how about average order values?

Conversions lead us on to average order values, obviously, these can differ quite a lot between Travel and Retail, but we can see similar trends when it comes to our visitor segments.

Source: Yieldify data

Returning visitors spend the most on average ($62 for retail, and $309 for travel) and if you remember what we saw for conversion rate, this group had the lowest conversion rate for retail at 3.2%. This may indicate that repeat browsing and research leads returning visitors to purchase more, or higher value items.

“Returning visitors spend the most on average – $62 for retail, and $309 for travel.”

Loyal customers had the lowest AOV across retail and travel, but buy more regularly and have a higher chance of converting as we have seen. This might indicate that campaigns focused on increasing AOV, such as cross-sell or up-sell, should be a priority for this segment if you’re seeing the same trends in your own data.

Which visitor segments drive the most revenue?

There were a few differences when it came to revenue per segment across retail and travel. For example, in Travel less revenue came those who had purchased before (i.e. loyal customers and returning customers) compared with new and returning visitors, who were responsible for 82% of revenue.

Source: Yieldify data

This is not so surprising given what we’ve already learned about these visitor segments in regards to average order value, and the size of the segments themselves. Retail saw slightly more revenue from these visitor segments, with previous purchasers responsible for 28% of revenue

“New visitors represent the largest percentage of revenue, accounting for 40% within retail and 44% in travel”

Given the longer customer journey within travel, and the fact travel purchases are less frequent, this lack of revenue from previous customers is perhaps not so strange. However, remember that we saw much higher conversion rates for returning customers versus returning visitors for both retail and travel, indicating there is perhaps a missed opportunity here to tailor the customer journey better.

What are the average bounce rates for these visitor segments

So far we’ve look at how the different segments behave when it comes to purchase, but what about if they just leave? Looking at average bounce rates for the 4 visitor segments we noted a correlation between loyalty and bounce rate:

What this tells us, is that campaigns focused on reducing bounce rate should be focused primarily on new visitors, who are likely less familiar with your brand and so more likely to leave. Think about how you can highlight your USPs to re-engage them before they leave. Another consideration is device – bounce rates were lowest on desktop and highest on mobile, suggesting there is still some work to do optimizing the mobile customer journey.

Conclusion

Stats like these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning more about your visitors via segmentation. As you gather more data, map your customer journey, and benchmark your performance, you’ll be able to create a more detailed picture of how your visitors behave and spot the opportunities to improve their experience.

Want more data and insights like this? Check out our other resources, or sign up to our mailing list to get the latest straight to your inbox.

#Journey2019: An interview with James Boyle from Flight Centre

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With #Journey2019 just around the corner we’re going behind-the-scenes with our amazing speaker line-up. Today we talk with James Boyle from Flight Centre.

Hi James, thanks for speaking with us today! Can you tell us a bit more about you and your role at Flight Centre?

Yes sure. My role is Head of Performance Marketing for Flight Centre UK. I’m responsible for driving traffic and enquiry conversion through the site through our performance-based channels such as PPC, SEO, Display Retargeting, A/B Testing, and anything offline also that’s performance-based, so it’s a really varied and hands-on role. I’ve been working at the company since 2016, found my groove pretty early on, and work with a great team.

Essentially I am a digital marketer at heart, and although no two days are the same, my main focus is to ensure we get the best return on investment across our performance-based channels.

Nice, and how did you end up where you are today?

Primarily my background has mainly been in travel, I was working in the retail property market for a while prior to Flight Centre, but I quickly found that I really missed travel. Before that, I worked for an airline, Virgin Australia, in a similar role, so e-commerce focused, and prior to that, I lived in Edinburgh, working for the tourism board VisitScotland.

There’s a lot of similarities working at an airline, then in tourism, then where I am now at an online travel agent, but there’s also a lot of differences as you can imagine. At Flight Centre, we have 80+ retail stores, and we have a huge depth of product, we’re selling airline tickets, we’re selling hotel products.

In my past roles it was all about achieving a direct booking with the airline, or inspiring people to visit a particular location. It definitely helps with the learning curve being exposed to different organizations, and I can’t think of a more exciting industry to be in that travel.

And speaking of where you are today, can you tell us a bit about Flight Centre?

Flight Centre was founded in Australia, as part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, we’re a very large business – something that a lot of people usually find surprising if they’re not familiar with us.

We specialize in a variety of areas, but primarily in tailor-made holidays. As mentioned we’ve got 80+ stores in the UK, right across the country, so if there’s a busy high street we’re not too far away! We entered the UK market in the mid-90s and have expanded significantly over the last 20 years.

As a business a key differentiator for us is our people, we have a huge focus on driving customers in-store, so we can tailor make any holiday they need. There may be a view that travel agents are a thing of the past, but there’s so much choice now and everyone is so busy I think that’s changing. An example recently, I booked a trip to Oman, and it was somewhere I was not familiar with so having someone on hand to help me with the trip saved so much time when it came to research.

This really is a huge asset for our business, we get so many reviews from customers shouting out the individual consultants. The fact that in the last 12 months we’ve seen our Trustpilot score go from 8.8/10 to 9.7/10 is a testament to our people and is something we’re really proud of.

You’ve talked a bit about what differentiates Flight Centre as a business, what would you say are the key challenges in travel?

The thing that comes up the most for us, and particularly in the work we’ve done with Yieldify, is optimizing for the full customer journey. I think as consumers we now have such high standards when it comes to our experiences with brands, and this applies to travel but also to any industry.

This is especially true online, given how quickly technology develops, that as a business we need to ensure we’re giving the best experience of whatever touchpoint the customer has interacted with us via. And with Flight Centre this can be via live chat, phone, email, in-store, and more –  it’s a big challenge for any brand to ensure consistency across all those touchpoints.

This is particularly important for travel, as there’s not as much brand loyalty. Consumers have gotten used to booking flights and accommodation separately and will book activities either just before they leave or in-destination. Building loyalty is about really tapping into the customers’ needs at a deeper level, visitors can use metasearch, but we can provide a fully tailored trip, with personalized recommendations from someone who’s been to that destination multiple times.

And how are you going about understanding your customers and how their expectations are changing?

It’s really interesting, we kind of started this process last year, thinking about what we could do around the acronym CJO, Customer Journey Optimization, that Yieldify has popularized. So we’ve been working a lot more closely with our CRM teams, and making sure we’re analyzing the right data, as well as assessing every single touchpoint that a user can potentially come into contact with us both on our website and with our brand.

It’s been a lengthy process, but we want to ensure users are getting consistency, in terms of their brand experience, at every point in the journey. This ties back to the challenges a lot of brands have, particularly around organizational silos. We’re fortunate at Flight Centre that, for example, we have operations in the same meetings as marketing so we can quickly get a gauge and feedback on what’s working with the customers. This really helps in terms of the feedback loop and that we’re all thinking outside our own headspace, and more in line with the customer.

Are there any companies that you see as really meeting the level of experience that customers expect today in travel or other industries?

I think it’s the names that come up again and again at industry events, and also from my own experience, so the likes of Booking.com, where I usually have a seamless booking experience. I really like the convenience they offer and flexibility, they’ve nailed it.

Then for me, it’s really a lot of companies outside travel, particularly in retail. A really good example for me because they have that high street presence, as well as an online presence, is Argos. It again comes back to that level of customer expectation, people are ordering from the likes of Amazon so you need to compete with that. I think I ordered something from Argos recently, it wasn’t even next day delivery, it was same day delivery for something I ordered at midday. It’s that kind of level of service, as a brand that’s a huge advantage. I really like the way they give you the flexibility, either pick up your item via click and collect or get it delivered.

Finally, can you give us a bit of info about your session at Journey 2019 and what you’re looking forward to on the day?

Sure, so I’ll be joining the travel breakout panel session alongside Loco2 and Thomas Cook Airlines, so it should be a really good discussion. We’ll hopefully go a bit deeper into some of what we’ve discussed today actually and I’m looking forward to hearing what the other speakers have to say! These sessions are also great as a networking opportunity with like-minded professionals facing similar challenges.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Sam Willan from StudentUniverse as I’ve learnt a lot from his team while working on Yieldify so will be great to see his presentation. As for the rest of the line-up, it’ll be exciting also to see what we can learn from other brands not only in the travel space but in retail. I’m actually gutted I’ll be missing the retail breakout session with John Lewis and Oliver Bonas which is at the same time as my session, so hopefully, I’ll be able to get some notes on that!

Thanks James, looking forward to next week!

If you’re lucky enough to have nabbed a ticket to Journey2019 then check out the full line-up here to plan your visit, and we’ll see you there!

https://try.yieldify.com/travel-journeys

Campaigns of the Month: February 2019

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Check out the Campaigns of the Month for February 2019!

How NEST Fragrances helps visitors discover best-selling products

Leading fine and premium home fragrance brand NEST Fragrances wanted to help website visitors discover its world of luxurious yet approachable fragrance collections, here’s how they did that with Yieldify…

Alex Gold, Head of Beauty, Luxury & Lifestyle – Client Services & Strategy

“The sensory nature of fragrance means that visitors can be in need of further guidance when it comes to navigating and discovering products online.

Social proof is a powerful way to build trust with these consumers and can be utilized across the customer journey. NEST has already incorporated social proof into its site, for example, by allowing visitors to sort by best selling, and displaying customer reviews at the category level.

Utilizing Yieldify’s sticky campaigns functionality NEST Fragrances was able to take this further. A ‘Best Selling’ message was added to relevant product pages to ensure that this message was carried across the customer journey.

The campaign has already yielded positive results, driving a 30% uplift in conversion on mobile, and now the brand is A/B testing messaging to hone this further.”

Alexandra Gold, Head of Beauty, Luxury & Lifestyle at Yieldify


How Borough Kitchen drives awareness with returning visitors

Borough Kitchen sells everything the home chef needs for the kitchen and table. Not only that, but Borough Kitchen also offers London Cook School classes, which visitors can book via the website.

As an extremely popular option that sells out quickly, Borough Kitchen wanted to ensure returning visitors were aware of the new Cook School class calendar. Here’s how they did that with Yieldify.

Alice Ribton, Customer Success Manager, Yieldify

“We utilized a subtle floating button format to inform visitors of the new Cook School calendar. The campaign was targeted to particular pages on the site: the homepage, new-in and the gift guide, and displayed to returning visitors.

Appearing at the left-hand side of the screen, users had the choice to interact further – clicking the button opened a ‘Book Now’ CTA to drive users to the calendar.”

Alice Ribton, Customer Success Manager at Yieldify

Want more examples and inspiration? Check out our ebooks for insights on everything from personalization, to psychology, and more!

5 marketing testing methods to optimize the customer journey

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There are many marketing testing methods out there, but what should you try?

For the best results when optimizing the customer journey, marketers need to be analyzing and adjusting their methods and customer touchpoints constantly. Testing your marketing will help you achieve so much more with what you already have by assessing and continuously improving based on data. There are many marketing testing methods out there, but what should you try? Let’s go over some key types of marketing testing you can use on your e-commerce site.

A/B Testing

A/B testing compares two variations of the same item to determine which variation produces the best results. It can be used at a variety of points in the customer journey: calls to action, landing pages, email subject lines, web page layouts, length of copy and more.

For instance, if you wanted to test the click-through rate (CTR) of a call to action (CTA) button, you could vary the button colour, making it appear either blue or red for site visitors, to determine the colour that gets the highest CTR.

With a discount offer you could test what amount appeals to customers and results in a better conversion rate: £5 off or 10% off? Or you could even test if you need to be giving discounts at all, like beauty brand skyn ICELAND who tested a $5 discount verus brand USPs (click here to find out which won!)

Marketing testing for e-commerce
skyn ICELAND tested a discount versus USP message, guess which won?


Tip: Don’t change multiple elements of an item during an A/B test. If you’re testing a CTA button’s colour, don’t change its size or font as well. Keep it simple, otherwise you won’t know which change is producing the best results.

Multivariate Testing (MVT)

Multivariate testing applies a test to a number of elements at the same time to work out the best combination of elements or what specific elements are contributing to better results over others. Rather than testing two significant variations, you can make subtle changes to a variety of elements on one web page and test it against other versions of the same web page to see how these subtle changes interact with each other and the customer.

Marketing testing: MVT
Source: HubPages

In an email, you may test two slightly different templates, a simple version with one CTA and one hero image and a complex version with two CTAs, and a brief message and no images, to see which one produces the best CTR or conversion rate.

Tip: MVT is more advanced marketing testing and therefore useful for highly trafficked sites, as you can get meaningful results fast.

Content Testing

Evaluating your content in detail will help determine whether you’re getting the best out of it. When creating a landing page, email or social media post, it’s important to ask yourself if it works for your target audience. Question elements of the content such as clarity of intent, the layout’s white space, the logo’s prominence, the number of images, accessibility and purpose.

You can also test how you’re delivering the content to your audience – is it at the right time, via the right channel, at the appropriate moment in the customer journey? For example, on social media, a lot of engagement happens at the weekend, yet many brands focus on posting content during the week:

Marketing testing: social media

Tip: Keep a pitch, offer or headline the same when testing and just alter the copy, CTA, layout or image. This will illuminate what elements work well together for your customers. To measure success, look at traffic, and conversions from content, two basic things that should increase for a successful test.

Geotargeted Testing

Geotargeting delivers content to a customer based on their location, determined via their GPS, Wi-Fi or IP address. Using geotargeting you can test whether providing location or culturally specific content drives results using this particular personalization. You could experiment using geotargeted banners, providing local offers or redirecting customers to a translated page based on their IP address.

Beauty brand Lancôme Canada tested out a similar concept by creating a version of it’s lead gen campaign to serve different audiences based on language rather than location.

Using Yieldify’s flexible targeting capability the brand was able to serve an overlay welcoming visitors using a Chinese language browser with a message that would resonate with them.

For more on catering to global e-commerce audiences check out our guide, How to win in global e-commerce.

Tip: You should use a generic control that could apply to all locations when testing the conversion results of geotargeted content.

Usability Testing

Usability testing determines whether your website or app is clearly and efficiently usable by your target audience. There is little point in having a website with stylish design, striking images and balanced white space if information intended for your customer journey is not clear.

Marketing testing: UX and Usability
Source: MockPlus

This type of marketing testing requires you to evaluate user experience and there are numerous ways to carry it out. Researching what appeals to your target demographic could help with design. Paper prototype testing would allow you to assess an invited user completing a task on your website, initially constructed as a step-by-step process on paper, before you create it digitally to see how efficient part of your customer journey is. You could even interview users to receive feedback to show you what does or does not work for them.


Tip: Usability testing is useful when implemented prior to launching a new marketing asset, as it could save you time and money in the long run if you get it right first time.

Case Study: A/B Testing

Megabus used A/B testing to observe which tactics and messages produced the best results across their customer journey to drive urgency in-session, secure bookings and recapture abandoning visitors.

In one instance, highlighting benefits of ‘At-seat power’ or ‘Free Wi-fi’ was compared with a control to see if this had a positive impact on conversion rates. By adapting the format and triggering for mobile because of what they learned through A/B testing, Megabus achieved a 3.2% uplift in conversion rate versus the control group.

Megabus: e-commerce testing
Megabus: A/B tested the customer journey

Conclusion

In a highly competitive e-commerce environment, you need to keep evaluating all elements of your work to make sure they not only look good, but that they drive results. Huge rewards are to be gained by incorporating this kind of analysis into your customer journey optimization strategy, particularly when it comes to e-commerce. Get an overview of testing ideas for your customer journey to solve challenges like cart abandonment, lead capture and more in our free tipsheet: download yours here.


#Journey2019: An interview with Sam Willan from StudentUniverse

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Ahead of #Journey2019, we’re going behind-the-scenes with our stellar line-up of speakers. First up, Sam Willan from StudentUniverse.

Hi Sam! First things first, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and StudentUniverse?

I’m Sam Willan, and I’m General Manager of the U.K. business for StudentUniverse. I took on that role in October last year – previously I was Head of Marketing. As a marketer by trade, I still very much oversee the marketing strategy – that’s my primary focus alongside a general brand responsibility in the UK.

“At StudentUniverse, in a nutshell, we’re advocates for young people seeing the world.”

At StudentUniverse, in a nutshell, we’re advocates for young people seeing the world. We believe that travel is essential to modern day education. So the core of what we do is offer unique pricing terms on flights and global experiences to a closed user group of students via our proprietary verification technology.

We started out of Boston, Massachusetts in 2000 as a technology company in the travel industry. The aim was to create a simpler and more robust approach to student travel than the traditional Student ID discount system. It worked really well and we launched in the UK back in 2013.

Can you tell us more about your journey to get where you are today in travel?

So I’ve been with Flight Centre Travel Group coming up on 10 years, but I’ve essentially worked in travel all my life! Prior to getting a “real job”, I was doing ski seasons for 3 years, and then after that I joined the real world of travel.

I’ve worked across a variety of functions, from sales consultant on the front line for Round the World Experts, to content management around 7 years ago within Flight Centre. I then moved to be the Marketing Manager at Travel Club, and after that into youth travel with Gapyear.com. I made the move into e-commerce around 2 years ago with StudentUniverse and have been there ever since.

Based on your wealth of experience, it would be great to get your perspective on the key challenges the travel industry is facing now we’re in 2019.

Absolutely! I’m going to ignore the macro issue of Brexit because I think that’s probably at the top of the list for anyone working in travel, or even across other industries.

Product differentiation is always going to be key – we predominantly sell airline tickets and it’s an incredibly commoditized industry. It’s getting harder and harder to differentiate on product level alone, which is where operating in a niche sector is an advantage. There are also some changes in technology standards through IATA that will allow us to look at selling based on specific consumer’s requirements, so really personalizing based on each individual consumer, which is quite exciting.

Then, travel is an incredibly fragmented industry in terms of the user journey to purchase – I’ve read that any given person will visit 38 sites before committing to a travel purchase. Understanding visitors in the research phase versus those with intent to buy can be really difficult to pinpoint. Online, it’s a real challenge to know if they are just looking out of interest or whether they will go ahead and buy in that session.

“You have to contend with the fact that someone could spend 99% of their time researching with you, but if you’re not meeting their requirements at the right moment, there’s no guarantee they’ll transact with you.”

Brand loyalty is another thing that is really, really difficult. The volume of information that’s available for consumers to research is vast. Then you have to contend with the fact that someone could spend 99% of their time researching with you, but if you’re not meeting their requirements at the right moment, there’s no guarantee they’ll transact with you. It’s harder and harder to capture that loyalty as a brand, and specifically within a travel agency environment where you don’t directly “own” the commodity – and have less control over the physical product experience.

That leads on to our next question… how have you seen consumer expectations of online travel change and why?

It’s very similar to trends across every industry – it’s convenience and service that people are looking for. Ten years ago, we absolutely couldn’t tap a button and then have a taxi waiting two minutes later, but that is just the expectation now and everyone else lags behind, that’s no different with online travel. Travel is one of those huge industries that is lagging behind, certainly retail in that expectation around service, convenience and value.

“People are more willing to pay to have that peace of mind. For example, if they’ve booked with us, they want to know that we can support them throughout their whole experience.”

I think people actually value convenience and service over price point. People are more willing to pay to have that peace of mind. For example, if they’ve booked with us, they want to know that we can support them throughout their whole experience. We know, for example, an air ticket might be booked three to four months in advance to secure the best price, but an experience or hotel is something they’ll want to book much closer to the time. So being able to unbundle all these products so visitors can book at their convenience, but still have everything in one place for when they travel – this is where the expectation is going.

Personalization as well – demographic targeting isn’t enough any more. I think the travel industry is as guilty as anyone – it’s segmenting broadly by age and location and similar. And actually when you dig down into it, you can’t segment at that level and be successful: it’s real personalization that people are demanding now.

So who, in your view, is excelling at meeting these expectations?

There’s a couple. Quite a niche example of someone doing something smart is Delta Airlines. They have an airline baggage tracking functionality within their app. It’s a great product augmentation play: they’ve addressed something that’s a bugbear of so many people, a real pain point when travelling. You can track, in real time, where your luggage is, something that has a knock-on effect on the rest of your travel plans, or if you’re a business traveller what time you’ll arrive at your meeting. So it’s kind of a tiny point, but its ability to have an impact on the customer experience of Delta’s product is huge.

Then, it’s probably cliché to mention, but outside of travel, I think Amazon, where they are standardizing returns, refunds, customer service across a range of distributors and suppliers. It’s a really smart way to work and wouldn’t surprise me if we see someone make similar moves within the travel industry, where are so many disparate parts to pull together.

In the not too distant future we’ll see companies looking to standardize terms, cancellation policies, customer service etc., and so be able to address that fragmentation we talked about earlier.

Can you give us a bit of a sneak preview of what you’ll be speaking about at #Journey2019?

So I’m going to be looking at the hot topic of customer lifetime value in a time when loyalty is declining. Certainly, something we’re guilty of is focusing on that cost per acquisition on a single sale basis, and ignoring the lifetime value the customer still has to brands. How we can start to use data to address this, to personalize the customer journey and improve lifetime value?

And finally, aside from your presentation, what are you looking forward to on the day?

Well, the travel breakout session features James Boyle from Flight Centre, so definitely looking forward to that – he’s a really smart and switched-on guy!

Thanks Sam!

If you’re lucky enough to have nabbed a ticket to Journey2019 then check out the full line-up here to plan your visit, and we’ll see you on March 13th.

https://try.yieldify.com/travel-journeys

Valentine’s e-commerce tips: create customer journeys that hit more targets than Cupid!

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We’ve put together some Valentine’s e-commerce tips that are sure to have your customers showing you some love.

Ah yes, the season of love. It’s a great time for anyone in a relationship, but an even better time for e-commerce managers, so we’ve pulled together some Valentine’s e-commerce tips, especially for you.

Just like any holiday centred on the gifting of goods, such as Christmas or Mother’s Day, Valentine’s presents a big opportunity. Yet unlike other holidays, Valentine’s Day comes with a bonus. 

Whilst still concerned with finding the best possible deal, shoppers are more willing to part with greater quantities of cash to show their loved ones they care.

The desire to splurge on your partner is so great that Valentine’s Day’s AOV eclipses that of the e-commerce behemoth Black Friday. According to the National Retail Federation consumers are spending more than ever. Between 2009 and 2019 the average amount consumers plan to spend increased by $60.


So how can you make the most of consumers desire to splash the cash this Valentine’s?

Remember, this is business as usual

Whenever a big holiday rolls around there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. There’s sometimes a perceived need to implement fresh strategies, create new approaches and make everything super specific to the impending sale. Most of which simply isn’t needed.

A lot of the general approaches that are so effective on Black Friday also work at Christmas, the January sales, Valentine’s day or any other shopping centred holiday.

Below is a list of a few campaigns that you likely already have the framework in place for and are always successful:

  • Cross-sell the hell out of related products – If people are willing to spend more, oblige them. Give them ample opportunity to add complementary products to their carts.
  • Add free shipping/discount thresholds – Nothing gets people willing to spend more than the promise of a bargain.

Valentine's E-commerce tips: free delivery

  • Provide last-minute options for late shoppers – because there’s always someone who leaves it to the 11th hour

Yes, Valentine’s Day is different and unique, but don’t get caught up thinking you need a completely unique approach. It’s just another holiday and, with a few tweaks, it’s business as usual.

Gone in 60 seconds

As in love, sometimes online shoppers can be fickle. The average shopper checks three different sites before committing to a purchase. A short attention span means a decision on whether to continue or bounce is made within seconds. The latest reports suggest that visitors are so quick to judge that after 60 seconds, you’ll have lost 30% of your traffic.

infographic on valentine's day shopping preferences

So, at best, you’ve got 60 seconds to convince prospects that you’ve got what they want. What’s the best way to achieve this? With a dedicated Valentine’s Day landing page or curated selection of products.

Something which shows those who navigate to your site that yes, you do have a stellar Valentine’s Day selection and yes, there is an offer on certain goods.

Stick some easy navigation buttons and options right there on the landing page and voila, you’ve secured some of that 30% who’d leave within the first minute. Make sure your landing page clearly demonstrates Valentine’s shoppers are on the right site with some cracking Valentine’s imagery. And if they’re on the move, employ a well-timed message to re-engage them with an offer or assistance:

 

Segment your audience

Segmentation has always been the backbone of an effective marketing campaign, it ensures you’re marketing the right products to the right people (whilst also simplifying that path to purchase!).

With Valentine’s you can separate your products by gender, or group by type of buyer. This is a good opportunity to A/B test those calls to actions – does a gender or persona focused CTA drive more clicks and conversions?

Use images to clearly demonstrate the different segments so your visitors know exactly where they need to click. You can also use this space to make smart product recommendations that catch consumers attention.

Liberty valentine's day

However, don’t just focus on the romantic.

Valentine’s Day primarily aimed at couples, but modern shoppers aren’t just buying gifts on for a romantic partner.

This table from Statista shows how much money shoppers spend on family members on Valentine’s Day. You can see that over the years there’s a slight increase in the amount people are spending on non-romantic gifts. 

In 2018 Americans bought gifts for pets, family and even spent $654 million on co-workers:

Valentine's e-commerce tips: gift recipients

 

The learning? Be sure to include items that would be suitable for family members and friends.

Offer a little guidance

If we’re being honest, a lot of people out there have no idea what to purchase on Valentine’s Day. It’s why flowers, chocolates or jewellery always sell well:

 

It may be the thought that counts, but there’s a great opportunity here to help shoppers gain a few extra brownie points by getting a gift perfectly suited to their partner’s needs and desires.

How? Curated content featuring your recommended products can be pushed to those exhibiting the telltale signs of cold feet: exit intent, or extended dwell times. It’s doesn’t even need to be specially curated for Valentine’s, we’ve found directing visitors to bestselling, or trending sections can have a positive impact of conversion by offering a form of ‘social proof’.

Valentine's e-commerce tips: curated gifts

 

It’s not all about gifts

Physical gifts are great, but people crave experiences. Millennials are driving this trend, with 51% saying a shared experience is what they’d most like to receive versus the 40% average. This is perfect if you’re a travel brand or restaurant – everything we’ve said so far can be applied to up those conversions ahead of the 14th. 

 

But what if you’re not selling experiences? A smart way to leverage this trend, particularly as it gets closer to Valentine’s Day, and delivery deadlines become shorter, is to push in-store. Events such as workshops or gift wrapping services work particularly well with the key categories for Valentine’s such as beauty products and jewellery, but you could even do something as simple as pushing your click and collect options.

Get your visitors to fall in love with you

Valentine’s is an opportunity for e-commerce stores to start the year off right. Take advantage of an increase in traffic to test out which messages and tactics work best to drive conversions and improve the customer journey (Need some testing inspo? Download your free checklist here).

If you can successfully include the tips outlined above into your larger marketing campaign, you should have a few new admirers after the holiday season. They won’t be sending you chocolates but will instead offer something far more precious. Repeat business.

Campaigns of the Month: January 2019

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Check out our campaigns of the month: January 2019

How Leger Holidays reduces booking abandonment

Leger Holidays is a leading tour operator offering more than 180 trips to choose from across Europe. Seeking to provide ‘amazing experiences’ to its customers, starting from the moment a visitor begins booking their trip, Leger Holidays worked with Yieldify to optimize the booking process.

“Travel has one of the highest abandonment rates of any industry at around 81%. Part of this is due to the expectation users have around the length of the booking process. In order to combat this, Leger utilized sticky campaigns throughout the booking journey highlighting exactly how many minutes the process usually takes from that point.”

“Using the sticky campaign format meant this message could be anchored right alongside the relevant sections of the form, without interrupting the visitor journey. To date, the results have been impressive, with conversion rates up by +15.7% versus the control group.”

Alex Martinsmith, Campaign Analyst, Customer Success

How Maximuscle leverages social proof to drive conversions

Maximuscle, a leading sports nutrition brand, know that trust is key when it comes to selling health and fitness related products. The brand wanted to leverage the power of social proof, at the right moment in the customer journey to drive conversions.

“Social proof is a powerful psychological principle that can be used in a variety of ways across an e-commerce site. For this campaign the goal was to drive visitors to add to cart at that moment of intent by creating urgency with social proof messaging.”

“The sticky campaign we used was a simple but effective way to do this, and we’re already seeing positive results. In the video you’ll also see that we follow this up with another message once the product is added to bag, notifying the user they’ve qualified for free delivery. This two-phase approach is a great way to move visitors from browsing to checkout”

Stephanie King, Head of UK Retail

Want more examples like this? Check out our Case Studies, and don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list.

Beauty e-commerce trends 2019

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What can e-commerce marketers learn from the beauty e-commerce trends driving a $750bn industry?

As a wide array of industries are disrupted or destroyed by e-commerce giants, the beauty industry has been remarkably resilient. In fact, many are saying it’s going through a massive reinvention — which has put the industry on pace to be valued at $750 billion by 2024. Key to this growth are a number of beauty e-commerce trends that have enabled a diverse range of brands to own the customer journey like never before.

So how are beauty brands owning the customer journey in 2019? Between social media, organic and paid search, and the rise of omnichannel, multi-brand retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty, the path to purchase is more complex than ever.

While this complex customer journey presents a challenge for brands, it’s also an opportunity to present unique omnichannel experiences. In short, the growth of the beauty sector isn’t random. New, exciting brands are popping up regularly and launching creative marketing efforts that are becoming the talk of the industry.

Here are a few beauty e-commerce trends to keep an eye on (and learn from) in 2019…

Insta-upstarts take on established brands

Social media has levelled the playing field for brands, making it easier for young challengers to quickly establish a foothold and take on more established industry players. These new direct-to-consumer kids on the block have risen to prominence off the back of unique brand stories.

Glossier, for instance, has grown dramatically over the past few years thanks to a simple but compelling ethos: “The individual should be celebrated.” Many of these new companies are leveraging their ‘newness’ to brand themselves as fresh alternatives to older industry giants.

In response, these same industry giants are evolving. Taking a page out of these new brands’ playbooks and investing in social media influencers who can provide an injection of freshness and authenticity. Or they’re altering their aesthetics, aligning with industry trends to offer more minimal, millennial-friendly, products and e-commerce sites.

Photo: @covergirl/Instagram

Social shopping – is 2019 the year?

Linked with the rise of direct-to-consumer indie brands, is the continued dominance of social media. Monitoring of beauty e-commerce trends show that king among the platforms is Instagram, which many brands have mastered to gather useful user-generated content and compelling visual assets. Even as major social players such as Kylie Cosmetics have taken up a large share of the space, more and more brands continue to invest in building followings. It proves one thing: Social isn’t going anywhere, but will 2019 be the year it pays off, in terms of actual sales?

As shoppable posts on Instagram became available in 44 countries in 2018 the dream of creating a seamless shopping experience on mobile is becoming more of a reality. The number of beauty brands using the functionality will only grow in 2019 as 72% of consumers say they have made fashion, beauty or style related purchase directly after seeing something on Instagram. Stories, in particular, offer an almost seamless way to facilitate e-commerce from content, and beauty brands have taken advantage of this, now representing 38% of Stories posts, ahead of retail (26%), and luxury (21%) brands.

Beauty e-commerce trends: Instagram Stories
Source: Gartner L2

Personalization continues to proliferate

Beauty e-commerce trends are reflective of wider industry trends, but none more-so than personalization. One major reason beauty brands have grown amid e-commerce upheaval is their ability to leverage the inherently personal aspect of beauty shopping, to serve the growing consumer demand for personalization.

Each buyer is different and has different needs. Varied skin types and body shapes lead customers down different paths as they shop for beauty products. When Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty burst onto the scene, one of the major factors in it’s huge success was a product range catering to a wide array of skin types previously underserved by the industry. Brands have taken notice of this demand, and are now celebrating these differences right through from the products they produce to the assistive, personalized customer experiences they create online.

Beauty e-commerce trends: Charlotte Tilbury
Source: Charlotte Tilbury

Online shade selectors, like the above from Charlotte Tilbury, help customers find just the right foundation for their skin. Guided selling tactics such as this, mimic the in-store experience of conversing with a sales assistant, aiding product discovery, encouraging purchases and offer the added bonus of cutting down on returns.

New approaches to building loyalty

With a crowded field making acquisition in beauty harder than ever, building loyalty to retain customers is becoming more and more valuable. Loyalty schemes that encourage retention have long been a staple, for instance, Sephora has remained an industry heavyweight thanks to its effective points-based system. Subscription-based services, such as Birchbox and Cornerstone, have also seen sizeable growth, with consumer appetite for a regular beauty fix high.

But some methods for building loyalty are more abstract. Take, for instance, a newer entrant to beauty e-commerce trends – brands as communities. By leveraging social media to encourage interaction among customers, more brands are creating a tight-knit, communal feel to increase customer loyalty. In this way, a brand becomes part of the customer’s identity, building a more meaningful type of customer-brand interaction. Some are even bringing social to the supply chain, such as Glossier’s leveraging of its online community to crowd-source products, or ColourPop’s showcase of the process behind the products.

View this post on Instagram

Evolution of the Milky Jelly bottle ?

A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on

Source: Glossier / Instagram

Beauty e-commerce trends: what’s next?

Beauty brands are in a unique position to build strong personal bonds with their customers, and there’s a lot that can be learned from how they’ve done this to date. From optimizing the journey between social and commerce to baking-in personalization across the business there are more ways than ever to connect with customers. E-commerce marketers in all industries have the chance to launch creative campaigns that improve the customer journey. These beauty e-commerce trends give us a taste of where the industry is headed – for ideas on how you can leverage them, check out our Beauty E-commerce Lookbook featuring three examples of customer journeys made personal.

Beauty E-commerce Lookbook

Peak performance: Q4 2018 e-commerce statistics [Infographic]

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Expectations for e-commerce going into Q4 were mixed to say the least. See how it all turned out with these Q4 2018 e-commerce statistics.

The outlook for retail and e-commerce heading into Q4 2019 was cautious, with November the ‘worst on record’ for UK retailers, and similar ‘warning signs’ in the US.

Now it’s 2019 we decided to take a look back at the data to understand what happened during key shopping periods like Black Friday and the holiday season, and what e-commerce brands should know when it comes to traffic, conversions and more.

We analyzed over half a million visits across November and December to US and UK websites to understand consumers to understand peak performance. Here are a few of the key insights from our Q4 2018 e-commerce statistics:

  • It started early, with Black Friday driving the most traffic
  • December traffic peaked on the 1st, conversions peaked later
  • Mobile is the device of choice for discovery, and conversion rates are slowly growing

View the infographic below to see all the data and insights!

Q4 2018 e-commerce statistics

Did your peak performance measure up? If not, we’re on hand to help. Book a free Customer Journey Optimization consultation for ideas to get your 2019 off to a flying start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2019 e-commerce marketing calendar

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What are the key dates for e-commerce marketing in 2019? We’ve got the answers…

With $3.4 trillion to play for in e-commerce this year, the Yieldify e-commerce marketing calendar is back by popular demand, and better than ever!

With this year set to see more online shoppers – spending more across more markets than ever – one this is clear…there’s a lot to play for in 2019.

There’s also a mountain of challenges to climb – ‘industry killer’ Amazon will turn 25 years old in July. E-commerce brands will be seeking to finally get a handle on the changes it has pioneered, such as personalization, with 37% of marketers planning to join the 27% already creating personalized online experiences in 2019.

To make sure you’re prepared for everything the next 12 months might throw at you, this year’s edition of the 2019 e-commerce marketing calendar is packed with useful info and our most popular content.

From planning reminders to keep you on track to hit your targets, to facts and stats to help drive your strategy…and lots of themed pictures of cartoon aliens along the way.

And it’s a totally free resource – click below to get your copy of the Yieldify E-commerce Marketing Calendar 2019 and have an amazing 2019!

2019 e-commerce calendar

Need some support with marketing around the key dates featured in the 2019 e-commerce marketing calendar? Why not book a free customer journey optimization consultation to see how we can help.

Our campaigns of the month: December 2018

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Check out our campaigns of the month: December 2018!

Learn how Marks & Spencer and Pacifico Optical are optimizing the customer journey in our Campaigns of the Month: December 2018 edition.

How M&S showcases its award-winning Christmas food

With the ‘golden quarter’ a key period for grocery sales, Marks & Spencer wanted to help visitors discover it’s award-winning selection of food to order.

Building trust with online consumers is so important when it comes to the grocery sector, and even more-so when it comes to one of the most important meals of the year!

With this in mind, Marks & Spencer wanted to highlight a USP and trust-signal to new visitors – the numerous awards it has won for its Christmas products from respected publications. 

We worked together to develop a notification displaying the BBC Good Food and Good Housekeeping Institute logos, with a CTA inviting visitors to shop a curated selection of the winning products.

Charlie Singleton, Head of Retail – Health & Beauty, Customer Success

 

 

 

How Pacifico Optical highlights USPs along the customer journey

The eyewear market has been revolutionised in recent years by the rise of direct to consumer brands like America’s Warby Parker and South Korea’s Gentle Monster.

The key to this success? A smooth customer journey between offline and online – something Australian ‘accessible luxury’ eyewear brand Pacifico Optical recognised and used the Yieldify Conversion Platform to create.

In order to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find their perfect frames Pacifico Optical serve relevant messages at different stages of the customer journey. Visitors are notified of the latest store opening upon arrival, so they know that an offline visit is possible as they browse.

Then, if a user shows more intent to buy, by visiting the product page or cart, but then decides to exit, the brand highlights its free shipping and free returns USPs, giving unsure shoppers a compelling reason to convert.

 

 

Our campaigns of the month: November 2018

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Check out our campaigns of the month: November 2018!

Learn how Argos Pet Insurance and Soak.com are optimizing the customer journey in our Campaigns of the Month: November 2018 edition.

How Argos Pet Insurance reduces funnel abandonment

One of the key challenges within financial services is building trust with new visitors. For Argos Pet Insurance this meant understanding how to build trust with those looking to insure their pet for the first time with Argos Pet Insurance.

“We took a data-driven approach, analyzing each step of the funnel, to understand and advise on the specific stages in the funnel that could be targeted.

Through testing, Yieldify and Argos Pet Insurance identified that each step of the quote funnel required a different action to improve engagement and encourage users to the next step.

The video below shows just one of the successful tactics – highlighting USPs and social proof such as customer ratings, number of pets insured and claim processing time.

Stephanie King, Client Services Team Lead, Yieldify

 

 

How Soak.com optimizes the PPC journey

With acquisition costs rising, retailers need to make the most of valuable PPC traffic once it hits the site. Online bathroom suite and furniture retailer Soak.com wanted to understand more about these visitors and keep the journey going toward conversion.

“While designed to help drive conversion, the Soak.com PPC journey campaign had a second objective that was just as important: gaining insights into how PPC visitors responded to different sub-categories within a product range.

Together we created a campaign that used referral source targeting, to show visitors exiting on the radiator category an overlay asking what they were looking for. This contained three calls to action: shop by style, room or by colour.

This campaign helped the team at Soak.com to reduce abandonment on premium PPC traffic as well as gain a greater understaning of the user experience.

Harry Cochran, Account Manager, Yieldify

To see more examples of great work from our clients and team, check out the eleven winners of The Fireflies, Yieldify’s first annual awards programme!

Our campaigns of the month: October 2018

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Check out our campaigns of the month: October 2018!

Learn how Avon and the Ideal Home Show are optimizing the customer journey in our Campaigns of the Month: October 2018 edition.

How Avon utilizes video content for new product launches

As the world’s leading direct seller of beauty related products, Avon wanted to ensure its online customer journey is as helpful as possible. Working with Yieldify the brand created a campaign to promote a new product – its innovative mark. 2-in-1 Lip Tattoo stain via video.

Aware that consumers, especially millennials and gen Z, are video driven when it comes to buying beauty products, Avon wanted to amplify its ad for the product on-site to engage desktop users.

We were able to deliver this via an unobtrusive notification that appeared on the product description page, giving users the choice to engage with the content

Charlie Singleton, Client Services Team Lead, Yieldify

Learn more about how beauty brands are making over the customer journey in our beauty e-commerce guide featuring examples from Skyn ICELAND, Kiehl’s and more.

How the Ideal Home Show drives urgency to purchase

With the Ideal Home Show Christmas just around the corner, Yieldify put together a campaign to drive urgency with consumers showing intent to buy.

Social proof is a highly effective technique for driving urgency, especially with visitors who are already demonstrating interest.

We used Dynamic Social Proof, utilizing real-time data to display how many other visitors were currently looking at buying the same tickets to the Ideal Home Show Christmas.

Using a subtle notification format with an animated GIF catches the users attention without diverting them from completing their purchase. The campaign is already producing positive results.

Rianna Beaton, Campaign Analyst, Yieldify

See the different tactics Megabus, We Are FSTVL and Stansted Express use to drive bookings and ticket sales in our case studies.

The state of CJO 2018: 200+ e-commerce marketers on customer journey optimization

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The state of customer journey optimization in e-commerce, as told by 200+ marketers.

The State of CJO 2018 is Yieldify’s inaugural survey into the current state of customer journey optimization in e-commerce, as told by marketers themselves. The report is one of the first to take a comprehensive look at Customer Journey Optimization (CJO) and how it’s being achieved across the UK and US.

The purpose? To understand more about where marketers are focusing their efforts, the challenges they’re facing and the investments they plan to make in 2019. Grab your copy of the full report here, or read on to get a sneak peek at some of the findings, and what they tell us about the state of CJO.

Customer acquisition is the focus, despite the cost

More than half of those we spoke to are focusing 60% or more of their efforts on acquiring new customers. This is in spite of the oft-cited facts that acquiring new customers is getting more expensive, and can cost up to 5x more than retaining an existing customer.

The chart below illustrates how marketers are splitting their time, as you can see the majority opt for a 60:40 split in favour of acquisition. However, the next most popular split was the reverse of this, with 18% 60:40 in favour of retention, indicating that perhaps marketers are sarting to shift toward a more balanced approach given rising costs and greater compeititon.

The takeaway? Whether you’re splitting your time and budget to focus more on acquisition or retention, creating different journeys for new visitors versus returning customers is paramount to ensure you’re getting a good ROI.

The state of CJO: acquisition vs. retention

More than 70% of marketers understand the customer journey, but optimizing it still presents challenges

At first glance, marketers are pretty satisfied with their understanding of the customer journey (70.9%). This decreases as the journey extends beyond the site to encompass other channels, and further decreases when it comes to using this understanding to optimize the journey.

The state of CJO: How satisfied are you?

The main tool marketers are using to optimize the customer journey is customer feedback – 59% are currently employing this qualitative method. Despite ranking their satisfaction with understanding the customer journey as high, only 41% of marketers are using customer journey mapping, suggesting that the approach could benefit from being more data-driven.

Personalization is hard… but it’s on the agenda for 2019

The reason customer feedback features so highly on current priorities is because it is perceived as ‘easy to implement and execute’. The two most difficult strategies or tools were personalization, and AI & Machine Learning, accounting for their lower ranking when it comes to current strategies.

The state of CJO: ease of implmentation

But that doesn’t mean marketers are shying away from personalization and AI & Machine Learning. 2019 may yet turn out to be the ‘year of personalization’, with 37% of US marketers planning to implement it, alongside current strategies such as customer feedback and customer journey mapping:

The state of CJO: 2019 customer journey tools

 

Get more insights on the state of CJO

Hopefully, this has given you a taste of what to expect from the State of CJO report, and some food for thought when it comes to your own customer journey optimization strategy moving into 2019.

Download your copy of the full report here to get the answers to questions like:

  • How satisfied are marketers with their conversion rate, and how does this differ across the UK and US?
  • Where will marketers be investing budget to support their CJO strategy in 2019?
  • What are the top challenges marketers face when it comes to optimizing the customer journey?

 

 

 

 

Online shopping trends: the truth about customer journeys

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We surveyed 1000+ consumers to discover the truth about online shopping trends and the customer journey. Here’s what we found…

Staying on top of online shopping trends can be tough for marketers today. And while we’re all about looking to the numbers (as evidenced in our recent masterclass ‘12 data secrets for holiday e-commerce‘!) sometimes it can pay to go straight to the source.

So we did just that. And now we’re sharing the results and what they reveal about online shopping trends. We spoke to over 1000 US and UK consumers to understand their experience of the online journey, including:

  • Consumer expectations around personalization and privacy in a post-GDPR world
  • How discovery behaviours differ by demographic across channels
  • The top 5 reasons why customers buy… and why they abandon

View the infographic below to see all the insights!

 

online shopping trends infographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our campaigns of the month: August 2018

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How can you optimize the customer journey? Here are some of our favourite examples!

How MedExpress builds trust throughout the customer journey

MedExpress is an online doctor and pharmacy offering prescription-only medications via an online consultation which is reviewed by a licensed doctor. For new visitors to the site, highlighting the unique benefits of its service and building trust is key, given the sensitive and personal nature of healthcare.

“Yieldify worked with MedExpress to build trust and highlight USPs along multiple points in the customer journey. Firstly, a corner notification highlighting the benefits of using MedExpress educates visitors as they browse the site at the category level.

As the user navigates through to view a product page, we showcase the brands excellent Trustpilot score, to give visitors peace of mind from positive customer reviews.

We have seen very encouraging results so far, for example the Trustpilot Notification has driven a 12.2% uplift in conversion rate on desktop versus the control group”

Charlie Singleton, Client Services Team Lead, Yieldify

 

 

How Design Toscano collect customer feedback

For more than 25 years, Design Toscano has introduced exclusive sculptures, furniture, statues and more to passionate customers eager to surround themselves with unique and extraordinary objects. With the goal of truly understanding its visitors, the brand worked with Yieldify to collect feedback.

“We’ve created a campaign with Design Toscano to recapture the attention of abandoning visitors and to understand more about why they are leaving – due to price, indecision or can’t find what they’re looking for.

On clicking a response visitors are invited to take the next step, for example, price-sensitive users can sign up to the mailing list to be the first to hear about offers, while undecided shoppers can share feedback with the team.”

Caitlin Sweeney, Director of Client Services, Yieldify

Masterclass: beauty e-commerce with Ouidad

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While much of the retail industry is struggling, beauty and grooming is booming. So what’s the secret to this success?

To understand why this particular industry is performing so well in such a challenging retail environment we hosted a masterclass alongside Ouidad, a haircare brand founded in 1984 that has seen major growth and success, especially when it comes to e-commerce, with 2017 seeing sales in the range of $35 million.

We were lucky to be joined by Ouidad’s Director of E-commerce, Katrina Seitz, who shared her insights into the beauty and grooming landscape, and how Ouidad stays ahead of the curve when it comes to the online customer journey.

We also heard from Alex Gold, Senior Customer Success Manager at Yieldify (and resident beauty expert – if you attended Glossy Summit 2018 you might have caught her on-stage with SKYN Iceland!) Alex shared her knowledge gained from working with some of the biggest beauty brands around, like L’OrealEstée Lauder and more!

Watch the full masterclass below, then check out our beauty e-commerce guide for more expert tips on making over your customer journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back-to-school ecommerce cheat sheet: tips for top marks in Q4

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With Amazon Prime Day behind us, the next big e-commerce peak as we move into August is back-to-school…

So we’ve done a bit of homework on the numbers behind this shopping season to bring you this cheat sheet, answering all your burning back-to-school e-commerce questions, and providing tips on tailoring the customer journey for these shoppers. So with that, let’s jump right in!

1) How has Prime Day impacted back-to-school shopping?

As we discovered in our analysis of last year’s data, Black Friday has stretched out the winter holiday shopping season, with shoppers kicking off as early as September. It’s been claimed that Amazon Prime Day is now bigger and better than Black Friday, so is it impacting back-to-school buying?

In short, yes. Prime Day is fast becoming the Cyber Monday of the back-to-school season with:

  • 66% of parents planning to make a purchase during Prime Day
  • 91% planning to browse for back-to-school products
  • An average family spending $70 on back-to-school supplies

So is it time to just throw in the towel against Amazon? Not just yet, as our next stat shows…

2) How much will consumers spend this year?

 

While back-to-school may be a way behind the winter holidays when it comes to total spend, second place isn’t too shabby. The National Retail Federation places back-to-school within the top five shopping periods in the US, with consumers predicted to spend $82.8 billion this year, up from $75.8 billion in 2016:

Source: 2016 NRF Back-to-School Spending Survey

Source: 2016 NRF Back-to-School Spending Survey

So while we can thank Amazon for those early back-to-school ads, there is still plenty of opportunity out there for savvy retailers. But when should you start marketing your promotions and offers?

3) When will shoppers buy back-to-school items?

 

When it comes to marketing back-to-school, know that most shopping behaviour will still be dictated by school and college timelines. Around 68% of parents will receive back to school supply lists at least one month before school starts, so keep this in mind as you kick off your marketing campaigns.

Google Trends data shows that searches start early, and peak toward the end of August as the new term approaches:

Google Trends Back to School searches

Source: Google Trends Back to School searches

But, don’t despair if, like your 6th-grade science project, you’ve left things to the last minute. As the NRF data below shows, there’s still a good quarter of consumers who will shop nearer the time, so be ready for them. Drawing attention to shipping deadlines, so they’re all set for that first day back, is a great way to convert unsure shoppers.

Back to school shopping timelines

Source: NRF Back to School Survey 2018

4) What will back-to-school shoppers buy?

Traditionally back-to-school shopping might conjure images of uniforms (if you’re in the UK) or more typical products such as pencils and lunch boxes – not exactly high-ticket items. So what are consumers buying when it comes to back-to-school?

Estimated market share

Source: Deloitte Back to School Survey 2018

Think outside the (lunch) box when it comes to the product ranges you promote. Remember that it’s not just back-to-school time, but college and university students will also be readying themselves for a return to campus. As the data above shows, clothing and accessories make up a big piece of the back-to-school pie. Retailers like Topshop and Boohoo are serving up inspirational look-books and curated product categories to cater to their high-school and college-age audiences.

Topshop back to school styling

5) Where do consumers shop for back-to-school items?

So how big a deal is back-to-school for e-commerce anyway? Looking at where shoppers plan to make their purchases, e-commerce is definitely a top destination, with 45% of consumers planning to buy back-to-school supplies from an online retailer.

where back to school shoppers buy

Source: NRF Back to School survey 2018

As you might expect for back-to-college buyers as a slightly younger demographic, making their own purchasing decisions rather than relying on parents, e-commerce comes out top:

 

Where back to college shoppers buy

Source: NRF Back to School survey 2018

A study by Deloitte demonstrates that there’s a lot of opportunity for e-commerce brands when it comes to ‘undecided’ shoppers, with 22% who haven’t yet decided whether they’d be spending their back-to-school dollars online or in-store.

Where consumers will spend their back to school dollars

Source: Deloitte Back to School survey 2018

 

Based on this, Deloitte offers the following advice:

 “Retailers should aggressively pursue the ‘undecided’ consumer because they collectively represent nearly $5.5 billion this back-to-school shopping season.

This segment is up for grabs but likely to goto retailers that draw them in early with promotion and digital experiences that make store visits even more attractive like inventory visibility or buy online / pick up in-store”

6) Which channels & devices make the grade?

 

When it comes to promoting back to school, the focus is on digital, and especially social media. The number of retailers planning to increase spend on non-digital channels for back-to-school is down to 44% from 74% last year, while 72% plan to increase investment in social media in 2018.

Interestingly, this goes against the trend somewhat when it comes to how shoppers claim they are going to use different devices and channels to shop, with social media as a shopping aide actually seeing a decline. Mobile reflects the wider industry trend, surpassing desktop, with 53% of consumers planning to use this device for back-to-school shopping, so ensure the customer journey here is smooth and efficient.

How back to school shoppers use desktop, mobile and social media

Source: Deloitte Back-to-School Spending Survey 2019

7) What type of promotions are top of the class?

 

So with all the above in mind, how can you ensure back-to-school shoppers pay you a visit and convert? Retailers are betting on promotions, with 90% backing deals and discounts as the easiest way to reach this segment. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, consumers agree – 80% would make a first-time purchase with a new brand if they found an offer, while 93% would make a repeat purchase with those a retailer who offers a good deal.

Whatever you choose to offer, ensuring it is front and centre at the right moment in the customer journey is paramount. Free shipping is one of the top ways to reduce abandonment, as well as increase AOV if tied in with a spend threshold. While a Progress Bar is a great way to showcase all the available offers, and how far away customers are from unlocking them.

According to RetailMeNot the promotions consumers rate highest are those that offer money off both online and in-store. It makes sense – consumers will be researching purchases across various touch points along their journey with you, so ensuring the experience is consistent is key.

 

Hopefully, we’ve answered a few of your back-to-school questions and provided some inspiration for the new retail term. If you’re based in New York, then make sure to join us and our friends at Dotmailer for a final summer blow-out before Q4 gets into full swing – sign up for a ticket here.

And if you need a little more help to ensure your website heads back-to-school in style, then why not get some extra-credit with one of our free customer journey optimization (CJO) consultations?

Holiday ecommerce statistics for 2018

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Here are 6 insights into the ecommerce trends you can expect on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas this year.

Just last week, we presented the results of our deep-dive into the billions of holiday ecommerce statistics: ‘The 12 Stats of Christmas’. Here are the key insights you need to know:

1) Black Friday returns go up by 50%

According to research by LCP Consulting, the return rate for Black Friday purchases is 50% higher than the rate across the year as a whole. That’s a huge leap, but why is it significant?

 

The reason we highlight this number is because it’s a pretty good encapsulation of the fact that Black Friday can be as much of a curse as a blessing. The 50% return rate contributes to the massive increase in operating costs that leads to retailers feeling overwhelmed by the holiday. Coupled by the hit that margins take by the pressure to discount, this has led to more retailers opting out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday altogether.

 

It’s also worth noting that for markets outside of the US, Black Friday brings with it the threat of cannibalising Christmas sales. While in the US it’s more common to wait until after the Thanksgiving period has passed before thinking about Christmas shopping, in markets where the November holiday doesn’t exist it’s all about Christmas from October onwards. A period of heavy discounting in November therefore runs the risks of eating into those all-important Christmas margins.

 

So is Black Friday all doom and gloom for retailers? Not necessarily.

 

A number of high-profile retailers – like IKEA and Selfridges – have opted-out of Black Friday and gone their own way. Others have simply started to re-shape the holiday in a way that works for them – starting their campaigns earlier to take advantage of longer periods of sustained consumer interest.

 

The learning is that Black Friday – while evolving – isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but for smart retailers there’s an opportunity to adapt to continually changing consumer behavior in order to minimize the hit to the margins while capitalizing on high traffic volumes.  

2) Black Friday conversions hit 4.8%

In the last year alone, we’ve seen the average retailer’s conversion rate on Black Friday rise sharply from 3.9% to 4.8%.

The indication appears to be twofold. Firstly, as Black Friday gets more established, more consumers are researching what they want to buy and making sure that they’re ready and poised to make it to checkout before stock runs out. Secondly, retailers are simply getting better at CRO – conversion rate optimization isn’t a new art anymore (in fact, we’ve moved onto customer journey optimization aka CJO).

If you’re interested in making sure your numbers match up to this, it’s worth applying for one of our free CJO consultations.

This is all great news for retailers – and it should get you thinking about what to do next. One of the most logical next steps is to think about what you can do to get more out of that conversion – in other words, think about how you can encourage a customer who’s on their way to checkout to spend more. Smart upsells and cross-sells are some of the quickest ways to boost your average order value and acquisition ROI!

3) Black Friday peaks at 8pm

 

While it’s important to begin Black Friday on the front foot when consumers are waking up, it’s worth remembering that the action really happens in the evening.

The graph below shows how average retailer traffic climbs from the early morning up to 8pm in the evening:

What to make of this? Firstly, it means that you’re not leaving the office until much later (sorry). Secondly, it’s worth considering how to approach your email marketing in light of this information – while it makes sense to hit the inbox early in the day, there may be an opportunity for a second send later on in the day when your visitor is more like to be ready to browse.

4) It all starts on November 17th

Black Friday is on November 23rd this year – but by that time, the action will already be well underway. The real starting line is actually the weekend before Black Friday.

This is when traffic first starts to rise above what you’d expect for a normal weekend (particularly on mobile, when the weekend is always higher than a weekday). From then on, it’s an escalation up to the big day itself.

If you’re planning your Black Friday activity, consider planning your activity to account for this early interest – it’s a great opportunity to get a jump on the competition.

 

5) December the 17th/18th are the ‘conversion cliff’

 

Moving onto Christmas, one of the most interesting ecommerce statistics we see here is that there’s what we call a ‘conversion cliff’ that falls around a week before the big day.

What that means is that while traffic stays relatively strong until just a couple of days before Christmas, consumers just stop buying a good week before. What we see is that last-minute shoppers are arriving on-site in search of last-ditch gifts, only to become concerned that whatever they’ve chosen might not arrive in time.

 

If your data shows something similar, make your Christmas shipping policies front-and-centre on your website – show those nervous shoppers that there’s still plenty of time to get their orders.

6) Christmas traffic peaks on… December 26th

Yep, you read that correctly. December’s highest traffic day (on mobile at least) – is actually the day after Christmas:  

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen that both Christmas Day and the subsequent day have become bigger and bigger opportunities for ecommerce retailers as consumers – mobile devices in one hand and voucher codes in the other – turn to online shopping.

 

If you’re running post-Christmas sales, our advice would be to consider starting them on Christmas Day – there’s plenty of opportunity to be had for early birds.

 

Want more holiday ecommerce statistics?  

 

This was just a sneak preview of our wider set of holiday ecommerce statistics.

 

In just a few weeks, we’ll be hosting a free webinar that talks through the 12 Stats of Christmas, giving you the opportunity to ask your questions on how to stand out during retail’s peak season. To make sure you get an invitation, don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list.

Our campaigns of the month: July 2018

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How can you create customer journeys that convert? Here are some of our favourite examples this summer!

How Stansted Express uses USP messaging to drive bookings

Stansted Express trains are the quickest and most direct way to travel between London Stansted Airport and the capital. With services running every every 15 minutes, travellers can rest assured they’ll be able to continue their journey – even if plans change.

“Yieldify worked with Stansted Express to highlight the frequency of service USP at the perfect moment in the booking funnel. Providing extra reassurance on the payment page has been very effective in encouraging visitors to complete their booking. This campaign was delivered via a subtle Notification format with an eye-catching animated GIF”

Therese Catindig, Digital Strategist, Yieldify

 

Learn more about how travel brands are optimizing the customer journey in our report featuring Stansted Express, Icelolly.com, Villa Plus and more.

How MyPhoto uses Dynamic Social Proof

MyPhoto realized its mission by creating the easiest and fastest way possible for photos on its customers’ phones to become amazing products, gifts and home decor.  MyPhoto delivers everlasting memories with its products, and the brand continues to evangelize the simplicity of its online offering.

Here’s how Dynamic Social Proof adds to that offering:

A key reason that we buy comes down to how popular we think a product is. We’re attracted by the hottest trend, the latest release, or what others are purchasing. But it’s often the case that customers browsing your site don’t have this insight into what’s popular, as they might do if they were shopping offline.

Using Dynamic Social Proof MyPhoto show a well-timed notification with information on how many others have viewed a particular product. At Yieldify our data shows that this type of campaign can generate conversion rate uplifts from +6.6%, up to as high as +48.3% depending on the targeting criteria.

Alex Gold, Senior Customer Success Manager, Yieldify

Read more about the power of social proof in our guide to psychology in e-commerce.