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Conversion Rate Optimization: 4 Trends To Watch In 2020

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Increase the ROI of your digital investments by leveraging these 4 trends that support conversion rate optimization

Following a few decades of patiently waiting for the right blend of technology, innovation is now ablaze in the conversion rate optimization (CRO) arena. Channels and end-user behaviors have shifted to not only drive traffic to websites, but focus on achieving conversions once there.

Consumer devices and technology, combined with a rise in personalization and value-based customer interactions, have been integral to this change. As we move into 2020, the core principals of conversion rate optimization still ring true:

  1. Test, test, test your landing pages for conversions.
  2. Ensure there is a plan for direct follow-up communications with leads.
  3. Personalize those responses.
  4. Make your Call-to-Actions (CTAs) clear and effective.

But for marketers planning out 2020 strategies, which trends will help accelerate the online customer journey and propel customers towards the actions and steps you want them to engage with and complete? Let’s explore…

1. Conversion rate optimization for voice

It’s more important now to recognize where customers are accessing your content. Before, the challenge was mobile, getting the user-experience right for varied devices. But now there’s more than touch-interface to contend with when looking to improve conversion rate optimization.

In more homes, devices with voice-interaction like Alexa and Siri are now orchestrating the customer’s journey to your content and your conversions. In this way, CRO has become more complex – but the challenge brings new opportunity.

black Amazon Echo on black covered book to show conversion rate optimization for voice technology
Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

Part of the reaction to this sees Gartner spearheading “UX research renaissance” as a key trend for CRO, with user-centric design principles to foster cross-discipline collaboration. The number of consumers using voice-driven assistants is significant enough to require this kind of fundamental strategic shift. Who knows – in 2020 we might start to see more companies replacing their lead forms with voice-enabled chatbots.  

2. Scale individual connections using personalization and AI

Personalization should create a connection that users feel is aimed directly at them. Engage them in the give and take of discussion, make it about their needs and how you can help them. Offer them a specific way to connect (time, day) to further address what you can do for them and use AI to help automate this personalization process. Make conversational replies smart and end-user specific.

person holding a phone reading an automated and personalized text message
Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

The New York Times’ Neil Patel has a simple but effective method to resuscitate unconverted leads. Text someone using their first name and it’s almost certain they’ll respond. After this, set into motion an automated reply that drives the next stage of the conversation and yields results.

3. The right narrative for the right audience

Keynote speaker and best-selling author Mari Smith advises rethinking how people are consuming information. Try and edit down long-form pieces into “bite-sized, tap-and-swipe-worthy content.”

An open story book with storyteller character to show how to increase conversion rate optimization
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Stories will always drive responses in the most compelling way because humans are born storytellers. We connect to everything in our lives through stories. But, consider the format, access and longevity. Make the content work through the vehicle of delivery. Repurpose content now that will never be permanent, but can still have a powerful impact in the moment.  

Stellar Media Marketing owner Kelly Mirabella adds that there’s no point building a large following just to say you have it. Instead, focus on targeting those who actually engage with your content using behavioral segmentation. Nearly all social media channels can help you manage that. You can really stretch tight budgets by focusing on smaller but hyper-relevant campaigns.

4. Privacy: regulation and legislation

GDPR, PECR, CCPA, ePrivacy Regulation and others are impacting conversion rate optimization, with marketers needing to align their brands with these guidelines to achieve full compliance.

monitor screengrab of website analytics showing conversion rate optimization metrics
Photo by Webaroo.com.au on Unsplash

Third-party analytics such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics and Leadfeeder will be impacted by this. With consent increasingly handled by the browser, this remains an issue if end-users elect to block cookies.  First-party consent will certainly help and ultimately foster more trust from your audience.

In conclusion

While conversion rate optimization is set to see some exciting developments in 2020, there are also challenges.

Voice-driven interfaces will become a key consideration, impacting the lives of even more consumers and the way they shop. Automation through AI and consumer interaction through Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will enhance personalization and end-user experience, all key to building CRO. Recognition of the role that new privacy laws play on browser activity is also critical.

A strategic focus on engaged, user-centric content and design, alongside a combined CRO/SEO strategy, are the key avenues to take to ensure those customer experiences build to conversions. By adapting your marketing plan now to fully capitalize on these opportunities while addressing the challenges, you can maximize the CRO return on your digital investments in 2020.

Looking for more tips on getting a great return on your digital investments? Here are 5 Ways to Increase Conversion Rate that are a must-read for any marketer.

Infographic: Customer Acquisition and Retention

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Find out how marketers are coping with rising customer acquisition costs

The balancing act between customer acquisition and retention has always been a tightrope act. Never more so than now, when the cost of traffic is rising to never-before-seen levels.

We interviewed 200 e-commerce marketers to find out how the acquisition-retention equilibrium looks as we head into 2020. Explore the results below, and for the full story, you can download the full report.

Infographic: research on customer acquisition vs retention

Product Update: Q4 2019

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What’s new to the Yieldify Conversion Platform this quarter?

As we near the end of 2019, it’s time to recap a few of the many updates we’ve added to the Yieldify Conversion Platform over the last few months. 

From new ways to recapture abandoning visitors and keep your customers in the loop, to functionality that improves data collection and cleanliness, join us as we run down the latest features and formats now available.

Web Push Notifications

With the arrival of Web Push Notifications, we’re diversifying the channels you can use to re-engage your visitors after they’ve left your website.

How it works

  • When your visitor has opted-in via a Yieldify campaign, Web Push Notifications can then appear at any point in their online experience, creating a brand new re-engagement channel to encourage visitors to return and convert. 
  • In diversifying your touchpoints, you can look forward to an average open rate of 95%. Compared to other re-engagement channels such as display and social, Web Push has much higher visibility and engagement rate, with a 40% opt-in rate.

When to use it

You can use Web Push Notifications to drive traffic to your website around new product arrivals and promotions. For example:

  • Promote new products or ranges to certain segments
  • Reminders of start and end dates for sales and promotions
  • Send visitors a discount code and reminder when it’s close to expiry
  • Anything else you want to promote to your visitors!
Web Push Notifications

Add to calendar

Add to calendar is another nifty way to help your visitors stay on top of the latest product releases and key dates in your calendar.

How it works

  • This feature allows users to add an event to their calendar by clicking on a CTA. This functionality enables you to drive urgency by reminding users of key dates, times and more. 

When to use it

  • Help visitors be first in line for new product launches by adding a reminder to their calendar
  • Let users save the date of upcoming promotions or sales so they don’t miss out
Add to calendar
Add to calendar: allow customers to subscribe to upcoming product release notifications

Checkboxes and radio buttons

Effective personalization relies on actionable data, and this starts at the point of collection. We create thousands of lead generation forms every year (in the wake of GDPR, we created 3,000 in a single year), and have captured more than 15 million leads along the way. All this has given us a clear idea of how to improve the process, which we’ve done by adding new radio button and checkbox options to lead capture capture campaigns.

How it works

  • Add a checkbox or radio button to your lead capture campaign

When to use it

Both these new options allow for greater variation in the design of your lead capture campaigns, and make it easier for users to provide information, increasing the likelihood of form completion. Because the data collection can be restricted to predefined options, the data collected is error-free and easily segmentable.

One of the most powerful ways to use these new data collection options is to collect user preferences alongside their email, so that your follow-up and future campaigns can be more personalized. For example, you could:

  • collect information on the visitor’s gender
  • product preference
  • or any other segment you wish to create.
Check box example
Collect product preference data with checkboxes

Marks and Spencer used this functionality to support promotional activity, creating competition entry forms for both onsite and in-store use. The forms utilized the radio button format to collect data on the gender of visitors, and the checkbox to provide a GDPR-compliant opt-in to marketing communications, supporting lead generation efforts across channels.

M&S
View the M&S Case Study

Multi-stage Campaigns

Sometimes when collecting data or displaying information to a user it can be difficult to get your message across in one campaign – especially on mobile where real estate is limited. We’ve created multi-stage campaigns to solve this challenge.

How it works

  • You can now have multiple format types at multiple stages of your campaign, similar to a multi-step form. 

When to use it

Multi-step campaigns allow you to split your campaign into stages to avoid bombarding users with too much information. It also improves the customer experience by showing the next stage only after the user shows interest. This functionality has multiple use cases:

  • Highlight a promotion, then show more details once a user interacts
  • Create tooltips that display further information upon interaction e.g. what’s included in a premium vs. economy ticket.
  • Gives you the ability to A/B test how different formats perform so that you can drive better results

Here’s how a three stage multi-step campaign might look:

Multi-step campaign

Not on the platform yet?

The Yieldify Conversion Platform hosts all this and more. If you’d like to see more about how it could help personalize your website 5x faster than other methods, then request a demo here and our friendly team will be in touch. For more detailed information and technical instructions, don’t forget to visit our Knowledge Base!

Customer Journeys 2020: US vs. UK

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How have marketers in the US and UK been optimizing the customer journey in 2019, and what’s in store for 2020? 

Our second annual State of Customer Journey Optimization report, published last month, takes a look at how marketers are tackling customer journeys, and how these plans will evolve into 2020. For the first time, we split the data into segments, examining how different verticals (retail and travel) and markets (UK and US) are approaching things differently. In this second blog post in a series of deeper dives into the research, we’re taking a look at the differences between marketers in the US and UK markets.

The State of Customer Journeys in the UK and US

One of the most striking findings from the overall data was the rise in satisfaction with customer journey optimization. We saw the same trends in both the UK and US, but there were a few areas where US marketers were more satisfied. 

This is interesting because last year US marketers were less satisfied than UK marketers. Here’s where US marketers made gains in 2019:

customer journey satisfaction

Last year, more than one third of US marketers were dissatisfied with their multichannel CJO efforts, compared to just 16% who said the same in the UK. This suggests that US marketers have made a good deal of progress with their customer journey strategies in the last year.

What customer journey tools do marketers use in each market?

In the overall results Marketing Automation and Website Personalization both featured high on the agenda for marketers in 2019. We saw the same when breaking down the results by market, but slightly more US marketers claimed to be using these strategies.

Customer journey tools

The two markets also diverged slightly when it came to their approaches to data. In the US marketers placed greater importance on artificial intelligence (AI) and testing, while in the UK the focus was more on data analysis via tools such as Google Analytics and Data Management, perhaps due to the implementation of data privacy legislation such as GDPR in the EU.

Customer journey tools

Challenges facing UK and US marketers

In the previous blog, we saw skills and privacy were areas that were troubling travel marketers, and we saw the same topics dominate when it came to the different markets. The US was unexpectedly perhaps, a lot more concerned than their UK counterparts about privacy regulations impacting CJO. This is perhaps due to the fact that the UK has already experienced GDPR, and had to get processes in place as a matter of business urgency:

Customer journey challenges

As new privacy regulations such as the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) come into effect from January 2020, the time has come for US marketers to ensure privacy is a foundation of their CJO strategy.

When it comes to matters of skills and people, both markets are under pressure but in different ways:

Customer journey challenges

The UK is facing a major skills shortage, which will likely not be helped by geo-political issues such as Brexit. Related to the skills shortage is a real pressure on time and resources, with 30% rating this as a challenge versus 23% in the US. Where the US does have issues is in ownership of CJO, and by extension the problem this raises with working across internal silos.

Finally, like our travel marketers, the US marketers have money on their mind. There was a much bigger concern about demonstrating ROI with 35% seeing this as a top challenge, versus just 28% in the UK.

What’s next for 2020?

So what does 2020 have in store for the customer journey? We saw quite a few differences between the UK and US when it came to planned 2020 investments. The top areas in the US for investment are tools and skills – is a little surprising  when remembering that skills were rated a bigger challenge in the UK. The UK seems to be planning to plug the skills gap by working with consultancies and agencies, with 44% planning this versus 30% of US marketers.

Customer journeys: 2020 investments

For 2020 customer journey tools and strategies marketing automation came out top for the UK (47% plan to use it), while customer feedback remained a priority for the US (45% plan to use it). 

The markets diverged in relation to website personalization – this is a higher priority in the US with almost 40% planning to use it in 2020 versus 35% in the UK. In preparation for personalization, US marketers were also more focused on understanding their data via tools like Google Analytics.

Customer Journeys: 2020 tools

What else will 2020 bring? Well, if 2019 was the year marketers began to crack CJO, 2020 could be the year they start to master it. Just 30% of UK and 25% of US marketers are doing more than 75% of what they’d ideally want to when it comes to the customer journey, meaning there’s lots of room for growth.

For the full report, featuring insights on the overall trends, and retail and travel click here.

CCPA Compliance for E-Commerce

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The California Consumer Privacy Act arrives in January 2020 – here’s a brief guide to compliance for e-commerce companies

For e-commerce companies, CCPA compliance should be high on your radar for 2020. Like the General Data Protection Regulation (better known as GDPR) in Europe, it stands to make a huge difference to how you communicate with your customers. This article sets out the basics around what the new Act means and how to prepare your business for it.

Disclaimer: this post doesn’t constitute legal advice – seek professional legal counsel to ensure that your activities are compliant!

What Is CCPA?

The Governor of California signed Assembly Bill 375 on 28 June 2018. The California Consumer Privacy Act, also known as CCPA, will take effect on 01 January 2020.

CCPA focuses on data protection rights for consumers – however, it does not only apply to businesses physically located in California. CCPA protects the right of Californian consumers, regardless of state borders. So regardless of where your business is based, if you have customers in California you need to consider the impact of the new rules.

Retailers and CCPA: key implications and requirements

What does CCPA compliance for e-commerce really mean? Here are the basics of what the Act outlines:

  • When a California resident requests what personal data is being stored by an applicable business, the company will have up to 45 days to respond. The response must include a full record in order to be considered compliant with CCPA.
  • A California consumer will be able to opt out of sharing or storing their personal data with a business that provides the data to any third party.
  • A California consumer has the right to know what data was purchased, whom it was shared with, and which business it was purchased from.
  • Any California resident can request that any of their stored personal information be deleted.
  • For California residents under 16 years old, businesses are required to provide an “opt-in” function.
  • For California residents under 13 years old, a parent or guardian must consent.
  • California consumers cannot be penalized by a business for exercising their rights in accordance with the CCPA.
  • Businesses are required to offer California consumers easy-to-see opt-out options, such as a “Do Not Sell My Information” button, on their website.

Determining If CCPA Applies To You

CCPA applies to businesses that meet certain criteria. This includes:

  • Any business that sells to California residents and generates more than $25 million in revenue each year
  • Any company that receives or shares the personal information of more than 50,000 Californians
  • Any company that derives at least half (50%) of its yearly revenue through the sale of the personal information of California residents

For the most part, this means that small businesses are currently exempt from having to deal with CCPA compliance. While this may change in the future, larger companies are presently the only businesses that need to prepare for the CCPA staging date.

CCPA vs GDPR

CCPA is very similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed by the European Union in 2018. The good news is that companies that are considered GDPR compliant will not need to change much in order to meet with CCPA compliance requirements.

CCPA is slightly more stringent thanks to its broader definition of personal information. However, there are many options out there to help a company implement compliance requirements before the January 2020 timeframe.

Consequences for non-compliance

The Attorney General and California court system are prepared to execute several different consequences for non-compliant businesses.

  • Unintentional violations can result in fines up to $2,500 each.
  • Intentional violations will each warrant a $7,500 fine.
  • Fines are assessed per person or account.

Fines add up quickly. Often, if a violation is present with one consumer, it is present with others.

To estimate potential financial damages, you could multiply the number of your California consumers by $7,500. For example: if you have 25 California customers. Those 25 customers multiplied by $7,500 means you could face up to $187,500 in fines based off the discovery of a single consumer’s violation.

These penalties can seem scary – so what do you need to do in order to avoid them?

Key steps for preparing for CCPA compliance

Here are the key steps for retailers preparing for CCPA compliance.

Audit data collection and management processes

A thorough evaluation of how your company collects and manages personal information is essential.

Deep-diving into where you store your consumer data and how you use it is essential to preventing intentional and unintentional violations from costing your business thousands in fines.

You should also examine the data you collect from third-party sites; third-party vendors should provide a CCPA Compliance Certificate on request to ensure data you receive will not result in damages to your company in a lawsuit.

Plan for consumer requests

Under the CCPA, you have up to 45 days to respond to personal information data requests from California consumers. You need to have a plan in place to quickly tackle these requests. This may include hiring personnel to address these matters efficiently and within the requirements of the law. Data extraction tools, response formatting, and a thorough understanding of the law will also be required.

Prepare for future regulations

Many experts believe the GDPR and CCPA are just the beginning of the data rights battle. California is simply the first state to take consumer data rights seriously enough to enact legislation. Future regulations are highly likely as more states become further involved with the data rights of consumers.

Bracing for impact

It’s hard to know exactly what to expect when CCPA hits – but there are some predictions that we can make based on GDPR.

First of all, you’re likely to see your email database take a hit. Here’s how much of their addressable databases marketers lost when GDPR came into force in 2018:

Read more here

However, there’s a silver lining here. Recovery from these losses was actually pretty quick. One year after the regulations came in, databases had successfully recovered to 93% of their pre-GDPR levels.

How did it happen so fast? Here’s another lesson we can take for CCPA compliance. The below were the top strategies used by businesses to recoup their databases – a greet steer for those looking to 2020:

January 1st will mark a new watershed for privacy regulations in the US – any preparation you do now will pay dividends in the short-term, and prepare you well for the evolutions in data privacy yet to come.

The Best E-commerce Events in 2020

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As you start planning for 2020 have you thought about which e-commerce events and conferences you’ll be attending?

E-commerce conferences and trade shows can be a great opportunity to learn from leaders in your industry, discover new technologies, as well as meet up with your peers, but it’s hard to know which ones to invest your time and money in! With that in mind, we’ve created a round-up of some of the best e-commerce events across the globe to mark in your calendar. Read on for a round-up featuring events in the UK and Europe, the US and APAC.

European E-commerce Events

Journey 2020

  • Date: 11th February 2020
  • Location: London, UK
  • Get tickets: here!

Why attend? Ok, so we may be a bit biased on this one, but as our flagship e-commerce event Journey brings together more than 200 retail and travel marketers for everything from keynote talks to interactive workshops, all in the amazing tropical surroundings of the iconic Barbican Centre Conservatory. This year’s theme is ‘From Stack to Skills’, inspired by Yieldify’s recent report: ‘State of Customer Journey Optimisation’, the conference will turn its attention from CJO tools and technology, and focus on people and processes. 

Savant eCommerce Amsterdam

Why attend? Focused on the unique challenges facing e-commerce brands across retail, travel and more in the Benelux region this conference prides itself on a 3:1 ratio of e-commerce brands to vendors. Speakers confirmed include MADE.com, PVH and Philips.

InternetRetailing Expo

Why attend? IRX is a free conference offering a mix of workshops, big name speakers and hundreds of suppliers. A one-stop shop for e-commerce and digital marketers working in retail.

Drapers Digital Festival 2020

Why attend? This one’s for all you fashion folk, expect to hear from digital pioneers, leading fashion retailers and tech giants. With three streams featuring practical advice, competitions, networking and more this is one e-commerce event not to be missed.

eTailing Summit

Why attend? An event specifically designed for e-commerce and digital managers from online retailers, the format is built around one-to-one business meetings, so ideal for those looking to meet new suppliers.

Ecommerce Expo

  • Date: 30 September – 1 October 2020
  • Location: London, UK
  • Get tickets to Ecommerce Expo

Why attend? Hosted in association with the UK’s online retail association,  IMRG, at the eXcel centre in London this huge expo is co-located with the Technology for Marketing, Ad:tech London and Customer First Live events so there’s sure to be something for everyone in your team. It’s also free to attend!

PI Live

  • Date: October 2020 (TBC)
  • Location: London, UK
  • Learn more about PI Live

Why attend? As Europe’s premier affiliate marketing conference this event covers all angles when it comes to performance marketing. Featuring more than 3000+ delegates, last year it sold out, so make sure to register your interest via the link above to be kept in the loop!

E-commerce Events 2020
The Marin Dome stage at PI Live (Source: PI Live)

US E-commerce Events

NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show

  • Date: 12-14 January 2020
  • Location: New York, USA
  • Get tickets to NRF 2020 Vision

Why attend? NRF hosts one of the world’s largest retail expo events, last year hosting 38k attendees and, even better, retailers can attend for free!

Rakuten Marketing DealMaker Scottsdale

Why attend? As part of Rakuten Marketing’s DealMaker event series, this is an essential date in the diary for any affiliate marketers based in the US. Join more than 700 online performance marketing leaders for networking, education and more.

eTail West

  • Date: 24-27 February 2020
  • Location: Palm Springs, USA
  • Get tickets to eTail West

Why attend? Styled as a four day retreat, eTail West focuses on arming you with actionable strategies you can take back to the office. The agenda includes keynotes from some big names in retail, interactive roundtables, women in retail, and C-suite sessions, so there’s something for everyone.

Join the flamingos at eTail West (Source: JW Marriott Desert Springs)

Shoptalk 2020

  • Date: 22-25 March
  • Location: Las Vegas, USA
  • Get tickets to Shoptalk 2020

Why attend? As one of the fastest growing events in retail history, Shoptalk is all about leading the dialogue around retail transformation. As an added bonus, retail decision makers can apply to have their ticket and travel covered up to $750!

Digital Travel US

Why attend? Travel marketers based in the US will be treated to an agenda focused on personalization and cross-channel experiences over a three day conference in California.

IRCE @RetailX

  • Date: 9-11 June 2020
  • Location: Chicago, USA
  • Get tickets to IRCE @RetailX

Why attend? IRCE’s conference offers strategic educational sessions on the topics that matter to e-commerce professionals, created in partnership with the editorial experts from Internet Retailer magazine. It also features an exhibition hall with more than 600 solution and technology vendors.

CommerceNext 2020

  • Date: 28-29 July 2020
  • Location: New York, USA
  • Get tickets to CommerceNext

Why attend? Focused on taking customer acquisition to the next level this e-commerce event features more than 100 speakers from leading retailers, DTC brands and innovative tech companies. Last year’s speakers included executives from Glossier, Purple, Macy’s, Rent the Runway, Walmart, Bonobos, Casper and many more.

eTail East

  • Date: 10-13 August, 2020
  • Location: Boston, USA
  • Get tickets to eTail East

Why attend? The east coast incarnation of eTail’s popular events series is a four day extravaganza featuring speakers from disruptors like Parachute Home and Birchbox and more established players, such as Clarins, CVS and Hudson’s Bay Company.

APAC E-commerce Events

eTail Asia

  • Date: 3-5 March 2020
  • Location: Singapore
  • Attend eTail Asia

Why attend: Join over 600 APAC retail leaders for sessions with speakers from brands like Walt Disney Company, JD.com, Alibaba Group and Amazon, as well as a special luxury e-commerce track featuring Estee Lauder, Montblanc and more.

Digital Travel APAC 2020

Why attend? If you’re working in digital marketing, e-commerce or customer experience within travel in the APAC region than this is an e-commerce event just for you. Expect insights from brands like Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Booking.com, Qantas and more.

iMedia Online Retail Summit Australia

Why attend: An exclusive, invitation only event designed as a closed forum for senior online retail marketers with plenty of networking opportunities, and a range of international and local keynote speakers.

eTail Australia

  • Date: 16-18 June 2020
  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • Get tickets to eTail Australia

Why attend: Yes, another eTail event, this time serving the Australian audience of e-commerce retailers. Expect speakers from regional leaders such as Myer and Global Fashion Group, as well as a big focus on networking and interactivity.

Online Retailer Sydney

Why attend: this e-commerce event’s theme is ‘where the future meets retail’. Expect two days that bring together all the key players in this region, as well as the opportunity to learn from and connect with retailers of all sizes.

Online Retail 2019 (Source: Online Retailer)

E-commerce Events in 2020

That’s it for now, we’ll update this post as we get more information about the 2020 e-commerce events happening around the globe! Make sure you stay up to date on Yieldify’s hosted events and appearances by signing up to our mailing list below, and don’t forget to download your free E-commerce Marketing Calendar to keep on top of your customer journeys in 2020!

Click to download!

Email marketing for E-commerce

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Email marketing for e-commerce: ‘Tis the reason for the season! Learn how to supercharge your holiday email campaigns in this guest post from Marilia Dimitriou, Creative Writer at Moosend.

The holidays have always been the best time to reach your customers with amazing offers that will incentivize them to put more items in their carts and skyrocket your sales.

To win the war of seasonal shopping, e-commerce stores need to use email marketing and marketing automation to reach their subscribers and give them something more than the usual newsletter or the weekly offer.

Holiday emails need to be big and loud to inspire your potential shoppers to buy and turn them into happy customers.

To use seasonal email marketing the right way, increase your conversion rate and benefit from the holiday blast, we are going to take a look at some useful tips to jingle bell rock your way to the top.

Now let’s take a look at four tips to create the perfect seasonal emails for your store

1. Get into the Holiday Spirit

To come up with successful seasonal emails you need to fully embrace the holiday spirit and turn it into an amazing message. Whether you are creating Halloween or Christmas emails, you have to make the theme of your email stand out.

For instance, the perfect Halloween email must be able to take Halloween’s spooky spirit and turn into an amazing offer that your customers will be glad to take you up on.

Here’s an amazing example from American Eagle that fully embraces the Christmas theme and delivers a solution to one of the most difficult holiday tasks: buying presents your family and friends will like!

Source: American Eagle

Seasonal emails that have stunning visuals will attract your customers’ attention and give them more reasons to make a purchase to celebrate the holiday.With a nice holiday pun, a great offer and free shipping, American Eagle’s campaign is here to save Christmas!

And to make your emails into massive conversion bombs, you should take care of the post-click step that will drive them further down your sales funnel. All you have to do is to sit down and create a landing page that will amaze your audience.These pages will influence the efficiency of your emails and determine whether the potential shopper will make a purchase or not.

If you want your landing pages to work miracles, the should be able to continue your subscriber’s email experience rather than offer them a completely different one. Also, to save time you should consider using a landing page builder to put your holiday ideas on digital paper faster.

2.Subject Lines That Rock

To turn the holidays into your store’s most wonderful time of the year, you need to focus on the click-through and open rates of your wonderful email marketing campaigns.

After all, if you don’t have the numbers, then you won’t be able to reach your KPIs and goals.While the body of your email will play a major role in converting more customers, you should first focus on creating the perfect email subject line for it.

Subject lines are more important than the entire email itself since they are the first thing your subscribers will see when they check their inbox. Subject lines like “Sales” or “Holiday Sales” might not give you the numbers you desire.

So what do you do?

As with your email copy, you should make your subject line holiday appropriate and appealing to boost your open rates. Here is a creative idea from Stocksy United:

The Christmas emojis are the perfect fit to make the subject line more appealing to your audience, whereas the words “almost!” and “spend and save!” are meant to add urgency to the message. To increase the impact even further, Stocksy connects their subject line with the theme of their email. Take a look:

Email marketing example from Stocksy

With a subject line that delivers on its promises and visuals that correspond to the holiday theme perfectly, Stocksy has the perfect recipe to amaze their subscribers.

3. Kiss Cart Abandonment goodbye

Cart abandonment is an ongoing issue that e-commerce stores need to deal with, regardless of the holiday season. But as your traffic spikes across the peak season, there’s a lot more to lose when it comes to Christmas cart abandonment.

Your potential customers might not be ready to make a purchase or  find shipping costs too much. These are just two reasons why cart abandonment has become a major revenue loss issue, here’s a few more:

Email marketing: cart abandonment

To win back your visitors, you need to plan your email remarketing strategy carefully and give them more reasons to stay than leave you for your competitors.

Here is where marketing automation comes in to assist your email remarketing attempts. With marketing automation, you can set up automated workflows that will be triggered when a customer abandons their cart, minutes or even days after the initial abandonment.

Especially during major holidays like Christmas where shopping can turn into a battlefield of deals and offers, getting potential customers to buy from your store rather than your competitors’ can make a huge difference.

However, to power up your remarketing endeavors, you should send your cart abandonment campaigns as soon as possible. So to reduce your cart abandoners and kiss cart abandonment goodbye you have to create irresistible emails with offers that will make your potential customer’s hesitation go away.

Here’s how Kenneth Cole does it:

Kenneth Cole Email Remarketing Example

4. Send Your Emails at the Right Time

When it comes to sending successful holiday email marketing campaigns, you should come up with a schedule to roll them out at the right time.
Finding the best time to send emails will maximize your open and click-through rate and lead to more conversions and sales.

Email marketing: best time to send
Source: Venngage

The easiest way to deliver your seasonal emails is to set up an automated workflow that will be triggered days before or after a specific holiday.

Giving your potential customers what they need, the moment they need it will better motivate them to click your CTAs and turn them into loyal customers who will buy all year long.

Email marketing for ecommerce: Takeways

Seasonal emails are the perfect way to skyrocket your sales in a time where consumers are most likely to spend more than any other time of the year.

To send successful holiday campaigns, you need to create the best content and subject lines, pay attention to detail and deliver a post-click experience that will amaze even the most difficult shoppers.

So what are you waiting for?

Start sending your seasonal emails now and in no time you’ll see your holiday sales go through the roof.

About the author:

Marilia is a Creative Writer working for email marketing software Moosend. Her passion for writing has made her find new ways to combine the art of Creative Writing with SEO Copywriting. When she’s not writing articles, you’ll find her spending time on her drabbles. 


Travel Customer Journeys 2020

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How have marketers been optimizing the travel customer journey in 2019, and what’s in store for 2020?

Our second annual State of Customer Journey Optimization report, published last month, takes a look at how marketers are tackling customer journeys, and how these plans will evolve into 2020. For the first time, we split the data into segments, examining how different verticals (retail and travel) and markets (UK and US) are approaching things differently. In this first blog post in a series, we’re taking a look at what travel marketers have been up to.

The State of Travel Customer Journeys

One of the biggest takeaways from the report overall was that 2019 was really the year that marketers started to crack customer journeys. But can we say the same for travel marketers specifically? The travel customer journey after all is much different to retail, so we wanted to understand if this was reflected in their approach.

One of the first things that jumps out is that, yes, travel marketers are satisfied with their approach, but a little less so than retail, or the average. However, it is interesting to note that of those who are satisfied, Travel marketers are more likely to be ‘very satisfied’ compared to retail, with 45% ‘very satisfied’ with their conversion rate, for example, compared to 38% who said the same in retail.

Travel customer journeys: conversion rate

Travel marketers were also more likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with their ability to action insights from the travel customer journey, with 44%, versus 36% in retail, or 39% overall.

Travel Customer Journey Tools

So if travel marketers are more likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with their efforts, it seems they are getting something right when it comes to the tools they are using. What are the top travel customer journey tools?

In 2019 the top three tools for travel marketers were Marketing Automation, Website Personalization and Data Analysis. The focus on marketing automation is one that we saw across the board, but Travel marketers are more likely to be using this tool, with nearly half (48.8%) versus 43% in retail, or 45% overall.

Travel’s other focuses fall in line with this trend toward automation – they are also much more likely to be using AI and Machine Learning. The other area of difference is testing – travel are more likely to be running MVT and A/B testing programs. This focus on testing and automating the travel customer journey perhaps explains the different levels of satisfaction we noted earlier in this blog.

Travel Customer Journey Challenges

So, we’ve got a pretty good idea of the current state of play, but what about heading into 2020? We wanted to understand the biggest challenges facing marketers, and how these have evolved over the last few years.

In travel, the top three challenges were privacy regulations (such as GDPR), demonstrating ROI and then followed by a few other concerns:

Travel Customer Journey Challenges

The travel industry’s issues with privacy regulations aligns with research released earlier this year that found travel was the industry most struggling to recover its databases one year on from GDPR. Compared to retail, 38% of travel marketers rated this as a challenge, versus just 26% retailers, and 31% overall. 

The greater concern travel has with demonstrating ROI is perhaps due to the more complex nature of the customer journey versus something like retail, making tracking success difficult. Just 28% of retail marketers expressed ROI as a challenge, coming in at #6 overall, versus 36% in travel and the #2 spot.

Travel Customer Journeys 2020

So how will travel marketers overcome these customer journey challenges in 2020? We tool a look at where marketers plan to invest their budgets and the tools they plan to use. The biggest takeaway from this data is that CJO is now very firmly on the agenda – just 1% of Travel marketers have no plans to optimize the customer journey in 2020, down from 15% of marketers who said the same going into 2019.

Here’s what else they’ve got planned…

Travel customer journey investments for 2020

As we can see from the data above, Travel marketers are much more focused on investing further into technology and tools, while they’re also more likely to invest in external specialists. The specific tools travel marketers plan to invest in are Customer Feedback, Marketing Automation and Customer Journey Mapping, which broadly aligns with what we see overall.

What else will 2020 bring? Well, if 2019 was the year marketers began to crack CJO, 2020 could be the year they start to master it. Just 23% of travel marketers are doing more than 75% of what they’d ideally want to when it comes to the travel customer journey, meaning there’s lots of room for growth.

For the full report, featuring insights on the overall trends, UK and US markets and retail, click here!

Avoiding Black Friday: New Strategies for Peak Season

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Avoiding Black Friday - advice for retailers

As a retailer, deciding whether to avoid Black Friday or Cyber Monday is tough. Here’s how to figure it out.

Avoiding Black Friday is a decision that few retailers dare to make. For decades, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been one of the most important days in the retail calendar – last year, 137 million people spent more than $850 billion during the sales.

However, the race to the bottom driven by discounting has started to provoke a backlash from some retailers. An increasing number are avoiding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, opting to protect their brands and margins through more creative campaigns. This is particularly true for the newer breed of pure-play e-commerce companies, where 22% are opting out of Black Friday.

Even among those who participate, a growing number have evolved their Black Friday strategies in order to cope with increased competition and challenged margins. Rather than one-day sales, many are turning the holiday into multi-day campaigns that start early or run in phases.

As a retailer, you stand a crossroads – here’s how to decide whether avoiding Black Friday is right for you, and what to do if you decide to #optout.

Is Black Friday right for new customer acquisition?

If new customer acquisition is your priority, Black Friday can appear as an obvious choice. But is it really all it seems?

First of all, timing is critical. Most companies plan their Black Friday strategy months in advance – according to our research, over 75% of retailers start their preparation before August. This means that your decision needs to be made early if there’s much chance of success.

If you still have time to consider your options, consider that this is a seriously expensive time to be acquiring new customers. Competition for clicks will be fierce, and the cost with it.

This brings us onto our next consideration – if you’re investing in traffic, it’s only worth it if you have confidence in your conversion rate optimization. With every click costing more, your site needs to be ready to ensure that you see return, with cart abandonment strategies in place to catch every potential new customer.

If you feel confident that you can get a good return on your ad spend, there’s one more thing to consider. One of the biggest issues that retailers face is how to retain those new customers once Black Friday is over. That’s for a good reason – you’ve just scooped up a large number of discount-hunters, who are likely to repeat that behavior again.

Conclusion: Black Friday isn’t quite the new customer bonanza that it might first appear to be. You not only need to be able to spare a healthy budget, you need to be confident that your conversion and retention strategies are healthy.

Should you follow your competitors?

You know your customer base. This also means you likely know who your prime competition is. Understanding their strategy may help you determine yours – but is it wise to follow the crowd for Black Friday?

A good first step is to run the numbers and do a little spying – so we made it a little easier. You can use our handy Black Friday benchmarking tool below to see what proportion of e-commerce businesses are taking part and what their strategies will be:

If you’re concerned that your competitors will be stealing your market share during Black Friday, use data from years past to query just how much you might have to lose by opting out.

If you’re still unsure after balancing the numbers, remember that avoiding Black Friday isn’t really an either/or question after all. So if discounting stands to hurt you, you can simply choose to participate in a different way.

You could, for example, focus your Black Friday promotions on delivering value through free delivery, added loyalty credit or even free gifts instead of discounting. You could also leap ahead of the pack and start campaigns early to take advantage of the many millions of shoppers who’ll be researching their potential purchases ahead of time.

Conclusion: if your competitors are likely to be taking the leap but you’re unsure if your numbers stack up, try a Black Friday strategy less focused on discounting.

Does Black Friday fit with your brand?

In recent years, Black Friday has been held up as a negative symbol of consumerism. The images of crowds fighting for bargains in big-box stores aside, for many Black Friday is seen to encourage excessive spending on things we don’t necessarily need.

Whatever your opinion is on the matter, it’s important to consider this perspective when deciding whether Black Friday blowouts really fit with your brand.

An increasing number of retailers have decided to make avoiding Black Friday a conscious part of their marketing strategy. In 2015, outdoor equipment giant REI announced that it would no longer participate in Black Friday sales. It actually didn’t open at all during the event, urging employees and customers alike to #OptOutside.

In fact, REI not only encourages employees to spend the day out in nature instead of shopping – it pays them for the time off. The movement included over 834,600 Tweets and 12.5 million Instagram posts, showing that avoiding Black Friday can generate great momentum.

Even if your brand doesn’t necessarily suit making a big moral stand around Black Friday, there’s always a question about whether discounting is right for your brand. In a more subtle act of avoiding Black Friday, Everlane participates in fundraisers during the holiday. As it consistently offers products that are roughly 60% less than their original price tag it made little sense for it to discount. Instead, it collaborated with Surfrider Foundation and donated more than $250,000 to help clean up beaches.

Conclusion: Avoiding Black Friday is an opportunity to make a statement about your brand – but be creative with it.

What to do if you’re opting out

Deciding to avoid Black Friday can be a bold choice – so what should you do if you opt out?

First of all, be ready to capitalize on organic traffic from visitors expecting to see Black Friday deals. If you don’t have discounts ready for them, what can you do to capture them instead? Consider offering value-adds in exchange for email sign-ups or highlighting other time-limited campaigns.

Secondly, consider piggybacking on Black Friday by running campaigns in the week before the big day. Our data shows that the weekend before Black Friday is a major ‘pre-peak’ in traffic, so consider what you can offer to those early-bird shoppers before everyone else gets in on the game.

Finally, think about what your Black Friday narrative is going to be. A great deal of your customers will expect discounts – don’t leave them puzzled. You need to build a great story around why you’ve chosen to opt out of Black Friday, like REI did. More than shying away from a big event, it’s an opportunity to build your brand and make a statement.

Infographic: Customer Journeys 2020

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Uncover how customer journeys have evolved over the last year and learn what 2020 will bring in this infographic…

Now in it’s second year, our State of Customer Journey Optimization (CJO) report examines how marketers are approaching the challenges associated with creating seamless customer journeys online. This year’s edition reveals some surprising shifts in marketer confidence and satisfaction with their customer journey efforts and the new challenges they’re facing.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 2019 marked a watershed moment for marketers understanding and optimization of customer journeys. We saw significant shifts, particularly in the optimization of customer journeys across multiple channels, which was up to 88% versus just 62% in 2018.
  • Over half of marketers (56%) are now realizing more than half of their customer journey ambitions. This progress was reflected across multiple areas of the discipline – satisfaction with conversion rates grew from 61% in 2018 to 85% this year.
  • Overall, customer journeys are now a near-universal priority: only 1% of marketers said they had no plans to work on them in 2020 (a drop from 15% in 2018). 
  • Marketers now have a much greater level of confidence in defining customer journey optimization (CJO) as distinct from conversion rate optimization (CRO) or personalization – 95% were confident doing so, compared to just 65% in 2018. 
  • When it comes to tools, it is all change. In 2018, having the right tools was ranked among the top three CJO challenges facing marketers – in 2019, this dropped to fifth place, indicating ground gained in the hunt for the right stack. 
  • For the coming year, there’s a clear pivot from a need for technology to a need for skills, as marketers cited ‘sourcing staff with the skills required to make sense of customer journey optimization efforts’ as their top CJO challenge overall, up from fourth place in 2018. 

Check out the infographic below for more insights into customer journey optimization heading into 2020, or download the full report here.

Infographic: Customer Journey Optimization 2020

Best Social Media Platforms for E-commerce

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Social media and e-commerce are striving to crack social commerce (or s-commerce). Here are the platforms worth focusing on…

As social media has become one of the quickest ways to connect with a large audience of potential customers, marketers and brands have followed. In fact, studies have found that roughly 223 million people use social media platforms in the US alone. (Looking to connect internationally? Currently we’re at about 3.2 billion social media users worldwide). Brands can use social media to meet a variety of goals, but with a whole host of platforms out there, which should e-commerce marketers seek to focus on? Based on the below chart, you might think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are the places to be.

Social media for e-commerce
Source: eMarketer

However, while the user numbers we just mentioned, and uptake by marketers looks positive, it’s important to consider how each platform can help drive growth for your e-commerce business – beyond simply raising awareness. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are all popular social media platforms, when we look at them through an e-commerce lens, the story is a little different:

best social media platforms for e-commerce: referral traffic
Source: eMarketer

We can see that the top social media platforms driving referrals to e-commerce sites are in-fact Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. So now, let’s take a look at what each of these social media platforms has to offer the e-commerce marketer.

Best Social Media for E-commerce

Connecting with your customers on social media is a great way to build relationships, attract interest, and encourage them to invest in your products or services. By focusing your marketing efforts on a select few social media platforms, you can design a campaign that yields a high return on investment (ROI) without spreading yourself too thin. For this blog post, we’ll take a look at investing in a marketing strategy that addresses the top three referral sources: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Facebook for E-commerce

Facebook is, without question, the world’s most used social media platform. The sheer scale of the Facebook audience makes focusing on this platform key to driving potential customers to your e-commerce site.

Best social media platforms for e-commerce: Facebook e-commerce audience size
Facebook User Stats

Unlike some of the social media sites we’ll look at, Facebook is not as focused on creating a shopping experience within Facebook itself. The real area it excels is targeted advertising, and this has seen it become an essential part of many e-commerce customer acquisition strategies. With a vast array of age, gender, interest and location data available, virtually any business can find new potential customers by building custom audiences and retargeting existing website visitors, or leverage their existing customer data to find lookalike audiences i.e. new visitors who are similar to their best customers.

Instagram

Instagram (also owned by Facebook) offers e-commerce marketers an attractive way of marketing products due to it’s highly visual nature. It also allows users to tag businesses in their own posts to help promote products they find relevant. With around 104.7 million users, the Instagram audience is nothing to be sniffed at, and the site has some of the most advanced social commerce features among the leading social platforms. Two of the most important are Instagram Shopping and Instagram Checkout.

Instagram Shopping (or Shopping on Instagram as the platform calls it) give e-commerce brands the ability to ‘create an immersive storefront’ to help Instagram users explore products with a single tap. Brands can share products through their own posts and stories, creating a clickable tag that takes curious visitors to a product description page featuring further information. Take a look at the example below from M&S (one of the first UK brands to test Instagram Shopping) to get an idea of the customer journey from Instagram to the M&S e-commerce site:

Best social media platforms for e-commerce: Instagram e-commerce example from M&S
Source: M&S

Instagram Shopping is now available across a wide range of markets globally and is a great way for retailers and travel brands to showcase their products to an engaged audience.

The other feature from Instagram worth mentioning is Instagram Checkout – launched in 2019 it’s still in beta phase, but seeks to bring the shopping experience to the Instagram platform without the need for users to leave for another site. For more on Instagram Shopping and Instagram Checkout, why not check out (haha) our guide to social commerce here.

Pinterest for E-commerce

Pinterest may not be one of the top three social media platforms. However, it certainly ranks among the best platforms for those with an e-commerce agenda. Known for its wide range of creative, aspirational and product based posts, Pinterest has aligned itself well with the customer journey. And although it has slightly fewer users than other platforms (around 250 monthly active users), it more than makes up for that with its ability to link social media and e-commerce, with 93% of this audience using the platform to plan their purchases.

best social media platforms for e-commerce: pinterest e-commerce
Source: Pinterest

One feature that Pinterest offers that is particularly interesting for e-commerce brands is rich pins. Pinterest rich pins provide users with links, references, and product recommendations for achieving certain looks, décor objectives, recipes and project designs.

Pinterest e-commerce - Pinterest Rich Pins
Source: Pinterest

For those who are looking to target Pinterests audience, specifically women aged 18 through 49, Pinterest makes for an ideal social media platform. And when you look at the proportion of referrals that Pinterest drives compared to other platforms, Pinterest e-commerce doesn’t yet get the credit it deserves for the influence it has over consumers.

Source: Pinterest

Social Media + E-Commerce = Social Commerce

By investing your marketing time and effort in the right social media platforms, your e-commerce business can grow exponentially. Utilizing platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook in your strategy can encourage users to feel like a part of your e-commerce business and connect in a way that was missing before.

There is of course, lots more to learn about social commerce as it grows in importance and the platforms continue to develop new features. If you are interested in taking a deep-dive into social commerce, and how it can help you grow your online business, this guide is a great place to start.

Infographic: How We Book Now

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Understanding the travel customer journey with insights from 1000 consumers…

This travel infographic summarizes the most important data from our research report into the online behaviors of travel consumers, as featured in PhocusWire and Travolution. The research focused on understanding how consumers research and book travel now, split by 5 key segments: generation, gender, trip type, market and product type. The results give a fascinating insight into the evolution of the travel customer journey over the last few years, and what travel brands need to do to succeed heading into 2020.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 41.7% of Consumers are now spending more time booking than 5 years ago, despite digital innovation, with the average consumer now researching their next trip 4.19 months before departure.
  • This increase in time spent by consumers is being driven by two main behavioral trends. Firstly, with consumers now acting as their own travel agents – many of them (48%) booking each part of their vacation separately – there are multiple purchase journeys to each trip. 
  • Secondly, as the number of travel websites has exploded, the research stage of the customer journey now has no limits. This leads to ‘analysis paralysis’, as more than half (50.15%) of consumers visit more or many more sites than 5 years ago, and 78% of travellers say they now visit multiple sites when deciding where to go. 
  • When it comes to actually securing the booking, competition on price is no longer the only option for travel brands. While price still has a larger role in attracting consumers to travel sites, it only just edges out previous experience (48.6% vs 45.7%). 

Check out the infographic below for more insights into the travel customer journey, or download the full report here.

Travel customer journey infographic

How to Increase Your Average Order Value

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Get more from your visitors with these 4 tips to increase your average order value.

Today’s digital world means that e-commerce one of the best ways to sell products or services. But as competition heats up, and acquisition gets more expensive, it’s worth taking a few lessons from the offline world when it comes to increasing your average order value. Utilizing tried and tested marketing concepts such as cross-selling, upselling, loyalty programs or product bundling on your website is a powerful way to increase your average order value significantly.

What Is Average Order Value?

Before we jump into the tactics you can try to increase average order value, let’s take a quick look at how to define it. Average Order Value (AOV) provides you with the average dollar amount customers are spending per transaction. This meaningful measurement, which is a clear indication of how much customers are willing to spend on your products or services, is easy to calculate using the following formula:

Total Revenue / Total Number of Orders = AOV

For example, your e-store has a total revenue of $2,100 for the month of September, placed via 100 different orders. This gives you an AOV of $21 per transaction. This means that customers, on average, will spend $21 per order when they decide to purchase goods or service from your e-store.

Why Try to Increase Your Average Order Value?

Apart from the obvious goal of increasing the amount each customer spends with you, why should you be focusing on increasing average order value? On big reason is customer loyalty, which is strongly linked with AOV:

  • Your top 10% of customers order 3x more per order than the rest.
  • Your top 1% of customers order 5x more than the rest
  • After 30 months of loyalty, customers spend 67% more than their first purchase.

So really, driving up your AOV is linked with the strategic goal of increasing customer lifetime value (CLV). Let’s take a look now at some tactics that can help you accelerate your customer base to start performing like this top 10%.

Offer Choice With Cross-Selling

We’ve already mentioned cross-selling, upselling, bundling and more, but how are they different? In this first section we’ll seek to answer:

  • what is cross-selling?
  • why cross-selling works?
  • how cross-selling can be applied online?

Amazon is well known for its innovation in the product recommendations space, seeking to show visitors complementary items based on the product they are viewing. This tactic is a form of cross-selling, since Amazon is offering (hopefully) related items in an effort to increase their average order value. Here’s an example of the items it recommends when looking at a tent:

Amazon increase average order value with their 'frequently bought together' feature
Source: Amazon.com

When done right, cross-selling is mutually beneficial for you and your visitors. You offer additional value by surfacing products they might need, and in turn average order values increase.

Why does cross-selling work? It’s all about choice. Customers like having choices, but too many choices can actually be bad for sales. Providing visitors suggested products based on their shopping cart or what they’re currently looking at offers them more relevant choices, which may help them ultimately make the best decision on which product to buy.

Here’s another example from beauty brand skyn ICELAND:

Source: skyn ICELAND

As part of its Customer Journey Optimization strategy, skyn ICELAND incorporate recommended products into the customer journey to increase average order value.

A campaign targeting visitors purchasing Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, utilized Yieldify’s flexible targeting feature to recommended a complementary product. This resulted in a +23.1% uplift in conversion rate and boosted order value by 14.94%.

Customize or Upgrade Options Through Up-selling

Customization is another way to help increase your AOV. One way to do this is through up-selling. So, first things first, what is up-selling? Up-selling occurs when you persuade a customer to increase the value of their purchase, typically through customization or upgrading. It’s similar to cross-selling, but different in that you’re trying to increase the money spent on an individual product or item rather than recommend additional ones.

For example, L.L.Bean has been up-selling backpacks for years. For a small fee, you can personalize your backpack with your name or initials. As a buyer, you can opt for one of several choices in text, color and font — which makes your backpack 100% unique.

LL Bean use customization to increase average order value.
Source: L.L. Bean

Another great example of up-selling comes from the world of food delivery. Domino’s Pizza created a ‘stretch and save’ campaign to encourage returning visitors to increase the value of their order. In order to protect margin, this was tiered based on cart value, read more about how it worked and the results here.

Domino's increase Average order value with a stretch and save campaign

Increasing Average Order Value via Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to make repeat purchases easy and encourage customers to continue to buy from you: It not only helps you promote products but also helps you to foster ongoing customer relationships.

Often, loyalty programs include discounts. Discounts can often appear at odds with increasing profit margins when they clearly take away from the sale’s value. However, studies have proven that loyalty members actually spend roughly 120% more than new customers do every year. So offering a small discount can actually work out more beneficial in the long run, especially if you use a spend threshold.

You don’t always need to offer a discount either, many brands are turning toward ‘recognition’ based loyalty programs instead of a more traditional points-based approach. One such example is Marks and Spencers Sparks scheme. As well as discounts to increase average order value the brand offers priority access to online sales, as well as other perks like in-store events and charity donations. While this is a more long term approach toward building customer relationships to increase average order values, it’s worth looking at alongside more short term tactics.

Increase average order value with a loyalty scheme
Source: M&S Sparks Loyalty Scheme

Complete Solutions With Product Bundles

Customers enjoy feeling like they’ve made the best investment for their money. One way to give them this experience is through product bundling or bulk-buy packages.

Product bundles help provide your customers with a complete package solution. The implied value savings often encourage customers to make a single, larger purchase instead of lesser individual ones. This can save shoppers time since they don’t have to research each various item, even if they are all on your site somewhere. 

The important thing is to flag bundling options at the relevant moment in the customer journey. Take this example from Australian menswear retailer M.J. Bale:

Multi-buys are a key product category for the brand, particularly shirts and suits bundles. To improve the customer experience the brand highlighted the most popular bundles to visitors browsing these categories, driving an increase in conversion and allowing the brand to also increase average order value.

In summary

These are just a few ways that you can increase average order values on your e-commerce site. In order to identify the most effective route to take, you should first ensure you have an in-depth understanding of your visitors so that you can apply these tactics at the most relevant point in the customer journey. For more on increasing average order value check out this short guide:

Infographic: Predicting Peak

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400+ retailers reveal predictions for Black Friday and beyond in this infographic…

With Q4 just around the corner, this infographic summarises the key findings from our recent retail research: The Shape of Peak to Come. The research focused on understanding what retailers are expecting this peak season, what they’re planning, and how they are preparing. The results give a fascinating insight into how Black Friday and the holiday shopping season is evolving, and the key trends to look for heading into 2020.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Despite a challenging 2018, there is a high level of optimism when it comes to Black Friday and the holiday shopping season as a whole – retailers are predicting a 28% Year-on-Year revenue growth.
  • Pure-play e-commerce retailers are the most likely to opt-out of Black Friday all together, with 1 in 5 giving the discount day a miss.
  • Black Friday – the first ‘peak within peak’ – is no longer a one-day event. Only 15% are treating it as such. When it comes to participation, online-only retailers are the most likely to opt out, with 1 in 5 choosing not to take part this year.
  • While it’s a given that Black Friday is all about discounts, this approach holds throughout the holiday season, with 84.8% planning to offer discounts. 
  • As well as giving Black Friday a miss, pure-play e-commerce retailers were also the most likely to run discounts across longer periods. This seems to have led towards a greater focus on acquiring and retaining customers throughout peak, with website personalization their top-rated method for doing so.

Check out the infographic below for more Black Friday and Holiday Shopping insights, or download the full report here.

Sustainable e-commerce: an interview with Frank And Oak

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Sustainable e-commerce is less a ‘nice to have’ and more of a critical component of a retailer’s brand. We spoke to Megan Driver from leading retailer and Yieldify client Frank And Oak about how the team has made sustainability a core part of their e-commerce business.

‘Sustainability’ isn’t necessarily the first term you’d associate with the idea of a successful e-commerce brand. ‘Fast-moving’, yes. ‘Innovative’, sure. But as sustainability moves up the list of consumer priorities, many retailers are following suit. 

Frank And Oak is one such brand. A Canadian clothing company that was founded in 2012, it’s known for making good on its commitments to become a more sustainable e-commerce brand, raising $20 million in 2018 to expand its growth. 

Earlier this year, Frank And Oak partnered with Yieldify to drive website personalization, and in particular, to focus on growing its email database through Yieldify’s email capture capabilities

With sustainable e-commerce still a relatively new concept, the brand needed a stronger email database to nurture and educate consumers about the brand’s differentiated value. 

We interviewed Megan Driver, Senior Manager, Affiliate Marketing & Lead Generation, to tell us more about how the brand has successfully integrated sustainability into its business. 

As a brand that has been committed to sustainable e-commerce since the outset, what’s driving the shift in e-commerce, and retail more generally, toward sustainability?

The decisions made in the fashion industry have a huge impact on people and the planet. Faced with the irrevocable effects of climate change and poor conditions for garment factory workers around the world, more and more companies are recognizing the urgency in the fact that we all need to make a change and do our part. 

This is why we are committed to minimizing our impact by prioritizing recycled fabrics and responsible practices throughout our supply chain to make quality clothing that lasts.  

Can you tell us a bit about how Frank And Oak puts its commitment to e-commerce sustainability and responsible environmental practices into action? 

All of our garments are produced by certified manufacturing partners in Canada and across the globe. Our goal is to use sustainable fabrics and sustainable practices throughout our supply chain.

We started in 2017 with 5% of our products made with sustainable processes & materials, and are excited to announce that this year approximately 50% of our products will be made with minimal impact processes, with a heavy focus on recycled materials to reduce waste.

We use a lot of recycled and organic materials such as Polylife recycled polyester, recycled wool and hemp, and Organic Good Cotton. These are part of our eco-conscious production methods, which include cruelty-free insulation, hydro-less denim (which uses 95% less water than traditional methods) and eco dyes.

A key area for focus in sustainable e-commerce is what happens in fulfilment. Packaging is, unfortunately, a necessary part of any business like ours. They’re made to protect products as they get tossed around in transit or carried around town in busy customers’ hands. Until better solutions come along, we remain diligent in sourcing materials as conscientiously as we can. Our shipping boxes and shopping bags are 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, with our shipping bags 50% recycled too. 

On the brick-and-mortar side, our stores are built conscientiously in partnership with Canadian artisans, using recycled materials and creating minimal waste. When it comes to updating and renovating existing stores, we choose to make as few modifications as possible to the existing space, always reusing everything we can.  

Additionally, by understanding that each community is unique, every one of our stores is conceived with each neighbourhood in mind.

Being environmentally responsible usually comes with being socially responsible – what does Frank And Oak do in terms of CSR? 

One of our key programs has been the Let’s Give a Shi(r)t campaign. North Americans throw 9.5 million tonnes of clothing into landfills every year, when 95% of that can instead be reused or recycled. We launched the Let’s Give a Shi(r)t initiative in December 2018, with the goal of redirecting garments to help eliminate growing landfills and effect positive change. 

It centres around the store – all Frank And Oak stores across Canada now offer customers a place to ethically dispose of their gently used clothing and we’ll match it with a donation of a Frank And Oak item. We’ve also partnered with grassroots nonprofits across the country who work to divert tonnes of textiles from landfills, ensuring they are redistributed to help those in need. During the holiday season last year, we surpassed our ambitious goal of collecting 5000 clothing items, and this is just the beginning. 

Just recently, we launched our newest initiative: the Look Good, Do Good summer sale. We partnered up with WWF and The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The Look Good, Do Good initiative allows customers to look good while helping the planet by donating $5 from every sale item to this amazing initiative!

What are some of the e-commerce challenges that brands face in becoming more sustainable, and how has Frank And Oak overcome these?

One of the main challenges would have to be in educating the customer on new sustainable materials and the processes used in creating eco-friendly garments. As an e-commerce company, it’s sometimes hard to combine all the benefits of sustainable manufacturing in a condensed and meaningful way. 

Since so many of these are completely new practices, most people have never heard certain terms before and had no idea these materials and technologies even exist. They also lack a complete understanding of the full impact that traditional manufacturing methods have on the environment, and the importance of the decisions some retailers are taking to become more sustainable.

When it comes to e-commerce sustainability, there’s an additional challenge: consumers can’t physically touch the product and see that in most cases this new eco-friendly product’s quality is at par with traditional methods and in most cases, far superior in terms of quality and overall benefits.

Our biggest success to combating this would have to be our new online blog, The Handbook. Through this new content platform, we’re able to really dig deeper and provide more detail into our eco-conscious materials and processes, with great infographics, videos and Frank And Oak’s staple witty humour. 

We can then promote these content pieces in our emails, social media, paid advertising and on our website as a way to entice the user to learn more about why what we’re doing is important and to hopefully, further confirm that real change only happens if everyone takes part.

How does your marketing complement your credentials as a sustainable e-commerce brand focused on minimizing the impact of the fashion industry on the planet?

Ever since day one, our brand has placed a high degree of importance on our branding and we strive to make every new campaign unique, thought-provoking and authentic. By following this set of core values in our marketing, when we made strides as a brand to become more sustainably- focused, we knew these factors would only become more important. 

The Look Good, Do Good campaign I mentioned before is a perfect example, since we were able to combine something as simple as our annual summer sale with an initiative to help clean up our Canadian shorelines. We strive to be as transparent as possible in our marketing and admit our current limitations outright, since we’re only getting started and we are continuously innovating.

What part does Frank And Oak’s eco-friendly mission play when it comes to the online customer journey and how are you planning to improve or optimize this?

From our very first touchpoint with customers, we try to highlight our sustainable e-commerce practices so they know outright who we are as a company and what we stand for. For instance, when users subscribe to our email mailing list, the first email we send them gives them a brief on our sustainable practices.

Our retail locations also have sections in-store dedicated to explaining our eco-conscious process, and on each of our items on our site and on the garment hang-tags (and even printed on the item itself sometimes), we highlight sustainable features. 

We’re striving to make every touchpoint with our customers meaningful while also showcasing our sustainable principles, but we still need more work on this – especially for our subscription box, Style Plan. We offer one of the only sustainable clothing subscription boxes in North America, but many people who know of or have subscribed to our box have no idea it’s comprised of eco-friendly clothing. 

What’s the work that you’ve been doing with Yieldify to contribute to your strategy? 

Because so much of our relationship with the customer is driven by educating them, it’s really important for us to capture email leads at the top of the funnel so that they can be nurtured. A big part of why we started working with Yieldify is their specialism in turning website traffic to email subscribers. They were able to benchmark performance from over 200,000 campaigns to recommend strategies early on in the partnership that have proven success and high adoption rates. 

Frank and Oak interview on sustainable e-commerce

So far, we’ve been running a series of A/B tests to ensure that we’re not only capturing more leads, but that we’re employing strategies that get good ones: valid leads from engaged customers. As you can see on our website, one of these tests offers a discount to first-time buyers: 

We’re currently working with the team at Yieldify to see what happens next in the customer journey for the users that sign-up using this mechanism and seeing what we can improve in order to make sure these users stay engaged.  

Using segmentation strategies such as targeting men and women with different creatives, we’ve captured over 30,000 leads in two months. The rate of capture speaks to the extra effort being worthwhile – whilst most submit rates are around the 4% mark, ours is over 14%. 

This is really just the beginning – what we’re interested in looking at is what happens next. For example, if someone declines to sign-up, how do you re-engage them later on in their journey and get them to reconsider? There are so many possibilities for those customer journeys, and that’s what we’ll be exploring over the coming months. 

What advice would you give to other retailers who are looking to make sustainability a bigger part of their e-commerce offering? 

I would say that going for sustainable e-commerce is definitely a huge business decision, and takes a significant amount of time, internal resources and research. But as we’ve seen, climate change and environmental issues are quickly moving to the forefront of everyone’s priorities, so the time to start making a change in how you do business is now. 

Becoming a completely sustainable company can’t be done overnight, but as long as companies are making small steps now with the goal of one day making that happen, I think that’s the most important learning and advice I can share at this point in time. As retailers, it’s our responsibility to evoke change in our own industry since no-one else can make that impact for us.

Smart E-commerce UX and UI

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What does smart e-commerce UX and UI look like in 2019? Find out this guest post from Jake Rheude, Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment.

When it comes to user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, there are different opinions and expectations for all online businesses. But what’s the case with e-commerce sites? What are users expecting from your e-commerce UX and UI in 2019? What should you keep in mind when creating or redesigning your site?

Those are some  big questions with a wide range of possible answers based on your industry, customers, specific products, and personal preference. You may enjoy a hamburger menu or loathe them because they hide too much navigation behind a click. Some of us enjoy high-contrast backgrounds, but those could clash with your latest collections’s colors and patterns.

So, diving deep into the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI) for Ecommerce is going to get tricky. In this blog post we’ll show you some of the most important trends and aspects of e-commerce UX and UI for 2019 so that you can get it right on a big-picture level, and not have to worry about avoiding your favorite colors.

To start with, let’s look at how everything is connected.

E-commerce UX and UI: A Holistic Experience

When we start thinking about the user experience, it’s usually related to our jobs. Designers will think of how the user navigates a site and uses its elements. Marketers often think of the journey people take to make it to a page. Sales will focus on how the user can walk through the buyer’s journey to complete a purchase.

All of these things and more are encompassed in the UX. For e-commerce companies, it’s even more important to remember because the entire experience is wrapped up in your store. E-commerce owners and storefronts should realize that the user’s experience with your brand starts when they first discover you (social, search, and ads are your biggies here), and follows them through to checkout and any post-purchase follow-up..

That automated email you send out thanking someone for a purchase and providing their order tracking is part of e-commerce UX. Going the extra step to make this reinforce your brand by using the same tone of voice, as well as colors and images will have a positive impact on how they remember you.

Put yourself in the shoes of a new customer. Track every step they take to find you and buy from you, then get their product from you and decide to keep it or send it back. Every interaction point along the customer journey is part of the e-commerce UX you’re building. Anything the customer doesn’t like or can find confusing is something to change.

Specific E-commerce UX and UI Elements to Consider

When taking a holistic approach , we must look at a few specific elements that are designed to keep your audience happy no matter where they are in the journey. Your e-commerce UX and UI can’t get in the way, so there needs to be continuity and future proofing when possible. We’ve identified a few elements that can help your audience find you and buy from you.

Voice (and every other) search support

The world is built on search. Unless you’re only selling a single product, it’s likely that your e-commerce world is built on search too. Love it or hate it, customers are going to have to look for you to find you in many cases, and you’ll often get as many people searching your name due to an ad campaign as those just clicking on the ad.

So, search can either be a boon for your business or, if you don’t take time to give search its due, a major pain. Let’s keep you in the positive by looking at a few core elements that your website needs to support in order to capture as much of the search space as possible.

  • Voice: This is the latest search trend to take off thanks to virtual assistants. People will speak to their phone in order to find you and that means your website should be built around the way people speak. Addressing questions how a customer asks them or building landing pages around how people talk about your company is a major benefit. Direct search support also gets a little easier thanks to tools like the Google Cloud Speech-to-Text API.
  • Pictures: Image search is growing somewhat in popularity and is a smart play if you’re on platforms like Instagram. When you’ve got very visual tools and products, or if you’re trying to stand out, searching by images can help you make the biggest impression. Visual search is also great for getting in on people who will window-shop or want a specific look. Google has a custom search API that can help with a variety of structured and unstructured data searching on your site. What we like best about it for images is that it has dominant color support, allowing search to return images of a specific dominant color. Combine that with our next element and you turn your catalog into something easily searchable.
  • Filters: As online stores grow, it becomes harder to find the needle in the haystack. Filters are an amazing way to help customer do just that, especially if they’re not 100% sure of what they want. Filters can help them see what’s in their price range, style choice, popularity, and much more — plus you can build custom tags around styles or anything else you want to add another unique and personal-feeling filter. It is an amazing tool to pair with visual search to let people look for items that fit together. This is incredibly popular with apparel as someone who found the perfect top can match it to a specific color hat or bottom to complete a look.
  • Auto-complete: I might know your brand, but it’s unlikely that I know the exact name of your products. However, I might have a general idea about it. Auto-complete features, or selection proposals, help me out by giving me an auto-populated list of items that I might want. It’ll get me to the product faster and you can include images in these pre-populated results to help convince me to click.

These four aspects of search are all about the e-commerce UX. You make it easier by supporting what the customer wants to do.

E-commerce UX and UI - Triwa

Triwa Watches nails it with a homepage that easily gets to an engaging best-sellers list we found via photo search

The UI side of things is how to make these elements visually appealing and interesting without getting in the way. Icons8 has a phenomenal look at minimalism in 2019 that can be directly applied to your search and site efforts. 

Keeping on-site information accurate

Site content accuracy is key for e-commerce – your website must be accurate or you risk losing out on sales and frustrating customers. 

According to a 2018 study, when a U.S. consumer online encounters an out-of-stock product:

  • 15% go buy something from another store
  • 60% buy a substitute for the same store (a little more than half here will stick with same brand)
  • 10% go to a physical retail store to find the product
  • 15% cancel or delay their purchase

Your website architecture needs help to support the various elements you have to keep track of for your store and warehouse. There are a variety of Ecommerce tools that will help, whether they’re small warehouse management systems or whole platforms like Shopify. If you outsource your fulfillment to a 3PL, ensure they have the platform support you need.

Review your process entirely and see exactly what the customer would need and where they might encounter errors. So, find a way to track and show your current stock, shipping options and dates, costs like taxes, and any other element that could affect if an order is placed and filled promptly.

Showcase this in every way you possibly can so customers don’t get any surprises.. If your site supports chatbots, they can be a perfect place to offer customers the most relevant information such as shipping as well as size charts and color options.

Minimize the fluff, emphasize the important

Get rid of the extra elements that aren’t needed, like hiding out-of-stock products or pushing out-of-season items away. Prioritize what customers need and what they use — things like size charts, color options, and customer reviews — on every page that you can. 


You’ll scratch your head too if you don’t already know what a “121” fit is

If there’s a piece of information that could cause a return if incorrect, such as clothing size, then you must make that as easy as possible to find. It’ll limit those unexpected return and replacement costs.

Give popular elements a place of prominence, both products and content like images, to keep shoppers engaged and moving across your site. If you have stellar photos on each page, then someone will have options to keep shopping if they land on a page with a product they decide against.

Embrace visuals too, because they help tell your story and boost your sales. For instance, one study found that Pinterest users were 79% more likely to buy a product they saw pinned. Other studies looking at a general online audience have found that 96% of consumers say online videos are helpful to purchase decisions and 73% are more likely to specifically buy a product with an explainer video.

After you help them click, take this focus on what’s important to the checkout process. Take considerable time to review your shopping cart and all the steps required to use it, troubleshoot it, and complete the purchase.

The checkout can’t break the experience. 

So, keep it quick, easy, and simple. Don’t ask for more information or account details than you need. This will help you protect your business by engendering trust — some users abandon carts when they no longer trust a site that feels too greedy. Simple and intuitive navigation extends to your entire process, including checkout. If you’re using a recurring payment or subscription, this becomes more important because you’re protecting a long-term investment with each customer.

So, cut out anything that’s not needed in order to get people to complete that sale and accomplish your goals!

Personalize when Possible

Let’s wrap up with an element that depends on your budget and software: website personalization. You want to build something for each individual in order to help them, based on how they navigate your site. There are plenty of small elements you can use based on what other people have done, or you can go the full route of creating custom content for people based on their user accounts.

Personalize where you can, even if it’s just product recommendations based on current browsing or highlighting your most-bought products. The good news is that this is affordable, the great news is that it boosts sales!

Red Stage Fulfillment: personalization via self-segmentation
Red Stage Fulfillment: personalization via self-segmentation

One final note for UI about concerns in personalization is that you sometimes have to go broad to be personal. What we’re thinking about here specifically is the ability to operate the same way across multiple devices. Building for device-independence is tricky, but the payoff can be substantial. When someone gets what they need on their phone after clicking on an Instagram post and buys, then comes back via desktop for support or to track an order, they want things to look and feel the same.

More people are browsing on smartphones than ever before and building for that screen size while not for a specific platform is essential. There’s an accessibility element in this design too that ensures all of your customers can use your site.

In terms of UI design, this means:

  • Support tools that allow your site to be read aloud
  • Add captions
  • Simplify navigation
  • Make visual cues large and distinct
  • Use color combinations that are easy for everyone to read or see
  • Present the same content in multiple ways

If you need further support here, check out the W3C’s page on accessibility, especially its evaluation support.

Accessibility is a wonderful place to end because it leaves us with the right frame of mind. Your e-commerce UX and UI feel like commercial elements but they’re really about speaking to your audience. Connect with them how they need it and make their work (buying) as easy to complete as possible.

When you design with these e-commerce UX and UI elements in mind, it’ll be a significant boost for your site and your sales.

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.


How to Convert Affiliate Traffic

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Affiliate marketing is a popular way for brands to drive traffic to their site — but too often affiliate traffic is treated like any other traffic stream. In this blog we take a look at what marketers need to do differently.

As we’ve learned over the years, affiliate traffic is just a bit different. This traffic comes to your site in a unique way via third-party publishers — so converting affiliate traffic needs a unique approach.

The growth and importance of affiliate marketing for e-commerce brands is undeniable. 81% of brands and 84% of publishers already leverage the power of affiliate marketing, and spending is on the rise. For example, a study from Forrester shows that in the US spending is increasing 10.1% each year, meaning it could reach $6.8bn by next year! So now is a great time to give a little more thought to improving the customer journey for your affiliate visitors.

The bad news? The average affiliate marketing conversion rate is around 0.5% to 1%, which of course isn’t particularly high. The good news is that there are ways to make the most of this traffic stream and covert it into lots of paying customers. Here are a few strategies that can help…

Personalize the customer journey

You’ve done a great job of driving affiliate traffic to your site. Now what?

The best brands identify where this traffic has come from, and then create a personalized customer journey to drive these visitors toward conversion. Let’s look at an example of how that could work.

Consumers today are hungry for discounts, and today that means coupon affiliate sites are a key part of many affiliate marketers’ strategy. Typically running in partnership via an affiliate network, such as Rakuten, coupon and vouchers sites represent low hanging fruit when it comes to optimizing the customer journey. Why? Because you already know the what motivates this traffic, and so you can tailor the journey to meet their price-sensitive behavior. Even better, you know the specific offer that tempted them to visit in the first place, so you can mirror this message on site:

Serving reminders of why visitors came to your site in the first place as they navigate through it is a powerful way to encourage conversion. Here at Yieldify we’ve seen this type of multi-touch tactic deliver better results than simply serving a reminder once upon arrival, particularly at key points in the customer journey such as checkout, where it’s adding value for these price-sensitive consumers, by making sure they don’t miss out on the deals they searched high and low for!

Get the UX and UI basics right

How your site looks can make a massive difference in terms of converting any visitor, not just affiliate traffic. As our own Head of Design, Lana Kropyvana puts it:

“People buy with their eyes. If something doesn’t look good, users won’t be interested in it – end of story. There’s a furious competition online for everything, so good design is the key to a successful user journey.”

Lana Kropyvana, Head of Design, Yieldify

But where to start? Well the pages your affiliate traffic are likely to land on are as good a place as any, first impressions count after all! Here’s what you should look out for:

  • Above all, be clear: As we discussed in the previous point, carrying your message through from your affiliate sites helps minimise confusion, and lets visitors know they’re in the right place.
  • Be attention grabbing: eye-catching, on-brand hero imagery can help direct visitors to the focal points you want them to engage with
  • Sell yourself: highlighting why users should buy from you, based on where they’ve arrived from is another great way to encourage conversion

Even better if you can test out tweaks and changes to your messaging to really get an understanding of what works best for your affiliate traffic. Simple changes can have a big impact, as shown by Megabus, who tested their messaging at every stage of the customer journey, driving a conversion rate uplift of +7.5%

Collect visitor data

Despite the fact that your affiliate traffic may be slightly further down the funnel than a brand new visitor, the reality is that the majority wont convert. But that doesn’t mean this traffic should goto waste.

Ensuring you have a smart lead capture strategy implemented means you’re able to collect data on your affiliate visitors, even if they don’t convert, and continue to market to them via your other channels, such as email.

For affiliate visitors, consider targeting your forms depending on the source your visitor has come from. This is an important way of ensuring that there’s complete alignment between the reality of the experience and the expectations set by whichever ad, email or post that’s brought your visitor to the site. Read more on this topic in this blog post.

And on that note, we’ll wrap things up – we could fill multiple blog posts with our tips on lead capture (given we’ve captured more than 15 million for our clients!). Whatever approach you take, the key thing to think about when it comes to your affiliate traffic is how you can better personalize the journey, to drive more conversions, or leads from this traffic source.

Ready to get started? Book your free demo to learn more about how we work with leading brands to drive more value from their affiliate efforts.

The Black Friday Benchmarker

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Want to know whether your Black Friday plans square up to your competitors? You’re about to find out…

When we asked over 400 e-commerce marketers what they feared the most about peak season 2019, the top answer was ‘the competition’.

As we head into the busiest and most important part of the year, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your activity places you favorably against your rivals. Comparison shopping is just too easy these days.

In the below benchmarking tool, all you have to do is answer five simple questions about your plans and we’ll tell you how they compare to your competitors. It takes five minutes and could mean a huge difference to your success this year – good luck!

 
 

In the meantime, you’ll want to make sure that you have all bases covered when it comes to your Black Friday preparation. To make sure you’ve checked every box (literally) download our Peak Season Preparation Checklist for free below:

Peak Season Preparation Checklist

Improve Landing Page Conversion Rates

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Improving landing page conversion rates is one of the best ways to grow your marketing results – here are five ways to do it!

Improving landing page conversion rates will help you make the most of the resources you’re pouring into generating traffic. Whether through SEO, advertising, email or social media make sure you convert as many of those website visitors as possible with these five simple tips.

1. First up, know your baseline conversion rate (and benchmarks)

Before you start making improvements, you need to know your current landing page conversion rate. This will enable you to compare yourself to industry benchmarks to see where you need to get to, as well as help you measure improvements on your way there. You can find your conversion rate by checking your website analytics, or if you’re using a landing page tool, the native performance stats.

Depending on your industry, sub-vertical, location, seasonality, and other factors, conversion rates will vary. But benchmarks are a useful way to get an idea of where to aim for when it comes to improving landing page conversion rates. In 2018, the average e-commerce conversion rate globally sat at 2.86%, yet during peak 2018 we saw conversion rates ranging between 5 and 10% depending on device. That’s a big difference, but if you’re looking at your data regularly you can start to build a picture of what to expect, and your areas for improvement.

2. Highlight customer reviews on your landing page

According to an industry study, “97% of consumers read reviews before they make a purchase.” Why not make it easy for customers to get access to testimonials by featuring them directing on your landing page?

You need to reassure prospects that they are making a good decision to join your email list or buy when they land on your site. By quoting the ratings and comments of real customers, you establish trust and authenticity, and prospective new customers can more easily imagine buying your product.

In the e-commerce industry, Simply Cook‘s home page features customer reviews reliably and independently sourced via Trustpilot. This is a good example of how customer reviews from other websites can factor into your marketing.

Improve landing page conversion rates with customer reviews
Simply Cook uses reviews on its homepage

It’s important to think about how you display customer reviews at each stage of the customer journey, and test what works depending on acquisition channel. For example, will showing the number of 5 star ratings be more effective than showing the overall rating, or should you focus on UGC. Unfortunately there is no right answer, but you can read more about how you can collect, test and learn from customer reviews in this blog post.

3. Show why your offer is unique

Emphasizing customer reviews is powerful. However, they are not your only tool, and they are not always relevant. What if you are promoting a brand-new product? You may not have any reviews yet. In that case, you will need to come up with a different approach. One idea is to build your content to emphasize what’s special about you. Afterall, you only have a few seconds once a visitor lands on a page to capture their attention, so make it count.

Here are a few suggestions to help you tease out the unique aspects of your offering:

  • Guarantees: whether you offer this based on price, satisfaction or something else, think about how you can stand out from the crowd. Saddleback Leather do a great (and pretty humorous) job of this with their ‘They’ll fight over it when you’re dead’ 100 Year Warranty.
  • Options and add-ons: do you offer a special service or optional add-on? Make sure your visitors know about it! Luxury goods retailer Montblanc chose to highlight services visitors wouldn’t get elsewhere to drive conversions to exiting visitors, but this could equally be incorporated into a landing page:
Improve landing page conversion rates by highlighting your USPs
Source: Montblanc case study

4. Emphasize social proof in other ways

In addition to customer reviews, there are other ways to demonstrate the concept of social proof on your landing page. Here are two ideas to get you started:

  • Expert Endorsements: Are there famous people who have used your product? If so, feature them on your landing page. For example, if you get your products reviewed in one of Wire Cutter’s guides (e.g., The Best Digital Photo Frame), you are more likely to be perceived as trustworthy.
  • Customer Number: If 10,000 people have already bought the product, mention that fact! For example, BlackSocks.com, an e-commerce company that sells black socks and other clothing, uses the copy “Over 60,000 happy customers” on their homepage. They could use this accomplishment to generate leads on a landing page.

5. Minimize the number of links on the landing page

The whole point of a landing page is to focus the prospect on converting. But if the landing page is filled with links to other parts of your website, prospects are likely to get distracted from their goal. It’s not a good idea to remove all navigation links because this practice tends to be discouraged by Google.

Instead, we recommend using a minimal number of navigation links and relegating them to the bottom of your landing page. For instance, a study of 5,000 landing pages by Crayon found that the most common links on landing pages are: your company logo, your privacy and contact information, and your About page. Anything more than that is too much.

If you have a navigation bar in place, consider removing it. Yuppiechef, an e-commerce store selling kitchen and home products, “removed the navigation bar from a registration page and increased landing page conversion rate from 3% to 6%,” according to a study by ConversionXL. Assuming 10,000 monthly visitors, that would be 3,000 additional conversions per year.

Your Next Step To Improve Landing Page Conversion Rates

We’ve seen that it’s sometimes doable to double landing page conversion rates. But depending on how much work you need to do, that may be putting the cart before the horse.

Before you even cross that bridge, your first step is to make sure customers aren’t just bouncing from your website — and if they are, you need to find out why and fix it. For help solving that problem, check out our guide on How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate.

Peak Perspectives: Philips

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Ahead of the launch of our retail peak research next week, we speak to Roel Overgoor, Global Digital Marketing Manager D2C at Philips.

Next week we’ll launch the findings from our new research looking at retail peak. Having surveyed over 400 UK and US marketers to understand what we can expect from Black Friday and the holidays in 2019, we also caught up with marketing leaders in the industry to get their perspectives. In this interview, we were joined by Roel Overgoor, Global Digital Marketing Manager D2C at Philips, to discuss his predictions and plans for the holiday season.

Hi Roel, first of all, it would be great if you could tell us a bit about peak planning at Philips?

So for peak we divide it up between what is centrally planned, organized and activated and what is activated and planned in the markets. For both aspects, we’ll start in summer, so pretty early! The first conversations and planning discussions for Black Friday, for example, kicked off in June. (Editor’s note – to give you a sneak peek at the research, 77.4% of retailers have started planning by August!)

As to what it involves, first we look at our proposition and our assortment for the holiday season. Then over July and August, we connect with the different markets on the actual planning, marketing budgets and forecasts.

It sounds like it can be quite complex, especially with lots of different markets. How do you prioritize what you need to do?

First, it’ll be the proposition we want to have, and then the level of discount, together with our assortment offering. That’s the basis of the campaign and therefore needs to happen first. After that it’s really about forecasting demands and getting all the stock levels and planning in place. This ensures we have enough time for the last step; the actual execution of bringing Black Friday to life on our platform and in our marketing. The advertising and the activation part is really the last piece and that can be done from September onwards.

I’d be interested to know what you think future holds for shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, especially, now we have things like Prime Day from Amazon?

I think there will be more! Indeed, days like Black Friday are already a big deal for our industry. Maybe in the future, every brand will try to claim its own day and moment. I think these types of activities will become almost always on. There’s always an event or type of day you can jump on as a brand or manufacturer. It used to be only the traditional moments, which weren’t specific to an industry or a market place, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s, that sort of thing. But now, brands are creating their own, so there’s a lot of opportunity.

Have you seen any impact from days like Black Friday and Prime Day on the traditional holiday shopping season?

Yes, during the holiday season we have noticed an impact. People are anticipating those big moments in the shopping calendar. Many retailers probably see a slow down in sales leading up to it. For example, if your normal growth rate is around 60%, in the weeks leading up to the Black Friday it can drop to like 20 or 30%, for example. Now Black Friday is getting so well known and consumers are so used to it, they’ll just postpone their purchase until the offers start.

Do you think that we’ll see any differences this year versus last year, or do you have any peak predictions you can share?

Other than generic trends such as mobile, and then the fact that days like Black Friday have become more well-known and mainstream across all industries, a big difference is the fact Black Friday will be pretty late this year. It’s really close to the holiday season compared to last year when there was still a gap between Black Friday and Christmas shopping. Based on this I anticipate that we’ll see a move toward consumers doing their Christmas shopping during Black Friday, as it’s so close together.

Aside from the shortened shopping time, what other challenges will you be contending with this peak season?

As a manufacturer, the sales we do ourselves are closely linked with really building a relationship with the consumer. Via a reseller or our retailers, we don’t really get that one-to-one relationship, so that’s always our main goal when we sell ourselves. So for example, ahead of Black Friday, offering visitors a chance to ‘pre-subscribe’ or opt-in via email so they come back to us on the day.

It’s a big reason why we sell anyway, especially during Black Friday, as for us it’s a bit newer than the pureplay e-tailers. We are looking to build up our data and get insights into how valuable these consumers are compared to our ‘every day’ new visitors.

So when you get these visitors and new traffic to your e-commerce site, are there any specific tactics you’re using to increase this data collection or increase conversions?

Yes, of course, so I’ve already mentioned the option to pre-subscribe to grow your base, for the people that are anticipating Black Friday. You can also use tactics like countdown timers and flash sales. But when it comes to the products and the assortments we carry, we’re steering more towards a subscription-based offering. 

A lot of our products naturally allow for a subscription model, so you already know that you can follow up. So, we’ll focus more on that side, products like the OneBlade razor, or toothbrushes with replacement brush heads than say, an air-fryer.

In the future, what would be interesting for us, at least, is to learn to which extent we can use Black Friday on Market Places and on platforms outside of our own webshop. We are in control of what we sell of course, but to what extent can we influence what happens with our brands and products during Black Friday on all the other places that we are being sold?


We’ll be releasing the full findings of our peak season research next week*, but until then… why not grab a sneak peek at some of the key insights to help you with your planning? Download your copy of our free Peak Season Preparation Checklist below:

*UPDATE: Find the research report here