I recently went to a talk on the different forms that e-tailing is taking over and beyond the traditional e-commerce site.
Below is a distilled version of the talk with just the best bits. A lot of these examples are only availabe in the US at the moment but by reading this you are getting ahead of the curve!
(The talk was by the big cheese at Pod1 – Fadi – so credit to him for researching it all)
E-commerce via Apps
Start accepting cash and card payments with Square. No contracts, monthly fees, or hidden costs. Effortlessly manage the money you take with an easy and intuitive interface. US only at the moment and only for payments less than $60 but one to watch for sure.
See corporate video
And a review on how it works
Google shopper (Android only)
This APP allows you to scan barcodes, the co
vers of books and media, and even search by voice – the app will tell you where you can buy the same product and at what price. Pretty nifty if it works!
It took 12 months for the location-based social network to attract one million users and by stark contrast; the second million only took three months. Ever since February 2010, the site has been registering over one million ‘check-ins’ a week.
See how it works:
New e-commerce software
Vendr create POP-UP shops – They say that you can create your e-commerce site within 15 minutes. These are basic obviously sites now but I guess they will improve. In any event they will probably do for many home based businesses.
from their site: “Works with your current website: Add a “store” button to your blog or website, and your store will simply pop-up over your content — no more sending your customers elsewhere to make a purchase. Vendr functions as a part of your existing site. ”
Alvenda software allows you to create e-commerce shops within sites such as Facebook – Alvenda’s first customer, 1-800-Flowers.com, launched during the Mother’s Day holiday in 2009 and recognized a 10.5x lift in shopping activity by making it easier for people to shop.
New E-Tailing concepts
Cutting out the middle man – Harnessing the power of social media to revolutionise product manufacture and pricing.
For furtniture design and manufacture: You choose what makes it into our collection. Vote for your favourites and the most popular will be made available to order.
Buy early, pay less
The earlier you buy an air ticket, the less you pay. Now you can do the same with wine. Save £££!
WhipCar is the first service in the world where a car owner can rent out their vehicle for money, whenever they are not using it. WhipCar pairs sensible drivers with spare car time
January 12th, 2009.
We have already seen in my previous blog that online sales are very robust even in the teeth of a recession.Â Companies have used a myriad of marketing techniques to entice users to buy usually with excessive discounts.Â It’s now the task of keeping those customers and encouraging repeat buys.
It’s well known that discounting does not engender loyalty necessarily and so retailers need to find other ways to add value.
First lets see what customers actually want:
A recent study by EMEA concluded that the two biggest factors, likely to influence consumer spending during a credit crunch, are competitive prices (79%) and a combination of good prices AND good customer service (72%).
Retailers relying on brand pedigree, product uniqueness or reputation to see them through the downturn in spending may come unstuck as these were listed as the three least influential factors.
In a recent New Media Age survey consumers said:
89% believe internet has better prices
68% said online was cheaper (taking into account ancillary costs of “outside” shopping
81% said Internet offered wider range
89% cited ease of finding items
95% cited ease of comparing prices
Where the Internet could improve
74% said lack of waiting made high street attractive [Personnally I've never understood why retailers cant offer next day delivery if items are ordered before a certain time]
70% said customer service was better on the high street [there's so much to say about this that I will write a separate blog post about this]
So customer service (combined with customer service) and lack of waiting are key elements that customers want.Â Lets see what other retailers are doing to respond to this.Â I am assuming that if you run and e-commerce site that you have already covered the basics: free delivery, free returns, properly organised website with your telephone number and security in place etc..
We have scoured the Internet to see whatÂ successful retailers have come up with in terms of building customer loyalty and service over and beyond the usual discounting:
Customer service – Delivery
It’s always baffled me that retailers still think it’s ok to take 5 days to arrange delivery.Â Next day delivery should be standard for most products. ASOS have made a start on this at least by offering Saturday deliveries at no extra cost as well as offering a next day service.Â With 74% retailers citing this as making the high street more attractive I would have thought this should be the most pressing thing for most retailers.Â Use a branded delivery service that can represent your brand.
Customer service availability
Zappos, an Online retailer that specializes in selling apparel and shoes has been able to grow from $1.6 million in 2000 to $597 million in revenue last year alone. Some of Zapposâ€™ highlight features include their excellent customer service and a free overnight shipping on all orders. Over the past 8 years.Â “We`re continuing our focus on service, which includes 24/7 customer service, free overnight shipping and free return shipping with a 365-day return policy.”
Customer service – communication
Letting customers know its coming – If you’re sending something bulk then why not call ahead to let the customers know.Â www.naturalcurtaincompany.com do this and it’s very effective as people will tell other people about the great service.
Customer service – Know what your service is.Â 99% right is not enough
Make sure your Website is 100% accurate. Zappos ran into trouble when it used to have the manufacturers drop-ship orders, because their inventory was often off and created backorders and unhappy customers. Even 99% is not good enough.
Amazon – Amazon PrimeÂ – Amazon Prime is an exclusive membership program that gives you and your family the benefits of unlimited One-Day shipping on eligible Amazon.co.uk purchases for an annual membership fee of Â£47.97. During your one month trial, you will enjoy all the benefits of being an Amazon Prime member.
Understand FREEMIUM – the concept of making money out of giving things away for FREE.Â This is not for eveyone but you need to understand the power of it. What ever you are selling think of what can be given away for free which will add value to your proposition. Give your service away for free, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc., then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base.” viz google, facebook – read more http://inside.123-reg.co.uk/archives/chris-anderson-free-long-tail
Communication – The ability to communicate with your customer base is now as important as ever. The ability to get your message to your clients quickly and efficiently can translate into large profits. Blogging, mailing lists and participation in social networks can and do make a difference. Again using the example of Zappos over 400 members of staff use the microblogging service Twitter. This gives the company the ability to contact thousands of people in an instant about offers or new products. The CEO of Zappos alone has 35,000 people watching his updates.
Discount vouchers being sent with each delivery. Whilst constant discounting is not the direction to go in, it’s good for encouraging viral sales.
Membership -Sexypantiesandnaughtyknickers.com – get 15% off for life once you reach a minimum spending limit (bronze) then 25% silver etc.
more to follow…as we find them
Apparently there is a recession.
The media will have it that the world is in meltdown and that it’s armageddon out there.Â
Woolies, MFI and Adams have gone to the wall.Â Well honestly, I am not surprised.Â Woolworths and MFI were awful businesses stuck in a time warp and deserved to die.Â They were slothful and easily out done by more dynamic competitors.Â MFI have done nothing in the last 20 years to dispel their brand image of producing low quality, dated furniture.Â Â Woolworths were kidding themselves if they thought that people actually enjoyed entering their shops.Â They may have been cheap but even the bargain hunters appreciate clean, well presented shops.Â I never went into Adams but they looked pretty dated even though they were relatively new.
Other companies are retracting as well.Â Marks and Spencer are closing some food halls but so what.Â They had over expanded in the good times.Â The fact that they are closing a few poorly performing shops isn’t the death knell.Â It’s just a little tightening following a gluttonous expansion.Â And maybe it means that the consumer, who is a little more careful these days would prefer not to pay an excessive premium for nearÂ identical products being sold next door.Â
The care free spending attitude has changed and retailers need to adapt, but it doesn’t mean that people won’t spend money if the product is well priced and well presented.
This all reminds me of a previous hullabaloo in 2000 when the .com bubble burst.Â The world’s press then tried to write off the whole Internet as a busted flush, when in fact there were many businesses doing very nicely online thank you.Â It was only the news grabbers who had borrowed millions to set up spurious, hubristic .com world beating websites that failed to succeed.Â They were poorly thought out businesses and poorly executed.Â They too deserved to die.Â There were many smaller, prudent businesses making a decent return throughout this period.
So, as before and as now there may be some troubled waters but there is no reason for retailers to panic.Â (Though for bricks and mortar businesses, they need to renegotiate their exorbitant rents with their landlords).Â This is especially true online.Â People still have money and they would prefer to spend it online. Anecdotal and personal experience shows that online sales on most websites are growing.Â Latest sales figures from those retailers that have reported on Christmas sales also supports this:
John Lewis – online sales up by 27%
House of Fraser – online sales increase of 150%Â (1.7 million visitors over Christmas period)
M&S – online sales up by 29% (although down 7.1% overall)
Ocado – up 97%
Sainsburys – online sales up 27%
Thorntons – online sales up 25%
Next Direct – up 1.1% increase since last year
Aldi visitor traffic up 64% year on year
Play.com Sales up 20%
Our own clients at Datadial have also reported record online sales.Â
The big question for these retailers is how to return to charging full value for their products and services and to get away from the omni present discounting.Â This is the subject of my following blog.
We took a dogs dinner of an old website and transformed it into a work of art that converts users to buyers. AsÂ always the project was delivered on time and on budget.
Yapp Wine Merchants website now has a fresh, modern design, packed with tools to help you find the wine you need.Â It is unfrightening and designed to cater to Yapps broad user base.Â We’ve made searching for wine fun and easy whilst retaining Yapp’s connoiseur edge.
Everyone has their own ways of looking for wine so we implemented 4 ways to navigate the site:
- The Easy Wine selector uses dynamic searching
Watch your search results change dynamically with easy to use search sliders. Have a play.Â The great advantage of this is thatÂ it all happens onÂ one page with no hopping backwards and forwards to and from search results.
- The Food and Wine selector allows you to search for wine by Food Type by clicking on images of different food types.Â This is not rocket science but is dis-armingly useful.
- Advanced Search - for those who really know what they are after.
Search by Regional maps
- “You recently looked at”
Isn’t it annoying when you look at lots of different items and then have to re-find them by re-doing the searches.Â Well we eliminated this problem with the “You recently looked at section” so you dont have to re-do previous searches.
- Tell a friend / Bookmark tools
Not strictly a navigation tool but so simple and effective.Â How else can you let your loved one know what you want for Christmas?Â Simply post your choices to your Facebook page and invite others to have a look.
Search engine friendly
As always with Datadial, the site is built to be search engine friendly
All pages from the old site have been redirected to the relevant new pages.
The site uses Friendly URLs so http://www.yapp.co.uk/Wine-List/Rhone-South/Chateauneuf-du-Pape/ instead of
Integrated stock control – the site is integrated to draw stock levels from Sage accounts.
The site is fully content managed, giving Yapp control over all aspects of the site including creating offers, mixed case offers and product information.
The site is also integrated with Datadial’s email marketing system.
October 7th, 2008.
We are pleased to announce the launch of 4 new sites this month.Â Each one demonstrates a different skillset that we can provide here at Datadial.
New – e-commerce launch: www.basicallyblack.com
OneÂ for the ladies. As usual this site is fully updateable by the client and includes stock control, dispatch notes, customer management, full reporting and is integrated with Datadial’s email marketing system. Perfect site to find that oh so hard to find little black dress. Buy now!
AJAX engineered quote generator – www.flowduplication.com
A site for generating quotes for DVD and CD duplication. The quote generator has been developed in AJAX and provides an easy to use interface for ordering CD’s and uploading artwork.What is AJAX – AJAX speeds up a website by only refreshing the part of a page that needs refreshing. Well that’s the simple explanation. The increased speed hugely improves usability and eases frustration Datadial developed the site from a logo provided and designed all artwork on the site
The client commented “my boss was grinning like a cheshire cat all afternoon when he saw the site, thanks to you and the team
Relaunch of this Fund Management site, following a re-branding exercise by www.FinInternational.com.Â Â The site is fully updateableÂ by Lloyd George staff using Datadial’s content management system.
Originally designed brochure site and blog www.carnabystreetthemusical.com
YouÂ haven’t heard of it yet this will be the next BIG West End musical in the New Year. The site is being populated bit by bit as people send in their memories of the sixties. If you were famous in the Sixties and loved Carnaby Street let us know!!