tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/delivery-fulfillment Latest Delivery & fulfillment content from Econsultancy 2016-12-02T14:27:26+00:00 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> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68590 2016-12-02T10:31:15+00:00 2016-12-02T10:31:15+00:00 10 dazzling digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>This week’s roundup is unashamedly festive, with news about Christmas shopping, social media conversation, consumer trust and more.</p> <p>Don’t forget to download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for more trusty insight.</p> <h3>85% of UK consumers to buy half of their Christmas gifts online</h3> <p>With <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68587-black-friday-cyber-monday-2016-ecommerce-stats-bonanza/" target="_blank">Black Friday and Cyber Monday</a> out of the way, Tryzens has revealed that the majority of UK consumers will shop for Christmas online this year.</p> <p>A survey found that 85% of UK consumers will buy at least half their gifts online, while 56% will shop via their smartphones and tablets.</p> <p>22% of people are also reported to have started their Christmas shopping in October and 33% in November.</p> <p>Lastly, a very eager 5% started way back in January 2016.</p> <h3>Over 50% of top UK sites use at least one content recommendation engine</h3> <p>The New Yorker recently stopped using <a href="http://www.8ms.com/2014/02/20/rise-content-recommendation-engines/" target="_blank">content recommendation engines</a> – or monetization platforms known for their 'Around the Web' suggestions – due to allegations that they potentially support questionable content.</p> <p>However, SimilarTech has found that they are in widespread use both in the UK and US.</p> <p>Over 50% of top media sites in the UK use one or more them, and 75 out of 100 biggest online publications do the same.</p> <p>In fact, going against the assumption that they are going out of favour, the number of sites using content recommendation engines appears to be growing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1992/Number-of-Sites-Using-Taboola-and-Outbrain---Top-10k-sites.png" alt="" width="750" height="364"></p> <h3>Christmas conversation hits social peak on 1st December</h3> <p>New insight from Carat UK suggests we’re less excited about Christmas this year, with a 5% decrease of Christmas mentions on Twitter.</p> <p>However, while figures suggest that 45% of people start to feel excited about Christmas ahead of December, it only become socially acceptable to start posting from 1st December, demonstrated by the fact that Christmas tweets increased by a whopping 65% on the same day last year.</p> <p>As a result of the collective excitement on 1st December people start planning which gifts to buy people, though 46% of shoppers are said to leave present buying to the second half of the month.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1991/Social_Christmas.JPG" alt="" width="710" height="385"></p> <h3>Delivery options to determine choice of retailers</h3> <p>According to Shutl, retailers need to rely on more than reputation to ensure sales this Christmas.</p> <p>In a survey of 1,070 online shoppers, 95% said they would consider going to another retailer if a site couldn’t offer a delivery that suited their needs. Likewise, 41% said they’d definitely shop elsewhere if the last mile delivery wasn’t right for them.</p> <p>With 42% of shoppers having higher online delivery expectations than in 2015, the pressure for retailers is on.</p> <h3>Married male millennials are the most engaged consumers, apparently</h3> <p>A study by Affinion has delved into the engagement levels of consumers all over the world.</p> <p>In a Customer Engagement Score of between one and 100, millennials were found to have the highest.</p> <p>Those that were married also reported higher engagement levels, with an average score of 67 compared with 64 in singletons.</p> <p>Likewise, males are the most engaged gender, reporting a stronger bond with their banks and mobile phone providers.</p> <h3>M&amp;S named as the UK’s favourite Christmas shop</h3> <p>New research from Rakuten Marketing has revealed that Marks &amp; Spencer is officially the nation’s favourite Christmas shop, with nearly a third of Brits planning to spend the most there this December.</p> <p>In second position is Boots, and despite a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68484-the-top-10-most-shared-christmas-ads-of-all-time" target="_blank">strong advertising presence at this time of year,</a> John Lewis comes in third.</p> <p>The survey found that just 27% of British consumers make gift purchase decisions based on a brand’s Christmas TV ad campaign. Instead, 33% say they use retailer websites to source information, and 31% say recommendations from family and friends.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1994/M_S.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="466"></p> <h3>31% of shoppers abandon baskets due to complicated payment processes</h3> <p>In a survey of 1,000 UK adults, PPRO Group has discovered that online merchants are failing to offer customers their preferred payment option, resulting in 31% of consumers <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67120-12-ways-to-reduce-basket-abandonment-on-your-ecommerce-site/" target="_blank">abandoning purchases at the checkout</a>.</p> <p>The survey also found that, this Christmas, 61% of consumers will be buying gifts online at home while watching TV, while 13% will shop from their smartphones while lying in bed.</p> <p>Bad news for employers - 17% also admit they will be buying their Christmas gifts online while at work.</p> <h3>UK sees higher online conversation rates than US </h3> <p>The Ecommerce Quarterly report from Monetate has revealed that UK retailers are faring better when it comes to online conversions.</p> <p>It found that the UK is converting more than the US for the second year in a row, taking into account figures from both 2015 and 2016.</p> <p>What’s more, while add-to-basket rates have dropped in the US, the UK’s has steadily increased. </p> <p>Average order value also saw month-on-month improvement in the UK throughout the last year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1993/Monetate.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="142"></p> <h3>User-generated content results in greater consumer trust</h3> <p>A new report by Olapic has found that user-generated images are much more likely to generate consumer trust than those created by marketers.</p> <p>In a survey of more than 4,500 active social media users in the US and Europe, 46% of people said they would place trust in user generated content, with just 27% saying they’d trust content created by brands. Only 5% said they would trust straight-forward advertising. </p> <p>In terms of the preferred forms of user generated content, 52% cited photos as the best, ahead of 27% for video and 12% for written content.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1995/Starbucks_UGC.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="479"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68480 2016-11-03T11:18:12+00:00 2016-11-03T11:18:12+00:00 Amazon predicted to become the biggest fashion retailer in the US Nikki Gilliland <p>In fact, it has even been predicted that Amazon will overtake Macy’s to become the <a href="http://uk.businessinsider.com/amazon-becomes-the-biggest-clothing-retailer-in-the-us-2016-10" target="_blank">biggest clothing seller in the US</a> next year.</p> <p>So what does this mean for the future of fashion retail? </p> <p>Here’s a bit more on the story.</p> <h3>Amazon takes on apparel</h3> <p>Like a lot of people, I had been vaguely aware of Amazon selling clothing and accessories, however, I had always assumed that this was only external brands selling via the site’s marketplace.</p> <p>What I didn't know was that it had also launched seven private-label apparel brands of its own in the US.</p> <p>With names like ‘Lark &amp; Co’ and ‘Franklin Tailored’, the labels could easily be mistaken for small and independent companies in their own right – not part of Amazon’s growing catalogue.</p> <p>However, this appears to be a deliberate move by the retailer.</p> <p>While Amazon’s customer base remains reluctant about buying clothing on the site – just 15% of active customers currently shop for fashion – it is surely hoping that its private labels will help to ramp up activity. </p> <p>Of course, data plays a huge part in this. </p> <p>By using data analysis to identify fashion retail opportunities – i.e. which brands consumers are looking at on the marketplace, their price points and abandonment behaviour – it is hoping to swoop in and offer an irresistible alternative. </p> <p>Naturally, Prime delivery is the killer incentive – the very reason the predicted 30% growth of its apparel category doesn’t sound so unlikely. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1040/Amazon_brands.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="286"></p> <h3>Other forays into fashion</h3> <p>The launch of private labels is just one part of Amazon’s growing apparel strategy. </p> <p>Earlier this year, it also created <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67627-is-amazon-s-style-code-live-this-generation-s-answer-to-the-tv-shopping-channel/">Style Code Live</a>. </p> <p>Rather like QVC but for a digital audience, it is a daily shoppable show dedicated to all things fashion and beauty.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FStyleCodeLive%2Fvideos%2F1603769273261520%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=400" width="400" height="400"></iframe></p> <p>Alongside this, Amazon has also acquired fashion retailers Shopbop and Zappos in the past few years, and continued to sponsor a wide range of industry events ranging from the Met Ball to Men’s Fashion Week. </p> <p>With the fashion world being a traditionally luxury space, it hasn’t been an easy nut to crack. </p> <p>As a retailer that’s well known for its low-price and high-demand style of selling, Amazon does not naturally fit in with even the lowest-cost competitors. </p> <h3>The Amazon appeal</h3> <p>As well as acceptance from fellow fashion brands, there are many reasons why consumers might feel dubious about shopping for clothing on Amazon.</p> <p>First and foremost, it lacks the emotional appeal of a typical clothing ecommerce site. </p> <p>With fashion typically being a need rather than a necessity, the site’s focus on functionality and convenience is at odds with the expectations of the average consumer.</p> <p>Sure, you might feel comfortable shopping for socks or even a pair of trainers, but buying a $200 dress on the site is another story. </p> <p>Likewise, the lack of physical stores means that shoppers are unable to try before they buy or engage in a one-to-one interaction with employees.</p> <p>That being said, there are many factors which might outweigh the negatives.</p> <p>Despite being online-only, the 'showroom' effect is definitely something that goes in Amazon's favour. This term describes the phenomenon of consumers browsing, usually in physical stores, before searching online for a cheaper price point and more convenient delivery.</p> <p>Of course, the biggest draw will be Amazon’s Prime delivery service. With two-day shipping and easy returns, it's something that the likes of Macy’s, Nordstrom and JC Penney are unable to compete with.</p> <p>The fact that Amazon is so ingrained as a trusted and reliable retailer is also another win. Shoppers already have experience with its extensive customer reviews and Prime Day deals – features that already make Amazon one of the most recognisable brands in the world.</p> <p>So, watch this space.</p> <p>Now forecast to make $62bn in annual clothing sales within five years, it could be a matter of time before buying clothes from Amazon is the norm.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Mix and match rich and deep plums to create powerful head-to-toe looks. <a href="https://t.co/VZ9sEBXgLo">https://t.co/VZ9sEBXgLo</a> <a href="https://t.co/jK9tACP2pN">pic.twitter.com/jK9tACP2pN</a></p> — Amazon.com/Fashion (@AmazonFashion) <a href="https://twitter.com/AmazonFashion/status/788801327254167552">October 19, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p><strong><em>Further articles about Amazon:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66534-three-lessons-all-retailers-can-learn-from-amazon/" target="_blank">Three lessons all retailers can learn from Amazon</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66719-17-ways-your-ecommerce-business-can-beat-amazon/" target="_blank">17 ways your ecommerce business can beat Amazon</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67666-three-ways-to-optimize-for-amazon-s-pricing-strategy/" target="_blank">Three ways to optimize for Amazon's pricing strategy</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68229 2016-09-08T10:52:00+01:00 2016-09-08T10:52:00+01:00 How Casper uses clever marketing & content to sell mattresses Nikki Gilliland <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/26/half-of-women-in-uk-sleep-deprived_n_9076030.html" target="_blank">46% of women</a> and 36% of men suffer from lack of sleep, so it’s a huge problem for many.</p> <p>Tapping into the selling power of a solid eight hours, mattress startup <a href="https://casper.com/uk/en" target="_blank">Casper</a> has built a reputation for capturing consumer interest through its quirky <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content marketing</a> and unique business model.</p> <p>Having recently launched its ecommerce site in the UK, here’s a look at why it’s one company worth keeping an eye on.</p> <h3>The Goldilocks of mattress brands</h3> <p>Do you want a bed that’s soft, firm or somewhere in between?</p> <p>Buying a mattress is traditionally a try-it-and-see shopping experience, but Casper disrupts this by selling just a single ‘universally comfortable’ model. </p> <p>With studies showing that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/21/choice-stressing-us-out-dating-partners-monopolies" target="_blank">too much choice leads to more stress</a> and less satisfaction, this might prove to be preferable for consumers.</p> <p>Casper also draws in its audience with a focus on convenience and value for money.</p> <p>As well as shipping and delivering its mattress in a special vacuum-packed box, it offers a tempting 100-day trial and free returns. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8450/Caspar_dream_team.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="709"></p> <p>By recognising the fact that purchasing a bed is a rare and drawn-out experience, and deliberately disrupting it, Casper’s business model could prove to be a game-changer.</p> <p>Of course, the question is - will consumers be willing to take a leap of faith over the boring but fail-safe in-store experience?</p> <h3>Dedicated to the subject of sleep</h3> <p>Both the copy and design on Casper's website is beautifully engaging.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8445/Caspar_customers.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="728"></p> <p>It attracts consumers with a friendly, conversational and reassuring <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/" target="_blank">tone of voice</a> – but it’s not the only way Casper utilises copy. </p> <p>It has two blogs – both designed to entertain and retain customers.</p> <p>The first, <a href="http://blog.casper.com/" target="_blank">Pillow Talk</a>, is a tongue-in-cheek take on everything bed-related.</p> <p>From ‘The cutest Casper sleepers’ to ‘Eight reasons why this blog post is trying to sell you a mattress’, it is a reflection of the brand’s fun and offbeat personality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8451/Casper_blog.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="691"></p> <p>The second, <a href="http://vanwinkles.com/" target="_blank">Van Winkle’s</a>, is an independent publication that’s dedicated to all things sleep-related.</p> <p>Using sleep as a vertical much like health or lifestyle, Casper's content team writes about the subject in a more informative and authoritative fashion. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8447/van_winkles.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="554"></p> <p>The aim of Van Winkle does not appear to directly promote or sell Casper mattresses (the brand is absent apart from a couple of links at the bottom of the homepage) - instead, it looks to be an extension of the brand as a lifestyle.</p> <p>With syndication on the likes of Huffington Post, articles have previously garnered huge traffic.</p> <p>By adding to the conversation about sleep and getting consumers interested in the topic in general, it could still be a way to increase awareness.</p> <h3>Your mate on social media</h3> <p>Alongside its editorial offering, Casper also wins the hearts of its millennial audience on social. </p> <p>Often tweeting customers using GIFs and emojis, it is unafraid to take the informal style of its main ecommerce site and ramp it up a notch.  </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/yohugogo">@yohugogo</a> <a href="https://t.co/l5IXivIbep">pic.twitter.com/l5IXivIbep</a></p> — Casper (@Casper) <a href="https://twitter.com/Casper/status/768458011048312833">August 24, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Its subject matter is often samey – with jokes about breakfast, naps and the daily struggle of first world problems.</p> <p>Yet, it is chatty and consistent, which also gives the impression that it’s actually there to help.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Everyone should be asking the important questions.</p> <p>Why isn't today Friday?</p> — Casper (@Casper) <a href="https://twitter.com/Casper/status/768825307860180992">August 25, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Taps into trends</h3> <p>Unboxing videos are a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66678-how-the-top-five-uk-ecommerce-brands-use-youtube/" target="_blank">YouTube genre</a> usually reserved for high-tech gadgets and luxury beauty items.</p> <p>Thanks to Casper, there’s been a new trend of people filming themselves opening their packaged mattresses.</p> <p>There are countless videos online, and yes, it is as baffling as it sounds. While it’s probably quite satisfying to see a mattress spring into shape in real life, watching others do it is less thrilling.</p> <p>For Casper however, each video serves as brilliant advertising, and reinforced the vacuum-packed convenience of its USP.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AD9lg11Yyv8?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Innovative but consistent</h3> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/04/04/how-start-up-casper-plans-to-wake-up-the-sleepy-mattress-market/#751a2cb12892" target="_blank">Describing its aim to be Nike of the sleep world,</a> Casper is unashamed in its desire to ramp up its product offering.</p> <p>With its ranges for pillows and sheets, it’s already selling more than just mattresses.</p> <p>In hopes of targeting an entirely new market, it’s also just released a dog-bed in the US.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8448/casper_dog.JPG" alt="" width="615" height="691"></p> <p>It remains to be seen whether these extra lines will be as successful as its main product, however it shows that Casper isn’t afraid to experiment.</p> <p>What's more, it also reflects the brand’s consistent dedication to sleep – regardless of the species.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8449/casper_insta.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="509"></p> <p>Across the board, consistency is one thing that Casper does really well.</p> <p>From Twitter to email, it manages to convey a consistent identity across all consumer touchpoints.</p> <p>Whether you’re in the market for a new mattress or not – there’s a lot to appreciate here.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67683 2016-03-30T11:06:00+01:00 2016-03-30T11:06:00+01:00 How typography will help your responsive website stand out James Hopkins <h3>Be responsive, accessible and different</h3> <p>When someone uses the term ‘accessibility’ in the context of web development, they’ll likely be referring to the practice of ensuring that users who require assistive technologies are able to use your website.</p> <p>However, the topic of accessibility is far wider ranging than the aforementioned scope. Rather, it is ensuring that <em>anyone</em> regardless of device is able to use your application.</p> <p dir="ltr">With such a wide-ranging array of internet-enabled devices (phones, tablets, etc), it’s important that your application caters for these devices in seamless way.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!”</h3> <p dir="ltr">Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen image? Check. Scroll prompt? Check.</p> <p dir="ltr">Did you ever get <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67408-web-design-convergence-what-why-and-does-it-matter/">a sense of deja vu</a>?</p> <p dir="ltr">Chances are, the website you’re looking at is ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66081-responsive-web-design-15-of-the-best-sites-from-2014/">responsive</a>’ - meaning the same webpage will fit in different screen sizes nicely, with the same functionality on offer.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">But why don’t you make a separate m. website instead?</h4> <p dir="ltr">Chances are you’ve seen a URL in your address bar whilst on your mobile that is prepended with an ‘m’ subdomain.</p> <p dir="ltr">The vast majority of the time this’ll denote a standalone mobile-specific website, that is entirely separate from the desktop version.</p> <p dir="ltr">There are some major drawbacks with this model:</p> <ul> <li>Maintenance overhead and development costs associated with several disparate codebases.</li> <li>Reliance on potentially brittle device detection.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">In contrast, a responsive website incorporates the same underlying codebase, with its responsive nature coming from adaptations of its user interface based on environmental variables.</p> <p dir="ltr">These include screen resolution, aspect ratio, and orientation. This concept provides a leaner approach throughout the project lifecycle.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to the technical decisions when constructing a responsive website, design considerations are also incredibly important.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>A typical responsive website, with hamburger menu and 'big picture'.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0005/9589/IDA.png" alt="responsive website" width="615"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Mobile first</h3> <p dir="ltr">Another buzz word in the responsive design sphere is the term ‘mobile first’. Essentially, this means that you should be designing for the smallest device size envisaged, and progressively increasing support for larger resolutions.</p> <p dir="ltr">On larger screens such as a desktop monitor, you can have content elements side by side. There is enough room for it. You can have several items displayed almost at the same level.</p> <p dir="ltr">However on the narrowest possible screen, you have to reduce the number of columns, which forces you to organise your content in a much more linear fashion. Moreover, it forces you to think in terms of information hierarchy and single priority order.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once you work out the order, going back to a larger screen is a much simpler process. And many choose to keep this single order; even keep the hamburger menu (it’s the icon with three lines stacked up and usually reveals a site navigation in some way).</p> <p dir="ltr">They reason “you might as well put beautiful massive images on it. Or make it a video. Nice simple layout. Clear hierarchy. Job done.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Except, that is what a lot of other people are doing. How can we achieve a responsive website that doesn’t look like everyone else’s?</p> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s all about typography</h3> <p dir="ltr">The best responsive designs come with good, considered typography. As far as I am concerned, there are two factors for great typography.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first one is personality. Is the typeface appropriate for what you’re trying to communicate? You don’t warn people of death in Comic Sans (unless it’s for comic purposes obviously). Does it represent the brand? Does it have right level of authority?</p> <p dir="ltr">And the second one is semantic. Typography has to convey the right relationship between each word, sentence and paragraph.</p> <p dir="ltr">To illustrate, this example is stripped off any typographic consideration:</p> <table style="border-collapse: collapse;"> <colgroup><col width="593"></colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p dir="ltr">It’s all about typography.</p> <p dir="ltr">How personality of typeface and semantic affects how you communicate through words.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!” Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen...</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p dir="ltr">And the same text, with some of those considerations added back in:</p> <table style="border-collapse: collapse;"> <colgroup><col width="590"></colgroup> <tbody> <tr style="height: 0px;"> <td style="vertical-align: top;"> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s all about typography</h3> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How personality of typeface and semantic affects how you communicate through words</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!” Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen...</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p dir="ltr">The second example makes it clear that these are heading, subheading and extract, rather than three equally weighted paragraphs in various grammatical styles.</p> <p dir="ltr">It may seem that this is simple stuff that everyone does but awareness of relationships between content and style are critical in achieving a good responsive layout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once style and content are tied together so they are ‘semantic’, layout can be a lot more flexible.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is the same principle as the relationship between HTML and CSS, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67625-making-your-html-accessible-for-the-visually-impaired/">which have separate functions but linked meaning</a>. HTML displays the ‘meaning’ of your content and CSS displays how it ‘looks’.</p> <p dir="ltr">Typography displays the ‘relationships’ of your content and layout changes how it ‘flows’ without changing the order.</p> <p dir="ltr">Having strong typographic principles allows you to move your content around more freely without breaking what it means.</p> <p dir="ltr">Good typography combined with clear prioritisation of mobile devices will allow you to be more flexible with layout at different screen sizes.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>An example of bold typography from agency land.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67376-13-examples-of-websites-with-confident-typography/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0452/Screen_Shot_2016-01-06_at_09.11.42.png" alt="bold typography" width="615"></a></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Think accessibility and beyond</h3> <p dir="ltr">How can you ensure your typography is semantic and communicates what it supposed to do? I found the best way to achieve this is to think in terms of accessibility.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here are some stats around visual impairments you can consider.</p> <ul> <li>70% of UK population <a href="http://www.college-optometrists.org/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm/A60DE8E4-B6CF-49ED-8E0FE694FCF4B426">have mild vision impairment</a>.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Factsheets/Later_Life_UK_factsheet.pdf?dtrk=true">17% (or 11m people) of the UK population is 65 or above</a> and many of them are tech savvy.</li> <li>3% (or 2 million people) of the UK population <a href="https://help.rnib.org.uk/help/newly-diagnosed-registration/registering-sight-loss/statistics">are living with sight loss</a>.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/">4.5% has colour blindness</a>, and <a href="http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/">10% has dyslexia - 4% severely so</a>.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">To give you the sense of scale, current IE8 &amp; IE9 users in UK <a href="http://gs.statcounter.com/#desktop-browser_version_partially_combined-GB-monthly-201501-201601">are about 3.5% combined</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">As you can see, these are not trivial numbers. And on top of making all these new users happy (and hopefully buying your products), by considering them, you can design a better responsive website.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Semantic typography</h4> <p dir="ltr">The way to do this right is to think of semantic HTML. If it’s an article, call it an article. If it’s a button, call it a button.</p> <p dir="ltr">The same principle applies to typography, if it’s a heading, call it heading 1 &lt;h1&gt;, if it’s a subheading call it heading 2 &lt;h2&gt;, etc.</p> <p dir="ltr">It helps the browser to examine your content and really understand the position of each sentence.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Think large and spacious</h4> <p dir="ltr">For those with minor visual impairment, having large text definitely helps. I consider 14pt average sized, as a guide. Having plenty of space that complements typography helps dyslexic audience, as well as creating a clean spacious design.</p> <p dir="ltr">With so many different devices, thinking about ‘the fold’ is pretty much replaced by mobile first, single priority order, which means you can add more space between elements; in fact, as much as you need to create the right context.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Characterful typeface</h4> <p dir="ltr">Those with dyslexia may prefer having a font with distinct shapes for each letter. For example when d and b are just the mirror of each other, it’s hard to distinguish between them.</p> <p dir="ltr">Choose a font that reflects your brand well and works well for a dyslexic audience. Differentiate for yourself and for others.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Make it work without colours</h4> <p dir="ltr">The principle “if it works without colours, it works anywhere”  is a good, plain old usability.</p> <p dir="ltr">Colours can be used to emphasise information and that can be a really powerful design element. However, if it works without colours, that is even more robust.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Mind the contrast</h4> <p dir="ltr">Good contrast helps mild vision impairment and make things much easier to read for everyone.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Consider background colour</h4> <p dir="ltr">Dyslexic audiences may find it easier to read when the page doesn’t have the strong glare of a white background. A softer tone is easier to read from and it will help add a personality to your design. Added bonus.</p> <p dir="ltr">You can see this in action at <a href="https://www.fortnumandmason.com/">Fortnum &amp; Mason's site</a>, where we’ve used soft cream tones to differentiate the atmosphere of the site and create a warm and ambient feeling.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Be different</h3> <p dir="ltr">Taking all these factors into account, you will end up with a clear, accessible, responsive website. And it doesn’t have to look like a wider, bigger version of mobile layout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Push yourself to think differently - as long as you don’t forget the all important accessibility, your responsive website will work well and stand out from the crowd. Give it a go.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>This blog was co-authored by Sari Griffiths, Chief Design Officer at Red Badger</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67406 2016-01-14T15:27:00+00:00 2016-01-14T15:27:00+00:00 What is dropshipping and is it right for your business? Jack Simpson <h3>What is dropshipping?</h3> <p>Here's a picture of an actual ship being dropped. This is not what dropshipping is.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0711/hqdefault.jpg" alt="dropshipping" width="480" height="360"></p> <p>It's really just a fancy word for outsourcing the inventory and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64943-12-excellent-ways-to-present-ecommerce-shipping-information">shipping</a> side of your ecommerce business.</p> <p>Rather than going down the traditional route of ordering in stock, keeping it in your warehouse (or sitting room perhaps, if you’re a fresh startup) and then posting it out when orders come in, you can fulfil orders directly through the wholesaler or manufacturer.</p> <p>So when orders come in you simply transfer them to the dropshipping partner who then handles all of the fiddly delivery logistics. </p> <p>Simple. No warehouse. No inventory woes. No logistical headaches when it comes to getting products out to your customers on time.</p> <h3>Example of a dropshipping partner</h3> <p>Perhaps the most high-profile example of a dropshipping partner is <a href="https://services.amazon.co.uk/services/fulfilment-by-amazon/features-benefits.html">Amazon and its ‘Fulfilment’ service (FBA)</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xb0WDf9nCJU?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>Amazon will store sellers’ inventory, pick it, pack it and ship it across the EU as and when orders are made via the Amazon site. </p> <p><em>Edit: Amazon's FBA qualifies as a third-party logistics (or order fulfilment) provider rather than a dropshipping partner because you still have to buy the stock up front, whereas with dropshipping you only purchase stock once the sale has gone through. </em></p> <p><em>I can feel a dropshipping vs. order fulfilment post coming on... </em></p> <h3>The benefits</h3> <p><strong>More time for other tasks</strong></p> <p>The most obvious benefit in using dropshipping is, as with all forms of outsourcing, an increased ability to focus time and effort on other areas. </p> <p>By letting somebody else take care of inventory and shipping issues, you can spend more time on areas such as sales, marketing, PR, recruitment – all the things that are so crucial to success in the early days of a startup and beyond. </p> <p><strong>Less startup capital required</strong></p> <p>When you’re thinking of starting your first business, unless you’re one of the lucky few it’s highly likely that a lack of capital is going to be one of the biggest barriers.</p> <p>And the fact you’re new to the game means you’re unlikely to get much credit from manufacturers or wholesalers.</p> <p>But because it removes the need to buy stock up-front, dropshipping enables people with relatively low startup funds to deck out an ecommerce site with products.</p> <p><strong>Easier to try new things</strong></p> <p>Trying out new products in a traditional ecommerce format is relatively risky. You’ll likely need to purchase a large quantity of something, so if it doesn’t sell you’re stuck with the leftover stock. </p> <p>But with dropshipping there is no need to order in bulk as you’re going direct to the source. So it’s easier to test the water with new products with relatively little financial risk.  </p> <h3>The drawbacks</h3> <p><strong>Less control</strong></p> <p>Last year I did a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67209-how-one-new-ecommerce-site-hopes-to-banish-missed-deliveries">Q&amp;A with the founders of Postboxed</a>.</p> <p>One of the reasons they gave for keeping and managing their own inventory was that they wanted full control over the packaging and posting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9089/PB-1242.jpg" alt="Postboxed" width="478" height="319"></p> <p>
This is particularly important for gifting sites like theirs, but whatever your business, from a general <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-cx-challenge">customer experience</a> point of view it pays to have as much control as possible over your products: how they’re packaged, delivered, and so on. </p> <p><strong>Tight profit margins</strong></p> <p>Nothing in business comes without a catch. Of course there is a cost involved when using a dropshipping service. </p> <p>Not only that but the nature of dropshipping means you are selling other people’s products, meaning it is very difficult to compete on price, particularly with the likes of Amazon, Argos et al. </p> <p>Which leads me to my next point...</p> <p><strong>Lots of competition</strong></p> <p>I mentioned in my intro that it’s easier than ever to set up a shop and start selling. But paradoxically this means it’s also more difficult than ever to make a success of it because there’s so much competition.</p> <p>Because almost anyone with access to Google can set up a website and start churning out <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66787-how-google-defines-quality-content">'quality content'</a> these days, you are going to be up against lots of other people who have access to the same products and are probably selling them at very similar prices. </p> <p>It is therefore vital that you differentiate yourself in some way if you’re going to make a success of your dropshipping business.</p> <p>This could be through clever marketing or a unique range of products, but either way it’s going to be a struggle. </p> <h3>What’s your experience?</h3> <p>Have you successfully used dropshipping in your ecommerce business? Had any particularly good or bad experiences with it?</p> <p>Let me know what your views are in the comments below.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67362 2015-12-23T14:00:00+00:00 2015-12-23T14:00:00+00:00 Are international growth, shipping, & mergers the big ecommerce topics for 2016? Philip Rooke <p>That said, it’s always important to have a moment to reflect on the hot topics of the past year and think about what we can expect from 2016.</p> <p>I think that in the next 12 months there’ll be a shift from the glamour of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66543-50-fascinating-stats-about-mobile-commerce-in-the-uk-2015/">mobile optimisation</a> to the nitty gritty of cross-border growth.</p> <p>If 2015 was a year of optimisation, 2016 will be about big moves in the market.</p> <p>2015 was definitely the year for optimisation, as retail kept up with the challenge of responding to changing consumer habits.</p> <p>The shift from mobile browsing to actually buying was evident. Retailers responded by making sure their sites not only looked good on a mobile device, but that payment was easier too.</p> <p>At Spreadshirt we found this mobile-first approach gave us a new awareness about customer behaviour online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0289/screen_shot_2015-12-23_at_11.50.39-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="501" height="259"></p> <p>Our research on the shift to mobile shopping revealed some interesting behaviour from last winter: the British were more likely than the French or Germans to shop via their mobile and <strong>30% of sales from the UK came via a mobile device</strong> compared to Germany (25%) or France (17%).</p> <p>This gave us a great understanding into how our site should work too.</p> <p>We put our findings into our optimisation process. As a result we moved closer to our aim of to become a billion dollar business.</p> <p>As 2015 wore on however, the issue of mobile optimisation began to fade. Retailers had either successfully optimised for mobile, or were frantically trying to make it happen.</p> <p>As the year ended it was no longer a subject for discussion and other topics, for example delivery optimisation, had moved up the agenda.</p> <p>Recent Metapak research found that UK consumers were increasingly happy to buy from retailers abroad (around 61%) and valued free delivery over speed.</p> <p>Same day delivery also became a hot topic and a differentiator for some retailers.</p> <p>We think <strong>shipping and delivery will be a key focus in 2016</strong> too.</p> <p><em>One of Spreadshirt's delivery options</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0290/Screen_Shot_2015-12-23_at_11.59.01.png" alt="" width="583" height="344"></p> <p>The details of delivery and shipping will come back on the radar as ecommerce companies seek partnerships with effective carriers.</p> <p>That’s because once you have an awesome product, delivery is the next critical thing for cross-border growth; one of the major issues for the coming year in ecommerce.</p> <p>The global market can only be accessed if you can actually get your t-shirt onto the backs of your consumers in a sensible timeframe.</p> <p>For us, scaling-up our worldwide delivery meant opening a new production centre in the Czech Republic, close to the main distribution hub in Dresden.</p> <p>Our experience of good shipping processes shows that it is all about managing for the best and expecting the worse, especially at peak times.</p> <p>Better to promise a longer delivery time and surprise the customer by a day, than have a frustrated or worried customer.</p> <p>Even off-peak, good shipping is about testing the alternatives to get the best value for customers in terms of service versus cost, and then managing the customer’s expectation to exceed that value.</p> <p>Our key shipping considerations are:</p> <ul> <li>research relevant custom regulations,</li> <li>check your labels (seriously!),</li> <li>choose the right shipping company for your destination,</li> <li>know who will be handling your product and check your products are packaged correctly.</li> </ul> <p>Unfortunately, delivery errors are often learned the hard way, after customer complaints and lost time and money.</p> <p>Shipping and cross-border growth will be particularly important as everyone aims to get big or die.</p> <p>We expect big players to grow their core offerings and launch new niche services. In most ecommerce markets there are too many players, so we predict some mergers and acquisitions activity as the sector consolidates in 2016.</p> <p>Strategic partnerships will be on the agenda, as organisations seek the magical one plus one equals three opportunity. We see this trend continuing throughout next year and into 2017.</p> <p>In the UK, planning for cross-border growth may encourage businesses to think about the country’s continued presence in the EU.</p> <p>Access to a market with a single currency, which is almost as large as the USA, is vital for businesses looking to scale.</p> <p>Companies which can grow in a single, big market are often more investable and scalable from day one; from there they can position for global growth.</p> <p>Spreadshirt has been able to grow by developing in a market of around 400m internet users across Europe, and from there, we’ve used our size to launch into the US market.</p> <p>At the end of 2015 we find ourselves in Canada, Brazil, Australia and now looking at Asia. Without the EU scale this would never have happened.</p> <p>Maybe cross-border growth doesn’t sound as glamorous as mobile optimisation. It means getting involved in the details of shipping, customs and taxes.</p> <p>But we think it’s going to be a big issue for 2016. And one which if done right, can have a major effect on the bottom line.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67225-international-ecommerce-four-things-to-consider-when-venturing-into-foreign-markets/"><em>International ecommerce: Four things to consider when venturing into foreign markets</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66575-five-golden-rules-when-localising-for-international-ecommerce/"><em>Five golden rules when localising for international ecommerce</em></a></li> </ul> <p><em>Or book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/international-seo-ppc-digital-marketing/">SEO, PPC and Conversion: International Strategy Training Course</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67219 2015-11-23T11:37:06+00:00 2015-11-23T11:37:06+00:00 Preparing for Christmas: Key UK online retail stats Luke Richards <h3><strong>Online purchases likely to exceed forecasts</strong></h3> <p>The latest data from <a title="IMRG Press Releases" href="http://imrg.org/press-releases" target="_blank">IMRG</a> saw UK ecommerce grow 12% year-over-year during September – a far better performance than the 5% growth in August.</p> <p>Judging from trends last year, it is quite typical for ecommerce to dip slightly in August and then pick up again in autumn and winter.</p> <p>Indeed, a release from IMRG looking at online delivery volumes saw them grow 18.9% year-over-year in September – already better than predicted.</p> <p>It is also worth noting the increasing acceptability of key dates like Black Friday (this year falling on November 27) in the UK. 30% of shoppers say they are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to shop on that day according to IMRG.</p> <h3><strong>Average order values likely to be even bigger</strong></h3> <p>Recently published data by <a title="Monetate" href="http://info.monetate.com/eq2-2015-lp.html" target="_blank">Monetate</a> gives a great insight into the value of typical online orders among shoppers in Great Britain.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9182/xmasprep1.png" alt="" width="881" height="131"></p> <p>Orders which come via PCs and laptops remain the biggest on average – hitting $98.55 (£64.80) during Q2 2015. </p> <p>Looking at these trends, order values on traditional devices might actually be falling slightly.</p> <p>While being at their lowest in Q2 2015 compared to any point over the last five quarters – it is worth noting just how much AOVs have jumped on mobile devices since the same time last year - AOVs are now not too dissimilar to the peak of $95.66 (£62.91) which happened during 2014's festive season.</p> <h3><strong>Digital having even more influence on the habits of shoppers, on and offline</strong></h3> <p>With Monetate’s average order value data fresh in our minds, recent multichannel data from Savvy makes particularly interesting reading too.</p> <p>According to the recent report <a title="Savvy: The Evolution of the Path to Purchase" href="http://blog.getsavvy.com/more-than-half-of-products-bought-for-more-than-20-are-now-bought-online-for-home-delivery/" target="_blank"><em>The Evolution of the Path to Purchase</em></a>, it found that even if conversions often occur offline rather than online, a massive 69% of all purchases over £20 are influenced in some way by digital retailing.</p> <p>Additionally, most shoppers aren’t simply doing a Google search for such items or going straight to Amazon for pre-purchase research, but they will on average look at more than two sources of information before clicking the buy button.</p> <h3><strong>Further growth in click &amp; collect and more diverse fulfilment options</strong></h3> <p>One of the key talking points of the festive season last year was the rise of click &amp; collect purchases – with 39% of British online shoppers choosing to place orders online and then going to pick them up in-store, according to <a title="JDA" href="http://www.jda.com/view/press-release/nearly-one-in-three-british-online-christmas-shoppers-experienced-problems-with-orders/" target="_blank">JDA</a>.</p> <p>It’s likely such services will play an even bigger role in Christmas shopping in 2015.</p> <p>JDA also found that of those who used click &amp; collect in 2014, 34% said they would intend to use it more this year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9183/xmasprep2.png" alt="" width="792" height="462"></p> <p><a title="Zebra 2015 Global Shopping Study" href="https://www.zebra.com/content/dam/zebra_new_ia/en-us/solutions-verticals/vertical-solutions/retail/success-stories/zebra-2015-global-shopper-study-en.pdf" target="_blank">Zebra’s <em>2015 Global Shopping Study</em></a> (which includes UK respondents) released in September also found that 22% of those they asked prefer to buy online and then collect their orders in person from the store.</p> <h3><strong>Takeaways</strong></h3> <p>Christmas is always an interesting time for ecommerce and multichannel trends.</p> <p>Looking at recent data and comparing predictions with what we have seen happen in recent years, online retailers and marketers are in an ever-improving position to ensure they are reaching potential customers at the right times and across the best channels.</p> <p>With greater choice and more online and mobile accessibility to a wider range of products, the sector is increasingly consumer-led.</p> <p>Those hoping to engage with more customers over the next month or so need to be sure they are offering convenience and user-specific functionality, so shoppers can find and receive the items they want when they want them.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66821 2015-08-18T09:30:00+01:00 2015-08-18T09:30:00+01:00 Key ecommerce statistics from Ofcom's Communication Market Report 2015 James Ellis <p>It seems the ecommerce market is still growing at a decent pace. Figures published in Royal Mail’s latest annual report estimate total parcel volume growth at approximately 4%. </p> <p>The business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-originated (C2X) parcel segments are estimated to be growing at a slightly faster rate, between 4.5% and 5.5%. </p> <p>In 2014, the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) put the value of the UK ecommerce sales at £104bn.</p> <p>This is 14% greater than the value of sales the previous year, and more than double the 2009 value.</p> <p>Online retail is accounting for an increasing proportion of total retail sales.</p> <p>Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 11.2% of total retail sales were made online in 2014, compared to 10.4% in the previous year. </p> <p>Consumers in the UK are also shopping more on mobile devices. 40% of online retail sales at the end of 2014 were through mobile devices.</p> <p><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2InCrO4k7YkZ5OuEoFPpNGSV8-kLcSdWtWOk9THY3a0934kRbYhKEmAopzNFCc1faBFxygwLitb1LWBCr87rNVHGh5ZXvouybzFg7VmmvoANb3qLYrgGePxR3rD3kcOrnNheiI" alt="" width="602px;" height="295px;"></p> <h3><strong>Retail becomes more mobile</strong></h3> <p>As many marketers already know, mobile has become an integral part of retail and digital commerce offerings.</p> <p>Overall, use of mobile phones for retail activities was relatively stable between 2014 and 2015.</p> <p>Around one in four mobile internet users (26%) said they used their mobile phone to purchase goods or services in the month, the same proportion who said that they had used their mobile phone to find the location of a store. </p> <p><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/--afs8_hM2zjxQKCqemkqkO2vcCU8-oXytEGY-P776E6K6_B_dGXspVzxiYOEt79dtvXZ8F_dW56D8o4msfhfN3rCrPBi9h0ACLbO5SetYyAJ6O18mPKmq4W7-wW91-ITntkjAQ" alt="" width="601px;" height="303px;"> </p> <p>With 4G subscriptions increasing it could be expected that these trends accelerate and more consumers will become mobile shoppers.</p> <p>While mobile payments at the Point Of Sale is relatively low, it could be expected to increase once Apple Pay gains widespread traction.</p> <h3><strong>Factors affecting purchase decisions</strong></h3> <p>One in 10 consumers consider that the operator that delivers their parcel is an important factor in choosing a retailer.</p> <p>When asked to name the most important factors when choosing a retailer, over half of UK adults (56%) said that free delivery was an important factor. </p> <p>Around half (49%) considered that quick and efficient deliveries were important and three in 10 that the offer of click-and-collect services was important. </p> <p>Just over one in 10 (11%) UK adults considered that the provider used for delivery was an important factor, suggesting that consumers have little preference who provides their deliveries, as long as it does not add an additional cost to their purchase and it is quick and efficient.  </p> <p><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/lY0n-N3XygzCo2lcrSLssTSPeZWoGht2KRo9cfxlJ9Ukbc5D70UDM0HudD69FYAy8UzLKJAhbaUIEXj0FuwHjCmhR5ZkPIzMMgeqSo72b9oQKUI06Uj4TDbD3iQvh-EoQ3z5qYo" alt="" width="602px;" height="357px;"> </p> <p>A majority of consumers like to have notifications and/or tracking in place for their e-retail deliveries </p> <p>Over six in 10 (63%) of adults said that they liked to have email confirmation at each stage of delivery when awaiting deliveries from online shopping, and a similar proportion (61%) said that they liked to be able to track their parcels online.</p> <p>Features that provide more precise information about when items are likely to be delivered were cited by a significant majority of respondents. </p> <p>Around four in 10 said they wanted greater certainty of the specific delivery time: 43% said that they would like to receive texts with the exact time of delivery and 39% said they liked to have one-hour time slots for delivery. </p> <p><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/RG6xOfY5f829O8uxLJtoy_IbW8OJIobeX1nOUcymvpjptVHN4p4J3HnVRx0AF__T4uDz-vpBgkfDzGSSRNcDYLHBXt9nArXIk7RIUp-wvlMTunTnX6Hy7W1Ovwrl3cmvzOgJaL4" alt="" width="602px;" height="355px;"></p> <p>When it comes to delivery, almost seven out of 10 (68%) adults stated that delivery to the home was their preferred option.</p> <p>For delivery options away from the home, click and collect was the preferred method. 14% said that this was their preferred option.</p> <p>Preferences for other delivery methods (including parcel lockers, parcel shops and post offices) was low. None of these options were the preferred delivery point for more than 2% of respondents. </p> <p><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/4JFFGUI4UJommS5HZxqXSPJk7DprBKFjeD4v4TZsm0z2C3Zw8HNU5qAuJKxdCK55Dx2VSyO6XlbeosTwnc7bEUpNrYMK03BIKOHfsHPeKcGtuZDf4MhaDMl9VRbWFWfGLWFzXLU" alt="" width="602px;" height="325px;"></p> <h3><strong>Amazon still leading the way for digital retail</strong></h3> <p>In March 2015, 32.1m people visited Amazon on a desktop/laptop or mobile device, equivalent to two-thirds (68%) of the digital population. This was the largest digital audience among Ofcom’s comparator online retail services.</p> <p>eBay was visited by six in 10 of the digital population (59% or 28.2m), the second highest total digital audience, followed by Argos with 14.1m (an active reach of 30%) in March 2015.</p> <p>Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, was visited by 12.7m people i.e. 27% of the active digital audience.</p> <p>The number of people accessing the comparator retailers via desktop and laptops was generally higher than those accessing these on mobile devices, although in March 2015 more people accessed Argos, Tesco and Asda on mobile devices than on desktops and laptop. </p> <p><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/JgS90s0FlF4e5FNqxmNw-bgAOL2C-QKynQp_LCBVrSJRF4f0el6nfaSdhZ8PWqhoVgswN9_iuqJfrjXbzvAuNuFFv3ocAHkVBDmEVqqvAQPp715ZtXoB1KGBCdBvlf_qC_3kPQQ" alt="" width="602px;" height="397px;"> </p> <p>As with the other topics discussed in the Ofcom Market Report, mobile’s influence is becoming more important.</p> <p>As the report points out, several of the UK’s biggest retailers saw a bigger digital audience on mobile than desktop/laptop earlier this year. Amazon’s audiences across devices are approaching parity also. </p> <h3>For lots more up-to-date statistics…                                           </h3> <p>Download Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium/?utm_source=Econ%20Blog%20&amp;utm_medium=Blog&amp;utm_campaign=BLOGSTATS">Internet Statistics Compendium</a>, a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media.</p> <p>It’s updated monthly and covers 11 different topics from advertising, content, customer experience, mobile, ecommerce and social.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66749 2015-07-27T15:00:00+01:00 2015-07-27T15:00:00+01:00 Amazon to launch drive-up grocery stores: report Patricio Robles <p>Several years ago, Amazon unveiled <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/11055-lockers-amazon-s-omni-channel-strategy">Amazon Lockers</a>, which make it easy for its customers to avoid missed deliveries and pick up their purchases from nearby locations.</p> <p>Now comes <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2015/07/23/exclusive-amazon-planning-drive-up-grocery-stores.html?page=all">a report</a> that the company may be planning to build a drive-up grocery store in Silicon Valley.</p> <p>According to Silicon Valley Business Journal, Amazon is likely the entity behind a proposed 11,600 square foot store to be located in Sunnyvale.</p> <p>As Silicon Valley Business Journal's Nathan Donato-Weinstein points out, a drive-up concept makes sense in the context of the company's grocery efforts:</p> <blockquote> <p>For Amazon, a standalone drive-up store would signal a new phase in the company’s evolving grocery ambitions. AmazonFresh, Amazon’s same- and next-day grocery delivery service, has been expanding into major metropolitan areas in recent years.</p> <p>A physical pickup spot could help solve the “last mile” problem of getting perishable goods to consumers by having consumers come to Amazon.</p> </blockquote> <p>Nicole Santosuosso, an analyst at Kanta Retail, also believes that the proposed development could be aligned with Amazon's business. "Amazon’s entire value proposition is based on this idea of immediacy, and getting items to the shopper as quickly as possible," she explained. "I could see something like this being tied into that overall value proposition."</p> <h2>May the best customer experience win</h2> <p>Amazon faces significant competition in the grocery space. Google, through Google Express, is active in the space, and upstarts like Instacart have raised significant amounts of money.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, large established players, like Walmart and Safeway, have their own delivery and curbside pickup initiatives.</p> <p>As a result, if Amazon is behind the proposed store in Sunnyvale, it is unlikely to find overnight success. But analysts suggest that the company's prowess, particularly around logistics, could make it a formidable competitor.</p> <p>If Amazon can target the right consumers, and focus on the right products, it could make an even bigger splash in the grocery market sooner than one might expect.</p> <p>Ultimately, all of the companies in the space are trying to identify the optimal customer experience. The good news for companies like Amazon is that there might be multiple customer experiences that win.</p> <p>The face of grocery shopping is changing, and in the near future, it may become commonplace for consumers to use a variety of channels and services to stock their pantries.</p>