tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/site-search Latest Site search content from Econsultancy 2017-11-01T14:55:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69551 2017-11-01T14:55:00+00:00 2017-11-01T14:55:00+00:00 Ebay becomes latest ecommerce brand to offer visual search Patricio Robles <p>The first feature, Find It On eBay, allows users to “share” an image they find on the web or through a social platform with eBay. Ebay will then find listings that are similar. The second feature, Image Search, does the same thing using images that users take and have stored in their phones' camera roll.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/226972601" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>Ebay <a href="https://www.ebayinc.com/stories/news/an-easier-way-to-search-ebay-computer-vision-with-find-it-on-ebay-and-image-search-is-now-live/">explained</a> the artificial intelligence and machine learning technology behind these two new features:</p> <blockquote> <p>When you upload images to run Find It On eBay and Image Search, we use a deep learning model called a convolutional neural network to process the images. The output of the model gives us a representation of your image that we can use to compare to the images of the live listings on eBay. Then, we rank the items based on visual similarity and use our open-source Kubernetes platform to quickly bring these results to you, wherever you are in the world.</p> </blockquote> <p>Ebay says that its technology will learn and improve as more people use it.</p> <h3>The rise of visual search</h3> <p>While it's not clear that visual search will be enough of a draw to respark growth, the company is not the only one using similar technologies to enable visual search.</p> <p>For example, popular social platform Pinterest started rolling out visual search functionality <a href="https://blog.pinterest.com/en/our-crazy-fun-new-visual-search-tool">in 2015</a> and this year felt confident enough in its efficacy to apply it to its ads.</p> <p>“Until now we've only applied the visual discovery tech to the organic consumer facing products,” Pinterest president Tim Kendall <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/16/pinterests-visual-search-technology-is-coming-to-its-ads/">explained</a> at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York in May. “But the news is we're now applying it to ads. Think about Pinterest, we have a depth and breadth of visual signals on products and services. We've got all that information, we have all these Pins, and the way that people navigate those pins is very visual.</p> <p>"We leveraged the way people actually use Pinterest. We can identify colors, shapes, textures. We're able to understand the combined affect people find appealing, even when it can't be communicated in words.”</p> <p>Pinterest is in good company. The world's largest search engine, Google, unveiled a new visual search technology of its own this year. <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/17/google-lens-brings-ai-understanding-to-assistant-and-photos/">Google Lens</a> has been integrated into Google Photos and Assistant and can be used to help users identify what's in their photos and videos and connect them to relevant resources. The ecommerce applications of this <a href="https://venturebeat.com/2017/09/15/visual-search-products-like-google-lens-could-revolutionize-online-shopping/">are obvious</a>.</p> <p>That explains why retailers such as Target, ASOS and Neiman Marcus <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68984-how-visual-search-is-helping-ecommerce-brands/">have invested in creating their own visual search technologies</a>.</p> <p>While consumer use of these technologies is still nascent, given the visual nature of the web we can expect to see visual search become an increasingly important area for innovation among retailers, marketplaces, social platforms and search providers.</p> <p>Those with the best technology and greatest success in encouraging users to search and shop visually could find that they have a real advantage in the years to come as <a href="https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Do-Millennials-Ever-Put-Down-Their-Mobiles/1012210">studies have demonstrated</a> that visual technologies are most widely adopted by millennials and Gen Z consumers.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69460 2017-10-02T13:30:00+01:00 2017-10-02T13:30:00+01:00 Image recognition in ecommerce: Visual search, product tagging and content curation Ben Davis <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> What is the most exciting use of your image recognition technology in ecommerce?</h4> <p><strong><em>Matthias Dantone:</em></strong> Of course we’re excited about and confident in all of our technology’s use cases. Lately however we have witnessed a great interest in visual search – a tool by which shoppers can upload an inspirational image to an app and shop the products in the image.</p> <p>Just looking at the media frenzy that surrounded the visual search announcements by Pinterest or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69358-asos-visual-search-is-it-any-good/">ASOS</a>, for instance, it’s clear that this is exactly what shoppers want. They find what they are looking for, and the process to checkout is sped up. It’s an experience that’s valuable for both the shopper and the retailer.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GtDhZb1nNF0?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How many consumers are using visual search?</h4> <p><strong><em>MD:</em></strong> While we aren’t at liberty to disclose exact numbers, we can tell you that every month there continue to be new users and stronger statistics that support that this is the direction of the future of search.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Uploading pictures to visual search is easiest when browsing on mobile, where conversion is typically low. Is this problematic?</h4> <p><strong><em>MD:</em></strong> This is still a problem in mobile commerce, but one that we're trying to help solve. We bridge the gap from content to commerce by streamlining the path from inspirational image – be it on Instagram or in the image library on your phone – to the checkout page.</p> <p>Among the many challenges of shopping on mobile is of course the screen size, which isn’t optimized for endless scrolling. Our Visual Search eliminates that entire process: Shoppers land directly on the product they were looking for, making shopping easier than it has ever been.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Your tool can be used to help advertisers with content creation. Where else can you see visual search used as a back-office tool?</h4> <p><strong><em>MD:</em></strong> There are many use cases for Fashwell’s tech, both on the front and backend. For instance, we work with a fashion marketplace that uses our automatic <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68921-an-introduction-to-ai-powered-ecommerce-merchandising">attribute tagging</a> in the backend. Each of their products is automatically tagged with attribute labels, both for their physical and aesthetic qualities. This helps the retailer manage their catalog, as well as personalize the search results for each customer segment since they have information on their shoppers’ style.</p> <p>Additionally, we help to speed up and automate the product tagging process for the curation teams at a number of technology companies who build shoppable content or distribute UGC content for publishers, brands and retailers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9283/shop_now.jpg" alt="shop the look" width="600" height="424"></p> <h4>E: Why is visual analysis used for product classification? Isn't it more efficient to classify with product data?</h4> <p><em><strong>MD:</strong></em> We've been building classifiers for product data tagging, which are a much faster and more scalable solution for product tagging within ecommerce. A big problem that retailers face is that every brand has a different set of attributes and taxonomies with which they describe their products. For example, one brand may call something “pants”, another “trousers” and yet another “long pants”.</p> <p>Fashwell can standardize this by looking at a product image: Our algorithms take it one step further by adding new product information that is generally not included in any type of data – like style, neck type, or the occasion the product would be appropriate for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9284/sneaks.png" alt="visual classification" width="615" height="256"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What will it take for visual search to be widely adopted in ecommerce? Is it a matter of time? </h4> <p><em><strong>MD:</strong></em> It’s definitely only a matter of time. Some of the world’s biggest companies – Amazon, eBay, Pinterest – already offer visual search, and Europe’s two biggest etailers, Zalando and ASOS, have also implemented visual search as a permanent tool for their shoppers.</p> <p>It’s been predicted that 80% of all search queries are going to be either through images or speech. So with more time, more usage and more technical fine tuning, most brands and retailers will turn to visual search as an effective ecommerce tool.</p> <p><strong>Related reading:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69431-how-machine-learning-can-set-fashion-ecommerce-strategy-product-assortment">How machine learning can set fashion ecommerce strategy &amp; product assortment</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69358 2017-08-22T09:45:00+01:00 2017-08-22T09:45:00+01:00 ASOS visual search: Is it any good? Nikki Gilliland <p>With a fast and intuitive user experience, ASOS is already known for having one of the best retail apps out there. However, the brand has just added a new feature with the aim of further improving its customer experience – a new visual search tool.</p> <p>So, what does it do exactly? And will customers actually use it? Here are my thoughts on the newly updated app and more on why visual search is becoming a big priority for brands.</p> <h3>Investment in technology</h3> <p>Both eBay and Pinterest have already launched <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68984-how-visual-search-is-helping-ecommerce-brands" target="_blank">visual search</a> tools of their own, with the latter doing so in order to boost its status as a shopping platform rather than a discovery site. </p> <p>For ASOS, the decision is part of the brand’s general focus on digital innovation. Speaking last year, ASOS’s CEO Nick Beighton <a href="http://www.essentialretail.com/news/article/5805e08c843da-asos-bets-on-visual-search-voice-search-and-ai">suggested</a> that technology will be key to meeting changing customer expectations, and more specifically, that “visual search, voice search and AI will help customers navigate the offer in a better and more convenient way.”  </p> <p>With 5,000 products added to its site each week, ASOS’s huge inventory can make navigation a struggle. It can simply feel far too overwhelming to browse through endless products, with this potentially leaving users bored or frustrated rather than inspired. </p> <p>On the flip side, it is also part of ASOS’s USP - the brand is known and loved for the very reason that it offers such a dazzling array of choice.</p> <p>This is where visual search comes in, with the tool helping to narrow down the customer focus and prompt discovery. So, when a customer sees something they like – let’s say on a friend or in a magazine for example, they can use it to search for similar products via the app.</p> <p>So, as the tool is now up and running, let’s look at how it works.</p> <h3>Searching for inspiration</h3> <p>The visual search tool can be accessed by clicking the new camera icon in the app’s search bar. You can then use it to take a photo or access the photos in your smartphone library. </p> <p>First, I decided to search using a photo taken in real-time. The results were super-fast, returning a good selection of comparable items. The search also returned men’s clothing, which some might see as a minor bug-bear, but I assume the app learns details like gender preferences over time. (I’ve never used it before now).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8414/IMG_1412.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="466"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8415/IMG_1408.PNG" alt="" width="350" height="622"></p> <p>Next, I searched for an item that I knew was already on the ASOS website, using a screenshot from an Instagram post. However, this time, it failed to return the exact item and only gave me similar styles. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8416/IMG_1409.PNG" alt="" width="350" height="622"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8417/IMG_1410.PNG" alt="" width="350" height="622"></p> <p>This could be a big negative, as visual search is meant to improve on the often frustrating experience of using keywords. If you're certain something is in stock (which I was), this would prove even more frustrating. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8418/IMG_1419.PNG" alt="" width="500" height="889"></p> <p>Interestingly, when I searched for another item I knew was on the website, but this time based on a photo from my own camera library – it worked. It seems ASOS's algorithms are still learning, as is to be expected. </p> <p>Lastly, I searched for a pair of shoes from a photo of a print magazine. I'm pretty impressed with these results.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8419/IMG_1423.JPG" alt="" width="350" height="466"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8420/IMG_1425.PNG" alt="" width="350" height="622"></p> <p>Generally, it seems like the technology is still working out some minor bugs – mainly when it comes to not returning exact items. Overall, however, I was impressed with how fast and easy it is to use and how effective it is at bringing up similar items. </p> <h3>Will consumers use it?</h3> <p>Personally, I am someone who struggles with online shopping, simply because I get bored of aimlessly browsing. I would definitely use the visual search tool in this scenario because it speeds up the whole process, helping you to find clothes based on ones you already know you like. </p> <p>I also think it could be very useful if you are shopping for a specific event or occasion, such as a wedding, where you might be able find a similar version of an expensive or designer item you’ve seen elsewhere. </p> <p>Social shopping is also another bonus, with customers often using channels like Instagram and YouTube for fashion inspiration. Ironically, visual search is also a return to ASOS’s original premise. Its brand name stands for ‘As Seen On Screen’, but now instead of television, the tool enables customers to instantly and easily pin-point items like those they’ve seen on social media.</p> <p>One problem is that users might not know the tool is there, as the camera icon is quite hard to miss, and neither is it promoted elsewhere on the app. However, as the technology becomes more commonplace, it certainly has the potential to catch on.</p> <h3>Will other retailers follow suit?</h3> <p>With such a mobile-savvy audience, it’s unsurprising that ASOS is the first big UK retailer to invest in this kind of technology. By making the mobile experience easier, better and more interesting – it’s sure to further customer satisfaction. </p> <p>What is unknown is whether or not it will increase sales.</p> <p>However, research by <a href="https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/237996/visual-and-voice-search-influence-mobile-serps.html" target="_blank">BloomReach</a> suggests that the technology can have a direct impact. In a three month period, it found that visual search was associated with more product views, more return visits, and an increase in average spend. Out of the 30.3m visits to the ecommerce sites analysed, users of the visual search tool were found to view 48% more products, were 75% more likely to make a return visit, and placed orders worth 9% more than those who did not.</p> <p>This kind of data is bound to have spurred on ASOS’s decision to invest in the technology, especially considering that it has also recently invested $40 million in the US market. With increasing competition in the fashion retail space from Amazon – visual search could be a key differentiator. </p> <p>For other retailers with less money to play with, visual search is unlikely to be a priority for the time being. But just like previous innovations within ecommerce, ASOS could set the benchmark. </p> <p><strong><em>More on ASOS:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67823-what-makes-asos-s-online-customer-experience-so-enjoyable">What makes ASOS's online customer experience so enjoyable?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67870-why-asos-is-still-leading-the-online-retailing-pack">Why ASOS is still leading the online retailing pack</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67950-eight-ecommerce-checkout-design-features-that-make-asos-great/">Eight ecommerce checkout design features that make ASOS great</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69154 2017-06-08T14:00:00+01:00 2017-06-08T14:00:00+01:00 Site search after Google – the clock is ticking to find a replacement Andy Favell <h3>What’s happening to Google Search Appliance and Site Search?</h3> <p><strong>Google Search Appliance (GSA)</strong> is an all-in-one yellow server box that sits in the corporate data centre which is used for all aspects of company search (intranet, extranet and website search).</p> <p>There’s still no official notice of end-of-life from Google on the <a href="https://enterprise.google.com/search/products/gsa.html" target="_blank">GSA website</a>, which seems remiss. But according to reports, such as this one from <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/02/04/google-ends-search-appliance/" target="_blank">Fortune</a>, and conversations with Google search partners (who sell, install and customise GSA), the product is no longer for sale to new customers and license renewals for existing customers are expected to end in 2018.</p> <p>A Google search for “<a href="https://www.google.com/#q=google+search+appliance" target="_blank">Google Search Appliance</a>” delivers a number of paid search ads for “GSA replacement” or “GSA alternative” from vendors such as Yippy, Swiftype and Mindbreeze. It is unlikely Google would allow this if GSA was ongoing.</p> <p><strong>Google Site Search (GSS)</strong> is a widget you'll be familiar with that adds a search box to the host site and performs a Google search, but only of pages on that site. Search results would look like this "<a href="https://www.google.com/webhp#q=site:econsultancy.com+site+search" target="_blank">site:econsultancy.com site search</a>" – but without the ads. There is some opportunity for customisation, including removing the Google branding from the search box.</p> <p>Despite the fact that the two outgoing products Site Search and Search Appliance sit side by side on Google’s <a href="https://enterprise.google.com/search/products/" target="_blank">Enterprise Search pages</a> they are two quite different beasts.</p> <p>Graham Gillen, Vice President, Marketing, <a href="https://www.searchtechnologies.com/" target="_blank">Search Technologies</a>, an international search consultancy that has worked on more than 200 GSA implementations, explains:</p> <p>“Google Site Search is a service that you license from Google in exchange for an annual fee that is tied to the total content amount. You have some degree of control but not much. The advantage is it has zero footprint and you generally don’t maintain it at all.</p> <p>“Google Search Appliance is used for ecommerce web search or for your intranet to search documents internally. It is much more configurable than GSS and much more powerful, however you did have to do some work to implement it (or hire a company).</p> <p>According to an official notice on the <a href="https://enterprise.google.com/search/products/gss.html" target="_blank">GSS site</a>, the product will be “completely shut down by April 1 2018”.</p> <p>The assumption is that on shut down GSS will default to the free product Custom Search Engine (see below) and ads will start to appear in search results – potentially for a competitor – which would be no April Fools’ joke.</p> <h3>So, what is Google providing instead?</h3> <p><strong>Google Custom Search Engine (CSE)</strong> is a free search widget, but delivers search results with ads (see screenshot of the Stuff website below) – the same ads shown in Google web search. Once GSA and GSS have been killed off, this will be the only Google search option for websites (as things stand). Publishers will receive 51% of revenue from any search ads on shown on their sites, via <a href="https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/9879" target="_blank">AdSense for Search</a>.</p> <p><strong>Google Cloud Search</strong> is part of G-Suite – which is a Microsoft Office-like set of productivity tools aimed at knowledge workers. The <a href="https://gsuite.google.com/products/cloud-search/" target="_blank">Google Suite website</a> suggests there are elements of enterprise search, e.g. searching the corporate directory. But there is no website search tool.</p> <p><strong>The question is: are companies ready to replace a Google Appliance that sits within the corporate datacentre for a cloud-based service?</strong></p> <p>Miles Kehoe, President, at search consultancy <a href="http://www.ideaeng.com/" target="_blank">New Idea Engineering</a>:</p> <p>“Google is getting rid of both of the enterprise/site search products in favour of corporate search where all of your searchable content lives at Google, rather than behind your firewall.</p> <p>“I know banks and big corporations are wary of moving their confidential company content out from behind their firewalls – even if Google promises it’s secure.”</p> <p>So customers of GSA and GSS need to start rethinking their web &amp; enterprise search strategy promptly.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6585/t_google_enterprise_search.png" alt="Screenshots of Google Search Appliance and Google Site Search pages. GSS comes with the warning “Google has discontinued sale/renewal of the Google Site Search since Apr 1 2017. The product will be completely shut down by April 1, 2018.” " width="615" height="381"><br> </p> <h3>How many companies are affected by the demise of GSA and GSS?</h3> <p>Unfortunately analysts companies, e.g. Gartner, IDC, do not appear to track market share of search technologies, and Google doesn’t publicise numbers or share them with implementation partners.</p> <p>BuiltWith, a site that tracks the technologies that underpin websites, <a href="https://trends.builtwith.com/cms/Google-Search-Appliance" target="_blank">believes</a> that GSA is currently live on 189,849 websites globally and including 2% among the top 10,000 websites.</p> <p>There are nine case studies listed on the GSA site. Xerox, World Bank, Vodafone, Discovery Channel, Honeywell Aerospace, British Airways, Hays, Société Générale and City of Calgary. Many of these are intranet (internal) search deployments, rather than website ones. But searches on BuiltWith suggest that the websites of <a href="https://builtwith.com/calgary.ca" target="_blank">Calgory.ca</a> and <a href="https://builtwith.com/hays.com" target="_blank">Hays.com</a> still use the appliance.</p> <p>Finding data on usage of Google Site Search is harder. BuiltWith and SimilarTech, a similar type of service, do not appear to distinguish between GSS (the paid version) and CSE (the free version).</p> <p>BuiltWith <a href="https://trends.builtwith.com/widgets/site-search" target="_blank">believes</a> that 596,645 websites globally using CSE, including 5% among the top 10,000 websites. If correct, this eclipses the collective users of rival search products (as identified by BuiltWith) such as Algolia, Swiftype, Hawk Search, SearchSpring, Queryly, Klevu and Coveo.</p> <p>SimilarTech, which also tracks the technologies that underpin websites, <a href="https://www.similartech.com/technologies/google-custom-search-engine" target="_blank">reckons</a> that 287,857 websites globally use CSE. The largest websites using CSE, according to SimilarTech, include GSMArena, Stuff.co.nz, Purdue University and NVidia. It’s clear from the search box branding that <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank">Stuff.co.nz</a> and <a href="http://purdue.edu/" target="_blank">Purdue.edu</a> are using CSE (the other two could also be using CSE, but without branding).</p> <p>The search results (as shown in the image below) reveal that Stuff uses the free version and Purdue uses the paid, ad-free version.</p> <p> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6586/t_purdue_stuff_google_custom_search.png" alt="Screenshots of two sites that use Google Custom Search. Purdue.edu does not show ads, just results from the University site. Stuff.co.nz shows four ads before results from the site. These are the same ads as shown on a Google web search for the same term." width="615" height="495"></p> <h3>What are the replacements for GSA?</h3> <p>There are no shortage of vendors targeting the search market, many of them targeting different aspects of the market. So it is important for companies to identify their needs, then come up with a short list of appropriate suitors.</p> <p>Gartner has done a good job of differentiating between the enterprise search providers or what it now refers to as “Insight engines” i.e. those that focus predominantly on intranet/internal company search from those vendors that focus on website search.</p> <p><strong>Insight engines</strong> in the Gartner March 2017 <a href="https://www.gartner.com/doc/3660018/magic-quadrant-insight-engines" target="_blank">Magic Quadrant</a> include: Attivio, Coveo, Dassault Systems, Funnelback, IBM, Lucidworks, Microsoft, Mindbreeze, Sinequa and Smartlogic. </p> <p>Enterprise search providers fall into a number of different categories, which Miles Kehoe lists as:</p> <ul> <li>Cloud based, e.g. Google Cloud Search.</li> <li>Search appliance, e.g. Mindbreeze, SearchBlox, Yippy.</li> <li>Hosted search / software as a service (SAAS), e.g. Algolia.</li> <li>Traditional enterprise search, e.g. Coveo, Lucidworks Fusion, Attivio.</li> <li>Open Source (popular and ‘free’, but require considerable investment) e.g. Apache Lucene, Solr, Elasticsearch (both based on Lucene).</li> </ul> <h3>What are the alternative website search engines?</h3> <p>Among the website search engines, Gartner has split out those best suited to commerce search. In a January 2017 <a href="https://www.gartner.com/doc/3565076/market-guide-digital-commerce-search" target="_blank">market report</a>, research director Mike Lowndes identified and profiled 21 different vendors.</p> <p>Commerce search providers included (each with a notable reference customer): Algolia (Quicksilver), Attraqt (Tesco), BloomReach (Sears), Celebros (Avon), EasyAsk (North Face), Episerver Find (Electolux), Fredhopper (ASOS), GroupBy Cloud (CVS), IBM (1-800-Flowers.com), Inbenta (Carrefour), Lucidworks (Home Depot), Omni Retail Sidekick (Toys "R" Us),  and Sentient Aware (Skechers).</p> <p>It's important to note that many of these web search engines are based on the Open Source engines, Lucene, Solr or Elastic. The majority of the engines listed are available on a SAAS model, many hosted in the cloud, e.g. Algolia, Episerver.</p> <p>Lowndes identifies some trends among commerce engines that could influence vendor selection:</p> <ul> <li>Integration of recommendation engines.</li> <li>Personalized search (based on browser/search behaviour).</li> <li>Intent-driven results and navigation, including ability to understand "lifestyle" questions.</li> <li>Algorithmic product grouping – grouping related products.</li> <li>Natural-language processing (NLP) – understanding/reacting to spoken or written natural language.</li> </ul> <h3>Act now</h3> <p>Customers of GSA and GSS need to start rethinking their web/enterprise search strategy promptly. Remember, GSS customers will probably have an earlier deadline but GSA customers face a potentially much trickier migration, assuming the use of GSA across the full remit of enterprise search.</p> <p>Users of both solutions need to evaluate the alternative vendors – of which there are many.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69037 2017-05-02T14:22:35+01:00 2017-05-02T14:22:35+01:00 Four digital commerce lessons from fashion retailer Bonobos Bart Mroz <p dir="ltr">Many upstart ecommerce brands have great products and great ideas. But winning market share is no walk in the park. To win in the world of ecommerce, digital execution has to be flawless, and there has to be something distinctive that keeps customers coming back to buy.</p> <p dir="ltr">The site’s user interface is probably the top make-or-break factor, but there are other keys to success as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">One young brand that has impressed me since its debut a few years ago is Bonobos, a men’s apparel brand that has grown from zero to $100m of revenue in just one decade. Since it started back in 2007, Bonobos has been doing a lot of things right and pioneering strategies that have proven to be effective.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">1. Design product pages strategically</h3> <p dir="ltr">Each product page on Bonobos' website has a clean, elegant design – on both desktop and mobile versions. With <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-25/smartphones-overtake-computers-as-top-e-commerce-traffic-source">45%</a> of ecommerce traffic now taking place through mobile, it’s non-negotiable to design product pages to be mobile-friendly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Each pair of pants is professionally photographed, and, even on a small screen, Bonobos has made it easy to navigate and toggle between different colors. The product info is prominently displayed, with links to a fit guide and FAQs nearby.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5805/bonobos_homepage.png" alt="" width="700" height="414"></p> <p dir="ltr">When the customer is ready to buy, the website allows the customer to enter shipping and billing information all on the same page, meaning they can complete a purchase in just a couple clicks. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5806/bonobos_mobile_site.jpg" alt="" width="200">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5807/bonobos_mobile_site_2.jpg" alt="" width="200"></p> <p dir="ltr">This is important, because many ecommerce websites require that same information to be entered over the course of multiple different page loads, making it more likely that the customer will abandon the cart and the company will lose the sale.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">2. Play to your strengths and do one thing really well</h3> <p dir="ltr">Bonobos got its start because one of the founders, Brian Spaley, had a knack for tailoring men’s pants and creating a comfortable waistline. The concept was unique, and it ended up being the company’s main value proposition.</p> <p dir="ltr">The takeaway for aspiring ecommerce brands is that it pays to start by doing one thing really well.</p> <p dir="ltr">Today, Bonobos sells all sorts of men’s apparel, including shirts, shoes, ties, jackets, and more. But if it had started producing all of that back in 2007, the company might never have taken off like it did. Bonobos did one thing really well and built a brand around it. That simplicity informs the whole brand, and it even helps simplify customer service too.</p> <p dir="ltr">Besides, whenever you are ready to scale your product offering, it’s a lot easier to convince people to buy your shirt when they’re already loyal customers of your pants. Invest early in creating a handful of flagship products that will attract and retain a cult-like following. You can always build out from there.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">3. Leverage customer service as an opportunity for customer experience </h3> <p dir="ltr">Bonobos has also excelled in the area of customer experience, specifically customer service. It’s rooted in an entirely different philosophy about what customer service can achieve for the company.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whenever a customer has an issue with a Bonobos order, there’s no 1-800 number that sends customer calls to a contracted offshore call center where agents might not even be familiar with the product.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rather, customers interact through phone, email, or even chat with highly knowledgeable in-country staff — Bonobos calls them “Ninjas” — who expertly and meticulously handle each customer. The idea is that customer service isn’t an operational expense, but rather a business investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">So instead of being a nuisance, customer service issues are a second opportunity to engage customers in a highly positive experience with the the brand. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5808/bonobos_customer_service.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">4. Use stores as touchpoints for product discovery and customer experience</h3> <p dir="ltr">Unlike traditional companies, whose business model focused on attracting as many customers as possible into a physical store and later shifted to include online buying options, Bonobos and other upstart brands are native to the online environment.</p> <p dir="ltr">But Bonobos recognized early on that the convenience of online shopping wasn’t enough to win business. Many customers still want to feel, see, and try on products as well as receive individualized attention from a Bonobos staff member.</p> <p dir="ltr">So in 2012, Bonobos opened the first Guideshop, where customers can experience products in-person instead of just through a screen. The Guideshops function as an uncrowded service hub where customers make appointments, return any past purchases, try on new items, and complete purchases, which then get shipped directly to their homes.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the ecommerce era, we can expect to see more brands take this “reversed” approach, which mitigates a lot of fixed costs (particularly the cost of renting and maintaining a storefront) early on, when companies are more focused on hiring staff, developing initial supply chains and operations management, and overseeing product manufacturers.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5809/bonobos_shop.png" alt="" width="650" height="418"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">A retailer for the new age of retail</h3> <p dir="ltr">In the world of retail, few things have had as democratizing an effect as ecommerce. The old status quo has been turned on its head, and a new age of discovering and buying new products is finally upon us.</p> <p dir="ltr">For aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs, building a company is a long, hard journey, but now is still a good time to get into the space. Look to companies like Bonobos that are pioneering new business strategies and making waves by designing environments — both digital and physical — that make shopping a delight.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68893-four-digital-priorities-for-retailers-in-2017/"><em>Four digital priorities for retailers in 2017</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68216-six-iconic-retailers-and-their-digital-transformation-journeys/"><em>Six iconic retailers and their digital transformation journeys</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68642 2016-12-16T15:00:00+00:00 2016-12-16T15:00:00+00:00 How machine learning has made Google search results more relevant Nikki Gilliland <p>According to a <a href="http://www.searchmetrics.com/knowledge-base/ranking-factors/" target="_blank">new study by Searchmetrics</a>, the move has paid off.</p> <p>Here’s a bit more info on RankBrain and what’s happened since it was introduced.</p> <h3>What is RankBrain?</h3> <p>RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that uses <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64743-predictive-analytics-machine-learning-and-the-future-of-personalization/">machine learning</a> to better understand exactly what people are looking for when they type a search query into Google.</p> <p>If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it doesn’t understand, it can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly. It can also update itself over time, applying its conclusions about how and why people search to future results.</p> <p>In other words, it is designed to decipher complicated, vague, or poorly worded long-tail queries to deliver exactly what the user is looking for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2454/rankbrain.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="476"></p> <h3>How has it impacted search results?</h3> <p><a href="http://www.searchmetrics.com/knowledge-base/ranking-factors/">Searchmetrics recently analysed the results</a> of 10,000 keyword searches on Google.com to better understand what high ranking pages have in common.</p> <p>Overall, the results show that search results are now more relevant than ever before. But even more interesting, it also concluded that the techniques marketers use to artificially boost their search rankings are becoming less effective.</p> <h3>Five things that prove Google is more relevant</h3> <h4><strong>1. Search results show greater semantic understanding</strong></h4> <p>According to Searchmetrics, higher ranking search results are significantly more relevant to the search query than those lower down, however, this is not simply based on an analysis of matching keywords.</p> <p>Now, search results show a greater understanding of the semantic relationship between the words in search queries and the content shown in results.</p> <p>While positions one and two tend to be reserved for top brand websites, those in three to six are said to be the most relevant.</p> <p>My own Google search confirms this, with the third result giving me exactly the answer I was looking for. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2455/Google_Search.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="674"></p> <p>Interestingly, the second result (which also answered my question) is from a lesser-known publication, confirming that relevance does indeed appear to trump even more recognisable sources.</p> <h4><strong>2. Word count is increasing on higher-ranking pages</strong></h4> <p>Searchmetrics found that while word count is increasing (due to results being more detailed and more holistic) - the amount of keywords is not.</p> <p>Again, this is because Google is trying to interpret the search intention, not simply match keywords. </p> <h4><strong>3. Bounce rates are rising for top ranking results</strong></h4> <p>Bounce rates are usually considered in a negative light, but when it comes to search results, a higher bounce rate indicates that Google is doing its job.</p> <p>In its analysis, Searchmetics found bounce rates have risen for all positions in the top 20 search results and for position 1 have gone from 37% in 2014 to 48%.</p> <p>This suggests that users are being directed to the right result, meaning there is no need to look or search elsewhere.</p> <h4><strong>4. Backlinks becoming less important for ranking</strong></h4> <p>As content relevance grows in importance, other factors like backlinks are becoming less so.</p> <p>This is also because of the rise of mobile search queries, with pages viewed on mobile devices often being ‘liked’ or shared but rarely linked to.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2456/Mobile_search.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="460">  </p> <h4><strong>5. Google is prioritising relevance over optimisation</strong></h4> <p>Finally, Searchmetrics found that the URLs for pages that feature in the top 20 search results are around 15% longer on average than in 2015. </p> <p>This shows that Google is better able to identify and display the pages that answer the search intention rather than merely displaying highly-optimised pages, with longer URLs more likely to be buried deeper within websites.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>With the introduction of RankBrain, there's no doubt that Google is taking AI and machine learning more seriously.</p> <p>According to CEO, Sundar Pichai, it is just the start. He recently commented that "be it search, ads, YouTube, or Play, you will see us — in a systematic way — apply machine learning in all these areas.”</p> <p>Undoubtedly, it could shape more than just search in 2017.</p> <p><em><strong>Further reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/" target="_blank">15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing</a></strong></em></li> <li><em><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68496-10-examples-of-ai-powered-marketing-software/" target="_blank">10 examples of AI-powered marketing software</a></strong></em></li> <li><em><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67384-how-machine-learning-is-changing-online-retail-for-good/" target="_blank">How machine learning is changing online retail for good</a></strong></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68610 2016-12-08T10:00:00+00:00 2016-12-08T10:00:00+00:00 How six retailers are using gift guides to inspire online shoppers Nikki Gilliland <p>But are these features really that helpful? Or are they just a way of fleshing out email editorial or pointing you towards the most expensive items online? </p> <p>(Forgive me - what’s Christmas without a healthy dose of cynicism.)</p> <p>Here’s how top retailers are using gift guides to inspire Christmas shoppers this year.</p> <h3>Firebox</h3> <p>Firebox is a brand that’s built around the premise of gift-giving.</p> <p>I mean, you might buy a bottle of scorpion-infused vodka for yourself... but you’re probably more inclined to get it for someone you mildly dislike.</p> <p>With a ‘Gift Finder’ tab as well as a separate one for ‘Christmas’, Firebox is clearly about helping consumers find what they’re looking for all year round.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2157/Firebox_Gift_Finder_1.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="424"></p> <p>The 'Christmas’ guide is nicely designed, separating categories into ‘Gifts for Her, Him’ etc. as well by different price ranges.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2158/Firebox_Guide_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="602"></p> <p>However, I actually prefer the standard Gift Guide.</p> <p>Mainly because it allows you to filter by personality type, including ones like ‘Procrastinator’, ‘Outdoorsy’ and even ‘Dirtbag’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2160/Firebox_Gift_Finder_3.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="528"></p> <p>It’s a simple feature built on the brand's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/" target="_blank">humorous tone of voice</a>, but it's very effective. </p> <p>Why Firebox hasn’t created a Christmas themed one - for the ‘Scrooge’ or ‘charades cheater’ in your life - is beyond me.</p> <h3>Disney</h3> <p>I'm not sure whether a gift finder is necessary for a retailer like Disney. Surely it's already quite niche?</p> <p>Anyway, the 'gift finder' is prominently displayed with a dedicated tab on the homepage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2179/Disney_Gift_Finder_tab.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="533"></p> <p>The tool itself turns out to be a pretty basic <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68070-eight-examples-of-fashion-ecommerce-product-filters-good-bad" target="_blank">filtering system</a>, allowing you to sort by categories like 'Movies and TV' and price.</p> <p>Very simple, but I guess it's helpful for narrowing down the options.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2180/Disney_Gift_Finder.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="694"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>While it has curated various other categories, such as ‘Luxury Gifts for Him’, this year John Lewis has also designed an interactive gift finder.</p> <p>It allows you to first choose between eight different kinds of gifts, before helping you to narrow it down further by price.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2161/John_Lewis_gift_finder.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="438"></p> <p>The concept seems quite cool at first. However, the categories are quite specific, which means that if you fail to identify with things like ‘glitzy’ or ‘warm and cosy’, it’s a bit useless.</p> <p>That being said, the tool itself is pleasing to use, automatically filtering products as you go.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2162/Glitzy.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="774"></p> <p>The only other bugbear is that the results are a bit jumbled, with no option to sort by 'low to high' or type of item.</p> <h3>ASOS</h3> <p>I recently mentioned how ASOS is nicely <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68606-six-examples-of-christmas-email-marketing-from-fashion-retailers" target="_blank">promoting its Christmas gift guide in emails</a>, focusing on budget instead of category type.</p> <p>This approach is effective, and definitely helps customers to narrow down that huge array of options available on the site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2163/ASOS_gift_guide.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="615"></p> <p>There’s nothing majorly original or impressive about it otherwise, and you could just use ASOS’s regular filtering function in the same way.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2164/ASOS_gift_guide_2.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="609"></p> <h3>Harrods</h3> <p>The Harrods Gift Guide is located in the site's dedicated Christmas section.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, it has a focus on luxury, but overall it’s a bit lacklustre.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2173/Harrods_Christmas.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="578"></p> <p>Essentially, it just curates items into simplistic categories like ‘Gifts for Girls’ and ‘Stocking Fillers’, before allowing you to sort and filter further.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2174/Harrods_gift_guide.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="668"></p> <p>Nothing majorly inspirational, unfortunately, which is a shame when you compare the experience of shopping for gifts in the Harrods store.</p> <p>The results do include a prompt to remind customers about Christmas delivery dates, however, which is a helpful touch.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2182/Christmas_order_dates.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="544"></p> <h3><strong>Pandora</strong></h3> <p>Pandora is yet another example of a drop-down filter being promoted as a gift guide.</p> <p>Despite looking Christmassy, and being highlighted on the homepage, there's oddly no 'Christmas' option for the 'What Are You Celebrating?' question.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2181/Pandora_4.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="496"></p> <p>It's also quite basic to be honest.</p> <p>There is an option to add gifts to a wish list, which is handy for anyone who might want to shop around and come back again later.</p> <p>Or, if you're using the guide to sneakily leave hints for your other half. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2178/Pandora_3.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="630"></p> <p><em>More Christmas-related articles:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68552-why-lidl-s-xmas-social-price-drop-campaign-is-no-turkey/" target="_blank">Why Lidl's Xmas 'Social Price Drop' campaign is no turkey</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68540-how-four-uk-retailers-are-giving-consumers-the-vip-treatment-this-christmas/" target="_blank">How four UK retailers are giving consumers the ‘VIP’ treatment this Christmas</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68595-three-musts-for-online-retailers-to-prepare-for-the-last-minute-rush/" target="_blank">Three musts for online retailers to prepare for the last-minute rush</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68465 2016-10-31T12:13:14+00:00 2016-10-31T12:13:14+00:00 Eight features to appreciate on Fat Face’s new ecommerce site Nikki Gilliland <p>On an initial browse, apart from being an improvement on the old site, nothing majorly impressive stands out.</p> <p>However, there are a few features that are worth a mention, which certainly contribute to a winning user experience overall.</p> <p>Here’s a roundup of the new site’s best bits.</p> <h3>Seamlessly integrated video</h3> <p>The decision to include such a large video on the homepage is a bold move.</p> <p>However, seamlessly integrated into the page, it does not feel intrusive. In fact it could easily be mistaken for another image.</p> <p>Thankfully, it's also very fast, taking zero time to load.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0840/Video.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="648"></p> <h3>Predictive search</h3> <p>Fat Face's former site had a massive problem with its search function, often returning irrelevant and frustrating results.</p> <p><em>(For more on this topic, read <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66658-24-best-practice-tips-for-ecommerce-site-search/" target="_blank">24 best practice tips for ecommerce site search</a>)<br></em></p> <p>Now, it is predictive and fast, providing users with both identical matches and related items.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0841/Predictive_search.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="693"></p> <h3>Visible availability of products</h3> <p>It might seem like a small feature, but the ability to see how many items there are in a category can be very helpful in aiding the customer journey.</p> <p>The fact that this is visible at a glance and as part of each filter option is even better.</p> <p><em>(Read up on best practice for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68222-ecommerce-product-filters-best-practice-tips-for-a-great-ux/" target="_blank">ecommerce product filters here</a>).</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0842/Drop_down_filter.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="452"></p> <h3>Imagery &amp; zoom</h3> <p>The product pages include a large selection of images, with thumbnails on the left hand side.</p> <p>The most pleasing part is that these automatically move up as you click through, meaning you don't have to move your mouse.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0843/Side_imagery.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="484"></p> <p>Another thing I really like is that the images also pop out (by clicking the cross at the top right of an image).</p> <p>What's more, you can zoom in even futher.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0844/Double_tap_to_zoom.JPG" alt="" width="428" height="247"></p> <p>This helps to give the user a real sense of how the product looks and feels in real life - which is still one of the biggest drawbacks of the online shopping experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0845/Zoom_feature.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="472"></p> <h3>Prominent and helpful reviews</h3> <p>As well as being prominently displayed, the reviews section includes a decent star rating system to give customers greater insight.</p> <p><em>(You can read more on why you need consumer reviews <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">in this article</a>)</em></p> <p>Likewise, the extra 'true-to-size' feature is a nice touch.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0846/Prominent_reviews.JPG" alt="" width="775" height="582"></p> <h3>Product descriptions using images</h3> <p>Fat Face now includes illustrative designs on the product pages for its coats and jackets.</p> <p>Nicely combining visual elements with helpful product descriptions, this draws the user's attention to the item's best features.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0848/Product_descriptions_design.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="415"></p> <p>It's a shame the retailer hasn't made more of this.</p> <p>This section feels a little hidden - and it could definitely be included across other categories, too.</p> <p>As well as being helpful for customers, these images could create more consistency and greater brand identity across the site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0849/Product_descriptions_design_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="433"></p> <h3>Free delivery prompt</h3> <p>The checkout process on Fat Face is fairly standard, however one thing that stands out is this nice prompt for free delivery.</p> <p>'Wait!' creates a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65348-how-to-increase-conversions-by-creating-buyer-urgency-fear-of-loss/">sense of urgency</a>, and the amount needed to qualify encourages the customer to keep shopping.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0851/Free_delivery_prompt.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="551"></p> <h3>Nearest store search</h3> <p>Lastly, the store finder is very easy to use, instantly bringing up results based on area or postcode.</p> <p>Including comprehensive store details, such as maps and store services - this feature could also do with being promoted more prominently elsewhere on the site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0852/Find_a_store.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="596"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68330 2016-09-27T10:20:00+01:00 2016-09-27T10:20:00+01:00 An in-depth analysis of how Expedia converts visitors into customers: Part one Duraid Shaihob <p>One of the largest travel sites in the world, Expedia and its subsidiaries (which include Hotels.com, Trivago, HomeAway and Travelocity) help millions of travelers find flights and hotels every month.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">Conversion rate optimization</a> is a major concern for a business as large as Expedia’s.</p> <p>When you’re dealing with tens of millions of transactions every year, even a 0.2% bump in conversion rates can translate into millions in extra revenue.</p> <p>For obvious reasons, there’s a lot you can learn about CRO best practices and innovations by understanding how Expedia turns visitors into customers. </p> <p>Paul Rouke, Founder &amp; CEO at PRWD previously wrote about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64681-is-booking-com-the-most-persuasive-website-in-the-world/">Booking.com being the most persuasive website in the world</a>, and after using Expedia for the first time, I think it also deserves to be ranked among the best in the business.</p> <p>In the first of two posts, I’ll do an in-depth teardown of Expedia.com and show you how it converts traffic coming in from two different channels - organic search and direct type-ins.</p> <p>Part two, due to be published next week, will focus on traffic from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">PPC</a> and social (organic and paid).</p> <h3>Expedia: Then vs. Now</h3> <p>Expedia was founded in October 1996, which makes it one of the oldest travel sites online.</p> <p>Here’s how the site looked like at launch:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9491/expedia_1996.png" alt="" width="800" height="573"></p> <p>The site did not even have a search box when it was launched, let alone a flight booking facility. </p> <p>This is a far cry from the slick, conversion-optimized website that greets you today:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9492/expedia_1.png" alt="" width="800" height="446"></p> <p>If you’ve hung out on any CRO focused websites, a few things about the Expedia.com site will jump out immediately:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>Highly noticeable CTAs:</strong> Both the “Search” button and the top “Hello bar” are in a bright shade of yellow.</p> <p>This grabs attention as soon as you land on the site, especially when contrasted against the blue/gray colors.</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> <strong>Non-intrusive navigation:</strong> The navigation menu doesn’t necessarily grab attention. Instead, the entire focus of the site is on the flight/hotel booking area.</p> <p><strong>3. Distinctive notifications:</strong> The notification icon in the top navigation menu has a distinctive red color and a clear “alarm” icon.</p> <p>You can’t really land on the homepage without noticing it.</p> <p><strong>4. Above the fold:</strong> All the important information - booking a flight, checking out different deals , etc. - is above the fold.</p> <p>In fact, you don’t even have to scroll down the page to book a ticket or a hotel room.</p> <p>There are plenty of other tactics Expedia uses to grab and focus user attention, as you’ll see later.</p> <h3>How Expedia Converts Visitors in Different Scenarios</h3> <p>As a large travel site, Expedia gets its users from search, social, referrals, direct type-ins and paid channels. </p> <p>How Expedia tailors its user experience for visitors coming in from each of these channels can teach you a lot about CRO.</p> <p>For example, on Expedia’s Twitter handle, the company promotes <a href="https://viewfinder.expedia.com/">its blog</a> instead of the main website.</p> <p>It also promotes its other social channels such as Snapchat through pinned tweets and custom logos.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9493/expedia_twitter.png" alt="" width="800" height="472"></p> <p>This is very different from the company’s Facebook page where it promotes its main site, Expedia.com:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9494/expedia_twitter_2.png" alt="" width="800" height="527"></p> <p>Below, I’ll breakdown the user experience for different channels and show you how Expedia maximizes conversion rates for organic search, social, and direct traffic.</p> <h3>Scenario #1: Direct Traffic to Expedia.com</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>Imagine that you’re a 35-year-old man from Texas. For an upcoming anniversary, you want to treat your wife to a vacation in New York.</p> <p>Since you’ve seen dozens of Expedia ads on TV, you decide to give Expedia a try to book flights. </p> <p>Thanks to the constant advertising, you have strong recall for the Expedia website. So instead of search, you type in Expedia.com directly into your browser.</p> <p>Here’s how Expedia turns such a user into a customer:</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>When you land on Expedia.com, this is the page that greets you:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9495/expedia_landing_page.png" alt="" width="700" height="384"></p> <p>Four things to note here:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>The default open tab is flight + hotel “Bundle Deals”. </strong></p> <p>This is more profitable for OTAs (Online Travel Agencies - like Expedia or Booking.com) since they get to sell not one but two products - a hotel and a flight.</p> <p>It’s also better value for customers since they can often get bundled deals. </p> <p><strong>2. “Hello Bar” promotes sign-ups</strong></p> <p>You’ll notice that there is no “sign-up” button anywhere on the homepage.</p> <p>To find this link, you have to click on “Account”, then “Sign-in” to get to the login page.</p> <p>The only other sign-in prompt is at the top of the page on the yellow Hello Bar.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9497/expedia_3.png" alt="" width="800" height="256"> </p> <p>This is something Expedia shares with most of its subsidiaries.</p> <p>For example, here’s Travelocity’s navigation bar:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9498/expedia_5.png" alt="" width="800" height="241"></p> <p>And here’s Orbitz’s navigation:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9499/orbitz_nav.png" alt="" width="717" height="261"></p> <p>Clearly, this is a strategy that’s working for Expedia.</p> <p><strong>3. The notification icon in the navigation menu</strong></p> <p>This icon tells visitors about the “My Scratchpad” feature.</p> <p>This has been a big part of the conversion rate optimization push at Expedia. I’ll show you how it works later.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9500/expedia_notification.png" alt="" width="645" height="207"></p> <p><strong>4. The app download incentive</strong></p> <p>Expedia offers customers points for using its service, called “Expedia+ points”.</p> <p>You can redeem these points for tickets and hotel rooms on the platform (you can also donate these points for cash to St. Jude Children’s Hospital for charity).</p> <p>To incentivize downloads of the Expedia mobile app, the company features a banner for the app on its homepage. Plus, it gives you 3x more points for using the app.</p> <p>Clicking on this text banner takes you to <a href="https://www.expedia.com/app?mcicid=USTriple2">a landing page that promotes the mobile app features</a>, reviews, etc.</p> <p>Expedia also gives users a $25 off coupon for the first hotel booking through the app.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9501/expedia_coupon.png" alt="" width="800" height="304"></p> <p>These incentives can compel new users to try out a new app.</p> <p>In fact, research shows that besides recommendations from family and friends and personalized offers, such one-time offers are one of the biggest reasons for trying out new apps.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9502/bar_graph.png" alt="" width="859" height="509"></p> <p><a href="http://skift.com/2014/12/19/what-travels-top-ceos-have-to-say-about-consumers-mobile-habits/">As per Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshah</a>i, roughly 40% of Expedia’s users are booking across multiple devices.</p> <p>Incentivizing mobile app downloads with coupons and reward points is a big part of the company’s strategy to capture users on smaller screens.</p> <h3><strong>Using Expedia's search tool</strong></h3> <p>Let’s say that instead of flights + hotels, you only want to book a flight ticket from Expedia.</p> <p>So you click on the ‘Flights’ tab and enter your preferences:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9503/expedia_search.png" alt="" width="700" height="380"></p> <p>Note that you can also select ‘Add a Hotel’ and ‘Add a Car’ to expand your search beyond flights.</p> <p>As Expedia starts the search process, this is what you see:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9504/expedia_6.png" alt="" width="800" height="439"></p> <p>Take note of three things here:</p> <p><strong>1. A progress bar shows the status of the search</strong></p> <p>This is a neat UI/UX touch that not only cues in visitors to the status of the search, but also discourages people from abandoning a lengthy search.</p> <p><strong>2. The “Price Alerts” modal on MyScratchpad</strong></p> <p>As soon as you start the search, a Javascript modal box pops up telling you that the “search has been saved in your Scratchpad”, and that by clicking the bright yellow button, you can “Get Price Alerts”.</p> <p>What is the Scratchpad? Think of Scratchpad as a digital notepad for planning your travels (Expedia even calls it that in its marketing docs).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9505/scratchpad.png" alt="" width="800" height="446"></p> <p>This “digital notepad” keeps track of all your searches and gives you the option to get fare alerts for a particular search. </p> <p>More importantly, this scratchpad retains its information even as you move across devices.</p> <p>This means you can start your search on your laptop, then switch to the smartphone and still find all your old searches.</p> <p>As Expedia’s CEO explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>So ScratchPad is really a framework that we’ve built. We are going to take it across devices as far as push notifications.</p> <p>You can imagine appending searches. If you’ve done a bunch of flight searches, you might be able to append them, send them to your wife, share them socially.</p> </blockquote> <p>For obvious reasons, this is good for conversions. </p> <p><strong>3. “Why shop with us” benefits list</strong></p> <p>OTAs have a big problem on their hands: they have no real way to differentiate themselves. </p> <p>It doesn’t matter whether you go to Travelocity or Booking.com or Expedia - you’re still going to buy the same end-product - a flight ticket or a hotel room.</p> <p>The only way travel sites can differentiate themselves is through the quality of their services, better prices, and low fees.</p> <p>This is exactly what this section hopes to accomplish - by telling users exactly why they should choose Expedia over competitors.</p> <h3>Booking a Flight</h3> <p>After selecting a flight by clicking “Continue”, you will be taken to another similar page to select the return flight.</p> <p>Once you’ve selected the flight, Expedia prompts you to book a hotel as well to get steep discounts:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9507/expedia_booking_a_flight.png" alt="" width="800" height="260"></p> <p>Combined with the default open tab on “Flights + Hotels”, this is another example of Expedia’s core strategy to upsell hotels along with flights.</p> <p>After you click through, you’ll be taken to the checkout page.</p> <p>Lots of interesting things happening here:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9508/expedia_booking.png" alt="" width="800" height="439"></p> <p><strong>1. “Best value flights” prompt</strong></p> <p>This prompt (note the green color and the checkmark) congratulates you on selecting the right flight.</p> <p>Then it asks you to “book now” so you get the best possible price.</p> <p><strong>2. Correct flight departure</strong></p> <p>In my case, I’m landing at LGA but departing from EWR.</p> <p>Expedia helpfully warns me about it - in highly noticeable red text, no less.</p> <p><strong>3. Hotel prompt</strong></p> <p>Once again, Expedia upsells a hotel package.</p> <p>There’s a simple reason for the aggressive upselling - <a href="http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-12/news/69704913_1_hotel-segment-hotel-chains-market-share">hotels offer OTAs 10-15% margins</a>, vs. just 5% for flight bookings.</p> <p><strong>4. “34 people book a flight…”</strong></p> <p>This prompt acts as social proof - one of the foundational principles of persuasion - by showing that there are plenty of others (34, to be exact) who’ve booked the exact same flight.</p> <p><strong>5. Upsell for Expedia credit card</strong></p> <p>Yet another upsell, this time for an Expedia Voyage credit card that will not only help you score great travel deals, but also get you 25,000 Expedia+ points.</p> <p>Since the user is already somewhat committed to the purchase, this is a good place to upsell this credit card.</p> <p><strong>6. Best Price Guarantee</strong></p> <p>Expedia “guarantees” the best possible price (<a href="https://www.expedia.com/p/info-other/guarantees#1">here’s the page explaining how</a>).</p> <p>In fact, if you find a lower price than Expedia’s, the company will pay you the difference and give you a $50 coupon.</p> <p>Again, this helps assure customers that they’re getting the best possible deal.</p> <p><strong>7. “Best Value”</strong></p> <p>More pats on the customer’s back for picking the flight that offers the best value.</p> <p>Expedia wants to make you feel that you were smart enough to pick the right flight (and not that Expedia picked the flight for you).</p> <p>Giving the customer agency this way can help improve conversion rates.</p> <p>After reviewing the price, you can continue the purchase by clicking the appropriately named button - “Continue Booking”.</p> <p>On this page, you’ll be asked for the passenger details.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9509/expedia_passenger_details.png" alt="" width="800" height="633"></p> <p>Besides the points noted above, a few more things stand out here:</p> <p><strong>1. Sign-in prompt</strong></p> <p>Expedia wants to convert more of its browsers into users. To do this, it offers customers bonus “Expedia points” for signing-in. </p> <p><strong>2. “Prices not guaranteed” </strong></p> <p>This can serve both as a warning and an incentive.</p> <p>It tells users that the prices shown on the page are not “guaranteed” until they actually book it.</p> <p>So if they want to lock in the savings, they better finish the booking process fast.</p> <p><strong>3. No navigation bar </strong></p> <p>Like the previous checkout page, the only navigation link here is the “Sign-in” button.</p> <p>All other navigational elements have been removed to focus on converting users.</p> <p><strong>4. “Breadcrumbs” navigation</strong></p> <p>This navigation menu helps guide users through the checkout process. Note the use of icons next to the text.</p> <p><strong>5. “Secure transmission”</strong></p> <p>A gray lock icon and a security declaration helps reassure customers that their data isn’t going to get lost - a big concern after the number of major companies losing customer data after breaches (most famously, the Target data breach).</p> <p><strong>6. Hotel upsell</strong></p> <p>Notice that in this upsell, Expedia gives you an exact figure for how much you can save on hotels by booking it with your flight tickets.</p> <p>Giving exact figures works better since they sound more “real” than rounded figures like “50% off”.</p> <p>In the case of pricing, for example, the lack of “roundedness” <a href="http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/678484?searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dthis%2Bnumber%2Bjust%2Bfeels%2Bright%26amp%3Bacc%3Doff%26amp%3Bwc%3Don%26amp%3Bfc%3Doff%26amp%3Bgroup%3Dnone&amp;resultItemClick=true&amp;Search=yes&amp;searchText=this&amp;searchText=number&amp;searchText=just&amp;searchText=feels&amp;searchText=right&amp;uid=3739696&amp;uid=2134&amp;uid=2&amp;uid=70&amp;uid=4&amp;uid=3739256&amp;sid=21106111788201">improves conversion rates for rational purchases such as flight tickets</a>.</p> <h3>Paying for the flight</h3> <p>After you enter the passenger details, you’ll be taken to the payment page. This is the moment of truth - every step in the customer’s journey has been leading up to this.</p> <p>Expedia uses this page to maximize its earnings by heavily promoting an upsell: a $20 travel insurance policy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9511/expedia_paying_for_the_flight.png" alt="" width="800" height="459"></p> <p>Keep in mind that Expedia doesn’t charge a transaction fee to users.</p> <p>Whatever money it makes, it makes through upsells and by charging hotels and airlines a commission.</p> <p>By pushing an insurance policy, Expedia can dramatically increase the amount of money it makes from every customer.</p> <p>How it promotes this offer is an exercise in conversion optimized design. From clever use of color to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/">smart copywriting</a>, Expedia pulls out all the guns to get people to buy more.</p> <p>Let’s take a look at everything Expedia is doing here:</p> <p><strong>1. Fear of Missing Out</strong></p> <p>FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a well documented psychological phenomenon where people are compelled to do something just because it might not be available later.</p> <p>Expedia takes advantage of that by boldly asking customers to not “Miss Out” on this deal. A clock icon and red text adds to the effect.</p> <p><strong>2. Loss aversion</strong></p> <p>On the surface, this list of reasons looks innocuous enough. Dig deeper, however, and you’ll notice how they all focus on negativity - loss, sickness, medical emergencies.</p> <p>This plays into <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion">the psychological phenomenon of loss aversion</a>, where people are motivated more by losing something than making new gains.</p> <p><strong>3. Purchase affirmation + negative opt-out</strong></p> <p>Here, Expedia makes “Yes” the default choice. It also phrases the purchase as protection (“I want to protect my trip”) and not as insurance.</p> <p>The statement - “Expedia protects over 1 million flight travelers a year” - works as social proof.</p> <p>If 1m people are buying insurance every year, surely they all can’t be wrong?</p> <p>Also note the checkmark next to this statement. The choice is also highlighted by clever use of color - green is frequently <a href="http://adpearance.com/blog/color-theory-and-landing-page-buttons">associated with wealth, renewal and stability</a> in color psychology. </p> <p>To opt out of buying the insurance, you have to click a radio button with a negative choice.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9512/expedia_insurance.png" alt="" width="800" height="150"></p> <p>By vocalizing the negative choice, Expedia makes it sound much less appealing.</p> <p>This is a tactic frequently used by marketers to push more users towards the positive opt-in. For example, here’s a pop-up on Copyhackers:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9513/copyhackers_messages.png" alt="" width="800" height="510">v</p> <p>Interestingly, the font for the opt-out button is slightly smaller than the font for the opt-in.</p> <h3>Testimonial </h3> <p>Effective use of testimonials is one of the best weapons in any CRO’s arsenal to push conversions.</p> <p>Here, Expedia not only uses a testimonial from a real customer, but also gives an exact value of the monetary benefits from the insurance.</p> <p>Combined, these design choices help push Expedia’s conversion rates for this upsell much higher.</p> <p>The actual payment form is surprisingly sparse:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9514/payment_details.png" alt="" width="750" height="478"> </p> <p>The only visual element are logos of different payment providers. Expedia includes a total of six logos - far beyond the usual two or three logos.</p> <p>This gives customers the impression that they have multiple payment options to choose from, which can give <a href="http://www.retailtechnologyreview.com/articles/2009/05/06/476-survey-finds-that-merchants-are-losing">a small boost to conversion rates</a>.</p> <p>Scroll down further and you’ll be asked to enter your email address to receive booking confirmation:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9515/booking_confirmation.png" alt="" width="750" height="465"></p> <p>The only thing of interest here is that Expedia checks the “Join Expedia+” checkbox by default.</p> <p>Just so you aren’t sore about it (and to make the membership more appealing), it offers you 56 Expedia+ points to push you to sign-up for an account.</p> <p>Once you’ve entered the payment information and clicked “Continue Booking”, you’ll have the flight ticket in your account.</p> <h3>Scenario 2: Organic Traffic Teardown</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>The Texas man who wants to gift his wife a weekend for two in New York city now heads over to Google instead of Expedia.com directly.</p> <p>He types in a query - “flight tickets to New York”.</p> <p>On the first page, he finds a search result from Expedia that looks promising:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9516/kayak_search_results.png" alt="" width="750" height="508"></p> <p>Let’s take a look at how Expedia converts this search visitor into a customer.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>This is the landing page from a search for “flights to New York” on Google. A few things deserve our attention:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9518/expedia_new_york_fights.png" alt="" width="750" height="321"></p> <p>The landing page is customized for the query.</p> <ul> <li>The lowest possible price ($98) is shown first to convince visitors to stick around.</li> <li>The landing page lists three reasons for choosing Expedia - tons of hotels, guaranteed low prices, and free 24 hour cancellation.</li> </ul> <p>Scroll down a bit further and you’ll see a list of flights to New York from different cities.</p> <p>Things to note here:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9519/expedia_options.png" alt="" width="750" height="333"></p> <p>1. The share button is a small drop down menu.</p> <p>The button blends into the background and doesn’t really attract attention.</p> <p>Obviously, shares are not a big source of traffic for Expedia for users coming in from search, which is why it has muted the button.</p> <p>2. As with the landing pages we saw above, Expedia pushes its Flights + Deals over flight-only deals.</p> <p>The reason is simple enough: OTAs make more money from hotel bookings than just flight bookings.</p> <p>3. The highest possible discount is highlighted in the section headline without any information on the flight’s date, hotel type or airline.</p> <p>The sole purpose is to get users to click through to the next page.</p> <h3>Using flight search</h3> <p>Once you initiate the search, you are greeted by a page similar to the one you saw above:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9520/expedia_flight_search.png" alt="" width="800" height="453"></p> <p>There are two design elements here that I want to highlight.</p> <p>Firstly, if you’ve made any previous searches on Expedia, you can “turn on search notes” in your Scratchpad to see how prices have changed since your last search.</p> <p>Secondly, a small but hard-to-ignore pop-up box in bright yellow informs me that “4043 people are shopping for flights to NYC on Expedia right now”. How is that for social proof?</p> <p>But before I can look at the search results, a pop-up shows on screen:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9521/expedia_pop_up.png" alt="" width="800" height="434"></p> <p>This pop-up warns users that ticket prices are set to rise in the next few days.</p> <p>The way it is phrased makes it sound like it is merely doing a service to users - warning them about an impending price change.</p> <p>However, from a CRO perspective, it is clear that this warning is meant to drive conversions, not just warn users.</p> <p>Two things you should note about it:</p> <p>1. Instead of giving a vague “prices are about to rise!” warning, it gives an exact figure for the expected price rise - 55%. This makes the warning sound much more believable.</p> <p>2. The price rise is time bound. Instead of saying that prices are going to rise “in the next few days”, Expedia tells you the exact number of days (six) before the impending price rise. </p> <p>Together, this compels more users to take action since prices will go up by more than half in less than a week.</p> <p>Also note the pop-up at the bottom - more social proof!</p> <h3>Selecting the flight</h3> <p>After you select a departing and a return flight (I’m picking the very first one), you’ll see a pop-up promoting a hotel + flight offer:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9523/expedia_hotel_and_flight_offer.png" alt="" width="800" height="308"> </p> <p>Again, Expedia pushes the flight + hotel deal since it’s better for Expedia as well as customers.</p> <p>The booking review page is similar to the page we saw earlier.</p> <p>Note the congratulatory message at the top - a subtle push to persuade users to finish the purchase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9524/expedia_booking_review.png" alt="" width="750" height="372"></p> <h3>Paying for the flight</h3> <p>After entering the passenger details, you’ll be taken to the payment page. This is similar to the page we saw above.</p> <p>There’s the same upsell for travel insurance along with the customer testimonial, conversion focused design and persuasive copywriting:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9525/expedia_confirmation.png" alt="" width="750" height="392"></p> <p>After entering your credit card information, you can hit ‘Complete Booking’ and wrap up the purchase.</p> <h4>See you next time...</h4> <p>So far, we’ve seen how Expedia creates an optimum customer journey for users coming in through organic search and direct.</p> <p>This leaves two big acquisition channels - social media and paid traffic.</p> <p>As mentioned, the second part of this analysis will be published on Econsultancy's blog next week.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68084 2016-07-15T12:01:00+01:00 2016-07-15T12:01:00+01:00 The week's news in digital (in five minutes) Ben Davis <h3>Amazon testing programmatic creative with video ads</h3> <p>Amazon has been testing personalised video ads, created automatically using graphics templates to combine imagery and text.</p> <p>Graeme Smith, MD of Amazon's software development centre in Edinburgh<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36773409"> told the BBC</a> "...potentially anywhere you can see a video is potentially somewhere you could consider running personalised video ads, right across the internet."</p> <p>Retargeting by retailers often involves <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67516-four-video-campaigns-that-used-dynamic-creative/">slideshow style dynamic content</a> - it will be interesting to see how sophisticated these Amazon video ads are in comparison.</p> <h3>Amazon Prime Day was big</h3> <p>Prime Day on 12th July, Amazon's second annual sales event designed as summer's answer to Black Friday, was the retailer's "biggest day ever", <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/20fb0de0-4906-11e6-8d68-72e9211e86ab.html#axzz4ESpNIBCk">reports the FT</a>.</p> <p>Global orders were up 60% on last year's Prime Day. No figures were given by Amazon, though Prime Day was declared its busiest day of the year.</p> <p>Sales included 90,000 TVs and more than 215,000 rice cookers. 2015's inaugural Prime Day, you might remember, was <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68058-has-amazon-prime-day-2016-made-up-for-2015-s-primedayfail/">a bit more of a mixed bag</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6939/prime_day_deals_tech.PNG" alt="prime day" width="615"></p> <h3>ASOS introduces one-hour delivery slot</h3> <p>DPD has helped ASOS offer a one-hour delivery slot. Nifty.</p> <p>With so many ecommerce businesses looking at same day delivery in the wake of Prime, this increased flexibility on a named day is another way to nail convenience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7145/DPD-Precise-Hour-Select.png" alt="one hour slot" width="200"> </p> <h3>Pokémon GO - where do we start?</h3> <p>This week has seen the augmented reality game take the press by storm.</p> <p>Daily checks are needed to understand number of downloads (7.5m in the US as of early this week) and the impact on Nintendo stock.</p> <p>On Thursday, the app was released in the UK (users no longer have to engineer a US workaround).</p> <p>Interesting developments include proposed advertising within the game, with brands able to sponsor PokeStops.</p> <p>There has been some criticism of the game, including the 'appearance' of Pokémon in inappropriate locations (e.g. Auschwitz), as well as its request to access all of a user's Google account data (since fixed).</p> <p><em>You might like:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality/">Should Pokemon GO give marketers hope for augmented reality?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68060-what-brands-can-learn-from-nintendo-s-digital-transformation-and-pokemon-go/">What brands can learn from Nintendo's digital transformation and Pokemon GO</a></li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/6955/pokemon_go-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="pokemon go" width="470" height="264"></p> <h3>Chatbots fail 'new Turing test'</h3> <p>The Winograd Schema Challenge is a new and tougher Turing test, which chatbots must ace to show they are capable of common sense understanding.</p> <p>Here's an example question from the test:</p> <p><strong>The trophy would not fit in the brown suitcase because it was too big (small). What was too big (small)?</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Answer 0: the trophy</strong></li> <li><strong>Answer 1: the suitcase</strong></li> </ul> <p><a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601897/tougher-turing-test-exposes-chatbots-stupidity/?set=601902&amp;utm_source=MIT+TR+Newsletters&amp;utm_campaign=d3b0ca882f-The_Download_July_14_2016&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_997ed6f472-d3b0ca882f-153860737&amp;goal=0_997ed6f472-d3b0ca882f-153860737&amp;mc_cid=d3b0ca882f&amp;mc_eid=fea291110e">MIT Tech Review reports</a> that the programs entered into the challenge were only a little better than random at choosing the correct meaning of sentences.</p> <p>The best of the bunch scored 48%, with 45% possible at random. 90% accuracy is required to take home the $25k prize.</p> <p>It was notable that Google and Facebook didn't enter - perhaps there is still a little way to go?</p> <h3>Nissan launches semi-autonomous driving</h3> <p>Two weeks after a driver died in a crash <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68019-all-the-week-s-digital-news-in-five-minutes/">whilst his Tesla car was on autopilot</a>, Nissan has launched ProPILOT, a similar semi-autonomous function.</p> <p>Pushing a button on the steering wheel will keep a vehicle a fixed distance from the car in front, without any input from the driver.</p> <p>The driver is still required to have their hands on the wheel, and Nissan EVP Hideyuki Sakamoto <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nissan-selfdriving-idUSKCN0ZT0NC">told Reuters</a> "These functions are meant to support drivers, and are not meant as self-driving capabilities".</p> <p>ProPILOThits the market next month in the Nissan Serena minivan.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7142/148020_1_5.jpg" alt="PROPILOT" width="615"></p> <h3>Marie Claire to retail on the high street and online</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="https://www.derwentlondon.com/news/article/tottenham-court-walks-flagship-store-for-new-beauty-and-wellness-brand">Marie Claire will open a beauty store</a> in London at Tottenham Court Walk.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The magazine has created a new brand, 'Fabled by Marie Claire', which will also sell online and deliver through Ocado.</p> <h3>Woz to headline Festival of Marketing</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Apple co-founder and inventor of the PC <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68057-steve-wozniak-co-founder-of-apple-to-headline-festival-of-marketing-2016/">Steve Wozniak will headline day one</a> of the Festival of Marketing in October in London. <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/buy-a-ticket?_ga=1.123039373.762110302.1450191097">See the site for tickets</a>.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6957/Woz-Head-Shot-3.jpg" alt="woz" width="400"></p> <h3>EU continues to pursue Google over competition law</h3> <p>The EU Commission has launched a third anti-trust proceeding against Google.</p> <p>Critique of Google Shopping and Android is now followed by criticism of Google's third party site search product (Adsense for search), which doesn't allow ads from Google competitors. </p> <h3>Phrasee one of the first to receive VC funding post-Brexit</h3> <p>Finally, a bit of a shout out to Econsultancy blog favourite Parry Malm (see his <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/authors/parry-malm/">virally good articles about email here</a>).</p> <p><a href="https://phrasee.co/">Phrasee</a>, Parry's startup <a href="https://phrasee.co/why-we-took-on-1m-in-phrasee-funding/">closed a £1m funding</a> round this week, one of the first to do so post-Brexit vote.</p> <p>As we wait to see the impact on Britain's tech and startup scene, this is some cause for optimism at least.</p>