tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/delivery-fulfillment Latest Delivery & fulfillment content from Econsultancy 2017-02-13T10:06:07+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68787 2017-02-13T10:06:07+00:00 2017-02-13T10:06:07+00:00 Why did Poundland’s ecommerce trial fail? Nikki Gilliland <p>So, why exactly did it fail? Here’s a bit of insight into the story.</p> <h3>Failure to convert existing shoppers</h3> <p>Having opened its first ever store over 25 years ago, Poundland is built on a tried and tested formula. The reason behind its success is that it knows exactly what its customers want and it unashamedly delivers it. </p> <p>Its stores – a mainstay on most UK high streets – boast bargain multipacks of everything from batteries to fizzy sweets. Though it famously uses tricks of the trade in order to keep its prices so low, such as ‘re-engineering’ products to shrink the size or quantity of items, faithful customers appear well aware of this fact, maintaining that it offers better value than other stores or budget supermarkets.</p> <p>With the arrival of its online shop, Poundland failed to recognise that most existing customers do not typically use it like a standard or large supermarket. </p> <p>The buying process seems much more fractured – people are likely to pop in simply to check out what bargains are in that week or to pick up a specific item. Meanwhile, Poundland's appeal also surely lies in the joy of coming across a surprise find.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Yes <a href="https://twitter.com/Poundland">@Poundland</a> mate, you've knocked it out of the park with this lifesaver. ONE ENGLISH POUND, GUYS. <a href="https://t.co/VNfdqkmHn8">pic.twitter.com/VNfdqkmHn8</a></p> — Ebony L Nash (@Ebzo) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ebzo/status/825332268893868032">January 28, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Further to this, new research from Shoppercentric has found an increase in the ‘little and often’ trend, with 16% of grocery shoppers rarely doing a main shop – a figure 6% higher than it was in 2016.</p> <p>All in all, it seems unlikely that consumers would be able to replicate this reliable experience online. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3738/Shoppercentric.JPG" alt="" width="240" height="532"></p> <h3>Delivery costs</h3> <p>As the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco launch new initiatives to offer one-hour delivery in London, shipping remains an important sales tactic for most of the big supermarkets.</p> <p>Most consumers are prepared to pay for this convenience, as prices typically fall in line with the supermarket’s wider positioning. In contrast, Poundland’s online delivery costs are somewhat at odds with its overall approach to value, coming in at £4 unless a customer spends over £50.</p> <p>With the average spend in Poundland said to be around £4.72, it seems unlikely that consumers would be willing to pay double for the privilege of getting their goods delivered. What's more, it seems even unlikelier that shoppers would ever be able to reach a £50 shop.</p> <p>Without enough of an incentive in this area, it's unsurprising that existing customers remain satisfied with shopping in-store.</p> <h3>Lack of focus</h3> <p>Lidl was named as the fastest-growing retailer in 2016, with Aldi and Lidl accounting for 10% of the total supermarket spend in the UK. Both have famously avoided venturing into the online sphere, instead choosing to focus on physical expansion with investment in stores and warehouses.</p> <p>It’s certainly been a successful strategy, with some suggesting Poundland could have similarly benefitted from this laser-focus on its physical presence instead of forcing a multi-channel approach.</p> <p>That being said, with the recent launch of <a href="http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/poundland-now-opening-clothing-stores-12545933" target="_blank">dedicated clothing stores</a> for its Pep &amp; Co range, it does appear to be investing somewhat in this area. Again, perhaps herein lies the problem, resulting in a fractured or shallow focus across the board.</p> <h3>Mixed user experience</h3> <p>Finally, while the online user experience is somewhat irrelevant now - with a lack of interest in the overall concept overriding design – it is still interesting to note a few errors. </p> <p>On the positive side, the site appears to be very simple to use, with intuitive navigation and guest checkout facilitating an easy experience.</p> <p>Conversely, certain features like the ‘Shuffle’ tool are a bit baffling.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3737/Shuffle.JPG" alt="" width="690" height="465"></p> <p>Attempting to replicate the experience of finding surprise bargains in-store, this ‘new, fun way to shop’ on-site offers up a random selection of items.</p> <p>However, instead of providing users with a novel or entertaining experience, it negates the way people naturally want to shop online, making the whole process much more time-consuming and muddled than it should be.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>The aforementioned shuffle feature is perhaps a good reflection of why Poundland's ecommerce venture failed to work. Ultimately, it’s just a bit misjudged. </p> <p>Poundland’s expansion into ecommerce was done in spite of the needs of its core customer. And while a multichannel approach is undoubtedly the goal of many big retailers – it’s no use if the demand isn’t there in the first place.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66602-do-supermarkets-know-what-online-customers-want/" target="_blank">Do supermarkets know what online customers want?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64799-are-supermarkets-missing-seo-opportunities/" target="_blank">Are supermarkets missing SEO opportunities?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68355-how-online-grocery-retailers-are-capitalising-on-the-need-for-convenience/" target="_blank">How online grocery retailers are capitalising on the need for convenience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68739 2017-01-26T11:05:13+00:00 2017-01-26T11:05:13+00:00 How has Click & Collect evolved, and is it still in high demand? Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a few facts and figures on the current state of click and collect, as well as a bit of insight into how the service might evolve in future.</p> <h3>Consumer demand for convenience</h3> <p>Before we get on to any changes in the click and collect model, it's worth noting that consumer expectations for a seamless and multichannel experience have heightened in the past few years. Consequently, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67534-from-checkout-to-conversion-how-to-prevent-basket-abandonment/" target="_blank">basket abandonment</a> remains a huge problem for online retailers.</p> <p>Of course - from complicated sign-in forms to an absence of guest checkout - there are many reasons why consumers fail to follow through on purchases.</p> <p>However, two of the biggest remain surprise delivery charges and a lack of convenient delivery options.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.retailtimes.co.uk/retailers-cant-rely-brand-integrity-guarantee-seasonal-sales-says-shutl/" target="_blank">recent Shutl survey</a> of over 1,070 shoppers found that 95% of consumers would consider going to another retailer if their first choice didn’t offer a suitable delivery time.</p> <p>What’s more, it also concluded that 45% of consumers now have higher expectations of online delivery than in 2015.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3353/Shutl.JPG" alt="" width="480" height="501"></p> <h3>Increase in services</h3> <p>The question is - are online retailers meeting this demand?</p> <p>As of early 2016, it was reported that just over half of online retailers were offering a click and collect service, with <a href="http://edelivery.net/2016/03/72-of-uk-shoppers-now-using-click-and-collect-but-in-store-experience-lets-things-down/" target="_blank">72% of consumers</a> also making use of it. </p> <p>So, it appears we’re not far from reaching the 76% prediction, and this is likely due to many more retailers introducing click and collect since 2014, as well as an increase in the types of services offered.</p> <p>Instead of just multichannel retailers such as Next or John Lewis offering in-store pick up, both ecommerce brands and supermarkets are now partnering with third-party companies to offer greater convenience.</p> <p>Just one recent example is Missguided, which added a Collect Plus option last year to give loyal online shoppers the chance to pick up goods from local convenience stores and newsagents. It also partners with delivery startup Doddle.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Shoesday?src=hash">#Shoesday</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/Missguided">@Missguided</a> have you covered with up to 75% off. Order pre-8pm for FREE delivery to Doddle. No brainer. <a href="https://t.co/9hojruFoBc">https://t.co/9hojruFoBc</a> <a href="https://t.co/2v4g52bAw4">pic.twitter.com/2v4g52bAw4</a></p> — Doddle (@Doddle) <a href="https://twitter.com/Doddle/status/823802521655316480">January 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Many retailers are also cottoning on to the fact that click and collect is not only a way of reducing online abandonment, but increasing footfall and in-store sales.</p> <p>Take Morrisons, for instance, which also partnered with Doddle to add click and collect concessions to its larger outlets. By introducing this feature, it has been able to give greater incentive for consumers to shop in its physical supermarkets, in turn capitalising on spontaneous in-store purchases. </p> <h3>Challenges and consumer dissatisfaction</h3> <p>Despite the increase in click and collect usage, shoppers have been left increasingly frustrated with the experience of late.</p> <p>According to JDA, <a href="http://www.retailtechnology.co.uk/news/5903/more-than-a-third-experience-christmas-click--collect-problems/">36% of shoppers encountered a problem</a> with collection last Christmas, with long waiting times and a lack of in-store employees being cited as the biggest areas of dissatisfaction. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3354/JDA.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="372"></p> <p>Implementing the service can be a risk for retailers.</p> <p>While the added convenience and increase in sales might prove irresistible, there is the danger that consumer perception will be damaged, and margins will become even tighter.</p> <p>With click and collect costing retailers four times more than in-store purchases, a lack of profit is indeed a significant problem.</p> <p>And as a result, even big retailers like John Lewis and Tesco have begun charging for click-and-collect orders under £30, potentially putting off consumers from using it in the process. Indeed, after angry responses from Tesco consumers, the supermarket subsequently dropped the charge.</p> <p>Other retailers have introduced measures to try and prevent this type of backlash. Sports Direct, for example, charges £4.99 for collection, but also offers a £5 voucher if consumers pick up from a store instead of a Collect Plus outlet.</p> <p>Of course, another factor that could impact click and collect usage is the option for same day delivery. </p> <p>72% of consumers <a href="http://edelivery.net/2016/09/retailers-missing-4-9bn-day-delivery-goldmine-says-stuart/" target="_blank">say that they would be willing to pay more</a> to ensure their items are delivered on the same day, which means that standard collection services could be sidelined if even more retailers introduce it. </p> <p>Whether or not this will happen in the near future is unclear, with reluctance from retailers again stemming from high cost and logistical complexities.</p> <h3>Rise of 'click and commute'</h3> <p>With the aforementioned challenges, it is clear that the click and collect model might not have the same attraction as it did three years ago.</p> <p>That being said, it’s still been suggested that click and collect usage will <a href="http://postandparcel.info/71804/news/uk-online-delivery-and-click-and-collect-to-double-by-2025-claims-new-report/" target="_blank">double by 2025</a>, with the expectation that it will generate 10% (or £23bn) of UK retail sales.</p> <p>So, where will this growth stem from?</p> <p>Many predict it will be from the so-called ‘click and commute’ model, which counts on retailers partnering with third-party companies to offer dedicated collection points in train stations.</p> <p>With Doddle reportedly opening a new location every two weeks in the UK, as well as expanding its service to the US market, we’ve already seen evidence of this. </p> <p>As consumer expectations continue to increase, we could see many more retailers opting for this cost-effective solution to the tricky 'last mile'.</p> <p><em>Click and collect this additional knowledge:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66389-what-does-the-ideal-click-and-collect-service-look-like/"><em>What does the ideal click and collect service look like?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68043-will-click-collect-be-killed-off-by-same-day-delivery/"><em>Will click &amp; collect be killed off by same-day delivery?</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68701 2017-01-16T11:47:44+00:00 2017-01-16T11:47:44+00:00 The impact of the sharing economy on retail Nikki Gilliland <p>One industry that has yet to see much disruption from this area is retail. By 2025, however, it is predicted that the sharing economy will be worth a whopping $335bn.</p> <p>Will fashion and retail brands see a slice of the pie?</p> <p>Here’s a closer look at the opportunities (or dangers) the sharing economy presents and how it has already had an impact.</p> <h3>Why is the sharing economy such big business?</h3> <p>Now more than ever, there is a huge demand for services within the sharing economy, with benefits ranging from convenience to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68097-purchase-with-purpose-how-four-brands-use-social-good-to-drive-consumer-loyalty/" target="_blank">social good</a>.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.pwc.co.uk/issues/megatrends/collisions/sharingeconomy/the-sharing-economy-sizing-the-revenue-opportunity.html" target="_blank">PWC research</a>, 86% of US adults who are familiar with the sharing economy agree that it makes life affordable.</p> <p>Similarly, 76% agree that it’s better for the environment, and 63% say it’s more fun than engaging with traditional companies.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3017/PWC.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="340"></p> <p>Meanwhile, we’re forever being told that millennials in particular are keen to forgo possessions for a more pared-down lifestyle – with <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/05/millennials-are-prioritizing-experiences-over-stuff.html" target="_blank">73% preferring to spend money on experiences</a> rather than material goods.</p> <p>Altogether, does this mean young people are turning towards non-traditional retail?</p> <h3>A new kind of retail</h3> <p>With just 2% of Americans having engaged in a retail-based transaction in the sharing economy - a much lower percentage compared to entertainment or automotive sectors - it's not a trend that's taken off just yet. </p> <p>However, we have certainly seen some disruption from online marketplaces, with consumer willingness to buy and sell online fuelling the rise of sites like eBay and Etsy. </p> <p>When it comes to the more specific notion of <em>sharing</em> – i.e. borrowing or renting - we’ve also seen a number of companies find success.</p> <p>Sites like Rent the Runway and Beg, Borrow or Steal are built on the idea that consumers can’t afford to buy luxury goods or simply don’t want to spend over the odds, so they offer rental as a short-term alternative instead. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Looking better at brunch thanks to <a href="https://twitter.com/RenttheRunway">@renttherunway</a>. Obsessed with these <a href="https://twitter.com/Nike">@nike</a> pants <a href="https://t.co/FwYyUj9qKj">https://t.co/FwYyUj9qKj</a> <a href="https://t.co/YHCUD2RKCo">pic.twitter.com/YHCUD2RKCo</a></p> — Kayleigh Harrington (@Kayleigh_H) <a href="https://twitter.com/Kayleigh_H/status/782273719351832580">October 1, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, it’s not only luxury brands that are capitalising on peer-to-peer demand.</p> <p>More recently, we’ve seen an influx of new brands appear. The likes of Vigga, a subscription-based service for pre-worn baby clothes, and Poshmark, a way to buy and sell lower-price fashion, demonstrate that it’s not always about getting designer dresses on the cheap.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/154178062" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>Whether it’s giving into demand for disposable fashion or offering a way to dress sustainably – retailers are using the sharing economy to provide greater value for consumers.  </p> <h3>Opportunities and challenges</h3> <p>Of course, borrowing or recycling consumer goods is a little different than sharing accommodation or music. There is a behavioural mind-set that most people have when it comes to what they wear or items they use on a day to day basis, and it's very different compared to what they listen to or how they travel. </p> <p>Perhaps this reflects why just a small percentage of consumers are aware of or currently use sharing economies within retail.</p> <p>But is it due to less demand, or fewer opportunities for consumers? </p> <p>That’s not to say that existing brands aren’t beginning to recognise potential value, but many understand that there are far more stumbling blocks for retailers than utility-based companies.</p> <p>While an Uber, for example, is on-demand, guaranteeing that customer needs are met within the shortest possible time-frame - a product-based company has to deal with additional factors like inventory and delivery. </p> <p>One solution to this is sharing the supply chain, meaning that retailers will partner with existing companies to help facilitate services.</p> <p>We've already seen examples of this.</p> <p>Patagonia, the outdoor apparel retailer, has partnered with the freecycle startup Yerdle to encourage the recycling and reusing of its clothing. Similarly, Walgreens has also gone down the partnership route, teaming up with TaskRabbit to deliver its products to customer’s homes.</p> <p>There are many benefits to this tactic, a couple of which include:</p> <h4>Improved brand perception</h4> <p>By embracing the sharing economy, brands can bring awareness to the wider positive values they uphold. Sustainability, inclusivity, functionality – these are all benefits that this business model evokes, and that consumers increasingly care about.</p> <h4>Building community</h4> <p>In turn, the sharing economy helps build trust. By creating a more emotional connection, through both the aforementioned values and sense of community that ‘sharing’ evokes, consumers are more likely to return and remain loyal.</p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>The concept of the sharing economy is certainly not easy for retail brands to implement, with logistical factors and consumer preferences still being big barriers.</p> <p>However, with the aforementioned benefits, it is a tempting opportunity for existing companies to consider.</p> <p>With a growing number of startups fulfilling desires for greater connection with brands, sustainable values and a minimal lifestyle - there could be further disruption to come.</p> <p><em>For more on the sharing economy, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66351-how-will-crowdsourcing-and-the-sharing-economy-develop-in-the-next-five-years/">How will crowdsourcing and the sharing economy develop in the next five years?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68375-airbnb-how-its-customer-experience-is-revolutionising-the-travel-industry/">Airbnb: How its customer experience is revolutionising the travel industry</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68704 2017-01-13T13:27:41+00:00 2017-01-13T13:27:41+00:00 10 mind-boggling digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>You’ll find news on content marketing formats, abandonment emails, customer retention and social media. Don’t forget to download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium/" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for lots more.</p> <h3>72% of marketers value data analysis over social media skills</h3> <p>According to a new report by BlueVenn, 72% of marketers consider data analysis to be the most important skill to acquire in the next two years.</p> <p>From speaking to over 200 marketers in the US and UK, BlueVenn found that understanding customer data is considered far more vital than the likes of social media and web development, with just 65% and 31% of respondents citing these respectively.</p> <p>This appears to be an especially common view in larger businesses, where a lack of tools and access to technologies is the biggest barrier.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3043/BlueVenn.jpg" alt="" width="740" height="475"></p> <h3>Abandonment emails sent after one-hour boost conversion</h3> <p>New stats from SaleCycle show that the best time to reconnect with shoppers is one hour after they’ve abandoned their basket.</p> <p>From the conversion rates of 500 global brands, an average conversion of 6.33% was seen after one hour, compared with just 3.14% when sent before one hour and 3.41% one to two hours after.</p> <p>As well as timing, research also found that personalisation is a big factor in email success, with subject names that include the customer name seeing the highest open-rate.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3048/Email_time.JPG" alt="" width="314" height="522"></p> <h3>Two-thirds of UK consumers willing to use robots for banking</h3> <p>‘Robo-advisors’ is not a term we’ll be adopting any time soon, however, according to new research from Accenture more of us will be willing to accept the concept in future.</p> <p>Apparently, it refers to the robots used to offer financial or banking advice in place of real-life humans. And according to a survey of UK consumers, 68% are willing to use them.</p> <p>The reasons behind the demand for this type of technology is speed and convenience, with 40% citing this factor for using it. Lastly, 25% see the impartiality of robo-advice as a key attraction, with this figure rising to almost one third in those over 65.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3047/Robots.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="397"></p> <h3>Instagram Stories grows to 150m daily users</h3> <p>Despite initial reservations from users, Instagram Stories continues to grow, with the feature adding 50m more daily users since October.</p> <p>According to other recent stats, a third of the most-viewed stories come from businesses, and one in five stories on Instagram result in a direct message. </p> <p>Lastly, 70% of video views are reportedly played with the sound on (though this does not include Live Stories).</p> <h3>Original data is the best-performing type of content marketing</h3> <p>A survey by Clutch has uncovered the types of content that marketers believe leads to greater success.</p> <p>17% of respondents said that infographics perform the best, while 18% cited research or original data – both trumped other formats like blog posts and video.</p> <p>In terms of promotion, 85% of content marketers cited paid distribution, such as social media, PPC and native ads as the most effective tactic, over-and-above organic efforts. This reflects the strategies of most marketing agencies, with 71% using paid distribution tactics most frequently.</p> <h3>Nearly 20% of online retailers lost out to rivals over Christmas</h3> <p>According to the latest JDA/Centiro report, many retailers failed to meet the growing consumer demand for convenience during the 2016 Christmas period.</p> <p>19% of online Christmas customers shopped at alternative retailers due to stock unavailability and delivery time constraints.</p> <p>While use of click-and-collect services has somewhat plateaued, it is mostly seen as a way of avoiding delivery charges, with 53% of consumers recently using it for this reason.</p> <p>The report also found that many people suffered problems with click and collect last Christmas, with long waiting times due to a lack of staff having a negative impact on the experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3045/Click_and_Collect.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="571"></p> <h3>Valentine’s Day presents big opportunity for retailers</h3> <p>With Black Friday and Christmas out of the way, many retailers are turning their attention towards the next big holiday.</p> <p>According to stats from Bing, Valentine’s Day presents a huge opportunity, after an estimated $19.7bn was spent last year (and an average of $146 per person).</p> <p>However, it’s not just humans that can expect a gift or two. $681m was reportedly spent on pets for Valentine’s Day last year, giving pet retailers a good reason to get on board in 2017.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3046/Valentines_Day.jpg" alt="" width="483" height="229"></p> <h3>Instagram most important platform for marketers</h3> <p>In more Instagram-related stats, it’s been revealed as the platform marketers will invest the most in this year.</p> <p>Research from Greenlight shows that 70% will focus on Instagram, while 40% of marketers will invest in Twitter. </p> <p>Interestingly, older marketers are placing less importance on social platforms, with 50% of professionals who are over the age of 50 reporting no plans to invest in Instagram and 58% saying the same for Snapchat. </p> <h3>Generation Z bored by standard digital ads</h3> <p>According to a study by Kantar Millward Brown, generation Z (i.e. consumers aged between 16-19) have high expectations when it comes to digital advertising, preferring ads that allow them to interact or make a decision.</p> <p>When it comes to ads that prompt viewers to vote, generation Z reported a positivity score of 31%, compared to just 25% from generation Y. </p> <p>Generation Z were also found to actively dislike invasive ad formats like non-skippable pre-rolls. However, interruption appears to be a big bugbear for all age ranges, with the majority of people installing ad blockers due to this reason.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3044/AdReaction.jpg" alt="" width="740" height="399"></p> <h3>Customer retention is down 7% globally</h3> <p>From a global study of more than 24,000 consumers across nine industry sectors, Verint and IDC has found that customer retention dropped by 7% last year.</p> <p>Overall, this appears to be down to consumers who prefer using digital-based companies displaying less brand loyalty than those who engage with businesses on a human and one-to-one level.</p> <p>49% of digital customers have been with providers for more than three years compared with 57% who prefer to go in-store.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68677 2017-01-05T10:30:00+00:00 2017-01-05T10:30:00+00:00 How 10 ecommerce sites present returns policies Nikki Gilliland <p>According to <a href="https://www.pressroom.ups.com/mobile0c9a66/assets/pdf/pressroom/infographic/2016%20National%20Returns%20Day%20Infographic%20.pdf" target="_blank">research from UPS</a>, 66% of online shoppers want to be able to return items for free, 58% want a hassle-free return policy and 47% want an easy-to-print returns label.</p> <p>So how do brands measure up? Here’s a look at how 10 ecommerce sites present returns policies online.</p> <h3>ASOS</h3> <p>Users can access information about ASOS returns in two places.</p> <p>Either by clicking on the 'Help' tab at the top right of the homepage, or via the 'Free Delivery Worldwide' banner in the centre.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2769/ASOS_1.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="765"></p> <p>The latter page nicely lists the various options for returns, pointing customers to links for creating free labels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2770/ASOS_2.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="792"></p> <p>Meanwhile, the Help section is set out more like an FAQ page, which is also useful for general enquiries and info on overseas returns.</p> <p>While there is a decent amount of information overall, it seems odd that the two sections are not combined or better linked.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2772/ASOS_4.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="569"></p> <h3>Amazon</h3> <p>Amazon's returns policy is easily located within the 'Help' section of its website, as well as in the bottom footer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2791/Amazon_Help.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="653"></p> <p>There's lots of detail on Amazon's policy, with particularly helpful videos explaining how to send back unwanted items.</p> <p>The below 'Returns are Easy' section is also worth highlighting. By breaking down the process into four steps, with simple imagery to highlight each one, users are reassured that it will be hassle-free.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2764/Amazon_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="498"></p> <h3>Schuh</h3> <p>Schuh sets out its returns policy from the get-go, including it on product pages to inform customers before they've even bought anything.</p> <p>This is incredibly reassuring, and could even help to encourage spontaneous purchases thanks to the knowledge that sending it back won't be an issue. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2773/Shuh.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="591"></p> <p>This approach is continued throughout the site.</p> <p>The detailed returns policy highlights the inclusion of sale items, using copy that is geared around customer-satisfaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2774/Schuh_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="542"></p> <h3>Not On The High Street</h3> <p>Returns policies can be tricky for marketplaces, as it is usually up to individual sellers and buyers to negotiate the logistics.</p> <p>Despite its best efforts, Not On The High Street doesn't do much to clear up the confusion, explaining how to return items in a frustratingly convoluted way.</p> <p>It could definitely be made clearer - and the fact that customers are left to 'bear the direct cost of returning the product' is a bit of a sting in the tail too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2775/NOTHS.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="730"></p> <h3>AO</h3> <p>AO.com is well-known for offering an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/" target="_blank">excellent ecommerce experience</a>.</p> <p>Sadly, despite very clear and concise information about delivery, its stance on returns is less easy to locate.</p> <p>It's not impossible to find, however it does take two clicks (on the 'Help and Advice' tab on the homepage and then the 'Help with my Order' section) until any info about returns is displayed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2796/AO.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="683"></p> <p>From there, users still need to click through to find the policy itself.</p> <p>Luckily, AO reminds us how good it is at customer service with its convenient and free collection service, including additional information about its call centres should you need any more help.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2797/AO_returns.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="676"></p> <h3>Firebox</h3> <p>Firebox takes a no-fuss approach to returns.</p> <p>While its inclusion in the homepage footer isn't as visible as it could be, the decision to plainly label it 'returns' rather than hide it behind a 'help' or 'further info' section is appreciated.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2779/Firebox_1.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="582"></p> <p>The returns policy is succinctly and plainly explained, too.</p> <p>I particularly like how Firebox's fun and friendly tone of voice is extended here, which makes the free and easy process sound all the sweeter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2780/Firebox_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="602"></p> <h3>Zappos</h3> <p>Zappos is a US retailer that's known for its superb dedication to customer service.</p> <p>This is immediately apparent to consumers, with the brand even including its free returns policy in its H1 tag.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2781/Zappos.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <p>Onto the site itself, and although the returns page is slightly hidden in the bottom footer, the clear and concise explanation is one of the best I've seen.</p> <p>By breaking it down into a three-step process, it is super quick and easy for consumers to understand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2782/Zappos_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="656"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>Just one click on the 'Customer Services' tab is all it takes to find John Lewis's returns policy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2783/John_Lewis.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="719"></p> <p>Clicking through from the comprehensive main menu, users are met with a thorough and easy-to-understand explanation.</p> <p>Happily, John Lewis lets customers return to various outlets including Royal Mail and Waitrose for free, highlighting various links and easy-to-print labels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2799/John_Lewis_returns.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="768"></p> <h3>Nike</h3> <p>Nike is another brand that succinctly explains its policy, breaking everything down into easy-to-digest paragraphs.</p> <p>A surprising amount of retailers pack far too much copy into a single page, which can automatically put consumers off, but that's not the case here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2785/Nike.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="549"></p> <p>Alongside links to further help on the right-hand side of the page, I also like how Nike includes information about returns it does <em>not</em> accept.</p> <p>Many brands are reluctant to talk about non-refundable items, however Nike's stance comes off as confident and honest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2786/Nike_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="626"></p> <h3>Threadless</h3> <p>Lastly, an interesting approach from Threadless.</p> <p>Its help section is easy to find, coming in the form of a separate pop-out site dedicated to customer support.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2788/Threadless_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="821"></p> <p>Interestingly, Threadless does not offer returns on any of its products.</p> <p>However, it does offer a 'happiness guarantee' - which essentially means it'll replace any unwanted items with a new or different product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2789/Threadless_3.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="426"></p> <p>This is certainly frustrating for consumers who want their money back, however, I think the slightly self-deprecating tone and quirky approach works.</p> <p>It also helps that the 'return policy' is included in each product page, giving consumers a heads-up about what to expect.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2790/Threadless_4.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="556"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68652 2016-12-22T09:50:00+00:00 2016-12-22T09:50:00+00:00 Ecommerce in 2017: What do the experts predict? Nikki Gilliland <p>If you’d like to learn more about ecommerce, book yourself into one of the following training courses from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/fast-track-ecommerce-online-retailing/">Ecommerce and Online Retailing Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/conversion-optimisation/">Conversion Optimisation - How to Deliver Digital Growth Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/usability-and-persuasion-in-ecommerce/">Usability and Persuasion in E-commerce Training</a></li> </ul> <h3>Seamless customer experience</h3> <p><strong>Matt Curry, Head of Ecommerce at LoveHoney:</strong></p> <p>I think we'll be seeing a lot more zero-friction experiences. The recent announcement of Amazon Shop is a good example of this in the real world, but online we'll be doing everything we can to get out of the way of someone trying to order.</p> <p>Everything from seamless identification, automated intelligent orders, native payments in the browser and on IoT devices, to sites that customise their UI on the fly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2533/Amazon_Go.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="456"></p> <h3>Data-driven marketing</h3> <p><strong>James Gurd, Owner of Digital Juggler:</strong></p> <p>I’m not going to get excited yet by IoT and VR – I know they’re already established in some markets, but I just can’t see mass adoption coming in the UK yet, and especially not in retail ecommerce. </p> <p>For me, marketing automation based on product lifecycles and user-level behaviour will become more and more apparent.</p> <p>We’ll see less bucket emails and more targeted communication, which has been happening over the past few years but at a slow rate.</p> <p>I think ecommerce specialists are growing in maturity and confidence, so data driven decision-making is becoming more of a norm, even though opinions and ‘it’s good practice’ do still influence many decisions.</p> <h3>Mobile rewards </h3> <p><strong>James Gurd:</strong></p> <p>Mobile payment still threatens to break free but it hinges on successfully integrating loyalty programs and rewards. </p> <p>So far brands like Starbucks have nailed it, and 2016 has seen some other high profile brands like Kohls push in this area. What’s lacking to make me confident 2017 is <em>the year,</em> is one of the big tech/payment companies resolving loyalty across a wide range of merchants.</p> <h3>Personalisation of shopper bots</h3> <p><strong>Depesh Mandalia, CMO of ToucanBox:</strong></p> <p>The emergence of bots and apps which provide a convenience shopping play will be a growing trend in 2017. Both Apple and Facebook are investing here with a view to enabling brands to deploy shopper bots that can create personalised recommendations.</p> <p>Personalisation has lacked an element of context in the past, but a bot could both dig deep into a customer's history and ask questions in real-time to better tailor products.</p> <p>While I can order items on my Amazon Echo, it doesn't yet have awareness of my history to better tailor my requests. Asking Echo "buy some vests for my son", it should ask contextual questions like 'how old?' or 'what size?', but should also check my browsing/purchase history to tailor those results.</p> <p>Having an in-home shopping assistant could be a huge advantage for retailers to connect in a more intimate manner with potential and new customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2529/Amazon_Echo.JPG" alt="" width="590" height="336"></p> <h3>Uptake of A/B testing</h3> <p><strong>Paul Rouke, founder &amp; CEO, PRWD:</strong></p> <p>The free-to-use Google Optimize is going to bring a significant increase in both the awareness (and uptake) of A/B testing amongst retailers.</p> <p>With this, my word of warning for retailers would be - when a tool is free, there is less value placed on the importance of having the correctly skilled people available to get the most out of the tool. </p> <p>A/B testing carried out intelligently (and even strategically), requires a multidisciplinary team with hypotheses underpinned by user research, data analysis and heuristics. </p> <p>Ensure that your business doesn’t end up with “all the gear, but no idea” when it comes to A/B testing in 2017.</p> <h3>Wearables</h3> <p><strong>Matt Curry:</strong></p> <p>Now that Mobile is by far the largest driver of traffic and revenue, we have to presume the next device type will be wearables.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2528/wearables.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="433"></p> <h3>The re-invented HIPPO </h3> <p><strong>Paul Rouke:</strong></p> <p>An increasing amount of humility being exhibited by retailers, as they evolve to becoming customer-centric. </p> <p>The re-invented <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68080-it-s-time-to-reinvent-the-hippo" target="_blank">HIPPO </a>characteristics will continue to be harnessed by businesses and individuals as egotism, opinion and “what competitors are doing” are slowly removed from decision making around how we improve our user experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2530/HIPPO.JPG" alt="" width="544" height="303"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68611 2016-12-19T14:00:00+00:00 2016-12-19T14:00:00+00:00 What were the biggest ecommerce trends in 2016? Nikki Gilliland <p>For more on this topic, check out these training courses from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/ecommerce/" target="_blank">Ecommerce and Online Retailing Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/conversion-optimisation/" target="_blank">Conversion Optimisation - How to Deliver Digital Growth Training</a></li> </ul> <h3>Focus on the 'customer experience'</h3> <p><strong>Paul Rouke, founder &amp; CEO, PRWD:</strong></p> <p>This is extremely healthy, although “being customer-centric” is easier said than done. In 2016, there were only a small number of brands who recognised how crucial it is to speak to their customers (and potential customers) one-to-one.  </p> <p>Only a minority of brands know exactly what motivates their customers, how their customers behaviour is changing, and what they can do to differentiate themselves from their competition (and delight visitors at the same time). </p> <h3>Personalisation and data</h3> <p><strong>James Gurd, Owner of Digital Juggler:</strong></p> <p>The increased used of data to tie-up customer touch points has led to better targeting and personalisation, both in marketing campaigns (e.g. personalised product recommendations) and on websites (e.g. surfacing relevant content and products based on user profiles).</p> <p>A smarter focus on data has also resulted in better use of automation technology, for example building lifecycle email campaigns around customer path to purchase journeys.</p> <p>Similarly, techniques like order gap analysis have helped people to understand when different types of customers are most likely to make a purchase or rebuy, and then allow them to schedule campaigns to target people when they’re most likely to be receptive.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2169/ASOS_recommendations.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="390"></p> <p><strong>Matt Curry, Head of Ecommerce at LoveHoney:</strong></p> <p>Technologies, and ecommerce's employment of them, have matured.</p> <p>I think we've seen personalisation used more intelligently this year. It's no longer considered good enough to stick some product recommendations on a page and call it personalisation, or have a set number of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68431-how-to-combine-attribution-and-segmentation-data-to-achieve-marketing-success/">segments</a> you're personalising for. </p> <p>We've had technology to change experiences on the fly based on user behaviour for some time, but now it's finally being used.</p> <h3>Fast and flexible delivery</h3> <p><strong>Depesh Mandalia, CMO of ToucanBox:</strong></p> <p>One of the biggest growing trends has pivoted around delivery - providing customers with both flexibility and speed. </p> <p>This is important because not everyone is crying out for the fastest delivery, but you can bet that most will want flexibility. What use is next day, or even same day delivery, if you're not around to receive it? Choosing a time range and day is the most empowering. </p> <p>Food delivery businesses have mastered this – of course they wouldn’t be able to operate without it - but next year ecommerce can really step ahead in nailing the convenience factor.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2168/amazon_delivery.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <h3>Website optimisation</h3> <p><strong>Paul Rouke:</strong></p> <p>This is a clear sign of progression of the slow (but steadily maturing) digital industry and how more brands are now recognising the importance of adopting a test and learn culture to continually enhance their online experience.</p> <p>Steve Webster, Head of Ecommerce at Steinhoff UK, has recently said to me in late 2016, “in 2017 we will be undertaking a full ecommerce platform review, and core to our next platform will be its ability to support continuous, strategic experimentation.”</p> <p><strong>James Gurd:</strong></p> <p>Perhaps the least heralded trend has been greater focus on technical performance optimisation of websites – getting the infrastructural and underlying engineering right to improve the customer experience, speed up sites and minimise outages. </p> <p>I know CX teams who have put much more stringent quality control criteria in place for new developments, so any negative impact on page speed is picked up and resolved before release to live.</p> <p>I think this was demonstrated by the limited number of ‘Shock as Brand X website crashes’ stories over Black Friday weekend – 2014/2015 saw much higher incidents of major downtime.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2170/Body_shop_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="364"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68647 2016-12-16T11:45:20+00:00 2016-12-16T11:45:20+00:00 10 smashing digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>This week’s roundup includes news about Instagram, online ads, IoT and much more. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium/" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for further insight.</p> <p>On we go...</p> <h3>Growing recognition of emerging technologies</h3> <p>New research from Adobe has delved into how brands are using emerging technologies such as AR, VR, and AI in their Christmas marketing.</p> <p>While it seems largely limited to big brands, emerging technologies are increasingly being used by marketers to help grab the attention of consumers. </p> <p>Consumers are now cottoning on to its potential, too, with 68% agreeing that it provides brands with a competitive edge. Likewise, 32% of consumers also agree that it helps to drive customer loyalty to a brand, and 55% believe that it is useful in attracting potential customers.</p> <p>Finally, one fifth of marketers also believe VR will be the biggest trend of Christmas campaigns next year.</p> <h3>Instagram reaches 600m monthly users</h3> <p>Instagram has announced that it now has over 600m monthly active users, with 100m having joined in the past six months.</p> <p>This also means that the platform has doubled in size in just two years, increasing from 300m in 2014.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Today we’re proud to announce a community of more than 600 million. From all of us at Instagram, thank you. <a href="https://t.co/DqHwU0y2Lv">https://t.co/DqHwU0y2Lv</a> <a href="https://t.co/OUNyb08tNu">pic.twitter.com/OUNyb08tNu</a></p> — Instagram (@instagram) <a href="https://twitter.com/instagram/status/809398925417443328">December 15, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Pre-Christmas discounts reach a new record</h3> <p>UK consumers are witnessing record discounts in the run-up to Christmas, according to analysis from Deloitte.</p> <p>Discounts are currently averaging 43.3%, a figure that’s 1.5% deeper than last year, and discounts are also set to rise to 54% by Christmas Eve.</p> <p>The high level of discounting is said to be due to a number of factors, including a successful Black Friday period, unseasonably warm weather and favourable economic conditions for consumers. </p> <p>However, insight suggests that it is also an indication of nervousness from retailers, particularly in how increasing inflation will affect consumer confidence and spending. </p> <h3>Nearly half of online ads miss target audience</h3> <p>Online advertising is missing the mark, according to new research from Nielsen.</p> <p>In a study of more than 44,000 campaigns across 17 countries, only 53% of ad impressions served in the UK were viewed by people of the intended age and gender.</p> <p>The accuracy of ads also varies between sectors, with travel marketers being the most likely to reach their desired audience, closely followed by entertainment.</p> <p>Demographics also appear to be a tricky factor, with campaigns focusing on those aged 25-44 reaching the audience just 38% of the time. </p> <p>Older consumers are said to be a little easier to reach, with success 44% of the time in campaigns targeting 18-34 year olds and 58% for 35-64 year olds.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2486/Nielsen.png" alt="" width="400" height="395"></p> <h3>23% of consumers have bought a fake product online</h3> <p>New research by MarkMonitor has revealed that nearly a quarter of all online consumers have been duped by counterfeiting, with 23% unwillingly ordering a fake item.</p> <p>Surveying the percentage of people that were duped, MarkMonitor found that 71% said the experience had a negative impact on their perception of the genuine brand, with 59% being extra cautious when interacting with the company in future.</p> <p>Likewise, 12% said they wouldn’t buy from that brand again, and 29% complained to the company that owned the brand. </p> <p>Lastly, a very polite 32% took no action upon discovering they were duped.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2489/Counterfeit.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="447"></p> <h3>Eurovision is TV’s most-tweeted about event in 2016</h3> <p>Kantar Media has revealed what got us talking on social media in 2016, with data on the most-tweeted about television shows in 2016.</p> <p>The most-tweets in a minute occurred when Adele won a Brit award in February, generating 16,832 tweets in 60 seconds.</p> <p>In terms of the top broadcasts, everyone went gaga for Eurovision, with the program resulting in 1.6m tweets and 246,000 unique authors overall.</p> <p>Entertainment has been the most-tweeted about genre, accounting for almost half of tweets sent. However, current affairs saw a significant increase, accounting for almost a quarter of TV related tweets. </p> <h3>Abandonment rates drop during Black Friday sales</h3> <p>Data from SaleCycle has shown that abandonment rates dropped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, with shoppers keen to follow through with their bargain hunting.</p> <p>While abandonment rates for the rest of the year averaged out at 75%, they dropped to 67% on Black Friday and 70% on Cyber Monday. </p> <p>However, there was also a 312% increase in abandonment emails sent, due to the greater volume of traffic on retailer websites.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2487/Black_Friday_stats.JPG" alt="" width="440" height="315"></p> <h3>‘Fitness buffs’ 25% more likely to buy on mobile</h3> <p>Hitwise, a division of Connexity, has examined the shopping behaviour of consumers who typically purchase or visit websites for athletic apparel, fitness trackers or workout equipment.</p> <p>It has found that this demographic is strongly dependent on mobile, with 25% of fitness buffs more likely to purchase a product advertised on their mobile.</p> <p>Likewise, this group places a deep trust in social media reviews, being 95% more likely to pay attention to the opinions of other consumers and 94% more likely to follow their favourite brands or companies on social platforms.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2493/fitness_buffs.jpg" alt="" width="459" height="348"></p> <h3>34% of consumers say extended delivery dates would prompt purchase</h3> <p>With Christmas nearing ever closer, Astound Commerce’s latest report revealed how logistics factors will play a role in purchase decisions during the holidays.</p> <p>According to survey results, 35% of consumers say extended shipping dates would cause them to make a purchase from a particular retailer this Christmas. </p> <p>The option for in-store pick-up is also a big draw, with 34% also citing this factor.</p> <p>Lastly, the study also found that technology is of growing importance for consumers, with 81% saying that technology to help locate products in-store would be desirable.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2490/Delivery.JPG" alt="" width="578" height="268"></p> <h3>A fifth of businesses to embrace the Internet of Things</h3> <p>Big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are expected to add <a href="http://www.sas.com/en_gb/news/press-releases/2016/february/bi-data-internet-of-things-economy.html" target="_blank">£322bn to the UK economy</a> from 2015 to 2020.</p> <p>Now, research from SAS has predicted that a fifth of businesses are planning to adopt IoT to address customer demand and drive overall engagement.</p> <p>In a study of 75 large European organisations, 36% of respondents said that IoT will have a positive impact on end-user experiences if fully embraced.</p> <p>What’s more, 29% believe it would drive them to produce higher quality hardware and services, and one in 10 cited concerns about losing market share as the biggest risk of not embracing IoT.</p> <p>Despite concerns over the time required for IoT implementation, 37% of organisations are said to be responding to these challenges - and to the persistent skills shortage - by collaborating with external technology vendors.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68644 2016-12-16T10:37:23+00:00 2016-12-16T10:37:23+00:00 All the digital news stories you missed this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Please enjoy.</p> <h3>Yahoo admits to data hack</h3> <p>Yahoo has admitted that 1bn user accounts may have been affected in a hacking attack dating back to 2013.</p> <p>Separate to the 2014 attack that affected 500m Yahoo accounts, it is said to the biggest data breach of all time.</p> <p>Yahoo has linked the hacking to state-sponsored activity, and has urged account users to change passwords and security questions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2470/Yahoo_Mail.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="333"></p> <h3>Facebook introduces 360-degree live video</h3> <p>Facebook Live and Facebook 360-degree video used to be separate mediums.</p> <p>This week, Facebook has announced the two can now be integrated, with the introduction of 360 video to the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67808-10-pioneering-examples-of-brands-using-facebook-live/" target="_blank">Facebook Live</a> experience.</p> <p>The first ever example has been produced in partnership with National Geographic, giving users an immersive look at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnatgeo%2Fvideos%2F10154187427528951%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Simpsons show Starbucks appreciation with animated shorts</h3> <p>Who knew the Simpsons were such big fans of Starbucks?</p> <p>It’s been revealed that three of the show’s writers have created a mini-series especially for the coffee chain.</p> <p>Since spending over three years drinking lattes and draining the internet at a Los Angeles branch of Starbucks, Joel Cohen, Rob LaZebnik and John Frink decided to create an animation for the Wi-Fi landing page.</p> <p>The series, titled ‘1st and Main’, is made up of eight weekly animated shorts, each about 60 to 90 seconds long.</p> <p>You can catch it on the Starbucks website soon, or via stores' Wi-Fi portals from January.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i8O1XqVop2o?wmode=transparent" width="940" height="529"></iframe></p> <h3>Facebook to hire a head of news</h3> <p>On the back of intense scrutiny over fake news, Facebook is now looking to hire an “experienced news executive” to help combat the problem.</p> <p>The person, with over 20 years of experience required, will be the “public-facing voice of Facebook and its role in the news ecosystem”.</p> <p>Despite Facebook repeatedly denying its role as a news organisation in the past, this is perhaps the first real hint that it is finally accepting the idea.</p> <h3>Apple adds hundreds of new emojis</h3> <p>Whether you love them or hate them, there’s now more <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66547-three-ways-brands-are-using-emojis/" target="_blank">emojis</a> than ever before.</p> <p>This week, Apple unveiled hundreds of new ones along with its iOS 10.2 software update.</p> <p>Along with exotic animals and popular food (including the long-awaited avocado), there are also more professions such as the teacher, scientist and pilot.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2472/new_emojis.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="362"></p> <p>Oh, and let’s not forget the perfect emoji to sum up 2016… the black heart.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2473/Black_heart_emoji.JPG" alt="" width="217" height="179"></p> <h3>Amazon makes first-ever UK drone delivery</h3> <p>Amazon has revealed that it made its first-ever delivery by drone last week, 13 minutes after it was ordered.</p> <p>Part of a trial for Prime Air, it successfully delivered a bag of popcorn and an Amazon Fire TV stick to a man named Richard in Cambridgeshire – who just so happens to live near the drone depot.</p> <p>With strict government regulations in the UK, Amazon is limited in terms of how it can test the service, however, the delivery marks the brand’s intent to hit its 2018 target for widespread launch.</p> <h3>Twitter launches live video </h3> <p>As part of its latest update, Twitter has unveiled a new feature that lets users broadcast live.</p> <p>The feature is ‘powered by Periscope’ - the live streaming app that Twitter acquired for an undisclosed sum last year.</p> <p>Now, as long as users have Periscope installed on their phone, anyone can broadcast live directly within the Twitter app.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2475/Twitter_Go_Live.JPG" alt="" width="480" height="452"></p> <h3>Tinder on your telly box</h3> <p>If Corrie or the Queen’s Speech gets a bit too dull this Christmas, why not spice things up with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67563-how-tinder-has-changed-ecommerce/" target="_blank">a bit of Tinder</a>?</p> <p>The dating app is now available to use on Apple TV, meaning users can swipe right with their Siri remote (and the support of the entire family).</p> <p>Part of Tinder’s efforts to grow and diversify its user-base, it has described it as the “same dynamite swiping experience you know and love - just bigger, better and streaming live from your living room.”</p> <p>Merry Christmas, Nan.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sDIgGqS1VGU?wmode=transparent" width="746" height="420"></iframe></p> <h3>JustEat devours HungryHouse</h3> <p>JustEat is hoping to expand its presence in the food delivery market by buying its biggest UK rival, Hungry House.</p> <p>It is paying £200m for the company, with the promise of a further £40m if it hits performance targets. </p> <p>The deal is still to be cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), but if so, it will rapidly accelerate JustEat’s growth.</p> <p>In a separate deal, JustEat has also announced the acquisition of the Canadian company, SkipTheDishes, for a reported £66.1m.</p> <h3>Chicken Connoisseur goes viral</h3> <p>We love a bit of silly social media news, so what better way to finish off this week’s roundup than by celebrating the viral success of the chicken connoisseur?</p> <p>If you haven’t discovered him yet, he’s a young man who goes around sampling London’s ‘pengest munch’ in search of the city's best chicken shop.</p> <p>Since going viral, and even appearing on ITV London news, the aspiring food critic has seen his YouTube subscribers skyrocket to over 200,000.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/C0_1g5FVYAc?wmode=transparent" width="520" height="293"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68545 2016-12-02T14:27:26+00:00 2016-12-02T14:27:26+00:00 Five ways subscription box services can increase customer retention Nikki Gilliland <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1637/Customer_retention.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="289"></p> <p>So, how can subscription box services improve retention in the long-term?</p> <p>Here are five ways, as well as a few examples of the techniques in practice.</p> <h3>Offers for loyal customers</h3> <p>Most subscription services entice new users with delivery deals or a lower price for the first three months, and while this remains an effective acquisition strategy, an absence of incentives after this point is likely to be a big reason many jump ship.</p> <p>It’s no coincidence that people tend to cancel after four months – soon after most early offers expire. </p> <p>As a result, there needs to be more of a focus on offers built on loyalty.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68525-how-birchbox-and-trendyol-approach-data-and-personalisation/" target="_blank">Birchbox</a> is one brand that delivers this, using its points program to drive retention. </p> <p>Customers can earn points with each box delivered, as well as when they review samples online. In turn, these can be traded for full sized products - a great incentive to stay signed up.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Finally used my <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/birchbox?src=hash">#birchbox</a> points and grabbed this <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/benefit?src=hash">#benefit</a> set <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fotd?src=hash">#fotd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/instagram?src=hash">#instagram</a> <a href="https://t.co/yUCb3XLnSE">pic.twitter.com/yUCb3XLnSE</a></p> — LittleMissBeautyBox (@LMbeautyboxes) <a href="https://twitter.com/LMbeautyboxes/status/787941158861275136">October 17, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Options to personalise content</h3> <p>Shorr’s survey found that one in five customers cancel a subscription service because they don’t like the products they receive.</p> <p>One way to combat this is by allowing people to tailor boxes to suit their own tastes. </p> <p>Graze does this with its choice of snack boxes, allowing customers to choose between ‘variety’, ‘light’ or ‘protein’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1638/Graze_boxes.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="455"></p> <p>It also tells consumers about the snacks that are available, listing the nutritional values on its website.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1639/Graze_boxes_choice.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="603"></p> <p>While this tactic could negate the ‘surprise’ element that some customers enjoy, there are ways to get around it, such as asking about broad personal preferences and tastes.</p> <p>This could still deliver on the element of surprise, but ensure there is less chance of disappointment. </p> <h3>Flexible plans</h3> <p>Consumers might be reluctant about signing up to a subscription box service because of concerns over difficult cancellations in future.</p> <p>So while many brands might prefer to bury this information, being transparent and flexible on this issue could help to increase levels of trust.</p> <p>Dollar Shave Club is well-known for its personal, easy-going and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/" target="_blank">humorous tone of voice</a>, and this extends to how it reassures customers.</p> <p>Using ‘All reward, no risk” as its tagline, it’s encouraging from the start. </p> <p>Likewise, this kind of copy is littered throughout its website, reassuring customers that there are no commitments involved.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1640/Cancel_anytime.JPG" alt="" width="358" height="430"></p> <p>Pact Coffee takes this one step further by providing a number of flexible options around frequency and delivery.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1650/Pact.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="502"></p> <p>Allowing customers to pause or cancel orders at any time - it gives them the confidence that they are entirely in control.</p> <p>Likewise, the flower subscription service, Bloom &amp; Wild, uses its app to reflect the brand’s flexible approach.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1641/Bloom___Wild_app.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="268"></p> <p>As well as allowing users to keep track of orders, it also sends out reminders and special offers – similarly useful tactics for keeping customers happy and engaged.</p> <h3>Custom packaging</h3> <p>Shorr’s survey found that 76% of consumers would be very likely to notice custom packaging versus standard brown paper boxes.</p> <p>One in three have also shared an image on social media to show off a box’s packaging.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1646/Custom_packaging.JPG" alt="" width="660" height="307"></p> <p>So, along with the added bonus of inspiring <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns/" target="_blank">user generated content</a>, unique or custom packing is also likely to further a positive response. </p> <p>Not Another Bill – a subscription service that sends out surprise gifts – is a great example of this.</p> <p>Reflecting the brand's premium nature, the box acts as an extension of the overall experience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1647/Not_another_bill.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="446"></p> <p>Consequently, customers are often quick to shout about it on social.</p> <h3>Additional value through content or education</h3> <p>Alongside monetary incentives, customers are more likely to renew their subscription if they are receiving something of additional value.</p> <p>Wine subscription box service, Sip and Learn, uses education.</p> <p>Essentially, the longer a customer is subscribed for – the more they will learn.</p> <p>By using this as the basis for its business model, it means customers are unlikely to cancel before they have reached the end of the 12-box program.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1648/Sip_and_Wine_programme.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="533"></p> <p>Similarly, other brands aim to deliver value outside of what’s in the box.</p> <p>Beauty subscription services in particular tend to use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68205-how-three-beauty-ecommerce-sites-integrate-editorial-content/" target="_blank">online editorial content to engage customers</a>, using expert advice and tips and tricks to help them get the most out of the products, as well as extra content based on general beauty.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1649/Glossybox_blog.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="677"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>While attracting new customers is an important part of the subscription box marketing model, it's certainly not the key to success.</p> <p>Rather, it is vital that brands think about long-term strategy.</p> <p>By delivering extra incentives and increased value for loyal customers, cancelling will hopefully be the last thing on their minds.</p>