Man with painted face at laptop

The Time for Staying on Magento 1 Has Expired

This last weekend the largest hack campaign to date on Magento 1 stores took place. Nearly 2000 stores were targeted in a Magecart attack: injected malicious code would intercept the payment information of unsuspected store customers. Stores inspected by Sansec were found running Magento version 1, which was announced End-Of-Life in June of this year.

The Sansec early breach detection system, which monitors the global eCommerce space for security threats, detected 1904 distinct Magento stores with a unique keylogger (skimmer) on the checkout page. On Friday, 10 stores got infected, then 1058 on Saturday, 603 on Sunday and 233 on Monday.

Sansec has been monitoring this type of activity since 2015 and they’ve described it as the largest they’ve ever seen. The previous record was 962 hacked stores in a single day which happened in July last year.

This weekend’s incident highlights an increased sophistication and profitability of web skimming. Sansec has found that criminals have been increasingly automating their hacking operations to run web skimming schemes on as many stores as possible.

They’ve estimated that tens of thousands of customers had their private information stolen over the weekend via one of the compromised stores.


Magento Exploit Sold

Whilst their investigation is still ongoing, it appears that many victimised stores have no prior history of security incidents. It suggests that a new attack method was used to gain server (write) access to all these stores.

They believe this campaign might be related to a recent Magento 1 0day (exploit) that was put up for sale a few weeks ago.


What They Found

User z3r0day announced on a hacking forum the sale of a Magento 1 “remote code execution” exploit method, including an instruction video, for $5000.

It was alleged that no prior Magento admin account is required. Seller z3r0day stressed that - because Magento 1 is End-Of-Life - no official patches will be provided by Adobe to fix this bug, which renders this exploit extra damaging to store owners using the legacy platform.

In what was described as a deal sweetener, z3r0day pledged to only sell 10 copies of the dangerous exploit. Translated from Russian.

According to live Sansec data, some 95,000 Magento 1 stores are still operating as of today.


What to do now?

Some things can be done to mitigate the risk like using a malware and vulnerability scanner or finding third-party patch support, but there is really only one answer – you need to move to a platform that is ‘living’ and continues to provide security support.

For Magento 1 users, the obvious step is to migrate to Magento 2 Commerce or Magento 2 Open Source. This allows you to continue to work with a platform that feels familiar but benefit from the enhanced features and continued platform support from Adobe.


Eclipse is here to help

The good news is that we’re here to help you get secure and protect yourself from potential exploitations like the one that happened over the weekend, through taking advantage of 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.

Ares example

AR and 3D Makes Shoppers More Likely To Buy

We’ve all seen the news; more and more people are shopping online and there seems to be no slowdown in that trend but how do you stand out from the crowd and what is going to give you that competitive advantage?

And beyond that, how do you mitigate other potential risks like an upsurge in returns due to people not getting that they thought they were when they bought it from your site?

The answer is surprisingly simple, and it involves your embracing technology.

In a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Threekit, 60% of adults asked said they’re more likely to buy a product if it is shown in 3D or AR. It also found that many online shoppers felt that it would help them make more confident decisions.

Other key insights were:

  • 66% said that 3D/AR visuals would increase their confidence that they’re buying the right product.
  • 66% said they would be more interested in shopping on a website if it offered 3D/AR images.
  • 42% say they would pay more for a product if they could see it in 3D/AR.

These insights further confirm what we’ve talked about in our previous posts. In our article How is Augmented Reality Impacting Retail? We found that 71% of shoppers said that they would shop more often if they could use AR, 72% of shoppers that used AR in their shopping journey said they purchased stuff they didn’t plan to buy, simply because of the experience of using AR and 55% admitted that shopping with AR makes the experience more fun and exciting.

“These findings prove that consumers want 3D/AR,” said Ben Houston, Threekit’s founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO). “There is a growing gap between consumer demand and eCommerce technology preparedness. Although 3D and AR imagery has been around for a while, they’re underutilized by retailers due to its perceived complexity”


It's Not Complex At All

We’re here to tell you that this complexity that is being perceived does not exist. Adding these options to your shopping experience is easier than ever before and Eclipse can help you take care of it, end-to-end.

We’ve developed Ares, our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution. It is what makes adding AR and 3D to your website seamless and easy.

Ares allows businesses to display exceptionally high-resolution 3D product models and interactive Augmented Reality replicas of their products for use in their online catalogues, directly in the browser, without the need for apps to be downloaded. This allows potential buyers to “try realistic products” in their own spaces, before committing to purchase.

We believe that better user experiences benefit everyone – from end-users and retailers – to the eCommerce market as a whole. In a world where the reliance on online shopping continues to rise and adapt, it has never been more vital to provide engaging, yet accurate information to potential shoppers.

Find out more about how Eclipse and Ares can lift your eCommerce game, give it a try and then talk to us about getting started.

The Smart Money Is On Offering Retail Subscriptions

We’ve all heard of them and there is a strong probability that you’ve got a few yourself. Subscriptions services are a convenient and safe way to get what you need, and it would appear that a large chunk of the UK agrees with this.

During lockdown retail subscriptions jumped 50% with food boxes, wine and grooming leading the way.

Recent research has shown that UK consumers now have on average seven subscriptions per household, spending around £46 a month or £552 a year.

I can attest to this myself. During the lockdown, I found myself in a situation where I was going to be consuming more coffee at home every day and a search led me to Grind, a coffee house in Shoreditch that offers a Nespresso compatible capsule of their awesome coffee delivered straight to my door as often as I want it. This was followed with a subscription to Gillette and their razor blades, a whole bunch of hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash through Amazon’s subscribe and save service and a subscription for clothes with Stitch Fix.

And as you can imagine a bunch of savvy retailers have jumped on this growing trend. Around a fifth of UK retailers have launched a subscription service during the lockdown, adding to the 30% of retailers that already had them in place.

It comes as little surprise that entertainment subscriptions lead the way but food and meal subscription services such as wine tasting kits and meal boxes are the second most adopted while health, wellbeing and grooming are also on the rise.

In research conducted by Barclaycard, it was found that 8 in 10, that’s 82%, of retailers believe the popularity of subscription services increased during the lockdown as shoppers saw it as a way to take advantage of a safe and convenient way to receive everything from essential items such as groceries all the way through to entertainment.

April saw a 50.2% increase year on year on digital content and subscription services showing that consumers are started seeing this as a reliable model during their lockdown period at home. And as mentioned before those savvy retailers jumped on the opportunity. 10% of retailer launched their first subscription service between March and June this year.


It’s About Creating Reoccurring Revenue

The research went on to find that 75% of retailers believe subscription services offer a more reliable and predictable source of income than a one-time charge model. Around 9 in 10 or 87% think subscription services allow their business to keep up with competitors or other brands that launch similar products and 82% also said that subscription services allow them to build customer relationships through increased contact.

By getting customers to sign up to a subscription service you’re allowing your product to become part of their routine. It becomes an expected part of the way they live their lives and for the most part, they stop looking at special offers or being distracted by competition for those products. As long as your product continues to shine through speedy delivery and always awesome quality, you’ve got a pretty good bet that you’re going to have a customer for life.

The top 5 reasons why consumers said the sign up for a subscription service are:

  • 52% - Exclusive content
  • 53% - Convenience
  • 48% - A personalised offering
  • 51% - Discovery of new brands or products
  • 44% - They make great presents

Kirsty Morris, the Managing Director for Account Development at BarclayCard payments said “Subscription services provide an exciting opportunity to engage consumers with products and services at home, whether that’s digital content or streaming services, meal kits, or more personalised offerings such as bespoke alcohol kits or on-demand exercise classes. For many retailers, this has meant adapting quickly to offer new products and services to respond to the growing demand.”

Mary Portas, Retail Consultant, Broadcaster and ‘Queen of Shops’ said “Subscriptions were already a vital tool for UK retailers prior to the pandemic, helping businesses to remain nimble and transport their product or experience direct to their customers’ homes. Due to the prolonged period of lockdown, the public has grown accustomed to the range of products on offer, as well as the ease at which they can be regularly surprised and delighted by the brands they care about.”


Offering Subscriptions, The Right Way

 The key is finding something that is going to get you noticed and offering something different to what others are already doing.

You know your products and your existing loyal customer base. What keeps them coming back and shouting your praises? Can it be packaged and offered to new customers, as well as those loyal existing customers in a way that is going to surprise and delight them and deliver your brand experience every time?

These are the things that need to be considered but you shouldn’t forget the first experience they’re going to have with you and that is your website.

Have you explained the offer in easy to understand steps and highlighted how the process is going to make your customers lives easier and more convenient? Are you doing a good job of explaining what they’re going to get and how often they’re going to get it and at what cost?

Then you need to consider the sign-up process, the editing of an existing subscription and the ability to find information if they’ve got a question. Is your existing payment provider optimised to be able to take reoccurring payments and deal with situations like credit cards that expire? Some things just get forgotten about when anyone starts to plan for new products coming to the market, but that is where we come in.

At Eclipse we’ve helped retailers take on new markets across the globe and expand their businesses into new areas with things like Market Place Integrations to their existing sites and the development and roll-out of some of the latest technologies including AR.

We know what makes a customer tick and we can help you launch new subscription products to the world. Creating a unique UI, UX and CX for every visitor as well as ensuring the backend is geared up and ready to make the process of buying and maintaining subscriptions, including the reoccurring payments, a breeze for you and your customers.

We’ve got teams of experts that can help in just about every area you can think of when it comes to selling things online and creating truly brilliant digital experiences, and they love talking to people and solving problems.

All you have to do is reach out to us and we can have a chat. We’re positive we can do great things together.

More Good News for Online Retail

It almost goes without saying but Covid-19 has really changed almost all aspects of our lives and one of the things that changed the most is how we shop.

When surveyed as part of the Big Ask Report, almost half of UK shoppers said that they believed the Pandemic would leave behind a lasting impact on their buying habits.

Research conducted by O2 Business in partnership with Retail Economics for the Report revealed that 44% of participants think they will see permanent changes to the way they shop, with many saying they expect to buy online more regularly.

The survey also showed that 47% of people think the number of times they shop online will definitely increase.


The Numbers Speak Volumes.

At the peak of the pandemic, around a third of consumers, 34%, said they bought essential and non-essential goods online but that is just the start.

The research also showed that 45% of customers have now purchased a product online that they had only ever purchased in-store before the pandemic.

Jo Bertram, managing director at O2 Business, said: "As a technology partner to the industry, we wanted to find out what the tectonic shifts have been in how people have engaged with each other over the last decade.”

He added, “The effect the lockdown has had to the way we buy has been significant, but they've accentuated these shifts more than redirected them."

49% of consumers now spend more time researching products online even as lockdown eases and when they make a purchase, 83% of consumers will opt for home delivery over click and collect.

Richard Lim, chief executive officer of Retail Economics, said: "The impact of Covid-19 has re-wired the customer journey, leaving many retailers scrambling to assess the impact as they attempt to realign their proposition to meet a new normal.


What Does This Mean For Retailers?

For years we've seen a significant shift towards online and some of these behaviours will inevitably become permanent, with digital playing an incredibly important role.

"Many of these consumers are shopping for goods online for the first time, overcoming the barriers of setting up online accounts, entering payment details and gaining trust.” Added Lim.

It is the job of the retailer to enhance these processes and make them as easy and pain-free as possible. The customer is out there wanting to participate but if they’re faced with barriers, they’ll head elsewhere.

"The new normal will involve a step-change in the integration of digital technologies and retailers are assessing what this means for the number of stores, where they should invest and the potential partnerships that could be formed."

Looking for ways to be more easily found, offering truly exceptional shopping experiences and using technology that allows you to stand out from the crowd are all things that retailers should be looking at.

Having a CRO (conversion rate optimisation) plan for your digital store that can continually work on the customer experience is a great place to start. It will give you insights into how customers are currently shopping with you and find opportunities to improve and fine-tune to deliver an uplift in conversion.

And looking into technology like Augmented Reality can help you stand out from the crowd. It offers customers the opportunity to bring your products into their homes and experience it in an ‘as close to the real thing’ as possible without the need to head into a store.

These things will help you prepare and take advantage of this shift change.


How Can Eclipse 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.

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 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.

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

Covid-19 has disrupted and changed the way we live our lives. In particular, it has disrupted retail massively. In our blog posts, The Wheels of Change Continue to Roll for Retail and Our Shopping Habits Continue to Change, we highlighted the huge shift away from physical retail to online. Lockdown was a major driver for this but even with things starting to open up again, shopping is highly unlikely to return to pre-lockdown experiences. Social distancing and the measures that have come along with it have seen to that.

This has ultimately created both an opportunity and a challenge. With fewer people heading out to stores, retailers in all sectors have been forced to focus on their online shop fronts. They’ve had to find new ways of offering ‘in-store’ experiences online.

How do you stand out from the crowd and give customers an experience like no other? Help them understand what it is they’re buying before they buy it and remove any doubt that might come along with not being able to see and touch products before they buy them.

For some, this is less of a concern. Supermarkets have been selling products online for several years and there is less need to see and touch a can of beans before you buy it. You know what you’re getting, and you just throw it into the cart.

But what about those retailers selling big-ticket and physically large products? The good news is that technology is here to help you out. Augmented reality (AR) gives you what you need to be able to stand out from the crowd, let’s your customer experience your products in an as close to the real thing possible in the digital world and helps to relieve doubt and hesitation when it comes to clicking buy now.

For furniture, electronics and household accessories retailers, in particular, AR is a game-changer. Letting customers visualise products in their own space, making sure it’s the right size and fits with the décor of the room is a monumental shift from just having a few pictures, from different angles in a dressed set.

By offering AR you’re making your store more convenient to the customer, offering a truly unique experience that ultimately results in more sales and fewer returns.


Some Of The Biggest Players Are Already Doing It

For the longest time, people have been heading online to research products before they headed in-store to size them up. In this new normal, the second step of that process is becoming moot.

For thousands of people, their shopping experience begins and ends with online, but their expectations are for a better shopping experience than many are offering and those offering more, are succeeding.

Ikea heavily invested in Augmented Reality when they launched their Ikea Place app. It allows customers to do all the things we’ve been talking about. You browse the app, find the products and then try them in your space. It has been so successful for them that Digital Silk, a US-based Digital Agency voted them the most successful retailer during the coronavirus lockdown. It was because they were able to roll with the punches and “grow their eCommerce revenue”.

Ikea beat other retail giants including Nike, Lululemon and Steam to the top spot, with its eCommerce sales reaching 10 times their pre-pandemic levels in some markets.

Brabantia, known around the world for their kitchen accessories, has also successfully rolled AR into the shopping experience. I have used it whilst trying to figure out where to put a recycling and refuse bin into my kitchen. I didn’t want it to end up being too big or just the wrong size and shape. The convenience of their AR offering is that it happens directly from the website, without having to download an app I am likely to use once. Because let’s face it, how often are you shopping for a new kitchen bin?

And if you’re still not convinced it might be for your business, here are a few other things to consider. We curated a research paper on how augmented reality is impacting retail and some of the biggest callouts from it are:


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


I’m Sold! How Do I Get It


The good news is that it’s easier than you think, the great news is you’re reading this on the blog of the creators of Ares, a market-defining AR solution for eCommerce.

What makes Ares so good is that our solution allows your customers to see what products will look true to size, without needing to break out the measuring tape or rearrange the living room, home office or bedroom. Just click the button on the browser from a phone and like magic, a digital version of the product appears before them. Incredibly detailed and lifelike, they can then get to decide where to put it.

And because the AR is embedded directly into the site it helps to remove any barriers for the customer trying to visualise the product and makes it a more seamless experience. No need to head off to an app store, get lost and then forgot what they were doing.

Ares is a total end to end solution for managing your AR models. If you need us to help create them, we can do that and then they’re loaded up ready to be placed wherever you’d like. Ares is totally platform agnostic and is designed to work with every eCommerce platform on the market. You can also place it anywhere on the site, it doesn’t have to just been stuck on the product page.

Writing a blog for a feature for the product? Stick in the AR experience. In fact, you’ll see that we’ve done exactly that below.



AR shouldn’t be seen as a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. If you’re trying to keep up with the shifting eCommerce landscape and the demands of your customers, AR is the way to do it. Brands that adopt these new technologies now will be better positioned to thrive in the long run.

All that is left to do is take a closer look at Ares, then reach out and talk to us about how we can get it implemented on your digital store.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


We’re Here To Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Embrace The Digital Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Way Forward

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

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


The Retail Archetypes

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

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


  1. The Renegade

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


  1. The Activist

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


  1. The Storyteller

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


  1. The Artist

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


  1. The Tastemaker

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


  1. The Oracle

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


  1. The Concierge

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


  1. The Clairvoyant

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


  1. The Engineer

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


  1. The Gatekeeper

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


We’re Here To Help You

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

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

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

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

Our Shopping Habits Continue to Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why Should You Be A / B Testing?


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

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

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

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


What Can You A / B Test?


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

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

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


Copy and Messaging:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Design and Layout:

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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


Call to Action (CTA):

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

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



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

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

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


Social Proof:

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

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

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


How Do You A / B Test?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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