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Although this may just seem like a topical festive themed post, the lessons here are applicable all year round.
I just thought why not use 2014’s biggest toys as a control group, then I can do some sneaky Christmas shopping at the same time.
Transparency! It’s what we stand for here at Econsultancy.
Argos launched its Christmas gift finder this week, with a swipe to like app for mobile and desktop.
The app has been soft-launched, and received more than 300,000 visits, three quarters of those from mobile devices.
I've been trying the app out.
This is a huge increase from the 45% of online users using click and collect last Christmas.
Obviously the main benefit of click and collect is the ability to pick up purchases when and where the customer chooses.
You don’t have to wait in your house all day for a package, or take a trip down to the sorting office before it closes on a Saturday morning if you’ve missed it.
The other benefit is that theoretically click and collect should always be free to the customer. Almost 80% of the online shoppers surveyed said they expect click and collect to be offered for free.
It occurred to me that amongst the Econsultancy blog team we certainly have our favourite companies as far as digital ambition and execution are concerned.
So I'm simply going to round up some companies that have done good things on this front and see if our readers get annoyed by any omissions or, indeed, inclusions.
So, here are 18 digital trailblazers. A lot of them are involved solely in ecommerce but not all of them.
N.B. I've deliberately excluded agencies and what I think of as tech companies, though that distinction is a little difficult to make in some areas.
Back in the distant past of 2012, our illustrious editor shared his 14 best practice tips for how ecommerce sites should handle online returns.
Upon reading the above linked article you’ll notice that very little in terms of best practice has changed in the intervening years.
However in the intervening two years since the above publication, how well have some of the top UK ecommerce sites presented their returns information? Let’s take a look...
Forcing users to register their details before they checkout is one of the quickest ways to lower your conversion rate.
Once a customer is ready to buy something from your store, presenting them with page after page of forms in which they need to fill out the most unnecessary of personal details is a sure fire way to litter your site with abandoned baskets and disgruntled customers.
That’s why guest checkout is a must-have feature for almost every online retail experience.
As I mentioned in my best practice guide to guest checkouts having a guest checkout doesn’t necessarily mean losing out on valuable customer data, it means adopting practices that put the customer experience first.
Using guest checkout as the default option, then offering to ‘save the customer details’ after purchase can help lower cart abandonment.
Saving customer details implies convenience, it puts customer experience as the primary focus. ‘Registering’ implies future marketing spam.
Also, if your site automatically fills in any details that the customer has already given you, such as name, address and email, all your customer needs to do is choose a password.
Boom! Conversion achieved. Customer satisfaction achieved. Data achieved. Easy.
It’s awards season here at Econsultancy as the entries detailing inspirational case studies from a huge range of companies continue to roll in, and it's still not too late for your team to enter.
The Digitals 2014 are designed to showcase the finest work from the global digital and ecommerce community, but not just from individuals, we want to put the whole team centre stage in order to celebrate and truly reflect the collaborative culture of our industry.
You have till 24 September 2014 to enter, and in order to give you inspiration for your own entry we’ve rounded up some of the best retail case studies we received in 2013.
For more advice on how to write your entry, read David Moth’s 10 tips for writing a stand out awards entry for The Digitals.
I've been trawling through some mobile sites to find features I like.
Previously I published probably my favourite 15 mobile features but here's 30 more I like to see on the smaller screen.
As ever, check out the Econsultancy Mobile Web Design and Development Best Practice Guide for more guidance and come to the Festival of Marketing in London, November 12-13th, to learn more.
Right, let's get stuck in with the screenshots!
Well, this post does what it says on the tin.
Some sites are mobile sites (m dot) and some are responsive.
For more information on mobile design, check out the Econsultancy Mobile Web Design and Development Best Practice Guide.
And, of course, for more on multichannel marketing, come to the Festival of Marketing in London, November 12-13th.
Way, way back in 2011 we published an article looking at how 26 commerce sites presented their mega menus.
This refers to the drop-down menus that are generally situated within the horizontal navigation at the top of a webpage.
Web trends and UX design have changed in the intervening years, in large part due to increasing consumer adoption of mobile and new technologies such as responsive design, so I thought it would be interesting to revisit those same sites to see how they've evolved.
Here they are...
One of the best ways of improving your digital marketing skills is to try and learn from the best.
That’s why awards season is always a fruitful time at Econsultancy, as we receive loads of entries detailing inspirational case studies from a massive range of companies.
Applications for The Digitals 2014 are currently rolling in, and to give you inspiration for your own entry I’ve rounded up some of the best email marketing case studies we received in 2013.
And to find out more about how you can get involved, read my post on 10 tips for writing a stand out awards entry for The Digitals...
Let's take a look at who is using this technology in retail.
I'm not looking at payment here, which NFC has been mired in, merely how the shopping experience can be enhanced.
I'll get a few things off my chest about what works and what doesn't. First, a super quick differentiation between the two technologies.
Near field communication (NFC) is capable of two way communication, so payment (a debit and credit) for example, or even in medicine (a tag in your skin could send vital signs to your smartphone), and it works only at short distances. NFC can be used more basically, to simply transmit set information to a phone or tablet.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) has been around for yonks, the tags only transmit information, to an RFID reader (an NFC enabled phone or tablet such as an Android can be used as a reader, but for an iPhone a separate reader is required). These tags have been traditionally used in stock control.
There's bluetooth low energy (e.g. iBeacons) in the mix, too. However, many of the uses of beacons have been for push messaging to customers.
In this piece I'm not going to be talking about geofencing which can be done with RFID, GPS or low energy bluetooth (iBeacons). I'll be focusing on active rather than passive engagement, though I'll discuss iBeacons in my conclusion (as they're rapidly taking hold in many of the same scenarios).
Right, now that's taken care of, let's dive in...