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The deal that will see Amazon supplied wholesale fresh produce by Morrisons has fascinated the media.
Could Amazon Pantry's entry to fresh online groceries in the UK shake up the already volatile supermarket landscape?
Here are five questions raised by the deal.
When grocery retailers were publishing their sales figures one of the common trends was an increase in online revenues.
This was good news as sales in brick-and-mortar stores were generally down.
Picking which online supermarket you prefer to park your trolley in can be based on little more than which supermarket you regularly visit in the real world.
It’s the one you’re used to, the one you’ve got a loyalty card with, it’s also probably the one that’s closest to your home.
We sometimes forget that we needn’t be beholden to such boundaries when we’re shopping online for groceries. We have the whole of the nation’s biggest food retailers to choose from and each has their own particular conveniences.
You’re decision on which ecommerce store to shop with may purely come down to which offers the cheapest products, reasonable delivery charges and the availability of a convenient delivery window.
However if all these things are moot, it may also come down to which offers the best user experience.
This post is not meant to definitively suggest which supermarket out of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or Morrisons is the best, it’s just meant to highlight various UX features and tools that make for a great customer experience, features that other ecommerce site designers could learn from.
Search engine optimisation for supermarkets is a tricky animal. Unlike many other online retailers, it isn’t really a case of identifying target terms and then optimising pages and building supporting content around those desired topics.
Not many people will search for 'apples' or 'bread' and then end up doing their shopping at the supermarket which comes out on top.
Lots of the more traditional methods of SEO tend to fall down, while other strategies which are only just starting to permeate the rest of the retail market have accelerated their way up the food chain to being fully embraced by some of the biggest supermarket brands.
With the help of Ruth Attwood, Advanced Search Consultant at 4Ps Marketing, I've been looking at supermarkets and SEO, with a particular focus on Morrisons.
UK retailers Tesco and Morrisons came first and second respectively in The Search Agency UK's latest mobile experience scorecard.
Last week in the importance of responsive design for B2B companies I looked at the scorecard in relation to the suitability of using the FTSE 100 as a test group for mobile experience, due to its large percentage of B2B companies and major international corporations.
As it turned out, despite the plethora of retail chains in the FTSE 100, only two companies listed used responsive design and they were both B2B. Of the remaining 98 companies, 42 use dedicated mobile sites, while the other 56 do not provide a separate mobile experience from the desktop version of their site.
Each of the FTSE 100 companies were evaluated and ranked according to load speed, site format, download speed, social media presence and app presence.
The top scorers in the test were in fact retailers: Tesco, which came in first with a score of 4.38 out of five and Morrison Supermarkets, which came in second with 4.12 out of five.
The average score for all companies in the study is 1.99 out of five, which is slightly below the US average of 2.29.
In the above mentioned article I go into greater depth in regards to the importance of responsive design versus hosting a mobile dedicated site for both retailers and B2B companies. Here I’ll be taking a look at the top companies Tesco and Morrisons, which both operate a dedicated mobile site rather than a responsive desktop site, to see if I agree with the findings.
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...
Pinterest drove an unprecedented amount of traffic to retail sites in Q4 2013 achieving a 50% quarter-over-quarter increase in revenue-per-visit (RPV).
In fact, Pinterest has overtaken Facebook for UK referral revenue and is expected to do the same in the USA this year.
This should come as no surprise. The business case for retailers investing in Pinterest is well past the tipping point. With over 70m global users, Pinterest is now the third most popular social network.
Also, with the amount of Pinterest Pin it buttons overtaking the amount of Facebook Likes on product pages, retailers are realising that Pinterest is a key way to drive sales.
Morrisons has finally taken the plunge and unveiled its first ecommerce store.
The grocery retailer said that its failure to launch an ecommerce store was one of the main reasons behind its recent 5.6% slump in sales, which saw its share price fall by 7%.
Ecommerce still only represents about 5% of total grocery sales in the UK, but that's still a £7.5bn market that Morrisons wasn’t able to compete in.
In general I’m not that impressed with the UX offered by Morrisons’ rival stores, as the checkout process is generally overly long and badly designed on grocery sites.
But has Morrisons managed to buck the trend? Let’s find out...
Predictably John Lewis currently retains the highest social engagement for Christmas ads, but for how long?
As of 10 December 2013, the John Lewis ‘The Bear and The Hare’ ad has achieved 10.3m views, and just over 1m engagements (likes, shares or comments).
However, its engagement-per-thousand-views (EPM) has dropped to 101, from 393 in four weeks.
This seems logical. The more popular and ubiquitous a video is, the less likely that people will bother sharing it as they feel they’re just adding to the noise of what we’ve already seen.
Interestingly though, this viral complacency may lead to a pre-Christmas upset.
Last week saw the unveiling of the now traditional John Lewis Christmas ad, which this year comes with an added helping of cheese and schmaltz.
Despite the fact it stars a cartoon bear and a hare, it would appear the ad is set to break previous John Lewis ad records, at least in social media terms.
In the 24 hours after it was launched the ad was mentioned in 49,152 tweets, of which only 16% were negative. This is more than double the 21,027 mentions that last year’s ad picked up in the same time frame.
While browsing ecommerce sites recently I noticed several examples of retailers that use questionnaires as a way of delivering product recommendations.
It’s not an approach you see that often, as sites more commonly recommend products using features such as ‘Customers who bought this product also bought’ or ‘Popular products’.
But that doesn’t mean questionnaires aren’t an effective tool. In theory, asking customers for their preferences adds an element of personalisation to the shopping experience and makes the recommendations feel more relevant.
This could in turn lead to higher conversions as the customer feels more confident about their product choice.
But does it work in practice? To find out, I tried out product questionnaires on three very different retail sites...
When Morrisons bought Kiddicare in 2011 one of the main motivations was to take advantage of the latter’s expertise in ecommerce.
Despite the fact that Morrisons is the UK’s fourth biggest grocery retailer, it still doesn’t sell groceries online.
However Morrisons finally took its first foray into ecommerce towards the end of last year with the launch a new Wine Cellar business.
The main feature of the site is product recommendations based on the customer’s answers to a taste test. There are just three questions that ask what type of hot drinks the user prefers, whether they like salt and their preference for sugary soft drinks.