ICYMI – Magento 1 is EOL and if you’re still using it, you’re at risk

Thousands of online businesses could be opening themselves up to risks of cyberattack due to running an insecure version of Magento right now.

Magento 1 reached its End of Life (EOL) at the end of June this year and eCommerce experts across the board are warning of the risks opening up for online merchants that are now no longer receiving security patches to protect their sales systems.

But beyond just the security risks to the site, online stores still operating on Magento 1 could be at further risk by not being PCI compliant.

“In the run-up to EOL for Magento 1, many sought clarity from payment processors such as Visa, on how they would support merchants past the end date, and ultimately when they would stop taking payments from those on Magento 1," stated James Allen-Lewis, Development Director at Sonassi. He added, “Visa was very bullish in their initial statement, stating customers on Magento 1 needed to migrate across to Magento 2 immediately, in order to remain PCI compliant.”

PCI or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is compliance that all online traders need to be in line with. Not complying with your requirement commitment could mean you are banned from accepting cards and/or increased fees to process cards. Moreover, fines that can range from £3,000 to £60,000 depending on your bank's merchant account agreement may also be levied.

An announcement with the decision to shelve Magento 1 was made in September 2018, and Adobe gave websites nearly two years’ notice to migrate from the 12-year-old release line before it reached end-of-life status on June 30, 2020.

However, as at the end of June, there were still more than 200,000 websites operating on Magento 1.

Understandably, the arrival of the pandemic has meant many merchants are yet to migrate and any major platform migration needs to be considered but time is running out even faster than before.

Allen-Lewis highlighted the risk rather succulently “Losing PCI compliance or customers’ personal information is a disaster for online retailers that manage online card payments as it is highly likely they will become liable for the damages caused to their customers, as well as having to pay the costs of a PFI investigation.”

 

We’re Here To Help

Come talk to us and let’s see what we can do together. We’ve tailored a solution for everyone, no matter where the starting point in the market. It’s just about picking the right one for you and then we can get together and get you accelerated toward success.

We’re here to help you make the right choice for you. We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations. Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

Across our UK and Polish offices, we employ certified specialists in operations, project management, analysis, development, user experience, conversion rate optimisation, design, testing and scrum technologies; to mention just the tip of the iceberg. We believe in our people and are committed to supporting our colleagues to be the best they can be. We’re hugely proud of our culture, our values, and the colleagues that make the magic happen. That’s why we talk about ourselves as the Eclipse family.

Come take a look at our Magento Packages as a starting point, we can talk them through and if we need to add a few other options to the mix, we can do that too.


What will it take to survive in the future of retail?

In an article written by Doug Stephens, the founder of Retail Prophet and the author of three books on the future of retail, for businessoffashion.com, he describes a future that any retailer will look at and in almost all cases, result in a shudder and deep pit forming in their stomach.

First, let me paint a picture that we’ll all be familiar with. Anyone who has seen the Disney Pixar masterpiece that is Wall•E may think back to it, and recall the story of overconsumption and disregard for the environment. This leads to the abandonment of the Earth, for life aboard a series of floating ‘paradises’ that further drove those aboard toward unquestioning consumption.

But the somewhat overlooked or underplayed element of that story is that it was driven by a single entity. Scattered across the opening scenes are references to a megacorporation, Buy-N-Large (BnL) that play themselves to be the hero’s having evacuated humanity leaving behind the solution that would clean the mess and make it safe to return.

In his article, he references other examples from the likes of Robocop, Aliens and Blade Runner but the underlying causation and resulting symptoms are the same.

You might be thinking ‘That was just fiction’, but life has a funny way of imitating art and what Doug so clearly points out in the article is that we’re on the verge of megacorporation’s taking over.

As he puts it “In a post-pandemic retail landscape, such corporations will no longer reside solely in novels or films. They will become a reality.”

Described as Apex Predators, the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba will emerge as “an entirely novel, genetically mutated species of retailer that faces few threats.” These businesses have been marching toward this for years, growing at rates that have bucked any and all trends, and Covid-19 has been the ultimate steroid for these businesses, pushing them toward domination whilst others seem to be falling in their wake.

“While many retailers swooned under revenue declines of up to 80%, these giants posted results deserving of a double-take.”

His article is worthy of a deep dive read and I would encourage you all to venture over and take a look at it, but the key takeaway for me was that this isn’t something that retailers should just lay down and let happen. What is required is evolution and adaption to the world we now have in front of us.

 

Embrace The Digital Age

Long before the pandemic took hold the world was on a steady trajectory toward living digitally. Shopping online has been increasing year on year for as long as it has been around, and the adoption of remoting working isn’t new. What Covid-19 did was push these forward at a rate not many were ready for.

Now, this is not to say that retail should shut up all physical shop fronts and put all their ‘eggs into one basket’ by thinking of their digital shopfront as the saviour but rather that the purpose they once served is over and that their place in the buyer's journey is transforming.

“The value of physical stores [are] as community gathering places, brand culture hubs and experiential playgrounds. It is, however, time to stop considering them an effective means of product distribution. Stores must become more about distributing experiences and less about distributing goods.”

What you consider your ‘store’ and what consumers consider your ‘store’ are two very different things. The consumers buying experience starts with the moment they engage with your content. Be that via Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.

And as Doug illustrates in the article “The apex predators have already accepted this reality by building commerce, finance, entertainment and streamlined logistics into every media experience hosted on their platforms.”

And he is very clear about what this means for businesses that underestimate the importance of this change.

“The moral of the story is that if you can’t serve your customers through every media touchpoint, you’re going to go out of business. If your brick and mortar stores are not creating vastly positive and memorable physical media experiences and brand impressions you’re going to go out of business. And if you can’t effectively weave these two, media and store, together in a way that removes buying friction and adds radical experiential value for customers, you’re going to go out of business.”

 

The Way Forward

To define a path to success and survival, you need to remember this. Your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day. Plus, to stand out from these Apex Predators, you need to establish a vastly more distinct value proposition so that customers have something to buy into.

The type of experience you offer and how you offer it is more important now than ever.

 

The Retail Archetypes

In the article, Doug lays out what he sees as the 10 distinct retail archetypes that offer “a valuable and ownable market position”.

He explains each of them in detail, offering the risk and reward associated with their unique position and their points of difference. They are all worthy of consideration and I encourage time being taken to read and fully understand each of them. The one you pick will ultimately drive the strategy your business takes moving forward. I have listed them below with a very brief outline to give you a taster of each.

 

  1. The Renegade

Renegade retailers challenge incumbents in a market by identifying creative product or operations-related unlocks that radically alter the price-value equation.

 

  1. The Activist

Activist retailers use their businesses to support social, economic or environmental causes.

 

  1. The Storyteller

Storyteller retailers are those that grow so large, ubiquitous and iconic they supersede their own product category and spend the majority of their time creating compelling content.

 

  1. The Artist

Artist retailers very often sell products that are similar or even identical to those of other retailers, but through their sheer creativity and capacity for stagecraft they design experiences around those products that are highly unique

 

  1. The Tastemaker

Tastemaker retailers are those whose products or brands are not necessarily unique but may indeed be more difficult to find.

 

  1. The Oracle

The oracle retailer is one who delivers unparalleled expertise within a specific category.

 

  1. The Concierge

Concierge retailers are those that deliver highly personalised and engaging experiences to their shoppers.

 

  1. The Clairvoyant

The clairvoyant retailer is one that uses both technology and human intuition to actually predict needs, preferences and desires on the part of its customers and proactively present products on that basis.

 

  1. The Engineer

Engineer retailers figure stuff out. They use technology to solve product or service design problems that elude other brands.

 

  1. The Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper retailers are those that maintain a position through regulatory or financial barriers to entry.

 

Whichever you think might be right for your business, the underlying principle will be the experience that is being offered to them and as previously stated your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day.

Creating a truly seamless, utterly unique online shopping experience for your business that your customers can engage with is a really good starting point. Because when push comes to shove, you still need to be able to sell your product to a customer and making that an easy and enjoyable experience will be what helps you succeed.

It is one thing to have engaging content that drives emotional engagement getting people on board with the idea of your brand and your products, but then offering them a purchase journey that throws them into digital experiences that create roadblocks or barriers, is counterintuitive.

Optimising your existing journey through Conversion Rate Optimisation or designing an entirely new one with User Experience Design are investments that can’t be ignored. And the use of the latest advancements in technology like Augmented Reality all cement your place in the market and offer experiences that allow you to stand out from the crowd.

In the same what that you might spend time and money investing in store fit-outs or training of staff to offer a better in-store experience for customers, the same thinking needs to be applied to your digital store. Just sticking a website up with all your stuff on it isn’t going to cut it. And trying to fix it by spending huge money on well-crafted marketing campaigns is a road to nowhere.

Although it isn’t an example of a digital store, the Fyre Festival is the prime example of what happens when you talk an excellent game with marketing and then fail to deliver on the other side.

 

We’re Here To Help You

At Eclipse, this is what we do. We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple.

We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

We’re here to support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.


Our Shopping Habits Continue to Change

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of goods sold in June increased by 13.9% from May. This meant UK retail sales were near pre-lockdown levels again.

However, the rise isn’t all sunshine and butterflies, behind the numbers were big changes in the world of retail. Food and Online Sales up, whilst clothing is continuing to struggle.

The shining light that can be taken from the report is the continued growth that Online is seeing. It is going from strength to strength, accounting for £3 out of very £10 spent by consumers.

Jonathan Athow, ONS Deputy National Statistician told the BBC “We’ve had record online sales” and the £3 out of £10 was “a really big increase”.

Although the proportion of online spending reduced to 31.8% in June from 33.3% in May, it is still a considerable increase from the 20% in February and presents an opportunity for businesses to help drive their recovery as we move into what has been coined by many as “The New Normal”.

As we’ve mentioned before, 41% of respondents answered that they were “currently shopping online for things they would normally shop for in-store.”, and all things point to this being a continued and sustainable shopping habit taking hold.

This was confirmed in a release by YouGov. They noted that 39% of people say they would use online shopping and/or delivery even though physical retail has opened up again. Online shopping is now a way of life for many, it is going from being a necessity to a preference.

In an interview with the BBC, Hellen Stirling-Baker, owner of Small Stuff, a Sheffield-based independent retailer, spoke about her move to online during the lockdown.

“Driving my store online is how I have been able to survive,” she said. But she took it one step further and tried to create a little of what people might have been missing.

“Offering face-to-face video calling for customers to recreate the in-store experience has been crucial and sales are picking up” she continued “I’ve also added new services such as local delivery by hand, which really boosts engagement.

This is something that all retailers can and absolutely should be doing. Re-opening with social distancing measures in place will start to help physical retail but there are a huge number of people that aren’t able to or are unwilling to return to retail stores. Their option is online, and you need to be there to be part of the action.

In the same release by YouGov, it was indicated that 64% of people want to support local businesses and buy local products, this doesn’t only mean by walking into physical stores, it extends to online shopping.

Think Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams and this now attributed to history misquote – “If you build it, they will come” (the original being ‘If you build it, he will come’). Either way, local people want to support local people and by giving current and future customers more ways to interact with you, it can only be a good thing.

And if you’re now thinking, “Great, I’m sold. But how am I going to get my store online?” Well, we can help with that too.

At Eclipse we’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple. We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations. Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

We’ve tailored a solution for everyone, no matter where the start point in the market is. Take a look at what we have on offer and reach out so we can help you launch your new digital shop front.


What is A / B Testing and Why do you need it?

A / B testing, also known as split testing or variant testing, is a process where two variations of the same web page, digital ad or any other type of digital content are shown to your audience. Ordinarily, they’ll be set to a 50% view share, creating an equal random choice when people engage. The idea is that you’re able to test which of the variants is better at performing a particular action. What we’re looking at in a little more detail here are web pages.

When we talk about the online world, the number of people who visit your site, are, for the most part, the number of potential opportunities you have to acquire new customers and expand your business or to cater to your existing customers.

The challenge is getting the right kinds of people to your site, and once you’ve done that, you need to make sure you’re maximising every opportunity you have to get those people to convert or take an action.

This is what you’ll measure as your conversion rate and essentially, the higher your conversion rate, the better you’re doing. This is where Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO comes into play. It’s the art of funnel optimisation to increase the conversion rate on a site.

We call it an art because there really are many things that go into it and there is no fixed recipe to achieve an exact outcome. It’s about finding the right mix, pulling the right levers and offering the right message to your audience and no two are ever the same.

What we’ve looked at here is one of the components of CRO. Some say it is one of the most important as it is a highly effective way to test assumptions and work that is being developed throughout the process.

Typically, the variant that has the highest level of success or conversions is the winning one and that variant can help you continue to optimise and test for better results. It is an iterative process, which rarely reaches an end.

Your success or conversion will be unique to your website. For example, an e-commerce site it might be the sale of a product while for B2B it might be the downloading of an eBook, signing up to a newsletter or filling in a contact form.

 

Why Should You Be A / B Testing?

 

Maybe you’re a B2B business unhappy with the unqualified leads you’re getting per month or even the potential lack of any leads or you’re an eCommerce store struggling with a high cart abandonment rate.

These core conversion metrics are affected by some of the same kinds of problems like leaks in the conversion funnel, drop-offs on the payment page or high bounce rates across the website.

A / B testing is what is going to help you move the needle on getting these things fixed. Even experts need the ability to prove that what they’re developing is working and A / B testing is what they turn to.

Working to create content that is better suited to your audience, trying to achieve a higher ROI from your existing traffic, reduce the bounce rate or make small low-risk modifications and improvements to your website are all measured using A /B Testing. It is what lets you know you’re on the right track.

 

What Can You A / B Test?

 

To be honest, there isn’t very much that can’t be tested. When we look at ads it might be the image, messaging or the call to action. On a website, it could be the same but most often a web page will contain more than that of an ad. This list looks at a few of the areas but it is by no means exhaustive.

The thing to remember is that although there are a huge number of things that can be adjusted and tested, you need to make sure that you’re not testing too much at the same time. You need to be able to understand which change actually has the effect.

Alongside standard A / B testing you might have heard the term multivariate testing. In A / B testing, traffic is split amongst two or more completely different versions of a webpage. In multivariate testing, multiple combinations of a few key elements of a page are tested against each other to figure out which combination works best for the goal of the test. Before you start changing things up, you have to figure out which kind of test you want to perform.

 

Copy and Messaging:

We’re talking headlines, sub-headlines and body copy. Think literally everything that is written on the page.

Your headline is in most instances the first thing that visitors will see on your page. The headline offers your first impression and the first impression is what determines if the visitor will go further down your conversion funnel.

This is why it becomes so important to get this right. With the A / B testing you can include different fonts, sizes, copy, and messaging.

The body of your website should clearly state what your visitor is getting – It’s the message you’re trying to deliver letting them know what’s in store for them. It should also further define what your page’s headline was talking to.

A well-written headline and body can increase the chances of conversion on your website and some of the things to think about are:

  • Writing style: Use the right tone for your target audience. You should directly address the visitor and answer all their questions. It should consist of key phrases that improve usability and stylistic elements that highlight important points.
  • Formatting: Use relevant headlines and sub-headlines, break the copy into small and easy paragraphs, and format it for skimmers using bullet points or lists.

 

Design and Layout:

Along with the copy, the design and layout of a page includes images like your product images, offer images and hero images and videos such as product demonstrations, advertisements or hero videos. Your page should answer all of your users’ questions without confusing them and without getting cluttered. These are the kinds of things you could think about adding to variants when you’re testing.

  • Provide clear information: Based on what you sell, find creative ways to provide all necessary context and accurate descriptions, so that visitors do not get overwhelmed with unorganised copy while looking for answers to their questions.
  • Highlight customer reviews: Adding both good and bad reviews for your products and services add credibility to your store. Avoiding the bad and looking too ‘squeaky clean’ can set off a visitor’s alarm bells. In a world where we’ve been bombarded with fake news, if it seems too good to be true, people believe it is.
  • Write simple and conversational content: Avoid confusing visitors with complicated language and acronyms in the quest to appear overly subject smart. Keep it simple, easy to understand and fun to read.
  • Create a sense of urgency: Give people a reason to take action. Adding tags like ‘only 2 left in stock’, countdowns like ‘offer ends in 2 hours 15 minutes’, or highlight exclusive discounts and festive offers to nudge the prospective buyer to purchase is a good thing but you need to make sure that if you’re using them, they're true. There are bunches of websites out there adding countdown timers that appear to expire, but when you return to the site at the time when it is supposed to have expired, it has simply reset.

 

Navigation:

The key to getting people across the site effectively, your navigation can either keep people engaged or drive them off in a fit of rage.

Think about adding or removing shortcuts, including a big bright CTA button to drive them to action or maybe include extra information like contact details. What you’re testing here is what is going to keep people on the site, visiting more places and products you have on offer.

  • Highlight Best Sellers: Are you know for a particular thing that people come looking for or are you trying to get people to engage with something new, or you think complements your best sellers? Lift them up out of the depths of a list. It’s great showing people all the categories and sub-categories you have but every click you add pushes people away.
  • Drive a story: If you’ve built a single page site, you can use the navigation to drive people exactly where they need, or you want them to go by using the options. Once you’ve done some testing and you know what is driving engagement, you can alter the navigation to drive people to those areas.

 

Forms:

Forms are what prospective customers use to get in touch with you. They become incredibly important if they are part of your purchase funnel.

Just as no two websites are the same, no two forms are the same. While for some businesses, a small comprehensive form may work, for others long forms might do wonders for their lead quality.

To figure out which style works best for your audience, research through A / B testing to determine the problem area in your form and work towards optimising it. Remove barriers that get filling in the form. Do you really need a phone number to start the process of nurturing a lead? Is it that important to know where a person came from or when their birthday is? Anything where a person asks "Why do you need to know that?" is a problem. Some of this information can be collected once the lead is in the funnel and you've started to work with them.

 

Call to Action (CTA):

The CTA is where the rubber hits the road, it’s where your visitors will choose to finish their purchases, fill out the sign-up form or just walk away. It either drives or discourages action.

With A/B testing, you can test different copy, placement, colours & sizes for your CTA till you find the winning variation and then test the winning version further to optimise it even more.

 

Pricing:

Does exposing the price of your solution help or hinder the chances of your visitors converting? With A / B testing, you’ll be able to test the theory.

It might be that showing the pricing, at a high level, as a payment plan drives conversion. If it is a service offering, from pricing vs actual pricing, could have a dramatic effect on whether someone wants to reach out or not.

If you’re in a highly competitive market and your customers are price-led, it could be the thing that allows you to stand out from your competition. There are a lot of people that believe if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it but in the same vein, what people apply as a value can be very different person to person.

 

Social Proof:

People buy from people and for years word of mouth and now social media have driven huge uptake and conversion for customers. 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations on social media and their definitions of an influencer alter dramatically from one person to another.

This is what social proof is and it can take the form of recommendations and reviews from experts of their particular fields, from celebrities and customers themselves, or can come as testimonials, media mentions, awards, badges and certificates.

The presence of these validates the claims made by your website. A / B testing can help you understand if adding social proof is a good idea, what kinds of social proof work and how many should be added. You can test different kinds of social proof, layout, and placement.

 

How Do You A / B Test?

 

It should be a relatively simple process, but the complexity and potential pitfalls are vast and everywhere.

It starts with research, you formulate and prepare, create the variations, run the test, gather the results and analyse before starting the process again. This is the process in its simplest form.

There are heaps of tools out there that can help you with things like heat mapping, seeing where people are spending most of their time on a page, creating the variant pages and splitting your audience on entry and taking the data and helping you analyse it.

The biggest trick is knowing where to start and knowing where to go with the information. Anyone can run the test, but do they really understand what it is they’re doing?

This is where a solid CRO partner is worth their weight in gold. They’re trained to do just this, and their experience means they can get you running and optimising faster. No learning curve, just straight to results.

At Eclipse our Experience team works with clients every day to test their sites and work to create a better conversion rate for them.

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC. We'll also work with you to boost your conversion rate through CRO or help you learn more about your customers through user research as a first step.

Talk to us about how we can start running A / B testing for you and your website as part of an effective CRO programme. We’re here to help and it all starts with a conversation.


If You’re Not Offering AR, You’re Being Left Behind.

The world of retail is forever changing. The period we’ve been through and find ourselves in right now has had a huge effect on the shift change, and the speed at which it is happening is unprecedented.

The outbreak of coronavirus and the lockdown that followed has been good to online. Former Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe commented that: “Online groceries have taken 25 years to get to 8% of our business and eight weeks to get to 15%, and it’s still growing like there’s no tomorrow” This is being seen across all industries that have an online presence.

“A decade ago UK e-commerce sales were <5% of total retail sales. In March, we hit a record high of 22.4%, April 30.7%. Expect May will be closer to 35% and then we dip back to high 20s for foreseeable future even w/ shops reopening. Habits learned during lockdown will stick,” retail analyst Natalie Berg took to Twitter to comment.

In a Response to Berg’s tweet, John Roberts, Founder and CEO, AO, commented that: “We saw five years of consumer behaviour change accelerate into five weeks. Now we've got to prove to our new customers that online is a better way even when it's not the only way.”

This is where new technologies like AR are coming into play. The thing physical retail has held over online for the longest time is the experience. This, however, is no longer what it used to be.

Social distancing and the aftereffects of lockdown have removed the ability to interact with products as we once did. Changing rooms are closed in clothing stores, we’re being discouraged from picking up or interacting with products in all other retail stores and the ‘personalised’ shopping experience just isn’t a thing anymore.

By using new technologies like AR, online can take those missing experiences, morph them into something new and allow you to enhance what it means to shop online.

AR allows your customers to bring your products into their homes, try it out in the space, flip it around, watch it work, move it about and get a sense of what it’ll be like to own it. This is in some cases even more than shopping instore can offer.

Over a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) in a recent survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Diffusion, said that AR led them to think of a brand as hi-tech.

Our AR solution, Ares, does all of this and more. Delivered right in the browser, it removes the need for customers to download an app and leave your site. It enhances the shopping experience and offers your customers a truly immersive way to get to know your products.

And customers want to use AR. 34% of customers already use some form of AR while shopping and 47% of them use it both in a store and online when shopping. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to augmented reality impacting retail.

In our blog, How is Augmented Reality Impacting Retail? We highlighted these with our eBook. You can view a copy of it here, but we’ve brought some of those stats right here to emphasise that if you’re not offering AR, you’re being left behind.

 

  • 71% of shoppers said that they would shop more often if they could use AR.
  • 61% said they would choose to shop with stores that have AR over those without it.
  • 55% admitted that shopping with AR makes the experience more fun and exciting.
  • 40% of shoppers said that they are ready to pay more for a product if they were able to test it through AR first.

 

AR adoption is on the increase and it is on the verge of becoming an expectation when it comes to shopping online. Companies like ASOS, Etsy, Yoox, Lululemon, Gucci, Burberry and Uniqlo (to name just a few) are all working on or increasing their AR offering for their clients. The more this happens, and the more companies join this revolution, the more it becomes an expectation.

AR is becoming the new ‘mobile responsive’ for websites. The idea now of having a website that doesn’t automatically adjust to a mobile device and give the best experience to the end-user is unthinkable and even gets penalised by the likes of Google.

Now is the time to be implementing AR into your online digital offering. Be at the leading edge of what customers associate with an exceptional shopping experience and separate yourself from your competitors.

With the drive to shop online increasing and almost becoming the first point of call for many, you have to find a way to stand out. AR helps you do this. And looking at what Houzz CEO Adi Tatarko said, “users of their AR tools were 11x more likely to make a purchase” those of some conversion statistics that you could be taking advantage of.

Take a closer look at Ares, then reach out and talk to us about how we can get it implemented on your digital store.


The Wheels of Change Continue to Roll for Retail.

Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Ionian Greek philosopher noted that “The only constant in life is change” and I’m sure we can all agree that he absolutely knew what he was talking about.

As we look at the climate and situation we find ourselves in right now, social distancing is becoming part of the ‘new normal’ and everyone has to change the way they work, shop and generally live their lives. There are bound to be knock-on effects and these are becoming more and more evident every day in the world of retail.

Just this morning T.M.Lewin announced that they are to close all 66 of their shops across the UK, moving their entire focus online after not reopening any of their stores when restrictions were lifted earlier this June. And they follow in the footsteps of other major household names that have done the same. This January Bose announced that they were to close its entire retail store footprint in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia.

In March this year, Oasis and Warehouse closed their operations in the UK, 92 stores and 437 concessions were terminated with the business falling into administration before their online business was rescued by BooHoo, the online-only fashion retailer.

But this trend of closing stores is happening for businesses that are slimming down their footprint too. Debenhams, Aldo, Monsoon, Accessorize, Harveys Furniture and Laura Ashely are amongst the many retailers realigning their business model by closing a number of their outlets.

The Centre for Retail Research has indicated that “More retailers operating from physical stores have closed stores so far (to June 2020) this year and made employees redundant than in the whole of 2019, which was 'the worst year for 25 years'.”

But it is not all doom and gloom out there. In our blog, E-Commerce Statistics That Are More Relevant Now Than Ever Before, there was a 21% increase in online orders in March 2020 vs March 2019, and in a survey, they conducted with over 3,000 members of the Influenster community, 41% of respondents answered that they were “currently shopping online for things they would normally shop for in-store.”

Shopping habits have been changing for a while and the shift to online is something we have been seeing grow year on year, but COVID sped this adoption up a lot and as people had no other choice but to reach out into the online world to stay connected and fulfil their shopping needs, a lot of consumers are not looking back.

As an early adopter myself, I remember purchasing electronics from the website letsbuyit.com where products were put to market and once a minimum number of orders were hit, products were purchased, and orders completed.

This was all the way back in the late ’90s when very few people bought anything on the internet, let alone big-ticket items.

And I’m such an early adopter, that I remember what ASOS was set up to sell, and what those 4 letters stand for. In fact, I still have things in my wardrobe that I purchased from them in their original form. Here’s hoping early 2000 fashion makes a comeback.

This year alone, I have purchased a high-end Canon DSLR, a TV, a 3-piece suit, a large format printer and Apple products all online, without ever having seen them in a store. What people are calling the ‘new normal’ is just my normal.

In fact, since the lockdown started in the UK until today, I have not stepped foot into a retail store. Everything that I have bought has been done online.

If a business has not moved toward creating a digital shopping experience for their existing and future customers, now is the time to do it. All attention is focused online, and you’ve got to be there to be seen.

And although it might seem like the lockdown is easing and things are starting to open up again, we only have to look at Leicester and Melbourne in Australia to see that things are not going to be that black and white. At any point, areas of the UK could see localised lockdowns.

If you think you might have products that won't sell online, you’re missing a trick. Advances in technology are making it easier for people to have truly unique and in some cases better than instore experiences. Ares, our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution allows sellers to add full AR models of their products to their website to help consumers experience products in their own homes. You can try on sunglasses, hang a picture on the wall or place furniture onto your homes with nothing more than a mobile phone.

At Eclipse we’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple. We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations. Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

We’ve tailored a solution for everyone, no matter where the start point in the market is. Take a look at what we have on offer and reach out so we can help you launch your new digital shop front.


For those of you wondering, ASOS originally stood for AsSeenOnScreen with the tagline "Buy what you see on film and TV" because it exclusively sold imitations of clothing from those mediums (for example, Brad Pitt's red leather jacket from the 1999 movie Fight Club).


What's in a colour?

We're surrounded by it and it makes up everything we see, feel and touch but most people don't take a great deal of time to stop and think about it. Colour is fundamental to our everyday life and it means more than what we just see on the surface.

There have been numerous studies on how colour alters our mood and directs us to take action, be that for fight or flight. In a study by the University of Winnipeg, Colours influence up to 90% of an initial impression. Other research has found that:

  • Users form an opinion about a product within 90 seconds. People base that assessment mostly on its colour.
  • Colours alone are responsible for 60% of users’ acceptance or rejection of a product.
  • People read ads in colour 42% more compared to the same ads in black and white.
  • The logo colour is the first thing a customer will notice when they see a brand.

We've done a little research and pulled together a bunch of information on different colours and their meaning and symbolism. This will help you when it comes to picking colours for your brand, product or even your next promotion. But, you can do some much more when you understand how people react too colour. Using it correctly can lift your conversion rate, keep people on your site and ultimately help you sell more.

Getting people to take action on your website can be enhanced with colour, as part of an effective CRO programme.

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC plus work with you to boost your conversion rate through CRO or help you learn more about your customers through user research as a first step. You can reach out to us and we can help you make the most these insights.

Click the picture below to take a look at what we found.


5 Things You Might Not Know About Magento

Whether you're already a user of Magento or you're currently in the market to create a digital store, re-platform a digital store or upgrade a digital store having valuable insights to help with your decision is step one. We've done some searching around and found a few that we think will either put Magento at the top of your list or at the very least, put it into the running.

Picking the right digital commerce platform can dramatically transform how you do business both online and offline. A fast, flexible, cloud-based solution delivers memorable customer experiences, streamlines your operational efficiency, and creates phenomenal growth opportunities.

Click the image below to take a look at the 5 things you might not know about Magento, but will help when it comes to picking a platform.


E-Commerce Statistics That Are More Relevant Now Than Ever Before

With physical retail set to open again this coming week, the way we shop in 'bricks and mortar' stores is changing forever. Data from the Bazaarvoice Network and analysed by MarketingWeek shows that whilst in lockdown "customers started to really embrace online shopping and began setting themselves up for what looked to be a long period spent at home."

There was a 21% increase in online orders in March 2020 vs March 2019, and in a survey they conducted with over 3,000 members of the Influenster community, 41% of respondents answered that they were "currently shopping online for things they would normally shop for in-store." New data from Signifyd also found that buying online to pick up in store, where it was available, saw purchases surge 248% at the end of May compared with before the pandemic.

eCommerce is booming. It is becoming the first port of call for shoppers and the need to be doing it right is vital. Even with stores opening up again, the trend to purchase and collect in store is expected to continue to rise.

The team at smartminded read through a series of articles published across a number of B2B blogs and searched for the most important stats. They looked for the ones that would help companies to take action and grow their business as fast as possible. They created an amazing infographic with what they saw as the six most important points, that they thought you should keep in mind. It's attached to this article for you to take a look at.

We looked through what they found and pulled out our favourites to help you drive your business toward growth. You can take a look at their full list and download a handy pdf checklist to keep on hand whilst you're planning your next steps.

 

Here are our picks.

93% of the millennials compare online offers with a mobile device. (Statista)

32% of shoppers changed their decision to purchase items after viewing the product information on their mobile devices in a physical store. (Invesp)

Aborted shopping cart emails have an average opening rate of 45%. (Moosend)

Last year, companies lost $756 billion due to poor personalization of e-commerce. (OptinMonster)

73% of consumers will switch from a badly designed website to one that makes shopping easier. (Google)

46.5% of small to mid-sized businesses say that offering free shipping increases their profits. (MCM)

If it is necessary to create an account during the checkout process, 23% of people will immediately abandon the shopping cart. (Baymard Institute)

eCommerce sites can gain a 35% increase in conversion rates with an optimized checkout design. (Baymard Institute)

The biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment is extra costs that are too high. (Baymard Institute)

 

e-commerce statistics

 

If you're looking for advice on how to take advantage of these stats we’re here to help. Both our Experience team and Magento team can help you out. The Experience team can start with a quick audit which within 2 weeks will have delivered a report outlining your users’ frustrations, your website performance and have the first solution live. Our Magento team can talk to you about accelerating your business growth. We’ve tailored a solution for everyone, no matter where the start point in the market is. Take a look at what we have on offer and reach out so we can help you launch your new digital shop front.


How is Augmented Reality Impacting Retail?

The possibilities that Augmented Reality has for any business that has an online presence, is huge. That comes down to its potential to boost sales.

We’ve taken a look at The Impact of Augmented Reality on Retail report created by the team at Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing & published by Retail Perceptions and pulled out the most valuable and impactful stats to help show the value of integrating AR into your online retail experience. Whether B2B or B2C, these insights are valuable when building a business case.

Their research study involved 1,062 people. The conducted it seeking to learn the ways shoppers perceive augmented reality and how they prefer to engage with the technology as they shop. Results from the survey show that shoppers enjoy using augmented reality, and they see it as a fun and novel way to explore their options as they weigh out which purchases to make. Utilising the data in this report, businesses can build on the popularity of augmented reality in ways that engage customers, provide a unique and memorable experience, and ultimately drive sales.

 

WE'RE HERE TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF AR

Our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution, Ares, changes the game and is all about enhancing the online shopping experience for the end user. It is about lifting product images from standard 2D into something experiential and visually impactful, that truly brings product shopping online to life. Ares is dedicated to leveraging the power of AR and 3D for so much more than entertainment – it exists as your next step for achieving peak eCommerce performance.

And the reason it is changing the game is because it works straight from the web browser or mobile device, no apps or downloads required. It can be plugged into any website or e-commerce platform and Ares works on the latest Android and iOS devices.

Ares is a full end-to-end AR service for retailers. You don't need to be an AR expert to get the best out of Ares. Find out how Ares can revolutionise the way you sell online.

Click the picture below to take a look at our highlights from the report.