tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/product-pages-merchandising Latest Product pages & merchandising content from Econsultancy 2016-10-20T13:56:11+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68406 2016-10-20T13:56:11+01:00 2016-10-20T13:56:11+01:00 Three travel sites that offer a great UX (plus one that doesn’t) Matt Lindop <p>We are in a world where the majority will make decisions based on ease of access to the right information, in the right format, with a booking system that reassures them they’ve picked the right holiday.</p> <p>Fail to provide a great user experience as a travel provider, and you’re on the back foot.</p> <p>Competition amongst providers is therefore understandably fierce. Consumers want the best deals to be made easily available to them via the smoothest possible online interaction.</p> <p>Great UX is crucial in helping to build customer advocacy, even occasionally softening elements of price sensitivity at the checkout.</p> <p>In a noisy marketplace where so many online outlets are vying for attention at once, increasing dwell time on part of a provider’s estate (their site or app) is essential in paving the way to conversion, but this can only be achieved by allowing users to follow their chosen channel of choice and search criteria, regardless of individual scenarios.</p> <p>The potential impact that digital has on capturing those who are looking to book their latest break is massive.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Consumer-Business/gx-cb-thl-facebook-digital-channels-travel.pdf">recent Deloitte report</a> has shown that digital 'outlets’ ranked only behind ‘friends and family’ or ‘word of mouth’ when it came to consumers gathering travel ideas.</p> <p>It is for this reason that travel companies absolutely cannot afford to get their digital strategy wrong.</p> <p>Digitally savvy customers want simplicity.</p> <p>They want labelling that makes sense to them, filters that refine and generate prices, locations, dates and features in a series of interactions that make searching for a break a pleasure, not a chore.  </p> <p>Evidently making the UX a prime part of the travel booking process are some emerging, young, digitally-focussed brands.</p> <p>One such company is...</p> <h3>Secret Escapes</h3> <p>Aimed at the luxury market, visitors are offered sophisticated search functionality to search for specific holiday criteria, the results of which are separated into different product categories, removing any irrelevant information from a search.</p> <p>This ‘less is more’ approach offers a more detailed selection process up front so that, far from turning the holiday seeker off, Secret Escapes creates an instant digital rapport with its customers, projecting the warmth of its brand through the interactions it offers.  </p> <p>Most importantly, it offers the reassurance of effective, accurate and reliable results which suitably reflect the users’ requirements in completing the process.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0557/secret_escapes_search_filter.png" alt="" width="730" height="851"></p> <p>Creating a sense of understanding between the brand and the user from the get go, Secret Escape’s front filters, although detailed, are delightful enough in their efficiency to ensure repeat visits are a norm, massaging brand advocacy upwards.  </p> <p>In adding a sense of urgency to its deals, including a date of expiry and a list of upcoming deals, Secret Escape customers are also encouraged not only to re-visit but actively prepare for upcoming deals in exchange for secret budget prices.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0558/secret_escapes_offer_deadline.png" alt="" width="529" height="175"></p> <h3>Lastminute.com</h3> <p>Similarly, Lastminute.com should also be praised for the intricacy of its search filters.</p> <p>Users are given a search bar to select their date and location but once the selection has been made users are then given an additional - left hand - filter to further optimise their search.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0554/lastminute.png" alt="" width="750" height="598"></p> <p>Not only does this give visitors the option of selecting a filter based on location and price, it also gives users the option of using a hotel’s star rating and Trip Advisor reviews whilst searching, validating options socially.</p> <p>Safe in the the knowledge that Trip Advisor received over 170m views by 2014 alone, Lastminute.com users are presented with the opportunity to access useful and trusted information via a single source.</p> <p>Accompanying individual product pages also provide more detailed information for accommodation listed, and are separated into individual tabs including a breakdown of rating by category, the facilities on offer, optional departure times and also a map clarifying where each hotel is.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0556/last_minute_using_tripadvisor.png" alt="" width="670" height="822"></p> <p>The service is informative, supportive and above all comprehensive in its offering, again creating brand loyalty amongst its audience along the way.</p> <h3>Booking.com</h3> <p>Maps and other location services are also a great way to maximise on customer satisfaction, which more brands would do well to incorporate into their own websites.</p> <p>Maps help travel consumers to make logical decisions about their accommodation based on additional considerations regarding nearby attractions and other points of interest.</p> <p>This complete service offering is undoubtedly a valuable addition to the hotel booking experience, with Booking.com also setting the bar high on this score.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0553/booking.com.png" alt="" width="800" height="377"></p> <p>This is because location is often a top priority when choosing a holiday destination.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the disconnect between customer expectation and website design is often still all too evident on this score, even for some of the industry’s major players.</p> <p><em>(For more on this brand, see: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64681-is-booking-com-the-most-persuasive-website-in-the-world/">Is Booking.com the most persuasive website in the world?</a>)</em></p> <h3>TravelZoo</h3> <p>The website TravelZoo provides very few filter options, for example.</p> <p>And although these single value searches may seem to be less complicated at the outset, and may therefore appear more attractive in the first instance, they can often conversely constrict a user’s ability to find what they are looking for.</p> <p>Following the initial search, visitors are subsequently taken to an external website and a pop-up appears, creating an extremely demanding visual experience for the end user.</p> <p>Even if a site offers the user a list of exceptional deals, it still needs to also provide great content and engaging visual design.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0559/travel_zoo_search_bar.png" alt="" width="800" height="490"></p> <p>Great for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/seo-training/">SEO</a> too, engaging content has the ability to influence the reader and give them the information they require to make an informed decision about their holiday without feeling the need to look further elsewhere.</p> <p>Not only does it need to be readable but it should be easy to understand, engaging and easily scanned.</p> <p>To make content earn its keep, it needs to be organised in a way that supports coherent user journeys; organising information in a hierarchical way with the most relevant data appearing first sounds obvious, but is not always the case.</p> <p>As consumers, living in an on-demand society and economy our expectations are high, where increasingly we want to access the information we require when we require it - leaving those lacking in good content less likely to deliver a satisfactory user experience in the process.</p> <h3>The future is mobile</h3> <p>In addition to this, evidence also suggests <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66241-mobile-will-be-a-driving-force-in-the-travel-industry-for-2015/">consumers are more likely to book their holidays on a mobile device in future</a>.</p> <p>According to eMarketer, it is predicted that in 2016 51.8% of travellers who book trips will do so via digital means.</p> <p>Although the final figure is still yet to be determined, travel industry experts expect this rate to be much higher in the near future as companies continue to develop mobile capabilities at an unprecedented rate.</p> <p>For this prediction to become a reality, however, travel companies need to not only prepare their platforms accordingly, but also continue ensuring that their outputs are mobile friendly in future too.</p> <p>Filter bars work better on mobile devices compared to left hand filters that we are still seeing on popular websites, for example, while some of the top websites including Lastminute.com and Booking.com have already launched their own apps.</p> <p>With the app logo acting as a constant reminder of the trip each traveller could be experiencing as a mainstay of their mobile home screen, the ability to book their next getaway is always in their pocket.</p> <p>In this respect, Booking.com has very high reviews for its apps, with an overall rating of 4.5 stars and many reviews deeming it easy to use.</p> <p>With all of this in mind, it is crucial to remember that as the travel industry continues to move forward digitally, simplicity should always be at the heart of any design process.</p> <p>A consumer of any age or demographic should be able to use a website and if they can’t, questions needs to be asked.</p> <p>To quote Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it to a six year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67293-84-of-travel-businesses-have-a-digital-transformation-function/"><em>84% of travel businesses have a digital transformation function</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67766-10-examples-of-great-travel-marketing-campaigns/"><em>10 examples of great travel marketing campaigns</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68375-airbnb-how-its-customer-experience-is-revolutionising-the-travel-industry/"><em>Airbnb: How its customer experience is revolutionising the travel industry</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68432 2016-10-20T10:53:00+01:00 2016-10-20T10:53:00+01:00 Black Friday 2016: How are UK retailers optimising search landing pages? Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a closer look at the opportunity it presents, as well as how retailers can best capture consumer interest through organic search.</p> <h3>What happened last year?</h3> <p>Despite murmurings that consumers are becoming fed up of Black Friday madness – and some retailers like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67109-rei-opts-out-of-black-friday-sort-of/" target="_blank">Rei even taking a stance against</a> it - last year’s figures speak for themselves. </p> <p>While online searches in the UK were down, overall sales during the Black Friday period increased by an impressive 62%.</p> <p>Likewise, overall sales in the US increased by 14.3%, and ecommerce sales are predicted to grow by 17% this year.</p> <p>So, we can certainly see that Black Friday still presents a mammoth opportunity for retailers – the key is knowing how to seize it.</p> <h3>Identifying opportunities for organic search</h3> <p>The below chart, taken from a Black Friday report by <a href="https://www.pi-datametrics.com/insights/black-friday-2016-market-performance-report/" target="_blank">PI Datametrics</a>, highlights the most valuable search terms from November 2015.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0504/UK_organic_search.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="492"></p> <p>While ‘Black Friday’ has the biggest search volume, it is only the fourth most valuable in the list in terms of 'Organic Value'.</p> <p>Organic value is a benchmark created by Pi Datametrics. It's worked out as 'search volume X CPC X PPC competition' of a search term or group of search terms</p> <p>On the other hand, we can see phrases that include the word ‘deals’ have greater potential for conversion, proving that it is worth optimising keywords based on this trend.</p> <p>In fact, November is now the primary month for searches around ‘deals’, even overtaking words like ‘cheap’ when used in conjunction with products.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0505/Cheap_and_Deal_searches.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="485"></p> <h3>A missed opportunity for the UK</h3> <p>Interestingly, PI Datametrics has reported how US brands are dominating UK search results, showing how UK retailers are failing to optimise as well as their American counterparts.</p> <p>For the term ‘Black Friday’, five out of the top 10 sites in Google UK are US-based, with Target appearing for a variety of terms including ‘best black Friday deals’ and ‘black Friday bargains’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0543/UK_black_friday_search_results.png" alt="" width="800" height="435"></p> <p>Again, this points to a need for greater optimisation, with many UK retailers failing to research crucial trends and keywords to give themselves an edge.</p> <p>Meanwhile, US brands also appear to be making the most of data to re-target bargain-hungry consumers all year round.</p> <h3>The best UK perfomers</h3> <p>So, which brands are performing the best in terms of visibility in the UK?</p> <p>Undoubtedly, Argos is head and shoulders above the rest, with a 53% share of the most valuable search terms across positions 1 to 10. </p> <p>Likewise, it is also a consistent performer, ranking on page one for the term ‘Black Friday Deals’ all year round as opposed to during seasonal times only.</p> <p>One of the main reasons for this is that it has a well-optimised long-term landing page, enabling it to capitalise on search interest before and after the event.</p> <p>Moreover, this also allows it to build authority and consumer trust over time.</p> <p>Here’s a closer look at Argos, as well as a few other examples of good (and mediocre) landing pages.</p> <h4>Argos</h4> <p>With its long-term page, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67422-how-argos-models-ppc-on-tv-weather-seasonality/" target="_blank">Argos is a great example</a> of how to optimise for a seasonal event. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0496/Argos_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="599"></p> <p>As well as a prominent header, it also includes the repetiton of keywords combined with natural copy and useful information based around the event.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0498/Argos_black_friday_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <h4>Debenhams</h4> <p>Debenhams is another good example, capitalising on interest in this year's event as early as possible.</p> <p>While it's not the most attractive, it includes repetition of the core phrase, as well as keywords relating to Cyber Monday and Christmas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0500/Debenhams_Black_Friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <h4>Amazon</h4> <p>Amazon's landing page aims to take advantage of the user's interest in Black Friday by promoting current deals and discounts.</p> <p>It's a fairly dull page compared to the others on this list, but it includes similar information about why Black Friday and Cyber Monday exist.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0502/Black_Friday_Amazon.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="404"></p> <h4>Very</h4> <p>Very's landing page has a great design, and includes a few impressive stats from 2015. Will consumers find this data particularly interesting though?</p> <p>It could perhaps do with a more prominent mention of Black Friday 2016 to reassure customers that more deals are just round the corner.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0499/Very_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="759"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>Finally, John Lewis raises the question of whether Black Friday should be based around big ticket items only.</p> <p>It is a well-optimised page, including informative content and regular mentions of Black Friday search terms.</p> <p>However, the URL comes under the 'electricals' category, meaning it shuts out interest relating to clothing and homeware.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0503/Black_Friday_John_Lewis.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="807"></p> <p>John Lewis traditionally puts a big focus on Christmas retail, and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67161-is-john-lewis-playing-with-fire-with-its-annual-christmas-advert/">its festive TV ads are always much-anticipated</a>.</p> <p>Equally slashing prices wouldn’t really fit with its brand image, so it could be that the retailer prefers to take a low key approach to Black Friday.</p> <h3>Key points</h3> <p>Brands that want to make the most of the organic search opportunity in the lead up to Black Friday should follow a few simple rules:</p> <ul> <li>Create an ever-green landing page and keep it updated.</li> <li>Focus on a variation of keywords including 'deals' and 'bargains' to capture year-round interest.</li> <li>Black Friday isn't prime time for every retailer - consider whether it is worth investing more in other seasonal events like Christmas or Halloween.</li> </ul> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy's range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">search marketing training courses</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68329 2016-09-27T11:39:10+01:00 2016-09-27T11:39:10+01:00 Farfetch’s CMO: Why we’re more than just a shopping platform Nikki Gilliland <p>Here is what she had to say.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9547/stephanie_horton.JPG" alt="" width="464" height="299"></p> <h3>Farfetch describes itself as “for fashion lovers, not followers” – can you talk a bit about the general branding strategy of the company?</h3> <p>It’s interesting how the brand has actually evolved a lot since that statement.</p> <p>When we first started out we were definitely a fashion site for people who wanted to find that special item – but since then the brand itself has really expanded into more than just a shopping platform.</p> <p>We now have Black and White, which is a new division we launched last year, that lends our technology to retailers and brands.</p> <p>So where before we focused on putting boutiques on the site, we’re now looking at ourselves as more of a platform for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67731-think-affiliate-marketing-doesn-t-work-for-luxury-brands-think-again/" target="_blank">luxury</a>.</p> <h3>What is Farfetch’s USP in relation to other luxury retailers like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68219-four-things-brands-can-learn-about-content-marketing-from-net-a-porter" target="_blank">Net-a-Porter</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68293-a-review-of-style-com-conde-nast-s-new-ecommerce-site/" target="_blank">Style.com</a>?</h3> <p>It’s mainly breadth and selection, because we have over 500 boutiques around the world contributing to the site as well as over 200 brands.</p> <p>We have more product, sometimes even more than a brand’s own website, and we have more variety of product.</p> <p>For example, you’ll have a buyer in Toyko, a buyer in Paris and a buyer in New York – all from the same brand – so instead of having maybe six or seven selections, you might have 30 or 40.</p> <p>For a consumer it is amazing because they can actually shop and style a certain brand or designer, rather than having a limited number of pieces. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GLhdJoqSLdc?wmode=transparent" width="909" height="472"></iframe></p> <h3>What is the value for boutiques selling on Farfetch?</h3> <p>The site started because a lot of the smaller boutiques and brands didn’t have the ability to do ecommerce – for them it’s a very expensive and time-consuming proposition.</p> <p>They simply didn’t have the resources to do it.</p> <p>By using Farfetch, they are able to gain a global audience and gain all the infrastructure needed to become a real player in the ecommerce world.</p> <p>That includes things like customer service, payment... all those factors they would have had to figure out for themselves.</p> <h3>Last year, it was announced that Farfetch had acquired the Browns store in London – does this signal a move into physical branded stores?</h3> <p>I think Farfetch has always been really focused on the physical experience.</p> <p>One thing José, our founder, always says is that fashion is not downloadable. So it’ll never be the case that customers will only ever buy online – stores will always be an important part of the process.</p> <p>Browns allows us to have that incubator, a sort of lab to test new things and the technology to make the retail experience even better.</p> <p>For us it was just a way to really expand, do more things, and be able to roll more things out to our boutique and retail partners at large.</p> <h3>How do you ensure the experience of ‘luxury’ is replicated in digital?</h3> <p>I think every site has a point of view, and you just have to take that and really make sure that it is coming through in all aspects - from the quality of the editorial to the look and feel and how you’re presenting things.</p> <p>It’s important to read reviews, and make sure that the consumer experience is up to scratch.</p> <p>It’s also recognising that luxury requires certain things online that it might not in physical stores.</p> <p>Everything from the quality of customer service to the quality of delivery and how easy it is to return – making sure that all of those things stand up and that they are of a premium standard.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9546/farfetch_boutiques.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="242"></p> <h3>Lastly, what will you be speaking about at the Festival of Marketing?</h3> <p>I’ll be speaking about international marketing – so what we look for when going into a new market as well as what we know about our customers.</p> <p>There will be a focus on how Farfetch has been able to expand globally, the key leverages for us and the biggest challenges throughout the process.</p> <p><strong><em>The <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/welcome?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog" target="_blank">Festival of Marketing</a> takes place in London on October 5-6.</em><br></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68222 2016-08-30T10:34:00+01:00 2016-08-30T10:34:00+01:00 Ecommerce product filters: Best practice tips for a great UX Greg Randall <p>There are best practice guidelines to the use of filters that retailers should consider following. This is the purpose of this article.  </p> <p>It will address issues and present the best methods to construct filter behaviour in the context of enhancing online experiences. </p> <p>Due to the size of this topic which must span the various screen sizes, this article only focuses on desktop screens (and makes some references to tablet screens).</p> <p>For retailers who have large product ranges, filters are an essential part of improving online experiences.  </p> <p>If retailers can present and treat filters in the right manner, it enables consumers to quickly refine a large product range by the product attributes he/she deems important and aligned to his/her intent.  </p> <p>Some would call this act of<strong> empowering consumers with the means to manipulate content by their own hand, a personalised experience.</strong></p> <p>In order for filters to add value to a consumer’s journey, there are a core set of “filtering characteristics” to consider:   </p> <ol> <li> <strong>Filter placement:</strong> Where should filters be located on a page?</li> <li> <strong>Presenting relevant filters by product range:</strong> Different products with different attributes demand different filter options.</li> <li> <strong>Presenting the filtering options:</strong> How should a long list of filter options display as a default? </li> <li> <strong>Visually validating selected filters:</strong> When consumers select a filter, how should this be presented to provide consumers the confidence the site has reacted to this request?</li> </ol> <p>This narrative is based on the assumption that the integrity of a retailer’s product master data is to a high standard.  </p> <p>If not, this becomes the first challenge the business must overcome.  </p> <p>Some recommendations in this article are reliant on this business function.</p> <h3>Filter Placement </h3> <p><a href="https://www.nngroup.com/articles/horizontal-attention-leans-left/" target="_blank">NN Group’s eye-tracking study back in 2010</a> found 69% of consumers spend most of their time focusing on the left hand side of the page.</p> <p>There is no shortage of examples of well-known retailers placing their filters on the left hand side of the page, one of which is ASOS:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/8402/asos_filter-blog-flyer.png" alt="asos" width="470" height="516"></p> <p>From the perspective of filter placement on a page, most retailers are doing a great job.  </p> <p>This is the easy part done. </p> <h3>Presenting relevant filters by product range</h3> <p>Filters have the potential to become an enabling ingredient for consumers to shop in their own individualised way based on their unique personal needs and preferences.  </p> <p>For retailers to make the most of this opportunity there is a need to deliver relevant and unique filtering options for each category.  </p> <p>This requires retailers to have a good understanding of how consumers want to buy from them. There is an increased need for <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3052337/why-genuine-empathy-is-good-for-business">consumer empathy.</a>  </p> <p>One good example of relevant filtering per category is Sephora which has provided a number of different refinement options for consumers interested in Moisturisers.</p> <p>Within the Sephora Moisturiser category consumers can filter by:</p> <ol> <li>A consumer’s age (something consumers might not be comfortable discussing in a physical retail setting).</li> <li>Brand.</li> <li>Concerns (another topic some consumers might not be comfortable discussing).</li> <li>Ingredient preferences.</li> <li>Size of the product (travel vs value). Some consumers may want this product to remain in their purse/handbag while others may want to purchase something larger to save money.</li> <li>Skin type.</li> <li>Sun protection.</li> <li>Price Range.</li> </ol> <p>Notice how <a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8404/sephora_moisturiser_filter.png">price range is the last of the filters in presentation</a>. This is done intentionally.  </p> <p>If the consumer finds a product perfectly matching her needs, does price matter?</p> <p>Though there are over 450 moisturiser products to choose from, but with the comprehensive filter options on offer this range could grow in size and consumers would still have a good experience. </p> <h3>The Presentation of Filters </h3> <p>The majority of retailers <a href="https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/04/the-current-state-of-e-commerce-filtering/" target="_blank">present filters in four different ways</a>.  </p> <p>They are: </p> <ol> <li>Displaying all filters at once.</li> <li>Applying scrolling capability within each filter type.</li> <li>Presenting filter titles with no filter options to select.</li> <li>Truncate filters (abbreviate the presentation by displaying a sub set of the filters and provide a “See more” or “See all” hyperlink to present all other filter options).</li> </ol> <h3>Displaying All Filters</h3> <p>When displaying all filters the list becomes too busy for the consumer’s eye, making it difficult to identify and absorb all options presented. </p> <p>An example of this in action is Gamestop.com.</p> <p>While the filters are styled blue to indicate they are hyperlinks, the list is long, the font is small and the spacing is tight.  </p> <p>This style of filter presentation also makes for difficult finger targets when this is translated to tablet screens.</p> <p><em>Click to see the full list of filters</em></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8405/gamestop.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8492/gamestop_small.png" alt="" width="179" height="395"></a></p> <h3>Apply scrolling capability for filters </h3> <p>A good example of filters with scrolling capability is found at Sephora.com.</p> <p><em>Click to see the full list of filters</em></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8404/sephora_moisturiser_filter.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8494/sephora_moisturiser.png" alt="" width="179"></a></p> <p>The issue with this approach is the scroll bar itself.  </p> <p><a href="https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/04/the-current-state-of-e-commerce-filtering/" target="_blank">Usability research completed</a> on this type of filter presentation found the following issues:</p> <ol> <li>The fixed height of the filter frame will only ever present four to five options for selection.</li> <li>Small finger target on tablet screens.</li> <li>“Scroll Hi-jacking”. This is a term used to describe the consumer’s need to be <a href="https://www.smasbhingmagazine.com/2015/04/the-current-state-of-e-commerce-filtering/" target="_blank">constantly aware of his/her mouse</a> when using the scroll bars. </li> <li>Slow page load speed.  </li> </ol> <h3>Only presenting filter titles </h3> <p>Presenting only filter titles and not showing any options may sound like a good idea for retailers with many filter types, but it comes with issues.  </p> <p>For example, Staples.com does this across its entire site, below is what you see when you select the Laser Printer sub category. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8495/staples_filter.png" alt="" width="179"></p> <p>The issues with this approach:</p> <ol> <li>Sometimes the naming of the filter may not be intuitive and the filter options help to explain what it means. </li> <li>The display of filters can prompt consumers to make a selection.</li> <li>Hiding filter types increases the <a href="https://www.nngroup.com/articles/interaction-cost-definition/" target="_blank">physical effort</a> of a consumer in making a selection (more clicking is required).   </li> </ol> <h3>Truncating filters</h3> <p>“Truncating filters” is a fancy term for partially displaying a selection of filtering options for each filter type with a clear “See/Show More” hyperlink prompting that action if necessary.  </p> <p>This filter presentation option has the most benefits, but there are conditions to this approach in order for it to be effective.</p> <ol> <li>Retailers will know what brands are the most popular and should display these first. Once a user selects “See More” the list of filters would then present in alphabetical order.</li> <li>“See More” or “See All” hyperlinks are clear and obvious.</li> <li>In order to manage interaction cost there needs to be clear and obvious visual cues so users know their filter selection has been honoured. It is also important to present intuitive methods to deselect filters.  </li> </ol> <p>Macy’s has the right idea by providing visual cues to the selected filters, and repeats the selected filters at the top of the page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8500/macys_filter_large.png" alt="" width="750" height="996"></p> <p>One of the better examples of visual filter validation in action is Newegg.com.  </p> <p>The selected filters are repeated and presented at the top of the page, they are visually strong, and simple to deselect.  </p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/8411/new_egg_filter-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="294"> </p> <h3>The end...</h3> <p>That wraps up our quick tour of filters on desktop.  </p> <p>I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed creating it!</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3044 2016-08-12T17:24:24+01:00 2016-08-12T17:24:24+01:00 Online Merchandising <p>As e-commerce matures and customers are trained by your competitors to expect more, marketing and commercial professionals must be able to satisfy customers whilst also increasing profits.</p> <p>James Gurd, a thought-leader in e-commerce, heads up this course examining online merchandising. This course takes a whole-business approach to the art of selling online, from promises made to customers, right through to post-purchase selling.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68141 2016-08-09T12:16:12+01:00 2016-08-09T12:16:12+01:00 How UrbanStems uses customer experience to compete with big ecommerce Bart Mroz <p><a href="http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/online-flower-shops.html">Over $4 billion is spent each year</a> on online flower purchases for occasions such as birthdays, celebrations, graduations and more. While gifting flowers can bring great happiness to those receiving them, shopping for them can be a tedious process.</p> <p><a href="https://urbanstems.com/">UrbanStems</a> is a relatively new online flower startup, and is changing the way consumers purchase flowers online by delivering a clean and simple online shopping experience that focuses on customer satisfaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7796/the_raven_flower_arrangement.png" alt="urbanstems product page" width="615" height="430"> </p> <h2>Urbanstems</h2> <p>UrbanStems boasts a seamless online shopping experience offering a highly curated rotation of fresh and unique flowers, in line with the blooms of the season.</p> <p>On-demand, one-hour delivery is standard and available at no extra charge, making even the most bothersome aspect of the shopping experience simple and convenient.</p> <h3>Clean, visually appealing product page </h3> <p>One of UrbanStems’ most successful assets is its beautifully designed product page. Clean, elegant and filled with vibrant floral images, it is this visually appealing page that attracts consumers to the online florist.</p> <p>As you scroll down, additional images show multiple points of view so that customers can better understand the dimensions, style, potential use, etc.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7798/urbanstems_product_page.png" alt="urbanstems product page" width="615" height="433"> </p> <p>Within the clean and modern layout, one can find the key points of information neatly aligned to the right of the featured product.</p> <p>No distracting promotions, recommendations, upsells or other competing features – the platform is entirely user-friendly and mobile-optimized to provide a fluid and enjoyable shopping experience.</p> <h3>Hassle-free checkout process</h3> <p>Once the customer decides on an Urbanstems arrangement, the site automatically displays the necessary options (such as delivery date and address) needed to complete the purchase, therefore making the already simple checkout process even more quick and painless.</p> <p>Other online florists such as Proflowers require nearly twice as many steps to complete a purchase, yet by reducing the number of steps required to checkout, UrbanStems minimizes the likelihood of customer fatigue and shopping cart abandonment.</p> <p>This results in higher <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">conversion rates</a> and more sales.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7799/checkout_urbanstems.png" alt="checkout" width="615"></p> <h3>Flexible customer support options</h3> <p>Through the entire shopping experience, customers have access to a discreet popup tab which provides an instant connection to customer service and FAQs. Questions via chat, email or phone call are always welcome.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7800/faqs.png" alt="faqs" width="318" height="488"></p> <p>Providing multiple points of customer service is a great way to ensure that customers receive quick feedback to any of their questions or concerns. If they cannot obtain the information they seek, they are much more likely to abandon their purchase and shop elsewhere. </p> <h2>ProFlowers</h2> <p>ProFlowers is one of the largest online florists in the U.S. but its customer shopping experience is entirely sales oriented.</p> <p>Throughout the entire process, customers are bombarded with various different product options and presented with a myriad of ways to spend more money than was originally intended.</p> <p>Even though these tactics have helped grow the Proflowers business, they degrade the customer shopping experience and have led to many negative customer reviews as well as low customer satisfaction ratings.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7802/proflowers_upgrades.png" alt="proflowers" width="615" height="439"></p> <h3>Busy product pages</h3> <p>Proflowers’ product pages are a prime example of information overload – both visual and written.</p> <p>Even before the customer starts evaluating the product he/she has clicked on, they are immediately presented with multiple upgrade options and additional add-ons.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7803/proflowers_product_page.png" alt="proflowers business" width="518" height="597"> </p> <p>Why is this unappealing? A product page should highlight the intended product rather than trying to sell as many other products as possible.</p> <p>ProFlowers automatically displays coordinated add-ons, product upgrades and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65866-how-do-product-recommendations-influence-buyer-behavior/">recommendations</a>. While this may be a great way to generate incremental revenue for the retailer, it overwhelms customers and makes the experience seem highly promotional and sales-driven.</p> <h3>Lengthy checkout process</h3> <p>In order to make a purchase through Proflowers, customers must go through a nine-step process starting with the product page. Few other ecommerce checkout experiences are this lengthy.</p> <p>With so many steps required to make a simple purchase, customers become frustrated and the experience much less enjoyable. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7804/proflowers_checkout.png" alt="checkout" width="615" height="365"></p> <p>As soon as customers hit the checkout button (which is actually labeled “Delivery Date”), they are sent to a page filled with add-on gift options.</p> <p>After already being inundated with upgrade and add-on options on the initial product page, this second forceful upsell proves extremely irritating. Only after this page do customers start the actual checkout process.</p> <h3>Limited customer support options</h3> <p>The only visible customer support option that’s consistent throughout the site is the contact number.</p> <p>There are no instantaneous customer service chat options or direct links to FAQs. If a shopper needs customer service help while browsing, they must first find the customer service link at the very bottom of the page and then navigate to that exact page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7805/footer.png" alt="footer proflowers" width="615"></p> <p>Shopping for flowers – no matter the reason – should always be a pleasurable experience, one that is simple and straightforward.</p> <p>New players in the space like UrbanStems are challenging current industry leaders like ProFlowers by crafting customer-first shopping experiences that emphasize the customer rather than immediate revenue.</p> <p>As a result, these new players are sure to not only attract but also retain more customers, leading to increased sales and a bigger market share. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67870 2016-05-24T11:19:35+01:00 2016-05-24T11:19:35+01:00 Why ASOS is still leading the online retailing pack Paul Rouke <p>The reality is the core user experience of ASOS has changed very little over the years and for good reason – it’s an exceptional example of delivering an intuitive, persuasive, streamlined browsing and buying experience.</p> <p>What continually surprises me is how many major retailers still haven’t built some of the core foundations that ASOS did years ago.</p> <p>In this article I share what I feel, in my experience, are things which not only make ASOS exceptional, but should also provide inspiration for other retailers.</p> <h3>Site-wide, immediate visibility of its USP</h3> <p>Long before most retailers realised the importance of communicating their unique selling points site-wide in a high visibility area, ASOS had featured three banners underneath its primary navigation.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5154/UVP_header.PNG" alt="" width="595" height="94"></p> <ul> <li>Ensure the messages stand out visually and attract attention.</li> <li>Make it clear there are distinct messages.</li> <li>Use colour/design touches to draw particular attention to the primary message you want to communicate at any one time.</li> <li>Make it clear if the message is clickable to find out more.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing</strong><strong>:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Use icons to provide visual clues to differentiate the messages.</li> <li>Ensure you communicate your USPs across devices – don’t hide them when you simplify your mobile UI, visitors still need to be persuaded.</li> </ul> <h3>Streamlined navigation experience</h3> <p>For as long as I can remember, ASOS has had an incredibly simple primary navigation bar.</p> <p>The reality is, it offers every visitor a simple and relevant first choice to start exploring the huge product range.</p> <p>ASOS was also one of the early retailers to provide <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65357-mega-menu-design-trends-in-ecommerce-2011-vs-2014/">a mega menu</a>, but not just <em>any</em> mega menu – it has always been tailored to suit a range of buyer types and expose a wide range of the brand areas i.e. Marketplace.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5155/Screenshot__2_.png" alt="" width="594" height="405"></p> <ul> <li>Simplify the primary navigation to reduce the choices visitors have in order to start exploring the product range.</li> <li>Provide structure and clarity of the types of navigation categories visitors have to choose from.</li> <li>If you have new-in and/or sale items, provide quick access to these areas.</li> <li>Use cookies to store which core category a visitor spends most time in, and when they come back to your homepage URL, redirect them back in to that category (this is a subtly executed spot of personalisation that ASOS provides).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing</strong><strong>:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Repeat key USPs at the bottom or in the side of the mega menu.</li> <li>Introduce imagery to attract attention to core categories or relevant/seasonal ranges.</li> </ul> <h3>Continually communicate UVPs and USPs throughout the user journey</h3> <p>Not content with making its USP messages “pop” off the page in the header, ASOS has never been shy about repeating these message throughout the user journey.</p> <p>It’s something that another brand I admire, AO.com, also embraces, and I’ve detailed in-depth how it does this previously in my article titled: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/">AO.com: The best ecommerce experience available online?</a></p> <p>So many other retailers simply don’t do this – they feel that as they have a USP bar in their site-wide header, that is enough and they don’t want to waste precious space repeating these messages in important real estate on core shopping pages.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Explore ways of using subtle animations as visitors scroll down a page to draw attention to key messages (ASOS does this on its homepage with the flying plane).</li> <li>Consider ways to repeat a key message in a highly visible part of the product page (ASOS does this under the product price).</li> <li>Add a key message aimed at persuading visitors to purchase in the bottom of the mini-basket.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5160/UVP_in_mini_basket.PNG" alt="" width="562" height="377"></p> <ul> <li>Promote key messages in the shopping basket, whilst ensuring you don’t take the focus away from checking out.</li> <li>Utilise different visual techniques to draw attention to messages, such as simple, common iconography (remember people typically spend 99% of their time on other websites).</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5161/UVP_in_basket.PNG" alt="" width="593" height="384"></p> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Repeat key USPs at the bottom or on the side of your checkout pages.</li> <li>In addition to promoting USPs in the site-wide header, introduce a section within the footer which communicates core brand messages.</li> </ul> <h3>Provide a simplified, persuasive, non-committal way to begin building up your desired products</h3> <p>Wishlist functionality has been one of the out-of-box features for retailers since the late 1990s, but almost every retailer in 2016 requires visitors to register/sign-in to use it.</p> <p>For over five years, ASOS has allowed visitors to start adding items to their “saved items” without any mention or request to create an account or sign-up.</p> <p>Not only does this provide a seamless browsing experience for visitors whether they are logged in or not, but ASOS has always made “Save for Later” a core action it wants visitors to take.</p> <p>Back in 2010, James Hart (the then Ecommerce Director at ASOS) told me that the site literally sees hundreds of thousands of “saves” made every day.</p> <p>Most retailers tend to see wishlists or saved items as a nice to have but very much a low priority focus area for visitors during the browsing experience.</p> <p>ASOS is the complete opposite for good reason.</p> <p>It knows the importance of the commitment and consistency principle, which has been proven to demonstrate the increased probability of a purchase when people make a smaller initial commitment to lead up to the actual purchase.</p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5162/Screenshot__1_.png" alt="" width="595" height="451"></p> <ul> <li>Don’t force visitors to have to register or sign-up in order to use the save/love/wishlist function – use cookies initially, then encourage visitors to sign-up so they can access their list across devices.</li> <li>Don’t hide away the wishlist/saved items area – encourage visitors to use this functionality and visit this area, giving it similar prominence to your shopping bag.</li> <li>Allow visitors to save items directly from the product listing pages – don’t just provide this on the product page.</li> <li>Within the wishlist/saved items area, allow visitors to move products to their shopping bag, or scroll through individual product images without having to go to the product page.</li> <li>Integrate the wishlist/saved items area in to the shopping basket to encourage increased average order values and average order quantities.</li> <li>Make saving for later an integral part of the mobile browsing experience.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Introduce a section at the bottom of your browsing pages which promote the items in your saved items area, in addition to the typical section showing recently viewed items.</li> </ul> <h3>A focus on simplicity throughout the core user experience</h3> <p>Starting from the primary navigation but moving in to filtering product listing pages, the redesigned product page template, through to the shopping basket and checkout forms, simplicity is the name of the game.</p> <p>Why reinvent the wheel when you can just deliver the essentials really well<em>,</em> <em>then</em> adding in layers of engagement and persuasion to differentiate and keep visitors coming back?</p> <p>ASOS has embraced the approach of utilising white space to provide clarity on the core functions that visitors are looking for, with the product page being a primary example.</p> <p>The product page also provides an excellent example of encouraging visitors to browse through the available images within the big arrows.</p> <p>It sounds simple because it <em>is</em>, and it’s this simplicity that people really want in the vast majority of cases in all my years of experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5164/product_page.PNG" alt="" width="596" height="560"></p> <p><strong>Lessons to learn from ASOS include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Focus on delivering a smooth checkout process – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64669-21-first-class-examples-of-effective-web-form-design/">form best practice</a> is your best friend, yet for many retailers, that friend is nowhere to be seen – including the often unfriendly error messages when things go wrong.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Opportunities for A/B testing above and beyond what ASOS is currently doing: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Streamline <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63444-ecommerce-best-practice-the-basket-add-what-is-it-and-how-should-it-work/">the add-to-bag experience</a> if visitors haven’t selected a size or colour, rather than displaying an error message alert box which visitors have to interact with in order to make a selection. <a href="http://www.very.co.uk">Very.co.uk</a> does this extremely well and I know that it performed significantly better when it was A/B tested against the current ASOS approach.</li> </ul> <h3>What do you think?</h3> <p>Thanks for reading and I hope it has provided ideas and opportunities which you can build in to the foundations of your ecommerce experience.</p> <p>So what are the highlights of the ASOS user experience for you? What areas do you feel it could improve upon?</p> <p>Which other retailers do what ASOS does but more intuitively or more persuasively? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67825 2016-05-10T11:27:54+01:00 2016-05-10T11:27:54+01:00 Fashion faux pas: Five times 'edgy' brands went too far Nikki Gilliland <h3>Urban Outfitters </h3> <p>It seems like there is an Urban Outfitters scandal on a yearly basis, and already 2016 has been no exception.</p> <p>After offending customers with its references to depression, the company recently withdrew the Peachy Head shampoo for ‘suicidal hair’. </p> <p>With similar hullaballoo surrounding the <a href="http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/05/05/urban-outfitters-kent-state-controversy/">bloodstained sweatshirt</a> and ‘Eat Less’ t-shirt, it seems this is one brand that just can’t learn from its mistakes. Funny that.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4783/Peachy_Head_Shampoo.PNG" alt="" width="486" height="621"></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Dear <a href="https://twitter.com/UrbanOutfitters">@UrbanOutfitters</a> think this is an acceptable product aimed at teenage girls? Shameful AND hugely irresponsible. <a href="https://t.co/3gdwadGj5Q">pic.twitter.com/3gdwadGj5Q</a></p> — Sam Missingham (@samatlounge) <a href="https://twitter.com/samatlounge/status/725705184115064832">April 28, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Forever 21</h3> <p>Maybe it’s a case of keeping up with the hipsters, but American brand Forever 21 recently jumped on the controversial slogan bandwagon.</p> <p>A men’s t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Don’t Say Maybe If You Want to Say No” was unsurprisingly met with outrage due to its rape-justifying undertones. </p> <p>After a slew of customer complaints the shirt has subsequently been pulled from the website, but with the recent news that Forever 21 is <a href="http://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2016/05/forever-21-closes-westfield-stratford-outlet">scaling back</a> on its UK stores, the brand has certainly not had the best start to the year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4784/Forever_21.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="732"></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"> Forever21 allowed a shirt suggesting victims are to blame for rape. Let's not allow anyone to spend money here again <a href="https://t.co/cdeJH34ODR">https://t.co/cdeJH34ODR</a></p> — Brad Simpson (@PucksOnTheNet) <a href="https://twitter.com/PucksOnTheNet/status/709445009368604673">March 14, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Primark </h3> <p>Most famously criticised for issues relating to cheap labour, Primark has also stirred up controversy over the kind of kids clothing it makes. </p> <p>Fed up with seeing ‘Future WAG’ t-shirts and high heels for eight-year-olds, online parenting network Mumsnet launched the ‘<a href="http://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/let-girls-be-girls">Let Girls Be Girls’</a> campaign.</p> <p>As a result, the British Retailers Consortium reviewed its best practice guidelines, and high street retailers like Boden and Asda signed up to show support.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4785/British_Retailing_Consortium.PNG" alt="" width="750" height="565"></p> <h3>Dolce &amp; Gabbana</h3> <p>The online launch of D&amp;G’s summer 2016 collection has been eagerly anticipated. However, customers were left shocked (and more than a little bemused) by the name of one item in particular.</p> <p>A leather sandal – complete with pom poms and other colourful embellishments – was absurdly labelled the “Slave Shoe”. </p> <p>Despite quickly changing the name to “Decorative Flat Sandal”, the brand has remained entirely tight-lipped over its latest embarrassment.</p> <p>Combined with the controversial comments about <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/11473198/Sir-Elton-John-calls-for-Dolce-and-Gabbana-boycott-after-row-over-same-sex-families.html">same-sex families</a>, this provides even more ammunition for Elton John’s #BoycottDolceGabbana hashtag. </p> <h3>Zara</h3> <p>Known for its designer-inspired clothing, Spanish retailer Zara took things a step too far in 2014.</p> <p>Despite being marketed as a ‘Sheriff-inspired’ outfit - with its horizontal stripes and yellow star – one children’s top in particular looked a little too reminiscent of the garments worn by Jews during the Holocaust. </p> <p>The company rapidly removed the product and apologised, however it’s hard not to wonder at what point the penny dropped. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What were the designers thinking <a href="https://twitter.com/ZARA">@ZARA</a> ? <a href="http://t.co/SukupXR3XN">http://t.co/SukupXR3XN</a> <a href="http://t.co/hzhcUbO0Kz">pic.twitter.com/hzhcUbO0Kz</a></p> — Nathalie Rothschild (@n_rothschild) <a href="https://twitter.com/n_rothschild/status/504543165429596160">August 27, 2014</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/eylanezekiel">@eylanezekiel</a> We honestly apologize, it was inspired by the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western films and is no longer in our stores</p> — ZARA (@ZARA) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZARA/status/504568804626931712">August 27, 2014</a> </blockquote> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67727 2016-04-13T14:16:07+01:00 2016-04-13T14:16:07+01:00 The Competition & Market Authority issues open letter about fake reviews Edwin Bos <p>The results showed that - unsurprisingly - reviews influence consumer purchasing habits (it estimates that <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-acts-to-maintain-trust-in-online-reviews-and-endorsements" target="_blank">54% of UK adults consult online reviews</a> before making a purchase).</p> <p>At Reevoo <a href="https://blog.reevoo.com/the-government-cracks-down-on-fake-reviews-are-you-safe/" target="_blank">we reported on this</a> just as Amazon announced that it was introducing a new “machine learning” based review ranking system that promotes verified reviews over others (as much as an algorithm alone can, anyway).</p> <p>But the survey also brought to light more shady tactics by businesses trying to influence potential consumers.</p> <p>These ranged from posting fake reviews on to review sites, eliminating negative reviews (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/8638-bad-reviews-improve-conversion-by-67/">even though this isn’t a good strategy</a>) and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67645-google-s-got-it-right-instead-of-bribing-bloggers-sort-out-your-website/" target="_blank">paying for endorsements in blogs</a> without making it clear to the people watching and reading.</p> <p>The CMA has now written <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/512560/An_open_letter_to_marketing_departments__marketing_agencies_and_their_clients.pdf" target="_blank">an open letter to marketing departments</a>, marketing agencies and their clients about the investigation and offering guidance on how to make sure they’re complying with industry standards.</p> <p>Most of <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/online-reviews-and-endorsements-advice-for-businesses/online-reviews-giving-consumers-the-full-picture" target="_blank">the advice</a> is pretty obvious. For example:</p> <blockquote> <p>Don’t pretend to be a customer and write reviews about your products or other businesses’ products.</p> </blockquote> <h3>See what I mean?</h3> <p>But what is even more clear is that businesses which don’t comply with these guidelines could find that the consequences are significant:</p> <blockquote> <p>Writing or commissioning a fake review – in relation your own products or someone else’s – is a breach of consumer protection law and may lead to civil or even criminal action.</p> </blockquote> <p>Although it’s good to see the issue getting attention, I don’t think the CMA goes far enough, despite the stern wording.</p> <p>If the CMA was serious it would have regulated the industry rather than sending out a letter.</p> <p>There is plenty of incentive for businesses (£23bn of consumer spending is influenced by customer reviews) to publish fake reviews.</p> <p>However, regardless of the CMA’s guidance, I firmly believe that businesses shouldn’t be tempted into faking reviews or deleting negative ones. There's too much to lose.</p> <p>Consumers prize transparency and authenticity. Untampered user-generated content is one of the best ways brands can gain consumers’ trust.</p> <p>And as we’ve seen in recent scandals, trust is one of the hardest things for a brand to earn but one of the easiest things to lose.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67717 2016-04-07T11:07:50+01:00 2016-04-07T11:07:50+01:00 Ray Ban’s 10-month delay in sending post-sales email isn’t as strange as it seems David Moth <p>At first I assumed it was a glitch, as Ray-Ban was asking for me to review my ‘recent purchase’.</p> <p>But that strange turn of phrase aside, it’s clear that the email was actually very cleverly timed.</p> <p>Allow me to quickly avail you of the three reasons I’m a fan of this email.</p> <p><em>The email in question</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3692/Screen_Shot_2016-04-06_at_15.19.30.png" alt="" width="551" height="638"></p> <p>And for more on this topic, book onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/email-marketing/">Email Marketing Training Course</a> or check out these posts:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/">Ecommerce consumer reviews: why you need them and how to use them</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67358-nine-email-marketing-trends-set-to-dominate-2016/">Nine email marketing trends set to dominate 2016</a></li> </ul> <h3>1. The email neatly coincides with the beginning of summer</h3> <p>Ray-Ban’s email was cunningly timed to coincide with the clocks going forward, which means it’s technically British summer time.</p> <p>Obviously it’s actually still cold and raining here in London, but the evenings are longer and there is the sense that summer is just around the corner.</p> <p>The email imagery and copy reinforce that feeling and attempt to associate both my sunglasses and the Ray-Ban brand with summertime.</p> <p>This increases the chances that I’ll leave a positive review.</p> <h3>2. I’ve had time to use the product</h3> <p>As mentioned, it’s common for post-sales emails to arrive within a few days of the product.</p> <p>For most items this is a good idea, as you strike while the iron is hot and the customer is still excited about whatever it is they bought.</p> <p>Give the customer long enough to get some initial use out of their new item, but don’t wait so long that they’ve lost interest in it.</p> <p>In the case of my sunglasses, you need to remember that I live in England so even though I bought them in the summer there’s no guarantee I’ll have got much use out of them. I’m not Bono.</p> <p>Thankfully I’ve been on a few holidays recently and have fallen deeply in love with my Ray-Bans.</p> <p>So although 10 months is potentially a bit too long to wait before asking for a review, there’s a strong argument for giving customers a bit of time to get good use out of the product before asking for feedback.</p> <h3>3. It might spur me into another purchase</h3> <p>Ray-Ban’s email might purport to be asking for a review, but it’s also a timely reminder that summer is almost upon us.</p> <p>I’m not the sort of person who buys new sunglasses every year, but some people do.</p> <p>These people might be spurred on to browse Ray-Ban’s website to check out the latest product options, potentially clinching both a product review and another sale.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Not all companies are going to benefit from waiting 10 months before asking for a review. </p> <p>For example, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67014-fast-fashion-how-to-keep-up-with-the-new-ecommerce-trend/">fast fashion brands</a> rely on the fact that customers are constantly replenishing their wardrobes. A 10-month gap would mean the item is likely discontinued and the customer would have forgotten about it and moved on.</p> <p>And I’m not entirely convinced that Ray-Ban will achieve great results from this particular email. Who really writes a review 10 months after buying sunglasses?</p> <p>But it’s definitely worth testing this type of email marketing, particularly if the timing (e.g. the start of summer) is relevant to the brand.</p> <p>It might not garner many reviews, but it keeps the brand top-of-mind and might encourage some additional sales before summer.</p>