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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…
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.
I’ve written two posts already about Marks & Spencer's new website. It’s not a love-in, in fact both posts have generated some good debate.
Should it be so editorially led? Could the navigation be slicker? Should there be a guest checkout? Despite these issues, I’m a fan of the new look and aside from the intricacies, the new site is about finally aligning the brand's image with top quality high street fashion.
But it’s about more than just a new website, M&S is investing across the multichannel customer journey, in the knowledge that a multichannel customer can be worth four times as much as one that only shops either on- or offline.
Here are 11 ways Marks & Spencer is enriching its multichannel business, aside from its new desktop and mobile sites and revamped apps.
We’ve looked previously at the state of digital retail in London and found that bricks and mortar, in most cases, is still exactly that.
A lack of wi-fi and interactive devices was identified as an issue for Oxford Street's retailers.
Of more interest, perhaps, is not the overall picture, but how individual retailers are using technology, how this affects the customer experience and for what product types.
Home electrical, technology and automotive retailers have been shown to make greater use of digital media in-store. These products are purchased by informed customers and part of the in-store experience is about providing the customer with information via digital devices.
Of course, many of the products in these sectors are digital themselves and are on display for use in store.
80% of the home electrical/technology retailers on Oxford and Regent Streets had interactive devices for customers to use, versus just 16% of fashion, shoe and accessories retailers.
But let’s look at some specific retailers for best practice or otherwise. Again, this information comes from eccomplished's latest research.
Russia is currently in the spotlight, preparing to host the Winter Olympics, with all the associated negative press for its government.
But whatever the irregularities of Vladimir Putin, Russia has the third highest economic growth rate in the world.
Although online sales in Russia account for just 2% retail sales, this is estimated to rise to 5%, or $46bn, by 2015 according to Morgan Stanley.
And Russian internet users are in thrall to overseas brands. In 2013 the top 25 brands searched for on Yandex, the top Russian search engine with 61% share, were all overseas fashion brands.
So what are international ecommerce outlets waiting for? Shouldn’t everyone be importing into Russia?
One new hurdle to expansion into Russia is increased complexity in shipping since new import laws were implemented in December 2013.
What do you need to know about Russia, who’s already taking advantage and how can you follow suit? This post and our Russia Digital Market Landscape report can help.
In 2013, 30m people were shopping online in MENA according to PayPal. This was an increase of 65% from 2011.
Saudi Arabia was the top buying country in a region of high average income per capita (e.g. more than $100k in Qatar).
But what of the rest of the region? How does it compare with the rest of the world and what sort of numbers are we talking about?
In this post I’ve rounded up some stats shared by the COO of Aramex, Iyad Kamal, at MetaPack’s Delivery Conference this week.
When it comes to wi-fi, customers expect free, fast and legally compliant access wherever they are, from retail outlets to bars, restaurants and leisure facilities.
This is far from a new development, and our always-on society has created a strong international wi-fi market, which is expected to be worth more than $93 billion by 2018, according to a recent report by Markets and Markets.
That's great news for the consumer, and for the wi-fi providers, but to date it has offered little in the way of value for the venues that provide it.
However, the balance is now beginning to be addressed through social wi-fi, which offers venues a range of advantages that can help to build profit and develop a loyal customer base.
In 2013, 83% of retailers gave customers a choice of home delivery options, though less than half (47%) of retailers offered three or more services.
Micros has released its 2014 Multichannel Retail Delivery Report, in which 239 retail websites were tested for their delivery flexibility, customer service and delivery performance.
Here we’ll be taking a specific look at the range of delivery options available from retail websites and how they compare year-on-year.
You know the feeling. The feeling you get when you go to your favourite local business where they welcome you with open arms and a smile on their face.
They know you. They know who you are, listen to what you want and are flexible and helpful enough to give you a great service and a great experience by treating you as an individual.
Increasingly, this is what people expect from big companies too. Customers want big brands to recognise them. They don’t want to have to tell them twice who they are and provide information that they should already know.
When a good idea comes along in retail and digital there are soon many, many start-ups getting in on the action.
Take loyalty apps for example. Loyalty is a big beast. Many types of company may consider it part of their remit, from digital payment solutions, to social-style check-ins, to group buying sites, or indeed a retailer’s own app.
I’ve previously looked at the state of apps in retail and found that using loyalty schemes is pretty much the major rationale for customers using a retail app.
Whether customers will settle on retailers’ own apps or on a generic loyalty scheme provider (perhaps lumped with payment) remains to be seen.
But of those tens of consolidated loyalty apps, which are the best? Here’s the list of five I think are most interesting. Whether mobile wallets such as PayPal and Google Wallet will buy them up remains to be seen but the space seems set to get richer before it gets poorer.
The high street debate is one that attracts much comment on the Econsultancy blog.
Feelings run high when it comes to ensuring the survival of stores in our towns. The situation has yet to crystallise, though it’s clear there are business models that aren’t best suited to bricks and mortar any more.
Alongside the trend towards experiential retail (shops doing more than simply selling stuff that consumers can buy cheaper online), a trend towards creating social value in the community may be emerging.
High street vacancy rates are steady in the UK at 14% in 2013 and independent stores such as cafes are on the increase. Part of the reason for this is social and local.
Most of us still value our retail centres as places to take a ‘humanity bath’, meeting people outside of the office, the church/mosque/synagogue and your neighbourhood.
But what else can big retailers do to engender a closer community? Does every store have to get involved? What about digital technology, can it play a part at a community level?
The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has released a report detailing the business case for socially aware retail. The report includes the results of six months of research with three ASDA stores.
Whilst most of the findings are relevant mainly for larger focal points, chiefly supermarkets, here’s what I gleaned...
I’ve been thinking a lot about mobile apps in retail recently. I’ve been thinking about which retailers need an app and whether in fact we’re seeing a bit of a backlash against the app, fuelled by mobile optimised and responsive websites.
Retail apps still have their place in a mobile optimised world, but they’re increasingly characterised as devices for customer retention. Loyalty programmes and coupons keep regular customers feeling loved.
Of course, there are still some successful shopping apps, too, often for retailers big or pervasive enough to demand smartphone real estate (supermarkets, Amazon and the like).
So, here you go, here are 10 apps that I think have made a difference for customers in retail.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments.