The Good And Bad of Microcopy

Microcopy is text on a website or interface that helps to guide the user in their journey. This is the text you see on buttons, forms, tooltips and labels. Microcopy must be clear and easy to understand, no industry jargon. It should provide context and let the user know what actions they are taking. It’s not about persuading and selling so differs from traditional copywriting. 

In this article, we’ll look at some good and bad examples of microcopy used across some familiar brands websites.

Let’s take a look at some examples of great microcopy:

Hello Fresh

On their homepage, Hello Fresh has multiple CTA’s that all go to the same page. By changing the copy on these they capture users who are at different stages of the purchasing process. They can be broadly split into two categories, one where users are still in the research stage so less committal CTAs like ‘see our menus’ and ‘learn more’ will appeal to them. The other CTA ‘get started’  captures those users who are ready to purchase.

Expedia

The microcopy in the search field speaks directly to the user with simple language. It also offers suggestions for the type of thing that they can search for. This will help to guide the user and get them to the information they want to find quickly.

 

Evans Cycles

Evans cycles have added reassurance messaging to their checkout CTA. It is concise and is a great addition considering the high-value purchase a user is about to make. Informing the users of the security at this stage will help to relieve any anxiety they may have over their online purchase.

 

 

invision

This handy tooltip from invision lets the user know what exactly will happen when they choose to get a public share link. The link is copied to the clipboard, the word ‘clipboard’ could be considered technical language but considering the users of this product, there is an assumed level of technical understanding. Users are then reminded of this with positive messaging once they have selected this option.

 

 

Typeform

Typeform has created clarity between the two actions, log in and sign up so there is less chance of users selecting the wrong option. This will get users to where they want to be for the first time creating a smooth journey.

 


When signing up and choosing a password microcopy aids the user by defining the password requirements. Explaining what they need from a user upfront avoids users becoming frustrated by not knowing what action they need to take.

 

 

Now we’ve covered what you should be doing let’s see what mistakes we should avoid making:

Amazon

The text in this search field is ambiguous so it’s not clear what the user should input into the field. This may lead to users not finding the information they are looking for.

 

 

Blackboard

In this registration form, the supporting text in the fields is cumbersome. It doesn’t give the user any more information it just adds to the cognitive load by adding to what the user has to read.

The field ‘Registering as’ is ambiguous and has no supporting information. Supporting microcopy would be useful here to let the user know exactly what is meant by this unfamiliar field.

 

Montblanc 

On Montblanc’s website, they use overly complex language. This may be a deliberate choice to support the brands’ image. While this is valid for marketing when considering the user experience clarity is more important than persuasion at this stage.

 



 

As with most things in life microcopy can be used for good and bad. Let’s take a look at a dark UX pattern that utilises microcopy.

 

Treatwell

In the booking process on Treatwell users are asked about marketing preferences. One of these options check the box if you don’t want to receive marketing updates and the other is check this box if you do want to receive updates. This deliberately confusing language is likely to confuse users into opting into at least one of the updates. While this may serve the business goal it may not be serving the users goal. Whether this is good or bad UX writing I will leave for you to decide.

 

 

In Conclusion

Good UX writing vastly improves the user experience, it builds trust and in many cases increases conversion and engagement. So there’s no better time to review the copy on your website or product to delight your users.


Three Things You Can Start Doing to Improve Conversion

So, you’ve got a website and people are visiting it, job done? The answer is a big no. Getting people to your website is one half of a task, getting them to do something once they’re there is the other.

Whether you’re selling a product, generating enquires or getting people to sign up for a newsletter, these actions are what are referred to as conversions and they’re a key component of your overall business strategy which will make or break your success.

The big question now is how do you get more people taking those actions which will result in your conversion rate increasing?

But before we get too far ahead, let’s all just get on the same page about what we’re talking about.

 

What Is A Conversion Rate?

A conversion rate is calculated by using the total number of visitors to your website against those who completed a specific goal, like those mentioned previously. Things that be described as a goal form an almost endless list; it really depends on the nature of the business you’re in.

 

How Is Your Conversion Rate Calculated?

The most common formula is one where you divide the total number of goals completed in a day, week, month or time frame you decide by the total number of visits to your website and then multiply it by 100%. So, if you have 100 visits to your page and three complete a goal, you have a 3% conversion rate.

There is a bit of a debate about whether unique visitors or total visits is the number you should be using against the number of goal completions for this formula, but the most important thing is to pick one and stick to it. Our suggestion is to use visits because:

1) Visits are more accurate than Unique Visitors.
2) Every Visit represents an opportunity to persuade or convert a visitor to a customer.
3) Measuring visits is based on fairly established industry standards

 

3 Ways To Improve Your Conversion Rate

There is a high probability that you’re paying to send visitors to your site through social ads, search ads or with a search engine optimisation company. A higher conversion rate means a better return on your investment. But beyond that, improving your conversion rate allows you to provide a better customer experience to visitors who are hoping to gain value from your site through a product, service or information.

Outside of this standard paid activity and optimisation that drives people to your site there are things that you can do, potentially with the help of industry experts, that can drive that conversion rate up.

 

  1. Run A/B Tests

We previously covered this topic in our article, What is A/B testing and why do you need it? But in brief A/B or split testing is a technique of identifying elements within a website or on a landing page that have the greatest potential to increase your conversion rate, whether it’s for performance, usability, accessibility or numerous other issues.

As an example, if you have two different offers for your product or service or maybe two different kinds of promotion and can’t decide which to use, you can perform an A/B or multivariate test to see which one gets a better response. The decision between A/B or multivariate testing will depend on the amount of traffic coming to your site in order to achieve statistical significance. For example, a low traffic site will take a lot longer to achieve statistical significance than a high traffic site due to the slower collection of data. You create or have created two versions of your page (design A and design B and sometimes, design C) with different designs, calls to action or message. The important thing to remember here is that you don’t test too many things at once. This is especially important if the differences are subtle, to enable you to identify which change actually made the difference.

Then by using tools specifically created to optimise testing, they will send a portion of your traffic to page A and others to page B and C, if you're using three. You can then forecast future projected performance based on the data you’ve collected. The page with better performance is the one to consider making live to increase your conversion rate.

You can continue to optimise the winning page to see if it is possible to further drive an increase in conversion rate.

 

  1. Eliminate Anything Resembling A Distraction

Website visitors are ultimately just people and we are often easily distracted. You can’t afford to have unnecessary images or content on your website slowing down the speed of your page or delaying your customers' understanding of what you have to offer. You want to slim down and remove any elements that are not crucial to emphasising what you’re offering so that you’re more able to get visitors to accept or engage.

A few things you can start with are:

  • Minimise links on your menu so your most important call to action stands out. If you’re using a campaign landing page, remove the menu altogether.
  • Always remember your primary objective – there is a reason ‘primary’ is used in the term. It’s fine to have multiple objectives, but they should all have a priority order to avoid compromising your primary.
  • Avoid any suggestions that your website visitors check out your latest social media posts or head somewhere else to check out more information. The very last thing you want to do is send them off-page and down a rabbit hole, never to return.

 

  1. Highlight Social Proof and Do A Little Showing Off

Social proof might be a term you’ve not heard of before, but it is essentially a digital translation of word of mouth or advocacy.

The undeniable truth is that people buy from people. Potential customers are more likely to make a purchase, enquire or sign up if you've been recommended by a mutual contact, a previous customer, or a trusted third party, or if they've been exposed to your social media content and built up some brand trust based on what you share.

This is why the business of influencers has become such a big market. Brands look for public figures that appeal to their target market and brand ideals and use them to promote their products to their fan base.

Examples of social proof include:

  • Reviews and customer testimonials: These are shared in the hope they will provide a reassuringly direct answer to a visitors’ most important question: “Will I be satisfied with this purchase/information/service?” These can take the form of written statements or as highly effective videos.
  • Case Studies: Often confused with a review or testimonial, these are actually a very different beast and really come into play when you’re offering a service. They allow you to talk specifics and to achieved results, with the added support of advocacy from the client or customer the work was done with. They can in most cases do far more convincing than any description you can come up with about the service you offer. They can again take the form of written studies or videos.
  • Existing customer numbers or number of products sold: This is a very effective benchmark for potential customers. It shows how many people trust your products or services.
  • Endorsements: Coming from key personalities and thought leaders can be worth their weight in gold, but they are worth more if they’re not paid for. Society has become a little more sceptical as a result of fake news and paying someone to say something about your product and service that appears to conflict with previous statements or expressed beliefs will not do you any favours.
  • Accreditations: SSL secure site icons, industry accreditations from people like HubSpot, Google, Trip Advisor, Feefo or Trust Pilot all build credibility. These vary by industry and there will be some that you know about that are specific to the industry you work in. They’ll help for products and services where you require the submission of personal data. You want to communicate that visitors can trust you to manage their information with care.

Having social proof can make you and your company instantly more trustworthy because statements about how your product delivers a positive experience come from unbiased sources.

Conversion rate optimisation is an endless journey and these tips are just a starting point. You should be able to see an uptick in conversions but it’s all about finding out what works and continually working toward making improvements to maximise your results.

Our experience team here at Eclipse are experts in this field and if you’ve got a specific question, no need a little more information or need some help, we’re here for you.

Reach out and we can see what we can do together to get you converting more.


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.


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.


New UK Yale Store launched by Eclipse.

It brings us great pleasure to announce that today the Team at Eclipse successfully launched the new Yale online store, built on Magento Commerce. It’s the result of some excellent work during a difficult time in the world, proving that an incredible team, dedicated to what they do, can achieve excellence, no matter the circumstances.

 

Yale, part of Assa Abloy, is one of the world’s oldest lock manufacturers with 180 years of history. Started by Linus Yale Jnr, the inventor of the pin tumbler lock and Henry R Towne, they created locks for safes, bank vaults, doors, windows and even for Rolls Royce. Their securities arm also develop products for fire alarm systems, burglar alarms and glass break detectors.

 

Starting the Journey

Earlier this year Assa Abloy UK approached Eclipse as a potential partner to work on the delivery of a new Direct to Consumer store for Yale UK. They had an existing transactional store on Open Source Magento as well as a separate brochure store, however they wanted to consolidate onto Magento Commerce and build a platform that would enable them to grow.

 

A Challenging Discovery

As we all know now, Coronavirus came along and proved a challenge for everyone in business. It was difficult as we had to run our full Discovery workshops entirely remotely in late March and during April. This meant bringing in technology to replace the usual face to face workshops, with the aim not to miss anything or lose any nuanced information that can be spotted when working closely with new clients.

We spent some time working out how best to approach this and realised shorter focused meetings was the way to go. Luckily, we had the opportunity to have a Mini Discovery before the pandemic took hold which allowed us to focus on core topics so we could cover what we needed to in a series of 1.5-hour Teams meetings. Never more than 3 per day to give everyone some time to escape!

 

Lightweight and Agile

At Eclipse, we work with agile processes and working in a now utterly remote team created challenges, but we overcame them.

Magento showed its capabilities early in the project as we had real product data and a functional website to work from very early in the process. And working closely with Yale's Product Owner and business team meant their priorities were considered daily in planning our work.

We delivered the completed project to the agreed timescale and learnt some valuable lessons along the way.

 

Working with Eclipse

Our Magento practice always aims to grow and learn from every project we successfully complete, Yale is no exception. We have had the opportunity to build the foundations of an international site, with rich functionality from extensions, our own development, and collaborative design.

For anyone looking to re-platform, build a new store or upgrade from Magento 1 to Magento 2, Eclipse should be your partner of choice.

We’ve tailored a solution for everyone, no matter where the start point in the market. It’s just about picking the right one for you, then we can get together and get you accelerated toward success.

Take a look at our Magento Packages and then reach out to us. We can talk about how Eclipse can get you moving quickly and growing fast.


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.


How Covid-19 Got The UK To Put Down Their Smartphones

Smartphones were first introduced to the public back in 2007. Since the first shiny iPhone hit the UK shelves there has been a steady increase in people accessing the internet on these devices. On the flip side, people have been accessing the internet less and less through desktop devices.

The graph below shows this trend.

 

 

Mobile access the internet soared and made history in October 2019. For the first time, in the UK, more people were browsing online using their mobile than on their desktop. This reached an all-time high in the UK in April 2020 with 53.97% of people browsing the internet on mobile vs desktop. 

This, however, didn’t last for long. On the other side of the world, something was brewing that would change the behaviour of internet users all over the UK. Covid-19 caused the UK to go into lockdown at the end of March. Suddenly the majority of the UK was working from home so there was no more commuting. The roads were quiet, the trains and buses rattled along with no passengers and cities became ghost towns. People were no longer able to roam the streets so no longer needed roaming data. By July 2020 internet usage on smartphones had slumped to 48.25% and desktop had overtaken mobile once again.

 

 

There are many reasons why more people were now back on their desktops. People were no longer playing candy crush on their morning commute, no longer using google maps to find a new restaurant while out and about. There was no more checking in at airports to let their friends know they’re on their way to Alicante. 

Most of the people in the UK were now confined to their house. Office workers now worked from their kitchen tables, bedrooms became boardrooms and users were spending more time online on their desktops. Even though people were working on their desktops from home they would normally be doing this anyway except in the office. So what could be influencing this change in behaviour?

Well, if you’re anything like me, when I get home from work and I want to do some online shopping or watch a quick youtube video I can’t be bothered to get my laptop out of its case and wait for it to start up. However, if my laptop is already out and switched on I’d be much more likely to hop on that to browse online. This behaviour change could be driving the increase in desktop usage. Another factor could be that people who didn’t previously own a desktop now had a work computer that they were able to access any time from home.

In a survey MarketingWeek conducted with over 3,000 members of the Influencer community, 41% of respondents answered that they were “currently shopping online for things they would normally shop for in-store.” As this was an unfamiliar experience to these people they may have wanted to use a laptop for what to them was a more complex experience. 

But before you go throwing away your mobile-optimised websites current usage, as the UK opens up, data shows mobile and desktop usage is 50/50 with an upward trend for mobile. While desktop usage was higher than mobile in July mobile usage for July was still up on the year before from 46.48% in 2019 to 48.25% so was up by 1.77% on the year before.

With people switching from desktop to mobile and vice versa there’s an evergrowing need to seamlessly combine the two experiences. Apple had begun this continuity with ‘Handoff’ which allows users to start one task on their mobile and finish it on their desktop. Currently, this is supported in a range of applications such as Mail, Maps, Safari, Calendar, and a growing list of third-party apps. This is built into the operating system of Apple devices. Chrome offers tab syncing and Windows has ‘Continue on PC’ which is device agnostic but does require installation. 

There are other options out there. Take eclipse’s AR solution ARES for example. It’s great viewing a 3D model of a product on a desktop browser but the experience comes to life when it is seen through the lens of a mobile camera in your surroundings. This requires users to switch to a mobile device and how that transition is handled is becoming increasingly important. With ARES you can scan an on-screen QR code with your mobile and that will take you to the augmented reality view of the product. This is where you will be able to see the product in your home.

As the UK comes out of lockdown smartphones are being put to use in new ways. Such as, scanning QR codes to check-in at restaurants for track and trace and to view the menu at bars where paper ones have been scrapped. Now more than ever your business needs to be adaptive to these changes and your website ready for anything. Drop us a line if you’d like a little help – we’d love to talk to you.


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.

ACTIVATE AR

 

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.