Forcing users to register their details before they checkout is a proven way of reducing your conversion rate.
Once a customer has chosen what they want to buy, they don’t want to have to fill in loads of forms and create an account before they can make a purchase.
ASOS managed to halve its abandonment rate at the registration page simply by removing any mention of creating an account, and another retailer added $300m to its annual revenues by removing the registration button.
But despite the evidence in favour of guest checkouts, many retailers (such as HMV) still force customers to create an account.
With this in mind, I looked at which of the top 10 US retailers still require users to register before checkout...
Many brands have tried to nail it, but replicating e-commerce sites on Facebook doesn’t work. At least according to Nokia and Heinz.
At Facebook Marketing 2012 speakers from both brands said that while Facebook can be used as a platform for offering fans exclusive or limited edition products, it is a mistake to simply repliate existing storefronts.
We Are Social marketing director Tom Ollerton highlighted two Heinz case studies where the FMCG brand had used Facebook as a platform to sell new products to its fans.
Heinz wanted to sell just over 1m bottles of its limited edition Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup, so We Are Social recommended that an intial run of 3,000 bottles be sold exlusively through Facebook to build excitement around the launch.
Cadbury’s future marketing campaigns are going to have a stronger focus on social rather than traditional media.
In a talk at Facebook Marketing 2012, Dairy Milk brand manager Sarah Lindley said that the company’s new Joyville marketing activity would seed content on social to build buzz among its online community before turning to TV and print channels.
It is a tactic that Cadbury has used successfully in the past by launching its Bitsa Wispa and Bubbly bar on Facebook and Google+.
Lindley said that a Dairy Milk campaign to celebrate achieving 1m Facebook fans was a big factor in convincing the company of the value of social.
Cadbury realised that although it had almost 1m fans only 16% of them ever saw content that the brand posted on Facebook.
Brands should try to create native experiences within Facebook rather than simply using it drive traffic elsewhere, according to Richard Ayers, digital innovation consultant at Manchester City.
Using Foreign Office embassies as a metaphor, he said that brands need to create experiences that are culturally and contextually relevant to the Facebook audience.
“Do we need someone who just stamps passports and sends people back to the UK, or do we need someone who organises cricket matches and concerts to engage with the local community?”
Ayers works on Manchester City’s social strategy and was responsible for creating an Arabic language social media presence for the club using native speakers.
In case you hadn’t noticed, social is the biggest thing in digital marketing right now.
Facebook is worth $100bn (sort of), Twitter has more than 140m active users and brands are busy experimenting with Pinterest in anticipation of it being ‘the next big thing.’
Yet one company stands alone in refusing to join the rush to social, and it just so happens to be the world’s biggest tech company.
Apple’s refusal to truly embrace social is well documented, but I was encouraged to take a closer look at its approach by the laughable share buttons on its e-commerce site.
Nearly every company you can name has filled its product pages with share icons for Facebook, Twitter, and in some cases Pinterest, but Apple doesn’t have any.
Mobile raises a number of challenges for email marketers.
They have to consider the usability for people who click on links within the email, the clarity for readers who are prioritising their messages, and the fact that you never truly know when a recipient will use mobile.
But it’s too big an opportunity to simply ignore it. Research shows that around 15% to 20% of email is opened on a mobile device, and 41% of European smartphone owners would either close or delete an email not optimised for mobile.
To see whether brands are responding to this trend, dotMailer reviewed the emails of 19 retailers including M&S, Tesco, Homebase, Amazon and ASOS.
It evaluated various design, usability and technical criteria on emails opened on iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
With 60 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s not easy to make your video content stand out from the crowd.
But there are steps you can take to make sure that you give yourself the best chance of showing up in search results, thereby increasing your potential audience.
As our Online Video Best Practice Guide points out, Google is increasingly returning ‘blended’ SERPs which contain video as well as web pages, images, news items and map listings.
It’s actually much easier to get on to page one of Google with a video than for a normal web page. That’s because everyone is competing hard on web page rankings and there are many more web pages out there than there are videos.
Last week O2’s network crashed for 24 hours, leaving its customers fuming as they were forced to face life without text messages and Facebook mobile.
While O2 subscribers are unlikely to forget the experience in a hurry, those of us who use different mobile operators were treated to a masterclass in PR by the staff operating the company's Twitter account.
Flooded with hundreds of messages, O2’s social team responded courteously to customer queries and justified complaints, while also giving some sharp, funny comebacks to a few abusive individuals.
However, while this was a great way to maintain some humour in an otherwise disastrous situation, some could have viewed it as too close to smug and uncaring at times.
For consumer industries such as fashion and retail social media is now a central part of their marketing strategies.
But for other businesses, the benefits of social marketing are less obvious and the tactics are more experimental.
Insurance comparison site Confused.com might not jump out as an obvious example of a brand that you would expect to invest heavily in social, but in recent months it has unveiled several Facebook apps and launched a Pinterest competition.
To find out more about Confused.com’s social strategy and how it measures success, I spoke to head of content and PR Sharon Flaherty...
The terrible truth about smartphones is that although penetration in the UK is now above 50% and traffic is constantly rising, people don’t generally use their phone to buy things.
Conversions lag way behind both tablets and desktop, suggesting that smartphones are primarily used for research and price checking.
As such, brands should be doing all they can to direct mobile users to the checkout as quickly as possible in order to encourage window shoppers to actually make a purchase.
Making it into a one-click process, similar to Amazon, will also help capture impulse buyers.