E-Commerce Statistics That Are More Relevant Now Than Ever Before

With physical retail set to open again this coming week, the way we shop in 'bricks and mortar' stores is changing forever. Data from the Bazaarvoice Network and analysed by MarketingWeek shows that whilst in lockdown "customers started to really embrace online shopping and began setting themselves up for what looked to be a long period spent at home."

There was a 21% increase in online orders in March 2020 vs March 2019, and in a survey they conducted with over 3,000 members of the Influenster community, 41% of respondents answered that they were "currently shopping online for things they would normally shop for in-store." New data from Signifyd also found that buying online to pick up in store, where it was available, saw purchases surge 248% at the end of May compared with before the pandemic.

eCommerce is booming. It is becoming the first port of call for shoppers and the need to be doing it right is vital. Even with stores opening up again, the trend to purchase and collect in store is expected to continue to rise.

The team at smartminded read through a series of articles published across a number of B2B blogs and searched for the most important stats. They looked for the ones that would help companies to take action and grow their business as fast as possible. They created an amazing infographic with what they saw as the six most important points, that they thought you should keep in mind. It's attached to this article for you to take a look at.

We looked through what they found and pulled out our favourites to help you drive your business toward growth. You can take a look at their full list and download a handy pdf checklist to keep on hand whilst you're planning your next steps.

 

Here are our picks.

93% of the millennials compare online offers with a mobile device. (Statista)

32% of shoppers changed their decision to purchase items after viewing the product information on their mobile devices in a physical store. (Invesp)

Aborted shopping cart emails have an average opening rate of 45%. (Moosend)

Last year, companies lost $756 billion due to poor personalization of e-commerce. (OptinMonster)

73% of consumers will switch from a badly designed website to one that makes shopping easier. (Google)

46.5% of small to mid-sized businesses say that offering free shipping increases their profits. (MCM)

If it is necessary to create an account during the checkout process, 23% of people will immediately abandon the shopping cart. (Baymard Institute)

eCommerce sites can gain a 35% increase in conversion rates with an optimized checkout design. (Baymard Institute)

The biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment is extra costs that are too high. (Baymard Institute)

 

e-commerce statistics

 

If you're looking for advice on how to take advantage of these stats we’re here to help. Both our Experience team and Magento team can help you out. The Experience team can start with a quick audit which within 2 weeks will have delivered a report outlining your users’ frustrations, your website performance and have the first solution live. Our Magento team can talk to you about accelerating your business growth. 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.


Social Proofing - Space Between - Blog

Social Proof - What is It and How Can I Apply It?

There’s no denying the new ‘social’ way of life is changing the way we live and in turn, the way we interact online.

There’s that word again. Social.

Social, this, social that...

There’s no denying the new ‘social’ way of life is changing the way we live and in turn, the way we interact online.

We want to jump in head first to the world of social proofing; what is it? How has it changed online behaviour? How it affects customers decisions and therefore, business decisions. We look at strategies and will hopefully provide you with a nice little doggy-bag of actionable takeaways.

Social Proofing: Back to Basics

We all know by now how social media can influence users decisions, an image or an opinion can soon change somebody’s mind. But what do we know about social proofing as a whole?

Social proof (also known as informational social influence) is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.

Social proof goes far beyond social media and in fact social proofing as a marketing tool far out dates social media platforms. It’s simply the increase in the number of platforms and users of social media that has enhanced the importance of social proof. Keeping up?

Social Proof is identified in six different forms:

1) User Social Proof

This social proof can come in the form of testimonials, reviews or case studies from your existing customers.

2) Expert Social Proof

This social proof comes from reliable, trustworthy and credible experts in the same industry.

3) Celebrity Social Proof

Social proof from celebrities or other esteemed influencers who have bought your product, used your services or visited your establishment, it helps a great deal if the celebrity is properly matched to the brand.

4) ‘Wisdom of the crowds’ Social Proof

This comes when a large number of people or groups provide social proof proving that thousands of people or more have taken the desired business action, be it buying a product or subscribing to a newsletter.

5) ‘Wisdom of your friends’ Social Proof

As above but the social proof is on a smaller scale and comes from  friends of your users or website visitors. An easy example is the ‘like’ button on Facebook.

6) Certification

This one often gets forgotten, however we feel it’s just as important to get a mention. This comes from an accredited 3rd party entity which certifies that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy source.

Why is social proof important for your business?

Users’ movements can be unpredictable especially as technologies change and the Internet adapts. However, a consumer behaviour that continues to remain consistent is social proof, this is why it’s becoming such an important focus for businesses.

FACT: “Studies show that 61% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase and product reviews are 12x more trusted than product descriptions from manufacturers.”

Knowing that over half of customers read reviews before making a decision is monumental, it shows how much trust a consumer puts into others and how they can be influenced.

And in fact, there are further stats to prove the significance of reviews on page, how about these as food for thought: Reevoo research claims that having reviews present on your site can lead to an average of 18% increase in conversion. In 2011 iPerceptions proved that 63%of customers are more likely to buy from a site that has reviews and finally, Bazaarvoice showed that consumers who take the time to read reviews and customer questions are 105% more likely to make a purchase.

By getting the best results from your conversion rate optimisation you will of course increase your ROI. However, in the process social proof marketing can benefit your website in more ways than one. Another significant benefit is boosting your companies brand.

Brand awareness is mostly self explanatory; it’s building your brand to be a well-known, trusted business. Positive reviews, customer recommendations, shares, and media mentions for example, are all social proof strategies that will help build your brand and increase your brand’s awareness. This leads us to the ‘halo effect.’ The halo effect is described as:

...an evaluation by an individual and can affect the perception of a decision, action, idea, business, person, group, entity, or other whenever concrete data is generalized or influences ambiguous information.

In layman's terms it can be said that a well established business brand has an influential effect on a person's decision.

List of further benefits of Social Proof Marketing:

  • A better ROI.
  • Social proof is a way of finding new visitors.
  • An increase in engagement throughout your site.
  • Enhanced customer insights.
  • Social proofing can help you to find the right customers for your business.
  • Social proof breeds trust into customers.

It’s clear to see why businesses are spending time and money on perfecting their social proof marketing; the power of the strategies are undeniably significant in easing the minds of customers, and in turn benefitting your conversion and ROI.

 

27 of the Best Social Proof Strategies to Increase Conversion

Below is a table showing you the best social proof strategies to increase conversion. We’ve given you a helping hand by advising how hard each is to implement and their potential reward.

Social Proof Strategy What is it? Type Implementation Conversion Value
E.g Review E.g Displaying customers case studies E.g Expert E.g Easy - Hard E.g High - Low
Ratings & Reviews Reviews left by existing customers User Easy High
Testimonials Testimonials left by existing customers User Easy High
Influencer / Celebrity endorsements Influencer/celebrity approval of your product/service Celebrity Hard High
Industry badges/certifications The display of certifications and accreditations on your site Certification Easy Medium
Media mentions The display of mentions of your product or brand in the media Expert Easy High
Social Media Proof Use of social media User Easy High
Counters - Real time statistics How many people are viewing the page/making a purchase Friends Medium Medium
Social shares/connections Show real time number of shares Friends Easy High
Subscriber/User/Customer Count The display of your user, subscriber or customer count Crowds Easy Medium
Customer base/Clients The display of client logos on your site Expert Easy Medium
Trust seals - eg payment protection Use Trust Seals such as Norton, McAfee on your check-out page Certification Easy High
Best sellers Show customers which products are best sellers User Easy High
Customers also bought The display of which products customers also bought User Medium Medium
Customer recommendations Present an average of customers that would buy again Crowds Medium Medium
Number of past orders/sales The display of how many orders you've had Crowds Easy High
Ambassadors - highlight comments etc Allow customers to become ambassadors of your brand Celebrity Medium Low
Popular content/products Sharing your popular posts or products User Easy Medium
Customer Showcase The display of happy customers User Medium High
Platform Integrations The display of the logos of integrated third-party services Certification Easy High
Case Studies Encouraging and the display of customers case studies User Medium Medium
Test Scores The display of test scores from independent third parties Certification Easy High
Photos Include photos with any of the above User Easy High
Similarity Use sources that are similar to your customer base User Medium High
Stories and Examples Provide stories and examples User Easy Low
Avoid negative social proof Don't use negative examples about missing out on a product/service User Easy High
Avoid minimal social proof Have a substantial amount of social proof before you put it live User Easy High
FOMO Allow customers to feel like they are on the verge of missing out User Easy High

Summary of Social Proofing

Seeing a long queue might not always make you want to jump in it, but it does spark an interest into what the queue is for and whether or not you’re missing out, it’s a natural reaction and as we’ve proved it’s this psychology of your audience that you need to explore.

When we consider the numbers; over 60% of customers reading reviews before making a purchase, it’s evident that businesses cannot ignore the power of social proofing. Using our comprehensive list of strategies you will be well on your way, from ‘like’ buttons to customer case studies, the list shows how easy social proof is to put into practice. What are you waiting for? Get sharing!

 


Colour Psychology Space Between

Colour Psychology: Increase Sales With One Simple Change

The colours you choose lay the foundation for your online image so it's important to choose carefully.

Web design sounds fancy. Yet, like all elements of conversion rate optimisation, building a website is more about construction than design. The colours you choose lay the foundation for your online image so it's important to choose carefully. Using colour psychology not only helps you look good, it can help attract the right kind of customer to your website and increase conversions.

What is colour psychology?

Colour psychology is the study of how people are affected by colour. You can test how powerful colours are just by thinking of some of the biggest brands in the world. What colour do they use? You'll recall it instantly for Coca-Cola, FedEx, Nike, and Facebook. You also know Coca-Cola is pillar-box red, not burgundy. FedEx is a rich purple, not lilac. And Facebook is a muted blue, not sky blue or sapphire.

Now think about how those brands make you feel. It's common knowledge that red represents a 'bold' attitude and pink points to products for women. But do you know that purple divides people by gender? Women are drawn to it and men are not. These findings reveal how people might react to your website.

What do colours mean?

Site visitors take just 50 milliseconds to make a judgement about your brand and colour plays a key part in this. No doubt you're already familiar with some of the basic assumptions of colour psychology:

  • Blue and green are universally popular. Blue is steady and reliable; green is fresh and calm. An edgy brand wouldn't go for these colours, but a corporate or more reserved company might.
  • If black, white, and grey are flat, unemotional colours (frequently used by tech and engineering companies), red, yellow, and orange are stimulants. These warm colours grab attention, generate excitement, and can create a sense of urgency.
  • Where pink is mostly associated with girls, purple is the grandmother of the colour chart. Pink is energetic and youthful, but purple oozes calm and wisdom.
  • Poor brown is typically unloved. Yet nobody can pooh-pooh the success of UPS – it's still going, since 1907. Brown is a rich part of the company's history and the colour of the original uniform.

The thing that makes colour psychology so interesting is that, despite the trends, everybody is different. People can become obsessive over a particular colour. Just the sight of it can stoke an old memory — good or bad. It's this reaction to a colour trigger that you can test in conversion rate optimisation:

  • What does your audience respond to?
  • Which colours work best in your niche?

How to use colour psychology in web design

Number 1

Use harmonious colours to keep people on the site

The last time you read about complementary colours might have been in school.

If you remember, these are the colours opposite one another on the colour wheel: red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple. The colour wheel has been around since 1666. It was invented by Sir Isaac Newton and used by Claude Monet. Ever since then we've trusted that these pairings are pleasing on the eye.

Image source - http://crobbesart.blogspot.com/2015/03/warm-and-cool-colours.html

More modern depictions of the colour wheel show twelve colours, which make up the RYB (Red-Yellow-Blue) colour chart. For web design, you can pick three colours that sit next to each other on the wheel because they'll always hang nicely together. Or draw the corners of a triangle, rectangle, or square shape evenly within the wheel; the corners pinpoint the selection of colours. These will always work well together because they're part of the same tried-and-tested RYB chart.

Number 2

Keep colours consistent for a dramatic increase in conversions.

Research by the University of Loyola in Maryland suggests that sticking to the same palette of colours on your website can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

If you don't want to mix colours, add black, white or grey to just one colour to create a different hue:

  • Make a colour lighter by adding white (tint)
  • Make it darker by adding black (shade)
  • Change the intensity by adding grey (tone)

A selection of different tints, shades, and tones of your chosen colour can form a colour palette too.

Number 3

Add accents of colour to prompt people to click.

Think about the conversion elements on your website. All the thought that goes into the headline, the description, the navigation, the images, and the button placement.

Do you give the same amount of thought to the colour of these key areas? Is it clear to your viewer what they should click on next?

In the EE example below, they highlight the headline and the button with a flash of yellow.

To keep colours balanced, not garish, use this design tactic:

  • Establish your brand colour by using it across most of your site (60%)
  • Make the brand colour stand out more by using a contrasting colour in places (30%)
  • Highlight areas key to conversion by using an accent colour sparingly (10%)

Think about the colour you use to showcase headings, navigation, buttons, and hyperlinks.

Tip! Background colour affects conversion.

Most websites have a plain background and lots of white space because it makes the text easier to read. Breaking convention with yellow text on a grey background may feel rebellious, but is it a smart move if nobody can read it? If your message is lost, your sale is lost too.

Conversion experts don't guess

Get to know what each colour means and it could give you an advantage in your optimisation strategy. Your next test could reveal something unexpected that turns a poorly performing page around.

  • Colour specialist, Carlton Wagner, once claimed yellow "activates the anxiety centre of the brain". If you're a gentle brand with a peaceful product, you should test yellow against green.
  • The University of Rochester suggests red makes people nervous when taking a test. If you're in the education sector, you might want to avoid red buttons on your website.
  • Orange is said to be a polarising colour; people can hate it as much as they love it. It's worth testing orange with your audience before you launch.

What works for one website won't work for another. Not all women like pinks and purples and some people love brown. Test it in your niche to avoid a flop—like Heinz, who famously tried and failed to launch a green version of their tomato ketchup. Parents didn't respond well to the conflict of colour. Kids didn't like it either because they associate green with vegetables and food they don't favour.

Putting colour psychology to the test (and winning)

When VegasSlotsOnline.com changed a "Sign up here!" button from green to yellow, they saw a 175% increase in conversions. Conversion optimisation is all about human behaviour and this brand knows their customer well. Because of that they were able to test what they thought might be most successful:

"Psychological effects of colour do matter. In our case, we chose two colours, both of which produced convincing arguments for their use. Our test likely would not have been fruitful if we had used white or black buttons. Our niche’s characteristics were paramount to our colour selection."

Try out colour psychology on your own site design

Will colour psychology testing work for you? If you work in conversion, you know there's only one way to find out: Test it. Find out if choosing one colour over another changes the way people behave on your website. It might just result in more click-throughs and more sales.

Here are some tools to help get you started...

Choosing a colour

Selecting colour palettes

W3C compliance

Let us know how you get on in comments. How do you use colour psychology in conversion rate optimisation?


eCommerce Email Marketing

Successful Email Marketing Tips for eCommerce

Email marketing allows you to create a deeper relationship with a wider audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional media while also increasing brand awareness.

What is Email Marketing?

A marketing email is a form of direct marketing via email that allows you to communicate a message to an audience. This audience is a collection of your email list and they tend to be either a current or a potential customer. Email marketing is a great way to stay connected with your clients while also promoting your business.

With email marketing, you can easily and quickly reach target audiences without the need for print space, television or radio time, or high production costs. Also, with email marketing software, you can maintain an email list that has been segmented based on several factors and target them individually with unique campaigns.

Why is Email Marketing Successful?

One huge positive to email marketing is that it is low in cost - it’s that simple. Whether you do it yourself, or through an email marketing agency, marketing to hundreds of consumers via email is going to cost you very little in comparison to other channels of advertising. And other than being cost-effective, published findings showed that 85 percent of retailers consider email marketing one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics (Inc.com, 2018).

Another appeal to email marketing is its versatility. Depending on the size of the email database and the skills of the marketer, email marketing messages can range from simple to very complex. They can also be personalized to include things like the name of the user and even more. You can do this with the likes of Dotmailer.

Another reason is that it’s a great way to keep customers informed. It helps to keep business owners and consumers stay connected. A recent study showed that 28 percent of online shoppers subscribe to store or product emails in order to stay informed (especially if discounts are offered)(McGregor, 2018). Studies also showed that 64 percent of Internet users have printed a discount coupon from an email (Inc.com, 2018). One of the primary reasons people choose to opt-in for emails is for the special or exclusive offers and news. The customer wants to be in the know and up-to-date with your business.

Successful Email Marketing Tips

Before you can create a successful email marketing campaign you need to have a good sized email list. There are different ways to collect these emails, for instance, you could offer a signup form on your website for updates or free downloads of some variety. You don’t have to target your whole mailing list either, you could segment them into groups but this depends on what you’re trying to get across and to whom. One thing to consider is timing. Try not to be too ‘spammy’. The biggest risk in sending out an email marketing campaign is in return you receive a large number of un-subscribers. You want to share valuable content and information with your customers.

Consider your subject line. Is it clear and informative? Perhaps even personalised? It is far better to use a clear subject line that tells the reader exactly what is inside the email and creates immediate curiosity or interest. If you’re offering a discount code, make it known in the subject line, don’t hide it in the body of the email as the buyer may never click on it and know. A coupon code is a great way to entice your customers to open your email and lead to a call to action and can help drive clicks which lead to an increased conversion rate.

This leads to the next point. Write directly to your target audience. Whether it’s women who are interested in beauty products or men who are interested in fashion - create a concise email speaking directly to them, don’t just be generic. Be time sensitive as well with your call to action. If you’re an online retailer offering 20% off on their next purchase. Writing “Today Only - Receive 20% Off All New In” is a good example. Your reader should want to click because there is an immediate benefit and you can also leverage curiosity. Letting your reader know there's valuable content inside is more likely to drive the customer to where you want them to go - and that’s your site.

Lastly, before you send out an email campaign, test it first. Take two concepts you think will be successful and dry run it on a much smaller sample group. Look at the metrics to see which one performs better, that one is the definite winner. This way you can make any last minute tweaks to make sure it’s as successful as possible before you go ahead and launch your email marketing campaign.

Best Email Marketing Tools and Services

Dotmailer is a great service to not only help you create marketing campaigns and help engage one-to-one with your users but much more. They help you create bespoke emails for your customers and tailor them to your chosen demographic cohorts to increase conversion rates. However, if you don’t quite have the budget for Dotmailer just yet, MailChimp is another platform you could use. They connect eCommerce shopping carts and track the results - an excellent feature for an entrepreneur, especially those starting out.

Email continues to be the most powerful of the online channels so ensure you’re making the most of it.

Email Marketing Personalisation

One of the most effective ways to increase conversion rates through email marketing is to make sure your emails are all personalised and you can do this in a number of ways.

Think outside of just inserting their name in the email - think about the subject line too. Emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened (Campaignmonitor.com, 2018). Also look into data and purchase history. Don't spam all your customers on your mailing list with the same thing. For instance, you may have a sale on jackets but you should aim to only send these emails out to customers that have purchased searched jackets in the past.

Similarly, you can email unique product recommendations to your customers based on their purchase or search history as part of your email marketing campaign. This can help to boost conversion rates. Creating real-time, one-to-one targeted content that speaks right to the individual will also help to create a long-term relationship and increase the lifetime value of that customer.

However, there are a few instances where it’s okay to send your email to ‘all’, such as if your brand publishes blog posts or a monthly newsletter. Also if you’re making an important change to your business that will affect customers, it’s good to inform all of them - this could be updated terms and conditions. Another good example is if you’re launching a new product, you want to make sure all your customers are aware.

Conversion from Email Marketing

One way to help increase conversion from email marketing is to optimise your emails for mobile - you should test the optimisation to figure out which elements work as intended and which don’t so your campaigns are mobile friendly. Run an A/B test to evaluate the changes you have implemented and see how your segments react to them.​ There are some things you need to consider when creating mobile optimised email campaigns. This includes things like making sure your font is big enough to read on a smaller screen and spacing out so readers can skim read and not feel overwhelmed with text. Making any links you’ve included visible and easy to access. Reducing image sizes to make them load quicker.

Another way to increase the chances of conversion rates is to segment your email lists. You can do this by categories like demographics and preferences and interests. Once you segment your list, you need to find the best way to approach your customers. By using segmentation to send out more personalised email campaigns, you will increase the relevance for your customers and therefore the interest. Your subject line, the sender name, and the quality of the content are the three things that will determine your recipients' reactions to your campaign and the reaction you do not what is for them to unsubscribe or remove themselves from your mailing list.

You should also consider using the double opt-in method for your customers. This is when you ask them to confirm their email address and that they've signed up for a newsletter by clicking on a confirmation link they receive via email. This way you eliminate all the emails that contain typos or are delivered to the wrong recipient and can grow your list, though maybe at a slower pace, it will consist of real people. More so, Increases the likelihood that recipients will engage with your emails.

Cart Abandonment Emails

Cart abandonment is when a customer fills up their shopping cart online but for whatever reason, chooses not to follow through with the payment and ‘abandons’ it. In an effort to try and capture some of these lost sales, cart abandonment emails are sent to customers who have added products to their cart but failed to check out. When sending cart abandonment emails it’s good to be both specific and personal with your emails. Depending on when you send your email, people might have forgotten about their cart items. So be specific and specify which items are remaining in their cart and it helps if you leave images, this is much more effective. Using visual marketing to show people which items they’ve left makes the email more personal and reminds them of what they’re potentially missing out on.

Again, it’s a good idea to include a discount code so they can finish their purchase.  Offering a special extra 10% or 15% discount offer for your user in their exclusive email to finish their checkout process. It will make them feel valued and their email will feel personalised as it’s not something everyone is getting. To read more on cart abandonment emails and how to increase conversion using them, we have a whole article on it here.

Final Round up of Email Marketing

According to statistics released by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing brings in $40 for every $1 spend, outperforming search, display and social marketing. Aside from it being a financially rewarding process, email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers. Email marketing allows you to create a deeper relationship with a wider audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional media while also increasing brand awareness. Each email that is sent to consumers exposes them to your business and your brand.

You can target your audience - you have the chance to control exactly who sees an email by segmenting your contacts based on factors like demographics or location. Targeting emails ensure that your audience receives content suited specifically to their needs. Email marketing also allows you to boost conversion through offering customers unique product suggestions and discount codes.


How to sell on Social Media

How to Sell on Social Media

Almost 2.5 billion people use social media online today and you can now do so much more than just promote a product on social media, you can sell it.

What is Social Selling?

Almost 2.5 billion people use social media online today and you can now do so much more than just promote a product on social media, you can sell it. Social selling is when a business uses social media to directly sell their goods. It’s the latest way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers by connecting with them.

67% of the customer buying journey is digital. Decision makers read 5 or more pieces of content online before making a purchase. Therefore selling on social media gives eCommerce businesses the ability to make any social media post shoppable. It’s quite simply using online social tools to engage in the relationship-building strategies that have always been the foundation of what good sales professionals do. It gives you the chance to be involved in the purchasing decision.

On the other hand, selling on social media is not about bombarding strangers or followers with unsolicited Tweets and private messages. This is spamming. You need to nurture and build your relationship with followers, posting the best most informative content about your products to the right audience at the right time.

Social Media Best Practices

Studies show that over 50% of people shop on their phones and the majority of these people use social media. So by not participating in social selling you are most likely losing out in revenue. We have put together some best practice suggestions to keep in mind when considering social selling.

Start off by choosing a theme. Each of your social networks provides a unique outlet to your audience. The way you use and run your social media gives viewers insight into what to expect out of you and your page so it’s a good idea to have a theme or tone of voice. This also keeps you consistent with your brand message and image.

Grow your audience the right way. Big numbers are great but what you really want is an engaged and loyal audience. The best formula to steadily grow your customer base is to be consistent while sharing valuable content, sending timely responses, and being helpful and friendly to your users.

Share behind the scenes content. One platform that’s great for brands to show behind the scenes of their company is Instagram. Not just through posts but through Instagram stories. Though the stories format is very similar to that of Snapchat stories, the good thing about Instagram stories is that anyone can view your story, even if they’re not following you, as long as your page isn’t on the private setting. Stories are the ideal tool to show your audience a more raw and authentic real-time look into what sets you apart and what makes your business unique.

One of the most important things you need to ensure you are doing is producing good quality images and videos. If your images are blurry or not clear they won’t generate the attention. Captions are also a great way to engage your users because you ask them questions and spark conversation in the comments. For instance, you may be releasing a new product in multiple colours, you could ask users “which is your favourite”.

Another great tactic is to have specific goals and get to know your customer. Who are they? What are their interests, likes or dislikes? Can your product meet their needs? It’s important to ask yourself specific questions about your buyers in order to target them more effectively. By moving away from basic-level targeting, you spend more time reaching out to the individuals that matter. This way you can relate to them in a way that can potentially result in closing a sale. If you really want to ramp up your social media selling then look to take advantage of UGC (user-generated content). We’ve spoken a lot about user-generated content and the importance of reviews in our other articles, you can read more here.

It is great practise to encourage your staff to be social ambassadors by making it easy for them to share company content on their personal channels such as LinkedIn and twitter. Employee engagement is one of the best ways to get your social message spread far and wide.

How To Sell Products On Social Media

Sales don’t often occur on the first contact, 80% happen on the fifth to twelfth contact but almost half of businesses do not follow up after the first contact. So to win the sale, it’s important to have a follow-up process. The best sales come from relationships that have been built over time.

Active and consistent engagement is an important part of any social campaign. Different ways you can engage on social media include reaching out to your followers, being involved in online conversations and trying to solve any problems left in the comments section. Joining relevant groups and taking part in niche discussions by offering unique perspectives or ideas. Or positioning employees on social as industry experts who share diverse, relevant content can all help you to sell more and grow your online presence.

You will only start to sell more online on social media if you build trusted relationships and nurture them. You want to offer value to prospects first, and sell products second. The priority needs to be the customer and then the sale will follow. The sales you get should be a by-product of the care and attention you give to your customers. Brands and employees can establish this trust to build stronger relationships include connecting to prospective buyers on a more personal level, other than just automated messages (a little extra effort can go a long way) or content and starting conversations around topics related to your industry as a whole. E.g. fashion related conversations. Finally, incorporate social influencer marketing.

How To Use Influencer Marketing

Influencers are people who are active on social media and blogs and have a large following. They are also brand advocates and promote products. Once upon a time, brands paid big named celebrities to promote their stuff, but today it’s social media influencers that brands often go-to. This is because they’re more accessible and more affordable than celebrities yet they still having a large following, often hundreds of thousands.

Once you have identified your audience, it’s time to start choosing and using influencers to social sell. Why engage with an influencer? Consumers trust recommendations from a third party more often than the brand itself. After all, the brand will try their best to make their product sound as good as possible.

When you social sell via an influencer, not only do they bring their audience, but they also bring their audience’s network as well. Due to the loyal following they have, an influencer has the ability to drive interest and traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, while also helping sell your product through their recommendation.

In this example, we see the brand Ego Official, a footwear brand, and Amber Davies, a reality star with 1.6 million Instagram followers.

The caption is engaging and involves her audience into her thoughts (a topic for possible discussion) and in this case, she’s even given her audience an exclusive discount code. This would have been given to her by the brand to further entice Amber’s followers to make a purchase.

Final Roundup Of Social Selling

95% of westerners now own a mobile phone and 2.5 billion people use social media. With statistics like that, not choosing to participate in social selling would be a hugely missed opportunity. Social sellers attract 45% more opportunities than their peers. They are also 51% more likely to achieve quotas and outsell than those that choose not to social sell.

Getting your foot in the door by making sure you have all the relevant social media accounts to sell and promote your products, such as twitter, facebook, and Instagram, is a good start. eCommerce stats show 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide their purchases, and 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media.

If your sales team has not embraced social selling, your sales are quite simply not what they could be.


Shopping Cart Abandonment

Abandoned Basket Emails

How to bring back customers with creative cart abandonment email campaigns

Cart abandonment statistics

Cart abandonment is when a customer fills up their shopping cart online but for whatever reason, chooses not to follow through with the payment and ‘abandons’ it. The global average statistics for cart abandonment rate, for online retailers, was 77.24%. This means that over ¾ of shoppers choose to leave the site without completing a purchase.

In an effort to try and capture some of these lost sales, cart abandonment emails are sent to customers who have added products to their cart but failed to check out. The abandoned basket campaign can be a powerful sales recovery tactic and bring back otherwise lost revenue. Studies have shown that almost half of all abandoned cart emails are opened and over a third of clicks lead back on to the site to make a purchase.

Cart abandonment examples

Some cart abandonment on websites is inevitable. There are many users that may just be window shopping or doing a price comparison for items. They may also be saving items for later or exploring gift options. These things can’t be avoided (and a small portion of these people may likely return and purchase later). But aside from those just browsing, cart abandonment examples could occur for a number of other reasons. These include things like shipping issues, for instance they decided to buy in-store instead.

Lack of payment options or cost can also be another reason. If your shipping costs are above industry average or you add additional fees that don’t appear until after the checkout process has begun, then people will leave. Also, if you have a coupon or discount code option at checkout, people may leave looking for discount codes. If they don’t find any, they may not return to complete their purchase because they think a sale could happen or a better deal on the item will appear at a later time as they’re not willing to pay full price. To prevent this from happening, consider adding a code somewhere visible on your site or consider adding codes to popular voucher websites.

Technical issues are another reason. Sometimes customers may even abandon their carts without meaning to do so. For instance the website crashes - or ever more simply, they had to leave their device to do something and forget to return. Therefore these emails can act as a reminder to come back on to your website.

Other reasons people might abandon their carts is because there was not enough product description. If your website doesn’t provide enough details about a product, shoppers will go elsewhere. To prevent people from abandoning your shopping cart, provide them with as much item description as possible. Perhaps even research competitors that are selling similar products to ensure that your website offers everything they do and more. Also, it might be nice to have the option to live chat on your website, about any queries or questions the customer may have. Delivering good customer service will more likely lead to to a sale.

Checkout templates to avoid cart abandonment

Before we get to the ways we can try to bring back lost customers, it's good to look at the ways we can prevent losing them in the first place with these checkout templates to avoid. Firstly, what are the payment options for your site? Not everyone has their credit card handy when impulsively adding items to their cart so make sure you allow for alternative, quick and easy payment options like Paypal. Make all the payment options known to the user before they proceed. For instance, with ASOS they show the buyer all the methods they take, clearly at the beginning of the checkout option.

Another way to improve your checkout flow, it to include a guest checkout option. Many people abandon their carts because the checkout process is too long. While it’s good to get people to sign in or sign up with you, so you have their information on hand, it excludes customers who aren’t willing to create an account as they still want to buy from you. Making your checkout process smooth and easy for everyone to use, will reduce your cart abandonment rate.

Cart abandonment best practice

There are some best practices to follow for cart abandonment emails. To start off, be specific. Depending on when you send your email, people might have forgotten about their cart items. It’s no good just sending a vague email like “you’ve forgotten your items”. What items? So be specific and specify which items are remaining in their cart and it helps if you leave images, this is much more effective. Using visual marketing to show people which items they’ve left makes the email more personal and reminds them of what they’re potentially missing out on.

Along with specifying their basket with images, give them an incentive - perhaps make it known in the subject like straight away so they’re aware of the offer before the decide whether to click on your email or not. Offering a special extra 10% or 15% discount offer for your user in their exclusive email to finish their checkout process. It will make them feel valued and their email will feel personalised as it’s not something everyone is getting. One of the reasons people might choose to abandon their cart is the price. The products may have come to a total more than the customer initially thought so offering a discount in your email could be a nice prompt to complete their purchase. And you don’t have to offer direct item discounts, you could offer other things like free shipping or a free item at the checkout when they complete their purchase.

Your email needs to read well on every device - expect that the majority of the email you send will be opened on a mobile device so make sure it’s phone friendly. Also you are asking a customer to click-through the reminder and take action so it’s important that when they click the link they are directed to their abandoned cart, not an empty one.

Final round-up

In a recent study conducted in relation to cart abandonment emails, over half of users felt that reminder emails were helpful. And as we saw, customers that are sent cart abandonment emails tend to return to make that purchase. It is worth sending good, personalised emails to customers that do not go on to make a purchase - but within reason. Don’t spam them - You want to send your first recovery email in the first 24 hours of cart abandonment, then leave it to see whether any engagement takes place.

Sometimes item abandonment can happen without the customer meaning to and sometimes it happens due to reasons like cost, which can be won by a personal discount code via that email. Either way, you have a good chance to bring customers back on to your website.

Finally, sending out these emails also lets the customer know you care about their custom and have paid attention to their items. Being specific - including images of their basket - these are the types of details you need to pay attention to.


Google SEO Search Engine Optimization

7 Tips to Better SEO

SEO (search engine optimisation) when used correctly can be one of the most valuable tools to drive people to your website.

SEO (search engine optimisation) when used correctly can be one of the most valuable tools to drive people to your website. It attempts to improve search engine ranking (pagerank) so you appear on Google’s pages more visibly.

Search engines do their job by referring users to websites and content that is the most relevant to what the user is looking for. Being sloppy with SEO could possibly harm your pagerank. 44% of online purchases begin with an online search. We’ve put together seven useful tips to making sure you get the most out of SEO and how to increases your chances on ranking higher.

1. Do you have rich content?

You need valuable or rich content to not only get people to your site but to stay there too. If you’re selling a product include in-depth, rich product descriptions. Without text, Google has no way to rank you and drive search traffic to your website.

If you’re writing content for your website or blog, see what’s popular in your field. What’s trending? The topic is important but additionally, so is the style of writing. For instance, listicle articles (articles in the style of a list like this one)  or ‘versus’ articles, such as our Shopify vs Magento article (which you can check out here), are good formats to follow. Scientific research suggest this is because the human brain has “tendencies to use categories” as this is easier to absorb.

Also, if your content is great, it’s more likely readers will share this with their friends. So make sure whatever your page is about, the content is clear (and matches the title/header). Find the best keywords for that particular page but do not overdo it.

Once you have good content on your site you want to tell Google about it. There are a variety of ways you can do this but one of the best ways is by using rich snippets on your website. Using code in the template on your website you are able to “mark-up” certain elements of your content so that Google pays particular attention to them when it looks at your site.

A few examples of marked-up rich content is reviews, stock levels, delivery criteria, social media profiles and more. You will need a developer to help you to mark-up your content but the value you receive from Google to doing so is often well worth the investment of time.

2. Keyword search

Include targeted keywords in your title and define your content as best you can. The title of your post or page and the tags with it should be similar but not duplicates. Think of it as an ad, you need to entice your reader. Repetition is also fine, just as long as the meaning of the phrase as a whole is sufficiently varied.

Be aware what your audience is searching for and don’t just ‘stuff’ words in as this can equally hurt your ranking. You can use tools to help you, such as Google Keyword planner, that collect keywords from Amazon, Google and Youtube, to see what does well and implement these into your site.

3. Are you including User Generated Content?

UGC stands for user generated content and can come in the form of testimonials, reviews, comments, forums, social posts and so on. Don’t shy away from user-generated content, utilise it. This is valuable and unique content that you do not need to produce. The only reason you wouldn’t include product reviews on your website is if you’re worried about the reviews and consumers know this.

Good UGC boosts sales conversion. Having a product reviews section on your website will mean your products have the backing from your consumers - those that have already tried and tested your products. Your users become part of a happy community. Potential customers see vibrant activity which in turn can convince them to make a purchase more readily. After all, 70% will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t know. When users search a product or business, Google displays related search results but also includes a seller rating. This is gathered from reputable sources that accumulate business reviews. They tend to appear once you have over 150 unique reviews with a combined rating of at least 3.5 stars. Their purpose is to help people searching on Google to find quality businesses that offer quality services.

For instance, you can use instagram social curation and this will help you to drive traffic and sales to your site. You can do this with the help of Yotpo, who launched a way to leverage your authentic customer photos to help your sales. Yotpo also advertise that “Adding customer photos increases conversion by an additional 10%” so it’s a great resource to utilise.

4. Be clear and make sure the user has a good experience.

As mentioned, search engines filter out pages to give the user the options that best matched their search. But is your website easy to navigate? Is it free of spam? Are the 404 errors fixed? Is there a low bounce rate? These are all the things you need to think about when it comes to your on-page SEO.

A website with broken, misleading, irrelevant, or factory-farmed links will make you and your site look bad, not only to users but to the search engines. If the user or customer doesn’t have a smooth experience around your website, it is unlikely they will return.

One way to make sure you customer has a good user experience is by introducing a one-click to buy solution when making a purchase on your website. For instance Amazon and ebay offer this. As we can see, I can type in the product I want and purchase this with one click by selecting ‘Buy It Now’.

5. Product description is important

An SEO friendly product description describes the benefits and core features, alongside the practical use of a product or service. You also need to acquire complete product understanding before beginning. Without knowing about a product, you could end up just giving a general explanation and completely miss the unique selling points of the product and will be lost in the sea of similar products.

Also, write for your audience without isolating everyone else. One customer may be a photographer and may be looking for a specific lensed camera for his work while another customer may be looking for a birthday gift for their loved one. Ensure you have a consistent tone and style throughout your writing. This will make your site appear more put together and cohesive to the users when browsing.

Furthermore, while you want to be thorough with the product description, think beyond the the products technical specifications and the basic functionality it has. Use enticing phrases to make it appeal to the customer, such as ““ideal for entertaining” or “modern, high quality design”. Why do they want this product (or service)? How will it benefit them or their life?

6. Optimise your meta description

The meta tags (title tag and meta description) is used in the <head> section of a HTML document and provides information to search engines and visitors about the content of a web page. They are used to generate the snippet that appears in the search engine results page (also known as SERPs).

A meta description can influence the decision of the searcher as to whether or not they want to click on your content from search results. The more descriptive, relevant and appealing the description, the more likely someone will click through.

One thing you can do to make the meta description better is to treat is as though it’s an advert for your website. Make it as interesting and as relevant as possible. The description needs to mirror what is in the content of your page but it also needs to sound compelling so users are likely to click.

Also it’s important to keep in mind the length of your meta description. It should be between 135 – 160 characters long. Much longer than this and the search engine will chop the end off, so make sure all your important keywords are near the front.

7. Using Social Media

If you aren’t promoting your store or boosting brand awareness, you’re missing out on some easy revenue. Social proof is a powerful way to increase conversions. 85% of consumerstrust social proof as much as personal recommendations.  You could use social media product cards, such as twitter, instagram and facebook and you may have seen these without realising. Let’s take a twitter product card for instance, it’s a social media version of OG tags and they lets you display, similarly, a much richer, content-filled tweet- this is great for ecommerce.

‘97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day’. Making your brand known on social media will result in more exposure and therefore more searches, so don’t be invisible on social platforms.

And lastly, the big one that a lot of brands do, is use social media influencers to promote their business. Paying an influencer to wear or use your product can be more efficient and cost effective than running a campaign. They have built a large following and gained trust and support from their followers, which you now have access to. These are just some of the ways of using social media to increase exposure to your business.


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?