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.


Micro Moments - Space Between - Blog

Micro-Moments - What Are They and Why Should I Care?

If you are interested in customer behaviour, online user journeys and how these affect your brand, read on…

A Micro-Moment, like anything tech-related, has an emerging and evolving definition. Essentially, any moment where an online user makes a decision, or develops a preference toward a brand, is known as a Micro-Moment. People are increasingly connected. We are also increasingly likely to look to our device in order to satisfy any need that may arise. Think of the last time you wanted to learn something new, research a topic, find an address or look for a recommended restaurant…...we all probably did so online. Essentially, most Micro-Moments are acting on a need that can be categorised as one of the following:

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  1. Wanting to buy something
  2. Wanting to watch something
  3. Wanting to learn
  4. Wanting to do
  5. Wanting to discover

Now let’s put these moments into a measurable context.

Of leisure travellers who are smartphone users, 69% search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they're standing in line or waiting for the subway. Nearly half of those travellers go on to book their choices through an entirely separate channel.

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Of smartphone users, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task.

Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they're standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.

Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company's message influences their perception of a brand [1]

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In other words, Micro-Moments are now accounting for huge online spend when it comes to these immediate purchasing decisions. So what can you do to maximise on these moments?

Instead of looking at your website and working backwards, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. What needs do they have, and what solutions are they seeking? Can you align with any of these, and optimise your website to offer this solution? Then start to think about how you can refine the overall experience for that user, once they enter your sales funnel by engaging with your site, or brand. What aspects of your current solution could be better?


Fashion Industry World Pollution Climate Change

Ethical eCommerce - Selling Ethically Online

We take a look at the fashion industry and the impact on our planet and how we can move towards more ethically focused eCommerce.

 

...the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter to the planet...

 

Ethical eCommerce - Selling Ethically Online

How many of you are aware that the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter to the planet?

Me neither; until I was carrying out some research a couple of months ago.

It surprised me to find out that some of the much discussed, micro plastic pollution is coming from us washing our clothes!…Synthetic fibres coming ‘out in the wash’ so to speak.The movement towards more ethical trade and consumption is becoming more prevalent day by day, but our shopping habits and way of life is counter intuitive to this drive. Our want it now and want it fast habits are adding extra pressure on the environment, but companies and governments are trying to do something about it.

The 5p plastic carrier bag charge is having a positive impact on our habits, since we have implemented this our plastic consumption in the UK has dropped by 83%, with more than £66m of the revenue generated from the charges being donated to good causes*

(*edie.net 2017).

What about Fashion retail?

We’ve noticed an ongoing pressure, and commitment, to driving fair and ethical practices within the apparel retail industry. Whether it’s the environmental impact of apparel manufacturing or the wellbeing of those involved in production, this is something that will shape the retail industry going forward and become an important driver of brand loyalty.

As shoppers become more aware of unethical practices through the news and social media, they will become more loyal and engaged with brands whose ethos matches their own. The rise of fast fashion doesn’t help companies when looking at the ethical process and consumption of clothes. Due to the increase in trend cycles (we can see up to 50 cycles per year, instead of the traditional 2) clothing is becoming a quick fix, short term purchase, leading to a much larger volume of unwanted goods – the ones left in stores and in the back of people’s wardrobes.

According to eConsultancy ‘fast fashion’ has grown by 21% over the last 2 years, much quicker than the luxury market. Mckinsey & Company carried out a study that found the average consumer bought 60% more clothing in 2014 compared to 2000 but kept each garment half as long.

How can we reconcile a business model that encourages such a drive in production whilst meeting the important needs of reducing our environmental impact? Technology is at the forefront of enabling companies to become more responsible towards to the planet. Companies can now use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to better understand their processes, customers and market trends; so they can increase sales, reduce returns and improve stock management. Delivery companies like DPD are committed to smart urban delivery to reduce local pollution and improve customer experience with reduced waiting times for parcels. Shopper user experiences can also be improved to help make buying decisions easier. Fit recommendation technology by Rakuten Fits Me is being used by companies like Mud Jeans, to not only provide a more personalised shopping experience, but also to help reduce their fit based returns. As an ethical jeans company this helps them to meet a variety of their sustainability drives.

 

 


Last Minute Valentines Day Gift Ideas List

Top 5 Very Last Minute Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

ASOS Same Day Delivery

What's better than next day delivery? Same day delivery of course. For just £9.95 you can have your last minute gifts delivered to your door on that same day, between 6pm and 10pm. They have an array of gift ideas, from designer bags and watches to the latest trainer drop. Now all you need to do is keep your loved one distracted until it arrives. To find out more about ASOS same day delivery click here.

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime customers get same-day delivery on a million items in select areas of the UK that include Greater London, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and more. Like with ASOS, items for same-day Amazon Prime delivery are delivered between 6pm and 10pm. To find out more about Amazon Prime delivery same day delivery click here.

Animal Adoption

If you’re buying for an animal lover, why not adopt them an endangered animal online. WWF has 14 mammals and reptiles to choose from, including polar bears, pandas, big cats and elephants. They’ll receive a printable certificate and a cuddly toy and gift pack containing a fact book about their new charge, as well as other goodies. This present lasts throughout the year (or for as long as you choose to adopt them). To find out more about adopting an animal click here.

E-books and Online Subscriptions

Let's hear it for technology. This is great way to get someone a gift they’ll love and use all year round. You could buy your loved one a year's subscription to packages like Now TV or Netflix. Maybe they’re a music fanatic - Spotify or Apple Music might be more up their street. Or perhaps they love nothing more than a good book, so get their favourite series on e-books. To look at Now TV passes click here but all of our suggestions are available online.

Same Day Flower Delivery

Definitely one of the more romantic gifts this Valentines Day, flowers make for the perfect last minute loving gift. Choose from an array of arrangements from different sizes (and budgets). Best of all? You guessed it - same day delivery. To find out more about sending flowers click here.

 

 


Cyber Security Staying Safe Online

7 Tips to Staying Safe Online

In honour of safer internet day today, we’ve put together a list of 7 top tips to help you stay safe online.

1 - How To Create A Strong Password

The strongest passwords tend to be on the longer side. Generally, a minimum of 12 words is a good start, lowercase and uppercase, but the longer better. Another thing to bear in mind when creating a good password is to use not only letters but also numbers and symbols. You want a good, strong password, particularly for important accounts (such as online banking) to decrease the risk of being hacked. Lastly, change your password frequently.

2 - Staying Safe While Online Shopping

Use a secure payment method, such as PayPal or credit cards, rather than de when making a shopping purchase online. This way you get buyer protection and won’t be held liable for fraudulent charges. Also beware of fake shopping apps that may appear in in Apple’s App Store and Google Play, that try to trick shoppers into making purchases for goods that don’t exist.

3. Check If The Website Is Secure

Look out for the following signs to know you are shopping safely with a secure website. And remember, only put your card details into secure websites.  There are some telltale signs to let you know whether a website is secure. These included the following; there should be a padlock symbol in the address bar next to the website address and sometimes the padlock symbol is even green. The web address should also start with https:// And finally, a good way to check if a website is secure is by clicking on the padlock symbol the left of the address bar. Here you will see information on the site certificate which should tell you who has registered the site. If you get a warning about a certificate, avoid the website.

4. Wifi Hotspot Security

Anytime you enter personal information using a public network, you're setting yourself up for identity theft. This is because most wifi spots don’t encrypt your data. So avoid using public wifi for things that require you to log in any personal information, e.g. your bank details. This applies to mobile phones as well as laptops and tablets. Be aware when you're using a hotspot that any information you send through the Internet could be picked up and if it’s sensitive or personal, it is recommended you log this in at home.

5. Using Emails Safely

Avoid opening email attachments received unexpectedly, no matter who appears to have sent it. Also if you are sent links within an email, type out the URL in your browser to make sure you're going to the site you think you're visiting instead of just clicking the given link. Many phishing scams involve emails from what seem to be from legitimate sites, such as banks and online stores. Also, remember that real sites won't ask for important information over email. If you receive something that doesn’t feel right, you can always mark that email address as spam or even block it.

6. Are You Using The Latest Internet Browser?

Every time there is a new version of an internet browser, there will be a boost in security. Older browsers, besides not working as well with some websites, often have holes in their security. This can weaken your online safety.  Updates will keep you ahead of potential identity thieves and keep your credit safe.

7. Do you have an antivirus installed?

This is one simple way to make sure you’re safe online. All you have to do is pay for and set up your antivirus and that’s it. Or if you’ve already got one installed, make sure it’s up to date. Updates often contain changes which help protect you are your devices from scammers and online criminals. (Most antivirus software can be configured to do this automatically). Also, Use a firewall,  it takes just moments for a non-firewalled computer to be infected so stay safe by installing one.


Getting directions with Google Maps API

How to Get Directions with the Google Maps API

This blog post offers a simple solution to providing a ‘get directions’ feature on your website.

I recently had the task of getting the directions from the current user’s location, to the location of a store, as part of an eCommerce project. For this particular application, I was working on the SAP Hybris platform but the process should be the same for any of the main platforms such as Shopify Plus, Magento, BigCommerce etc.

I found the documentation on Google Maps to be a lot more convoluted than necessary. The directions in the documentation explain that you need to use the `DirectionsService` that google maps provide as part of the API, as found in this example.

This is not the case, although you will still need the location in which you would like to direct the user (i.e. the latitude/longitude, or the name of the place).

Assuming you wish to set the start location as the user’s current location, you can achieve this by simply using this endpoint,

<a href="https://www.google.com/maps/dir//{latitude},{longitude}"> Get directions </a>.

There is also an opportunity here to set various rules on how the directions should be set, such as the mode of transport, the travel time, waypoints, and much more. All of these options can be found here.  But, to save you the click, here they are;

{  origin: LatLng | String | google.maps.Place, // where you will begin  destination: LatLng | String | google.maps.Place, // where you will end up  travelMode: TravelMode, //driving, train, boat, transit etc  transitOptions: TransitOptions, // only applies if travelMode is provided  drivingOptions: DrivingOptions, //you can set the departure, and pessimistic or optimistic driving coniditons  unitSystem: UnitSystem, // metric or (the archaic) imperial  waypoints[]: DirectionsWaypoint, // places to stop off on the way  optimizeWaypoints: Boolean, //when true, it chooses the shortest route  provideRouteAlternatives: Boolean, // when true, gives more than one way to get to the destination  avoidFerries: Boolean,   avoidHighways: Boolean,  avoidTolls: Boolean,  region: String}

TLDR;

<a href="https://www.google.com/maps/dir//{latitude},{longitude}"> Get directions </a>

Note: the two  `//` after `dir` are required, as otherwise it will assume you are setting the starting location.


Customer Feedback, Relationships and Reviews

Reviews Matter: How to Build a Better Relationship with Your Customers

Some easy tips and tricks on how to make the most of reviews on your website and increase credibility

Having a good relationship with your customers is arguably the most important part of running a business. After all, happy customers, happy conversion rate.

And one quick, uncostly way to do that is through reviews.

According to statistics, ‘92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer & 70% will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t know’. And with more than one in ten customers reading online reviews, your customers will be your best form of marketing.

Having a product reviews section on your website will mean your products have the backing from your consumers. Those that have bought, tried and tested, your products will be able to review them for other potential consumers that may be browsing the site (and hopefully they will be vouching for you).

Equally, it is important to never remove any negative reviews. This would be dishonest, and that isn’t the message you want to be sending out where your business is concerned. Instead, E.g. if a review says "My product arrived late" replying and saying "We're sorry for the confusion, please get in touch and we're happy to refund your delivery". Customers understand that things go wrong and more interested in the solution.

This approach will appear more professional and suggest that you care about your customers and about improving not only your product but your business. Make the most of these comments. It’s a good way to see things from the other side too!

And it’s not just written reviews. Thanks to social media, your customers can now give you social testimonials.

So for instance, let’s say your business is fashion related. A customer may post a photo of her new dress on social media. She just can’t wait to wear it out this Saturday and tags you in the caption or mentions your brand when one of her friends asks “where’s it from?”. Now, all of her friends and followers that saw her post are aware of who you are. They may even visit your site. And one great tool you could use to help with this would be Yotpo. They allow you to “combine reviews and photos with customizable display options that enhance your brand”.

Whether you’re in the fashion industry, tech, sports, whatever it may be, ultimately the principle works the same. People buy from people.

So not only can reviews potentially make your products more credible but if used in ways like social testimonials, it can generate advertising and reach extra audiences you may not have otherwise.

Is your business making the most of reviews?