Man on mobile

Why You Should Be Designing For Mobile And How To Do It

This is a follow-up blog from the latest Webinar done in partnership with SAP, The Evolving Customer and their need for Mobile First Commerce. You can register to watch the webinar as an On-demand recording here to see Lucy present the information along with a demo of SAP’s latest platform, SAP Upscale, that puts Mobile First Commerce at the heart of every interaction and offers an experience, unlike others.


We’ll take a look at why you should be focusing your website designs on a mobile-first approach. What the benefits are of doing this and some practical steps you can implement on your website today.

 

Why focus on mobile

To put it simply most people are accessing your website through their mobile phone. Smartphones were first introduced to the public back in 2007. Since the first iPhone hit the UK shelves there has been a steady increase in people accessing the internet on these devices. The graph below shows this trend in the UK. In October 2019 mobile usage overtook desktop for the first time and despite Covid sending everyone indoors mobile usage is still up on the year before. This trend is even more obvious globally where mobile overtook desktop back in 2016.

The reason for their popularity is that they are so versatile. We’re now able to have a computer with us all the time and can play games, browse the internet and go shopping all while sitting on the bus. It’s estimated that 95% of UK households have a smartphone. Being able to use a smartphone to take high-quality photos and share them instantly with your friends on social media has also made them wildly popular. Instead of carrying around a camera, all you need is your mobile. Smartphones are cheaper and more portable than a desktop so it’s no surprise that fewer people have been accessing the internet through a traditional desktop computer.

 

Other benefits

Since mobile takes up the majority of the market share Google ranks for mobile-friendliness. Since 2017 Google has been using mobile-first indexing this means that Google will look at the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. If you want your website to rank highly on Google, and let’s face it who wouldn’t, you need to make sure the mobile version of your site is designed well and meeting Google’s criteria.

Adobe discovered that companies with mobile-optimized sites triple their chances of increasing the mobile conversion rate to 5% or above. It’s a no brainer good mobile design increases conversion.

 

Success story

Sincerely Nude was founded by London based Michelle Asare in 2018. She noticed that she could never find any nude clothing close to her skin tone. This realisation became a frustration. She has always loved fashion and wanted to be part of the change she wanted to see in the world. Sincerely Nude aims to empower women to feel beautiful and sexy in their skin tone no matter what shade or size.

In an interview with Below the fold, Asare explains that having used Instagram as a personal account she began to study how businesses of all sizes used the platform as a marketing tool. From here she launched the clothing brand and eCommerce site and it picked up in just a few days after they launched. Through great product development and a killer Instagram strategy they now have a following of 16,700. Michelle estimates that 70% of her customers are driven by Instagram traffic. Since Instagram is almost exclusively used on the mobile app all of those customers are viewing her website on a mobile. So, it was important for the brand to have a seamless mobile experience. By harnessing the power of social media Michelle was able to drive traffic and sales through her website. A great success story for a business in its first 2 years of operating.

 

Designing for mobile

Now we've looked at why it’s so important to have a great mobile website let’s get to the nitty-gritty of how you can improve your site for mobile. Despite the upward trend for mobile people are slow to change and are still designing for desktop.

 

The old way – Graceful Degradation

Responsive web design has become the norm. Creating designs that can be resized to suit any screen size. This ideology is known as graceful degradation it is where all the details and complexities are added to a website for the desktop. Once you have the complex version of the design the features are stripped away to suit a mobile screen. The problem with this is that often the most important features and content get muddled together. This can result in the most important information and priorities of the website for the user on a mobile device to be lost.

 

The new way – Progressive enhancement

The future is mobile-first. This is because that’s where most people will be accessing your site from so they must get the best possible experience when they do. This is why you should move to the progressive enhancement method where you start with mobile and scale-up. By starting the design process with mobile then upscaling to larger devices it makes sure that the key information is presented to the user.

 

How we interact with mobiles

We interact with mobile devices differently to desktops instead of a mouse and cursor we use our fingers and thumbs. These are larger surface areas so we must increase the size of clickable elements and increased the space between them. As a rule, 30px or 7mm is the minimum height you should be looking at for a button for example. Any bigger than this then you may have to compromise other areas of the design and any increase in size after this has little impact on missed taps. The graph below shows the number of missed taps compared to the target size.

(ux.stackexchange.com)

These touchpoints should be within the parts of the screen that is most accessible known as the ‘Thumb zone’. Particularly if they require additional interactions like swiping. This diagram shows the easiest areas for people to reach. Keep this in mind when thinking of placement of CTA and add to cart buttons.

 

Image Credit (smashingmagazine.com)

 

Mobile-only features

Mobile phones have a great advantage over the desktop because they have a built-in camera. This feature opens up so many opportunities that can’t be recreated on a desktop. That means there's the potential to have a mobile experience that’s even better than desktop.

Search by photo – With this feature users can take a photo on their mobile and upload it straight into a search which will return visually similar product images. The eliminates the need for typing and lets users snap a picture of items they like while they’re out and about.

Card scanning – This is used for capturing card details which is a big pain point for users and can be a big sticking point in the checkout flow. This is a way to alleviate this frustration, instead of having to manually type out 16 digits the camera on the phone can scan the details and enter them automatically.

Augmented Reality – Plenty of big brands are starting to make use of AR to show products in consumers in their real-life environment. For example, with Ikea place, you can see how a table would size in your own kitchen. This isn’t just for large companies either with solutions like Eclipse’s Ares AR solution it’s possible to implement it on your own site.

 

Practical solutions you can implement to improve your UX/UI

  • Keep only the most important information. This is probably the most important thing to consider when designing for mobile. Without the luxury of space, you must keep only the most important information that the user needs to complete the journeys on your site.
  • Don’t be afraid of a scroll. It may be tempting to hide away content in carousels and accordions to fit everything nicely into the small screen. In doing this you create more work for the user by increasing the number of actions they need to take to get the information they want, that’s if they find it at all. Instead, make use of vertical scroll people have become accustomed to scrolling to find the information that they want so having it open and accessible by only a scroll away will come naturally to users getting them to where they want to be as quickly as possible.
  • Think about where your site will be accessed. If people are on the bus on a train or out and they may have poor connectivity to the internet. People will still expect a fast-loading time. By focusing on designing/developing for 3G by default you make sure you’re still providing a great experience when connectivity is limited.
  • Make use of mobile devices native UI for example date pickers. These are familiar to people as they use them daily.
  • When there is a form field that requires an input with numbers use the numerical keyboard. This will prevent mistyping and allow people to fill out the form more quickly.
  • Integrate Apple/Google Pay in the checkout. These stop the users having to enter their card and shipping details making the checkout experience seamless and easy for users. They also have the added benefit of additional security and are easy to set up.

 

Final thought

Mobile phones aren’t going anywhere so businesses must adapt to the ever-changing market. I hope you found this article useful and that you have taken away some useful tips for designing for mobile. If you’d like more advice on optimising your mobile experience contact us, we’d be happy to help.

 


2020 cutout numbers

2020 eCommerce Trends and Statistics

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

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

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

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

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

In that vein, we’ve found this fantastic infographic put together by WebsiteBuilderExpert that looks at eCommerce trends and statistics from across 2020. Give it a read and use what you’ve read as a marker for your 2021 planning. The infographic has the highlights but they've also put together a full detail Ecommerce Guide that has even more awesome and incredibly useful information in it. If you're looking for a little more, head over and give it a read.

And if you need any help with your eCommerce strategy for 2021, Eclipse is here to help. We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

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

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


Shopping bags

The Nightmare Before Christmas for Retail?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Playgrounds can remain open.

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

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

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

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

 

The Busiest Time of The Year

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

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

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

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

 

So Now What?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Experience is What People Want

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

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

 

So, Is It Really A Nightmare?

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

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

 

We’re Here to Help However We Can

We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple. We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

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

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

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC.

And when it comes to Augmented Reality, Our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution, Ares, changes the game and is all about enhancing the online shopping experience for the end-user. It is about lifting product images from standard 2D into something experiential and visually impactful, that truly brings product shopping online to life.

Ares is dedicated to leveraging the power of AR and 3D for so much more than entertainment – it exists as your next step for achieving peak eCommerce performance.

And the reason it is changing the game is that it works straight from the web browser or mobile device, no apps or downloads required. It can be plugged into any website or e-commerce platform and Ares works on the latest Android and iOS devices.

Ares is a full end-to-end AR service for retailers. You don’t need to be an AR expert to get the best out of Ares.

Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can help you in these trying times, let us help you maximise the opportunity, support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.


Woman on laptop

Emerging E-Commerce Growth Trends You Should Be Taking Advantage of.

At Eclipse we live and breathe digital commerce. It’s what gets us up in the morning and keeps us going, and as such, we keep up with the latest and greatest in the industry.

We have done some research and pulled together what we see as the emerging trends for the rest of 2020 and into 2021 that’ll help lead your business into growth.

Across the world, peoples buying habits are shifting and the continued variations on lockdown have even hit the boomers by forcing them to shop online – some for the very first time. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it is a daunting task and the fears and potential risks seem insurmountable.

If you’ve had a chance to see any of the news around digital commerce, you’ll have seen that COVID has accelerated the e-commerce industry’s growth, putting it way ahead of any previous projections and forecasts to date. More and more businesses are starting to take advantage of this by joining the e-commerce business revolution than ever before. Companies that previously embraced the e-commerce trend have already experienced expansion, in the midst of ‘traditional’ retail shrinking.

By the end of 2020, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach £3.3 trillion, as reported by the e-commerce big player Shopify. However, creating a website and selling your products isn’t that easy. The money doesn’t always just start flowing in once you hit publish on that new site. The competition is getting steeper and online shopping behaviours and customer expectations are changing continuously and rapidly.

The changing market calls for keeping up with emerging trends to cut through the noise, get noticed, and attract and retain customers. This is where our research comes in. Read on to see what we think you should be looking into taking advantage of.

 

Product Visuals That Go Beyond Just A Picture

We can all absolutely relate to this – you find a product, you think it’s going to be exactly what you want and you’ve started to justify the purchase in your head but you’re not totally sure if what you’re seeing on the site, is what you will actually get when you make the purchase. So long story short, you hesitate from hitting the purchase button and the shop loses a chance to get a new customer.

As it stands today, simply having online reviews in isolation are not enough to convince a customer to buy your product. Today’s consumers need to trust your company, product and experience before stepping in and starting to purchase. High-resolution images matter hugely in the digital world but even those as static images are no longer enough, either. Customers are demanding more, and that more is 360-degree and AR experiences that let potential buyers view all angles of the product, bring them into their own space and experience what it is like to have it in their houses.

Our AR solution, Ares, allows you to offer exactly that to your existing and potential new customers. It brings 360-degree and full AR experiences to them, right in the browser which removes the need to have to download an app to use it. Keeping people on-site and offering them something that your competitors don’t is only a good thing, especially when that thing is super experiential and proven to drive engagement with customers.

 

Hyper Personalised Commerce

The most successful e-commerce companies are already leveraging personalisation technology to give their customers a customised experience.

These customised experiences are achieved by dynamically showing content, product recommendations, and specific offers based on browsing behaviour, previous actions, prior purchase history, customer demographics, and other enriched personal data.

E-commerce doesn’t include a retail salesperson to recommend products based on interest, preferences, or taste. Human touchpoints provide many opportunities to beat out the competition and some brands have built their entire experience based on this principle. This is what hyper-personalisation on eCommerce does – mimicking what a customer's in-store experience would be, through a unique online customer journey.

Data is what makes this operation work. Social media platforms and search engine tracking tools let you extract tons of personal data about your visitors and buyers, such as search queries, page visits, purchase history, and more. However, limitations are beginning to be placed on access to this data and there is a need to shift to independent data collection from those using your website already. Making it easy for customers to log into your site when visiting it allows you to gather data that will support your ability to personalise future shopping ‘trips’.

“Personalization is the missing ingredient to a successful online shopping experience and will be key to 2020 and the future of e-commerce,” says Juha Valvanne, Founder of Nosto.

To truly get this right, the help of experts is for the most part required to make sure that things are set up in the right way. That will allow you to fully maximise every opportunity that may be possible. Our Experience team do exactly that, and the research is telling us it is a smart investment.

Research has found that customers spend 48% more when their shopping experience is personalized. And, 57% of online shoppers are comfortable with sharing their personal information with a brand if it benefits their shopping experience.

When this is all done right, a customer will feel like you’re reading their mind. This emotional response generates a sense of loyalty, but you need to remember to not do too much too soon as it could feel like a breach of privacy. We’ve all thought our phones are listening to our conversations and felt like our personal lives have been somewhat invaded, this is not what you’re trying to achieve. It’s a fine line and our Experience team are experts at walking it.

 

Make it easier for customers to check out and pay

It’s one thing to build an incredible shopping journey with AR and 360-degree products, personalised recommendations and seamless transitions whilst browsing but it needs to be carried through to the cart and the checkout experience.

Customers want to get in, have an amazing experience and checkout. It needs to be easy and seamless and so many businesses fall down at this point. Ask too many questions, make it too hard to check out and don’t offer enough ways to pay.

For example, when shopping from an overseas business your customer may expect to be able to buy using their preferred local payment provider or in their local currency.

Additionally, customers are used to the ease of shopping on big online retailers like Amazon and ASOS. They save their customers’ billing and shipping information to make for a fast and easy checkout experience without a lot of data entry. Ecommerce websites are increasingly using payment options like Apple Pay, Paypal, and other financing options that enable a frictionless checkout.

Updating your payment provider with a company like Adyen makes doing this incredibly easy.  Being able to take payments from Apple Pay and Google Pay will help with those mobile shoppers and having repayment options like Klarna allow people the option to spread payments.

These are all things that help with conversion, could help increase the average cart value and keep customers coming back. To find out more about making this change, Eclipse can help too. We’re an authorised partner of Adyen and can help you make that checkout experience your customers want a reality.

 

Create Re-occurring Revenue Opportunities with Subscriptions

We’ve highlighted this before in an article we wrote recently. Recent research has shown that UK consumers now have on average seven subscriptions per household, spending around £46 a month or £552 a year.

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

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.

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.

And if you needed more reason to consider it as a new business opportunity 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.

These are some of the biggest emerging trends that we’ve spotted, and we’ll always continue our research and bring you the latest emerging trends as we find them. And if you would like to talk to us about anything you’ve read in this article, we’re here to chat it through and offer advice and as much help as we can.


Man with painted face at laptop

The Time for Staying on Magento 1 Has Expired

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

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

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

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

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

 

Magento Exploit Sold

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

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

 

What They Found

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

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

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

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

 

What to do now?

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

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

 

Eclipse is here to help

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

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

We have a history of both developing from new and re-platforming businesses with Magento. By working with us, you’re getting access to this experience and expertise.

Reach out to us and let’s start talking about how we can get your site moved and more secure.


Ares example

AR and 3D Makes Shoppers More Likely To Buy

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

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

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

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

Other key insights were:

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

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

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

 

It's Not Complex At All

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

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

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

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

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


The Smart Money Is On Offering Retail Subscriptions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

It’s About Creating Reoccurring Revenue

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Offering Subscriptions, The Right Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More Good News for Online Retail

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

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

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

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

 

The Numbers Speak Volumes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What Does This Mean For Retailers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How Can Eclipse Help

We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple.

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

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

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

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC.

And when it comes to Augmented Reality, Our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution, Ares, changes the game and is all about enhancing the online shopping experience for the end-user. It is about lifting product images from standard 2D into something experiential and visually impactful, that truly brings product shopping online to life.

Ares is dedicated to leveraging the power of AR and 3D for so much more than entertainment – it exists as your next step for achieving peak eCommerce performance.

And the reason it is changing the game is that it works straight from the web browser or mobile device, no apps or downloads required. It can be plugged into any website or e-commerce platform and Ares works on the latest Android and iOS devices.

Ares is a full end-to-end AR service for retailers. You don’t need to be an AR expert to get the best out of Ares.

Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can help you move with the shift change, maximise the opportunity and support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Some Of The Biggest Players Are Already Doing It

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

I’m Sold! How Do I Get It

 

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

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

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

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

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

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.