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Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

5 Elements of a Seamless Commerce Experience

March 3rd, 2015 by Paul Matker

E-commerce and Retail Shopping

We’ve been talking about the importance of creating a 360 degree customer experience for years, however most businesses still treat channels separately and are still relying on traditional metrics to measure success.

Unfortunately it seems the focus on mobile has further fragmented the strategies. In many cases the emphasis continues to be on optimizing the experience within each channel/device rather than on creating a seamless commerce experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

5 Major Trends Driving E-Commerce

January 22nd, 2015 by Dan Bulauski

Trending

The consumer landscape is going to completely shift over the next five to ten years.  By 2025 Millennials will become 75% of the global workforce; that is a staggering statistic and it means that today’s systems need to be designed with their preferences in mind while still meeting the needs of the current consumer. Read the rest of this entry »

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

Mobile Devices Now Dominate Online Retail |E-commerce Trends

September 22nd, 2014 by Dan Bulauski

Handsome young man shopping online on mobile phone

Mobile continues to dominate the news in e-commerce trends. The use of mobile devices now exceeds the time spent using traditional devices to access online retail sites.

“Mobile is now the primary access point to online retail for most consumers,” says Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights at comScore. “As a result, retailers really need to rethink how they deliver their online shopping experience.” ComScore reported to Internet Retailer that 56% of the time spent with U.S. online retail occurred on a mobile device during July 2014.

In order to really understand what’s going with mobile, it’s important to think about how visitors are interacting with your site from each type of device. Shoppers don’t use smart phones and tablets the same way, as evidenced by the Monetate Ecommerce reports and statistics on conversion rates (see the charts below).

Mobile Commerce Trends

First let’s look at overall add to cart and conversion trends across all mobile devices. There’s a steady increase in the percentage of online shoppers who are now adding items to the shopping cart as well as completing the purchase. U.S. shoppers appear to have a much higher confidence level than International users, but those numbers could also be skewed by the growing number of mobile devices in Third World countries.

 

Monetate Mobile Device Conversion Trendsd

Now for the really interesting statistics, let’s talk about conversion rates by device. There is an increase in over all conversion rates across all types of devices (traditional being desktop or laptop). What I find interesting is how the gap is beginning to close between the traditional and tablet devices. That would suggest that people are becoming increasingly comfortable placing an order from a tablet.

Smartphone activity converts at one third to one quarter of the rate of a traditional or tablet devices. This doesn’t mean that smartphones aren’t important to the shopping experience, it just means people use the devices in different ways. From “selfies” to “showrooming,” consumers are using smart phones to research products and share with friends on social networks before making a purchase decision. Be sure your content and the customer experience is optimized for all stages of the purchase cycle, including research.

Monetate Tablet conversion rates by device

It looks like we may have been wrong in the way we predicted how mobile devices would fit into online retail. Scott Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp.,  summed it up in an interview with Internet Retailer by saying, “retailers need to prepare for the mobile-only customer.”

“Frankly, all of us in e-retail have been surprised at how fast mobile has ascended,” Wingo says. “Two years ago, we all envisioned a multi-device world where people would discover on the smartphone, browse on the tablet, and land back on the desktop to buy. Well, multi-device shoppers are there, but they are transitioning to much more mobile. To some extent we were wrong about multi-device usage. The largest growth area in shopping and on the web is mobile-only consumers.”

Is your business ready for the “mobile-only” customer?

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

15 Reasons You Can’t Ignore Mobile Commerce

September 9th, 2014 by Dan Bulauski

flat shopping background

There’s no shortage of articles about the topic of mobile marketing and the role it will play in 2014 and beyond. Given the fact that mobile commerce accounted for nearly one-fourth of all e-commerce sales in 2013 and it’s expected to equal traditional e-commerce sales by 2018, it’s time for on-line retailers to get serious about mobile.

Here’s  a snapshot of some pretty compelling statistics (or reasons) to take a look at mobile if you haven’t already done so:

Mobile Commerce Statistics:

  1. By 2015, 81% of all U.S. cell phone users will have smartphones. (Source: Goldman Sachs)
  2. 56% of American adults own a smart phone. (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project)
  3. 42% of all mobile sales generated by the leading 500 merchants in m-commerce in 2014 will come from mobile app. (Source: 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500.
  4. More than 60% of U.S. consumers’ time spent online with retailers takes place on a mobile device. (Source: ComScore Inc.)
  5. Mobile sales by the world’s 500 leading retailers in mobile commerce should reach $84 billion in 2014 (Source: 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500)
  6. In 2013, U.S. mobile grew 63% to $34.2 billion. (Source: Internet Retailer)
  7. M-commerce sales are expected to grow to $61 billion for tablets by 2016. (Forrester Report via Mobile Commerce Daily)
  8. 48% use or would like to use a smartphone to shop while in-store or on the go. (Source: Cisco, 2013)
  9. Mobile traffic accounted for more than 40% of online visits on Black Friday 2013 (Source: Business Insider)
  10. U.S. mobile coupon users will rise to 53.2 million in 2014. (Source: eMarketer)
  11. Nearly all Generation Y consumers owned a mobile phone of some kind and 72% owned smartphones. (Source: Forrester, 2013)
  12. Mobile now accounts for 12 percent of Americans’ media consumption time, triple its share in 2009. (Source: Digiday, 2013)
  13. Approximately $1.1 trillion spent in retail stores was influenced by a digital interaction. (Source: Deloitte Consulting LLP)
  14. 2013 holiday shopping season found that 65% of online shoppers had plans to “webroom.” (Source: Accenture)
  15. 9 out of 10 mobile search users have “taken action as a result of a mobile search, with over half leading to a purchase.” (Source: searchengineland)

We’re also here to help. Feel free to shoot me a message any time at sales@thanxmedia.com if you’d like to learn more about how to make your website mobile friendly.

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

5 Technology Considerations for New Online Retailers

August 26th, 2014 by Marcel Munoz

E commerce design


The online retail competitive landscape has changed tremendously in the past fifteen years and especially in the past five. New online retailers are facing challenges that are much different than in the past.

It used to be fairly easy to start an online presence and in many cases young start-ups had a big advantage over old legacy brands. Unlike companies that already had an established technology and systems eco-system to consider, those new to the space were able to be nimble and develop a platform that specifically met the needs of the online consumer.

There were few barriers and the challenges associated with starting a new online business centered mostly around creating a website that was easy to use and worked well in a few different browser versions. As long as shoppers could find the product on your website and receive it in a reasonable amount of time, the chances were good that a business would succeed. Website usability is still the cornerstone, but building an online business has become more complex.

Consumers are more sophisticated than ever before. They’re no longer afraid of technology and most of them own multiple devices. Whether you’re an established online retailer or new to the space, it’s important to consider the key challenges in today’s online shopping world.

Key Challenges Facing Online Retailers

  • The rise of omni-channel – customer’s expect a single consistent shopping experience across devices and channels.
  • The mobile revolution – mobile is part of omni-channel, but worth mentioning separately because it’s driving so many of the changes in shopping behavior.
  • Competitors are just a click away – Google search results have improved tremendously over the past 10 years and consumers no longer bookmark their favorite sites. They search and compare options before making a decision.
  • Shoppers have a short attention span – if they don’t find what they’re looking for in 15 seconds or less, they’re gone.
  • The best offer wins – we’ve trained consumers to wait for the best deal from a retailer and they’ll go to great lengths to make sure they get the most for their money.

Given these challenges, there’s a lot more to consider if you’re new to the online retail space and the costs and complexities may make it seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be.

5 Technology Considerations for New Online Retailers

  1. Consider the Cloudhosted software solutions can greatly simplify your environment. Most hosted solutions bring you a load balanced architecture, redundancy, and an up-time guarantee for a monthly fee. This can reduce your up-front investment and mitigate risks. You can always move the solution in-house when you’re ready.
  2. Extensible Platformselect an e-commerce platform that will scale and grow with your business. Look for a solution that can be implemented as a framework that you can build on.
  3. Mobile enabled – we can’t emphasize mobile enough. It’s part of the shopping process and the use of mobile devices is only going to grow.
  4. Robust Site Search – next to mobile, the site search solution may be one of the most important features for your website. If shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for quickly you’ll lose them.
  5. Managed services – increase your bandwidth and take advantage of the expertise and experience that a professional services team has to offer.

With the right technology platform and partner, new online retailers can build a solution that will position them for growth and success.

Download our free eBook: A Guide to Evaluating Site Search Solutions

 

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

3 Benefits of an e-Commerce Systems Consolidation

August 21st, 2014 by Dan Bulauski

 

E-commerce diagram structure

A couple of weeks ago we explored the topic of e-commerce systems integration vs. consolidation. Many businesses are faced with some difficult decisions as it relates to their technology infrastructure and how to meet the demands of the multi-channel, multi-device consumer. There are some valid reasons that the eco-system that supported the website was built separately from the rest of the back-end systems.

In the beginning it was because the notion of e-commerce was new and seemed like it might be a passing fad. Quick, inexpensive, and separate from the main systems was the path many businesses chose. After all, why invest heavily in an unproven way of doing business. The other reasons for the piecemeal approach had to do with functionality. It was much easier to implement a third party solution for something like product reviews or A/B testing than it was to build it in-house.

Times have changed significantly and the percentage of business done online represents a significant portion of revenue for most businesses. Unfortunately most e-commerce environments are poorly equipped to meet the demands of today’s consumer and fail to provide a seamless experience across channels and devices.

There are two choices, one is to continue along the path of working in a world of disparate systems or to consolidate the systems such as product information management, content management, and eliminate third party solutions for functionality that is now a core part of many e-commerce platforms.

There are obviously pros and cons to each approach and although consolidating systems can be a complex, time-consuming, and sometimes painful process there are many long term benefits.

Benefits of e-Commerce Systems Consolidation

  1. Operational – multiple systems mean a lot of duplication of effort as well as an increased potential for errors and inconsistencies. Both short and long term cost savings can be achieved by streamlining processes and eliminating redundancy.
  2. Tactical – organizations can use the consolidation as an opportunity to improve visibility into the state of the online business which can result in better decision making and greater agility.
  3. Strategic – while this one is a bit difficult to measure, aligning systems and consolidating functions can lead to a distinct strategic advantage because the focus can move from one of short-term targets to long term initiative with measurable benefits.

Approaching a systems consolidation isn’t for the feint of heart, but it’s also very manageable if you:

  • Align the organizations omni-channel business strategy to the system design visions
  • Get all stakeholders and end users to commit to change (make them part of the process along the way)
  • Agree on the scope and timeline for change
  • Manage the change along the way with open and effective communication

Contact us today and learn how we can assist you in addressing the challenges and keep your business growing.

 

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

Do Your Shoppers “Love” Your Customer Experience?

July 29th, 2014 by Dan Bulauski

User Experience Design

For years many online retailers have held off on investing additional capital into e-commerce technology and the trend has been to find and integrate one-off solutions that add functionality to a website. This has resulted in websites that lack continuity in the customer experience, misalignment with the offline world, and more than a few headaches when it comes to managing and analyzing the data collected on the back-end.

Do your shoppers “love” your customer experience? Chances are that if your platform is out-dated and cobbled together, they don’t.

The rapid adoption of mobile and an increase in customer expectations is forcing many businesses to take a hard look at their e-Commerce platforms and supporting systems.  Build vs. buy is a debate being held in many conference rooms around the world, but one thing is sure – there is a definite trend upward in the future of technology spending.

A recent Forrester Research Inc. report indicates that growth in all U.S. technology spending will outpace the growth of the larger economy. The category of technology that includes CRM (Customer Relationship Management), web content management, mobile applications, and marketing automation will account for 12% of U.S. technology spending and 17% of all technology purchases in 2014.

Also, a recent Internet Retailer Survey shows that 86.6% of respondents intend to increase the amount they spend on technology.

According to the survey:

  • 4.4% say they will increase spending by 15.1% to 25%. (That compares with 12.2% who said the same in Internet Retailer’s 2012 e-commerce tech spending survey, which had 114 respondents.)
  • 23.3% will increase spending by 10.1% to 15%. (16.7% in 2012.)
  • 22.2% will increase spending by 5.1% to 10%. (26.7% in 2012).
  • 12.2% will increase spending by 25.1% to 50%. (4.4% in 2012.)
  • 10.0% will increase spending by more than 50%. (Also 10.0% in 2012.)
  • 7.8% will increase spending by 5% or less. (30.0% in 2012.)

It seems likely that the major push will be in three areas: improving site search, back-end integration, and of course mobile. If your business isn’t planning on increasing your technology spend in the coming years to provide a seamless multi-channel and multi-device experience, you are at risk of losing market share.

Contact us today and learn how we can help you implement technology solutions and deliver a customer experience that shoppers will love.

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

3 Reasons Digital Commerce is Important to Brick-and-Mortar

July 8th, 2014 by Dan Bulauski

With all of the emphasis on trends in digital commerce, it may surprise you to learn that e-commerce is still a very small part of retail. According to a recent US Census report, it’s still at less than 6% of overall sales. Some estimates are as high as 10%, but it’s still a relatively small piece of the overall pie. The numbers might lead the owners of businesses that are primarily brick-and-mortar to believe that digital commerce doesn’t need to be a part of their overall strategy, however the reality is just the opposite.

The biggest opportunity for today’s retailer is to merge digital insights with in-store physical experiences and to create a seamless all-channel shopping experience.

man with laptop and cardboard boxes at home

Why is Digital Commerce Important to Brick-and-Mortar?

  1. The yellow pages are dead – Google is the first place people go when they are looking for a product or service. If you don’t have a website the chances of your business being found are slim to none. At a minimum, today’s consumer expects every business to have a web presence that is representative of their brand.
  2. People shop and browse using multiple devices – it’s very common for shoppers to browse online and purchase in-store and vice versa. That means that the desktop and mobile interfaces are fully compatible with legacy POS and inventory systems. The last thing you want is to disappoint a customer and lose a sale because an item was “in stock” during the browsing phase but out of stock in reality.
  3. Demands for excellent customer service continue to grow – customers don’t care about your systems or how difficult it is to integrate customer data, they expect anyone in your organization to be able to answer questions and solve problems. A bad experience in one channel is a poor reflection of your entire brand.

Digital brands such as Amazon have a big advantage over many of the traditional retailers who are struggling to integrate legacy systems with new digital technology. There are some big brands making some progress in the digital space. Wal-Mart now offers same day in-store pickup of items purchased online, Neiman Marcus has an app which gives salespeople access to the purchase history for regular customers when they enter the store.

There are many technical questions facing today’s retailer. Digital commerce isn’t going away, it’s going to continue to grow along with consumer expectations for a seamless experience across all devices and channels. Now is the time to explore options to improve your online customer experience. It could be the difference between future success and going out of business.

Learn about CIMM2 a fully integrated omni-channel e-commerce solution here.

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

Are Your Shoppers Converting? | 10 Tips to Streamline Checkout

June 24th, 2014 by Dan Bulauski

There’s nothing more annoying than spending time shopping and finding just the right products only to be stumped by the checkout process. If your website analytics are set up properly you can get very detailed information regarding the checkout funnel and where there are opportunities to streamline checkout.

If your checkout process is clean and streamlined it can also be a great opportunity to increase average order size and value by strategically merchandising the right products in the shopping cart. Let’s jump right to the tips and then you can enjoy the humorous video about how most checkout processes would look if they were acted out in real life.

10 Tips to Streamline Checkout

  1. Put checkout buttons on the top and the bottom of the page-making the buttons easy to find increases the chances the shopper will take action.
  2. Move “create an account” to the end of the process-don’t require customers to create a username and password in the first step. The less information people have to provide upfront the more likely they are to complete the process. In the final step of checkout, communicate the advantages of having an account, such as order tracking for special discounts to motivate shoppers to set up an account.
  3. Implement a persistent shopping cart-very few people convert on the first visit and they want to be able to come back and see what’s in their shopping cart days or maybe even a couple of weeks later. Abandoned shopping carts also present a great marketing opportunity, they can be used to trigger reminder emails and generate a sale.
  4. Make the checkout process visualstudies have shown fewer clicks are better when it comes to the checkout process. More than one page is fine as long as each step is clear and the shopper knows exactly what they need to do and where they are in the process.
  5. Let the shopper make changes in the cart-make it easy for someone to update the quantity or remove an item from their shopping cart without having to take additional steps. The more often a shopper has to do something extra during the checkout process the chances  of abandonment increase.
  6. Communicate shipping details-be sure to let customers know when they are going to receive their order, how much shipping is going to cost, and allow them to select from multiple shipping methods.
  7. Include the product image and description-give a visual clue that they have entered the right item into their shopping cart. This improves the customer experience and can also help to decrease returns.
  8. Don’t forget security-with so much information about identity theft and sites being hacked you can’t be too careful about letting people know that your site is secure.
  9. Provide multiple payment options-not everyone wants to use their credit card so provide alternatives such as PayPal and Bill Me Later.
  10. Highlight savings-everyone loves to save money and they like knowing how much they’ve saved. You can create a sense of urgency by showing pricing in a “was”/”now” format. You can also consider including the date the sale ends to further motivate the shopper to buy today.

If your checkout process isn’t meeting your customer’s needs give us a call to discuss the CIMM2 e-commerce platform and learn how you can improve your overall web presence.

 

Archive for the ‘Omni Channel’ Category

6 Pillars of e-commerce Success in 2014

June 5th, 2014 by Marcel Munoz

We recently wrote about the mobile revolution and its disruption to the online shopping landscape. There’s more to the equation for e-commerce success than optimizing your website for mobile devices. Success in two thousand fourteen and going forward requires an understanding of how consumer behavior is changing and evaluating all of your customer touch points with that in mind.

E commerce design

6 Pillars of e-commerce Success

  1. Easy to use and up-to-date website – if your website is outdated it could be hurting your business in more ways than you realize. Consumer expectations have risen dramatically over the past five years and consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated and they are less tolerant when it comes to navigating websites. If you’re seeing drops in traffic, and increase in abandonment, or decreases in conversion it could be assigned that your website needs more than a face-lift.
  2. Mobile optimization – consumers have different expectations and needs when they shop online using their desktop versus a mobile device. The mobile version of your website should be designed to the easy to navigate on a small screen without the need for a lot of typing and should provide visitors with only the most important information.
  3. Intelligent site search – site search is far more than just a product locator now. It is a key customer touch point and consumers expect highly relevant results and a personalized experience. Your site search feature should enable you to dynamically update the customer experience based on customer data,  individual shopping behavior and preferences.
  4. Targeted merchandising – digital marketing is not about mass marketing, the key to success is delivering a personalized experience. Consumers are aware of the fact that companies collect personal information about their purchases, demographic details, and more. Merchandising efforts need to be coordinated closely with marketing efforts and should use deep customer segmentation to deliver the most targeted and relevant experience.
  5.  Streamlined checkout – think carefully about the differences between the desktop user and the mobile device user when designing the checkout process. Make the checkout process visual and provide visual indicators that indicate which step the customers on and how far they have to go. Also think security and make it very clear that your website is one that can be trusted.
  6. Data-driven customer experience – make use of internal data and analytics tools such as Google analytics and site search analytics to gain insights into what your customers love and what’s not working very well. A true data driven customer experience strategy will also include voice of the customer data such as social chatter and other user generated content.

Now is the time to evaluate your current website and customer experience and make changes before the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you optimize your mobile experience.

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Paul Matker
CEO
Paul looks forward to discussing ways to develop your website into the ultimate sales channel, while also bringing you the latest Thanx Media news and announcements.
Marcel Munoz
CTO
Check out Marcel’s blogs for insight into developing a more technical approach for your website, as well as creative ways to generate more revenue.
Dan Bulauski
VP of Sales
Dan’s years of retail experience allow him to contribute helpful tips on how to capture greater metrics and carve out a larger market share.

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