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With cross-border ecommerce booming, it’s not surprising that more businesses are launching international websites. Britain generates the biggest online trade surplus in the world, according to research by OC&C.
The value of exports is $1bn more than imports, putting it ahead of the United States and Germany.
It’s not just major retailers such as ASOS and Marks & Spencer that are contributing to this trend. A survey by Royal Mail found six in 10 small and medium-sized businesses are looking to boost their international sales in 2014.
In this two part series key content, consumer and digital marketing trends between the UK and US online marketers are explored.
Transatlantic differences and approaches to content and consumer culture are explained in this first post.
In part two we take a deep dive into UK and US digital, search and social marketers.
The continued growth of ecommerce is nothing new. But what is new and critical for businesses to understand is the role of the touch-integrated customer experience.
Today, the first device a child interacts with is a touch device, whether a smartphone, tablet, phablet or even wearable technology, and consumers of the future will expect the motion of touch integrated fully into every experience they have.
As a result, the next challenge for businesses will be completely integrating touch into the shopping experience.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on innovation in the ecommerce sector for more than a decade now, and it seems to me that we're living in exciting times. We have hit some kind of purple patch.
Why is this? Well, ecommerce has massively matured. It's big business. Digital teams are smarter, and more agile. Sexy new tech such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery allows for sublime user experiences.
As such I wanted to raise a toast to innovation by highlighting a bunch of - hopefully inspiring - examples to you.
But first, a massive caveat: I would severely and mercilessly beat a few of these sites with a big best practice stick. There are product pages with missing information. There are search boxes with tiny fonts. There are usability issues galore.
Secondly, for ecommerce sites, it is all about the data. If you’re not constantly testing, measuring and refining, then you aren’t doing it right. What works for one brand might not work so well for another.
All of that aside, the ecommerce teams that take chances and push the boundaries of are to be applauded. Guidelines are precisely that: guidelines. Rules are there to be broken. And innovation is always to be encouraged, even when it doesn’t work out.
So let's take a look at some ecommerce websites (and one mobile app) that are trying new things, and that are noteworthy for their approach to the user experience. Click on the screenshots to check them out for yourself, and do let me know what you think.
Ecommerce is simple. That’s the premise of this post, which follows on from ‘finding your best products’. The heart of ecommerce is finding your best products and your best customers, in the pursuit of most profit.
The old mail-order mantra of ‘recency, frequency and monetary value’ (RFM) is still useful here. Categorising your customers based on an RFM matrix is the start of identifying your hero customers, and those that need a little more attention.
These posts have been taken from a talk given by Mike Baxter, Econsultancy long-time friend and consultant (author of the Checkout Optimisation guide, amongst other things), at a recent breakfast briefing with Ometria.
Let’s see what Mike had to say…
Ecommerce is simple. Don’t let anyone trouble you with thoughts on mobile, social or personalisation. The beating heart of ecommerce is the triangulation of data and uniting your best products with your best customers to make the most profit.
I had the pleasure of listening to Mike Baxter, an Econsultancy long-time friend and consultant (author of the Checkout Optimisation guide, amongst other things), talking about data triangulation at a recent breakfast briefing with Ometria.
Mike detailed his deceptively simple philosophy of selling online and I thought it worthwhile to put his thoughts down in full, over a couple of posts. Everything you read in these posts comes out of Mike’s presentation.
I think it’s worthwhile dwelling on this idea of knowing your products and customers ahead of anything else. Ultimately it’s the nub of your site design but also your marketing efforts including media spend.
As marketers start to join up data sources, they need to be wary of jumping the gun, trying to stitch up remarketing, social CRM, personalization, before they’ve truly looked at optimising product mix and display.
Here’s what Mike had to say…
Many retailers and pure-plays have expanded into Russia despite some difficulties stemming from changes to import laws.
I’ve previously shared some detail on Russian ecommerce, and the Econsultancy Russia Digital Market Landscape report is well worth a look.
In this post I thought I’d offer some thoughts on search in Russia, shared with me by Hannes Ben, EVP International at Forward3D and founder of Locaria.
Fashion is growing quickly in Russia, with a 42% year on year increase in revenue across clothing, shoes and accessories. In turn, the SEM strategies of these retailers have to be adapted.
So what are the challenges and opportunities of search in Russia?
Funnel analysis, A/B testing & landing page optimisation are all fantastic ways of improving your websites conversion rate.
However, nothing will come close to the effectiveness of VoC analysis to deliver quick conversion rate and website usability increases.
The low-cost clothing brand has entered the top five of the 100 UK retailers on social media for the first time.
According to eDigitalResearch’s Retail Social Media Benchmark, Primark now has almost 2.4m followers on Facebook alone, a steep rise from its reported 700,000 followers just six months ago.
It can be very easy for a high street brand to accrue a high number of followers on any social media platform just through brand identity alone.
However, in order to be an effective driver of traffic to online and offline commerce, brands need to use social media to directly engage with customers through conversation, quality entertaining content and through personalised, always-on customer service.
Therefore a high follower count isn’t necessarily the best metric to gauge whether a brand is ‘doing social media right’. Although the sharp rise in Primark’s social profile is indicative of Primark upping its game considerably.
Let’s take a look at Primark’s Facebook page to see if there’s anything to be learnt from its strategy.
David Moth recently reviewed the new Morrisons grocery shopping site, and found a few UX flaws.
The checkout process contained a number of issues, while the lack of mobile optimisation seems a massive oversight these days.
Since the review, Whatusersdo has conducted remote user tests of the site and found a number of issues, of varying priorities.
So let's see what they are, and how they could be fixed...
The new Marks & Spencer website, two years in the making, is a feast for the eyes. As a replatform, it cost a lot of money and accompanies other changes such as an upgraded contact centre and new in-store tech and merchandising.
In this first look at the site, I'll be pointing out the most obvious changes and discussing why it's a step change and effectively gives the impression of 'luxe high street' online.
What stands out is the focus on visuals, a curated experience with magazine-style editorial, and a user experience that’s particularly impressive on tablet. This isn’t a surprising approach given that 44% of Christmas traffic to the website was from tablets and the brand is moving to a ‘lean back’ experience online for those that want it.
I’ll be following this post with more discussion of the new site and its various features that could be set to revitalise the brand across devices (the M&S mobile site and its apps have been updated, too).
Companies are reporting the underperformance of ecommerce solutions in critical areas of functionality such as site search, product management, SEO and mobile-supported commerce.
These deficiencies, coupled with difficulties with integration, have led many merchants to replatform, according to Econsultancy’s first survey-based Technology for Ecommerce Report.
The reports, carried out in association with Neoworks, shows that only a minority of respondents say their technology performs well across each of the key functionality requirements.
In this post I’ll look in more detail at some findings of this new report based on a survey of more than 500 client-side and agency respondents