Conversion Rate Optimisation Statistics You Need To Know | Infographic

We spend a huge amount of time, effort and money getting people to our websites. This might seems like a pretty hard task at times but in all honesty, it is the easy part. The challenge comes in when you try to get those visitors to convert.

This is by far the most important part.  The smallest difference in your conversion rate can make a big difference on your bottom line. If you can increase your conversion rate a single percentage point from 1% to 2%, you could double your revenue.

We came across an awesome blog by Startup Bonsai where they pulled together a list of CRO Statistics and we took a few of the key ones and put it into this infographic. They're the stats you need when it comes to winning over the key stakeholders in your business on the subject of CRO and the benefits of an investment into a long term CRO strategy made up of continuous testing and improvement.

Give it a read, share it around and when you're ready to create a strategy and put it into action, come talk to us.

 

 

Keep an eye out for our upcoming infographic on CRO tips and tricks and our next eBook, the first in our 'How To' series, How to Take a Business Online.


Understanding the Ecommerce Life Cycle is Vital to Your Business Strategy

Businesses are not one-size-fits-all. The same cannot be said for the eCommerce strategy life cycle. To succeed, you must understand the importance of adapting your eCommerce strategy to each phase in its life cycle.

In the beginning phases of a business's life, their focus is usually on gaining traction and recognition. Once they have done this, their next goal will be reaching more customers by expanding into new markets or finding innovative ways to increase revenue.

But before we get too far into the life cycle itself, it is important to understand that your eCommerce strategy should evolve throughout its life cycle. The different phases of the life cycle are filled with ups and downs, trying times, and successes. Each phase may require drastic changes to stay afloat and make progress.

It's hard enough running a business but if you do not adapt as necessary during each phase of the eCommerce strategy life cycle, you will find yourself floundering or even worse - out of business altogether. Coming to terms with the fact that change is inevitable and required to continue to grow and adapt is a fundamental starting point and getting used to the idea of change will make the planning easier, allowing you to adapt the strategy to each phase of the eCommerce life cycle.

Now back to the life cycle itself. At Eclipse we've done a bunch of research and distilled it down to three phases, which are an adaption and amalgamation of the lifecycle growth phases for all businesses and align to what we’ve seen for eCommerce companies, as they move along their journeys. These are:

 

Phase 1 – Launch to market & rapid growth

Phase 2 – Slowing growth

Phase 3 – Renewed growth

 

Each phase may take vastly different amounts of time and within each phase, you may have multiple versions of your strategies to align to outward forces such as the economy shifting and unprecedented situations like the Covid-19 pandemic we've all been facing. The goal is to understand where you are and what you need to do to achieve the next phase.

 

Phase 1. Launch to market & rapid growth

Almost all new eCommerce businesses will be subject to an early period of rapid and in some cases unanticipated growth. This is usually due to the popularity of the product being sold or market demand rather than the implementation of their eCommerce platforms.

Many businesses will choose a platform from a group of the most popular for start-ups such as BigCommerce, Shopify or Adobe Magento Commerce. It’s important that your business stays agile and responds quickly to change but also think a little to the future and builds in the ability to grow with the chosen platform and not create a handbrake for yourself.

The phase is filled with experimentation and making adjustments to stay afloat. If you're in this phase, your company is most likely a start-up or experiencing fast growth. However, you may be a long-established 'traditional' business, but that experience won't always equate to eCommerce success. This venture should be treated as a start-up and with that mindset, you'll be prepared for the fluctuating environment and need to adapt quickly.

Often times it's necessary to pivot, completely change your product offering or adopt a new customer experience methodology to stay on top of trends within eCommerce. Sometimes these changes are drastic and take time, but they must be made if you want success later on down the line.

You don’t want to get too deep into creating overly complex processes. You and your business could take advantage of this quick impact in this early phase, before you start to see your growth slow, being restricted by an unseen force. This sees you moving into the second phase of the eCommerce lifecycle, slowing growth.

 

Your Strategy in Phase 1.

When it comes to developing the strategy in this phase it is about building brand profile, experimenting with the way you sell your product, working toward building a unique customer experience, working to build trust with customers developing them into brand ambassadors.

This is the time for experimentation. Mistakes can be easily forgiven at this phase and you need to use them to learn as much as you can.

 

Phase 2. Slowing growth

Many businesses reaching this second phase of the eCommerce lifecycle head straight for panic and look for quick-fix solutions to perceived issues. It's important to understand that it’s natural for there to be a levelling off of growth after the early spike.

All growth has to slow down eventually. You need to figure out how you’re going to stop it from turning into decline and have a conversation with your customers about what you plan on doing next.

Your business will have made inroads in your market space, people are starting to recognise your brand and are hopefully sharing it with others. It’s time to reflect on your progress. Now it is time to go through an evaluate your earned data and gather insights so that you can start to implement well thought out and deliberate enhancements to your eCommerce store and your marketing efforts. This may be through user research, implementation of conversion rate optimisation programmes for your eCommerce store and looking to use the loyalty you have developed from your customers through referral programmes.

It’s important for you as a business owner to assign plentiful time and resources to research. None of this time will be wasted and it is the best way to figure out what is required to reach the next level and start growing again.

 

Your Strategy in Phase 2.

You'll want to maintain the work great work you've done with your original strategy's that have gotten you to this point and it is now time to 'grow up’ and mature the operation.

As we've mentioned above it is about analysis and making measured movements but staying true to what got you to where you are in the first place. It's moving beyond just going by your gut and backing it up with real-world data that can be the difference between luck and deliberate success.

 

Phase 3. Renewed growth

Business owners think that the solution to the issue of slowing growth is a quick fix or a huge swing and change of direction, which could be a new eCommerce platform, the recruitment of an in-house specialist or throwing a huge budget at risky and potentially untested advertising paths. This is not necessarily thinking strategically.

A shift of platform might indeed be the answer – perhaps to a more advanced or modern eCommerce platform, but you need to make a clear business case before deciding to migrate platforms. It is never as quick, easy or perhaps as cheap as you might think it is.

The challenge is how to kick start the renewed growth and come out fighting, which means creating an action plan beforehand and implementing this carefully – considering both product range and marketing strategies, along with customer service or financial decisions.

In this third phase of the eCommerce lifecycle, it is so important that any and all attempts to reinvigorate your company’s momentum and growth should always be strategic.

 

Your Strategy in Phase 3.

A solution to slowing growth will most likely require realigning your business goals with changing customer trends, keeping up to date with new technology and channel strategies. It will need you to double down on the initiatives first started in phase 2.

Research and analysis are required to optimise processes and improve the customer experience. This will steer your strategy. This means more user testing on the customer experience, further optimisation of your conversion mechanics to make sure that you're taking advantage of every visitor and continuing to spread the message of what makes you different and what customers should pick you.

Research may reveal issues and you could find you need to re-platform, but there needs to be comprehensive analysis behind decisions to implement technology and tools.

 

Putting it into action

Getting to know these phases of the eCommerce lifecycle is key for your strategic planning and will help you visualise your brand’s growth as a recurring process, identify critical questions to ask at each phase and understand why an agile approach to eCommerce strategy is so vital to lasting success. This eCommerce process deters you from attempting to solve issues with quick fixes and quick wins, instead focusing on regularly revisiting and refreshing your eCommerce strategy for long-term success.


Laptop in coders view

You're Not Thinking About Accessibility Enough

Broadly speaking, making a site accessible means accommodating the range of ways that users can interact with your product, regardless of experience, capability or disability. Often people think of accessibility in terms of extremes; how would a blind person interact with a site? 

While it makes sense to prioritise things that are going to take more effort to integrate and test, the truth is, your potential user base is almost infinite its combination of characteristics and capabilities, and a truly accessible site should be able to accommodate them all.

It can sound like an unachievable goal, and for product owners trying to apply accessibility standards to an already existing site, knowing where and how to start can be difficult. However, the key and most important things are to start. 

Legally required levels of accessibility are no longer things reserved for government organisations. Legal requirements mean predetermined standards and probably the most widely adopted standard are those laid out in WCAG. These are a set of standards created in cooperation with individuals and organisations around the world, to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organisations, and governments internationally.

It’s all too easy to decide “this site will be AA accessible”, by which it meets the mid-range level of conformity, and work backwards and forward from there. Making a site accessible can simply become working through a checklist; do images have alt tags, are the contrast ratios high enough on the buttons? While this in itself can be a valuable process to go through, but it isn’t the whole story. At the end of the day, it’s crucial to remember the whole reason for undertaking accessibility improvements; your users. 

User experience is the ultimate test of success on your site. Better user experience often means a better conversion rate. Your user base can vary widely, and while you can follow best practices and accommodate the 95th percentile, at the end of the day, there’s no substitute for user testing. 

It can be achieved many different ways, at Eclipse we often use A/B tests to decide the best approach to design. However you do your testing, you can be sure of two things; one, that it will give you a better insight into how people interact with the site, and two, there will be results that you were not expecting.

In a recent example, we were looking at the design of a CTA button. By adhering to the brand’s guidelines, the button was bright orange and the label text in the button was white. 

Following AA standards, the contrast ratio wasn’t high enough to be considered accessible. On paper, the label text should be dark. But that’s not the whole story. A sample group of test users actually found the dark label less easy to read than the white version.

 

 

 

It’s not uncommon; there are numerous examples of similar tests producing the same result. The contrast ratio guide is supposed to ensure that the label is legible for people with visual impairments like colour blindness. But even when all the users questioned where colour blind, they favoured the white label over the “accessible” dark label. 

There could be numerous explanations for this, but it’s important to consider the human factor in everything we design. The way we see things is inherently imperfect and everything needs to be considered in context. 

In the case of the button label, the preference for the white label could be explained by the irradiation effect. In essence, when there is a border between something light and something dark, our retinas actually shift the divide towards the dark, so that the white seems to bleed over slightly.

In the case of the button label, the white text feels bigger or thicker to our eyes. Again, context is important; our eyes perceive colours differently depending on the colour around them. For this button, it was also being used on a light page. All the white space around the button increases the irradiation effect on the white button label.    

Obviously, standards and guidelines serve a purpose. Even in the button label tests, nearly 40% of the users favoured the recommended accessible colours. The fact of the matter is, users who struggle are often a minority.

 

 

Guidelines help factor the needs of a minority into our design choices. Design can be subjective and we need to agree on some ground rules. Particularly when it comes to factors or impairments that might not impact us directly. It’s almost impossible to preempt all your users' needs, but it’s important to try. 

However, it’s also important to know when to be flexible enough to break those rules, to accommodate your users. The only way to know that definitively is to be having regular interaction with your users. Guidelines help you start that conversation, but ultimately it’s user testing that will let you know if you got it right.


Conversion Optimisation Is The #1 eCommerce Challenge For Most Businesses.

Anyone who makes their living selling things understands the difficulty that the covid-19 pandemic has created. It shut down traditional selling channels and forced businesses to innovate, which has changed the face of retail for good.

eCommerce has become the shining light and the only real way to keep business moving but for those who thought it was as easy as just chucking up a website and waiting for the money to roll in has been the subject of a reality check.

eCommerce is absolutely the future of retail and it is going nowhere so truly understanding what it takes to make it work is vital.

 

A Website is Never Finished

The consumer is a fickle entity, and they shift and morph constantly. What you launch with as a shopping experience can very quickly become outdated and clunky. And more than that, for many when the rubber hits the road the potholes that appear ready to take you out are everywhere.

Understanding the challenges and preparing for them or making sure you have someone to reach out to when you hit them is fundamental to staying ahead of your competition and here at Eclipse, we do what we can to make sure we keep our clients, past, present and future, as well equipped and educated about eCommerce.

 

Challenges For Those in The World of eCommerce

This week Mollie, one of the fastest-growing payment service providers in Europe, published research unveiling the state of payments in retail today as well as the challenges and opportunities in the retail market following a turbulent year.

Some key highlights from the research when asked what the biggest challenges in online retail were, 65% of those retailers asked cited converting shoppers to purchase, 43% rated high costs for shipping or payment providers and 41% selected low margins. And for a third of online retailers (34%), cart abandonment is the biggest challenge with 30% reporting that 6-10% of carts were abandoned.

Other key findings included:

  • EU and UK merchants rely on a multitude of channels to sell: As bricks and mortar shops closed their doors, online has become far more important. Specifically, 46% of all revenue now comes from an online webshop. And on average, 37% of sales occur via third-party marketplaces such as Amazon. Finally, as much as 16% of annual revenue now comes through social media platforms like Instagram.
  • Two-thirds of retailers had revenues impacted by the pandemic: The pandemic has had both a positive and negative effect on retail sales. 23% of merchants saw sales increase last year. Conversely, 29% either saw no change or had sales decrease somewhat. And 17% saw sales decrease significantly. Of those who reported an increase, revenues went up on average by 29%. The average decrease in revenues was 27%.
  • Issues with the payments process can hurt sales and growth: 31% said that an issue with the payment service offered or the range of payment service options provided was the reason for abandoned carts. 41% cited a lack of innovation in payment systems as hindering growth.
  • ‘Buy now, pay later’ now offered by more than a fifth of retailers: With many consumers looking for more flexible ways to pay during the pandemic, 22% of retailers now offer ‘buy now, pay later’ or Apple Pay payment methods. And 20% offer Google Pay. This is set to increase with 31% looking to improve payment systems to help grow online revenue within the next 12 months.

You can get access to all the results, based on responses from 2,500 European retailers, in their report: ‘How a growth mindset leads to higher profits’.

“The retail sector has had a difficult year and this is reflected in the findings which expose a multitude of challenges and areas for development,” said Josh Guthrie, UK Country Manager at Mollie. “As the market also comes to terms with the Brexit deal, the ability to adapt and grow under pressure is paramount.”

 

Facing the Challenges Head-On

The first step is to identify if you’re facing these challenges and if you are, reach out for help. At Eclipse we’ve got eCommerce experts in all areas including conversion rate optimisation, design, user experience and the day to day running of eCommerce operations.

They know the industry inside and out and are here to help navigate you through these challenges and onto continued success.

Creating a conversion optimisation strategy that builds into a programme of continuous testing and improvements, for now, and into the future, ensures that challenges are highlighted early and fixed.

Our team of business consultants can work alongside the strategy and guide and advise you on ways to make improvements around returns, shipping and operations that can lift margins.

So, whether you’ve identified these challenges in your business or you suspect they might be lingering in the data, your next step should be to speak to us.


Poor Product Discovery is Losing You Business. A Lot of Business.

We all know how frustrating it can be when we can’t find what we’re looking for. It doesn’t matter whether it is something you’ve lost at home or something you want to buy in-store or from an online retailer it doesn’t take long before you’re at the end of your tether, and ready to give up. And the research tells us this is exactly what people are doing.

And as much as you’re able to send in support for in-store visitors, it is much harder to do online and once they’re gone, they’re gone. The key is to make it easy for people to find what it is they’re looking for.

New research from AI-powered discovery technology, Klevu, found that a majority of eCommerce websites fail to deliver results when processing complex search queries, which account for 17% of all searches, causing £8m of lost revenue.

 

Complex Search Queries or Just How People Shop?

The research by Klevu into product discovery methods on retailers’ websites reveals that there are usability and accessibility issues with the search experience on 80% of UK eCommerce websites. And yes, you read that right. 80%!

The main issues are around the ability for these sites to process complex or natural language phrases such as those involving price range or product attributes, or even to handle misspellings.

In the most critical cases, 26% of eCommerce websites couldn’t process simple misspellings and were unable to return relevant results and 30% showed zero results when faced with a query such as ‘mens jacket under £100’. This signifies that a vast majority of retailers are unprepared for the future of product discovery, including voice search, bots, and other zero interface interactions.

The eCommerce Discovery Report by Klevu also showed that 17% of all searches are considered complex, using three or more words costing retailers with poor UX £8m per year.

The data is based on an average number of sessions per month, average order value online in the UK, typical search-led sessions are around 20% of all web traffic, and conversion rate from search is often 5%, bringing potential lost revenue per month to £671k and £8m annually.

It highlights a lack of understanding of how people are looking for products and information. Long-tail search or ‘complex queries’ have become the standard way people use Google. And in most cases, Google is presenting related search results to users in the long tail format and as a result, people expect all websites to be able to do the same.

 

The eCommerce Discovery Report

These results are from the Klevu Ecommerce Discovery Index which includes a comprehensive review of 50 major UK retailers over 40 criteria including mobile search, voice search and natural language processing, personalisation, product recommendations and more.

Retailers covered in the research include a selection across sectors and using a variety of enterprise eCommerce technologies including Oracle, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, IBM, SAP Hybris and more.

You can head over to here and download a copy of the report if you want to dig a little deeper into the results.

 

Next steps

The first thing to do is to identify if the issue exists for you. It isn’t hard to perform a couple of searches on your site to discover if it is leading people straight to the exit.

If you think there might be a problem, come talk to us. We have experts in UX who can help you assess the extent of the challenge and if we think it needs some fixing, we can help you connect to Klevu and enhance the search experience for your customers.


Conversational Commerce : The Next Big Thing?

Ecommerce is awesome. It is incredibly convenient and during the global pandemic we've been through and in most cases are still living in, it has been our lifeline to the outside world and allowed us to still get access to the products we needed in a safe and secure way. But shopping is about more than just what you buy: it's a treasure hunt to discover something new, a negotiation to get a great deal, a time to catch up with friends and family. This is the one thing that businesses are still trying to solve for ecommerce. It's the customer and 'in-store' experience we want to emulate.

Many see online shopping as an experience that can be impersonal and somewhat unsatisfactory as an event. Is there a way to bring back the magic?

In this Ted talk we found, Nimisha Jain introduces us to "conversational commerce," a new retail model that combines the convenience of a digital experience with the personalised touch of a real, human interaction. With exciting examples from companies in India, Thailand and China, there are lesson to be learnt that could change the face of ecommerce as we know it and introduce a new era to us all.

 


Influencer Marketing: You need to start thinking Nano.

Influencer marketing has been incredibly successful for a lot of brands and it is often added into the mix when thinking about putting together a marketing strategy.

However, the mistake in the planning comes when brands think too big. We’d all love for a huge Instagram star with millions and millions of followers to work with our brands but let’s get real. The cost can be anything from £10,000 + per post for smaller mega influencers and when it comes to celebrities, you could be looking at £100,000 + and it is not unheard of for it to be up to £1,000,000.

You should be considering the value of those with smaller, but more engaged, communities, who can also help connect you with the people who are increasingly more likely to buy from your brand.

These smaller-scale influencers, referred to as 'micro' & 'nano' influencers, can be highly valuable to your businesses, despite their smaller audience size.

 

Think Local

If you spend a little time looking for a local nano-influencer with give or take around 1,000 followers, but all of them are local business owners & shoppers, it can have a significantly larger impact on your promotion than a broader reaching campaign.

To provide a little context and offer some food for thought, the team from Planoly recently put together this infographic on nano-influencers and the potential benefits of this form of outreach. Give it a look and maybe the time to think small and local is right now.

 


Looking for a little Inspiration? Here you go…

We all need a little inspiration at times, and it is amazing how reading a book or watching a video can spark a drive in us that we thought had either left for good or was on the verge of packing its boxes.

Stopping during the workweek for a moment of reflection or some time for self-development and to learn something new is vital. If we don’t stop and look up every so often, burn out is a real risk. And with working from home still firmly part of our routines, burn out is more common and on the rise.

To help you find that inspiration we’ve dug deep into our go-to webinars, podcasts, YouTube channels and books and pulled out a few of the favourites that we thought would be great to share. Take a look at them below and share them with others you think would benefit from them.

 

Events & Webinars

 Product School

Founded in 2014, Product School is the global leader in Product Management training with a community of over one million product professionals.

Their instructors are senior-level Product Managers working at top Silicon Valley companies including Google, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, PayPal, Uber, and Amazon.

With live online courses starting every month, it’s easy to find an option that fits your schedule. Classes are held in the evenings or on weekends to ensure that both instructors and students can maintain their full-time jobs.

What we love is their collection of events advertised on their Eventbrite channel. They’re all free and cover a huge range of topics and have some excellent speakers joining them. The events range between webinars, live chats and fireside chats and there is something for everyone. Go check them out and register for the ones that pique your interest.

 

 Harvard Business Review

Little introduction is required for these guys. If you’ve ever done a Google search looking for something business-related there is a good chance that Harvard Business Review has popped up.

Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard University, reporting to Harvard Business School. Their mission is to improve the practice of management in a changing world. This mission influences how they approach what they do there and what they believe is important.

Along with the great articles on their site they have a section for webinars both upcoming that you’ll be able to register for and a collection of past webinars that you can watch as and when you’d like.

They’ve got content that covers topics on Organisational Culture, Management, Leadership and People and even things like Supply Chains. As you’d expect from the publisher these are well put together and have insights from some of the best thought leaders out there. Head over and give it a look, you’ll never know what you’ll find that might spark that inspiration for you.

 

 

Podcasts

 Business Wars

Ever wondered why one company seems to smash it whilst their nearest rival just can’t make any headway? Well, wonder no more.

As Business Wars puts it “Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live.”

“Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights -- or to ruin. Hosted by David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John and American History Tellers.”

Available on several different channels including Spotify and Apple Podcasts finding it is easy. Subscribe so you never miss an episode and head into the back catalogue to find some episodes to start with.

 

 How I built this

Started all the way back in 2016, Guy Raz has turned How I built this into one of the most respected and listened to podcasts out there. He has spoken to some of the most influential people behind some of the biggest brands and continues to do so.

If you’d like to know what it took to build brands like Instagram, Patagonia, Warby Parker, Lyft, Toms and WeWork – this is the podcast for you.

As NPR puts it “Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best-known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.”

Again, you’ll find How I built this available on a bunch of different channels including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Go give it a listen, it really is an excellent way to spend some time away from the job at hand.

 

 

YouTube Channels

 CreativeMorningsHQ

CreativeMornings is the world’s largest face-to-face creative community — a global breakfast lecture series serving local creative communities in over 200 cities.

Started in 2008 by Tina Roth Eisenberg, she wanted an easy way for her New York creative community to come together, regularly. CreativeMornings events are free of charge and always will be. Powered by the generosity of over 200 hosts and 1,500 volunteers, events happen monthly typically featuring an inspiring talk and breakfast. The CreativeMornings team is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

Accessed either via their YouTube Channel or on their website directly they have a collection of over 9000 CreativeMorning talks for you to dive into.

And whilst you’re on the site you can take a look at the upcoming virtual events you can attend too. This is one you’ll definitely want to check out. The topics are wide-reaching and you’ll no doubt find inspiration spread across them.

 

 Fast Company

Fast Company is the world's leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethonomics (ethical economics), leadership, and design.

Their YouTube channel is packed with Fast Break videos. Short snippets on a vast range of topics that get to the heart of the subject they’re covering. Similar to the types of videos you’ll see on the Vox YouTube channel, Fast Company has a more business slanted outlook to their content and by keeping them short you’re able to fit in some different topics whilst you’re taking a breather or grabbing a cup of coffee.

If you’re looking for more from Fast Company, you can head to their website and check out the video section or even their podcast section. You’ll find more long play content that created to the same high standard.

The one thing you can be assured of is a lot of content covering a ton of different topics in a variety of different formats. This is one you’ll want to add to your weekly catchup list.

 

 

Books

 Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap and others don’t by Jim Collins

Good to Great is one of the best management-related business books written, and it’s a timeless classic. While originally written by world-renowned author, Stanford researcher and consultant, Jim C. Collins back in 2001, his highly actionable advice and fascinating case studies still stand the test of time in this book.

In Good to Great, Collins describes how companies transition from being just good companies into truly great companies that shakeup entire industries for the better—and the reasons behind why most companies fail to ever make that transition happen.

This business book is a mega-bestseller, having sold over four million copies (so far) and goes to great length to break down the factors that are common to the world’s few companies that have been able to sustain remarkable success for a substantial period. Simply put, this is a must-read.

 

 Start with Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action by Simon Sinek

Start with Why grew out of a TED talk delivered by the author, Simon Sinek, which has become the third most popular TED Talk ever.

It’s built around the question, “Why are some people and organisations more innovative, more influential and more profitable than others?” This business book’s basic premise is that the leaders who have had the greatest influence, act and communicate in the same way—which is the opposite of how most people function.

Sinek calls this idea, “The Golden Circle,” and it all begins with the question, “Why?” Interestingly, the reviews for this business book are very polarizing. Readers either love it or hate it. I love it. The harshest reactions and reviews seem to come from readers who have difficulty viewing themselves objectively, taking in critical feedback and translating it into positive changes in leadership. It’s much easier to blindly continue on down the same path.

I’ve worked with businesses around the world and in my experience, the most successful are those that understand ‘The Golden Circle’ and know what to do with it. One of the businesses I worked with literally lived and breathed the idea and it formed the core principle for why we did everything we did. Needless to say, we were the most successful provider of what we did not only in the cities we were located in but across the country too. Again, this is another must-read, in my opinion.

 

Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration with one of these suggestions and it’ll help you stop, reflect, self-develop and reduce the risk of burnout.


Is the Future of Bricks and Mortar ‘Dark’?

I’ve started articles like this for what feels like a lifetime but at the time of writing, the UK is still in lockdown and life as we knew it is locked up behind closed doors.

For those in retail and more importantly those that have traditional storefronts things are for want of a better word unknown. Even when we get out the other side of this who really knows what will happen to bricks and mortar retail. Some analysts are predicting a bounce back and others are saying it is the beginning of the end of what we once knew.

If we take a look at what has been happening over the last couple of weeks this uncertainty is further concerned. Planning applications for new shops have plummeted by 22% across England over the last 12 months and in some areas, it is as much as 94%.

Further to that online retail businesses have been on a buying spree, snapping up big household high street names taking them online and leaving behind empty shops. For Arcadia the number is 500, for Debenhams, it will eventually be 124.

This is going to leave a big hole in the retail footprint, and it could drive a knock-on effect for those stores surrounding the closures. The big question, what do we do with all this space and what could retailers do with the space they currently have. One possibility could be to turn them ‘dark’.

 

What do we mean by ‘dark’ retail?

This might be a new term to many, but it could be one that we all become very familiar with. ‘Dark’ retail or stores are essentially locations in places where traditional retail may have existed, but they’re not open to the public in the usual way.

The reason they exist is to support the online operation of the business, becoming local distribution hubs. By using them in this way you’re putting the product closer to the customer meaning that you can get it to them faster, in a more economical way whilst allowing the customer to shop in the way they choose too, online.

It also means that you can utilise staff converting them from serving customers face to face and dropping them into the fulfilment process. It allows for localisation of service taking the personal touch that one step further than most and in times of lockdown you’re not restricted to the same rules that have plagued retailers.

 

I’m interested, but does it work?

There are numerous examples of this taking place already. Crosstown Doughnuts is trialling it right now. They’re setting up the trials in Cambridge and Walthamstow and if successful they have plans to expand the delivery hub model to other areas within reach of central London, such as Oxford, Brighton, Richmond, Croydon, Chalk Farm and Chiswick.

The business has seen direct-to-consumer (d2c) online ordering revenues increase by 600% compared to 2019 and by creating a network of ‘dark’ retail locations they’re able to expand their 1-hour delivery to a much wider net of customers.

Amazon has a history of using this type of distribution in the USA, having taken over an unused mall in Akron, Ohio turning it into a fulfilment centre and they’re continuing to look at ways of using this model in locations where anchor tenants of malls no longer exist leaving vast retail spaces empty.

The key to making it work is being able to deliver on the promise and that means creating an infrastructure that can support this method of doing business.

 

Getting it to work for your business.

As Cegid Marketing Director of Retail Tania Oakey puts it “rapid acceleration has exposed the retailers across all sectors that were late in terms of the digital adoption and omnichannel strategies.

Capabilities such as click and collect and ‘ship from store’ are key but require sophisticated POS (point of sale) and OMS (retail order management systems) solutions to act as an anchor. Having a unified commerce solution, with a single view of your stock across the whole of the organisation, is key. Having that visibility to decide where best to pull stock from for your consumer is decreasing logistics and sales costs. Retailers can improve margins from three to 10 per cent.”

If you’re going to have the locations closer to the customer, the system needs to be able to figure out which location is closer, send the order to that location and get it out the door quickly. Without this, you’re not using the idea of ‘dark’ retail to its full potential.

 

So, is the future of retail ‘dark’?

It is hard to argue against this. Adoption may take time, but it is easy to see how savvy retailers could take advantage of this idea.

Decreasing sales and logistics cost whilst improving customer service levels and dependability is all good news. The reason services like JustEat and Deliveroo have done so well is that it gets the product to the end customer quickly. This is building a habit for the consumer and if you can do the same with your products, you’ll become an invaluable asset to their lives.

If this is an idea you’d like to explore for your business, Eclipse can help. We’ve got teams of commerce experts that understand the end-to-end process and what it takes to put this type of process in place.

We can help you discover what it could mean for your business and help consult and develop the strategy that will get you there. Just reach out and talk to us. We’re always here to help.


Here’s Why (and how) You Should be Using Shopping on Instagram

Unless you’ve been living in a cabin in the woods for the last 15 years you’ve probably heard of social media and you’ve almost certainly heard of Facebook and Instagram.

They’ve become part of our everyday lives and many have debated the virtues and sins of social media but ultimately people have adopted them and there is little doubt that they’re going anywhere in a hurry.

Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users and is now one of the most popular social networks worldwide. They along with the other social networks do everything they can to keep people on the platform and when they do leave, they do what they can to bring them back.

They’re also working harder to innovate all the time by introducing new features and enhancing the ones they have. The one we’re going to be talking about here is Instagram shopping.

 

Why are we talking about Instagram Shopping?

Instagram shopping was built specifically for eCommerce businesses and brands. Currently available to 44 countries across the world, it allows businesses to tag their products in the images they share significantly enhancing a user’s ability to discover new products through the platform.

It is incredibly easy to set up and simply requires the business to push their inventory to Facebook. After doing that it’ll take about 2 weeks for you to be able to toggle on Instagram shopping during the usual post creation and sharing process.

Some of the early adopters of the feature are reporting increased traffic and sales from Instagram as a result of the tagging capability. In fact, more than 800,000 shoppers use Instagram every month, and brands around the world are using the platform to share their stories and products with consumers in a visually engaging way.

 

What else you need to know about Instagram Shopping

Instagram is arguably the King of platforms when it comes to visual storytelling and it has held the crown for years.

For some brands, it has replaced what would have been full-page ads in those glossy fashion magazines of old. And now with the addition of Instagram shopping, they have taken it one step further allowing end-users to click straight through to the product on the website and buy it, on the platform.

With shoppable posts, customers have even greater opportunity to connect with the brands they love through the ability to quickly see relevant information — like product descriptions and pricing — with a single click without ever having to leave the Instagram app.

 

Image Credit: Instagram Business

The key to making that experience effortless is by having an eCommerce store that works seamlessly on mobile devices.

 

Mobile First Commerce

The shoppers habits are changing and more people are accessing the internet via a mobile device. Applications like Instagram are helping drive this change. In our webinar The Evolving Customer and their need for Mobile First Commerce we talked about this shift. In the clip below one of our Experience team, Lucy Aitken discusses the shift and offers real world examples that highlight the success possible when a conscious move in design thinking is made and websites start to think about Mobile First Commerce. This is vital to the success of Instagram Shopping. The shift from application to store needs to feel seamless and having a clunky site that struggles in mobile is going to discourage users and send them back in no time at all.

 

Not convinced yet?

When it comes to Instagram, eCommerce businesses for the most part always recommend the platform. Whether you are advertising, building an audience or both – Instagram has fuelled hundreds of thousands in sales.

Just check out some of these numbers that BigCommerce put together.

800M — Number of monthly active Instagram users.

500M — Number of daily active users

Increased from 400M to 500M since March 2017

5X — Instagram growth rate compared to overall social network usage in the U.S. (Source: Inc.)

25 — Percent more likely it is that Instagram users are in the top income quartile than average Internet users. (Source: GlobalWebIndex)

5M —  Number of active Instagram business profiles (Source: Facebook)

60 — Percent of people who say they discover new products on Instagram (Source: Instagram)

70 — Percent of users who follow a business on Instagram (Source: Instagram)

75 — Percent of users who take an action after seeing a business-post (i.e. visit a website, search, shop or tell a friend) (Source: Instagram)

500,000 — Instagram advertisers (Source: Facebook)

150M— Number of daily active Instagram Stories users just 5 months after launch (Source: Instagram)

33 — Percent of the most-viewed Instagram Stories that come from business accounts (Source: Instagram)

36 — Percent of B2C brands that consider Instagram to be “very important” or “critical” to their social media marketing, compared to 13% of B2B brands (Source: Inc.)

 

Ready to take advantage of this incredible feature?

There are a couple of things that you need to do to make sure that you can get the most out of Instagram shopping.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that your website is set up to give the best possible experience on mobile. Eclipse can help with that. Our Experience team are perfectly placed to tell you what will work and what needs fixing, and our development team can step in and help fix what needs to be fixed.

Once you’ve got that right, the next step is to head to this Instagram business page and follow the setup guide, take a look at the tips and then start promoting your products on Instagram. You’ll be glad you did.

And if you need to convince someone in your business this is the right thing to do, take a look at these results and case studies that BigCommerce put together. It should be everything you need to convince key stakeholders it is the right thing to do.