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How Inventory Management Enhances Your eCommerce Strategy

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Inventory Management for Ecommerce | Yieldify

Learn about the essential inventory management methods and enhance your eCommerce sales and marketing strategy.

So, you are living the dream! After months of making plans, figuring out costs, and putting in the hard graft, you have finally set up shop. You are running your own eCommerce business! Or, you may have had an online business for years…

Either way, there is one aspect of all retailer’s lives that doesn’t get the traction it needs. And that is knowing how to use inventory management methods to make your business the best it can be.

What is inventory management?

On the most basic level, inventory management is sourcing, storing, and selling stock. It is knowing how much stock you have, how much it should sell at, where to keep it, and how long to keep it for.

Understanding how to manage inventory is crucial for any business – large or small. It prevents waste, saves costs, and saves time. Keeping on top of supply creates more customer focus as it gives people the products they want.

Unfortunately, many businesses still lack the knowledge in inventory management best practices. Some of the biggest firms in the world have collapsed through not using the right techniques and systems.

Here are a few pointers to make sure your eCommerce store stays on top by adopting a proper inventory management system.

Understand the ins and outs of inventory management

Why you need inventory control

Inventory control doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is always important. Understanding stock levels helps you with knowing;

  • When to re-order. First, you need to know when stock is running low. You don’t want to be in a position where you cannot provide products for customers. Think of it as doing a weekly shop. If you are running out of milk, you don’t wait until the carton is empty before you buy more.
  • How much to re-order. Say you own an online pet shop. The squeaky carrot toys have been selling much more than you predicted. So, you need to order more of those in. Yet, you don’t want to over-order and have piles of high-pitched toys piling up in the warehouse. Managing inventory helps steady numbers too.
  • How many more to order. Keeping with the toy example, if the carrot is selling well, will a squeaky tomato sell well too? Accurate inventory tracking will also help with the purchasing and success of new products.
  • How long stock can stay out/in the warehouse. This is something that may seem a little obvious for things like perishables. But without proper inventory, a lot of goods may end up unaccounted for and unsold. Left either to go out of date or out of fashion.
Source: Visual.ly

Choosing the right inventory management software

According to Wasp, 43% of small businesses still use manual methods to manage inventory. What this really means is 43% of small firms are vulnerable to mistakes. So, having a software tool assists in avoiding chaos and human error.

However, choosing the right inventory management software is no small feat. You really have to consider the nature of your business, your company size, specific challenges and needs. GoCodes suggests asking the following questions:

  • How many users will require access?
  • Does the software allow for scalability as your company grows?
  • Can the software integrate with other systems?
  • Can they provide data migration assistance?
  • Does the system allow for customized reporting?
  • Are you allowed to audit the history of your inventory?
  • Does the software allow you to prevent stolen, lost or misplaced inventory?
  • Do you need to access the inventory management software on multiple devices?
  • What is the quality of their technical support during troubleshooting?

Based on the most common criteria, you want to find software that:

  • Can analyze data in real-time;
  • Analyze data and optimize inventory
  • Takes overstocking and understocking into account;
  • Considers seasonality;
  • Makes adjustments for where the product is in its lifecycle.

Using software that leverages price optimization will also be a great benefit. It will give you recommendations on when to sell at higher or lower price points, and what sells best in which season. Not only does it help you sell the stock for the best profit, but it also helps clear space for new stock.

If you still feel like you’re missing some information about all the inventory tech options, check out Brightpearl’s retail tech stack report. The report helps you understand the options that are available and the current market trends influencing them.

Having an understanding of the solutions available will speed up the process of choosing or upgrading a software tool, thus making sure your money is being spent on the right tech in the right areas.

What you need to know about auditing

Auditing is making sure that you are checking how much stock you have. Even with the best software, it’s important to do manual auditing too. It can help account for any stolen items and prevent any over or under-stocking issues.

The first way to do this is through a full audit. This usually involves counting all the stock a couple of times a year. Frankly, this method can be time-consuming and boring.

The second way is to do a partial audit. Also known as cycle counting, this is when you count items throughout the year. It checks against already recorded numbers and helps measure accuracy.

Spot checking is the third technique. This is when you randomly compare the numbers of one item to the recorded numbers in your software. It’s a good way to check that numbers are accurate.

Of course, different approaches will work better with each company. The following are a few ways that may work for you.

Types of auditing

Setting Par levels

This is also known as keeping safety stock. It’s a method that helps structure, order, and assign priority to items. It works by making sure there is a minimum amount of stock for each product. Setting a Par level is often used in hospitality. The method prevents food waste and keeps inventory healthy.

Orderly suggests that Par level is usually worked out using the following formula:

Par level = (Weekly inventory use + Safety stock) / Deliveries per week

It also suggests keeping around 20%-30% of the weekly inventory to use as safety stock.

An advantage to this technique is that staff don’t have to have as much knowledge about inventory management. They will always know the least amount to order.

First in First out (FIFO)

Also known as FIFO, the First in First out method focuses on selling older stock before anything else. This helps with the natural flow of goods. It makes it easier for record-keeping, too, as it avoids recounting old stock.

And it isn’t just food companies that need to consider this method. Whether it’s tech, clothes, or something in between, fashion dictates the quick change of many products. You don’t want to be stuck with piles of “Mom Jeans” in the back. Waiting for them to come into style for a third time so you can shift them.

Essentially, using FIFO means you can have a high rotation of stock. This keeps things fresh and prevents you from having to do massive clear-out sales. 

ABC management system

This is a really simple way of categorizing products from least to most valuable. Essentially, it’s looking through inventory and working out if each line is in the A, B, or C category. A is a highly valued product but low in quantity. B has regular products in moderate quantity, and C is low valued products in high quantity.

A provides 80% of revenue and 20% of the stock. B provides 15% of revenue and 30% of the stock. C provides 5% of revenue and 50% of the stock.

Source: Katana

Say, for example, you own an online footwear shop. The ABC method in this scenario may look like this:

A: High-end, expensive trainers earn the majority of the sales (80%). Selling just three pairs of these in a day makes most of the income. But as they are on the pricey end, fewer people tend to buy them, so you don’t have a lot in stock (20%).

B: Work shoes are somewhere in-between with sales and stock. They get a decent amount of sales in a day but not a huge amount. They aren’t as expensive as the trainers, and are more of an essential item. So, these sales make around 15% of revenue and make up 30% of the stock.

C: Socks make the most sales in a day. So, they are 50% of the stock. Yet, although lots of these are sold, they are cheap. And so only makes up around 5% of the profit.

Working with this method enables you to focus on the products that are most profitable for you. That’s one vital element of managing a successful eCommerce business. It will help you to know which items to keep in stock. 

5 essential inventory management methods for eCommerce

Finally, there are some key points to remember when using inventory management. Keeping these points in your mind will help your stock go that bit further. They will also make sure you are profiting and keeping customers happy.

1. Keep an inventory of safety stock

You never know when something unexpected may happen. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have safety stock.

There could be many reasons you may need this. We only need to look at recent cases of panic buying to see that unexpected supply and demand happens. Keeping an inventory of the stock will make sure you prepare for anything unforeseen.

2. Balance inventory

This is as simple as not overstocking and not under-stocking. It’s about getting the balance right.

You don’t want to have so much stock you are having to liquidate. But you also don’t want to have too little stock that you have to tell a customer you don’t have the product and push away your target market. Both these can lead to loss of profit through clearance sales and bad reviews.

Having the right software and managing inventory correctly will help avoid this.

3. Use a kitting technique

Putting together stock to sell as a deal is known as kitting. E.g. Buy 2 Get 1 Free offers. It helps to get rid of any overstock at a good price. It also boosts average order value and lets customers know they are getting a great deal.

4. Look at past purchases to predict future stock

In doing this, you can create a feedback loop of understanding what stock works. You can assess the stock that needs either boosting or reducing. Tracking stock enables you to see which products are selling the best. It also helps in the assessment of yearly trends and can be done as often as you like.

5. Be smart with storage

When gathering stock to sell, it’s important to think about the physical storage of items. Whether keeping items in a spare room or a warehouse, make sure the items are easy to locate.

Keeping them at a place where you can easily pack and post them means the customer will get the item sooner. Base the location on sales and trends. Move things around now and again if you need to. Doing this will help you to keep on top of your stock and will deliver great customer satisfaction. 

In conclusion

Having a great inventory management system in place can make your job so much easier. Using a mix of the right software and these techniques will make sure you are keeping on top of your inventory resulting in more profit for you. Ultimately, it means a happier customer who will keep on coming back.

eCommerce Product Detail Page Examples & Best Practices

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Product detail page | Yieldify

A product detail page is the lifeblood of eCommerce. Read our blog post to learn the best ways to create high-converting PDPs and get a free 25-step design template.

Any online consumer will tell you that it’s important to know everything there is to know about a product before purchasing it. And when you are running an eCommerce website, you want everything to be as easy as possible for your customers. Creating high converting eCommerce product pages is an essential part of a successful online store.

But, what exactly is a product detail page, and what makes it effective? All of these questions and more will be answered below.

But, what exactly is an eCommerce product detail page, and what makes it effective?

All of these questions and more will be answered below.

We’re going to cover:
1. PDP Basics
2. Why Product Detail Pages Are Important
3. PDP Best Practices
3.1. General Components
3.2. Conversion Components
3.3. Administrative Components
4. Product Detail Page Examples
5. Yieldify PDP Template

Check the tips and tricks offered in this guide as you start planning your own web-based market strategy to capture leads, interact with customers, and generate profits.

PDP: The basics

What is a product detail page (PDP)? A product detail page, also known as a PDP, is a web page on an eCommerce website that provides information on a specific product. This information includes size, color, price, shipping information, reviews, and other relevant information customers want to know before purchasing.

To put it in more poetic terms, PDPs are the lifeblood of any eCommerce website. To understand them even better, consider Amazon: Notice that when you initially search for a product on Amazon, you’re given a list of products to choose from. When you see one that you like, you click it to find out more information about it.

When you click on a product on Amazon, it will open a new page. This page tells you about that specific item in detail, including a description of it, as well as its measurements, materials, ingredients, or installation instructions.

It tells the consumer everything there is to know about the item so they have a better idea of what they’re purchasing. This is the product detail page.

This page usually comes with a series of photos of the item, as well as a list of available sizes or colors it comes in. Last, but definitely not least, there will be an add to cart button somewhere near this product description.

Why is a product detail page so important?

A well-designed product detail page is essential to your marketing strategy since it is the page that leads directly to a sale. It is vital that you give consumers more information about the product they are interested in; otherwise, how are they going to know what size it is or what functions it has?

The lack of an ecommerce product detail page will make consumers more skeptical about your items, and it may turn them off from adding anything to their online shopping carts.

According to Shiprocket, 98% of shoppers discontinue a purchase if the information about the product is incomplete or incorrect. Not to mention that accurate and detailed product descriptions minimize the risk of customer complaints and returns.

Giving customers and potential buyers all the information they need to make an informed decision is the end goal. We’re talking about specific product data, product benefits, key features, social proof, and more which we will detail further below.

Your product detail pages are a key page to start the buying process and generate sales so you need to get the core components right.

eCommerce product page best practices

Now that the importance of having a product page on your website for each and every product you’re selling has been established, it is also important to understand what specifics must go into its design.

You need to design your page in a way that will ensure that your customers will stay on the page long enough to read the product description and make a buying decision. Here are some of the best practices to follow:

General components

There are certain elements that you can’t design a product detail page without. Each and every one of these elements must be present on your page, and the order and placement of these elements on your page can make a huge difference.

These elements will make the overall page design but there are also some specific things that can improve your conversion rate.

1. Menu. The menu is an essential navigation tool for customers to be able to find their way through your site. The menu will offer quick links to different areas of the site, including the homepage, the various product categories, and the customer’s shopping cart.

2. Breadcrumb. A breadcrumb, in web terms, is used to describe the path a person took to arrive at the product page. It will show all of the different web pages that a customer visited before landing on a specific product.

For example, when visiting Amazon.com to look at an air conditioning unit, you may notice at the top of the page that there is a path leading to that product. It may look something like this: “Home > Shopping > Home & Kitchen > Air and Heating > Portable Units.”

3. Product title. This should be the biggest and most easy-to-find text on the page. A product title names the product, showing your customers exactly what they’re looking at. Try to be as specific as possible without being too complicated.

4. Product descriptions. While it doesn’t need to be too long, product descriptions should accurately describe the product and define its features and benefits, its functions and limits. This is where good copywriting comes in handy; knowing what your customers want, and the right language to use to talk to them, can really entice them towards more items in your online store. If you can sprinkle in any relevant keywords from an SEO point of view as well even better.

Product descriptions should also address any big objections or concerns that anyone might have with the product. For example, if you are selling air conditioners, you might want to address a popular concern that customers have with energy consumption by talking about your product’s Energy star rating.

5. Product images. You need good, high-quality images of your product so customers can get a good look at the product. You want them to feel like they are looking at the item in person, so be sure to show images of the product at all angles.

According to eMarketer, digital shoppers expect to see anywhere between 5 and 8 images on each product description site. Don’t forget to add proper credit or copyright to the creator of the image if you are collaborating with others to share product descriptions. Finally, make sure you use high quality images.

Urban Decay shows multiple views of their product, including on skin

6. Price. Probably the most important factor on this page to your prospective customers. The price of your product or service needs to be prominent and clearly displayed. You also have the opportunity to display any discounts or reductions in price here to help drive conversions, i.e use price anchoring that looks like this: $29.99 $39.99.

The price should also be positioned near the “Buy” or “add to cart” button. This is to help with the natural flow of the page and encourage users to go from viewing the price to adding the product to their basket.

7. Call-To-Action. This is the most exciting part of the page. This is where you get to tell your customers to “add to cart”! A call-to-action is a short and quick demand that gets customers to do just that – perform an action. Typically, this action entails adding an item to their shopping cart.

8. Product availability. Potential customers want to know they can get the item quickly, showcasing that the product is in stock, or is limited in stock can help entice them into a buying action and move on to your checkout page. You’ll see most eCommerce sites will show this, so if you can have it on your product detail page definitely include it.

Conversion components

9. Social proof. Social proof can be a game-changer for your conversion rates and is a staple of top tools for CRO. Nothing will convince a prospective customer to buy a product more than hearing the positive feedback from other purchases. Social proof can come in many forms from average star ratings, to industry awards and trust badges. Have a think about what types you can use and leverage social proof if you can.

10. Scarcity and urgency signals. Showing that a product is in low stock, or has multiple people viewing it at the same time is a quick and easy way to show a customer may miss out, and they need to act quickly if they want to get the product.

11. Cross-selling. If a user is on a product detail page clearly they are seriously considering purchasing your product. You need to make the most of this intent with clever cross-selling, or upselling strategies.

12. Trust badges and trust seals. Trust badges are another quick and easy way to diminish any reluctance to purchase from your website. By highlighting that your website is secure users will feel a lot more comfortable in purchasing from you.

In a survey conducted by Econsultancy, 48% of respondents said that trust badges reassure them that the site is secure and trustworthy.

Administrative components

13. Policies. You may also wish to add certain disclaimers and policies to each product page. This clearly highlights the extent of your company’s liability with the use of your products, and what return policies may or may not exist. A return policy allows customers to feel more comfortable buying from you, just in case they ever need to return it in the future.

Privacy policy and terms of use disclaimer may be helpful as well. This prevents you from getting into any legal trouble in case a product is shipped wrong or has a faulty function. Also, list all warranties and guarantees!

14. Shipping information. You can’t have as much control over shipping as you can over the general price of your products. The same goes for state sales tax. Shipping details will need to be calculated individually with the customer depending on where they live and what kind of postal service they want to use.

The cost of delivery has a major influence over purchasing decisions. Of those who abandon their basket due to delivery, more than 50% do so because of unexpected shipping costs. So it’s best to address this as soon as users land on the page and to be straightforward about any additional fees that may occur.

3 examples of eCommerce product pages (PDPs) in action

Getting a first-hand look at some winning product detail page designs can help you plan for your own product pages. You’ll see you can get quite creative with your product page layout

NIKE

Nike is one of the most recognizable brands in the world so you can expect its products page to be on point. And Nike doesn’t disappoint.

The highlighted box is actually a video that automatically plays showing the product in action. All features and benefits can be seen on the right-hand side with special attention shown to the sustainability of the product, even giving details on how the product was made. Reviews can also be seen and delivery information is clearly shown removing any potential barriers to purchase.

FitBit

Fitbit has quickly become a household name in the fitness industry, and its product pages showcase best practices perfectly. From awesome product imagery and eCommerce videos to a bright and bold CTA, this is a leading example of what a product page should look like. Free shipping is also highlighted, with this section scrolling through warranties and money-back guarantees.

Fitbit also does everything it can to remove any buyer hesitancy by clearly displaying features and benefits. Each section on the menu above is clickable and will display all the information a prospective buyer could ever ask for.

Kardiel

Kardiel is another example of a product page done right. All information is clearly displayed and easy to find. You’ve got multiple high-quality product images, and two product videos, and if that wasn’t enough Kardial also allows users to order “swatches” of the possible colors you can choose from. As this is quite an expensive product to buy online, especially without seeing the product this is a great way to overcome any buyer resistance.

Love Hair

Love Hair’s products are designed to make your hair healthy and beautiful, with a matching clean design for their product detail pages. They use white backgrounds that allow the colors of each individual product to stand out. They have a very easy-to-follow product page layout so you can find all the product details you need.

Love Hair has a specific section (highlighted in red above) that provides all the product information potential customers would need. You’ll notice a specific ingredients section, this is something that is likely very important to their target audience so a section that lays out the natural ingredients will work well for them.

Their product details page ticks all the boxes and is a good example. A high quality product image that’s used to draw attention. Reviews from other customers, product attributes clearly displayed. The page is also well optimized for search engines with relevant keywords throughout the content.

Yieldify’s perfect product detail page design template

The below template can be used as an inspiration to create the perfect eCommerce product page. It contains everything the user will need to know to reduce any barriers to purchase. From social proof to highlighting shipping options all the information is present.

View the interactive product detail page design template here or download a free high-resolution PNG version.

Product Page FAQs

What is a product detail page (PDP)?

A product detail page, also known as a PDP, is a web page on an eCommerce website that provides information on a specific product.

What is PLP vs PDP?

A Product Detail Page (PDP) contains information for a specific & single product. A Product Listing Page (PLP) simply lists all products within a certain category or products that have been filtered.

What makes a great product page?

A great product page will contain all the information a user is looking for, displayed in an engaging and easy to understand way. Check out our template below for more ideas.

Reviewing Amazon’s Biggest Competitors Across Different Industries

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Amazon competitors | Yieldify

As the world’s leading eCommerce marketplace, Amazon faces harsh competition. Let’s look at four types of Amazon competitors giving it a run for its money.

Amazon, a titan in the business world, started as an online bookstore operating from a home garage. Within 25 years, it has become a global behemoth that offers products and services across myriad industries.

While mostly known as an eCommerce marketplace, Amazon is much more than that. The company offers over 175 different services, with its biggest markets being food, fashion, entertainment, web services, and on-demand services.

Amazon growth chart (Source: Pitchbook)
❓ Who are Amazon’s biggest competitors?

Amazons’ main competitors globally are Alibaba, eBay, Walmart, JD.com, Flipkart, Rakuten, Etsy & more. Check out our competitor comparison chart below.

?? Who are Amazon’s competitors in the UK?

Some of the biggest players in the UK’s online retail market include Tesco, eBay, Esty, Asos, Argos, Play.com, Next, and John Lewis.

❓ What is the best alternative to Amazon?

The best alternatives to Amazon are Alibaba, eBay, Flipkart, JD.com. Different countries online retailers will are also good alternatives such as Walmart, BestBuy , Argos & John Lewis.

Amazon has positioned itself as the world’s largest online marketplace with over $280 billion net sales in 2019. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, stated that its success was built on three customer value propositions: low prices, fast delivery, and extensive selection.

With a market share of almost 40% of US eCommerce sales, Amazon has been on an unstoppable run. However, even Amazon has strong competitors. While the company is likely responsible for a rise in customer expectations for eCommerce stores, the best thing you can do for your business is to learn from your competitors.

4 types of Amazon competitors in the eCommerce field

On top of its array of services, as an eCommerce platform Amazon sells almost everything imaginable. It’s not hard to see why they would have their fair share of fierce competitors.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 4 main types of Amazon competitors that operate in the eCommerce field, as well as look at individual brands and what contributes to their competitive advantage. (See the full comparison table below)

1. Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces have many different buyers and sellers trading through the same website. According to DigitalCommerce360, sales on marketplace sites accounted for more than half of global online sales in 2019.

Online marketplaces are convenient for sellers that don’t want to – or can’t – invest in their own platform. What’s more, shoppers prefer online marketplaces for repeat purchases and they may even start to take away first-time purchases from individual retailers and brands.

Consumers prefer online marketplaces for repeat purchases (Data: Salesforce/Publicis)

In 2019, the top 100 marketplaces sold $2.03 trillion worth of merchandise, or 58% of global online retail sales. Even though most will have heard of the biggest ones such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Google Express, or Etsy, there are hundreds of other options. Many of these large marketplaces remain quite niche, such as Zalando for fashion or AirBnb for tourism and lodgings.

Let’s look at two eCommerce marketplaces – Alibaba and eBay – that give Amazon a (slight) run for their money.

Alibaba

Alibaba is a Chinese eCommerce dragon that connects wholesalers to businesses around the world. Over the years they have expanded their services to include Taobao (a site similar to eBay), Tmall (a site similar to Amazon), and Aliexpress.

Unlike Amazon, which sells products directly or serves as an intermediary in the process while taking a cut of sales, Alibaba is the middleman between buyers and sellers. Alibaba’s business model has left them with hundreds of millions of users and a revenue of almost $72 billion.

While Alibaba is often called the ‘Amazon of China’, with the growth to back it up, it is still lagging in market share. Only time will tell whether the eCommerce world is big enough for both these giants.

Amazon revenue vs Alibaba, Ebay and Etsy (Data: MacroTrends)

eBay

eBay is an online marketplace that enables buying and selling between businesses and individuals. According to eBay, there are over 170 million sellers on the site, which is reflected in their revenue of $10.8 billion in 2019.

eBay has positioned itself as one of Amazon’s top eCommerce competitors in the US. The platform is dwarfed by Amazon’s size and profitability, but it is still preferred by a majority of online sellers in the US.

Most popular online marketplaces in the United States (Data: Statista)

2. Click and mortar retailers

The global eCommerce industry reached an astounding $25 trillion value in 2019. Even though there are more than 20 million online stores in the world, much of the growth can be attributed to Amazon.

However, when it comes to online retail, the revenue is more dispersed. Most of Amazon’s online retail competitors also have brick and mortar (hence the click and mortar) stores, which gives them an upper hand in the physical market.

Let’s take a look at two Amazon competitors – Walmart and Apple – that are a force to be reckoned with due.

Walmart

While Amazon is trumping Walmart in online sales, they lack in physical presence. Almost 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store. The company’s total revenue is almost twice that of Amazon’s at an astounding $523 billion.

Most of their profits come from their physical department stores, but they have started putting in the necessary work to position themselves as an eCommerce store as well. In the US, they hold a strong second place for the most popular online store. With 207% growth in its eCommerce customer base, Walmart may be giving Amazon a run for its money.

What’s more, on June 15, 2020 Walmart announced a partnership with Shopify. In a nutshell, the industry giant is adding 1,200 Shopify sellers to its online marketplace this year. The partnership focuses on adding small- and medium-sized U.S. businesses.

Top 10 U.S. retail sites ranked by unique visitors (Data: eMarketer)

Apple

Amazon and Apple are a part of the Big Four tech companies whose value has exceeded $1 trillion. Apple was the first US company to surpass the $1 trillion mark.

Similar to Walmart, Apple’s success can mostly be attributed to brick and mortar stores, but also their premium branding. Coming in at $27 million net sales in 2019, Apple has proven that a brand that sells only a specific category of products can still compete with an online marketplace giant.

Apple owns 10-15% of the Electronics & Media market in the U.S. (Data: EcommerceDB)

3. Social media marketplaces

Social media marketplaces are where eCommerce meets social platforms to create a seamless shopping experience. Almost 90% of shoppers claim that social media influences their purchase decisions. It’s no surprise, therefore, that social shopping is on the rise.

The shifting eCommerce landscape has pressured social media sites to modify how their platform interacts with potential shoppers. Most of the major social media platforms, such as Facebook (38.82%), Pinterest (2.13%), and Instagram (2.07%), have hopped on this bandwagon.

In 2019, Facebook listed Amazon as a competitor in the digital advertising space for the first time, marking a new era in eCommerce. In the last five years, all major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest introduced the option of in-platform shopping, which has dramatically changed the eCommerce market.

Let’s take a look how Facebook and Pinterest compete with Amazon for customers’ attention.

Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Shops

Facebook’s online Marketplace launched in 2016 as a place where people could buy and sell in their local communities. It is used in 70 countries by 800 million people each month. These numbers aren’t surprising since Facebook is used by almost every other person on the planet.

Even though selling on the platform is free, Facebook has partnered with a number of eCommerce platforms including ChannelAdvisor, Shopify, and BigCommerce to ensure profit from smaller eCommerce vendors.

In 2020, Facebook launched a new feature that put it in direct competition with AmazonFacebook Shops. This venture is the most significant step Facebook has taken in eCommerce to date as it enables users to shop directly on the platform instead of simply redirecting them to other websites with ads. Many businesses are compelled by the idea that they can market and sell on a single platform, and Facebook may pose a significant threat to Amazon in the future.

Pinterest

The rivalry between Pinterest and Amazon began in earnest in 2018. With the introduction of Shopping Ads and Shoppable Pins, Pinterest enabled shoppers to make a purchase without ever leaving the social platform. The new feature was good news for shoppers and businesses alike, as it streamlined the shopping experience without charging a commission to the companies.

Pinterest has also adopted the business model of partnering with massive eCommerce platforms. With specific features targeting iPhone users and enabling a personalized shopping experience, Pinterest is considered to be one of Amazon’s growing online competitors.

4. Niche eCommerce vendors

Niche stores have managed to exploit unexplored market space which makes it possible for them to compete with giants such as Amazon. With very specific products and services, niche vendors can thrive by existing outside of oversaturated markets. They rely on a loyal customer base and the idea that customers would rather shop with a specialist company than a large marketplace.

It’s hard not to feel discouraged after reading about these eCommerce titans. How are smaller stores ever meant to compete? The simple answer is that they don’t need – not directly, at least. Small vendors should learn from Amazon and its online competitors. We’ve put together some of the key takeaways that eCommerce companies can start implementing straight away.

Amazons biggest competitors comparison table

Click on the image to download

How can niche brands compete with Amazon

1. Leverage branding

Simply put, successful branding and identity are what makes most products sell. While almost 77% of consumers don’t feel like they have relationships with brands, brand awareness remains crucial for success.

In a sea of products on Amazon, most aren’t branded. A niche eCommerce store, on the other hand, has the opportunity to tailor the experience to their target audience. Demonstrate your expertise and what you stand for through content, social media, and personalization!

2. Rely on customer data

Amazon’s competitive edge comes from knowing their customers inside-out. By collecting and analyzing data, they not only track what customers are buying but also predict what they might want to buy.

Data-driven marketing can help you do the same without investing millions of dollars as Amazon does. Understanding your customers can help you improve customer acquisition, retention, and conversion.

3. Focus on customer experience

Amazon has set high standards for customer experience with fast delivery, simple returns, and great customer service. A Walker study found that customer experience will be the key brand differentiator.

As an online store, focusing on making websites user-friendly, fast, and appealing should be a top priority. In addition to working on websites, companies should facilitate the shipping and returns process.

The latest statistics show that 92% of customers will buy again if the returns process was easy. Free and fast shipping has become the norm, with almost half of retailers offering it as standard.

4. Advertise on marketplaces

Advertising on Amazon could result in brands being lost in a sea of unbranded products. However, social or niche marketplaces may be the right solution for smaller businesses.

As 90% of people buy from brands they follow on social media, growing a company’s presence on a social media marketplace can be a great strategy. Instead of relying solely on websites, companies can find out where their target audience shops already and meet them there.

For more tips and tricks on how to compete with Amazon, check out our blog post by Stewart Dunlop from Udemy!

In conclusion

Amazon has utterly transformed the global online retail landscape with its ubiquity, quality, and ease of use. Due to its size and success, virtually every online store has to compete with Amazon.

Beating Amazon at their own game will require amazing customer experience and support, high-quality products, fast shipping, easy returns, and a good deal of customer-resonating branding.

If companies can give people a unique experience and tremendous value on top of the products, they might just creep out from Amazon’s shadow and become a serious competitor.

7 Of The Most Successful Shopify Stores & How They Did It

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Successful Shopify Stores | Yieldify

Get inspired by some of the best eCommerce merchants out there. We’ve collected 7 successful Shopify stores with tactics that you can steal immediately.

Shopify is one of the best and most sought after eCommerce platforms available today with well over 20% of eCommerce market share. It started out as a store that sold snowboarding equipment, and now, Shopify claims to have hosted over 1,000,000 businesses in 175 countries.

In case you’re still wondering are Shopify stores successful – yes, they most definitely are. Shopify businesses have contributed a whopping $319 billion to the world’s economy between the years 2016 and 2019.

Shopify GMV growth (Source: Yahoo Finance)

What’s even crazier is, during the COVID-19 lockdown period, they have seen a 45% increase in the number of people buying from their stores that they’d never shopped at before.

In fact, some of the most successful eCommerce brands, such as Kylie Cosmetics ($630 million) and Gym Shark ($223 million), are developed and hosted using Shopify.

A quick snapshot of the successful Shopify stores include:

  1. Fashion Nova
  2. Gym Shark
  3. Allbirds
  4. MVMT Watches
  5. Kylie Cosmetics
  6. ColourPop
  7. Ruggable
  8. Raycon
  9. BioLite

We’ll dive into some of those above in more detail below and breakdown some of their secrets to success.

So, what makes Shopify one of the leading eCommerce platforms? Here are some reasons that make it stand out from its competitors:

  • Beginner-friendly. Shopify stores are really easy to set up, and even as a beginner, you can get things up and running in a couple of days.
  • Variety. Over 100 free and paid Shopify themes are available for all categories of eCommerce businesses. These are easily customizable and can be personalized for all genres of businesses.
  • Affordable. Their prices start at just $29 a month. They also offer a risk-free 14-day trial option.
  • Ease of usability. Things like web-hosting and other technicalities are taken care of by Shopify to “reduce barriers to business ownership.”
  • Customer support. Shopify provides 24/7 customer service through options like live chat, even during the trial period.
  • Commitment to sustainability. Shopify offers social-impact initiatives such as the use of renewable energy and reducing the carbon footprint. This appeals to a lot of store owners.
  • Ease of marketing. Shopify also offers various SEO and marketing tools so that you don’t have to start your marketing efforts from scratch.

Over the years, a huge number of businesses have gained success using the Shopify platform. You too can model these businesses and pave your way towards eCommerce success.

So, if you are looking for useful insights into the most successful Shopify stores and the secrets that have led them to success, then you have landed at the right place!

8 common traits the most successful Shopify stores

It is estimated that by the end of the year 2021, worldwide retail eCommerce sales will cross $4.9 trillion! This means, there is a lot of market demand. But, how do you stand out amongst the millions of other stores?

The first thing you should do is to find the best Shopify stores out there and start identifying their most common traits. You need to figure out a pattern that works, look at successful ways they have promoted themselves, and this is exactly what we have done for you here!

Here are a few common traits found in most successful Shopify stores:

1. Customer experience above everything

Pick any top-grossing Shopify store and you will find the best-in-class customer experience. This makes sense because research shows that 80% of customers leave your store because of poor customer experience.

Good CX includes everything from aesthetics like minimalistic design, visual appeal, pleasant color palettes, and good photography. And other functionality based aspects too, such as an easy checkout process, easy navigation, no irritable pop-ups, and chatbots to provide 24/7 assistance.

2. Brand appeal

High brand value is another major factor that helps customers decide which store to pick from. Top Shopify brands do this by having a strong presence on social media platforms, especially Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Having a unique USP, collaborations with popular brands/influencers, and taking sustainability initiatives also majorly contribute to their brand appeal.

3. No unnecessary extra costs

Hassle-free payments are one of the basic expectations of buyers. Top Shopify stores overcome this by offering risk-free payment options and avoiding any additional costs during the checkout. Free shipping and risk-free return policies are also offered by many successful stores.

4. Social proof

Positive reviews and testimonials have an impact on the minds of your buyers like nothing else. And displaying social proof prominently on the home page has contributed to increased revenues for many top Shopify stores.

5. Accurate product descriptions and specifications

Research is the first thing that buyers do before taking any decisions. So, having accurate and high-quality product images, extensive product descriptions and accurate size charts are a must-have for top stores. Many stores take it up a notch by integrating augmented reality and 360-degree views for their product images and videos.

6. Top-notch customer service

Building good relationships with customers and making them feel valued is another common trait observed in top eCommerce stores. This includes things like quick assistance, best customer support, engagement through email lists, and quicker resolution for payment and shipping issues.

7. Quicker website load speeds

The majority of your customers are going to browse through your store on mobile devices. Hence quicker page load speeds are again one of the crucial factors which are carefully taken care of by many leading Shopify businesses.

8. Abandoned cart recovery

Utilizing various cart abandonment solutions, such as electronic direct mail marketing, email remarketing and web push notifications, plays an important part in almost all successful Shopify stores. Capturing abandoned cart details and re-engaging with potential customers and has proven to be super-powerful in bringing back lost revenue.

7 most successful Shopify stores with tactics to steal

Successful Shopify fashion stores

Fashion Nova has emerged as one of the most popular fashion eCommerce brands and has crossed $400 million in revenue in 2019.

Their USP is that they offer affordable clothes for men and women of all shapes and sizes. This is in contrast to the stereotypical sizing offered by other fashion brands. They have set out to make fashion inclusive of curvy women which makes their plus-size customers feel more special and valued.

But what stands out the most, is their brilliant social media strategy and incorporation of user-generated content. Fashion Nova ask their followers to post with Fashion Nova’s clothes on Instagram to win a chance to get featured on their homepage. This feature has worked really well for them.

Their massive success can also be attributed to their influencer strategy which includes collaborations with world-famous influencers like Cardi B.

Tactic to steal from Fashion Nova: Post consistently and frequently on social media to gain a decent following. Make use of user-generated content to skyrocket your customer engagement and bring more traffic to your store.

Successful Shopify beauty stores

ColourPop store stands out amongst thousands of other cosmetic brands because of their strikingly beautiful design and playful colors which brilliantly adds to the customer experience.

No wonder they have crossed an estimated $4 million in revenue. They have even collaborated with huge names such as Disney and Sofia Nygaard which has generated a large chunk of ColourPop customers through social media.

With their captivating play of colors and elaborate product reviews, they have emerged as one of the most successful Shopify beauty stores. They also offer vegan and cruelty-free product options which is a huge plus.

Tactic to steal from ColourPop: Sending free products to influencers has been their play using which they have crossed 4,000 influencer mentions. You too can do that by focusing on both organic and sponsored influencer strategy.

Successful Shopify home goods stores

Ruggable is one of the most popular Shopify stores in the home decor category with 85,000 unique monthly website visitors.

Apart from serene photography and beautiful design, their on-point copywriting is what stands out the most. Their USP lies in the fact that their rugs are washable. And one look at their home page instantly lets you know about the amazing benefits of their products.

Another thing to note is their focus on SEO because of which they rank for competitive keywords like “washable rugs.”

Tactic to steal from Ruggable: Efficient and benefit-driven copywriting definitely pays. So create a fluff-free copy which chalks out all your amazing benefits in the most minimalistic way.

Successful Shopify electronics stores

Raycon is one of the top-grossing electronics stores with over 52,000 unique monthly visitors. With beautiful high-quality images and social proof displayed above the fold, you will want to visit their site again and again.

The most noteworthy page on their website is the one with “Celebrity Sightings” where you get to see Mike Tyson calling these “the best earbuds in America.” Now, who wouldn’t want these earbuds?!

Their minimalistic product detail pages featuring beautifully laid out benefits are hard to miss. They have invested in high-quality images and minimized all kinds of distracting elements on their product pages.

Tactic to steal from Raycon: Adding social proof, especially above the fold, can have an immense subconscious impact on the minds of your buyers. And using celebrities as social proof works like magic because research says that 49% of buyer decisions depend on influencer recommendations.

Successful Shopify camping stores

BioLite is a new age, innovative business with a mission. They offer off-grid energy products for camping and other outdoor recreational activities.

What stands out is that, with their mission, they have impacted thousands of sub-Saharan African lives. They help in bringing safe-cooking, lighting, and charging to these families by investing a part of your purchase.

People who purchase from their store feel accomplished on having contributed to the less fortunate in some way. This value proposition is what helps them stand out.

Tactic to steal from BioLite: Make use of your proprietary data. Let customers know how exactly they are contributing to making the world a better place by showing them the hard numbers.

Top eco-friendly Shopify stores

When we think about eco-friendly men’s fashion brand, Taylor Stitch is what comes to mind. They only offer affordable clothes that are recycled and use regenerative fibers or fibers that are made from 100% natural products.

They also partner with local organizations to offer community service. These things have increased their brand affinity and helped them stand out amongst competitors.

Taylor Stitch makes great use of lead generation pop-ups and other onsite messaging formats, such as a sticky bar with a countdown clock. Their elegant and non-intrusive format appeals to a majority of customers and helps the brand seamlessly grow its customer database.

Tactic to steal from Taylor Stitch: Sophisticated and non-intrusive popups are a great way to expand your potential customer base. Don’t overwhelm your visitor with notifications, rather give them a variety of options to choose from by segmenting your customer base and using behavioral triggers.

Top Shopify travel stores

Great copy and well-displayed testimonials are what adds to the appeal of Exist Travel’s successful travel booking Shopify store. Their website fits the needs of any travel-hungry person and offers travel packages to a variety of destinations.

The addition of multimedia also sparks the imagination of people and gives them a glimpse of the journey with them.

Tactic to steal from Exist Travels: Having an easy to navigate contact page provides a hassle-free way for your customers to connect with you. Chatbots are also great for offering assistance round the clock.

In conclusion

Shopify is a no-brainer option for opening your own eCommerce store if you are looking for versatility, affordability, technical support and the best UX for your customers.

So, start now! Take inspiration from these top-grossing Shopify stores and build your own today. Remember that you are just a few clicks away from designing your dream store.

Most Successful Shopify Store FAQs

?️ What are the most successful Shopify stores?

Kylie Cosmetics, Gymshark, Allbirds, MVMT watches, Rebecca Minkoff & Boo Tea are just some of the hugely successful Shopify stores.

? How many Shopify stores are successful?

In October 2019, Shopify announced they surpassed one million merchants worldwide. In May 2020 New stores grew 62% between March 13, 2020, and April 24, 2020, vs the prior six weeks. Shopify will give eCommerce websites all the features they need to be successful.

? How successful are Shopify stores?

Shopify stores can be extremely successful. Around 800,000 merchants use their platform across the world. This generated over 1 billion transactions in the last 12 months.

Satisfaction Guarantees: The 7 Types & Real World Examples

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How to leverage satisfaction guarantees for eCommerce | Yieldify

Looking to build trust with your customers and simultaneously improve their shopping experience? A strategically placed satisfaction guarantee could be the way to go.

Unlike shopping in-store, online shopping always carries an element of risk for customers. The customer can’t see, smell, or touch the products, making it an entirely different experience. It is, therefore, essential to build trust and demonstrate that you’re a reputable retailer.

An effective way to attend to the perceived risks of your customers is by offering satisfaction guarantees.

By offering money-back, lifetime, or best price warranties, you showcase your confidence in the quality of your products and service. It relaxes and comforts your customers by shifting the risk of their investment from themselves to you.

Your customers don’t want to make a purchasing decision they will later regret. By offering a satisfaction guarantee, you can convince them to trust you with both their data and money.

While the guarantee may be introduced to protect customers, it can also be a compelling marketing tactic. Satisfaction guarantees are powerful tools that can serve as reassurances to potential customers. They can even act as distinguishing factors that differentiate you from your rivals.

7 types of satisfaction guarantees for eCommerce

1. The money-back guarantee

Offering your customers a full refund if they aren’t satisfied with your products is an indication of quality. Or rather, your confidence in the quality of your product. Money-back is the most common guarantee and has almost become standard practice in retail.

Nevertheless, while offering it may reduce perceived risks and help you distinguish your products amongst competitors, there will always be customers that try to take advantage. For that reason, money-back guarantees are usually constrained by a time period, usually 30, 60, or 90 days. Sometimes they can last up to a year or even an entire lifetime.

To determine how long the guarantee should be, you need to examine the specifics of each product. Try to establish how long it takes for your customers to use or wear out the product, and add on a little more time. The longer your guarantee, the greater the risk of customers cashing it in, but also the more sales it will drive.

2. The best price guarantee

Price is one of the determining factors that influences purchasing decisions. In the world of eCommerce, competition is fierce. By implementing the lowest prices for a particular product, you can persuade potential customers to make a purchase with you rather than with a competitor.

The best price guarantee reassures buyers that they are getting the best available offer. If their customers manage to find a better deal elsewhere, companies will often match the new price and refund the difference.

Be careful when implementing this guarantee, as it can significantly hurt margins and even start price wars with your competitors. If you take a more reserved approach and don’t offer this guarantee, your customers could easily flock to a competitor, leading to lost sales. In any market, promoting your products as the “best price” is a high-risk strategy.

3. The lifetime guarantee

Promising your customers a lifetime guarantee on your products is a bold statement of confidence. Lifetime guarantees are usually reserved for higher-priced products that make people question whether it’s worth investing the money. However, splurging on a costly backpack or a good set of knives isn’t as daunting when you know they will last forever.

It shows that you believe your products can last a lifetime, which almost always justifies their price. Offering money back is not the only option, either: you could offer repairs, refills, or replacements depending on your product.

Bear in mind that a lifetime guarantee isn’t something to be taken lightly, and should be used only if you have absolute confidence that your products really are that durable.

4. The free trial guarantee

Free trials are most common for software products, but this is certainly not a hard restriction. E-commerce stores can offer their products for a limited time period with a fully refundable deposit.

For example, shopping for clothes online can be problematic for many. Being unable to see how the clothes fit or to feel the fabric deters 35% of online shoppers from making a purchase. By allowing your customers to return, you give customers the chance to experiment with a range of your products before committing to their favorites.

By taking this small risk, many fashion retailers have boosted their revenue as customers are much more willing to pay for a product they’ve physically seen and worn. If they don’t like it, the product is returned in mint condition, still ready for sale.

Free trial impact on D2C brands | Yieldify
A 2019 research showed that more than 1 in 4 US internet users would be motivated to try a new D2C brand if they were offered a free trial period

5. The ‘try before you buy’ guarantee

Similar to a free trial satisfaction guarantee, ‘try before you buy’ (or ‘pay for what you keep’) is almost exclusively used by fashion retailers. This type of satisfaction guarantee allows customers to buy several items upfront, try them on – or even wear them for a limited number of days – and then return the ones that did not fit. Quite often it is also paired with a personal stylist or a clothing subscription service.

In fact, a 2018 study by Klarna found that 37% of online shoppers surveyed preferred ‘try before you buy’ over any traditional payment method.”

6. The free samples guarantee

However, not everything can be tried on as easily as a piece of clothing. That’s where the free samples come in handy.

If you’re a furniture or home decor eCommerce retailer, for example, you may want to provide free fabric samples (aka fabric swatches) to your customers. This way, they can get a feel for the material as well as understand if the color matches their interior before taking the leap and making a high-value purchase.

7. The first-purchase guarantee

Good first impressions can be paramount for customer retention and loyalty. By offering a first-purchase guarantee, you can ensure you’re making a great one.

Turn the fence-sitters into lifetime customers by giving them the option of a return, refund, or even getting another product for free. The first-purchase guarantee eases the minds of your customers and reduces their uncertainties to ensure a great customer experience.

Satisfaction guaranteed examples from leading eCommerce brands

Money-back guarantee example from Feetures

You may be surprised that Feetures, a company that sells socks, offers a lifetime guarantee for their products. Feetures makes a promise to its customers that their socks are durable and high-quality. With a no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee, customers can rest assured that they are investing in a rock-solid product.

Feetures offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee – no questions asked!

Best-price guarantee example from HobbyKing

To prevent comparison shopping and showcase their affordable pricing, Australian retailer HobbyKing teamed up with Yieldify. The solution was to employ a click trigger, meaning that whenever users highlighted a certain line of text, they were shown a ‘best price guarantee’ message, like so:

Prevent comparison shopping - Yieldify feature

Lifetime guarantee example from Patagonia

Patagonia is one of the leading outdoor clothing brands that has implemented an e-commerce platform to boost their sales. They are known for making long-lasting, eco-friendly products, and they even discourage customers from buying too many of their products.

Their “ironclad guarantee” has been tried and tested by many of their customers. It’s a lifetime guarantee that has become a cornerstone of their success in achieving the trust and loyalty of their customers. By making it one of their USPs, Patagonia has used the guarantee as a clever marketing tactic while staying true to its core values.

Free trial guarantee example from Red Wing Shoes

Red Wing Shoes is known as one of the best shoewear investments you can make and to back this up, the company offers a “30-day unconditional comfort guarantee.” Red Wing gives its customers 30 days to break in the shoes. Knowing that no two feet are the same, they allow returns and offer a refund or replacement if for any reason customers are not satisfied.

‘Try before you buy’ example from Warby Parker

Warby Parker, a well-known American online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses, allows its customers to select five frames to test out for five days. Shipping and returns are taken care of, and you can easily mix and match between styles for men and women.

Warby Parker offers a free home try-on

Free samples example from Joybird

Custom furniture and home decor retailer Joybird has created a swatch kit to provide its customers with unconditional support in their buying process. Customers are able to select a family of colors they want to explore. They are also provided with a handy card of all the wood finishing options that Joybird has to offer, and a resourceful booklet with more information.

People love sharing swatch pairings on social media (via Instagram)

First purchase guarantee example from Atolla

Atolla is an AI-powered skincare brand that creates customized beauty serums. Having data and technology at its core, Atolla showcases confidence in their product by offering a money-back guarantee on the first purchase.

Atolla guarantees full refund on your first purchase

In conclusion – are satisfaction guarantees right for you?

There is no straightforward answer to this question, as every brand and business model is different. Offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee can boost your sales and ensure happy, returning customers. However, it can also have a negative effect on your ROI.

Sometimes not offering a guarantee is the better choice. If you’re an up-and-coming store that doesn’t have an established brand, you may want to think of making some kind of promise to your customers: by committing to a 100% satisfaction guarantee, for example, you will be more likely to provide that level of quality. Trust in yourself and your products will translate to loyalty from customers.

However, be careful about what you’re promising. Offering a lifetime guarantee on disposable products could quickly take its toll on your balance sheet. Don’t use guarantees as empty promises, but rather as an encouragement to do better.

Satisfaction Guaranteed FAQs

❤️ What Is A Satisfaction Guarantee?

A satisfaction guarantee is any formal assurance that products can be returned, repaired, or replaced if they do not meet the specified quality.

? What Type Of Guarantees Are They?

There are many types of satisfaction guarantees, including money-back, lowest price, free trial, and lifetime guarantee. We go into more detail below.

❓ Should You Offer Satisfaction Guarantee?

When a company offers a guarantee it shows they stand behind their product and believe customers will not get their money refunded. This is a clever way of showing that you believe the product works well and will leave customers 100% satisfied.

6 Types Of Marketing Testing Methods To Try

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Marketing testing methods | Yieldify

There are many marketing testing methods out there, but which ones should you try? Here we look at 6 most popular ways to test various touchpoints across the entire user journey.

Marketing testing is probably one of the most misunderstood and thus, overlooked, areas in B2C marketing. Even when they are performed, marketing tests rarely influence any significant changes due to the fact that we either a) implemented the test wrong; or b) don’t know how to interpret the results that we’ve got.

We’ve all run an odd email subject line test at some point, or pushed our design team to A/B test different colors of a call-to-action button. But what really hides behind marketing tests and what mistakes should you avoid to enjoy data-driven insights? Join us as we dig deeper into the benefits of marketing and user journey testing.

What we’ll be covering:
1. What is testing in marketing?
2. Six popular marketing testing methods
2.1 A/B testing
2.2 Multivariate testing
2.3 User testing
2.4 Usability testing
2.5 Content testing
2.6 Incrementality testing
3. Why it pays to test the entire user journey

What is meant by testing in marketing?

​​Test marketing, also known as market testing, is a marketing technique that businesses use to evaluate the viability of their new products, services, or marketing campaigns before releasing them on a large scale. Businesses all around the world test multiple marketing scenarios to determine consumer needs and to find out whether the product, service or campaign meets and fulfils consumer requirements.

The test campaigns can be carried out in chosen test markets, such as in brick and mortar stores, online stores, or social media platforms. The experiment is generally done without customers’ knowledge to acquire non-biased feedback on the product or service.

After collecting test market feedback, the data is analyzed and data-backed insights are utilized to improve the product, service, or marketing strategy. To collect, aggregate and analyze the data, reporting tools are often used as these are able to automate data processes and showcase results in easy to understand visual reports.

A/B and Multivariate testing

Let’s kick off with the tests that most of us are already familiar with: A/B tests and multivariate tests. These are user experience research methodologies used to compare variables and determine which set of variables is most effective. Also referred to as split testing, they are somewhat similar to one another but offer rather different outcomes.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing compares two variations of the same element to determine which one produces better results. It is called A/B testing because it measures a user’s response to Variant A vs Variant B.

A/B testing = Same salad, different dressing

A/B tests have risen to stardom in the early 2000s (interesting tidbit – first cases of A/B testing date back to the 18th century and were used to treat scurvy). They were quickly adopted by designers, marketers, and developers alike to test UI elements, copywriting, discount offers, you name it!

The nice thing about A/B tests is that they’re fairly easy to implement and they can be used at a variety of touchpoints in the customer journey to test placement, color, copy, size, and other variables. But easy doesn’t mean they are always done right. Here are the main pitfalls of A/B testing:

  1. Testing more than two variants. The most common mistake is when you actually perform a multivariate test but judge the results as if it were an A/B test. To avoid this, remember this simple rule:

    [x] vs [x] = A/B test
    [y] vs [y] = A/B test
    [x] vs [y] – not an A/B test
    [x] vs [x+y] – not an A/B test
  1. Insufficient sample size. For an A/B test to return significant results, you must think of your sample size before running the test. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation – you really need to think of the level of confidence you want to achieve as well as the uplift rate you’re looking to get. There are dozens of sample size calculators online so find one that works best for you!
  2. Testing too short or too long. Again, it’s not easy to say what is a good test length for your A/B test but the general rule is that you should test for at least 7 days to reach statistical significance. If you haven’t, you can extend the test for another 7 days. However, if you run a test too long, there is a likelihood its results will compound with other tests and activities happening in the background.
See how megabus.com reached +7.5% CR uplift by A/B testing campaigns

What is multivariate testing?

Multivariate testing (MVT) compares multiple variations of several elements to determine which combination produces better results. The upside of multivariate tests is that you initially have more freedom and can make subtle changes rather than committing to versions A or B.

Multivariate testing = Different salads, different dressings

So what could be a multivariate testing example? Let’s say I want to increase conversions of my product page. Some of the elements I can use for a multivariate test are:

  • Test different imagery: product shots vs lifestyle shots.
  • Test button copy: ‘Buy now’ vs ‘Add to cart’.
  • Test different trust signals: customer reviews vs dynamic social proof.

Or if you’re running an email marketing campaign to promote the release of a new product. You could test:

  • Test sender names: brand vs individual.
  • Test opening lines: with recipient name vs generic.
  • Test visual formats: image vs video.

Note that MVT is a more advanced marketing testing method and is, therefore, most suitable for high traffic sites. Compared to A/B tests where traffic is usually split in two, in multivariate testing, it can be split in 3, 4, 5, and more groups.

User testing and usability testing

If you were ever involved in a product release, app launch, or even a website redesign project, you’ve probably heard of usability testing and user testing. Both of these terms refer to testing methods that involve real-life users and are often used interchangeably. However, they both offer different value and insights, and thus should be used separately.

What is user testing?

User testing, or user research, is an umbrella term that involves a variety of user testing methods: interviews, surveys, field studies, focus groups, and others. Its purpose is to determine the potential demand for an idea or a product by investigating user needs and behaviors. A typical outcome of a user test is a user persona or a target audience segment.

Under this definition, user testing would include usability testing.

User testing = Would you buy this brand new, cutting-edge salad?

What is usability testing?

Usability testing is a technique used to evaluate how easy or difficult it is to use a product or service by testing it on real users. Usability testing lets you understand how real users interact with the product or service, measure the user experience, and improve design based on your findings. In a typical usability test, participants are asked to complete a set of tasks while being observed by a research team.

Usability testing = How fast can you eat the salad with a fork vs. a knife?

“User Testing is about ‘Will this user use my product?’ Usability testing is to figure out ‘Can this user use this product?’ – the UX Blog.

There are multiple benefits of usability testing:

  • Usability testing is easy to implement. All you have to do is gather some participants, find a room and ideally record the process.
  • Usability testing saves money. It removes guesswork and enables you to focus on trouble areas instead of wasting away budget.
  • Usability testing clarifies your USP. It enables you to observe honest and true reactions to your product or service, determine the ‘wow factor’ and capitalize on it.
  • Usability testing uncovers missed opportunities. It showcases real-life scenarios and may uncover use cases that you haven’t thought of before.
  • Usability testing can be used throughout the product life cycle. It is not just for launching new products – usability testing helps you iterate current versions and remove existing pain points.
  • Usability testing makes everything better. Ultimately, it is here to improve user experience, which is essential for any project to succeed.

So what does this translate to for eCommerce marketers? Well, your websites and apps are your real estate, so focus on testing those! See how easy it is for users to find a product/offer they want, how they interact with ancillary products/offers on your store, how they navigate to the checkout, how they fill out the shipping form, etc. Usability testing can also work wonders for testing loyalty programs

Also – remember it doesn’t just have to be your product or service. You may as well test a competitor’s website to see where they might struggle or outshine you, gaining you a competitive advantage. 

There are several usability testing methods at play. Most commonly usability tests are split into: moderated vs. unmoderated; remote vs in-person; and explorative vs. assessment vs. comparative. The combinations go from there as you can have a moderated in-person assessment test, an unmoderated remote comparative test, and so on.

(via Hotjar)

Content testing

Arguably the most self-explanatory of all the marketing testing methods listed here, content testing can be considered part of usability testing. Its primary purpose is to determine whether a set of real-life users can understand and comprehend the content that you’ve provided.

Content testing = Which menu is easier to read?

Again, the objective is to measure user experience: content testing is not to determine whether users like your content, it is to determine if they can read and understand it. A good example would be the user manual for assembling a piece of furniture: you can test if the text is legible, written accurately and whether it provides the information necessary to use the product. 

When thinking of eCommerce websites, content testing comes in handy when you need to determine the names of your product categories, phrase a discount offer and its terms and conditions or feature your headline or slogan on the page – does it catch attention and explain what the page is about?

Incrementality testing

One of the marketing testing methods that we like to talk about a lot at Yieldify is incrementality testing

Incrementality testing is a technique that measures the impact of a single variable on an individual user’s behavior. In other words, it helps to identify how effective a particular interaction is in influencing conversions. Incrementality tests are always performed with a control group to determine the uplift an interaction brings vs. a ‘no-change’ scenario.

Incrementality test process explained

Incrementality testing falls under the A/B testing umbrella. However, whereas A/B testing is used mostly on creative elements and measured by click-through rate (CTR), incrementality testing focused on sales uplift and is measured by conversion rate (CVR).

Widely used in digital advertising, incrementality testing found its way into conversion rate and customer journey optimization processes as well. At Yieldify, we run incrementality tests to help our clients understand the value of the campaigns that we run on their websites. Here’s an example of what an incrementality test report could look like:

Incrementality test report example

Why it pays to test the entire user journey

The marketing testing methods we’ve discussed above are incredible ways to finetune your product, software or service. By employing some of them together you’re bound to collect invaluable data about your users and make necessary changes to, depending on your industry, sell more products, increase ticket sales or secure more customer sign-ups.

Nevertheless, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is just one side of the coin. If you really want to see significant outcomes of user testing, you have to employ these practices across multiple user touchpoints. In other words, you must test the entire user journey, from initial marketing channels, all the way through to how potential customers navigate your website.

The main difference between CRO and customer journey optimization (or CXO – customer experience optimization) is that CRO tests individual element sets removed from the rest of the customer journey. Whereas CJO (or CXO) runs across multiple touchpoints providing a ‘big-picture’ look at the different levers you can pull to improve your customer journey as a whole.

For that purpose, marketers exercise customer journey mapping. This allows them to not only develop empathy for the customer, but also understand consumer behavior patterns that influence conversions, loyalty, and a number of other business metrics that are directly connected to revenue.

In conclusion

Regardless of the type of market test you are carrying out, the most important thing is that you are conducting tests, collecting copious market research, and thus, gaining access to all of the valuable insights and data that can better inform your strategy. 

For the best results, it is clear that the holistic, 360 degree, all-encompassing, customer journey map reigns king. With high-impact benefits such as higher conversions, loyalty and revenue income, the marketers that can include this potent weapon in their arsenal will ultimately reap the best rewards and edge ever further in front of the competition by better understanding their target market.

Marketing Testing FAQs

What is a marketing testing method?

Marketing testing methods include A/B testing, Multivariate testing, user, and usability testing. Each testing method is designed to improve performance and user experience.

What is meant by testing in marketing?

Testing in marketing can mean a lot of different things depending on the type of tests you are running. It could be a limited release of a product to a test market, or an A/B test showing two different product pages to a select group of users.

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Home and Garden eCommerce Trends: What’s Driving Growth In 2020

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The home and garden eCommerce sector is set to explode over the next few years. Brands are stepping up from what was traditionally bricks and mortar stores, embracing the opportunities that come with an omnichannel or pure-play online presence.

Digitization and new technologies, such as website personalization tools, play a strong role in all this. By offering automation and process optimization, they enable brands to scale at unprecedented rates.

The sector boasts an estimated CAGR of 16% between 2018 and 2022, outshining the CAGR of 5.3% projected for the entire retail industry by over 10%. According to a Forrester Research report, housewares alone will overtake computers as the third largest product category in the retail market by the end of 2020. It’s a truly pivotal time for the sector.

But what are the reasons behind this sudden boost in consumer spending? Well, there are many factors that come into play….

Home and garden eCommerce customers are evolving

According to research, online furniture sales are growing at a rate of 11.9% and set to reach a market value of $294 billion by the end of 2022. However, what is particularly interesting is that 50% of the customers contributing to this growth are millennials and Gen Z. 

The reason? Millennials and Gen Z are growing up and buying their first home is one of their top priorities. Due to higher than ever house prices, many are having to compromise, potentially looking at smaller or older homes that require renovation. This translates to extra sales for home and garden eCommerce.

Even for renters, their surroundings are extremely important to their happiness and wellbeing. There’s a lot that can be done to customize an apartment within the confines of rental agreements. Furnishings/personal effects can really make a house into a ‘home’.

But it’s not just about the younger generation. Baby boomers are also a great source of revenue for home and garden brands. As they reach retirement age, it presents the perfect time for many to dedicate their newfound time to undertaking home or garden renovation projects. A chance to fix all those little things that they’ve been putting off and refresh their home decor in line with recent trends.

Pro tip: Make sure you’re showing up where your customers are searching. For digitally-native millennials, this could mean building up activity and engagement across your social media channels. For baby boomers, investing time into improving your Google search rank is far more likely to get you the visibility you need.

When you decide that you are going to re-design your home, where do you head to get inspiration? It’s highly likely to be social media, home of the ‘insta perfect’ interiors.

Channels such as Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram have truly exploded for home and garden eCommerce. They are bursting with stunning photography and how-to guides for doing it yourself. Basically, the place to be for amateur home design enthusiasts.

Pinterest is a catalog of ideas and tips for how to improve your home and garden

In addition to this, there are social media influencers taking the home and garden industry by storm. The most prominent example of this is Mrs Hinch. An extremely popular mother-of-one with a passion for cleaning and furnishing her house with affordable homewares.

Mrs Hinch boasts a whopping 3.3 million followers on Instagram

She has turned this passion into a business, collaborating with leading home and garden brands. This translates across to an Instagram following of over 3million ‘Hinchers’. Her name is now synonymous with beautiful home interiors and DIY ‘hacks’ and a great example of influencer collaborations at their best. Any products featured on her feed sell-out instantly, a marketer’s dream!

Pro tip: Consider the benefits of building your own online community. Think about how you can leverage user-generated content for your brand. Showcase the amazing results your customers are achieving through your products. This is another way of employing social proof to drive sales.

Homeowners are staying not selling

Market uncertainty is causing many homeowners and renters alike to hit the pause button and stay put where they are. HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Report showed that 80% of homeowners surveyed plan to stay in their existing homes rather than move.

As a result, those homeowners are planning to spend more on home improvement projects this year. In fact, half of all respondents are considering a remodel. On average, homeowners spent $6,649 on home improvements per household in the last 12 months. However, those improvements might essentially pay for themselves.

The avg. home improvement ROI is 12.5%

Yielding an ROI of up to an estimated 12.5%, home improvements add significant value to your house. This makes them an extremely worthwhile investment. Thus, giving prospective customers the impetus to get started and buy home and garden products now instead of later.

Pro tip: Leverage loyalty programs to incentivize your customers to keep coming back and sharing products with their peers. Consider crafting a post-purchase email flow that keeps engagement going and encourage further sales

COVID-19 is impacting home and garden eCommerce sales – for the better

With consumers across the globe quarantined in their homes, it’s safe to say that they acted very quickly in terms of making that home environment as pleasant as possible.

Research by MentionMe revealed that on average, order volumes for brands in this sector have increased by 55% year-on-year. Over the same period, referrals have increased by 83%. For example, home offices are now essential fixtures as the world’s workforce goes remotely. Desks and office chairs sold out almost instantly once lockdown was announced.

Our customer data corroborates this, with home and garden eCommerce seeing a surge in both site traffic and online sales. In the chart below you can see that the peaks directly correlate with the original announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic and countries going into lockdown.

Now the dust is starting to settle, interest is shifting from quick, obvious wins like a home gym, home office, or BBQ. Consumers are now interested in starting projects such as gardening or DIY. They can help offer much-needed relaxation, especially for those currently furloughed.

Pro tip: Use dynamic content to help replicate the in-store experience online and aid decision making. Want to bring to life a garden set to get the deal across the line? Give the user a helpful video that shows a 360-degree view of the product and how to put it together. Chatbots are also great in a crisis where human to human contact isn’t possible, giving instantaneous answers.

How to use website personalization to boost your home and garden eCommerce brand

So, we’ve covered the top trends and why consumers are turning to the home and garden eCommerce sector right now. But how can you build on this further and drive even more sales through website personalization?

Well, it doesn’t get more personal than furnishing your home with furniture and trinkets that you have specifically sourced to appeal to your own taste and personality. It’s imperative that the buying experience reflects this, especially when online.

80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a brand that offers a personalized experience, presenting a lucrative revenue opportunity for retailers. It really does go without saying that consumers are more likely to buy products that are highly relevant to their needs. This means if home and garden eCommerce brands can deliver that, it can be a great way to increase AOV and upsell.

LinenHouse’s personalized product recommendations

Technology is key here. By employing behavioral segmentation, brands can display hyper-personalized and extremely targeted product recommendations based on the users’ exact preferences. Think about Netflix: every user receives a completely customized home screen based on what they’ve been watching. This is exactly the same concept, only with homewares instead of films.

Ultimately you want to take the visitor on a carefully curated customer journey, keeping them on your site and exposing them to as many products as possible. The aim is to create predictive relationships with customers instead of reactive, taking you from a static website to a trusted advisor.

Pro tip: Think about your lead capture strategy, is your website optimized with a form that compels users to submit their details? Post-sign-up, ensure you are making the most of that data, and tracking on-site behaviors to deliver the personalized experience that your customers crave.

In conclusion

The opportunities are vast for home and garden eCommerce brands to really capitalize on the increased consumer demand and market growth potential. However, to do this, it is imperative that you get personal with your audience.

By creating a personalized on-site experience, you will not only drive conversions but also raise AOV. A one size fits all approach simply won’t cut it for those looking to rapidly scale, and those first to act will ultimately reap the best rewards.

At Yieldify, we’ve personalized thousands of customer journeys for clients all over the world. If you’d like to see how our experience and tech can help you with your strategy, click here to get a free demo.

10 Shopping Cart Abandonment Solutions That Actually Work

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Cart abandonment solutions that work | Yieldify

Shopping cart abandonment accounts for $4.6 trillion lost eCommerce revenue each year. We look at nine cart abandonment solutions that will help you reclaim those lost sales and increase return on marketing investment.

Shopping cart abandonment (or basket abandonment) is when an online shopper adds items to their cart but leaves the site before they can complete the purchase. The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 75% – that means 3 out of 4 visitors on your eCommerce site never turn into customers.

For eCommerce retailers, this represents a huge lost opportunity, especially when you consider the costs and the effort it takes to get people interested in your product or service in the first place.

Pouring money into branding, content creation, social advertising, referral marketing, SEO and SEM just to get those potential customers on your site… Then optimizing their journey with smart UX and CRO strategies… All of this has a huge toll on your bottom line if you let 75% of visitors leave without making a purchase.

Cart abandonment rate by industry (Data via Statista)

The top reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Customers abandon their carts for many reasons, but numerous studies have shown there are some consistent and common reasons that consumers always site.

Barilliance has analysed these data sets and ranked the top 10 cart abandonment causes by both probability (how likely will your visitors be effected) and impact (how much does this cause matter).

So with those issues in mind, what solutions can eCommerce stores implement to combat abandoned shopping carts?

Solutions that can help stop shopping cart abandonment

You might think there’s nothing that can be done to prevent someone from leaving their basket – that once a customer has left, they’ve left. But luckily there are a number of cart abandonment solutions and strategies available to turn a significant number of abandoned carts into purchases.

In fact, Business Insider has reported that approximately $2.75 trillion of the lost $4.6 trillion may be recovered through checkout optimization. Here we look at the nine best cart abandonment solutions to help you reduce abandonment rates and reclaim some of those lost sales.

What we’ll be covering:
1. Exit-intent Overlays
2. Email Remarketing
3. SMS Remarketing
4. Retargeting Ads
5. Live chat or chatbot service
6. Social Proof & Trust Badges
7. Transparent Checkout
8. Payment Options
9. Guest Checkout
10. Free Shipping

1. Exit-intent overlays

One of the most reliable ways to prevent shopping cart abandonment is exit intent technology. This sophisticated technology identifies when a visitor is showcasing exit behavior and serves a strategically timed overlay with a message that encourages them to stay.

For example, if a customer who has already reached the checkout page exhibits exit intent because the shipping costs are too high, a timely message offering free shipping for purchases over a certain amount might not only save the purchase, but also increase the average order value.

Similarly, certain onsite behavior might indicate that the customer wants to compare prices with a competitor. If that happens, the exit-intent overlay might suggest a discount on the particular items they added.

It’s essential however that this technology is deployed subtly and based on a data-driven understanding of customer behavior, otherwise, it can backfire, irritating the customer and causing them to leave for good.

2. Email remarketing

If a customer has put items in the cart or begun the checkout process but doesn’t complete it, a highly effective way of reminding them to come back is to email them.

Email remains one of the most effective marketing tools, but customers expect more than just a mass marketing mailout. It needs to be deployed in a personalized, relevant way that makes the customer feel like they’re not being spammed, but looked after. Once they’re back onsite, you can welcome them and guide them seamlessly back to where they left off.

Email remarketing is one of the most powerful cart abandonment solutions

For example, capturing their email through an exit-intent overlay before they leave in order to save their basket means that you can use it for email remarketing once they’ve left the site. Your purpose is to remind them that something they want is awaiting them in the abandoned cart, and create a sense of FOMO – creating the perfect follow-up email is an essential way to tailor the message to the customer.

Cart abandonment emails increase purchases 19 times more than standard marketing emails, so there’s a lot to gain for eCommerce retailers. 

3. SMS remarketing

SMS communications have an immediacy that emails may not – one study found that 95% of texts will be read within just 3 minutes of being sent. And with more and more shopping being done on mobile, it makes sense to target people’s attention while they’re potentially still holding the device they were shopping on, to refocus their attention to completing the sale.

If mobile browsing and sales account for a large proportion of your traffic, it might be time to consider implementing SMS remarketing (a soon-to-be feature of Yieldify!) to remind customers that their cart is waiting for them.

To do this, you’ll need to introduce phone number capture in your overlays and guest checkout, but also ensure that your customer journey is optimized for mobile checkout, as this could be a factor in mobile cart abandonments.

4. Retargeting ads

Did you know an advert retargeting someone is 76% more likely to be clicked on than a standard display ad? That’s because customers are being reminded of something they already want, not something they might possibly want in the future (or not want at all).

They’re also 10 times more likely to click on a retargeting ad than a standard one, with brand recognition and targeted content or offers also playing an important role in this.

Beauty Pie’s retargeting ads include a special offer to convince website visitors to join its members only club

There are many providers of ad retargeting software, which will simply require you to install a burn pixel on your site. From there, you can segment abandoners to personalize the kind of advert they see. Some examples include first-time vs return shopper, value of the cart or product in the basket, locations, and the search terms that led them to the site in the first place.

5. Live chat or chatbot service

If shoppers have questions or doubts, they might hesitate and ultimately leave the checkout process if they aren’t able to find answers to those problems. One way to get around this if you don’t have a 24/7 customer service facility is to offer customers a live AI chat service to help them. 

Chatbots, or conversational bots, can be effective at a number of points in the customer service journey – from welcome messaging to lead generation to appointment setting.

Fashion retailer Kate Spade uses chatbots to answer customer questions

They can also be extremely useful for FAQs: since many customers in the checkout process will have similar questions about returns, shipping times, sizing or delivery options, installing a live chat app will help customers feel taken care of, giving them the clarity they need to complete the purchase with confidence. The best part is that a good chatbot builder can help you create chatbots like these in a matter of minutes!

Chatbots can cross-sell and upsell, or serve offers and discounts, creating even more incentive for your customers to stay and complete the purchase. Chatbots can also cut operational costs by 30%.

6. Social proof and trust badges

If a customer is hesitating about a purchase – for example, if it’s a big purchase or from an unknown brand — creating trust is a significant way to remove the uncertainty.

61% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, and 66% said they were more likely to make a purchase when it’s accompanied by social proof. By choosing a well-known trust symbol, you will help customers feel more confident in making a purchase.

Social proof is one of the biggest factors in making any purchase – so providing verified reviews from other customers, for example through a star rating or testimonials – is a great way to create the security that social proof provides for shoppers.

To help create this trust, ensure that the trust badges and certificates are prominently displayed close to the payment details and in the header or footer of the website – using these symbols throughout the customer journey creates trust from the start.

Ratings and reviews can also be served at key points of the customer journey – for example, if people are comparison shopping, an exit overlay might help them return to complete the purchase.

7. Transparent checkout process

Having a multi-step checkout process – the length of which is unknown – can create uncertainty and confusion, which is kryptonite for customers. To help them feel secure in the knowledge of what step is happening when, show them a progress bar indicating where they are in the process.

According to Tidio, 21% of basket abandoners felt that the checkout should be simpler. For example, they might be concerned there’s no chance to review the purchase or make changes, so having a step marked ‘Review’ may help to ease concerns.

On top of this, the length of checkout is a significant factor in basket abandonment. A lengthy process might cause the customer to give up or get irritated, so letting them know how fast they are moving through the checkout process is important.

Patch Plants, a plant delivery company, clearly outlines a 4-step process with its prominent progress bar at the top of the checkout. On this site, the order summary is visible throughout, so customers can be sure they haven’t made any errors in their order.

Progress checkout example | Yieldify

8. Payment options

Sometimes, upfront payment can be daunting or prevent some customers from being able to make a purchase at the point in their customer journey when they most want to.

Recently, a number of third-party checkout partners have entered the market to allow customers to delay, split or spread payments out. Options include Klarna, Clearpay, Laybuy, Payl8r and several others. 

Fashion retailer Boohoo makes these options clear at the point of browsing to allow the customer to shop with peace of mind. A prompt to use payment options could also be used for any customers who appear to be hesitating at the payment point of the checkout to ease concerns over affordability.

These options are largely aimed at millennials who want flexibility in how they pay, many of whom (up to 63% in the US, according to one study) do not own a credit card. Therefore, making big purchases can be tricky, with many millennial shoppers preferring debit over credit. 

So offering these shoppers access to shorter-term credit could be a highly effective way of attracting these customers. Doing so could also be highly beneficial for eCommerce brands. 56% of shoppers surveyed in the Klarna Confidential Report reported that they were more likely to buy more if more varied payment options were available.

9. Guest checkout

If your customers are dropping out of the payment process at the point of having to create a new account, consider adding the ability to check out as a guest. According to the Baymard Institute, 28% of customers abandon carts because the site required them to create an account. 

This happens for a number of reasons: they’re only buying from the retailer once, they don’t want to share personal details, or – the biggest factor – they don’t want to be signed up for emails.

Why customers resist creating user account | Yieldify
(Data via Marketing Charts)

Another reason is time – they just want to buy what they came for and go – so the ability to check out swiftly, with just the bare minimum of information, is ideal.

This means that you can still collect an email address, name and phone number (essential for email remarketing as well as staying in contact with the customer for delivery persons) in a GDPR compliant way, and then clear the way for them to make a rapid purchase with the option to sign up for an account later.

10. Offer Free Shipping

As we mentioned at the start, there is no shortage of statistics proving the negative impact that no having free shipping can have on an eCommerce store.

Here are two just to prove it: 60% of consumers will abandon their carts if the price of shipping is too high, 39% will abandon their carts if free shipping isn’t offered.

That quickly adds up a lot of potential lost sales. Whilst free shipping may not be feasible due to costs and other factors, it doesn’t mean you leave this solution dead in the water.

You can instead look to offer reduced shipping costs where possible, this could be on specific SKUs or once a certain spend threshold has been met.

If we look at the example below from Wayfair you can see they offer free shipping on orders over £40. This works twofold. First, you offer free shipping to some customers, those who are potentially spending big. Second, you may find this helps boost your average order value as those who are just under the £40 mark add a few extra things to qualify.

In conclusion

While you might never recapture all the customers who abandon their carts, the numbers prove that it’s worth the relatively small investment it takes to reclaim those potential sales.

As always, at the heart of improving conversions is improving customer journey. By successfully anticipating the customer’s thoughts, customizing your communications, offering transparency and help when required, and giving people options to complete a purchase in the way they’d like to, you’ll see a corresponding decrease in abandonment and an uplift in recovered carts.

Cart Abandonment FAQs

How can you stop abandoned checkouts?

You can help reduce the number of people who abandon their shopping cart on your site by using exit intent overlays, email remarketing, SMS remarketing, retargeting ads, live chat, and analyzing your current checkout funnel.

What percentage of shopping carts are abandoned?

The percentage of abandoned carts is different across industry, but it ranges from 60% to 81%. The average basket abandonment rate is 75.6%.

Why does Cart Abandonment happen?

Cart abandonment can happen for many reasons. The most common being hidden delivery costs, having to create an account or a complicated checkout process.

How to Track Shopping Cart Abandonment In Google Analytics In 4 Steps

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Not sure how to calculate the cart abandonment rate for your eCommerce store? Want to track cart abandonment in Google Analytics? In four simple steps, we’ll guide you through the process.

On average, over 75% of shoppers will abandon their carts and leave a site without completing a purchase. Cart abandonment is like going to the store, picking out what you like, deciding that it’s just not worth it and leaving empty-handed. Except it’s much easier to do online.

Cart abandonment is a source of serious sales loss for many companies. And despite the overwhelming evidence of this, and the fact that these missed sales opportunities were only moments away from converting, tracking cart abandonment is very often overlooked.

The good news is that this situation is easy to change. The first step is knowing how to identify and track cart abandonments.

? How do I track abandoned cart in Google Analytics?

To find your cart abandonment rate in Google Analytics you will either need Enhanced eCommerce or a Goal set up. Setting up a goal is the easiest way to find your abandonment rate. We’ll show you how to do this.

❓ What is abandonment rate in Google Analytics?

Abandonment Rate in Google Analytics calculates what percent of people have commenced a conversion process, but have not completed the process.

? How is abandoned cart rate calculated?

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the number of initiated sales. (adds to basket) . You then subtract the result from one and then multiply by 100 to find your abandonment rate.

Calculating cart abandonment rate

Even though cart abandonment causes significant financial losses, it is fairly simple to calculate:

Cart Abandonment Rate formula:

(1 – (#Completed transactions / #Initiated sales)) * 100

For example: Let’s say your eCommerce store had 5,000 sales in the last month. The number of initiated shopping carts that did not result in a purchase was 25,000. By subtracting the division of the two numbers from one, you realize that 80% of shoppers didn’t complete their transactions this month.

(1 – (5,000 ÷ 25,000)) * 100 = 80%

To understand how your store is performing within the context of other businesses, check how your rates stack up against industry benchmarks:

(Data via Statista)

Tracking shopping cart abandonment in Google Analytics

Using the provided formula, you can easily track cart abandonment rates on your eCommerce store. However, if you want an automated and more sophisticated solution, you’re going to have to rely on software.

Google Analytics is a free and effective tool that lets you track website traffic and the behavior of visitors. By creating funnels, you can effectively track the customer journey and pinpoint where problems arise in the checkout process

Step 1: Set up a new goal

Start by logging in to your Google Analytics account and opening the Admin tab at the bottom of the homepage. After choosing the Account, Property, and View that you require, click on Goals at the far right of the page.

Navigate to the Admin panel
Under View, click Goals and create New goal

Goals are the specific objectives you set up to measure how frequently website visitors complete specific actions. You can use a template for setting them up or start from scratch by choosing Custom. For the purposes of tracking cart abandonment, we click on Create Goal and choose Checkout Complete.

Step 2: Describe the goal

Describe the specific goal by giving it a name and choose the Destination tab under Type. We choose the destination tab to track whether the customer reached the end destination: usually a page that indicates that a transaction was completed.

Name your goal and choose a type

Specify the Destination by copy-pasting the URL of the page customers reach after a successful purchase. Be sure to select Begins with and only input the static part of the URL, for instance, the section in bold:

www.yourstore.com/success/checkout/345632

The number that changes with each checkout should be excluded from the Destination – your website should dynamically inject it at the end of your destination page.

Specify the destination URL

Step 3: Create a funnel

Lastly, create a funnel by adding a link to every step in the checkout process. The simplest checkout funnel would contain the cart page, checkout page, and the successful purchase page. However, some stores have additional steps in the checkout process so check how yours works and adjust accordingly, by adding additional URLs. 

Specify the URLs for your checkout funnel

Step 4: Find cart abandonment reports

Now we can find shopping cart abandonments in google analytics.

On the Google Analytics home page, head to E-commerce under Conversions, and select Goals. Note that data collection takes up to 24 hours, so you won’t be viewing real-time data. 

By clicking on Funnel Visualisation you can see where in the buying process users dropped out, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your funnel.

Head to Funnel Visualization to view your funnel performance

For instance, in the example from the Google Analytics Demo Account, we can see that while over a thousand visitors added an item to their cart, only 14 completed the purchase. By analysing every step, you can determine what makes buyers drop out. 

But don’t stop there – look at the data in different segments. For example, if you realize that more carts are abandoned on mobile, this could be an indicator that your site isn’t well optimized for mobile users. Inspecting different data segments can lead to crucial insights.

Funnel visualization report for eCommerce

Top reasons for cart abandonment

One of the strengths of tracking cart abandonment is that you can identify what issue is at hand. While there may be a unique issue for your store, here are some of the general barriers to completed sales:

(Data via Baymard Institute)

Let’s unpick some of them.

1. Additional delivery costs

Perceived “hidden costs” are often the main reason why companies lose potential customers. Many customers feel that costs of delivery, shipping or taxes should be clearly shown prior to checkout. Since almost half of customers give up on their purchase for this reason, the idea clearly has merit. 

Prominently displaying information about additional shipping costs prior to the customer reaching checkout is vital. For example, you could indicate on the homepage or on a banner that free shipping is included on all orders over $75 or display a ‘free shipping and free returns’ trust badge.

Example of a Yieldify progress bar in action

Improve the customer experience by making it easy for customers to obtain shipping and delivery information. This makes it easier for customers to buy, which means more completed sales for your business.

2. Comparing prices or deciding against the purchase

Evaluating alternatives is a normal part of the consumer buying process. While there are other factors at play, such as shipping or warranties, many customers simply check your prices directly against your competitors. And if they find a better deal elsewhere, they take it. 

While there is not much you can do to prevent this, you can implement retargeting strategies to remind potential customers of their incomplete purchase. According to a study from VWO, an astonishing 58% of customers have stated that emails and ads which offer a discount on abandoned products will bring them back to the website.

At Yieldify, we tend to use our click trigger functionality to combat comparison shopping, specifically, the ‘copy-paste-compare’ action.

Comparison shopping feature Yieldify
How Yieldify prevents comparison shopping

Under the assumption that customers highlight product names to copy and paste them in the search engine, we trigger an assuring message that they’ve already found the best price.

3. Out of stock

Inventory management is surprisingly vital to providing excellent customer service. While finding the balance between over- and understocking can be tricky, being unable to provide for your customers can have disastrous consequences.

Going through the entire shopping process to find out their items aren’t actually available can be frustrating for customers. Therefore, by indicating that an item is currently out of stock and recommending similar items before the customer reaches the checkout process, you can significantly lower cart abandonment rates and increase customer satisfaction.

4. Delivery times

A significant number of customers abandon their carts when they realize that the waiting time is too long. Same-day delivery has proven to be incredibly important: progressively more customers expect their products to be delivered in record time and without exorbitant shipping costs. We can thank Amazon Prime for setting this expectation!

While choosing between fast and free shipping is a nightmare for most retailers, setting up adequate shipping prices does help. To ease customers’ minds, always include estimated shipping times and offer:

  • Free shipping for longer delivery times.
  • Expedited shipping options (with the appropriate charges).
  • Tracking information that gives customers a sense of control over the situation.

5. Payment methods

Column Five’s study has shown that 56% of customers would like to have a variety of payment options. Not being offered their preferred method can result in 20% of customers abandoning their purchase entirely. 

By including the most catch-all payment methods such as PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard you will capture the vast majority of buyers. From there it’s a case of researching what other payment methods your target customers use, as there are endless smaller platforms that are region- or industry-specific.

Ensuring that customers can pay using their smartphones is also crucial, as studies estimate mobile eCommerce sales will account for the majority of online sales by 2021.

Abandoned cart recovery

There are multiple effective cart abandonment solutions that online retailers use to recover abandoned carts. The most powerful tools, such as email remarketing – often with the help of tools for list building – or retargeting ads, are used to recover as many sales as possible.

Email remarketing campaigns

Almost a third of cart abandonment emails result in a purchase. EDM marketing is a highly effective method of converting customers at virtually no cost. To improve your recovery email success you should focus on:

  • Brainstorming captivating subject lines that ensure your emails get opened.
  • Personalizing emails by addressing the customer by name.
  • Using urgency and scarcity techniques by indicating how many items are left in stock.
  • Proposing alternative products if the one the customer wanted is out of stock.
  • Using clear, simple email designs that let users navigate directly to checkout.
  • Sending multiple recovery emails, including the first one within an hour of the customer leaving your site. Here, timing is everything.

Ad retargeting

Another useful tool to reach customers that have abandoned their carts is to create ads on Google or Facebook. Retailers have a vast amount of data available to them through Google Analytics and social media, making it easy to target the right customers at an optimal time.

Retargeting ads are 76% more likely to be clicked than regular ads as they influence the customers that have already seriously considered a purchase. To get the maximum performance out of your ads: 

  • Segment customers by sales history, the value of the abandoned cart, by product, or any other core metric which might boost your efforts.
  • Insert clear and singular-focused calls-to-action.
  • Test different ad copy and design variants.
  • Make sure you aren’t spamming the customer: according to Moz, 7 to 12 times in a month is optimal.

No cart left behind

Knowing how to calculate cart abandonment rate using a formula, or in Google Analytics, is the first step to recovering your lost sales. By understanding the reasons behind cart abandonment, you can improve the customer journey while securing further sales for your store.

What Are Micro Conversions and How to Track Them

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Micro conversions are crucial for eCommerce sales, yet too many businesses still overlook them. Let’s explore what micro conversions are exactly and how to track them.

What do we talk about when we talk about eCommerce conversions? For many, it’s that transaction that marks the completion of a sale – in other words, the conversion of a visitor into a paying customer.

Arguably, this is the most important conversion as it is related directly to your revenue. However, it isn’t the only meaningful event happening on your site.

In fact, in order for a customer to reach the point where they can make a purchase, they are likely going to complete several micro conversions en route. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what micro conversions are, and why they matter.

In this article we will cover the following:
1. What is a micro conversion?
2. Why you should track micro conversions
3. Micro Conversion Examples in eCommerce
4. How you can track micro conversions in Google Analytics
5. Summary

What is a micro conversion?

Micro conversions vs. macro conversions

When it comes to explaining the difference, it’s easier if we start with determining what a macro conversion stands for in the eCommerce world.

A macro conversion is the actual purchase of a product or service itself. To get here, your customer has to engage with your website on multiple levels. In most cases, businesses will find it impossible to reach their macro conversion without their website visitors making at least a couple of micro conversions first.

Micro conversions vs macro conversions
Micro conversion vs macro conversion

A micro conversion is each and every active engagement with the website before the sale. There are lots of different micro conversions a customer might partake in, but they can be roughly divided into two types: process milestones and secondary actions.

Process milestones are micro conversions that take a visitor one step closer to completing a macro conversion. In other words, anything that directly leads towards the sale. This might include:

  • Browsing through multiple pages of the website.
  • Using the website’s search function.
  • Adding products to their basket.
  • Inputting voucher codes.

Secondary actions might not lead directly to a sale today, but are actions that might improve the chances of a visitor returning and making a purchase at another time. These could include:

  • Signing up to a newsletter.
  • Commenting on blog posts.
  • Watching videos.
  • Downloading ebooks.
  • Creating an account with the website.

The below chart displays how secondary actions can directly influence process milestones, thus indirectly influencing macro conversions.

The best example of a micro conversion is an action that feels small and insignificant to the user, but ultimately makes a big impact on their likelihood to see a macro conversion through. Browsers often have auto-fill features that can make signing up to a new account on a website as easy as two clicks – but the lasting impact of that account is the potential for many macro conversions in the future.

Why should I track micro conversions?

Given that micro conversions make up such a large percentage of the activity on a website, they can provide a lot of insight into what you’re doing right – and what you’re doing wrong. Tracking micro conversions will allow you to finetune your website and help you to increase the rate of your macro conversions.

Tracking various process milestones will enable you to better understand your eCommerce website’s UX.

For example, you might see that customers are using your website’s search function multiple times in a visit, but you aren’t seeing many items being added to baskets by these same users. This could be a sign that your search isn’t finding the relevant results. Alternatively, it might simply alert you to a related product that you hadn’t previously thought of stocking.

Low-traffic websites are especially vulnerable to the effects of poor UX, and so micro conversion tracking can be particularly useful. When visitor numbers are low, it’s important to make the most of each and every person browsing your site – and analysis of micro conversion statistics might be the difference between a bad week and a great one.

Tracking secondary actions will allow you much greater insight into how well you’re engaging your website’s visitors.

If plenty of users are opening accounts with the website, but are opting out of newsletters, you might want to think about why your marketing isn’t connecting in the way you’d like. Tracking views and engagement with blog and video posts will allow you to quickly discover exactly which topics people are most interested in – and to stop wasting resources creating content that isn’t having the intended impact.

Micro-conversion examples in eCommerce

There are so many practical applications for micro conversions in eCommerce that it’s worth thinking about which ones are going to have the most impact for you, and how tracking them might provide useful insight for your business.

Let’s look at some examples!

The first page a visitor encounters on the website for pizza delivery service Domino’s is an input for the user’s postcode. On a practical level, this is an important micro conversion that starts each customer journey towards their purchase. By sharing their postcode, potential customers enable location-specific offers that will further tempt them to buy a pizza.

This micro conversion holds useful information for Domino’s, allowing the business to track interest in their products in different areas at different times of the week. The data garnered might help them to put better offers in place when necessary – or even convince them to open up a new store in areas of high demand.

Micro conversion example from Domino’s

Holiday camp travel company Homair offers two opposing micro conversion opportunities on their homepage – with opportunities for users to sign up to receive email newsletters vs. physical brochures.

This allows for easy A/B testing using the results of their micro conversion tracking, giving insight into the preferences of those using the website. If engagement is particularly high with the brochures, Homair can consider investing in more physical marketing campaigns that might better reach that audience.

Alternatively, a surge in sign-ups to the email newsletter might inform them that fewer physical copies might be needed for their next physical brochure. Tracking would also allow a company to test click-rates when the CTAs are placed in different areas of the website, and see which is most successful.

Micro conversion example from Homair

Online gambling sites often have several different micro conversion options across their homepages. Different visitors will be attracted by different offers, and it’s important to appeal to them all.

Betfair’s website features different incentives to encourage new users to sign-up. During football season, odds will be offered for specific matches and the data relating to each micro conversion allows the company to choose which events and offers to highlight the next week.

Similarly, long-standing offers like those shown above can be rotated based on performance or even shown only at the specific periods where they have been proven to encourage the most successful macro conversions.

Micro conversion example from Betfair

How to track micro conversions in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is perhaps the best platform for easy micro conversion tracking. Its simple and free system encourages users to think about their conversion funnel, and how they might use micro goals to better direct their visitors towards a macro conversion.

What are micro goals? Micro goals are the individual stages that you want your users to take during their customer journey on your website. Each represents a micro conversion that is yet to happen – and your aim is to build a conversion funnel that will guide visitors towards each goal in turn.

Google Analytics allows users to set up to 20 Goals that can be tracked through their dashboard. Pre-set goals include all the most common micro conversions, like new account sign-ups, content downloads, and social media shares. Each Goal you set allows you to keep track of conversions based on the measurement of your choosing. You might want to check how many users have watched a specific video, or perhaps you’re more interested in how much time visitors are spending on certain pages.

With 20 Goals available to you, it’s possible to track micro conversions from the moment a visitor lands on your website right up until they make the macro conversion that everything is geared towards. Think about what your ideal conversion funnel is, and choose micro goals that best lead your user base in that direction.

Soon, you’ll be able to analyze exactly which micro conversions are seeing the most traffic, and which could use tweaking. You can opt to place CTAs in the areas receiving the most traffic, and think about how you might better direct people to pages that are under-served.

In conclusion

Micro conversions are hugely prolific in eCommerce, but many companies are completely overlooking their role in leading to that final macro conversion.

Take advantage of this: spend time thinking about your customer journey, and analyzing the role micro conversions have in bringing your visitors to their final purchase. You’ll open up all sorts of opportunities to help increase conversion rates, and give your customers an experience they’ll be keen to repeat.

What is a micro conversion?

A micro conversion can be defined as user completing a small step along their path towards completing a primary conversion goal (or macro conversion). For example, signing up for a newsletter (mirco) before purchasing (macro) from an eCommerce website.

What are examples of micro conversions?

Examples of micro conversions include:
1. Newsletter sign ups
2. Add to baskets
3. Using the site search function
3. Downloading eBooks or other gated content
4. Viewing a certain amount of pages

Managing Customer Expectations: How to Close the Expectation-Reality Gap

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Managing customer expectations | Yieldify

Is your eCommerce business struggling to meet customer expectations? In this blog post, we explore how to improve customer experience and retention by closing the expectation-reality gap.

Out of all the traps marketers fall into, there’s one that ensnares more than most. It’s a trap often sprung by creator blindness, a phenomenon that prevents product developers from staying impartial to the quality of the products they create. 

That’s why when it comes to product marketing, you see so many claims of the greatest, the fastest, the most disruptive, the one-of-a-kind, the ultimate, etc. etc. It feels good – and even necessary – to boast about something you’ve poured your heart and soul into, but doing so can have a drastic negative effect on customer experience and be a huge detriment to sales.

How? Creator blindness and overblown claims lead to inflated customer expectations. Expectations that you simply can not meet.

Saying your product is the greatest only serves to bloat your ego. If you have nothing to prove your claims, you can expect public backlash due to mismanaged customer expectations.

What are customer expectations? Customer expectations are the feelings and needs that the customers have towards a product or service. Customer expectations are formed by reading or hearing information about the company or product, observing other people’s sentiment towards the company/product, previous experiences with similar companies/products or direct interaction with customer service.

Why is it important to manage customer expectations?

To successfully launch a self-sustaining business, you need a critical mass. And to reach a critical mass, you need things like positive cash flow, brand engagement, and customer retention. In other words, you need to attract customers by promising value, but you also need to keep customers by delivering on that promise.

Managing customer expectations allows you to strike a healthy balance between the two: you set the bar just high enough so that customers are willing to consider you and feel satisfied when reality meets their needs. 

But simply saying you have to meet (ideally – exceed) customer expectations is like saying a successful business has to increase sales. Here are 5 steps that will help you improve your brand’s customer expectation management.

5 actionable tips for managing customer expectations

1. Understand what your customers expect from you

You can’t meet customer expectations if you don’t know what it is they want from you. We’re not talking about the generic wants and needs: every brand should be striving to provide great customer service, streamlined purchase journey and excellent brand experience.

You need to get more specific than that. You need to know exactly what it is your audience wants from you. As the old saying goes, people don’t want a drill, they want a hole in the wall

In reality, the “hole” metaphor still isn’t clear enough – to successfully manage customer expectations, you must know what the hole is for. Is it for putting up shelves to create more storage space? Or to hang pictures of a loved one? Or to build a treehouse for kids to play in? Customers in all these scenarios will have different levels of experience, a different purpose for your product, and thus, different expectations towards it.

2. Start collecting data

Want to know what your users want? Then ask them. There are plenty of great survey tools available now that will make finding exactly what your users want from you a breeze. Of course, the basic advice of running surveys applies.

  • Use open-ended questions to get the best answers.
  • Link your questions to your objectives.
  • Keep your questions short and simple.

To get the most out of your surveys you want to take them a step further and use them to find out which areas you’re failing to meet expectations in. For this, we recommend following the advice of Convince & Convert‘s Jay Baer:

“Great customer experience occurs when you exceed customer expectations in a palpable way. Poor customer experience occurs when you fail to meet customer expectations.”

Thus, the best way to measure customer experience is to mine that expectation gap. Ask every customer (or a random sample) a simple question: ‘On a scale of 1-10 how much better (or worse) was your experience with our company compared to what you expected?’

Integrate different types of communication channels in your contact centre; from VoIP to email marketing and surveys you can use all these different channels to collect data across different customer journey touchpoints. You may also want to consider customer service software.  This will help streamline and makes easier customer communication across different channels.

Rather than only asking about the business as a whole, we recommend using the Jay Baer method and asking how your company compared with expectations in specific areas such as purchase experience, customer service, delivery, etc. Doing so will make the feedback you receive that little bit more targeted and actionable.

3. Analyze where you’re not meeting expectations

Now you’ve got a good deal of information on your customer’s expectations, it’s time to analyze your business to understand where you’re not meeting them.

If you’ve followed the advice thus far you should already have an indication of which areas of your business aren’t up to the standard your customers expect. However, at the minute that data is incomplete.

To bolster the information and really ensure that you have the complete information, you’re also going to have to delve into your analytics data.

The implicit data that’s provided through engagement statistics might, on first thought, seem pretty useless. However, they provide a good indication of which areas of your business are failing to meet customer expectations.

Look through your analytics data to find areas of your site that experience high bounce rates, low time on page, a disproportionate number of exits or any other negative results.

For example, let’s imagine that you see a larger than average exit rate on the page that details your shipping fees. Your explicit data also suggests that users are very concerned about price. Below are a few test ideas that could potentially increase conversions:

  • Offer cheaper / free shipping.
  • Keep a running total in the corner of the screen throughout the purchase journey (as demonstrated below).
  • Add the shipping fees to the running total in the corner so users aren’t hit with an unexpected cost.

Cart abandonment due to shipping costs is a well-documented issue. It also proves the point that implicit data can be the smoking gun to a particular expectation gap.

Data via Baymard Institute

Find the pages that see low engagement and fail to hit key metrics, examine them, don your detective hat and try to identify the most obvious reason. Couple your explicit and implicit data and you should have a good idea of what it is your audience wants from you.

4. Optimize areas where you’re falling short

We know what your users want from you and the areas of your business that are letting you down. The next job is examining how you can improve the areas that are lagging behind and optimize them to meet customer expectations.

Don’t worry about getting this right first time around. As with any other optimization effort, this is an iterative process. You’re going to go through many different rounds of testing before you’ve improved to a level where few customers complain.

The most important thing right now is to get started. You know the problem areas and you know what people want to get to work on giving it to them. For example, take a look at the below complaint made via Twitter:

Without knowing the full story our guesses at how to narrow the customer expectation gap are just that, guesses. However, Ebuyer could have explored the below options:

  • Clearly, display the deadline for placing orders for Saturday (this assumes the customer missed that deadline yet still thought they were entitled to Saturday delivery).
  • Stop offering Saturday delivery entirely.
  • Speak to Yodel about delivering what was contractually agreed and if the service doesn’t improve, hire a more reliable service that will deliver on time.

These aren’t huge actions and won’t take a lot of time to implement, but they could have a huge impact on your business. Once you’ve implemented these changes it’s a case of tracking future engagement and amending further iterations of improvement based on the results.

5. Honesty is the best policy

Before you start cracking on with optimizing your processes to reduce the customer expectation and reality gap, there’s one overriding rule that needs to permeate everything you do: Be honest.

Most expectations are inflated thanks to over the top claims and grandiose brags. Ensure that what you say you’re offering really is what the user is going to get.

Are you the best service in the city? Who says so and what’s the proof? Can you guarantee delivery in 24 hours or did you just include that after reading it can help increase conversions?

There’s a real temptation to lie simply because such imposing terms make a bigger impact, but they do you no favours when it comes to customer service.

If you’re honest, the number of people who can complain when you don’t provide what you’ve promised will be drastically reduced. You’ll have fewer negative social reviews, a more succinct marketing campaign but most importantly, a happier customer base.

Customer Expectation FAQs

? What are customer expectations?

Customer expectations can be defined as a set of behaviors or actions that the customers anticipate they will receive when dealing with a company or website.

? How do you meet customer expectations?

You can meet customer expectations by:
1) Understanding your customer base and their needs
2) Monitoring customer satisfaction levels & regularly collect feedback
3) Provide first-class customer service
4) Develop a customer-centric approach throughout every aspect of your business.

? How do you manage customers expectations?

The best way to manage customer expectations is to be as transparent and honest as you can throughout their journey. Use the realistic images, clearly display delivery timelines, use reviews, and social proof. Put simply, don’t over-promise.

❓ Why is it important to manage customers expectations?

It’s important to manage customer expectations so customers have a realistic view of what to expect, and therefore more likely to be satisfied or delighted with the service they receive from you.

Social Proof: What, Why & How With Examples

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What is social proof and how does it help eCommerce businesses boost sales and revenue? Let’s take a look at one of the most powerful principles of persuasion.

Even the most novice eCommerce marketers know that psychological principles play a huge role in consumer purchase decisions. Using psychological triggers and cues to nudge customers in the right direction is widely used online and offline: from savvy product placement on the shelf to serial positioning on an eCommerce website.

One of the most widely adopted frameworks for using psychology in eCommerce marketing is Robert Cialdini’s 7 principles of persuasion. In his 1984 book “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion,” Cialdini outlined six (he added the seventh in 2016) key principles that make people say ‘yes’:

  1. Reciprocity: Instil a sense of indebted gratitude in your customers.
  2. Scarcity: Make customers aware of how they might miss out.
  3. Authority: Encourage customers through trusted voices.
  4. Commitment and consistency: Lead customers to big purchases through smaller commitments.
  5. Liking: Make customers feel good about buying from you.
  6. Social proof: Let the wisdom of the crowd lead your customer’s decision-making.
  7. Unity: Help your customers build a sense of belonging.

We have already analyzed scarcity to some extent in our eBook Creating Urgency to Purchase (there’s also a webinar version).

This time we’d like to dive into the increasingly popular tactic and psychological phenomenon – social proof.

This article will cover the following:
1. What is social proof?
2. Types of social proof
3. Social proof examples
3.1 Customer reviews
3.2 Urgency tactics
3.3 Stock levels
3.4 Best-selling products
3.5 Product recommendations
4. Final thoughts
5. Why is social proof important

What Is Social Proof?

While it is pretty evident how social proof functions in the physical world – word of mouth being the most apparent example, how does this psychology principle translate to eCommerce marketing? 

Well, when it comes to boosting online sales, social proof is mainly used as a conversion rate optimization (CRO) technique to encourage customers to make purchases on the spot and reduce website abandonment.

Social proof examples

Robert Cialdini studied the principle of social proof in-depth in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Within the book, he states “we view a behaviour as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it”.

In situations where we are not 100% sure about what to do we look for reassurance or the “correct behaviour” to help us make a decision.

But what types can help with this reassurance?

The Different Types of Social Proof

You’re probably already familiar with some types of social proof, such as customer reviews and testimonials or referrals from friends. But there are, in fact, at least six different types of social proof:

  1. Customer testimonials/User social proof – comes from your existing customers or users. Example: a positive review on your website from satisfied customers.
  2. Expert social proof – This can come from industry experts. Example: a public endorsement of an industry expert on social media or in press mentions.
  3. Celebrity social proof – much like expert social proof, celebrity social proof is a celebrity or influencer endorsement of your product or service.
  4. Friend referrals – this type of social proof is seeing your friends approve or endorse a product or service.
  5. The wisdom of the crowd – this type of social proof is seeing large numbers of people follow, endorse and recommend a product or service. As human beings, we want to reflect correct behavior, people assume if everyone else is doing it then it must be right.
  6. Certification – this type of social proof is having an authoritative figure assign a mark of approval. Example: a ‘verified’ badge on your social media profile or a ‘secure payment’ trust badge on your website.
A social proof example that utilizes the wisdom of the crowd.

How to get social proof

They are many different ways you can go about getting social proof and it all depends on the form of social proof you want to use. Some are quicker and easier to get than others.

  1. Customer testimonials/User social proof – Make sure you have a review platform that can embed widgets onto your website. One of the most popular review sites is Trustpilot, but there are also specific apps for different eCommerce platforms. Yotpo for example has a Spotify app that has a free version you can use.
  2. Expert social proof – Identify industry experts and see if there’s a way you can collaborate with them.
  3. Celebrity social proof – You can use the social influence of celebrities to get in front of your target audience. This is touching on influencer marketing, so you just need to find the right person to collaborate with.
  4. Friend referrals –This one may happen naturally if you’re product or service delights a current customer. You can encourage this type of social proof using referral programs.
  5. The wisdom of the crowd – this type of social proof is seeing large numbers of people follow, endorse and recommend a product or service.
  6. Certification – Some of these will be easier to get than others, getting your Facebook page verified will be easier than gaining a industry specific certification. Research what certifications you can get within your industry, check what your competitors have, and see what payment badges you can quickly add to your website if you’re in the eCommerce space.

Pick what type of social proof you think will work best for your website and put together an action plan of how you can first get it, and second how you can use it.

In terms of using social proof, these examples below should help.

Social Proof Ecommerce Examples with Yieldify

Visually, there’s a huge range of means at your disposal to create social proof for your website visitors. It might come in the form of overlays or notifications, enhanced images, highlighted text within product descriptions and other attention-grabbing features on the page.

Yieldify helps ecommerce businesses use the power of social proof with its Dynamic Social Proof feature. If you’d like to hear more about it, sign up for a free demo.

Disclaimer: Yieldify is our product. We’ve done our best to present the information fairly because we want to help you make an educated decision but we’re especially proud of what we offer. We’ve seen it transform conversion rates, lead generation and revenue for so many brands – large and small – all over the world. You may have seen we use the Yieldify platform and services on our own website too. Learn more here and schedule a call with an advisor

Dynamic social proof by Yieldify

Here we take a look at six different social proof examples that eCommerce retailers can easily employ on their websites.

1. Build trust through customer reviews and star ratings

A classic example in eCommerce is putting customer reviews and star ratings alongside products to help the visitor feel confident in the product. According to Consumerist, up to 70% of online customers check product reviews before they purchase.

Here’s how one of Yieldify’s clients, Caudalie, utilizes various forms of social proof on their product pages. Starting with the ‘best rated’ stamp to showcasing the number of times this product was favorited along with customer reviews.

Social proof example from Caudalie

These third party ‘trust signals’ can be at their most powerful when it comes to high-ticket items or other big purchasing decisions. Take Ovo Energy, for example – they’re trying to get their visitors to switch energy providers, which is a pretty substantial purchase to make.

So they showed their visitors social proof in the form of their Trustpilot ratings to help give them the confidence to continue on to conversion (resulting in a conversion rate increase of 18%):

Social proof example from OVO Energy

So when your visitors can’t touch and feel (or even taste test) the item or speak to a sales assistant, social proof in the form of reviews can help:

  • Promote trust with a sense of transparency.
  • Create a sense of confidence: “If someone else loved it, I might too!”
  • Answer questions the visitor might have about the product that will help them decide whether it’s right for them.

2. Create urgency by showing the number of people viewing a product

We all know that a sense of urgency drives purchasing decisions. When deployed well, it can be used to encourage the user to make a purchase where they otherwise may have put it off or left the website, increasing the risk that they will fail to return to the sales funnel.

Using this social proof feature, brands such as Kickers and Butterfly Twists have seen how this sense of urgency creates an online shopping FOMO (fear of missing out) and can increase conversions.

Social proof example from Kickers

In brick-and-mortar retail stores, it’s easy to see how many people are looking at a product – queues, crowded stores, people browsing the same racks. All of these things pique interest, and shoppers come in to see what people are looking at, creating a positive cycle.

E-commerce retailers can simulate this experience online, recreating the sense that the consumer is in a crowded store with others vying for the same products. Showing how many people are viewing a product:

  • Creates a sense of urgency: “Someone else might take this if I don’t act now!”
  • Proves the value of the product: other people are interested, too.

3. Boost urgency by showing stock levels

Along with urgency, scarcity is one of the go-to tactics for marketers everywhere as it creates a desire for immediate action.

Again, in a traditional store, you can physically see how much stock is on the shelf. Digital shopping experiences erase this physical visibility, but eCommerce retailers can replicate the experience by alerting customers to when stocks are low – whether by giving a specific number (i.e. ‘Hurry – only 3 left!’) or simply indicating a low stock level.

Social proof example from J. Crew

Highlighting stock levels:

  • Encourages people to act immediately, reducing website abandonment.
  • Creates a good customer experience by reducing frustration.

4. Drive interest with ‘best sellers’

Consider the New York Times Best Seller list. Often considered the highest accolade a book can receive, it’s plastered all over the merchandising for any book that can make the boast. The logic is of course that if lots of people like it, it must be good.

E-commerce retailers can use the same principle to help sell their items. It might be a search filter, as in the below example from beauty retailer Kiehl’s, which also uses a header image with compelling copy to emphasize the popularity of the products. It can also be highlighted in the product description or as a design feature on product images.

Social proof example from Kiehl’s

Presenting items as ‘best sellers’:

  • Helps people select an item they’ll feel they’re more likely to enjoy.
  • Assists consumers in sorting and searching through products on your website more easily.

5. Give recommendations by showing what others have purchased

Showing products that others have bought or viewed alongside the item a customer is already viewing is a true ‘one-two punch’ of an eCommerce cross-selling technique.

Why? Not only does it remind the user that people have bought the product they’re viewing, providing social proof for the product they’re already considering, but it introduces a sales funnel for further products, giving those products social proof as well.

This is best known as an Amazon technique – but considering that 35% of Amazon sales are driven by their recommendation algorithm, it’s an extremely valuable practice to adopt.

Suggesting items based on the purchasing behavior of others reduces website abandonment by helping users explore further products. Here’s how another Yieldify client, Serenata Flowers, employed it on their website:

Social proof example from Serenata Flowers

6. Build interest with curated lists and endorsements

Another source people look for social proof is in well-known identities and experts. Celebrity endorsements are an enduring marketing phenomenon for a reason: they work. If people perceive that a product is being recommended by someone they know and like, it builds trust and a sense of quality.

But you don’t have to get a Hollywood A-Lister to endorse your product: experts and influencers work in a similar way. For example, Glossier uses its founder, Emily Weiss, to promote a set of its products.

Social proof example from Glossier

Using expert and celebrity endorsement:

  • Is memorable – recognizable faces help sell products.
  • Creates trust and assurance through positive association with people they like and admire.
  • Helps people feel an affinity with the brand and its products.

Why is social proof important?

Social proof can play a key role in convincing potential customers to buy from you and increase conversions on your website. From improving landing page performance, or encouraging blog readers to leave a valid email address, to making your online marketing more effective social proof can touch every customer touchpoint.

But why is it important?

Well, research has found that 92% of consumers read online reviews, and 80% of shoppers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Combined with the above, it’s been found that people will read up to ten reviews before making a purchase decision, and 54% of respondents will visit a website after reading positive reviews.

The keyword is proof. Customers want to feel safe in making a purchase decision and that’s why social proof is important.

In conclusion…

Social proof is a powerful means of encouraging consumers to act with immediacy. It’s important to select the right kind of tactic to use on your site: not all will be appropriate for every kind of retailer or product. And social proof in itself is just one of many ways to improve conversion rates and reduce website abandonment.

Disclaimer: Yieldify is our product. We’ve done our best to present the information fairly because we want to help you make an educated decision but we’re especially proud of what we offer. We’ve seen it transform conversion rates, lead generation and revenue for so many brands – large and small – all over the world. You may have seen we use the Yieldify platform and services on our own website too. Learn more here and schedule a call with an advisor

Social Proof FAQs

What does the term social proof mean?

Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon that stems from behavioral economics. When you’re viewing a product page and see a number of 5-star reviews from verified customers, that’s social proof.

What is an example of social proof?

Examples of social proof are customer reviews & star ratings, showing stock levels, endorsements, showing “other people bought” and highlighting best sellers.

How can I get social proof?

There are a number of different ways you can get social proof. The quickest way is to make use of your current customers and past work. Review, Case Studies, Testimonials etc are all quick ways you can get social proof.

How to Respond to Negative Customer Reviews Online

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Check out our need-to-know tips on how to respond to negative customer reviews to maintain your positive reputation and provide a sparkling customer experience.

The way you handle negative customer reviews and customer complaints is becoming increasingly important for your business. In the past, dealing with negative reviews was generally a one-to-one conversation. Sure, it was still vital to respond in the best way possible to keep your customer happy – but there was also less scope for negative customer reviews to snowball and damage your brand.

In this blog we’re going to look at the following:
1. Can negative reviews be a good thing?
2. Don’t take it personally
3. Formulate a response
4. Don’t delay
5. Be humble and show empathy
6. Be personable
7. Solve their issue
8. Conclusion

With the proliferation of social media and online reviews, things have changed. According to Sprout Social, consumers tend to reach out to brands for several reasons: if they had a good experience (59%), if they have a product or service question (47%), and if they had a bad experience (40%).

Social media has empowered your customers. Now anyone with a grievance and a WiFi connection can sully your reputation by posting a negative review for the world to see. The good news is – there are tried and true methods to handle these unsatisfied queries and even use them to your own advantage!

Can negative customer reviews be a good thing?

It may seem counterintuitive, but the odd negative review can be a good thing. In fact, research shows that as many as 82% of online consumers specifically seek out negative reviews with 4.2-4.5 considered as the perfect rating, whereas “a near or perfect 5.0 rating is considered ‘too good to be true’.

Why? It’s basically down to trust. Consumers are more inclined to trust reviews when they see both good and bad scores. When no negative opinions are present, consumers suspect censorship or fake reviews.

When researching a product or service, customers also find both negative and positive reviews help to make a decision. If customers are researching a product enough that they’re delving into the negative reviews, they’re probably closer to making a purchase – so don’t rush to hide those reviews or simply delete them. 

The positive side of negative customer reviews:

• Negative reviews provide transparency and build trust.
• Negative reviews make your brand look authentic and honest.
• Negative reviews empower buyers to make more informed purchase decisions.
• Negative feedback can help you improve your products and services.
• Dissatisfied customers can be converted to the brand’s biggest advocates.
• Negative reviews create buzz and can increase sales.

On that last note – wondering how can someone trashing your product or service actually help you sell more? For one, a study by Harvard Business Review looked at the sales of books by unknown authors and saw a spike in sales by an average of 45%. Meaning that negative reviews can bring awareness to your product and thus, have a positive impact on sales.

Or, if you have the guts and aren’t afraid of some good-intended humor, why not deploy something like the “Unrating Vienna” campaign that highlighted negative but funny reviews of the Austrian city.

“Unrating Vienna” campaign by the city’s tourist board

Or the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort “One Star” campaign that turned 1-star reviews into amazing ads?

The ad copy reads: “Too advanced. I’ve heard that Snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail is a steep chute or littered with tree wells. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun! – Greg, Los Angeles, LA”

All jokes aside, though, data shows that about 40 positive reviews are needed to undo the potential damage caused by one negative customer review. So how do you do that?

How to handle negative customer reviews

1. Don’t take it personally

Taking criticism is hard, especially when it is directed at something you and your team have poured your hearts and souls into. However, a negative review does not mean you are doing something wrong. More often than not, it just means the customer had different expectations.

Take emotions out of the equation, keep a leveled head, and follow the next steps.

Example of an overly sensitive response to a one-star customer rating

2. Mull over your response

Don’t be hasty with your response. While time is a factor, take a moment to evaluate the situation, gather facts and offer the best possible solution. In some cases, you will find that the complaint is illegitimate and may not even warrant a response.

Decide whether it’s best to respond publicly or take the conversation offline. Both are OK but may be used differently depending on the situation. For example, if a customer states they simply didn’t like the product, acknowledging their feedback is oftentimes enough.

On the other hand, if you have a reviewer complaining about a defect item or unsatisfactory process, it’s worth exploring their case privately.

3. Don’t delay your response

Based on Hotjar’s State of Customer Experience research, long response times are the number one frustration customers have with brands.

Of course, this pertains mostly to cases that require further action, like a lost or defect item. Jeff Toister claims that modern businesses should aim to address customer complaints within one hour, but a 24-hour response is still acceptable. All in all, the quicker you respond, the better. No one is going to complain about your overly-prompt response.

4. Be humble and empathize

There are two extremities that you can take when responding to a negative customer review: being too apologetic or being too defensive. Find a middle ground.

Thank the customer for their feedback. 

Acknowledge their complaint and apologize for any inconvenience. 

If the error was fully on your end, assure the customer you are doing everything to fix it.

If, however, there was no particular error and the customer just had mismatched expectations, ask them to submit more constructive criticism on how things could be improved.

If the error was solely on the customer’s side, offer friendly advice on how to avoid such misunderstandings happening in the future. For example, if the customer is complaining about returns, gently (!) remind them to check your Return Policy or FAQ pages.

5. Be personable

This advice mainly applies to your written responses. But with email, social and messaging becoming increasingly common ways to complain, it’s all the more important to respond well in writing.

If you’re responding to negative reviews, a good rule of thumb is to judge the tone and content of your reply by how you’d speak to the reviewer in person. Obviously remain polite, but don’t forget to be human. At the end of the day you’re writing to a person, so replying like a robotic corporation with a scripted reply that lacks warmth or empathy will further frustrate your upset customer.

6. Solve the issue

It goes without saying this is the most important part. Whatever you say, however nicely you say it will not matter if the issue persists. After all, it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, and your existing customers are also more likely to try new products and spend more. 

By making a real effort to fix their issue, you can actually turn a negative reviewer into a brand advocate. So, replace their product, refund or compensate accordingly where necessary. Yes, it’s going to take a bit of time and effort, but realistically the return on garnering a great reputation could make it one of the smarter investments you make.

After all, you not only gain a satisfied customer who is likely to change their review but you also show potential customers reading the reviews you’re a brand that looks after your customers and really cares.

Conclusion

For the most part, you can fix the majority of negative reviews and complaints by simply being proactive, genuine and helpful. With customer lifetime value probably the most important metric in your business right now, it definitely pays to invest in keeping your customers happy.

Responding to negative reviews appropriately ensures both your customer experience and your reputation will remain untarnished. Follow the simple guidelines we’ve outlined (along with your common sense) and you can turn negative customer reviews into positive customer experiences.

? What is the best way to respond to a negative review?

The best way to answer a negative review is to firstly, address the reviewer, and apologize and sympathize with their situation. If the fault is on your part take responsiblity and do everything you can to make things right. Try to take the issue offline if you can.

? Should you respond to a negative review?

Yes. You must respond to all negative reviews. If you don’t it could be seen that you don’t care about your customers’ feedback or experiences. However, if you respond it shows you take customer care seriously and can increase customer advocacy.

Optimizing Your Website for Crisis Management: 3 Tried and True Solutions for Online Marketers

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What does coronavirus mean for your online crisis management strategy? Find out as we explore how to optimize your eCommerce website and adapt your design to answer the new challenges presented.

If we judge by the global impact to-date, the COVID-19 crisis is the first real ‘black swan’ for eCommerce and online booking. This, in turn, places us in somewhat unchartered territory when it comes to crisis management.

It goes without saying that it’s exceptionally hard to react to a situation seemingly changing by the hour. There’s no pre-written rulebook or guide on what to do. All we know is that time is of the essence and that we need to react quickly to the changing business environment if we are to survive.

However, at a time of high tension, a single wrong move could prove catastrophic. Crisis management involves carefully analyzing and optimizing the entire customer journey to fit the situation at hand. You need to make sure your website design gives the user what they need at this time – clarity and reassurance. This sentiment is echoed in past crises and some parallels can be drawn with what’s going on right now. 

Crisis management to date for eCommerce

The 2002-2004 SARS pandemic saw the first use of the term coronavirus, spreading across predominantly China and Hong Kong with a less infectious but more deadly version of the coronavirus we see today. This tragic event acted as a growth catalyst for entrepreneurs starting out in eCommerce, essentially skyrocketing a (then) small-scale Alibaba into becoming the world’s largest retailer and eCommerce company.

Due to the anxiety around travel and human contact, consumers flooded to online stores. This meant traditional retailers were forced to adapt quickly, many pursuing either fully digital or omnichannel storefronts. 

The 2008 global financial crisis was similarly disruptive, seeing a monumental fall in consumer confidence and expenditure. Consumers were faced with lower savings, credit, and income – meaning retailers and online booking agents needed to find new innovative ways to make their offerings accessible to the masses.

This paved the way for digital natives such as Uber and Airbnb to emerge, offering cheap rooms and car rides using technology to ‘cut out the middleman’. With efficient supply chain management, no rental overheads and unrivaled speed and convenience for consumers, eCommerce was and remains to this day, a sector of high growth and opportunity.

But whatever the crisis management scenario, the business objective is universal – staying afloat. You need to bring in precious revenue while acknowledging the challenges at hand. You want to show sensitivity to the situation and that you’re reacting to consumer needs.

Business as normal isn’t an option for anyone right now. However, there are ways to grasp any sales opportunities that do exist and website design plays a huge part in this.

Designing for crisis management

In a time where many physical stores are closed except for essential services, your website/digital storefront has never been more critical.

It’s the first place consumers will head and some brands can even expect website traffic to increase as a result. However, for those with reduced traffic, making sure that traffic converts into a sale will be more important than ever.

A consumer’s first impressions are 94% design-related, so your homepage and overall UX need to hit the mark. Also bear in mind that judgments consumers make on website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics. So if its trust that you’re looking to build, your design needs to reflect that.

Really think about what your primary objective is for your website design in the time of a crisis. What problems are you looking to solve? To help get you started, our talented in-house designers have shared the following insights and advice.

Yieldify design team

Stick to the basic design principles

“You can never go wrong with a clear and concise message that solves a problem for the end-user, displayed in the right place and presented at the right time during the customer journey.”

Lighten the mood with visuals

“Keep visuals positive and uplifting. Incorporate bright colors and icons such as hearts or information instead of warnings or alerts wherever possible. The same goes for images and photography: if you’re unsure then use simple backgrounds and just focus on the message at hand.”

Be strategic with placement

“Put the design element where it’s relevant and will have the most impact. You don’t want to be putting USPs at the bottom of a page. You want them to stand out. Also, think about what page of your website will work best. You don’t want to put something on a page with little traffic – you want to put it on the page where most visitors land on.”

Adapt your message to the situation

“I think right now it’s about the messaging being clear and less ‘pretty’. I’ve always been an advocate for ‘less is more’, but I think right now design should be solving and not impressing.” 

Use tone to convey an emotion

“It’s all about the tone of voice and the message you use. If you want to make users feel comfortable and build trust, don’t be afraid to show emotion and tell them you care. The Estee Lauder example below really demonstrates this point well.”

Website optimization for crisis management | Yieldify

3 ways to optimize your website for crisis management

1. On-page elements

Utilizing on-page elements such as overlays and pop-ups can prove particularly effective as a method for communicating to an audience where visibility is a key consideration. However, exactly which tactic to use will depend entirely on the scenario.

Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Sharing general information

Whether it’s busy phone lines, alternative communication methods or policy updates, a top page banner that links to a dedicated page is a great tactic. It’s displayed directly at the user’s eye line for optimal impact and is the first thing they see as they start their customer journey.

As you can see in the below example of the Catbird website, the top page banner informs that the online store is open but unable to ship its full range. A call-to-action invites to explore the products that can ship now.

Website optimization for crisis management | Yieldify

Here are a couple of other examples from Yieldify clients who have used different formats to inform about their COVID-19 changes.

Website optimization for crisis management | Yieldify
COVID-19 overlay from Hayes Garden World
Website optimization for crisis management | Yieldify
COVID-19 overlay from Bellabox

Product out of stock

For any retailer, having your product go out of stock, even in a crisis, can equate to missed sales opportunities. If your supply chain is affected, this can be unavoidable. But it means that we need to be creative in how we address this and keep revenue coming in.

The first way to counter this is with in-page personalization such as in the ASOS example below. As you can see, the message injects humor with the ‘Uh oh! This is awkward..’ and then helpfully recommends similar products to the user in order to rescue the sale.

You should ensure the utmost relevancy of that recommendation by leveraging the user’s online behaviors and preferences. This could even result in an upsell.

Website optimization for crisis management | Yieldify
ASOS recommends similar products to ones that are out of stock

Another tactic would be to deploy a lead capture form to inform the user when the item is back in stock. In the Cult Beauty example below, they have deployed a waitlist and used positive language like ‘in stock soon’ and ‘priority access’.

This helps to reshape the customer experience to something more exclusive and exciting, where visitors can exchange their personal information to be the first in line for a product that’s in hot demand.

Website optimization for crisis management | Yieldify
Cult Beauty employs lead capture to inform customers when products will be back in stock

Important updates

Browser notifications are a direct line to your customers for updates in the time of a crisis and considered a very proactive messaging stance. They are perfect for times when immediacy is key to your crisis management strategy and are displayed via internet browsers to those with an already vested interest in your brand.

2. Dark sites and microsites

In some particularly sensitive crisis scenarios, you may require a more targeted approach for message dissemination. By implementing dark sites or microsites, you can reduce visibility to anyone other than your intended target audience.

What is a microsite? A microsite is an individual webpage or a small cluster of pages that generally operate independently from your main website and URL. It is also possible to have a microsite under your existing URL as a sub-domain, which would be called a ‘branded vertical’. The longevity of your microsite is flexible and depends entirely on whether it is tied to a specific campaign or ongoing brand activity.

You can use microsites as your public-facing information hubs: a one-stop-shop for everything related to the crisis in hand. Whether the media, customers or any other visitors, the purpose of the site is crystal clear. It also will not obstruct the customer journeys taking place on your main website.

This allows you to better control the narrative, offering a central resource that can be quickly updated as the crisis transpires. In terms of design, you can choose to remain consistent with your main site, mirroring the look and feel. Alternatively, you can adapt it to provide distinction and distance from your primary website.

A dark site operates similarly. A dark site is a website that you prepare in advance but don’t actively promote until a crisis occurs. They are often very minimalistic in design, putting added emphasis on the language and messaging that is communicated instead. The tone of voice may also differ, which can digitally compartmentalize the crisis from your other brand activities.

3. Chatbots

When dealing with visitors at scale but wanting to maintain that one on one personalized approach, automation offers a highly effective solution for triaging queries and assisting customer care teams.

This makes chatbots an indispensable tool when carving out a crisis management strategy, considering they can reduce customer service costs by up to 30%  and free up those crucial resources to focus on the tasks that matter most.

A Gartner report estimates that 85% of customer interactions will be handled without human agents by 2021. Additionally, research by Drift estimates that 37% of consumers currently use customer service bots to get quick answers in emergencies.

As the adoption of this technology increases, consumers will begin to expect the immediacy that chatbots offer. This simply can’t be replicated by humans at the same scale. An investment into this functionality is likely to be one that can stand the test of time; especially as AI innovations become even more intuitive to customer needs.

In conclusion

It’s clear that design and website optimization can have a huge impact on your business, especially during crisis management scenarios. Whether it’s making key information accessible, providing reassurance or encouraging sales and conversions: the potential rewards are high and resources required low in comparison.

Ultimately, it’s the retailers and online booking agents that can adapt their website’s fastest to the ongoing crisis and everchanging customer needs, that will be most successful.

The storm will pass, but not everyone will make it through in one piece. By taking control and acting now with tried and true solutions, you can better future-plan and protect the longevity of your brand.

The 10 Best Shopify Alternatives for Businesses Big and Small

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Shopify alternatives | Yieldify

There are hundreds of Shopify alternatives on the market that are worth considering. Let’s look at 10 of the best eCommerce platforms for every type of business.

The most popular eCommerce solution currently on the market, Shopify has over 820,000 active online stores around the globe. It’s the Google of eCommerce platforms. But just because you’ve heard of Shopify, doesn’t mean it’s the best platform for you and your business.

Table of Contents
1. Shopify Alternatives For Beginners & Start-ups
2. Shopify Alternatives for Mid-sized Businesses
3. Shopify Alternatives for Enterprise level businesses
4. What’s the right solution for you?

Maybe you are just starting and want to put in the research to make sure you get the platform for your business. Maybe you are looking for a more affordable option. Maybe you are considering switching from your current Shopify site to another more flexible platform.

Ecommerce platforms comparison matrix | Yieldify

Because there are so many Shopify alternatives on the market, it can feel overwhelming – where do you even begin? We suggest you begin with this list.

Top 10 Shopify alternatives

We’ve pulled together our list of the top Shopify alternatives in the market. From eCommerce platforms that are very similar to Shopify to those that offer something completely different, we’re going to break down each solution to help you make sure you choose the best platform for your business.

Shopify alternatives for beginners and startups

Big Cartel

Perfect for smaller eCommerce businesses, Big Cartel has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from their competitors but at a lower price point (starting at $9.99). They even have a free plan if you have less than 5 products, but keep in mind that Big Cartel has a maximum of 500 products for any site on their largest plan, which costs $29.99 a month.

While Big Cartel has gorgeous, responsive designs, with real-time stats and promotional tools, it can be difficult to grow with their limited product listings.

Shopify alternatives - Big Cartel | Yieldify
Website built with Big Cartel

Prestashop

If you are on a tight budget, Prestashop is a great option. The platform itself is free, so you will only have to cover the cost of your domain name and hosting.  

When compared to Shopify, Prestashop has fewer themes, templates, and overall features. However, it has the best usability we’ve seen from a free platform. It charges no additional transaction fees, has unlimited products, supports international sales, and abandoned cart details.

Shopify alternatives - Prestashop | Yieldify
Website built with Prestashop

You can also opt for some of their premium add-ons that allow you to take your eCommerce site to a whole new level. They also have Prestashop experts you can hire who can help you customize your site with a minimal initial investment.

Shopify alternatives for small to mid-sized businesses

1. Squarespace

Known first and foremost as a website design tool, Squarespace introduced its eCommerce solution and became a great all-in-one Shopify alternative.

If you use Squarespace, you know you’ll have a beautifully designed website. They also have a host of different options to help you with your eCommerce journey. From a wonderful checkout experience and unlimited product listings to social media integrations and a backend inventory management system, Squarespace has become a real competitor in the eCommerce world.

Shopify alternatives - Squarespace | Yieldify
Website built with Squarespace

Squarespace does have a limited amount of payment options – you’ll need to use Stripe, PayPal or Apple Pay. Their price point is also higher when you compare to their direct competitors (Wix, Weebly, and Webflow, for example) but it is still reasonable. The Business plan is the first tier with eCommerce and costs $18/month and the Commerce plan – that has all the eCommerce features – costs $40/month.

2. Selz

A platform targeted at small business owners and entrepreneurs, Selz gives you many different ways to sell your products (digital, physical and services). From using their widgets and social media integrations to creating your online store with their website builder, you have a lot of flexibility with how you sell your products. 

All plans have unlimited products and storage, but prices increase for the number of users on your account – Basic costs $29/month for 2 users, Standard costs $59/month for 5 users, and their Advanced plan gives you 15 users and costs $199/month.

Shopify alternatives - Selz | Yieldify
Online store theme from Selz

One of the greatest advantages of Selz is its proprietary payment processor. Available in 60 countries, Selz Pay lets you accept payments without any additional fees. They also have a robust blogging feature, helping you make the most of your SEO.

3. Ecwid

If you already have a website set up and you’re looking to start selling a product, Ecwid is a great option.

An eCommerce widget that can be used on almost any website, Ecwid is an affordable option and is easy to set up. While this might not be the best option if you are looking to grow a huge eCommerce business, it has enough features to keep up with its competitors – you can sell digital goods, access unlimited bandwidth, and take advantage of real-time shipping rates.

Their free account lets you sell up to 10 items. For $15/month, you can add 100 products to your store, and their unlimited account is only $99/month.

CRO for eCommerce stores - Get a Yieldify demo

Shopify alternatives for enterprise-level businesses

4. BigCommerce

One of the most reliable Shopify alternatives, BigCommerce has over 95,000 live sites currently running. If you are looking for a user friendly, versatile, scalable eCommerce platform, BigCommerce is a great option.

They offer customized shipping options, which is key for the majority of store owners. Their checkout experience is also highly customizable. From the steps that lead a customer through checkout to the background images, you have control of every element.

Shopify alternatives - BigCommerce | Yieldify
Website built with BigCommerce

Prices start at $29.95/month for their Standard plan. It is important to note that their plans come with a yearly sales threshold. When you reach a certain number of yearly sales you’ll be moved to a higher plan.

With 600 product variants, no transaction fees, and some of the best eCommerce SEO integrations, BigCommerce is worth a second look.

5. WooCommerce

If you are using WordPress to build your site (or like the thought of building your store on WordPress), WooCommerce is a great option. WooCommerce is a plugin that can be added to any WordPress site and it is completely free. Because WooCommerce integrates with WordPress, you get more control over your WooCommerce website compared to Shopify. But you will also need a bit more knowledge to create your WordPress site.

You’ll have access to both free and paid themes and beautiful products and checkout pages, and you can also sell services with WooCommerce. This is perfect to make your online store fit your brand. You also can take advantage of product ratings and reviews to boost your on-page SEO, and unlimited products, images, and galleries.

Shopify alternatives - WooCommerce | Yieldify
Website built with WooCommerce

6. 3Dcart

Brimming with features, 3Dcart is another great Shopify alternative for creating your eCommerce site. With support for over 70 different payment gateways, unlimited product listings, abandoned cart emails, coupons, basic SEO tools, drop shipping, track, and more, 3Dcart is still competitively priced.

From $19/month for their Startup account, to $229/month for their Pro account, 3Dcart also boosts no additional transaction fees. They also offer in-house web design services if you need some assistance to make your eCommerce site stand out.

7. Volusion

A worthy alternative to Shopify, Volusion has been on the scene for two decades. To date, they have processed over $28 billion in sales.

A big reason why Volusion is a top choice with store owners is that many of their amazing features are built into the dashboard. They have many of the bells and whistles that you’d expect from an eCommerce platform. But there are also a few key features that make them stand out from the pack.

Shopify alternatives - Volusion | Yieldify
Website built with Volusion

Their one-page checkout decreases the number of abandoned carts, meaning you won’t need to use their live and abandoned cart feature as often. They have built-in social media management along with tools that make it easy for you to sell on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. 

They even have an option that allows you to process phone orders right from your dashboard. Volusion has no added transaction fees and monthly fees begin at $29, while their Business plan costs $299/month.

8. Magento

Extremely scalable and customizable, Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform. They recently expanded their offerings to become fully hosted making them even more competitive with their industry peers.

While you will need more developmental support to get your store up and running on Magento, they have a host of amazing features to take advantage of. These include integrated checkout, payments and shipping, instant purchase, site search, international transactions and currencies, and much more.

Shopify alternatives - Magento | Yieldify
Website built with Magento

One of the biggest reasons to choose Magento is the limitless possibilities there are when it comes to customization. Because you have access to the source code, you or your developer can edit and modify the software as you see fit.

Magento is free, but consider the additional costs you will incur to set up and maintain your site. This is especially relevant if you are hiring a developer

Which Shopify alternative is right for you?

This question gets a bit tricky because it depends on your specific needs.

  • If you want to grow your store to the biggest it can be, BigCommerce is a great place to start.
  • If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, Squarespace can give you a well-rounded blogging experience as well as an eCommerce solution.
  • If you are looking for a cheaper option, Big Cartel’s free option is available.
  • And if you are looking for more flexibility, Magento and WooCommerce are the way to go.
CRO for eCommerce stores - Get a Yieldify demo

Shopify Alternative FAQs

? What can I use instead of Shopify?

You can use any of these instead of Shopify. BigCommerce, 3Dcart, Volusion, Squarespace, Big Cartel, PrestaShop, Magento, and WooCommerce.

❓ Is there a free alternative Shopify?

The best free alternative to Shopify is PrestaShop. The platform is free, but there are some add ons that you will have to pay for.

? Who are Shopify competitors?

10 of Shopifys biggest competitors are Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Volusion, PrestaShop, Squarespace, Wix, 3dcart, Big Cartel and Weebly.

Are you ready to take a Shopify alternative out for a test run? Be sure to take advantage of the free trials offered by each eCommerce platform. 

Customer Journey Lookbook | Yieldify

Coronavirus and Online Travel Booking: 3 Facts Travel Marketers Should Know

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Discover the data on how coronavirus is impacting online travel bookings.

The coronavirus outbreak has already had a measurable impact on many industries, including online retail, tourism and travel. Two weeks ago, we took a closer look at the latter trying to discern the impact coronavirus has had on the online travel industry. Since then we’ve seen over 1,000 airport workers laid off, and that’s in the New York City area alone.

In this time of daily change, we’ve gone back to the data.

We’ve analyzed hundreds of online travel booking websites, looking closely at their traffic figures, their sales numbers and the paths that visitors have been exploring. This time, our analysis has focused on looking for the key turning points to date. Then we looked at what this means for travel industry professionals bracing for the future. Here’s what we found…

3 key facts on coronavirus and online travel booking

1. The tipping point came with Italy’s shutdown

On March 9th, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a national quarantine, describing the outbreak as the nation’s ‘darkest hour’. At the time of writing, these restrictions still remain in place.

While similar restrictions have since appeared in multiple countries in Europe, at the time this was an unprecedented move for a European government. The shockwave that this sent through consumers was immediately visible in what then happened to the travel industry as a result.

For websites selling holidays, we saw that both sales and visitor numbers had been volatile since the outbreak gained traction. However, the news in Italy was a tipping point. It was at this moment that even the idea of booking ‘staycations’ – a popular option that saw a peak during the earlier days of the outbreak, was hit by the worry that even movement in-country might be ruled out. From this point on, sales dropped dramatically:

Coronavirus impact on online travel booking | Yieldify

Similar can be said for transport. This category includes domestic travel such as buses and trains, but was far less impacted in terms of sales up until this point. However, once Italy locked down we can see the number of sales drop drastically:

Coronavirus impact on online travel booking | Yieldify

Interestingly, we saw the number of users landing on these websites rise – one theory is that these users were looking for information about what services would be running or cancellation policies. This is seemingly confirmed by the levels of traffic visiting coronavirus-related URLs on these Transport websites:

Coronavirus impact on online travel booking | Yieldify

So what can we learn from this as travel marketers?

Our broadest conclusion is that the unexpected causes the biggest impact – Italy’s decision was relatively unprecedented, therefore creating an extreme consumer reaction. However, the more expected the change, the flatter the curve of impact (to borrow an overused term).

2. Leisure and Tourism suffered an 80% drop in sales

Possibly the worst-hit sub-vertical within the travel industry has been leisure and tourism. In the last month, this industry has seen an 80% drop in the average number of online sales made each day. This has also come with a 63% drop in the average number of visitors per day:

Coronavirus impact on online travel booking | Yieldify

Upon inspection, the tipping point for this date interestingly aligns with the date of the UK’s first death as a result of COVID-19. This came a few days before Italy’s lockdown and caused a drop in interest in transport and holidays. This indicates that the hesitance for leisure activities set in a while before any concerns about simply moving from A to B.

The learning for travel marketers here is about how this kind of trend may apply to recovery. With the logic that we’ve seen so far, we can expect transport to pick up first. Additionally, business travel will recover quicker than leisure travel. Keep this in mind for when you re-accelerate your acquisition campaigns when the coast is clear.

3. Traffic isn’t the challenge: conversion is

In these circumstances, it’s normal to expect that the traffic to travel industry websites would drop sharply. That’s not necessarily the case.

Below we take a look at the change in traffic levels across our three key travel sub-verticals:

Coronavirus impact on online travel booking | Yieldify

What’s clear is that – as discussed – Leisure and Tourism sites have definitely taken a hit to their traffic. However, this isn’t the case for transport or for holidays: their traffic levels have remained relatively steady.

Contrast this with the picture when it comes to sales:

Coronavirus impact on online travel booking | Yieldify

The story here is very different – all three of our sub-verticals have seen a downward trend (some more recently than others). In this position, marketers need to focus on making quick changes to their websites in order to assuage concerns and encourage bookings.

Take a tip from Student Universe, who have posted a lengthy FAQ page about coronavirus, clearly linked to from their homepage:

Coronavirus impact on online travel booking | Yieldify

The onsite experience has never been more critical to the success or failure of your marketing efforts. This means that now is when you should invest time and effort into getting it right.

Appendix: The timeline so far

While the rolling news cycle means that we’ve seen dozens of updates on the development of the pandemic, we looked to identify some of the critical dates for the travel industry. Take a look at the turning points below and see if you can find a correlation in your own online travel booking data:

  • 31st Jan: UK confirms its first case
  • 11th Feb: WHO gives name to new coronavirus disease
  • 29th Feb: US reports first coronavirus death
  • 6th March: UK reports first coronavirus death
  • 9th March: Italian PM imposes country-wide lockdown
  • 11th March: US restricts travel from Europe
  • 11th March: WHO declares coronavirus pandemic
  • 17th March: EU closes external borders for 30 days

Coronavirus and Online Retail: 5 Best Practices Marketers Can Use Right Now

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Coronavirus and online retail | Yieldify

What does coronavirus mean for online retail and its marketing? Here’s our advice on how to act now.

Coronavirus has prompted a global domino effect, affecting all industry verticals in one way or another. The measures taken to contain the virus spread have already had a crushing impact on the travel industry in particular, which in return has plummeted the demand for oil and gas, thus crippling the energy sector… You get the idea.

Retail is no exception.

Based on a continuously updated list by CNBC, more than 60 major retailers have already closed all their stores nationwide (that’s approx. 49,200 locations). This is not even taking into account the small and medium-sized retailers, or even businesses outside the US. In the UK, all “non-essential” shops (read: clothing, books, electronics, etc.) have been forced to shut as of March 23rd.

Not being able to operate their brick and mortar locations, suffering from decreased foot traffic, disrupted supply chains and trying to cover for lost wages mean only one thing: a hard hit to the companies’ bottom line. A survey by DigitalCommerce360 found that at least 47% of retailers expect some downside revenue implications.

Coronavirus and online retail - stats | Yieldify

A knight in shining armor, or is it?

While traditional retail is coming to grips with the impact of coronavirus, the spotlight has been naturally cast on e-commerce. The expectations aren’t totally unreasonable. As more consumers stay home due to forced lockdowns, it only makes sense they will shift more and more purchases online.

However, interestingly, several consumer behavior research studies show that spending more time at home does not immediately translate to shopping online. Not yet, at least.

A global survey of 10,000 adults conducted on March 12-14 found no impact on online food and grocery sales. Statista’s data shows that as of March 15, 2020, over 40% of respondents in the United States stated that their frequency of e-commerce shopping had not changed at all.” Finally, a GlobalWebIndex study confirms that only 20% of people in all age groups said they bought more items online due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus and online retail - stats | Yieldify
% of people who say they are doing the following activities more often than before while at home

Another thing to note before singing Hail Marys to e-commerce is that online retail has its own inexhaustible list of coronavirus-induced challenges, such as:

  • Issues with stock and supply chain;
  • Transport route disruptions and delivery delays;
  • Contamination concerns;
  • Amazon capitalizing on market share;
  • Difficulty forecasting sales volumes;
  • Digital and mobile readiness as a whole.

The most recent example comes from US-based e-commerce retailers. According to Glossy, “several fashion companies have halted operations entirely” due to distribution and fulfillment center closures.

Examples of retail chains that have shut their online retail stores are Reformation, The Frankie Shop, Marysia, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods. Others, like Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Tucker, have otherwise been affected by international restrictions.

What’s a brand to do? 5 tips for online retail marketers

The caveat with this – and every other article on coronavirus for that matter – is that the situation changes every second of every minute of every day. Research done last week can have zero validity tomorrow because of new regulations, market shifts, crazy acts of God or who knows what. 

Nonetheless, for now, it seems that online retail certainly has the upper hand when it comes to coronavirus. Forbes’ Shelley E. Kohan suggests that consumers who turn to online shopping based on specific circumstances or events – holiday shopping, for example – are more likely to continue to use this behavior going forward. Thus creating a long-lasting impact that will extend past the current crisis.

This means that strengthening your online retail operations right now can only have a positive impact in the future.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can achieve that.

1. Adjust your messaging

Depending on your category, you may see a larger or a smaller increase in sales. According to S. Kohan, “categories more prone to increase during times of physical retraction of a population are health and beauty, grocery, and consumer product goods.” In other words, consumers will stock up on the essentials, pushing “nice to have” luxury products aside.

Dan Barker has run some interesting Google Trends reports to find that furniture, home and garden stores have seen an increase in traffic, whereas fashion sites – especially the ones known for “going out” attire – have predictably suffered a decline.

As a fashion brand, knowing that the majority of your customers have worn the same sweatpants and t-shirt combo for the past seven days, you might want to adjust your messaging to make your brand relevant.

Examples of brands using their products to capitalize on the work-from-home trend.

2. Show that you’re in the know

DigitalCommerce360 data shows that 75% of retailers in the Top 100 have a coronavirus-related message on their website. These come in various formats – starting from lowkey in-page banners at the top or the bottom of the page to full-page statements (see Restoration Hardware).

Coronavirus and Online Retail - Best Practices | Yieldify
Yieldify banner informing Catbird customers of their COVID-19 policies

This type of messaging is non-intrusive (which has been flagged as a problem with commercial emails) and gives you the chance to share your policies, recommendations, and any other relevant information around COVID-19.

3. Adapt delivery and return processes

One of the most important lines of communication for an e-commerce retailer in a time of crisis is around delivery and returns. Failure to inform and meet customer expectations can have catastrophic effects, and can result in a long-term loss of brand loyalty.

Through the Coronavirus crisis, several trends have emerged, one of them being “contactless” deliveries in which delivery workers leave packages at the door. Curbside pickup has also been adopted by many food and grocery retailers, as well as retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Michael’s and many others.

Coronavirus and Online Retail - Best Practices | Yieldify
Michael’s offering curbside pickup

As many as 19% of the Top 100 retailers have also extended returns and exchanges period with an uptick in free delivery options, all in a bid to appeal to consumers and keep the cash flowing.

Coronavirus and Online Retail - Best Practices | Yieldify
Fashion retailer Miista adjusting its return policy in light of COVID-19

4. Help customers get a feel for your product

If there was ever a time to make sure your product looks irresistibly good online, that time is now. Without the ability to see, touch, feel or even measure your product in real life, consumers will expect to discern that information from your product photos.

Product dimensions and size charts will be absolutely crucial to online furniture, interior decor and fashion stores. When it comes to the FMCG sector, The University of Cambridge has developed Mobile Ready Hero Image Guidelines to help online retailers accurately represent physical products in online shopping environments, especially on mobile devices.

Mobile Ready Hero Image (MRHI) guidelines

But don’t forget to include lifestyle images as well. Here’s a good example from LARQ, a self-cleaning water bottle brand. Their website is a comprehensive mix of product specs, visualizations, product photos and inspiring lifestyle shots.

Coronavirus and Online Retail - Best Practices | Yieldify
LARQ showcasing a perfect mix of product visuals

5. Offer face-to-face interactions online

Praised as the introvert’s sweet dream, coronavirus-induced quarantine and physical distancing aren’t playing out that well for many of us. Mental health professionals are widely discussing the rise in stress levels, anxiety and loneliness with recommendations to stay socially active as much as conditions allow.

Consider this opportunity as a chance to not only increase conversions, but also humanize your brand and maybe help someone in need of human contact. Take a page from Burrow’s playbook.

With its physical showrooms closed, this D-to-C furniture brand decided to offer 15-30 minute virtual appointments with its store specialists to go over any design or product questions customers might have.

Coronavirus and Online Retail - Best Practices | Yieldify
Burrow offers virtual design consultations while its physical showrooms are shut

Closing thoughts

Staying static ultimately won’t help you win in the retail fight against coronavirus, and it’s those that can be reactive to the changing business environment, adapting quickly, that will yield the best results/rewards.

While deemed a crisis, it’s clear that there are indeed opportunities for e-commerce retailers to minimize the risk of losses seen by those in traditional retail, some even making gains. If you make the right business moves now, with your customers at the heart of your strategy, you might just reap long-lasting benefits when the storm comes to close.

Online Retail FAQs

? How is coronavirus impacting the online retail industry?

The impact of coronavirus is different across industries. Some have seen tremendous and instant growth due to lockdown restrictions, others have seen sales fall to very low levels. For example, Amazon has seen a huge 40% year-on-year growth in net sales. Whereas Travel related websites would be affected in a much more negative way,

?️ How can online retailers adapt to coronavirus?

We detail 5 ways that online retailers can adapt, these include:
1) Adjust your messaging
2) Address the issue
3) Adapt delivery and return processes
4) Help customers get a feel for your product
5) Offer face-to-face interactions online

Shopify Academy: The Free Online Training Course [Overview]

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Shopify Academy Course Overview | Yieldify

Looking for some free e-commerce courses to up your game? Shopify Academy is a popular online resource used by newbies and seasoned entrepreneurs alike.

Shopify Academy is a free series of online Shopify training courses taught by industry leaders and experienced entrepreneurs. Featuring 13 courses in total, each Shopify Academy course tackles a different challenge faced by e-commerce business owners. These range from e-commerce SEO to dropshipping, email marketing, and more.

The best news? All 13 courses are completely free! Anyone can simply sign up for a free Shopify Academy account and access the training sessions and on-demand courses. (Note: If you already have a Shopify store account, this will be a separate account with a separate login.)

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at each course:
1. Goal Setting
2. SEO Training for beginners
3. Google Ads for eCommerce
4. Grow your business with Instagram
5. eCommerce Email Marketing
6. Creating a print-on-demand business
7. Product Photography
8. How to design your Shopify Store
9. Getting started with Shopify
10. Facebook Ads For Retention
11. Facebook Ads for Acquisition
12. How to make money from your hobbies
13. Dropshopping 101

Shopify Academy course overview

1. Goal Setting with Daymond John

If you are struggling to plan for your long-term success, this Shopify Academy course is for you. Taught by the fashion mogul turned Shark Tank investor, Daymond John, the course is designed to teach e-commerce entrepreneurs how to set achievable goals.

In particular, Daymond John’s course will teach you how to run your business through a goal-oriented mindset, set measurable and impactful goals and develop business relationships that last. You’ll learn:

  • How to understand the importance of setting the right kinds of goals and how to structure your goals productively.
  • Ways to stay on track and reach your goals through daily actions.
  • How to understand your failures and use them to set goals that work.
Shopify Academy Daymond John course | Yieldify

2. SEO Training for Beginners Course

The importance of a strong e-commerce SEO strategy can’t be underestimated. When your SEO is working for you, customers come into your online store organically through their searches. This means your customer acquisition costs are much lower compared to running lead generation campaigns on paid advertising channels.

The SEO training course is taught by Shopify’s Experimentation Lead, Cassandra Campbell, who is responsible for building Shopify’s SEO strategy. This course covers the basics, making it great for anyone just starting out with their SEO. You’ll learn:

  • How to conduct keyword research (including tools and strategies to use).
  • How to structure your website and incorporate keywords into your website copy.
  • Tips for creating a successful backlink strategy for your business.

While SEO can help you organically reach the top of Google, getting your ads seen first on Google is another challenge that Shopify Academy tackles. In this course, you’ll learn from Daniel Patricio, a Shopify business owner who took his small online store and turned it into a 6-figure business.

The course will take you through the basics of Google Ads, giving you a tour of Google Ads Manager and showing you how to effectively set up Search Ads, Display Ads, and Shopping Ads. You’ll learn:

  • How to set a budget for your campaign.
  • The process for launching your first ad campaign.
  • How to effectively use retargeting ads.

4. Grow Your Business with Instagram

There is no denying the importance of Instagram for e-commerce businesses. Users check the app multiple times a day and are engaging at an exponential rate, making it the perfect place to grow your brand and create a connection with your audience.

With over 16 million followers across her channels, Gretta Van Riel teaches Shopify Academy’s course on everything Instagram. From building a sales funnel to making the most of every post, Van Riel uses real-world examples to ensure you get the most from this course.

Ultimately, the goal of this course is for every student to walk away thinking about Instagram, not as a social network, but as a business tool. You’ll learn:

  • Tips to attract new followers and engage with your audience.
  • How to build an Instagram sales funnel.
  • How Instagram and email can work together for your business.

5. E-commerce Email Marketing 101

The host of popular marketing podcast NerdMarketing.com, Drew Sanocki, teaches this Shopify Academy course on email marketing. This course covers the importance of a business-owned channel to reach your audience – an email list.

Considered as one of the most helpful courses in Shopify Academy, you will first discover the email marketing essentials. After this will be more advanced frameworks to automate your email marketing, saving you time and money. You’ll learn:

  • How to set up your email service provider account.
  • How to automate your email marketing to make an impact on your bottom line.
  • Proven tactics and templates to convert subscribers into buyers.
Shopify Academy Drew Sanocki course | Yieldify

6. Build a Print-on-Demand Empire

If you’re planning to work with print-on-demand services, who better to learn from than Adrian Morrison? His print-on-demand business has surpassed seven figures in sales and he’s taught thousands of entrepreneurs how to build their print-on-demand businesses. You’ll learn:

  • What goes into a print-on-demand business.
  • How to create your branded print-on-demand products.
  • How to grow your print-on-demand business to create your empire.

7. Product Photography for E-commerce

Did you know that over 67% of consumers say images are very important when making purchasing decisions? If you haven’t already spent some time investing in excellent product photography, Shopify Academy’s photography course is for you.

Taught by Jeff Delacruz, founder of Products on White Photography, this course gives you insight into how to plan a shoot and quickly shift to achieve the best photos possible. You’ll learn:

  • How to plan the perfect photoshoot.
  • The art of using what you have at home to create great low/no budget product photography.
  • How you can use product photography to grow your business.

8. How to Design Your Online Store (with Zero Design Experience)

Stephan Peralta, founder and creative director at Sovi Creative, has spent over six years supporting brands in his e-commerce agency. He leads Shopify Academy’s course on designing your online store.

Working through the first principles of e-commerce design, you will ensure that you’re designing for your audience. Then afterward you will tackle brand identity and watch it come together when you design your Shopify store. You’ll learn:

  • The 3-step framework for designing a successful shop.
  • How to create a brand through logos, color schemes, and more.
  • How to choose a theme and customize it using the Shopify theme editor.

9. Getting Started with Shopify Course

If you’re looking to start a Shopify store, this is the right course for you. Entrepreneur and e-commerce guru, Samantha Renée, takes you through how to set up your Shopify store and work towards your very first sale.

This course helps you set your store up for future success – saving time and money by doing it right the first time. You’ll learn:

  • How to become a Shopify expert.
  • How to add products to your store, and accept payments.
  • Tips for launching a successful Shopify store.

10. Facebook Ads for Beginners: Retention and Loyalty Training

Get introduced to Facebook Ads Manager in this course led by Ezra Firestone. You will be guided step-by-step through creating your first Facebook ad campaign and then learn how to create a retargeting campaign that leverages those that have previously visited your website.

From there you’ll work on a customer loyalty campaign to show your current customers some love. You’ll learn:

  • How to navigate Facebook Ads Manager.
  • The ins and outs of retargeting campaigns.
  • How to read and interpret Facebook Analytics.
Shopify Academy Ezra Firestone course | Yieldify

11. Advanced Facebook Ads: Customer Acquisition Training

Ezra Firestone is back for the advanced Facebook Ads course provided by Shopify Academy. In this deeper look into Facebook ads, you’ll go beyond nurturing your current customers and learn how to bring in new customers to your store. You’ll learn:

  • How to create a new customer acquisition campaign.
  • The ins and outs of interest-based targeting.
  • How to analyze your analytics to make decisions about how and where to spend your money.

12. Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

If you have a homemade product that you are looking to turn into a full-fledged business, learning from the Kular family is a great place to start. Therefore, it’s recommended to take this course before you open in order to get a better understanding of how to start and run your business.

From preparing cooking kits for her daughters to having Jaswant’s Kitchen products on the shelves of grocery stores across North America, you will follow the steps the Kular’s took to grow their product from selling to friends to an e-commerce powerhouse. You’ll learn:

  • How to create a basic product and get it in front of customers quickly.
  • Tips to develop a shipping strategy.
  • How to successfully launch a product.

13. Dropshipping 101 Course

Dropshipping is a great way to build an e-commerce business. If the logistics have kept you from taking the plunge, then Shopify Academy’s course taught by Corey Ferreira is a great place to start. For example, he took his side hustle and grew it into a 6-figure business.

In this course, he shares his mistakes and biggest challenges, giving you the road map to navigate the most common pitfalls of dropshipping businesses. The big takeaway from this course is to focus your business on your evergreen niche and to essentially ignore trends. You’ll learn:

  • How to find the ideal product to sell.
  • The way to identify and target the right audience for your product.
  • How to reinvest your earnings to grow your business.

Closing Thoughts

Shopify Academy was ultimately designed to help e-commerce entrepreneurs build online stores and turn a profit. With hands-on walkthroughs, experienced instructors, and an entire business template library, it is one of the richest e-commerce training resources online.

Ultimately, despite the courses being free, the quality of the instructors and the real-world experiences that they share make these courses a sound investment of your time.

Shopify Academy FAQs

❓ What is Shopify Academy?

Shopify Academy is an online series of Shopify training courses taught by industry leaders and experienced entrepreneurs. There are 13 courses in total each focusing on different challenges eCommerce business owners will face.

? Is Shopify Academy free?

Yes, Shopify Academy is a free training series for beginners. You’ll learn how to up your first Shopify store to marketing ideas, and effective product photography.

? Is Shopify easy to learn?

Shopify is relatively easy to learn even for beginners who want to run a standard eCommerce store. The free training courses will cover everything you need to know, and they have a support team on hand to answer any questions.

Coronavirus and the Travel Industry: 8 Tips for Marketers

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What does coronavirus mean for the travel industry and its marketing? Here’s our advice on what do to next…

As COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreads throughout more countries, the travel industry has been at the sharp end of the impact. As of early March, the IATA has forecast that the aviation industry’s global losses could be between $63 billion and $113 billion. With Flybe becoming the first corporate casualty, the picture looks intimidating. 

Working with hundreds of travel brands across the world, we’re seeing strategies unfold minute-by-minute as the situation changes. There are decisions to be made at every level, but what about marketing in particular? 

Here’s what Mark Murray, Yieldify’s Head of Travel, recommends for travel marketers to cope with the crisis. Plus, importantly, what the travel industry can do to be positioned for a good recovery when the time comes…

How to cope with the coronavirus hitting the travel industry

1. Take control of the conversation at every touchpoint

If there’s one point to be clear on, it’s this: every consumer engaging with you is thinking about coronavirus. This means there’s no benefit in trying to avoid the elephant in the room. It’s critical that you’re proactive in your messaging, getting on the front foot to assuage concerns wherever you can. 

Take a cue from Topdeck Travel. We’ve added a notification on their website to proactively inform their visitors about their policies in light of the outbreak: 

Coronavirus impact on travel industry | Yieldify

Being proactive is important, and being consistent is equally so. Don’t bury a message in an email and consider it done. Make sure that you’re reassuring customers across every touchpoint, including your website.

2. Don’t assume the worst for the travel industry

Our data indicates that the impact of COVID-19 varies hugely depending on different businesses within the travel industry.  

For example, we’ve actually seen conversion rates on holiday booking websites grow with the impact of coronavirus. This could be due to many consumers pivoting from international travel to more domestic ‘staycations’:

Coronavirus impact on travel industry | Yieldify

If you’re in the staycation business, it’ll pay to double-down on this message for those travelers who have recently had to cancel or postpone international travel.

The picture for transportation (buses and trains) has been similarly mild. Engagement remains steady, along with conversion rates. Again, it indicates that domestic travel remains steady for the time being: 

Coronavirus impact on travel industry | Yieldify

Unfortunately, we’re unable to say the same for leisure and attractions. Both traffic levels and conversion rates have plummeted: 

Coronavirus impact on travel industry | Yieldify

Seemingly indicating that consumer behavior has immediately moved away from the short-term booking of activities that involve crowds, this is one segment of travel that needs to be the most on its toes. 

3. Move your focus from acquisition to conversion 

Whether you’ve already been hard-hit or simply preparing for a worst-case scenario, one of the most important things you can do now is to pivot your focus from acquisition strategies to conversion strategies. 

Fluctuating traffic levels within the travel industry are inevitable at this juncture – there’s no amount of budget that can secure interest that’s simply not there. In fact, going overboard with promotional activity and fire-sale-like behavior could negatively impact your brand equity for when the current crisis passes.

All this means that the traffic you succeed in acquiring now is all the more important – work on making sure that it converts. 

Working on your conversion rate isn’t just a short-term concern – it’s critical to ensure that you have the quickest-possible recovery once the crisis passes. If you focus on your conversion rate now, you’ll be on a much stronger base when traffic starts coming back, enabling your overall revenue to be higher:

Coronavirus impact on travel industry | Yieldify

4. Re-evaluate your channels 

At this point, your channels won’t be doing their normal job. In this time where ‘business as usual’ has gone out of the window, you need to rethink what those channels can be doing instead. 

Now is the time to invest additional energy into your brand positioning and messaging. Aim to solidify relationships, rather than attempt to generate bookings that simply won’t be happening for a little while. 

For example, if social media is normally a major acquisition channel that’s suddenly dried up, how can you use it to deliver value-add content instead? Now’s the time to really double-down on your brand and building recognition. This means that when traffic starts coming back, it’s in a much better place to book quickly. 

5. Be proactive with policies to assuage doubt 

For many travel companies, you’ll have seen spikes in queries from both existing customers and potential customers asking about what should happen if coronavirus impacts their travel plans. This data below shows how the number of sessions on coronavirus-related pages on travel industry websites has grown rapidly in the last week:

Coronavirus impact on travel industry | Yieldify

Now’s the time to shout loud about the meaningful action you’re taking to protect your customers. Take the approach of proactively showing your customers that you’ve got policies in place in order to earn trust. Here’s an example from JetBlue:

Coronavirus impact on travel industry | Yieldify

This approach doesn’t just apply to your policies regarding cancellations or flexibility – surface your health and safety credentials in order to reassure customers that you’re taking clear action in their interest. 

6. Take stock and be ready to act quickly 

The constant change to travel advice and restrictions means that you may need to change your existing marketing campaigns quickly. Marketing destinations that have become no-go areas is at best a waste of money and at worst could be perceived as distasteful. 

Thoroughly audit the campaigns that you have scheduled and the targets they’re aiming at. Be ready to take action fast if needs be, and stay on top of activity within the wider travel industry.

7. Re-segment and re-forecast 

Crisis mode is all about prioritization. During a time when your new customer acquisition is likely to take a hit, consider what kind of audience your time is best spent engaging. Now’s a good time to step back and re-segment your customer base. This will give a clearer picture of where your advocates are and where your vulnerabilities might lie. 

Try to do this exercise early on so that you can engage your advocates before the recovery comes. Then, continue to work on your less-engaged customer base so that your brand shines through. You should also review the kind of engagement you have with customers who have existing bookings. Question whether the volume and message are enough to sustain confidence. 

It also goes without saying that reviewing your forecasts sooner rather than later will help manage expectations for the rest of the business. 

8. Be ready for the travel industry recovery 

Use the time you have now to ensure that your ‘all clear’ message and strategy is ready far in advance of when you’ll need it. 

It might be tomorrow, it might be in two months’ time – it might be longer. Know that that recovery will be hard enough in itself – don’t make it any more difficult by having to scramble to show that you’re back in business.


Read Part II here: Coronavirus and Online Travel Booking: 3 Facts Travel Marketers Should Know

Everything You Need to Know About Lead Capture Pages

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Lead capture pages cover image | Yieldify

When running a marketing campaign, where do you send your leads? To your homepage, or maybe to a subdomain on your homepage? If you’re not using dedicated lead capture pages, you’re missing a golden opportunity.

Think of your homepage as your information hub, the encyclopedia of your business – every piece of information that a person could want about your business can be found there.

When you’re running a marketing campaign, sending your leads to your homepage can be overwhelming and confusing. They are looking for specific information on a specific feature, product, item, or event. That’s where lead capture pages come in.

Unlike your homepage, a lead capture page has one end goal – provide information to customers to entice them to provide you with their data and nurture the relationship between your business and your potential customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

? What is a lead capture page?

A lead capture page is a specially-designed landing page whose sole purpose is to capture information about your leads: name, email, phone number, etc. This information is collected through a lead capture form and used to help you build a relationship with your leads. The end goal is to convert them into customers through your marketing funnel.

? How do I make a lead capture page for free?

There is software available that can help you create lead capture pages for free, such as Typeform, Mailchimp, Leadpages, and Simple Lead Capture.

How to Build a Lead Capture Page

1. The ask

Determining what information to ask from your customers might seem like an easy question with an easy answer. At first. In reality, it is a complicated formula based on a variety of factors.

When you create your lead capture page, determine the campaign goals and what information you will need to gather from your customer to reach those goals. You want to ensure you can collect all the necessary information, without overwhelming your customer.

Here’s the catch, single-field lead generation forms will generate more leads, but longer forms are more likely to generate qualified leads. When a customer is willing to take the time to fill in 5+ fields, the more likely they are to buy.

Urban Outfitters took the risk with a five-field lead capture form for its Rewards program, including email address, birth date, and style preference. In return, people gain access to UO’s member benefits – a high-value offer that justifies the big ask.

Urban Outfitters’ five-field lead capture form

Admittedly, a form of this length can be offputting for first-time users. This is where segmenting your traffic based on new and returning visitors makes sense. It enables you to serve the most appropriate lead capture format and get the highest conversion rate possible. You could also segment based on demographics or even behavioral factors.

2. The give

Now that you know what you’ll be asking your customers to give you, you need to ask yourself what you are willing to offer in return. Designing a highly converting lead capture page requires that you give to your leads as much as you are asking of them.

Giving your customers a discount for signing up for a newsletter is standard practice for many e-commerce sites. But is it right for you? You’ll need to run your numbers and see if your bottom line can handle a 10-15% discount.

We reviewed lead capture forms that offered an incentive versus those that didn’t, and the results were clear-cut: Lead capture forms with a discount had a 5.9% opt-in rate compared to a 3.8% opt-in for those without a discount. So ask yourself if a 2.1% increase in opt-ins is worth it for your business.

Matcha Source offers 10% off first order in exchange for name and email details

It’s important to remember that a discount isn’t the only valuable thing you can offer to your potential customers. Think about what they put value in and see if there is something you can create that will make them feel like giving you their email address is worth it. Creating a competition, contest, or quiz are all great alternatives with much lower overhead that still allow you to capture the same data. According to LeadQuizzes, the average quiz has a 31.6% lead capture rate.

Upon opening a new location in Los Angeles, skincare brand HeyDay used a giveaway to incentivize customers to submit their email through a lead capture page. They’ve also boosted their social media following by promising a bonus entry to anyone who follows the brand on Instagram.

HeyDay’s lead capture page

3. The position

Where your email sign up form is placed on your lead capture page is a design choice, but it is also a key element in the success of your lead gen strategy.

As a general rule, your form should always be above the fold. Above the fold refers to the section of a website that is visible without any scrolling or clicking. A customer is most engaged with your page content above the fold meaning you should be using this space for your most important information.

If your offer needs more explanation – if, for example, you’re selling an event or special service – then it is best to use your lead capture page to get into the details of your ask. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have a lead capture form above the fold. It just means you should also have one under the fold after you’ve gone into the details of your ask.

You can also turn to other elements that can help you capture leads on your landing page. At Yieldify, we implement various lead capture formats so get the best results for your e-commerce lead generation campaigns: from overlays to pop-ups, push notifications, float buttons, in-page personalization features, and more.

Lead capture page | Yieldify
A lead capture campaign featuring Yieldify’s float button

4. The CTA

The importance of a strong call-to-action (CTA) shouldn’t be underestimated. Your lead capture page is only as powerful as your CTA.

Customers have come to expect CTAs – they function as transitions for customers and prompt them to take immediate action. Customers seek out CTAs to lead them on the path of least resistance. Make it easy for them by creating a prominent CTA with an engaging tagline.

Gone are the days of “click”, “submit”, and “subscribe”. Instead, inject some power words, personalization, exclusivity or actionable verbs into your CTA. Try blending elements from a couple of categories to create personalized, engaging CTAs like “Get my Discount” or “I Want to be an Insider”.

5. The copy

Like any webpage, your lead capture page should have captivating copy that clearly explains everything your customer needs to make an informed decision.

Start with an attention-grabbing headline that encourages customers to keep reading. Include your unique value proposition in your headline. Remember, you don’t have the same real estate on a lead generation page as you do on your homepage. From the get-go, you need to get right to the point – your headline should let your customers know exactly what it is they are seeing.

Your copy should be clear and concise, from the headline through the body copy. Make sure you clearly outline what your customers will receive when they sign up and use bullet points whenever possible to keep the copy readable.

Shavekit’s lead capture page features customer reviews

You can also include customer testimonials or reviews to build trust and infuse your products with value and credibility in the eyes of your customers. Here are several creative ways that Shavekit and Mum&You utilize social proof in different ways.

Mym&You’s lead capture page lists awards and recognitions

6. The nitty-gritty

Privacy Policies. It goes without saying, but in the age of GDPR, CAN-SPAM, and CASL it is essential to ensure that your forms are compliant for users in the European Union, the United States, and Canada. Know your target audience and take the time to make sure your forms and email practices are all compliant.

Page Navigation. To keep your lead gen page as simple and streamlined as possible, remove your page navigation from the top and the bottom of the page. You want to remove all possible distractions from your end goal—capturing their data. Keep the page laser-focused. Remember, the only link to click should be your CTA.

How to Build a Lead Capture Page for Free

  1. Typeform. Designed for respondents, Typeform’s free lead generation forms are beautifully designed and mobile-ready. You can brand your form customized colors, fonts, and images, making sure your page connects with your other brand touchpoints. You’ll also receive an email with each new lead so you can action your responses quickly.
  2. Simple Lead Capture. Called the “simplest and fastest lead capture page publishing platform”, Simple Lead Capture is a simple-to-use, professional point and click page builder. Without the need for coding or design work, Simple Lead Capture lets you build lead capture pages in just a few minutes.
  3. MailChimp. Known predominantly as email software, MailChimp also offers free account holders the ability to create lead capture pages using their templates. You can create a page that highlights a product, offers a free download, or holds a contest.

Alternatively, you can always get in touch with us! Yieldify offers 360° campaign execution, meaning we will strategize, create and implement your lead capture campaign taking care of the copy, the design, and the functionality behind it as well.