Getting Online Will Benefit Your Business For Today And Into The Future.

As we find ourselves staring into another national lockdown, retailers are again throwing their hands in the air with frustration. No one can doubt the need for the lockdown but as a business owner whose livelihood is reliant on being able to open the front door of their store to the high street, it is not good news.

For some, there may on the surface appear to be no answer to the trouble they are facing but although the pandemic has caused disastrous changes to the world of retail, the changes have been a long time coming. Bricks and mortar retail has been facing decline for several years as people have slowly started the shift toward online shopping. The pandemic has brought this forward by about 5 years, leaving many ill-prepared for the change, but it was a change that has been coming for a while.

The good news is that there is still time to do something about it and prepare not only for now but for the coming future of retail that by all accounts is going to be fundamentally shifted toward being online. The benefits are wide-reaching and for many businesses, the sole reason they have been able to survive up till now is a direct result of their being able to continue to sell online and whilst able, to give customers the option to click and collect.

Here are some of the benefits as we see them and we’re sure, you’ll agree that building a digital home for your business will be an important step in securing the future of the business.

 

  1. Lower overall running costs that also won’t add huge dependencies to the bottom line

By comparison and in most cases, running an online store will cost far less to set up and operate than your traditional brick-and-mortar locations.

There are obviously still costs involved. Website hosting, website domain ownership, digital marketing, payment solutions and potential platform fees (if selling through a platform like Shopify, Etsy or Ebay). You’ll also want to outsource things like website development as well as potentially brand creation, marketing strategy, photography, and copywriting, depending on the maturity of your business.

If your product or business is completely new to the market or this is your first foray into retail, starting out online is a great way to do some test trading in a relatively low-pressure environment, but it could also work as a pop-up for an existing business. Nothing is saying that you need to load your entire product set to a website to get started. Look at things that are new to market or are best sellers or even fall into the category of being able to be packed and shipped quickly.

And if you’re thinking that’s great but I can’t sell my products online, we would ask that you rethink that. If you think back not that many years at all, the idea of a butcher selling meat online or even the idea of buying your glasses online was inconceivable but there are many examples of businesses doing that very successfully. Heck, you can even buy a car totally online!

 

  1. You’ll be removing any kind of geographical limitation

Traditional bricks and mortar store that doesn’t sell any products online is extremely limited geographically. Even if the products are highly desirable and have a large marketing budget, they’ll can still only realistically attract customers from within a certain radius to the location of the store itself. By offering the products online, companies will benefit from being able to reach as wide a geographical area as they like – be that nationally or even globally!

And with the changes that Brexit have brought into the fold, several businesses have stopped shipping into the UK from Europe as a result of changes to requirements for VAT. There are likely businesses in the UK that can fill in the gap left by those businesses, people just need to know that you exist and being in the phone book, even in its new digital form, is not good enough.

 

  1. You’ll be able to be open for business when you like and for however long you like

Almost all online stores will involve totally automated order and payment processing, this enables customers to shop when it suits them. This makes online shopping the ultimate in convenience for both sellers and buyers.

Your customers benefit from being able to browse and shop whenever they like, and you as the business owner don’t have to drop everything to process purchases immediately, just like you’d have to do with a customer physically present in your store. Neither you nor the customer are committed to – or more importantly restricted by – set opening hours.

 

  1. The ultimate flexibility for updates, offers and changes

An online store can be updated as and when you like, at little to no expense, in most cases. Things like adding new product lines, reorganising your catalogue, or setting up a flash sale can be implemented straight away. Social and search pay-per-click campaigns can also be switched on and off in real-time with relative ease.

If you compare this type of activity to a physical shop, you’re most likely going to have to plan in advance for new product releases and sales events; sourcing in-store printed materials, making room on the shop floor to present your new or discounted products, and then there is the advertising, possibly using local publications. There’s a lot of moving parts to manage with a bricks-and-mortar shop, but with a lean, online store, you’re totally in control.

When used together, you’re able to get the offers up and running on the site whilst you’re preparing things in-store and when in lockdown, as we currently are, you’re able to be incredibly agile and compete with what competitors might be doing or even react to demand locally or nationally and capture opportunities as they’re happening.

 

  1. You’re getting access to incredible sets of analytics you might not have been able to capture before

Online stores (and indeed most websites) enable you to access a wealth of useful information. Things such as:

  • What times of the day/week/month your website is most popular?
  • How long people are spending on your website and how many pages they're visiting during their visit
  • Where your visits are coming from (e.g, search, social media, paid advertising, etc.)
  • Geographically where your site is most popular
  • Which products and pages are the most popular?
  • What times of the day/week/month you receive the most enquiries/orders
  • The types of device that people are using to visit your site (desktop, mobile or tablet)

You can also setup goals that will give you an indication of how effective elements of the website might be. For instance, creating a goal to see whenever someone clicks on a phone number or completes a contact form lets you know people are getting in touch and where they're doing it from.

This information can be used to enhance your marketing strategy and gives you a real picture of who your customers are. It enables you to target individuals with similar tastes and habits more efficiently, building your customer base and furthering your reach and even gives you information about your product set and open potential gaps you may have. Using tools like Google Analytics are invaluable to any company with a website – e-commerce or otherwise!

 

  1. Like we said before, there are virtually no limitations to what you can sell online

Regardless of what you specialise in, there is almost always a way to offer what you sell online. Whether you sell a physical product, virtual products like ebooks or music, courses, services, or consultancy, chances are there’s a way you can process orders and payments electronically, even if you need to physically deliver the service being sold.

The digital web presence will take the place of the in-store point of sale software, during the transaction phase and can even integrate with it so that it shares the information and stock levels meaning it can be managed in a single location. The type of product you sell should not be a barrier to creating an eCommerce website.

And if you sell something that can be automatically and digitally delivered like an ebook or online course, the added bonus is that you can leave it to work in the background with minimal input. These types of products are great for creating a reoccurring revenue stream for the business.

Another added benefit is the ability to create a subscription service much as Amazon has done with its subscribe and save. There are hundreds of examples where this is their primary business model and others like Gillette and Grind who have offered convenience to their customers by dropping products through their customer's letterboxes regularly and created a stream of revenue which has for all intense and purposes has been sold once via a concerted marketing effort and now continues to deliver revenue into the business, supplementing their other business activity.

In almost all cases, it is more cost-effective to sell to an existing customer than it is to try and acquire new ones. The website makes it easier for customers to manage their subscriptions and you can get on with working on your business.

 

  1. Do you sell a niche product? You should already be online.

If your product is in any way unconventional or niche, selling online may be the most effective way to do business and it will definitely support your existing bricks and mortar business. When people are looking for something unusual or specific, and to be perfectly honest nowadays almost anything at all, they look online first rather than by walking up and down a high street.

There is a strong possibility that certain niche products could overlap well with the needs of specialist communities which are already highly active online. Engaging with these groups in the place they ‘hang out’, pointing them in the right direction toward your digital shopfront, may prove beneficial when done correctly.

Hopefully, you can now see the overwhelming benefits that taking your business online can bring for you. It won’t be a silver bullet with a guarantee for success but ignoring it and choosing to ‘bury your head in the sand’ may just be a death nail.

 

We’re here to help

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).

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.

Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can help you move with the shift change, maximise the opportunity and 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 Top 5 Posts from 2020

2020 is behind us and the new year has begun but we thought we'd take one last look back at our Top 5 posts from our blog. We wrote a lot of different kinds of articles over the year from opinion pieces on the industry to guides on how to get the most out of your digital store front with design and CRO and these 5 are the posts that users were drawn to and spent the most time with.

Here is our Top 5.

 

AR & Furniture Retail | A match made in heaven? We Think So.

Read Post

 

 

Is Magento a good choice to launch your first online store?

Read Post

 

 

 

The ROI of UX & why not investing in it is a huge problem for you.

Read Post 

 

 

What it a User Journey Map?

Read Post

 

 

 

Testing in testing times

Read Post

 

 

 

We hope you enjoyed our posts and insights in 2020 and that you'll be joining us again this years as we've got even more great stuff planned.


2020 eCommerce Trends and Statistics

As we draw closer toward the end of 2020, I think we can all agree it was a year that could not be predicated and although it’s changed how we live, there is no doubt that we’d all like it to be left in the past as we move forward into 2021.

Without a doubt, eCommerce has been the winner of 2020 and has seen a massive rise in and according to some estimates, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by around five years.

For the last few years, we’ve been seeing more and more people shopping online anyway, but for a lot of businesses they saw a fundamental shift as a far-off future, something that didn’t necessarily need to be factored in right away. Now however, they're being forced to re-assess, and analyse their own approach to the eCommerce shift.

We’ve seen in the news what can happen when you underestimate or underdeliver in this space and the collapse of retail empires that were once the envy of everyone in retail is a startling reminder that the only constant is change, and that not heeding to the warning signs early is tantamount to signing your own death warrant.

The trick is learning from the past, looking into the future and ensuring that you’re as prepared as you can be. Another lesson is to never take success for granted.

In that vein, we’ve found this fantastic infographic put together by WebsiteBuilderExpert that looks at eCommerce trends and statistics from across 2020. Give it a read and use what you’ve read as a marker for your 2021 planning.

And if you need any help with your eCommerce strategy for 2021, Eclipse is here to help. 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.


Are You Losing 44% of Your Customers Because You’re Offering the Wrong Payment Method?

There has been lots of talk this year about how e-commerce is booming as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown but having an online store is not a guarantee that you’ll keep making money. A focus on customer experience is needed and in particular online retailers are still falling short when it comes to the final stage of the online customer journey.

In recent findings by PPRO, 44% of UK consumers stop a purchase if their favourite payment method isn’t available. 58% of respondents agree they would stop a purchase if the checkout process is too complicated and 37% of UK consumers avoid using merchants that require repeat entry of payment credentials.

These report findings highlight the increasing and immediate need for online retailers to adapt to consumers’ payment preferences.

Here are some of the key insights from the research:

• Millennials we’re the least tolerant of complicated checkout processes, with 67% agreeing they would be quick to abandon their purchases.

• 51% of Generation Z respondents agreed they would avoid using retailers that require entering payment credentials every time.

• 30% of Baby Boomers and 25% of the Silent Generation expressed a preference to use merchants that offer one-click payments.

Although the older preferences seem to have more tolerance, it does not remove the need to seriously look at the payment methods and process that your online store is offering. You need to make sure it is quick, seamless and incredibly convenient.

Having said that and while convenience is clearly essential to consumers; retailers also need to accommodate the growing consumer awareness of information security. 59% of shoppers view the security of their data and money as most important when choosing a payment method.

When considering trust, 30% of UK consumers asked as part of the research admitted that they rarely adopt new payment methods and prefer to stay with the payment methods they know.

This is a considerable amount of UK consumers that aren’t prepared to veer away from their preferred payment methods when shopping online. As a retailer, you need to realise the importance of allowing your customers to make a purchase with their preferred payment methods.

If you’re not thinking about this now you run the risk of not only missing out on that single transaction but also losing a potentially loyal customer.

“With over 450 significant local payment methods in use across the globe, it can be a challenge for retailers to understand which ones to offer their customers. However, this research shows how crucial it is to offer the payment methods the customer prefers. It proves that the payment methods you offer can make a break or a sale. Currently, 91% of UK consumers have used debit and credit cards for online purchases. 89% also confidently use PayPal or have used it in the past. 31% are confident in using mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and the use of bank transfers has doubled in the last 3 years. There’s a surprising range merchants must consider at the payment page to improve conversion rates,” comments James Booth, VP Head of Partnerships, EMEA at PPRO.

“Retailers need to be aware that a slick user experience must extend to the point of purchase. A shop may have a personalised and easy-to-navigate website, but a shopper who isn’t satisfied with the payment methods available at the final stage will quickly move on to a competitor,” he added.

 

So, What Can You Do?

The first thing you need to do is talk to the experts. Those in the industry will have insights that can help you make the right decision. You might have your own customer feedback that gives you an idea of the types of payment options that are missing, but the experts will have access to information that can make the process easier.

It might seem like the best idea to just jump onto all the latest payment options available but understanding the cost of implementation, ownership and the potential use by your customers will give you an idea of ROI.

Striking the balance between offering preferred payment options for your customers and offering everything because you’re trying to cover all the bases is not as easy to figure out as you might think.

 

How Eclipse Can Help.

At Eclipse we’ve been building sites for and working with some of the biggest retailers in the UK for years. Our experts in customer experience work alongside businesses to enhance and optimise all the elements that customers come into contact with including the checkout process.

We can work with you to make sure your checkout process is performing seamlessly and designed to optimise conversion and then advise and potentially implement the payment options you need to be offering.

And as a partner of Adyen, the payment platform built for growth, we’re best placed to connect you with the right people in the industry.

Come talk to us and together we can help you optimise your checkout, offer the right payment options for your customers and get you access to that 44% of customers you might be losing.


Preparing for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas

The last two months of the year tend to be the busiest for retail and this year should be no exception. The temptation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring out the bargain hunters and Christmas brings people together as we all lookout for the perfect gift for our significant others and our families.

This year things are going to be a little different what with being in the middle of the second lockdown and Black Friday and Cyber Monday falling right in it, people are turning to online, much like they have over the last few years but this time, there is no choice for alternatives.

Christmas might have the benefit of stores re-opening, assuming there are no adjustments to the lockdown, and with many people making it their highlight for 2020 the opportunity for online is huge. People have gotten used to the convenience of it and those wanting to avoid potential crowds after stores reopen will embrace it.

With this huge opportunity coming down the line there are things you need to do to ensure the most success and things that you could do to make the absolute most of every chance you get. It’s about being prepared and not leaving things to fate. We’ve pulled together a few areas for you to look at so that you can call yourself prepared.

 

Double and Triple Check Your Site Speed, Checkout Process and Scalability

When we’re talking about anything websites or the internet, a lack of speed will turn customers off. In fact, it has been found that 46% of shoppers have said they’ll never return to a slow website. You want to make sure that doesn’t happen to yours. You’ve done all that work to get them there, the last thing you want to do is send them packing because things don’t load or take too long. Using Google Developer PageSpeed Insights tool will give you a good idea of how things are loading and what you might need to do to fix it, if there is an issue.

You’ll also want to make sure your checkout process is as good as it can be. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas shoppers are fickle. They have thousands of stores to select from and a limited amount of time. They will leave your store if your checkout isn’t running smoothly. This is an area often overlooked by site owners but when it comes to CRO or conversion rate optimisation it is an area that can offer a great uplift. Our Experience team have helped plenty of our clients do just this by analysing the checkout process and implementing changes that have driven huge revenue increases. Taking time to improve your checkout process will pay off for you with every customer post the changes taking place. For a quick win, you may consider adding extra payment options like Paypal. We have a partnership with Adyen who's payment services can allow a business to add things like Apple Pay and Google Pay incredibly easily. If this is something you'd like to look at in more detail, speak to us and we can give you an idea of how to build it into your development plans.

Scalability might be something that you’ve not heard of or it might be something you’ve never thought about, but it relates to your sites ability to handle increases of traffic during these busy times. Plenty of companies have been caught out during past Black Fridays, and when the first lockdown was put in place a lot of websites fell over and put people into queues or even served errors because they just couldn’t deal with the influx. To combat this, it all comes down to hosting. Being on a cloud platform allows you to leverage scalability and open and close gates as needed. Our DevOps team at Eclipse know all about this and have helped a lot of clients build-in backstops to ensure uptime when it counts. They’re happy to talk to anyone who needs a little more information on why this is important and how to use it to stay competitive.

 

Think About Enhancing the Experience For Your Customers

As we mentioned before, shoppers have the option of thousands of stores and when they’ve chosen you, you’ll want to make the experience for them as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Keep offers clear and highlight the reasons why customers should stay and shop with you. Extended returns periods, seasonal discounts, free delivery and exclusive products all give you something to shout about. So, do it.

But beyond that, think about how the products are sorted on the website. Do you have a sale section or gift finders? Is everything in a place that is easy to find and then filter by price or amount of discount? Does the site search work well so that when people use it they’re being shown an accurate reflection of what they’re looking for and what you have on offer? All these things make a massive difference to the shopping experience.

You’ll also want to put some thought into your upsell and cross-sell opportunities. These are great ways to highlight other products that may be of interest to your customers and also lift the average order value of your checkout basket. Do you sell products that have bundles of accessories that make them better or a range of products that offer more functionality the further up the price ladder you climb? Tell people! Things can be easily missed and if a customer looks at something and assumes it doesn’t do what they need it to, they may leave to look elsewhere but if you have an alternative that might fit their need, you need to highlight it. And when it comes to cross-selling, the old problem of batteries not included on Christmas morning come to mind. Don’t let people fall into a trap of missing an important add on purchase that could take their experience from great to troublesome.

If you really want to take your customer experience to the next level adding functionality like AR (Augmented Reality) to your website really steps you apart and gives customers an experience like never before. It gives them the ability to bring your products into their home, try them in their space or even on themselves. It reduces your return rate and gives people assurance that what they’re looking at online will be what they receive. Our AR solution, Ares, is a total end to end solution for adding AR to your website and we can help you implement it with ease.

 

Getting People to Your Site

Having your site up and fully optimised is vital but just as important is going to be letting people know what you’ve got on offer, so they’ll head over and visit you.

Using Social Media is a great way to do this. If you’ve built up a loyal following they’ll be keeping an eye out to see what you have on offer but using paid social promotion and ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram will help you reach out to a target market that you may not have been in front of before. The audience-building options in these platforms are great when you have a set of buyer personas in mind. The trick is to widen it enough to reach a good amount of people but not to have it so broad that you’re putting offers in front of people that are likely to be uninterested.

Make sure you use good imagery to highlight products in their best light and add well-written descriptions including details about discounts, features and any other information that you think gets you to stand out from the competition. Video works incredibly well too, and it gives you a chance to highlight products from different angles or even show products being used. One of the most effective formats when it comes to ads on Facebook and Instagram are carousel. These give you a chance to add 4 or 5 different products or even features of a single product in a single location that is easily scrollable.

To help drive more engagement on your organic posts, especially those on Instagram look for hashtags that are getting high levels of use. Adding these to your posts can help it be seen. People will be following hashtags such as #blackfriday or #offers. In our own experience, we’ve seen high levels of engagement on Twitter and Instagram when the right hashtags have been used. Getting these right can give your posts a turbo boost.

To further support this kind of activity, look at creating blog posts that pull together lists. List posts get high levels of engagement and things like ‘Our Top 10 Black Friday Deals’ or ’20 Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything’ will get people clicking. Just make sure that the blogs are backed up with great contact that clicks out to the individual products you’ve highlighted.

Another powerful tactic here is the use of reviews and word of mouth. People buy from people and having real honest reviews that can be shared on social media will give buyer confidence in you and your products, but the key here is that they’re REAL and not paid for reviews. There has been a lot in the news recently about fake paid for reviews and people are being told to look out for them. It is an unethical practice and something that you should not engage in any way but having real customer reviews or testimonials in the forms of images, videos, quotes or third party reviews like from TrustPilot or Google Reviews helps build trust.

 

Come Talk to Us

Hopefully, you’ve found these tips helpful and you’ll be able to use them to drive an increase in business over this sale and holiday period. If you’ve got questions about anything you’ve read, or you’d like to take advantage of any of these tips and you’re not sure where to start Eclipse is here to help. Reach out to us and we can work with you to make sure you can maximise every opportunity that lays ahead of you.


5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Magento Right Now

Hopefully you’ve been thinking about upgrading from Magento 1 or maybe even Magento Open Source to Magento Commerce for a while. Your business is growing, and you need to deliver a truly advanced shopping experience—something that will launch you far ahead of the competition.

Magento Commerce is one of the most forward-looking commerce platforms available today. Faster content publishing, AI-based personalisation and loyalty solutions, and cross-border selling are just some of the features it offers. So why are you waiting?

Perhaps you worry that upgrading will be expensive or time-consuming. Or maybe you’re uncertain how much Magento Commerce will do for your company’s bottom line. Either way, it’s time to stop thinking and start doing. Magento Open Source 1 reached end of life in June this year. Updates and security patches have stopped. This means your store could be vulnerable and open to attack much like what happened in September, and you will have to prove compliance with PCI and other standards.

If you plan your upgrade now, you can avoid these risks and take advantage of Magento Commerce features that can transform your customer experience. This eBook by Magento covers 5 reasons why you should begin planning your upgrade to Magento Commerce right now.

 

How Eclipse Can Help

The good news is that we’re here to help you get secure and protect yourself from these kinds of potential exploitations. Migration means closing the gaps created by being end of life.

We’ve tailored a Magento solution for everyone, no matter where your start point in the market. It’s just about us getting together, discussing the options that will work best for your business and then working to get you accelerated toward success.

We have a history of both developing from new and re-platforming businesses with Magento. By working with us, you’re getting access to this experience and expertise. Reach out to us and let’s start talking about how we can get your site moved and more secure.

 

Here's The E-Book

Magento - 5 Reasons to Upgrade Right Now


The Nightmare Before Christmas for Retail?

On Saturday the PM announced that England would be going back into another national lockdown from this Thursday. Everyone across England will be asked again to "stay at home", with us all only being allowed to leave our homes for a series of specified reasons, including "essential" shopping.

When looking at the latest government guidance, the list of those having to close their doors is extensive. Published on the 1st November the guidance reads as follows:

“To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:

  • all non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens;
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.

Playgrounds can remain open.

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.

A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law.”

Looking through the guidance you can see the level of interruptions these changes are going to have to retail through November.

 

The Busiest Time of The Year

Shoppers usually spend around £50bn on goods other than food in the weeks leading up to Christmas as they gift clothes, toys and the latest technology to friends and family.

Not only does November signal the beginning of the Christmas shopping season but for those who love a bargain, the last week of November brings with it Black Friday.

For many retailers, they had built up their plans and hopes that November and December would boost the recent recovery that retail has seen but this new challenge will force many to have to rethink plans.

A much stronger reliance is going to be put onto your online operations, pushing it to its limits. We had been expecting that Black Friday was going to create have a huge increase in online demand but with the newest restrictions, there is no overflow into stores themselves.

 

So Now What?

For those of you who have an online store, you are going to need to make sure it is going to stand up to the renewed increase in traffic. Making sure your hosting is up to scratch at that you’re going to be able to scale to demand is vital.

If you’re on a cloud hosting service like Magento Cloud or SAP Commerce Cloud this, for the most part, is going to be taken care of. For those still using On-Premise, you may want to start planning a migration. It may not give you a direct benefit as you may not be able to implement it in time, but it’ll prepare you for the next unplanned situation we might find ourselves in.

Another thing you may have seen in the guidance that might be an opportunity is this little line “Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.”

Both of these things are very real options that will allow you and your business to remain active locally, outside of just offering your standard delivery options. Forming a partnership with or offering a restricted delivery service to your local area will help keep you front of mind with your customers.

Click and collect has become an ever more popular option when people are shopping and being able to offer it, even for a few select products could help you stay competitive with the bigger businesses. Depending on the platform you are using for your website, the possibility of a plugin that can unlock these features may exist and a business like us at Eclipse could help you implement it and get it going in a short time.

Beyond just implementing features and adding new services there is going to be a need to look at your offers. Free delivery, discounts and gifts with purchase can all help you stand out in the crowd.

 

Experience is What People Want

Another lever that is available for you is the experience your customers are having on your website. Making it as easy to shop as possible is important. Having a range of payment options and optimising the checkout experience can have a huge effect on your conversion rate.

Our team of experts in our experience team work with businesses every day to help them continually optimise their offering. There is almost no end to the list of things that can be done to make an online store more shoppable and better at converting. Little changes to layout and colour, product order and recommendations are all tangible things that can be implemented in a short time and could result in an uplift for your business.

 

So, Is It Really A Nightmare?

There is little doubt that this lockdown is going to have an effect on retail through to Christmas and that the damage it will cause will be noticeable but for those businesses eager to try and keep things going, not all needs to be lost.

Sure, it is going to be difficult but getting a store running, optimising an existing store or adding more services to take advantage of the limits of the restrictions are all options that exist. You just need to be willing to take them.

 

We’re Here to Help However We Can

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).

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.

And when it comes to Augmented Reality, 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 that 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.

Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can help you in these trying times, let us help you maximise the opportunity, 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.


What is User Testing and Why Do You Need it

Anyone who creates a product or designs a website, whether that be for information purposes or as an eCommerce experience, wants it to be the absolute best it can be. That’s why we put it into the world. No one sets out to create the worst possible experience for their end-users but how do we know it is the best possible experience?

Sure, we can look at it as individual developers or designers and maybe bring in the wider design and development teams but this verges on self-gratification and doesn’t really give you much beyond the fact that you all think you did a great job.

This might sound obvious but surely engaging with the people that are either using or you want to use the product or service you’ve developed is the answer to finding out if it is any good? Well, you’ll be surprised just how many businesses choose not to do this and it is blinding their future development and improvements.

This idea of talking to the end-user isn’t new. Market research and focus groups have been the grounding to some of the biggest advertising campaigns and certainly changed the destiny of several feature films released over the years. What is new is the technology that is being used to achieve this information and the personalisation of that testing to achieve much more detailed data.

 

What We’re Talking About is User Testing.

User testing is when you analyse and measure the experience of a user that is engaging with your product or website either as a whole, or just a portion of it.

In its most simplified explanation, it’s testing and quantifying how someone uses your product, service or website. This in most cases is different from what you think they should be doing with your product or website.

User testing records and observes a set of user’s performing tasks with your product or website to find errors, frustration points and potential areas for improvement to your future product or website development. It can also involve asking a user how the quality of the experience was for them.

Often done with users in location, user testing can also be done remotely which is especially handy when you consider the current various states of lockdown, we find ourselves in. This should not be seen as a blocker to taking to your users.

 

Why User Testing

Outside of getting the valuable information you need from the end-user, several other benefits come along with user testing. At the root, user testing can help save you money, save you time and increase user satisfaction for your business, product or website.

 

Time-Saving

It may seem like an odd suggestion to think that adding another process to your development or design journey is going to save you time, but when you look at the long term the time saving is abundantly clear.

User testing saves you from making mistakes now, rather than later. The longer you stay in isolated product development and planning with your product or website, the longer it will take you to fix issues and functionality down the line. This is especially true in applications and web design, the more complexity and features you add into a product or website, the harder it gets to fix newly discovered problems. And so, it kind of goes without saying but the harder it gets, the more time it takes to unpick and fix them.

 

Money-Saving

Much like the idea of saving time, the suggestion that engaging in user testing which has a cost to it can save you money might sound ludicrous. It isn’t.

If we look back at the long-term benefits, it is clear to see that identifying potential issues early allows them to dealt with before they come intertwined into other developments or feature enhancements.

Rewriting code or redesigning layouts are far from free. Every backtrack or re-work takes hours out of moving forward and those hours have a cost attached to them and they can be substantial especially when you are starting all over again. Finding a problem before a product is completed is almost always cheaper than fixing it later.

And even though you will need to spend a little to undertake the user testing, doing it with a team of experts who can get you the best possible results the first time is another way to ensure that the process is saving you money, making it as cost-effective as possible. Remove the need to try and try again through a period of self-learning and gather valuable insights fast.

 

Increased User Satisfaction

This is a more obviously understandable benefit. Taking feedback and working it into the development and usability of your product or website is going to ensure that when others engage, they won’t be faced with the same issues those in user testing experienced.

Products or websites that focus on user experiences have been proven to increase customer satisfaction. It shows that you care deeply about the experience your users have with your product or website and improving customer satisfaction with enhanced user experience will likely have an impact on sales and your bottom line.

 

User Testing Works

If you need more of a reason to undertake user testing, you only have to look at the results. Usertesting.com has many case studies that highlight the direct benefits of taking this process on.

Zillow increased engagement and conversions by over 8%, Evernote increased user retention by 15% and Walmart Canada increased onsite revenue by 13% as a result of tailoring experiences.

And at Eclipse we’ve been performing user testing for many years and have worked with some of the most well-known brand names in the UK and across the world. Some of our existing clients have found it so beneficial that it is now just included as part of their regular process.

 

How Can Eclipse Help

Hopefully, you can now see the benefits that user testing will bring to your business, product or website and you’re wondering what you need to do to get it going.

The good news is that we’ve developed some ready-to-go packages for remote user testing that we can roll out for you in no time at all. All you need to do is take a look at what is on offer, explore even more of the benefits that can be achieved with user testing and then reach out to our Experience team so that we can make arrangements to gather those valuable insights for you.


Understanding the Buyers Journey and Why It Is Important

We’re all individuals. We have our own wants and likes, dislikes and fears but as much as that is the case there is no denying that we’re creatures of habit. There are plenty of cases where we as people all take the same winding road to a single endpoint.

One of those is what is referred to as the Buying or Buyers Journey. It’s a set of milestones we pass on the way to making a purchase and then the steps we take after the purchase is made. If you understand this process, it allows you to tailor the experience and the information you put out to help people through the journey. It is a powerful piece of information that allows you to talk to your customers in the right way, at the right time, making yourself incredibly useful to them.

The buyer's journey is so important that Google made adjustments to the way their search was delivered to people and became intent focused. They understand from your previous search history and your activity on the internet where you might be when you’re looking to make a purchase and provide you with information that is best suited to that phase.

From a high level, they defined habits into 3 moments. I want to do; I want to buy, and I want to go. They deliver information to the searcher in a way that will best suit their question and they have created specific elements in the search results page that will do this without sending them on a trip into a wormhole.

But before we get too carried away, it is probably best to get to grips with what the buyer's journey is. We see it as 7 steps.

 

  • Unaware: Your target audience has not encountered the problem (or desire).
  • Awareness: Also known as the problem identification stage, your buyer would have identified the issue that they are seeking to solve.
  • Consideration: Your buyer would do general research (usually online) and consider different options out there.
  • Evaluation: Your buyer is carefully selecting a potential purchase, evaluating it based on quality, value, brand reputation, and other variables.
  • Purchase: Congratulations may be in order. You’ve managed to persuade your prospect to make a purchase, but sometimes it isn’t a given.
  • Post-Purchase: Also known as the consumption phase, your customer’s experience may determine longevity and satisfaction.
  • Retention & Advocacy: If you’ve managed to delight and excite your customer, they may come back and become your online advocate.

 

If we look back at what Google has been doing and map it to the journey, it fits squarely in the awareness, consideration and evaluation phases but for them to do that, you need to be giving them the information to put in front of people.

This information can take a bunch of forms, the most important thing is that it exists. That is however just a tiny bit of what you should be doing to make sure that you’re able to engage with potential customers going through the buyer's journey.

We’ve got a few tips for each of the stages to get you forming ideas and solutions but as always we’re here to help and you can reach out to us at any time and our teams of experts can work with you to maximise the opportunity at every stage.

 

Unaware: Your target audience has not encountered the problem (or desire).

This is an incredibly hard stage to have a deliberate effect on but by having a solid social media presence and a great content strategy there is a possibility that people will stumble across the information and as a result you move them into the next phase, very, very quickly. It is also what drives people to head toward impulse purchasing. They had no idea they wanted what you’ve just put in front of them, but it was so convincing that they’re ready for you to just take their money.

If you compare this to the Adoption Life Cycle, you’re looking at the innovators and possibly the early adopters here.

The Adoption Cycle | Design for "Crossing the Chasm" | Prototypr.io

 

Awareness: Also known as the problem identification stage, your buyer would have identified the issue that they are seeking to solve.

Here, some customers will find your brand as part of their intentional research when they are looking for a solution to their problem. Some will hear about you from your existing customers and word of mouth. Some traffic will be a result of your marketing efforts be that on social or via a search engine. They could also come from the stage above, stopping here for just a second on their way to making the purchase.

If people are coming into this stage fresh, it’s important to avoid selling. You need to focus on educating customers, sharing your knowledge, and building brand awareness. Your goal should be to get people’s attention, and then make them interested in what you have to offer. Even if they don’t have the intention to buy just yet, they’ll convert in the future if your content and webs experience is convincing and trustworthy enough.

 

Consideration: Your buyer would do general research (usually online) and consider different options out there.

The consideration stage is the moment customers see you as an option. Your products are a potential solution to their problems, while they're also considering other options. To lift your chances of entering the evaluation phase you can drive people to comparisons you've made to your competitors, making it clearly transparent why you might be the better option. This is an opportunity to keep yourself in the running.

 

Evaluation: Your buyer is carefully selecting a potential purchase, evaluating it based on quality, value, brand reputation, and other variables.

It’s important to understand that at this point your competitors… are your biggest competition. Your products or solutions on offer have already gained your potential customers’ attention, yet you may still lose the race. It’s the win-or-lose moment.

Your goal here is to convince those potential customers that you’re the absolute best solution for them. Make sure you stand out from your competitors. Not only with price or quality, but also with your values, approach, and, obviously, the experience you provide.

 

Purchase: Congratulations may be in order. You’ve managed to persuade your prospect to make a purchase, but sometimes it isn’t a given.

The purchase stage is your moment of truth. It’ll prove how well you prepared your website and customer service for ever-rising customer needs.

Offer superb customer experience no matter how big the order is. Some customers will start smaller just to test your store. Make sure they come back for more.

It’s time for your support team to show off their skills. It’s a test for your UX designer and web developers. It’s also the moment you grow as a business and build lasting connections with your customers.

If these experiences aren’t up to scratch, you could lose the person right at the very end of the process. We’ve all been there, right at the checkout and for some reason, the payment won’t go through, the address search is broken, or the overall experience is just terrible and keeps breaking.

You’ll end up sending them back up the funnel and kissing them goodbye for good. It doesn’t matter how well suited your product was to their problem. If it is difficult, you turn them off.

 

Post-Purchase: Also known as the consumption phase, your customer’s experience may determine longevity and satisfaction.

Just as important as making it easy for the purchase to happen, you’ve got to make sure the post-purchase experience is ace.

Shipping updates, return policies, contact details, warranty information, support and guidance, onboarding…the list is endless when it comes to this stuff but the thing to remember is that just getting the sale and then saying ciao is not an option.

The irreparable damage that can be done by taking your eye off the ball with this stuff is huge and at Eclipse, we’re not advocates of mastering the mystics art of tempting fate.

 

Retention & Advocacy: If you’ve managed to delight and excite your customer, they may come back and become your online advocate.

Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

Do what you can to keep your customers happy and they’ll keep coming back, keep doing it and they’ll tell others. Remember the unaware phase and the mention of word of mouth, this is where it came from.

 

We’ve got more to come

This break down of the buyer's journey should give you some things to think about and get you looking at what you have on offer a little differently. It should be something that you keep front of mind when you’re looking to create content or are making design changes or updates to your website.

We’re going to continue looking at the buyer's journey in more detail, stage by stage in the coming weeks, offering up more insight and tips on how to get the most out of each of them, but in the meantime, you can always reach out to us with any questions you might have and we’ll be happy to answer them and help you work to enhance your offering for each of the stages.


Eclipse Partners with Adyen as SAP Commerce Implementation Specialists

It brings us incredible pleasure to announce that Eclipse and Adyen have formed a new partnership to enable more businesses to take advantage of the amazing benefits that come along with using Adyen as your payment solutions provider.

 

Founded in 2006, Adyen was built with the aim of helping businesses to grow. The existing payments technology consisted of a patchwork of systems built on outdated infrastructure and the co-founders set out to build a platform capable of meeting the rapidly evolving needs of today's fast-growing global businesses.

 

Today Adyen is the payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies, providing a modern end-to-end infrastructure connecting directly to Visa, Mastercard, and consumers' globally preferred payment methods. Adyen delivers frictionless payments across online, mobile, and in-store channels. With offices across the world, Adyen serves customers including Facebook, Uber, Spotify, Casper, Bonobos and L'Oréal.

Adyen’s focus is on building a modern infrastructure directly connected to card networks and local payment methods across the world, allowing for unified commerce and providing shopper data insights to merchants. The Adyen platform enables merchants to accept payments in a single system, enabling revenue growth online, on mobile devices and at the point of sale.

Eclipse has been an SAP VAR (value added reseller) since 2019 and in that time, we’ve worked with many well-known and well-respected brands in the UK, developing their eCommerce offering on the SAP Hybris and now SAP Commerce Cloud platform.

Experts in the building and implementation of the SAP Commerce platform, Eclipse unlocks trading potential and turn ambition to reality. 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.

For our most recent implementation of Adyen into SAP Commerce we worked with an influential fashion retailer to replace their previous payments provider to allow them better integrations with their systems and the launch of their marketplace. The payment requirements that a marketplace has for any retailer are not met by all those who offer payment solutions.

This has proved highly successful and they’ve been able to offer their customers a much wider choice of ways to pay, making the shopping experience better than ever before.

We’re geared up and ready to work with all businesses looking to expand into new markets with local acquiring and payment methods and who want to optimise each transaction, increase conversions, and drive revenue. Our expertise compliment those of Adyen with our experience team devoted to improving your customers shopping experience through creating better designed interactions, finding opportunities for better conversion and enhancing the overall experience with the use of augmented reality.

We’re here to work with you to get the best out of your eCommerce and with the help of Adyen, we can take your entire experience to the next level, delighting your customers at each step of the shopping journey. Reach out to us and we can get the conversation started.