Today, you can buy an abundance of products online, yet why is it that consumers are choosing to shop in this manner? One of the major reasons is the ease that online shopping offers. Instead of trailing from shop to shop, trying to squeeze everything in before and after work, you can now shop for a wide range of products from the comfort of your very own home. From clothing to household goods, to cars and super extravagant foods, whatever you’re looking for, you can guarantee to find it on the World Wide Web. You can even shop for these items 24 hours a day, seven days away – all it takes is the click of a button.
Just as offline stores boast sales, so do online platforms. Many sites even offer on-tap customer service in the shape of chat forums, which link consumers directly to a sales advisor.
Another advantage of shopping in this manner is that you have little to carry. After a day spent on the high street, you may sometimes find that your goods become extremely heavy, which can often call for several trips to the car. Goods ordered online however are delivered directly to your front door, many retailers even offer a free delivery and a free returns option. This comes as great news for those that wish to send online goods in the shape of presents to friends and family around the globe. A large number of retailers will ask the consumer if they would like their goods giftwrapped prior to checkout. The present will then be sent wrapped to the receiver, whilst the invoice will be sent to the cardholders address.
So what are the top ten high margin products sold online?
- Software, books, music and flowers rank as the highest, bringing in annual sales in the region of $37.05billion.
- [Image source: http://thenextweb.com]
- Computer Hardware, Consumer Electronics, Office Supplies are next on the list coming in at $22.8billion
- [Image source: http://amazon.co.uk]
- Apparel, Footwear, Jewellery, Linens and Home Décor items bring in $26billion
- [Image source: http://www.hopehouseaugusta.org]
- Health, Beauty, Food and Beverage are next at $11.4billion
- [Image source: http://www.zhousic.com]
- Toys, Video Games, Sporting Goods boast a total of $9.975billion
- Finally, Small Appliances, Furniture, Tools, Garden Equipment, which generate sales in the region of $4.275billion.
[Image source: http://fikobservatory.com]
Sometimes paying by a credit card or debit card is an extremely daunting task, especially if you’ve been burned by credit card fraud in the past. This is often why certain sites offer alternatively payment methods, one such method being PayPal.
Aside from acquiring the consumer’s trust, offering a number of different payment methods is a great way to increase your customer base. PayPal can in actual fact increase conversion rates massively. More than 50% of shoppers will abandon their shopping carts if the only payment methods offered are via credit and debit card.
The only way to increase your online business is to increase your conversion rate, which will in turn
allow you to push more sales. If you have PayPal as an option, it’s important to promote this. Ensure the consumer knows this is a payment option and have it displayed on every page of your site.
In a recent survey conducted, it was proven that a massive 57% of consumers said they would only ever consider paying by PayPal. This applies to mobile websites too. Those that have added PayPal to mobile versions of their own site have realised a sale increase of 30%.
If you don’t already have a mobile site, it’s certainly wise to put one in place. With an abundance of tech-savvy smartphones on the market today, more and more consumers are choosing to shop on the move – often using such a device. This of course means that mobile conversions are growing on a daily basis. Making it an easy process to buy through these sites is therefore a must, especially if you wish to keep your customers happy and your sales high. If you’re thinking about adding PayPal to your website then now is the time to do so.
It may also be wise to look into a number of other payment options, allowing your consumers as much choice as possible is certainly one way to keep each and every individual happy. The same goes for adding American Express. A huge number of sites won’t allow consumers to pay in American Express, yet many will only shop at sites that accept this card, mainly because of the points received when shopping. Adding it will more than likely boost sales, even if it costs you to accept it, and never hide credit card fees, this is another big turn-off for the consumer.
[Image source: http://thesun.co.uk]
Although the Royal Mail offers a great service on a regular basis, certain issues can affect their performance. Thankfully, the official website keeps customers regularly updated with a list of incidents. Such incidents may affect the times and costs of the mail.
The online International Incidents Bulletin is updated on a daily basis and features information on issues that may be affecting the mail services to and from countries around the world.
This information is issued to the Royal Mail by various national postal authorities based in various locations.
For example, the Royal Mail hasn’t visited the likes of Somalia in Africa since October 1991. At present, Asia including Brunei, the Philippines, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia have all been off limits due to recent disasters since October 10th of this year. This is also down to a number of problems with airline partners, due to the changing of handlers at their overseas hub. However, the Royal Mail’s partners are doing all they can to overcome this problem, which may continue to affect the mail for the foreseeable future.
Typhoon Haiyan has caused a great deal of damage to parts of the Philippines, especially concerning the infrastructure of the area. The areas that have suffered the most damage include Leyte, Samar, and the Northern Cebu provinces. Due to the recent storms, postal services in the area have been severely affected.
Thailand is another area that has been affected by the weather of recent and due to heavy flooding and storms, many of the mail services have been disrupted. This has been going on since October 2013 and is yet to be rectified.
Due to the political situation in Syria, mail services have been suspended since 6th December 2012. Both Abkhazia and the South Ossetia regions of Georgia are also experiencing a local security and political situation, which means only Signed For mail can be sent to this area.
Postal workers in El Salvadore have called an unspecified strike, which means post to this area will be delayed. Whilst post that was sent to the Seychelles after the 2nd October has also been delayed and will now be returned back to the United Kingdom.
Other factors that may affect performance issues include International Public Holidays, all of which are listed on the official Royal Mail website.
Both tracking and measuring social media metrics can in fact help you to improve your social media marketing and as such, the effect it has on your conversion rates.
The first thing you must do is to determine the best times to post updates on both Facebook and Twitter. Twitter tends to move at a much faster pace than Facebook, which can often mean Tweets are missed or become overridden by others in the feed. Knowing when your followers are online will play a crucial part in your visibility as a brand or company.
Thankfully there are a number of great tools available online, many of which can be used to analyse follower activity. Such tools will help you to look at the recent tweets of your own followers, providing you with both data and analytics that reveal when your followers are the most active. Summarising activity over the period of a week will help you to discover a pattern, which will then let you know of the best times to tweet.
Facebook, another huge social media site, boasts a sheer number of posts, many of which come in the shape of statuses, videos and links. Due to the number of people using this site, it can sometimes be hard to ensure your fans see what you post. In order to maximise the lifespan of your posts, you must know when your fans are online. Again you can use an online tool to determine this.
The average brand should be posting updates at least 1-2 times per day. However, this is not the case for every brand as each boasts a different clientele. Finding the magic number of posts to share will certainly have an affect on your conversion rates.
Other ways to affect such rates include creating a blog, a website or a YouTube channel. When you share a link to your various platforms, your ultimate goal is for people to click on this link.
Comparing lead sources and conversion rates is a must. A large number of brands use a variety of social media tactics in order to drive traffic to their websites, thus generating more leads. It’s therefore wise to find out which platform generates the best ROI. When you learn of the answer to this, it’s a good idea to put more effort into marketing that particular platform. Tags, URLs and links found on social media sites all affect your conversion rates by generating more traffic to a particular area.
In this day and age, you can buy almost anything on the Internet. From clothing to everyday household products, to rare diamonds and expensive foods, the World Wide Web boasts a treasure trove of objects.
However, certain products are a great deal more popular than others. Read on to learn of the top ten high margin products.
[Image source: http://www.fashion-mommy.com]
- 1.Women’s Apparel
Apparel alone generates sales in the region of 26 billion pounds; such items include footwear, clothing and jewellery, linens and home décor products. Clothing is a big business, and with many high street stores now choosing to take sales online, it’s more accessible than ever. The beauty of buying clothing online is the fact that you can shop at a time that suits your lifestyle, you’ll also be granted a much bigger online choice. Certain items that are out of stock in-store can be found online instead.
[Image source: http://www.cornwall.gov.uk]
Whether you require books for education or pleasure, books are the second top ranking product to be sold online. They make great presents and can now be bought in virtual formats as well as paperback and hardback versions.
[Image source: http://www.macmania.at]
3. Computer Hardware
From new hard drives to snazzy webcams, more and more technology is being purchased on a daily basis. Those that wish to stay up-to-date with the latest releases will be constantly buying.
[Image source: http://static.squarespace.com]
4. Computer Software
Computer software is a very important purchase for those that wish to protect their computers. Buying it online often is as easy as downloading the software directly to your desktop.
As well as women’s apparel, men and children’s apparel is also extremely popular. From school uniforms to socks, jackets and jumpers, you can source a wide range of clothing online by a number of brands.
6. Toys and Video Games
When it comes to toys and video games, these are the go-to gifts for a number of children. Buying such gifts online is a much easier solution and one that will allow for direct delivery.
7. Videos and DVDs
Instead of visiting your local video store on a cold, winters night. Purchasing DVD’s online is a much more convenient solution. It also saves on clutter as many movies come in virtual format, meaning you can pay for a download instead of an actual DVD. The same goes for video games – many will use the Internet to beat crowds and pick up the latest releases.
8. Health and Beauty
From vitamins to make-up products, buying a variety of health and beauty items online is an extremely popular pastime. If you know what you like, there is no need to try the product out for style beforehand. This is often why many consumers will buy replacement products in this way.
[Image source: http://cdn.funkyspacemonkey.com]
9. Consumer Electronics
From hairdryers to straighteners and food blenders to bread makers, almost all consumer electronics are now available online. Instead of spending hours upon end in town, you can now have these items delivered directly to your door.
[Image source: http://sociable.co]
Sites such as iTunes boast a huge following. Instead of purchasing a CD, music fanatics can now download music directly to their computers. They can then share it with a range of different devices.
With the recent rise of popular music platforms such as Spotify, Pandora and iTunes Music we’re sure this is a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
So there we have it; the top ten items sold online!
UK retailing boasts the highest number of online retail sales, which in a sense, makes it a test bed for retail innovation.
Since 2006, consumer spending in this country has increased by a massive 12%. This of course has something to do with online stores housing few overheads. Unlike a land-based shop, storeowners don’t have to pay rates to the World Wide Web. As rates have risen by almost 20%, more and more retailers are turning to the Internet.
Consumers appear to be abandoning the highstreet, in 2000 alone; consumer spending had dropped by a massive 50%. As fewer individuals are beginning to shop on the highstreet, seeing it as a time consuming activity and one that is less convenient for those that work long hours, online retail is growing faster by the minute. The beauty of a web retailer is the fact it is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which makes it an extremely accessible shopping platform and one that shoppers can use from the comfort of their own home, or in fact, anywhere with an active Internet connection.
With such a large user presence online, comprising a number of online transactions, retailers boasting a strong web base now need only 70 highstreet stores in order to create a national presence. This is a massive difference compared to that of 250 stores in the year 2000.
Retailers must make clear strategic decisions if they wish to continue to generate revenue. These decisions must conclude whether online stores are to coincide with highstreet stores, or otherwise, whether they will decide to take their entire retail experience online. It is however important to remember that certain individuals like to have the option of both. Shopping online doesn’t offer the social side of shopping on the highstreet. If you’re an avid shopper, you’ll enjoy spending hours upon hours trying on clothes in various shops. When you buy an item online, the draw is somewhat different. Instead of actually seeing the clothes in the flesh, you’ll wait in anticipation for your parcel to arrive.
Other benefits of shopping online include not having to carry a number of bags around with you, skipping car park queues and traffic jams and not having to run to the nearest shopping centre prior to closing time. However, when Christmas strikes, shopping online doesn’t offer the same experience, there are no pretty lights, seasonal displays and the buzz and the excitement of the land based shops to contend with. Many believe both can run alongside one and other perfectly well, however, it’s important to conduct a series of market research tests prior to making a choice. Empty stores will use more money in rates than they’ll make!
[Image Source: http://www.bigcommercereviewsite.com]
If you own a highstreet or land-based store, it may be wise to invest in an online platform too. In this day and age, we are all very busy individuals and those with high-powered careers are quite simply unable to shop throughout the week. This of course only leaves the weekends. However, many now work on a Saturday as well. With a number of high street shops closing their doors on a Sunday, especially those in smaller areas, online shopping has grown vastly.
The beauty of the online store is the fact it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows consumers to shop when they want and from where they want. They can even conduct this activity whilst watching television, on the move using a mobile phone, in a quick break… even in their pajamas.
The introduction of online stores has given consumers an easy way to buy a number of household goods, as well as a number of gifts from the comfort of their own home. Aside from being a quick and easy process, it also allows consumers to avoid the traffic, shun busy store queues, view items in more than one colour and size, and shop from the warmth as opposed to braving the outdoors.
However, despite this, many are sure there will always be room for both online stores and land-based stores. It all comes down to how you like to shop. The online experience, although it possesses a number of pros, it’s not as social as shopping on the highstreet. Many individuals enjoy the thrill of traipsing from one shop to the next, trying on an abundance of clothes, meeting up with friends and stopping for a coffee every now and again. Despite this, even those that enjoy shopping in this manner, if they find that the item they want is out of stock in store, they’ll often turn to the World Wide Web.
Another advantage of shopping online is being able to have your shopping delivered to your door. This avoids it becoming damaged from the rain and wind; it also saves the shopper from carrying an abundance of heavy bags to and from various shops.
Many online stores now offer a gift-wrapping service, which only further highlights the convenience of online shopping. If you have friends and family dotted around the globe, buying a gift from the highstreet and then incurring the costs of delivering it yourself can be time consuming and expensive. All it takes online is the click of a button.
Benefits of offline shopping:
It is has become increasingly popular for content marketers to discuss the benefits of online shopping for consumers and offline shoppers have been left in the dark in recent times.
However there are still some strong benefits for consumers when they choose to go in-store rather than online.
The first of which is the most obvious and the reason why a lot of people from older generations still stick to bricks and mortar retailers, and that is the simple nature of changing rooms and getting to try on different sizes to see how you personally look, how the fit is, where it looks the same as you thought of in your head. All of which are something online retailers can’t match!
Lastly, relying on returns. When returning or exchanging an item in-store, it’s a much quicker process. You can browse around for something else if you would like to exchange and also try it on and not have to refund/exchange again if it’s not what you wanted, unlike online retailers. Refund processes in-store usually take between 3-5 working days. However for online retailers, you have to ship it back to them which can take between 5-7 days or even longer, and then once they’ve certified for a refund, the money can then be transferred back into your account.
In-store spending in the UK alone grew by 3.3% compared to the same time last year in August.
Benefits of online shopping:
Where do we begin? - Online shopping has become incredibly easy today being accessible, on a laptop, phone and tablet. Almost anywhere any time 24 hours a day no hustle and bustle, no fuss.
Businesses have moved on from traditional brick and mortar platforms that even Whitechapel’s Bell Foundry, which claims to be the oldest manufacturing business has also moved on with the times. They now offer users to buy hand bells and also door bells online on ecommerce platform Tictail.
Online shopping also boasts a magnitude of convenient and competitive pricing because it makes it easier for you to shop around. Online shoppers also get the chance of a much larger variety of items when shopping which can make it easier to find exactly what they want.
In 2012 alone, online sales in the UK averaged £311bn. As far as categories across Europe, hotel stays accounted for 72% of people who used a search engine to choose their options, followed by leisure flights (68%) and package holidays (67%). This is somewhat unsurprising considering holiday prices are becoming increasingly competitive to keep up with consumer demand in recent times.
To conclude we can see that offline shopping hasn’t entirely died as yet but with increasing numbers of people going digital it soon may be the case. Some clothing retailers are beginning to show clothes out in short video clips which further helps online decision making for decisions for consumers.
If it weren’t for the speedy growth of the Internet, then a number of businesses would fail to even exist in this day and age. The World Wide Web is a huge advertising platform, which has allowed a massive number of online stores to revolutionise. Many of these companies boast nothing more than a warehouse and a website, yet they’re still able to generate a huge profit.
1. Amazon.com currently stands as the number one ecommerce website in the world. It’s the 17th most visited website in the world and the number one online shopping destination. Last year alone, Amazon’s final revenue count reached £247 billion pounds. They also have over 33,700 employees working for them.
2. Ebay.com boasts some incredible statistics and at present, an impressive 17,700 employees run it. These employees look after both the posting website and the PayPal platform, as well as Gumtree.
3. Overstock.com, an American brand, was initially less well off than it is now. In 1999 it collapsed, however, its remains were bought. It was then rebranded and turned into the most prevalent shopping site on the web. Overstock gains 72% of its following from search engines as opposed to traffic.
4. Bodybuilding.com may seem like a strange entry, especially as it falls into the top five-ecommerce sites. Created by a 21-year-old entrepreneur, it’s now ranked as the 720th most admired site on the Internet.
5. Pixmania.com is rumoured to have lost over £10million worth of electrical products, it was even plagued by fraud allegations. However, it has worked its way back up the charts, and as well as its online platform, it now boasts a total of 17 showrooms.
6. Cafepress.com won the People’s Voice Webby Award in 2001 and has grown dramatically ever since, creating custom t-shirts, mugs and bags. In March alone, the website boasted a total of over 325 million products.
7. Play.com is now over 13 years old and is still going strong. Selling everything from electronics to books, and now also clothing, it boasts over 8 million items in stock.
8. Shutterfly.com specialises in personal publishing and social expression, producing prints, books, cards and stationary. They house almost six million unique visitors every month.
9. CDuniverse.com, at 15 years old, is the oldest entry to hit the top ten-ecommerce charts. They now provide more than 800,000 physical products; as well as more than 3 million downloads.
10. Net-A-Porter is one of the ten highest turnover ecommerce websites existing today. They’ve certainly found a niche in the clothing market, and aside from being the only fashion store on the list, it’s also the youngest ecommerce site. The website launched in June 2000 and now stands as a luxury purveyor with impressive packaging and unparalleled customer care. This year alone, the website has recorded massive sales well ahead of their forecast plan.
Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year when it comes to delivering parcels, cards and presents. So if you have your eye on a certain gift, it’s wise to order the ‘said’ object in advance. Aside from delivery taking a little longer than usual, stock will often sell out a great deal quicker. If you fail to get your hands on the presents you wish to give others – family and friends may be left empty handed.
Parcels tend to fall into several categories, including International Surface Mail, International Airmail including Airsure and International Signed For, Import Mail, HM Forces Mail, Non-Contract UK Services and Business Contract Services.
The last recommended dates for International Surface Mail going to Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Central & South America and New Zealand is Monday 30th September, the Far and Middle East (depending on location) falls between the 1st and 15th October, whilst mail to Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Turkey and Western Europe must be posted between the 5th and the 19th November (again you must check the Royal Mail website for location).
International Airmail including Airsure and International Signed For boasts later dates, which fall between the 4th and 14th December, again this depends on location.
The Last Arrival Date for Import Mail comprising Inward Surface Mail is Monday 9th December. For Inward Airmail this date is a little later and falls on the 20th December.
HM Forces Mail falls between Friday 29th November and Friday 13th December. UK Services are however a little different and those wishing to post a parcel under 2nd, 1st or Royal Mail Special Delivery can do between the 18th, 20th and 23rd December.
The Last posting dates for Economy Deferred for delivery over the Christmas and the New Year Period are: For delivery on/from Friday 27 December – the last posting day is Friday 13 December.
For delivery on/from or after Thursday 2 January (Friday 3 January in Scotland) – the last posting day is Thursday 19 December
Business Services have between the 17th and 23rd December to play with. These dates are however only recommendations and if you can, you should always post Christmas parcels in advance. Many will even start their Christmas shopping in October to ensure they get everything out on time, whilst businesses must play by the rules very carefully, especially when client contracts are concerned.
Cart abandonment is rife in this day and age, especially as there is so much choice available. Many will quite happily have several sites open at one time, only to compare the prices of each. They’ll often pop items into their baskets with no intention of ever buying them (especially if something better comes along).
For example, two sites offering exactly the same product at exactly the same price could in fact offer a different final price. If one requires an additional payment for post and shipping fees, yet the other site offers free shipping, it’s obvious which the consumer will choose.
A large number of companies are beginning to apply free shipping to their ecommerce sites. Such a factor is a huge selling tool. If you can’t do this, it may be wise to attract your customers in other ways. Such factors include offering a discount to those that buy more than the one product, offering an extremely speedy delivery service (many sites now offer next or even, same day delivery – if the shopper requires this item ASAP, they’ll be willing to pay a little extra).
Free returns is another great idea as many won’t have tried the item for size prior to buying it, whilst introducing a 15% discount to first time shoppers will in fact eliminate the shipping costs – another great way to attract consumers. Once they have used your service and feel that it is a good service, they’ll more than likely use you again, and better still, they’ll recommend you.
All in all, if a consumer can find the same product elsewhere and everything about the site offering that product suits their needs, they’ll choose to shop at this site. It’s therefore important to keep your site fresh. Adding the likes of online chat is a great idea. Sometimes, when shopping online, the consumer feels a little out of control. They may be buying a gift and wish to learn if the price will appear on the product, they may want to know whether or not they can deliver to smaller islands such as Jersey or Guernsey – having someone to talk to on tap will certainly encourage them to use your site. Also, delivering to as many countries as possible is a great way to attract new consumers.
When it comes to posting parcels, the amount you pay all comes down to the size and weight of the item you wish to post. The Royal Mail website offers a great deal of information on this matter; customers can even use a table to determine which format their items fall into.
The maximum weight for Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm items is a total of 20kg, however, the maximum weight limit for Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am items is just 2kg. It’s therefore important to conduct a little research prior to posting a parcel.
It’s important to check which weight and price category your parcel falls into, if you fail to do so, you may end up paying a great deal more than you need to. If you can, always fold items in half, as this will bring down the letter format – parcels that fit through the average letterbox fall in a lower price category than those that don’t. The letter in question must be less than 5mm thick.
The formats in use generally consist of letters, larger letters, small parcels (wide option), small parcels (deep option), medium parcels, rolled and cylinder shaped parcels and large parcels.
Letters comprising greeting cards, personal letters, postcards and bills must be a maximum of 100g. They mustn’t exceed a length of 240mm and a width of 165mm, whilst the maximum thickness must be less than 5mm.
A larger letter in the shape of an A4 document, a magazine or a certificate can weight up to 750g, with a maximum length of 353mm, a maximum width of 250mm and a thickness of no more than 5mm.
Small parcels, whether wide or deep, must weight under 2kg. The wider of the two can measure up to 45cm in length and 35cm in width with a maximum thickness of 8cm. Deeper parcels must measure under 35cm in length, 25cm in width and 16cm in thickness.
A medium parcel (often comprising gifts, shoes, heavy or bulky items) can weight up to 20kg, with a length of 61cm, a width of 46cm and a thickness of 46cm.
Rolled and cylinder shaped items must not exceed 104cm in length, with the greatest dimension measuring no more than 90cm, whilst the weight must be under 20kg.
If you’re still unsure of how much your item will cost to post, you can always visit the online price finder.
[Image source: http://dailymail.co.uk]
Christmas is soon approaching but there is also another online spending splurge that is about to commence as millions of online consumers begin to delve into their holiday spending pockets. On Friday 29th November 2013, Black Friday will inaugurate.
Online retailers better brace themselves for an onslaught of spending from consumers who will more favorably want to spend their money sitting at home by their families than go outside in the cold in never-ending queues and messy store floors.
So what’s the fuss about?
The fact of the matter is that millions of consumers either line up in-store or turn to online websites to spend their hard holiday working-buck. In 2012 alone, Black Friday sales figures exceeded the $1 billion dollar mark for the first time in history. That day alone, 57.3 million Americans visited a minimum of one online store. These figures are mind-boggling just for a single trading day.
Sounds terrific, right? – Luckily for you, we at Cloud IQ have put together a selection of tips that we think will help drive in conversions for you this coming holiday season.
1. Offer Black Friday discounts
Sounds like a no-brainer really. From the evidence we’ve collated and shown above, it’s clear that this is serious business for online retailers. So to ensure that you take full advantage of this, make sure you have discounts available that match bigger retailers.
Although this may sometimes be trickier for smaller businesses with smaller profit margins, you’ve got to play in the big boys game in order to cover any ground and really step up your game to catch online shoppers eyes.
2. Ever thought of a quirky countdown clock?
You wouldn’t start a New Year without one and similarly we have advent calendars for the run-up to Christmas, so why shouldn’t you have one for Black Friday?
Studies actually show that the psychology behind this actually starts a trigger in the head in terms of excitement. What that essentially means is, consumers will realize that this event is a big deal and take it seriously, just like they would do with an event such as Christmas.
3. Learn from previous figures
Anticipation is everything when it comes to staying ahead of competition, but forecasting properly will have an even bigger benefit for your figures. It keeps you in good stead, so you don’t have huge expectations but similarly fall short on demand, which would prove to have a massive impact on your overall revenue levels for that financial trading quarter.
It’s also a good rule of thumb to use analytics from previous trading figures and really probe into them and discover what products actually sold better and why. Did certain products have better descriptions? Landing pages? Or were they simply cheaper. - All of which need to be carefully inspected and analyzed.
4. Make sure your marketing emails have been optimized!
Sounds so simple that you might have even looked past it, but that’s right, it’s been tried and tested for years but Email is hands down the best and most cost effective way to promote your products and services.
It’s essential to remember that your target audience may have already been bombarded by promotional emails of similar content. So it’s imperative that you stand out with clear and concise text and images. Give them a call to action that a baby would recognize!
Oh… and one last pointer. Don’t just stuff your consumers down the throat with promotional emails. Perhaps put in place emails that are to do with important news and updates on the company and shopping cart abandonment and order confirmation emails are an absolute must for anyone looking to make a real impression in this years Black Friday.
5. Use increased traffic load to build substantial email lists
If you’ve followed our last 4 steps carefully, you’re more than likely to be spoilt with traffic levels on Black Friday this year, but why does it have to stop after this holiday season?
It’s a good idea to collate different user emails and then target them with light-hearted emails politely thanking them again for their previous purchase with you (send this email out a few weeks to a month after Black Friday) and ask them to provide you feedback or even complete a survey about what they enjoyed about their visit on your site and what they would like to see improved.
You’d be surprised how much of an overall difference reaching out to your audience and listening to their view can make on your company’s website experience.
These surveys and feedback forms may sound pointless, but we at Cloud IQ think that they are pieces of gold, and so much can be learned and rectified from them.
6. Work with courier services to offer free shipping
Last but not least, free shipping! – Nothing stands out to most online consumers than those two simple words, why?
Most consumers who go to shop online usually abandon carts once they have realized how much shipping costs. Not to mention it will feel like they are at a physical store by only needing to pay for the items that they want and no excess.
This will have a massive positive impact on your shopping cart abandonment rates due to customers simply knowing what they want and when they want it. It would be simply foolish to underestimate how much of an influence this has on the end user experience when checking out at your website.
Verdict? – To ensure you have a gargantuan Black Friday, follow these few steps religiously throughout all your marketing and we’re sure it will raise an eyebrow, or two…
[Image source: http://webexpand.co.uk]
Shop cart abandonment is a mystery to many, however, if you’re willing to find out why it occurs, you may be able to do something about it. The key is to keep your customer happy, adding extra costs and shipping fees at the final moment certainly won’t encourage them to buy. It’s important to be upfront with your clients. Hiding costs until the last moment will most likely cause them to abandon their shopping cart.
When they pop one product into their basket, suggesting others that match this product is a great idea. You may choose to add a pop-up menu and one that showcases what other customers that also bought this product, purchased with it.
Another way to ensure they buy more rather than less is to add a few promotions. Just as they’re about to go through to the final pages, you may suggest an offer such as ‘buy this product and receive another half price’.
Offering 15% discount to first time buyers is a very attractive tool. Instead of just buying the one thing they planned to buy, they may buy several – knowing that they’ll never receive this discount again.
Offering free shipping costs for a limited time only (if you don’t already offer free shipping costs) is a great tool to have around Christmas time. It will certainly encourage shoppers to purchase more than they initially intended too. Another similar tool comes in the shape of ‘buy three items, get the fourth free – only in December’. You’ll more than likely see a massive increase in sales this month, especially as many are looking to buy an abundance of Christmas presents on a budget.
Good customer service is always a must! Many customers feel the need to talk to a human representative prior to making their final payment. They may wish to learn a little information on delivery times, delivery destinations, whether these are slower around the seasonal period and whether the parcels must be signed for at the other end (especially if sending as a gift). Having an online representative that can be reached through an online chat mechanism boasts an easy and helpful solution to such queries. Without this service, you may find that certainly individuals will abandon their cart in the very last minutes – thus leaving you a sale down.
If your website were a human body, then the tags (the code that governs the execution of web pages) would be the nerve endings. Without these, the body wouldn’t be able to respond, sense, measure, execute or remember anything, which of course makes certain tags extremely important when it comes to a website functioning efficiently.
Tags issue commands, which then enable website pages to load page content, whilst delivering a number of advertising messages and promotions.
They also serve as the gateways through which information is shared. This applies to the data pooled across web pages; between diverse websites; as well as between an abundance of media companies, marketers, and service providers. All of whom are involved in constructing a user’s web experience.
All of this activity however comes with a cost. More often than not, tag activity can slow down pages, which can in turn have a damaging effect on the user’s experience, as well as the web operative's end line.
For example, a global site such as Amazon can lose up to 1% of consumer activity when a miniscule delay of 0.1 seconds occurs. Slow pages drive users away – we live in a fast paced world and now that individuals are accustomed to this fast pace, they’ll take no time in deciding to move elsewhere if they find a webpage to be slow.
Many media creatives will use GPT in asynchronous mode, however some won’t, which means they’re unable to function properly in friendly iFrames. It all comes down to the network you’re using.
All in all, 75% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. This may come as a shock to those that spend days on end loading pages, perfecting information layouts and creating pricing strategies. All of this hard work may reap few rewards in the long run, which is why it is important to understand why shoppers are abandoning their carts in the first place – the long-term goal being cart recovery.
According to researchers in this field, billions of pounds are lost through shopping cart abandonment.
Why It Happens
It’s easy to come to the conclusion that the shopper has quite simply changed their mind at the last minute. However, this is not always the case. One of the major reasons many choose to abandon their shopping cart is because of unexpected costs added at the end. These costs may come in the shape of VAT, taxes, shipping fees and packaging or postage rates. Such costs can make a reasonable price suddenly seem very unreasonable. If the customer is able to source a website that offers a free delivery service, or better still, they can buy it on the high street, they will do so. If you’re such a site that waits until the last minute to put these prices in place, it may be wise to add them before the final leg of the shopper’s journey.
Other reasons for shopping cart abandonment include problems with the website, browsing issues, better prices found elsewhere, the website navigation is too complicated, the process takes too long, too many excessive security checks, the website times out, the currency is in Euros or Dollars as opposed to Pounds or the payment is declined.
If you’re a larger company, looking to introduce free shipping may be the answer to all of your problems. When this was first introduced, online spending increased by a total of 16% from 2011 to 2012. Many consumers will only shop with companies that offer this service, especially those that live overseas.
Cart Abandonment Is Part Of The Buying Cycle
It’s also important to remember that sometimes cart abandonment quite simply can’t be avoided. If the consumer is browsing, they may choose to put a number of items in their basket, solely to compare these products. Once they know which item they prefer, this doesn’t mean they’re going to buy it then and there. This could also be down to this being their first visit to the site.
In the end, the best result you can hope for is cart recovery. It may be wise to add discounts to the final price, or introduce an offer such as ‘buy today and receive 10% off your order’. Those met by such discounts will more than likely carry through to the end sale, feeling they’ll miss out if they leave it any later. Other tactics include introducing a discount to first time buyers.
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Sales are a great way to introduce a number of new products, whilst also standing as a good way to tempt new customers to certain goods. Online promotions generally take place over a short period of time; as such a tactic allows retailers to boost their sales figures dramatically.
There are a number of ways to generate successful sale promotions, including the introduction of open houses, online coupons, referral bonuses and storewide discounts. The sales promotion method should be both well scheduled and well documented in order to cater to the retailer’s goals.
Assess The Sales Boost Required
If the reason for pushing a sale is to shift seasonal products, then deciding on the exact product and monetary needs is a must. Another reason may be to promote a new product so that it gains recognition. Alternatively, holding a sale in order to fill a schedule for a certain month is a popular sales tactic.
Invest In A Solid Customer Management System
A good online database will allow you (as the retailer) to keep track of the consumer’s purchases, including the offers they answer to and any other aspects that may affect their shopping requirements. If you know who your target audiences are, then you’re more likely to move the desired products.
Introducing a sale isn’t solely about shifting a product; it’s about encouraging consumers to buy more than just one of that product. Initiating the likes of ‘buy one get one free’ offers, ‘buy one get one half price’ or ‘buy at this price for a limited time only’ are all good options when it comes to attracting consumers. Other marketing tools to consider include offering a free gift with a certain product. Such a tool encourages consumers to buy products that they may not habitually consider at the regular price. (Once they have tried the product in question, they’ll often buy it again). Holding a contest or competition is another successful way to boost your online traffic. Presenting everyone with a money off voucher will encourage them to purchase something from your site and whilst there, they may decide on buying a number of other items.
Specify Start And End Dates
Applying a finish date to your promotion informs shoppers that this offer is only available for a short period of time. By doing this, this suggests to shoppers that the deal is a great opportunity. It’s important to repeat any successful sales promotions in the future in order to keep customer’s coming back for more.
There are a number of reasons you may need to obtain bulk amounts of padded envelopes. One being that you wish to acquire protection for the envelope’s contents. Another being that you may have a number of fragile objects to send out to
clients, and buying in bulk will actually save you money in the long run.
The easiest way to order a hefty amount of any product is online. There are a number of companies to choose from when it comes to ordering a large quantity of stationary goods – simply type a few details into your search engine and you’ll be met with a wide range of options.
In this day and age it’s quite simply easier to shop online. Just like a land-based store, a virtual store will feature a range of similar aspects, including a shopping cart, assorted product sections, prices, and a checkout as well as on tap customer service. The advantages however include dodging the queues, sidestepping city centre traffic and shopping at an hour that suits your own personal needs (online stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week).
Most companies deliver worldwide, whilst others only cater to certain areas. With this in mind, it’s important to do your research beforehand. Knowing your desired quantity is also a good idea as if there’s a delivery charge, making as few orders as possible is highly recommended.
A fair few companies boast mailing lists, and putting your name down will entitle you to regular offer updates. The more of one product you order, the cheaper each product will become. This comes as great news to those that wish to place a larger order.
Buying in bulk is not only economical (it reduces wasteful packaging) it’s more cost-effective. Due to the scale of the order, distributors are able to offer quality goods at much more affordable prices. Shopping in this way will also allow you to avoid the costs of labeling and advertising.
Prior to buying in substance, it’s important to free up a little space in the office or home. Giving each product a home will allow you to keep track of what items you have in stock, and also, the items you are running low on – thus allowing you to place your next order in plenty of time.
With Christmas creeping up on us, it’s important to remember that everyday sales may rise quite dramatically. Aside from customers searching for ordinary products, they will also be searching for a multitude of festive presents.
As well as employing extra floor staff for any land-based stores you may have in place, it’s also important to keep your online stores in tip-top shape.
This is when having well designed product pages comes in handy. Displaying the likes of up-to-date product descriptions, customer reviews, delivery costs and stock information is a must. If a potential consumer clicks on several products and finds they’re all out of stock, they’ll quickly take their shopping needs elsewhere.
A large majority of customers will search for what they need using a search engine, which can often mean they are taken directly to the product page as opposed to the homepage. Having a well-designed webpage in place, which boasts consistent site navigation will allow customers find their way around the site easily.
Enclosing the checkout is certainly one way to encourage customers to buy a multitude of products, and removing distractions such as search boxes and navigation features is a good way to do this. As such, having a simple checkout process in place is a must.
Keeping customers interested in the products you sell is imperative during the festive period, as a number of stores will be fighting for the consumer’s attention. One way to do this is to offer free deliveries on orders over a certain amount.
Using a ‘guest registration’ system will certainly save time when it comes to placing an order. Instead of having to retype details such as the delivery address and payment information on each purchase, the system will remember such particulars through the use of a password and username. Consumers will however be asked for a card security number when it comes to the final payment.
Allowing for alternative payment methods is a great way to keep the attention of existing consumers, whilst also attracting new customers. From major credit cards to PayPal, to a store account card – there are a number of different ways to pay for purchases in this day and age. Having all of these payment methods displayed will prevent a number of phone calls from customers enquiring about the available options – thus costing you both time and money.
Debit and credit card fraud is becoming more and more prevalent around the globe. A recent survey revealed that 27% of cardholders have experienced credit card fraud in the last five years alone.
From country to country these rates vary, with some areas showing a great deal more fraud than others. Both Mexico and the United States are high on the list, with almost 44% of shoppers stating that they’ve experienced fraud in the past few years. One of the reasons behind the high scam rate in America is down to EMV. EMV stands for Eurocard, Mastercard and Visa and is the small microchip that appears on both credit cards and debits cards. Most European countries have such a system in place, which of course, leaves less room for fraud.
Such a technique explains why countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands are at the bottom of the credit card fraud list. In the last five years only 12% of shoppers residing in these countries have experienced credit card counterfeit activity.
Other countries that appear to be suffering greatly from credit card fraud include China and India, whilst Germany is at the bottom of the list – making it the safest place to use your debit and credit card.
In order to prevent this from happening to your own card, it’s important to put a few security measures in place. It’s wise to check your account on a regular basis, doing so will enable you to spot any unusual activity quickly. Those that go for months on end without checking their cards may suffer a heavy hit.
Another way to ensure the safety of your money is to shop with trusted suppliers. Shopping on a site that is less legit may in fact be a scam. It’s also important to talk to your bank; putting high security measures in place will ensure others are checking your account for fraudulent activity (as well as yourself). Letting your bank know when you intend to leave the country will not only allow for less hassle when you do make a purchase abroad, it will also allow others to spot when certain individuals are using your own personal details. Investing in a credit card is a much safer way to shop as many boast insurance methods, put in place to cover you for fraudulent activity.
The biggest sales day of the year almost always falls on the weekend before Christmas. The last minute shoppers tend to always outnumber those who are organised in this respect. This is often down to a hectic lifestyle, which means there is little time to shop, which makes the weekend before Christmas an extremely profitable day for retailers. This is usually when shoppers rush to get last minute presents for friends and family, but also when consumers are able to get their hands on a few last minute deals.
Another big shopping day is Boxing Day. This applies to both offline and online sales. This is usually when people have gift vouchers and Christmas money to spend. It’s also when the Christmas sales begin, which makes it the perfect time to bag a bargain. Anything you may have had your eye on pre-Christmas will more than likely appear half the price now. Certain items will showcase reductions of up to 70%.
When the seasonal sales hit, many stores will open their doors from as early as 7am and certain consumers will even take to camping outside. Queues of up to 600 people can be expected at this time of the year.
Certain retailers have a great deal of autumn stock to shift in order to make way for new season stock, which makes post Christmas sales imperative. Those who can afford to wait do – at least until the sales hit. This often means presenting friends and family with store vouchers as opposed to presents, thus allowing them to get more for their money.
Online stores can lower their prices even further at this time of year and will often offer up to 20% in savings in comparison to that of the highstreet. This is mainly down to the few overheads in place. Savvy Internet surfers will wait until after Christmas to spend their hard earned pennies as opposed to buying online prior to the big day.
As more and more retailers are realising the pulls sales have, some are putting them into action well before Christmas, which in turn allows them to shift stock even earlier. This gives them a head start when it comes to putting new season goods in place – permitting them to shift goods prior to anyone else. This goes for both land-based and online stores.