Ecommerce, social business, digital economy report


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The Ahain Group has researched and explored the e-commerce landscape for retailers, analysing the trends from mobile commerce to augmented reality and click & collect.

43% of Irish consumers are saying they have made an online purchase within the previous 12 months. This represents an increase from 36% in 2010. The use of e-commerce for purchases has grown from 44% in 2010 to 49% in 2011. While in the UK, online sales recorded a 17% jump from July 2011 to August 2011. For the year, that’s £6.5 billion spent online with each person spending an average of £128. Total growth in 2012 is approximately 13%

Moving on-line to ‘e-commerce’ is very attractive to the retail sector especially, allowing vendors to sell to the global market. However, setting up an e-commerce store-front requires much more than pretty web pages to greet prospective buyers.

Turning ‘lookers into bookers’ requires:

- An in-depth understanding of target customer needs
- Competitive analysis to enable formulation of a competitive advantage strategy
- Optimisation of the online store for searches
- Development of all traffic streams to entice people to the trading platform
- Research and continued optimisation of all transaction flows
- A listening post to monitor public perception, awareness and sentiment

Big name brands like Burberry, Next, Amazon and John Lewis use their status to optimum advantage in the online environment. With substantial financial budgets, these brands could dominate. However, the ease of entry, low maintenance costs and the ability to reach a wide (global) audience without huge investment, afforded by the Internet, level the playing field somewhat.

This report includes:

- Insights into how consumers shop online – what they buy, why they buy
- Four case studies on the ‘masters’ of e-commerce – Amazon, Burberry, Littlewoods Ireland and John Lewis
- Factors contributing to the creation of a successful e-commerce store
- A deep analysis with innovation examples on mobile marketing campaigns and mobile commerce

This report seeks to analyse some key insights into e-commerce practice, to provide case studies of some of the leading e-commerce websites and to uncover ways that Social Business empowers e-commerce strategies by addressing areas where retailers can evolve within the digital dynasty.

Christina Giliberti, Associate at The Ahain Group and report co-author, said “The era of digital in retail has exploded globally. Fuelled by technological advancements such as augmented reality, wireless and mobile, the direction of e-commerce is very much of the flexible, multi-platform variety. It’s an exciting time for retailers to utilise this technology and provide a customer-centric experience in-line with the trends of ‘explore, interact, socialise, blend, mobile and integrate”.

For more information, contact The Ahain Group:


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Ecommerce, social business, digital economy report

  1. 1. Social Business ECOMMERCE & THE DIGITAL DYNASTY An Ahain Group Report by Christina Giliberti, Greg Fry, Anton McCarthy & Stephanie King
  2. 2. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 2 Table of Contents Executive Summary ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…….. 3 Benefits of E-Commerce ………………..……………………………………………………………………..……….…………………... 4 What is E-Commerce Worth……………………………………………………….………………………………………………………..7 Behavioural Insights ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….….16 What Makes a Successful E-Commerce Store …………..………………….……….………………………………..………….23 Technology: Platforms, Engines and Gateways …………………………………………………………………………………..36 Learn From the Masters ……………………………….…………………………..…………………………..…………………….…… 46 Opportunities for Retailers ……………..………………………………………………………………………………………..……… 65 Conclusion ……………………………………….…………………………………………….……………………………….……………..… 80
  3. 3. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Businesses across the world are reviewing their business strategies and allocating a higher proportion of budget and resources to their online operations - 20% in 20121 . Moving on-line to ‘e-commerce’ is very attractive to the retail sector especially, allowing vendors to sell to the global market. However, setting up an e-commerce store-front requires much more than pretty web pages to greet prospective buyers. Turning ‘lookers into bookers’ requires:  An in-depth understanding of target customer needs  Competitive analysis to enable formulation of a competitive advantage strategy  Optimisation of the online store for searches  Development of all traffic streams to entice people to the trading platform  Research and continued optimisation of all transaction flows  A listening post to monitor public perception, awareness and sentiment This report seeks to analyse some key insights into e-commerce practice, to provide case studies of some of the leading e-commerce websites (such as Amazon, Burberry, Littlewoods Ireland and John Lewis) and to uncover ways that Social Business empowers e-commerce strategies by addressing areas where retailers can evolve within the digital dynasty. 1 Issue 25
  4. 4. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 4 BENEFITS OF E-COMMERCE E-commerce allows consumers and businesses to conduct instant monetary transactions via online platforms, using the Internet - the transactions can take place, irrespective of physical location. Benefits for retailers Benefits for retailers include:  web platforms are available 24/7 and are not restricted by normal shop hours  customers can transact from any global location (although shipping restrictions can be applied by the store owner/manager)  transactions happen in real-time and often in less time than in personal transactions  there are no restrictions on numbers of customers ‘in store’  there’s an ability to sell an infinite range of items (as opposed to only those you can keep physically within the store)  flexibility allows editing and publishing simultaneously  online transactions and activity can be both monitored and measured An airline e-commerce website is a classic example of all of the above.
  5. 5. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 5 Customers can book a flight day or night, saving the airline from answering calls 24/7. News items can be published instantly and updated in real time. Benefits for customers  no need to spend time travelling to stores, parking, getting caught in crowds or queuing  have access to a generally more extensive range of items  shop anytime, anywhere – at home, office or while travelling  simple to search for items and transact  there are better bargains online  can compare items side-by-side
  6. 6. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 6 The Next Directory Ireland store actually stocks a fraction of the complete range of women’s shoes that are available to purchase online. The online store features mouse-over previews of the next page to save on irrelevant clicking for customers.
  7. 7. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 7 WHAT IS E-COMMERCE WORTH? The value of e-commerce activity is generally measured in terms of transactional volumes. Whilst this is important and useful data, a number of other factors are important in determining its value. Whilst total sales may be rising therefore increasing profitability, operational costs are generally much leaner too. Add the Internet’s ‘borderless’ reach and it’s easy to understand the tangible and intangible worth of e- commerce. As one might expect, the US and the UK are the influential forces in the e-commerce sector. However, as the economy adapts yet again and Internet coverage expands, newer markets – such as China and India - are beginning to flourish. The forecast chart above predicts that Asia will supersede all other regions by more than $50,000m in profit in 2013. E-commerce figures vary greatly by geographical location; the following section sets out some figures for Ireland, UK, US and global.
  8. 8. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 8 Ireland Total ecommerce spend within Ireland was 2.96 billion in 2010 and rose to 4.1 billion in 20112 . Ireland’s population stands at 4.6 million in 2013 and currently there are limited resources to fully explore e-commerce adoption. According to the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) Irish consumers will spend more than €20bn online each year by 2017. Image Credit:  VISA3 has reported that €2.96 billion was spent on online purchases by the Irish adult consumers in 2010  Amas4 has published a report suggesting that 43% of Irish consumers have purchased online in 2012  Of the €4.10bn spent in 2011, 75% went to companies outside of Ireland. It is forecast that this figure will grow to over €15bn by 2017 (CSO)  2.6 million Irish people regularly shop online5 The biggest challenge for the Irish retailer is selling within the domestic market. According to the statistics above, of €4.10bn, only 25% was spent within Ireland. This exposes a considerable gap in the market for Irish retailers to fill, if they can attract customers with products, fair pricing and incentives. Littlewoods Ireland is an example of a successful retailer within the Irish market - who were predomin- antly a catalogue retail business, but now conduct 84% of sales online 2 3 4 ( Issue 25) 5
  9. 9. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 9
  10. 10. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 10 UK The UK population is 63.2m.6 Of this figure, 33m. adults accessed the internet daily in 2012 and 51% accessed via a mobile device.7 Image Credit:  According to the ONS8 , around two thirds (67%) of 25-34 year-old adults bought goods or services online in 2012 – an increase of 14% from 2008  32% in the 65+ age range bought online – an increase of 16% from 2008  It is estimated that UK online retailers are at risk of losing 30% of potential business by not having a website that works on mobile9  More than 95% of UK shoppers have made an online purchase, yet of 70% of UK businesses with a website, just 40% accept online payment10 6 7 2012part2.html 8 2012part2.html#tab-Internet-shopping 9 IAB Rich Media Brand Effectiveness Study July 2011 10
  11. 11. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 11 Image Credit: ONS All age groups purchased more goods online for 2012, with the exception of the 25-34 age range, although the difference in comparison to 2011 is slight. The key point is that mobile is the biggest disruptor and retailers need to maximise mobile capability in order to compete and profit.
  12. 12. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 12 USA The USA is the front-runner when it comes to e-commerce purchases. A mature online market and a strong digital adoption rate have contributed to online profitability. Image Credit: Commons.wikipedia  Retailers’ e-commerce sales for 2010 increased by 16.3 percent; e-commerce was 4.4 percent ($169bn) of total retail sales, up from 4.0 percent ($145bn) in 200911  In the first quarter of 2013, e-commerce profit was recorded at $61.2 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent (±1.4%) from the fourth quarter of 201212  In 2012, North America sales increased 13.9% to about $365 billion and Asia-Pacific sales increased by 33% to about $332 billion - the gap between the USA and Asia Pacific is rapidly closing13 From the table above, profit figures attributed to e-commerce sales are rising every quarter. 11 12 13
  13. 13. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 13 One USA retailer which has seen high online sales is Apple. Apple’s rapid growth coincides with the launches of the iPhone, iPad, iTunes and App store. The latter two have reached $25bn sold and $50 bn downloads, respectively. [See overleaf] • iTunes Store Sets New Record with 25bn Songs Sold • Apple’s App Store Marks Historic 50 Billionth Download
  14. 14. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 14 Global Global e-commerce sales reached $1.08875 trillion in 2012, up 21.9% from $893.33 billion in 201114 Image Credit: The potential to sell beyond the domestic market into the international market is a long-term objective of many online businesses. In terms of statistics:  Internet users now account for one-third of the world population and one billion persons are expected to make a purchase online in 201315  It is forecasted that in 2013, total e-commerce sales worldwide will grow 19.3% year over year to reach $1.29844 trillion16  China alone now represents more than 22% of the entire world's Internet users, with more than 40% of the population using the Internet on a regular basis17  European countries with high online retail market shares included Germany (9%), Switzerland (8.7%) and Norway (8.1%), while the lowest were in Italy (1.3%) and Poland (3.1%) 14 15 16 17
  15. 15. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 15 The challenges of selling abroad mainly centre around:  Costs (fees, taxes, transportation, postage)  Legalities and compliance (especially in the medical, pharmaceutical and beauty trades)  Operational (distribution)  Language and cultural barriers (translations - packaging and cultural understanding, product adoption - straight or modified products)  Strength of the local competition in the purchaser’s country The food retail industry has been faced with the challenge of international trading with the emergence of receptive markets such as the Far East, India and Brazil. Increased affluence in these markets, whilst representing opportunity has meant that vendors have to compete with local food retail leaders for market share. A big issue for food retailers is the ability to understand their consumers (culture, social norms, values, shopping patterns, choices) and whether they should standardise a current offering or adapt it to suit online sales. Tesco is a good example of how understanding international customers’ culture better, and by working with technology, can work to its advantage. As exemplified by its experience of reaching one of the top positions in Korea. It researched South Korea before entering the market and, in particular, looked at the largest competitor - E-Mart Co18 The results of the research showed that a high number of people there work long hours and commute via the subway. Tesco utilised augmented-reality technology and entered the market by setting up virtual stores within subway stations, allowing commuters to simply scan their goods by smartphone19 18 19
  16. 16. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 16 BEHAVIOURAL INSIGHTS ‘43% of Irish consumers [are] saying that they had made an online purchase within the previous 12 months. This represents an increase from 36% in 2010. The use of e-commerce for purchases has grown from 44% in 2010 to 49% in 2011’20 These represent a distinct leap into e-commerce, but what is e-commerce worth, why do people shop online and what are they actually purchasing? 20 ( Issue 25)
  17. 17. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 17 Image Credit: The rise in the rate of e-commerce adoption reveals the steady increase of consumer use in the sector is shown in the following table: December 9, 2002 1.7 million items ordered 20.0 items/sec. worldwide December 10, 2007 5.4 million items ordered 62.5 “ “ November 29, 2010 13.7 million items ordered 158.0 “ “ In the five years between 2002 and 2007, transactions increased by over 300% and profit by 2.5 times; in the three years from 2007 to 2010, transactions increased by over 150% and profit again by 2.5 times. Why and What Do People Shop Online? The upward trend of online retail statistics (shown above) is reassuring, yet all successful e-commerce store owners pay close attention to the more insightful ‘why’ statistics Understanding the ‘why’ and ‘what’ precedes/supports product decision-making, such as:  What to sell or specifically, what IS selling in the marketplace  Number of ranges / depth of range  Price (including postage and packaging)  How often to update  What to discount or promote Importance is also placed on the ‘way’ products are published and promoted:  What products are featured on the homepage  What categories each product falls under (primary, sub and sub-sub categories)  One-click purchases and streamlined/optimised checkout
  18. 18. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 18  Production of ‘sticky’ content and techniques, e.g. a feed with ‘similar products’, ‘also by [brand name] or ‘customers who viewed this product also viewed....’  Whether or not to add reviews These are reviewed in some further detail for the four markets considered, in the following section. Ireland Irish consumers are going online to save money, with a majority believing that online shopping can result in savings of 18% compared with prices on the high street21 Principal reasons Irish consumers give for choosing to shop online include:  Shopping when I want (54%)  Saving time (54%)  Getting other consumers’ opinions (50%) Praise is given for trust, price and presentation and simplifying the sales process plus an easy returns policy are factors that online shoppers rate as high priority. What Are People Purchasing Online? Does everything sell online or are certain products and services favoured more highly? And does this change by geographical location? 21 VISA Europe,
  19. 19. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 19 Image Credit: 22 In Ireland:  34% of consumers are turning to the Internet to book holidays or business travel  Clothing and sporting goods showed significant growth, with 17% of the Irish population making an online purchase compared with 13% the previous year  The largest gaps between Irish and UK e-Commerce figures are in groceries and food – 20% of UK consumers now buy them online – and 33% buy household goods online, compared with just 4% and 8% respectively, in Ireland The travel sector was an early adopter of e-commerce. As an example of results achieved, within three months of the Ryanair’s website launch in 2000, they received over 50,000 bookings per week.23 In common with most vendors, Ryanair is constantly under fire for not embracing multi-channel digital. If it did, it is estimated that bookings could increase significantly and, in the process, it could create a Social strategy to not only increase sales through content and incentives but also to ameliorate the burgeoning negative comment on add-on fees and penalties online. 22 23
  20. 20. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 20 UK UK online sales recorded a 17% jump from July 2011 to August 2011. For the year, that’s £6.5 billion spent online with each person spending an average of £128. Total growth in 2012 is approximately 13%.24 The main reasons UK consumers give for choosing to shop online are25 :  Convenience  Better pricing  Variety  Fewer expenses  Comparison of prices The findings resemble the Irish online shopper reasons and reinforce the core benefits for retailers. What Are People Purchasing Online?  74% of UK consumers use the Internet for household grocery shopping activity 26  The most popular categories for online purchases are travel, books and groceries  UK consumers are embracing the new generation of Internet-enabled TVs with 15% owning such a set, compared to 10% in the USA27 24 IMRG Capgemini eRetail Survey 25 26 internet-for-grocery-shop.html 27
  21. 21. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 21 Again, travel is at the top of the list and books continue to yield strong results, possibly supported by the introduction of electronic books (e-books) that can be read via a Kindle, iPad or similar reader. Kindle “After five years, e-books [are] a multibillion-dollar category for us and growing fast—up approximately 70 percent last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just five percent.” Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. Amazon’s recorded media sales were $19.9bn in 2012, although this encompasses the entire media offering. Pacific Crest estimated that the Kindle Fire models sold 6m units during Q4 2012.28 28
  22. 22. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 22 USA According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the manufacturing sector is the largest contributor to e-commerce sales (46.4% of total shipments), followed by merchant wholesalers (24.6% of total sales). These two segments make up the business-to-business category.29 U.S. e-commerce has seen steady growth for several years and shoppers are expected to spend $43.4bn online this holiday season, an increase of 17% on last year and the biggest e-commerce growth projection since the recession hit. This healthy growth figure is in large part influenced by the emergence of digital services that have made online shopping more enjoyable, more unique or generally easier to participate.30 A comparison of ordering via PC or smart device reveal that airline tickets or holiday packages continue to be purchased mainly on a PC. Purchase of musical downloads, e-books, CDs and DVDs have all increased on smart devices. Laptops are the most popular electronic device, used by over 80% of consumers and tablet PC’s are now owned by just under 30% of consumers. In the USA, downloads are the quick and easy sale. The music industry in particular has strengthened in the digital arena.  The proportion of U.S. consumers’ disposable income spend on digital music is more than five times higher than in Europe.  Online, U.S. broadband users spent an average of US$12.5 on music compared to US$7.8 in the UK and just US$0.6 in Spain (2007)31 29 U.S. Census Bureau 30 ComScore 31
  23. 23. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 23 WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL E-COMMERCE STORE This section explores factors that contribute to the creation of a successful online e-commerce presence. Image credit: According to Theo Paphitis32 ‘There’s only one thing that’s shaping retail at the moment and that’s technology.’ 32
  24. 24. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 24 He goes on to highlight ‘changing trends’ towards e-commerce activity and his own ventures; all profitable online.33 His e-commerce website - Boux Avenue - is a lingerie business that lends itself well to online. As this quote suggests, his success started with passion ‘If I could give just two pieces of advice for people who want to succeed in retailing and go into retail management, it would be one - passion’. A significant number of integrated variables are prerequisites to the set up and execution of a successful online e-commerce store:  People/Team working within an agreed process  Efficient communication internally and externally  A platform that is easy to manage, fluid and flexible (including CMS)  Operations - storage facility and transport network  Marketing, Sales and Customer Service process  Selection of products and competitive pricing  Knowledge of the online market and key trends  A monitoring-evaluation-implementation feedback loop Hurdles While the benefits of running an e-commerce store are sure to motivate retailers to invest, there are certain hurdles to be aware of in the pursuit of success: 33
  25. 25. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 25  Technology is progressive. That means it moves at a pace and e-tailers will need to be aware of emerging technologies and trends to avoid the dinosaur effect (being out-dated and becoming extinct).  Competition is rife. You may have ten local stores for competition where you are, but online, every store that sells to your customer base is a competitor. This leads to a lower loyalty rate, an emphasis on presentation and a need to stand out from the pack.  Loyalty is gained through satisfaction. This is based on e-commerce criteria such as - design of site and branding, architecture of site, availability of products, desirability of range, price, cost of delivery, lead-time, payment options, reviews, etc. It may be easy for people to buy from your store, but is it even easier for them to buy from somewhere else?  International trading - legislation, trading laws and e-commerce compliance, such as the cookie directive.34 When building and managing a website, there are certain legalities to be considered, e.g. : Cookies Policy An important regulation for Irish website owners is the Irish Cookie Regulation,35 which states that a user must be presented with a prominently-displayed pop-up that allows them to 'opt in' so that websites can append cookies to the user's machine. Cookies are files that are stored by a website on a user’s computer hard drive, which can then collect information about the user’s preferences and other information which a user will need when visiting the website, for example log in details, credit card details, locations, preferences and any personal details a user submits to the website for whatever reason. The information stored in a cookie relates to how the user browses the website and allows the website to remember that user and their preferences when they return to it at a later date. Importantly cookies are also used for marketing and advertising purposes as we seen later. RTE, for instance, has a nicely branded pop-up to alert users to its cookie policy. 34 s4HQBw&usg=AFQjCNHPzw2DT4L_hzerTn4iPZML00ffPg&sig2=j0Er- 61c6BKe2AV_KdOBWw&bvm=bv.46751780,d.ZGU 35
  26. 26. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 26 In spite of the advantages that can accrue from having an effective e-commerce web presence, some retailers shy away from the same. An example is Primark/Pennys which has nonetheless achieved profits increasing 56% to £238m in 2012.36 Proponents for e-commerce, however, would probably suggest that e-commerce would provide them with limitless expansion and a wider consumer audience. Primark/Pennys issues regarding ‘transportation’ are a chief concern for all retailers, although Debenhams, Next, River Island, Littlewoods, Zara, Ann Summers, Boux Avenue, Amazon and countless retailers (whether pureplay or bricks and clicks) have proven the e-commerce model in the fashion industry. The question is whether the challenges of selling own brand clothing would affect overall e-commerce sales Primark/Pennys 36 commerce?utm_medium=email&utm_source=daily_pulse
  27. 27. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 27 An exploration of how to create a successful e-commerce store The customer is always right, but the customer doesn’t know what they want or where to find it A bold phrase, yet a practical one that prompts online store owners to go back to basics and plan a store from the perspective of the user - in basic terms, customers want:  pleasing design  ability to find items quickly  fair price  sufficient information to support decision-making  trust (transparent legal/payment security) Common amongst successful e-commerce stores are:  An in-depth understanding of target customers’ needs and how to utilise this knowledge to create an attractive user experience  Continued competitive analysis to set/retain a competitive advantage (product range, price and promotion)  Clever use of available technology and the ability to upgrade in-line with trends and changes
  28. 28. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 28  Marketing processes to develop all traffic streams to entice people to the platform e.g. search and referral  Research and continued optimisation of all transaction flows  A listening post to monitor public perception, awareness and sentiment Who are your customers? Before developing products and services, the holy grail of any business is knowing who the customers are. Customer profiling is the process by which an organisation will outline criteria to create a representation of the ‘ideal’ customer - a common sales and marketing practice. Online, this process will shape the entire online experience from design to architecture, goal flows and tone of voice. As an example, if the customer base is 18-25 years old, then the design will be slick and modern with more technical features and an informal tongue. Example of ‘teen’ branding - If the target audience is more discerning and mature, a more formal branding would be more appealing.
  29. 29. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 29 Competitive Analysis One of the biggest challenges in the e-commerce industry is direct and indirect competition. With an endless list of comparison websites online,37 rate parity is becoming more difficult. In fact, price is the number one incentive for purchases and one challenge for the smaller retailer is how to compete against the larger retailers who can use economies of scale to drive down online prices. Some retailers use price to leverage online sales. Amazon, for example, has used price (with mobile technology) as the competitive edge with the Amazon ‘PriceCheck’ App. The App allows users to scan products or search for them on Amazon to compare prices – allowing them to find and try on/see/feel the product they want, then purchase online. A popular online incentive that utilises price as a key sales factor is a ‘Price match guarantee’. This seeks to reassure customers that purchasing from the retailer will yield the lowest price, regardless of competitor prices. Retailers are warned here to create terms to safeguard this guarantee. Promotions are another way to compete in the e-commerce marketplace and via online and offline forums. A multi-channel approach tends to yield a much higher conversion rate than a singular, independent approach. 37
  30. 30. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 30 Customer Needs and the User experience Attracting customers to your store is only half the battle. Impressing them, engaging them and helping them to find exactly what they need is all part and parcel of the role that the user experience plays. The store experience from a user perspective can be split into: - 1. Ambience 2. Navigation and usability 1) Ambience Physical stores use location, building design, store branding, layout, scent branding and customer service (dialogue). The dotFNB store (First National Bank)38 is a cash-less store that focuses on the digital experience and merges banking and retail. The clean styling is similar to two key digital/IT brands - Apple and Google. 38 experience/
  31. 31. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 31 A website is a representation of a business, and the ‘mood’ created for customers invites them to explore, but the website store must also appease search engines. Both Moo and Vistaprint use Google Adwords to support their search engine marketing. search for ‘business cards’ Websites also must not distract from the products and services they sell. In fact, Amazon, River Island and Debenhams opt for a simplified brand experience, allowing the photography to express the brand style. The architecture is neat, colours limited and the shop-front is split between main product focus (Kindle), navigational menu, Amazon merchant ads and popular products.
  32. 32. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 32 A good example of branding is displayed by Yesterdays39 designed by Jamjo Design.40 The products are central to the homepage and all menu items are designed to target customer interests. The wow factor of the banner captivates the visitors and allows the store to treat visitors to a special glimpse of a theme or product range. The ‘wallpaper’ is subtle, yet leaves visitors in little doubt that Yesterdays has an atmosphere of ‘past times’ with an art-deco/Victorian flair. 39 40
  33. 33. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 33 Yesterdays is an Irish-based store, yet online the brand can be experienced worldwide. And, mirroring Amazon, products are given much homepage frontage. Navigation and Usability Navigation within physical department stores and supermarkets requires negotiation of an entrance, exit and rows of aisles or segmented brand/category clusters such as footwear and cosmetics, with overhead signage. Close to aisles or clusters are checkout points, with incentive impulse buys (generally low-cost desirable items like chocolate bars, gum and wrapping paper). All have a kind of order to ease the shopping function. Smaller stores limit signage and use small clusters such as casual, formal, footwear and accessories. These stores are small enough for the shopper to casually walk around. An e-commerce store must do a similar job using architecture and menus in a more streamlined fashion.
  34. 34. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 34  Overall layout (Home-page, menu placement, filter placement, how products are formatted, landing pages, etc.)  Structuring and categorising thousands of pages in a systematic order  Menu items and which are primary, secondary navigational Cisco, for instance, uses mixed text and graphical menus. The items are selected based on popularity and ‘all products, solutions and services’ are hidden and accessed via three links to keep neat. The three core customer segments are split into ‘Enterprise’, ‘Small Business’ and ‘Home’ and each has a menu link with a bold blue background. While the menu may look simple, the decision-making process to select items and style to capture the most clicks per category, is never simple.
  35. 35. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 35 The clean menu structure is adopted by many retail giants such as Next, Debenhams and Amazon. Next uses a two-tiered menu for navigation: –  a primary level (top-level categories) to select ‘Women’ (highest usage and clicks, so must be first), ‘Men’, ’Newborn’, ‘Girls’, ‘Boys’, ‘Shoes’, ‘Accessories’, ‘Brands & Sports’, ‘Lipsy’ and ‘Homeware’.  A secondary level (sub-categories) to list items types. This menu is split and the before section covers ‘Next Collections’. There is a ‘New In’ category for some menus. The menus are stripped back and ordered to align with priority searches with the objective of limiting search activity, to increase the chance of a sale. Once the initial selection has taken place, all items pertaining to that search are presented. To allow for specific (and swift) choices, filters are used to find more relevant matches. Menu structure and filters are designed for ‘quick’ location of goods, yet they also serve a secondary purpose for the retailer. They create pages around a particular search query such as ‘Dresses > Evening > Silver’ that Next can track using analytic engines.
  36. 36. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 36 Amazon includes an additional filter of a ‘star rating’; the majority of e-commerce websites tend to feature customer reviews alongside products. TECHNOLOGY: PLATFORMS, ENGINES AND GATEWAYS In the world of e-commerce, the choice of platforms largely depends on who is making the development decisions. The most popular platforms include:  Wordpress with e-commerce addition such as WP Commerce  Shopify  Drupal  OpenCart  Joomla Payment engines include:  Magento  OS Commerce Payment Gateways include:  Realex  Worldpay  Sagepay  Paypal When selecting platform, payment systems and gateways, ultimate decisions are centred on:
  37. 37. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 37  Price/budget  Flexibility and ability to integrate  CMS and level of control required (developer or general user)  Maintenance costs for on-going development  Level of design and feature types Marketing Fundamentally, online marketing is based on the AIDA Model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). The online store may look the part (branding, searchable products) but, unless it markets those goods, its potential is limited. The alternative AIDA model in the Social Business age is Awareness, Interaction, Dialogue, Action. This alternative works perfectly for Social Media marketing where the marketing is a two-way communication. Four situations are considered:  On-site  Off-site  Off-line
  38. 38. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 38  Social Recommendations On-Site Effective e-commerce sites use the following tactics on-site:  Homepage frontage (banner section with or without clickable graphics, advertising-style boxes)  Calls to action (Click here, Read more, Buy, Sign up, Register)  Competitions, Offers and Discounts  Checkout Vouchers (codes) to promote repeat purchases  Product Reviews  Social Media integration (Facebook/Twitter feeds) UPC is one of Ireland’s best performers online and offline. The website has an uncluttered feel with banner slides, a main menu, a ‘quick links’ menu, sections for core objectives e.g. ‘Television’,
  39. 39. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 39 ‘Broadband’, new customer offers, section ‘calls to action’ and an email sign up. They even have a peel back page to entice curious customers. This neatly portrays best practice design, usability and marketing to instigate e-commerce sales. Off-site Inbound Marketing Cycle, Hubspot  Inbound Marketing (Content/Social networking/blogging/Video/Forums/Infographics)  Digital Advertising (pay per click/Banner advertising)  Social Media  Email Marketing  Video  Recommendations Off-line  TV  Radio
  40. 40. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 40  Media (PR) All of the above methods can be used to create a multi-media strategy to promote products. Each stream can be accessed via analytics and attributed a goal conversion target to determine performance. Social Recommendations Source: Recommendations on social platforms are making an impact on consumer buyer decisions with 93% influence in 2013 according to Carot.ie41 Sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and similar help 90% of customers make a buying decision42 , proving that recommendations are a powerful source for consumers. 41 42
  41. 41. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 41 A survey conducted in the USA43 , compared the effect of both good and bad reviews, stating:  45% share bad customer service experiences and 30% share good customer service experiences via Social Media  More have read positive reviews (69%) of customer service online than negative reviews (63%) Allowing customers to negatively or positively ‘rate’ products and services is seen as a genuine activity by retailers and customers appreciate feedback from others, so that they can gain further insight into the product before they purchase. The goal for retailers is to ensure detailed information is available to customers and that quality is paramount - otherwise, negative reviews and recommendations can have a severely damaging effect. 43 via customer-value
  42. 42. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 42 Monitoring and Transaction Flows The best time to put performance analytics in place is when setting up an online store. Failure to track website performance is to fail to create insightful data derived from all website activities. The most popular tool is Google Analytics. Google Analytics offers multiple options for e-commerce websites, such as:  Enabling e-commerce settings  Activating and configuring site search (monitor internal searches)  Transaction filters (to group categories for insights)  Time zone settings (useful for real-time analytics) However, e-commerce site owners should also concentrate on establishment of goals and funnel flows. These are addressed on the following pages. Goals and Funnel flows Goals can be generic or targeted. They can be set for particular time-frames, to assess ad hoc projects or used to assess trends over time. There are four goal types, giving retailers the choice of:  URL destination  Visit Duration  Page/Visit  Event
  43. 43. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 43 Goals are a mechanism for monitoring online objectives such as:  Number of people who contacted via a contact form  Number of sales made on the website / number of sales per product category  Number of applications or sign-ups  Number of people who entered a competition  Number of people who spent over x minutes viewing web pages  Number of people who looked at more than y pages on the website  Number of people who watched an ‘event’, like a video  Number of people who downloaded a .pdf, a white paper, a report or similar Using goals, retailers can monitor such as:  Total transactions, transactions by category  Downloads  Competition entries  E-mail sign-ups
  44. 44. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 44 Funnel flows Funnels flows and Goals go hand-in-hand. Goals provide metrics for completed actions and Funnels track all steps (pages) preceding those actions. The benefit of Funnel Flows is that you can see a visual of where conversions start, when they drop off and which flows (steps) are performing best. Google Analytics
  45. 45. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 45 Campaigns Google Analytics offers a feature that is useful if marketing activity consists of various digital campaigns like emails, banners and advertising. Custom campaign parameters (extra code) can be added to track campaigns in order to monitor the effect of external campaigns within the website traffic reports. This provides a more holistic view, greater monitoring power and a way of attributing goals/sales/objectives. Custom campaign parameters can highlight an actual email creative or particular banner, as opposed to just a ‘referral’ or even an ‘email referral’. If three of five emails sent are under-performing, the two that performed well can be assessed and the information obtained then used to produce more effective email campaigns. Parameters are set by entering them in the custom URL builder. Example: iness
  46. 46. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 46 LEARN FROM THE MASTERS Big name brands like Burberry, Amazon, John Lewis and Tesco use their status to optimum advantage in the online environment. With substantial financial budgets, these brands could dominate. The ease of entry, low maintenance costs and the ability to reach a wide (global) audience without huge investment, afforded by the Internet, level the playing field somewhat, however. Amazon Amazon is a digital colossus, a household name - and experienced one of the fastest growth trajectories in the internet’s history. Within its first five years, Amazon reached $2.8 billion in revenues, compared to Google’s achievement of $1.5 billion, and eBay’s $0.4 billion. As of May 2013, Amazon’s market cap is $117 billion, with over 152 million customers. It currently represents a staggering one-third of US e- commerce sales.44 Amazon grew to become a commercial juggernaut achieving total dominance online, due to three main factors: 1) The limitless inventory afforded by a digital operation 2) High-margin, low-cost products 3) Outstanding customer care (two-thirds of Amazon sales are to returning customers) In 15 years, Amazon went from serving one retail category (books) to 16 main categories. They began with books as, at the time in the mid-nineties, the market was quite fragmented, with no one dominant player. This allowed Amazon to enter the market as a nimble upstart without fear of being quickly edged out by a larger company. 44
  47. 47. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 47 The rate of growth is amazing: Amazon started with a garage of 400 square feet in 1995, 2 fulfilment centres of 300,000 square feet in 1997 and 50 fulfilment centres of 26 million square feet in 2010. Acquisitions and partnerships have been key to Amazon’s growth strategy. It has acquired many companies in areas where there is an incumbent who would prove hard to beat and, equally, it partners with various existing online operations when there is an obvious opportunity for synergies and to benefit from the partner’s existing market share. [Example of incumbent acquired is Zappos]. This also allows it to achieve massive inventory for its customers - great when customers place a high premium on choice and selection, so this helps fuel even further growth, revenue, and profits. Examples of co-branded or formed partnerships include Waterstones and Toys R Us. Innovation Amazon is synonymous with innovation, both in terms of marketing, customer service, and of online properties. The company constantly looks for new opportunities to drive more traffic and revenue to the online site through a multi-pronged approach focusing on those three areas. When it comes to web properties, Amazon has a strong focus on conversion optimisation and testing. Here is just a snapshot of the different on-site innovations Amazon has pioneered over the course of its history:  1995: Customer reviews  1997: 1-Click ordering  2001: ‘Look inside the book’ feature  2003: ‘Search inside the book’ feature
  48. 48. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 48 Example of Amazon ‘look inside the book’ innovation Optimisation, Mobile and Payments In terms of conversion optimisation - 1-click ordering was brand new to the industry, and Amazon paved the way for others to follow in terms of its relentless focus on conversion optimisation and making it really easy for the customer to buy from them. Amazon in fact pioneered A/B testing in 1997. Its approach to and recognition of the critical importance of mobile, also plays a key role in enabling a seamless shopping experience no matter where one may be, e.g. comparison pricing with barcode scanners when out and about or in a physical store, anywhere. In terms of accepting payments in this $1.0trillion p.a. industry, Amazon was also quick to identify the need for its own payment system, free of the charges imposed by incumbents such as Paypal. It launched Amazon Payments in 2007, to compete with Paypal and offer its own payment method, reducing its reliance on external payment networks.
  49. 49. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 49 Marketing Innovations Amazon is also innovative in its strong focus on personalised marketing, i.e. one-to-one marketing. Crafting customer experiences at an individual level and enabling discovery of other products, is something it does exceedingly well and it is evident to any returning customer viewing their recommended content and related products of interest. It also inspires trust and this is consolidated by the huge focus on customer service and by exceeding customer expectations. The Kindle Perhaps nowhere is Amazon’s shrewdness more apparent than in the introduction of the Kindle to an already highly-competitive market. The fact that the company introduced the product as a loss-leader is only one side of the story, given that what they lose in sales of hardware is made up for in terms of follow-on sales via the same device. The Kindle not only gives people a superb reading experience, it also offers the perfect channel linking the reader to the Internet and therefore to Amazon’s vast range of consumer offerings. Amazon Kindle products (homepage splash) More chances to browse content again leads to more potential for purchases and so, with the Kindle, Amazon is showing once more why it has achieved its current standing as a giant of e-commerce.
  50. 50. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 50 Burberry ‘E-commerce is the latest fashion accessory’ if Burberry is anything to go by. Founded in 1856 by 21-year old dressmaker Thomas Burberry, Burberry is now a £4.95bn business, is one of the UK’s biggest e-commerce success stories and was winner of the Digital Innovation award at the British Fashion Awards in 2010. Burberry has shown that a digital-oriented marketing strategy yields outstanding all-round results when using a multi-channel approach. In 2012, total revenue of £1,857 million and sales of £1,270 million, and a 24 per cent rise in each over the past year. Sales of menswear alone grew by 40 per cent in 2012.45 Success  2011/12 Burberry was named the fourth-fastest growing brand globally by Interbrand and WPP/BrandZ, behind Apple, Google and Amazon  Burberry has opened 18 stores in emerging markets of China, India, the Middle East and Latin America  It has received ‘International Retailer of the Year’ and ‘Retailer of the Year’ awards  It obtained 'Genius' classification in a "Digital IQ" report46 (New York University think-tank LuxuryLab) for seamless digital and e-commerce integration 45 46
  51. 51. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 51 Technology and Digital 'Technology is an intrinsic part of most people's lives, all we've done is make sure to weave technology into the fabric of the company.' Burberry chief creative officer Burberry has led the way for retailers globally, in pursuit of digital acclaim with a jaw-dropping 60% of their total marketing budget allocated to digital. Social ‘You have to be totally connected with everyone who touches your brand. The iconic fashion brand embraces the Web and Social Media to extend the brand and engage with customers and fans in entirely new ways. The new way to measure customer reaction is engagement.’ Angela Ahrendts, Burberry CEO.
  52. 52. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 52 Burberry was one of the first brands to realise the potential for retail and sales through Social Media and has been rewarded with a combined Social audience of over 17 million -  15 million Facebook fans  More than 1.7 million on Twitter  761,000+ Instagram followers Burberry has introduced live-streaming of catwalk shows from London and live-tweeting ‘Tweetwalk’ of each ‘look’ on the runway with garment details.47 All pieces are then made available for sale online, direct from the show. This is a dramatic overhaul of the usual six-month wait. Burberry World is ‘the ultimate expression of the Burberry brand’ for store visitors to ‘engage, entertain, and interact…’ 48 Innovation Burberry is never afraid to innovate, and the flagship London store is a testament to that innovation. Designed to resemble the website, Burberry are giving customers a ‘home-on-the-sofa’ shopping experience with no queues or waiting. That allows:  The consumer to sit while staff members bring the ‘pay point’ to the consumer  RFID microchips within each garment activate mirrors that display videos of the making of the garment and the modeling of it, on the catwalk  A trench coat designing area (trench coats are Burberry’s most iconic item)49 The store on Regent Street has been designed as a physical manifestation of the Burberry website, branded ‘Burberry World Live’. This is a clear statement to the world that Burberry places digital as number one.50 47 48 49 Best-UK-Design-Website-Features.htm 50 on-regent-street/
  53. 53. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 53 Burberry’s retail theatre showcases live catwalk footage from within the store. The central point is a state- of-the- art 22-foot screen with enhanced acoustics utilising 500 speakers - seamlessly integrating digital with the shopping experience. Campaigns To launch the ‘Body’ fragrance, the public was invited to 'Like' the Facebook page, to register for a freebie. The campaign resulted in 8.5million followers.51 51 luxury-brand.html
  54. 54. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 54 On YouTube, Burberrys shared their spring/summer campaign of ten-year-old Romeo Beckham, dancing alongside Edie Campbell and Charlie France. For the clip he donned the season's metallic lamé shirts. Views were in excess of 1.6 million views in 48 hours.52 Earlier in the report, profiling of customers was discussed to illustrate how marketing allows a campaign to segment and target. With the “Art of the Trench Campaign”, Burberry utilised a fashion ‘street’ blog to engage a younger generation of customers; a new profile of customers, this generation was targeted to interact with the brand on Social Media by ‘liking’, ‘sharing’ and ‘commenting’ on photos.53 52 brand-8504034.html 53
  55. 55. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 55 Littlewoods Ireland Littlewoods Ireland (Shop Direct Ltd) is very much an Irish brand and has been trading in Ireland for 35 years. It is one of the most admired brands in terms of digital capability, one of the Top 1000 Irish businesses and had a recorded turnover of €54.6 million in 2012. Grey Fry of the Ahain Group interviewed Commercial Director, Geoff Scully, to get a snapshot of where Littlewoods Ireland is in relation to e-commerce and what it is doing in the digital space. Geoff Scully, Littlewoods Ireland Littlewoods Ireland operates independently of the UK in terms of marketing. It oversees all marketing operations and takes ownership of development and design of all digital campaigns. The online operation has seen exponential growth, changing the Littlewoods model from a primarily catalogue-based business in 2007 (15% of their business online) to a dominant online business, with 83% of business via the web. It has moved from display ads in recent months and now allocates 2% of the budget to Social ads and above-the line-marketing.
  56. 56. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 56 Challenges Source: Geoff, as Chairman of EEI (Digital Division eTail Excellence Ireland), is very aware of the challenges that retailers face when developing their business online. A recent survey of 400 retailers carried out by the EEI revealed that only 56% of retailers had a transactional website. Geoff explains that digital marketing is - at the end of the day - marketing, like any other, and retailers should ensure they keep the tone of message consistent across all marketing channels. Digital marketing has to be integrated into the core of all marketing efforts. Geoff is supportive of the role that digital experts play and urges companies to spend money working with specialists when moving online. He is adamant that no unsupervised interns should support the online function. As the conversation turns to ‘returns’ - a subject that most retailers consider as the ultimate negative of being online, Geoff is clear on the facts:  If an outlet offers free returns, the average rate of returns will be 31-33%  If the customer has to incur the postage cost return rates, this drops to 21-24%  Clothing can have a return rate as high as 70%, the average rate is 45-50%  Electronics is one of the lowest categories with a returns rate of 7-9% on average Costs are a big consideration for retailers moving online - postage, staff to handle the returns, customer service, etc. Littlewoods has a warehouse dedicated to returns alone, at which the condition of returns is checked and items are re-packaged. A proportion of goods are damaged or open and in such instances, the retailer must take a decision on follow-up, based on the cost and time of challenging the customer. Fraud is still a big and legitimate concern for online retailers in Ireland. Geoff believes Ireland will have a proper Address or Post Code system within the next 18 months and believes that this will help the fight against fraud online by cross-referencing credit card transactions with a physical address - if the delivery address differs from the credit card address, for example, further verification may be needed.
  57. 57. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 57 Mobile Device Revolution Responsive design websites are great, but e-commerce sites that host a high degree of video content may take too long to upload. Time is of the essence for online customers and Littlewoods aims to achieve response times of two seconds; any longer is too long and could result in lost custom.. Traffic via smartphones and tablets for Littlewoods has risen over a short time period with:  30% rise on mobile  172% rise on tablets Geoff adds that while conversion rates are still low on mobile, tablet conversions are heading towards parity with laptops. Standing out from the crowd The online space allows the retailer to reach a wider audience, but, within a really competitive arena. Within this arena, pricing tends to be highly competitive, so the key differentiator is quality of service. A site has just eight seconds within which to capture and keep a new customer, so the online store must appeal instantly and secure the customer’s attention. Personalisation is one of the key objectives when running an e-commerce site. If, for example, a customer is shopping for a red dress and the retailer sees from previous transactions that the customer is a size 10, then the customer should see all red dresses in stock that have a size 10. The concept is to show items that the customer might purchase - not items that the customer cannot purchase, such as different sizes. Referred to as ‘Re-marketing’, the concept can only be applied to advantage in countries in which users / customers have opted in to use of personal data. It appears that, as long as a website explains the use of cookies and offers an opt-in option, re-marketing is free of risk to the retailer.
  58. 58. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 58 Geoff, Chairman of EEI54 and Sheila Buckley (formally of Carphone Warehouse) Head of eTail Excellence Ireland, are both committed to helping retailers to excel online. Some of their principal objectives are: –  To create a central hub for e-commerce in Ireland and to work with other similar organisations  To ensure that up-to-date data on the online retail marketplace in Ireland is readily available (including stats on pre-smartphone and tablet data)  To identify and recommend the best digital marketing agencies, web developers, analytics experts, etc. who can help a retailer maximise its efforts online Innovation Every retailer will have a brand that they monitor closely in terms of innovation and for Geoff, that brand is John Lewis. The No.2 online retailer in their category, in the UK, is ahead of the curve and uses ‘click to collect’ functions. 54
  59. 59. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 59 The John Lewis Partnership The John Lewis Partnership is one of the biggest retailers in Britain. It has more than 28 department stores and over 200 Waitrose food shops, as well as other interests including a home furnishing production unit and a farm – all producing a combined annual £8.2bn gross sales. 55 John Lewis Direct is the Internet arm of John Lewis department stores providing customers with multi- channel options to shop. The website features over 70,000 lines with a number of user-friendly options and it reached more than £800m in annual sales through in 2012. Adwords Using Google Adwords, John Lewis gained prominent search placements. This search for the ‘iPad 2’, saw John Lewis adverts above above both Argos and Tesco. 55
  60. 60. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 60 To show how dedicated John Lewis are in claiming iPad 2 sales, A search for ‘John Lewis’, shows the title containing the term ‘iPad’ and one of the main sections highlighted is ‘iPad & Tablet PCs’ – an indication of its dedication to achieving iPad 2 sales.
  61. 61. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 61 Plenty of attention given to products Deep Product description pages with information, a neat layout and clean graphics: Consistent website navigation The difference between an average user experience and a great one, is navigation. John Lewis has a consistent navigation across the website that encompasses the primary menu and breadcrumb trail that allows shoppers to go back through the categories.
  62. 62. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 62 Optimised ‘enclosed’ checkout flow Abandonment rates at the online checkout can be as high as three in every five shoppers56 , so optimising the checkout flow can decrease this figure John Lewis has removed the main navigation and obtrusive information to streamline the checkout and offers a wide selection of payment options. Unlike many competitors, John Lewis allows customers to select whether they wish to register at the beginning or at the end of the checkout process. 56
  63. 63. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 63 Free delivery on purchases over £50 Customers can easily be put off by a high postage rate. As a way of eliminating additional costs for the shopper and to incentivise a higher sale per shopper, free delivery on orders above a certain amount (such as £50 as John Lewis has used), is an excellent way of gaining a sale and keeping customers happy. Click-and-collect (order online, collect at specified locations) A giant leap for online retailers is use of the physical stores – Click-and-collect means that a customer can order online and collect at a store of their choice. As the John Lewis Partnership includes Waitrose, customers also have the option of ordering via John Lewis Direct and collecting from Waitrose. Click-and-collect
  64. 64. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 64 Strong mobile adoption with WiFi in-store In support of mobile usage, John Lewis has introduced WiFi from a BT Openzone to all stores.57 This aids shoppers in researching products, comparing details and checking reviews. Multi-channel strategy John Lewis has embraced a multi-channel strategy by marketing via smart device apps, introducing personalised deals and sending coupons to reward purchases via Click-and-collect. 57
  65. 65. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 65 OPPORTUNITIES FOR RETAILERS 2012 saw Pinterest flourish and introduce a new discovery shopping model. It also saw mobile integration advance in the form of search, apps, payment and more. 2013 will no doubt build on this momentum. Key trends which will fuel e-commerce growth in 2013/2014 include: 1. Mobile and M-commerce 2. Mobile Marketing and increased mobile integration 3. Localised Content 4. Visually stimulating technology like Augmented Reality 5. Curated Commerce 6. Rise of the specialist retailer 7. Increased video use 8. Blended commerce - merging on-line and off-line 9. Advances in payment technology 10. Use of apps and tactics like Showrooming 11. Real-time bidding The opportunity for retailers is a moving bar – it keeps rising. The effect of disruptive technology, of customer insights and of new forms of interaction like Social and Mobile, are influencing the success of e-commerce. We explore some of the key trends above, on the following pages.
  66. 66. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 66 MOBILE The benefits for users are many – lightweight, portable, ability to connect to the Internet and functionability that mirrors the standard PC. For retailers, mobile commerce (M-Commerce) and mobile marketing campaigns are dominating the digital sphere. image credit: Apple Mobile provides all-in-one connectivity, flexibility and mobility offering a connection anytime, anywhere. Mobile commerce opens up the market further to capitalise and profit from this connection.  There are at least 750,000 smartphone owners in Ireland58  38% of consumers now shop online via Smartphone or Tablet59  16% of adults have used a tablet to purchase online while 22% have used a smartphone  The market penetration of mobile usage in Ireland is actually over 100% with 5.52m active mobile phones; there are 5.9bn mobile devices in use worldwide60 58 59
  67. 67. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 67  Retailers’ apps take up the most of consumers’ time at 27%, followed by online marketplace at 20%, purchase assistant at 17%, price comparison at 14% and daily deals at 13%61  27% of companies worldwide plan to implement location-based marketing in 201362  By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people 63 Is Mobile Worthwhile For Retailers? Mobile commerce (m-Commerce) is a growth area for businesses that sell online: ‘Amárach64 ’ predicted that the acceleration in smartphone use would stimulate demand for mobile commerce in Ireland and forecasted that €800 million worth of transactions would be conducted through mobile devices in 2012.  ‘In the first half of 2012, mobile advertising revenues reached an all-time high – peaking at £181.5m with mobile ad spend up 132%. Mobile advertising revenues will undoubtedly continue to increase in 2013.’65  Of 42% of people who clicked on a mobile ad, 35% visit the advertiser’s page66  ‘67% that view a mobile-friendly site will buy/use the service’67  82% have researched a product via their mobile and 67% that view a mobile-friendly site will most likely buy/use the service68  In support of mobile commerce, the above statistics are powerful motivators, although as mobile is still (unbelievably) in its infancy, retailers adopting mobile strategies must investigate: - o Projected increase in sales o Competitive insight - demand, usage, potential audience, average mobile sale, etc. 60 DMI Mobile Marketing Conference, Dublin 2013 61 AdMedia Partners via Marketing Charts, 2013 62 Comscore via Econsultancy, 2013 63 Cisco via Mashable, 2013 64 65 James Connelly, co-founder/Managing director of mobile agency Fetch 66 Google via Mobithinking, 2013 67 Paul Dunne, DMI Mobile Marketing Conference, Dublin 2013 68 Eric Daly, DMI Mobile Marketing Conference, Dublin 2013
  68. 68. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 68 A promising Irish example is RTÉ, who have seen traffic to their web services from mobile devices increase from 15% to 40% in 201169 RTE’s mobile adoption is now at 60% with 63% of their 128 million page impressions coming from mobile devices. Their ‘News Now App’ has 900,000 downloads and 20% access from international sources.70 Mobile Design When designing a mobile website, there are three types of design that can be chosen: - Responsive design A responsive design adjusts to any width. This is a good solution, as it will ‘flex’ for all devices and is a ‘future-proof’ option that will work on future mobile and tablets. Recent travel-companion website Travelbuddy71 has secured Enterprise Ireland funding to provide a technology-driven activity tool for travellers. The website has a series of responsive-designs for iPad and iPhone devices, and a plan for geo-targeted marketing to promote unique attraction/activity discounts. 69 70 event/ 71
  69. 69. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 69 Adaptive design A website using an adaptive design, adapts to device widths and viewpoints. While this approach is quick and easier to implement, it doesn’t account for future device screen changes and so could be obsolete in a short time-frame. Pure mobile Pure mobile websites differ from responsive/adaptive websites, as pure mobile are honed for mobile use. Websites like, The Open University and The Journal account for mobile devices by designing mobile websites with the following in mind:  Compress the site navigational menu system and prioritise options; use collapsible navigation, as opposed to full  Add ‘click to call’ options  Use Screen swipes  Insert big buttons that stand out against backgrounds and are perfect for big fingers  For retailers – include maps/GPS and the ability to check stock at stores  Use Auto-detection feature that sends all mobile users to the mobile site Websites like Mobdis and Wix mobile help website owners build their own mobile websites. Mobile applications (apps) are synonymous with mobile devices. If a user has a ‘linked’ set of devices, ie. Apple
  70. 70. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 70 iPhone and Apple iPad, the apps can appear on both devices; some apps however, are only suitable for a smartphone or tablet. Apps and Tactics The values of apps for businesses are based on:  Trend (apps are ‘in’)  Public Accessibility (their website, Apple store, Google)  Ease of use for users and the fact that apps are added to the main screen to access them quicker  Dynamic applications – integration functions for a seamless user experience  Make instant updates in-line with technology, feedback, etc. and make changes available to users (they must update app) There are countless apps on the market and more businesses are investing in them as they drive customers to the business. Democratic apps72 is a business that is based on an app product. This app is designed so that Politicians and Councillors can enter their details and the general public can use the app to contact them directly, follow them on Social platforms and log local issues. Sage 50 app73 allows the user to access his/her finances, produce instant quotes and even generate invoices. 72
  71. 71. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 71 Both of the examples above utilise mobile by giving smartphone and tablet users access to their products on the go. Accessibility is key to a successful mobile strategy. Showrooming Showrooming is the term used when a mobile user accesses an online store while in a physical store, to compare prices. They may use Amazon’s ’Pricecheck‘74 app to check the price on Amazon, and all they need is a search term, an image or a scan of the barcode. 73 74
  72. 72. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 72 ADVANCES IN PAYMENT TECHNOLOGY One of the greatest advances for mobile commerce is the ability to generate an instant payment. Through the use of technology and the ‘buy in’ of global payment systems like Visa, there are now a number of payment technologies with products in the mobile commerce market. Mobile payment technologies: Realex payments75 remains one of the top providers of online payments, allowing payments from credit cards, debit cards and even the Irish Laser card (although this is being phased out 2012/2013). The service is operated in conjunction with most card merchants such as VISA, MasterCard and American Express. VISA76 (in conjunction with Samsung) has enabled Near Field Communication (NFC) payments (as opposed to chip and pin) on Samsung devices. These utilise a secure element chip, embedded within the devices that stores the user’s payment account information. MasterCard has launched MasterPass77 - which is a secure digital merchant checkout service. Payment Security and Fraud Online fraud is one of biggest challenges that an online retailer will face and it is only increasing. Accord- ing to Experian (UK) :  Annual fraud losses across the UK are now estimated to now top £70bn (Experian Fraud Report 2012) 75 76 roam-is-visas-first-ready-mobile-payment-partner/ 77
  73. 73. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 73  In the United States, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center recorded 300,000 fraud complaints in 2011 with an adjusted dollar loss of nearly half a billion dollars. For victims reporting financial losses, the average was $4,187 (Microsoft Online Fraud Booklet) Fraud prevention company, Trustev78 recommend an additional layer of security to limit the financial loss merchants face when dealing with fraudulent activities. The company offers real time, online identity verification using unique social fingerprinting technology. It verifies a customer's identity to ensure they're a real live human being and not a fraudster or an automated fraud attack. The verification technology is so advanced that it rates and verifies in a matter of seconds, analysing past purchase patterns and a series of standard and custom criteria. Mobile Marketing As the adoption of smartphones increases, as too does the marketing for retailers. Similar to the bygone days of email only marketing, mobile only marketing gives mobile users the edge. 78
  74. 74. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 74 staples Staples, for instance, has engineered a mobile-only campaign that advertises on mobile devices with Black Friday deals prior to the date.79 Fashion retailer Diesel, launched a QR campaign that rewarded fans for ‘liking’ products on Facebook by offering a discount. The idea being that by ‘liking’, you share the product with all your friends. Diesel Location-based retail / Geo-targeting Location-based marketing for retail stores like Subway, Littlewoods Direct and Walmart is an excellent way to entice shoppers to the store. Subway UK‘s ‘You Are Here’ campaign, via O2, targets customers based on their location. Opted-in users near a Subway store are sent an MMS (multimedia messaging service) with vouchers that are scanned in- store.80 79 80
  75. 75. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 75 Subway Walmart’s ‘Store Mode’ mobile app uses geo-location and geo-fencing technology to detect when customers are in a store. When they enter, the screen below pops up on their mobile.81 Walmart 81
  76. 76. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 76 Virtual stores Wal Mart has dominated in the US grocery market for innovative selling, and its virtual toy store (in conjunction with Mattel) as part of a pre-Christmas campaign,82 was nothing short of genius. Customers could pre-order toys by scanning the QR codes. Walmart Toy Store Tesco is also a leader of online selling and pure innovation in the grocery sector across the UK and within the Asian market. Tesco’s virtual stores have been rolled out in Korea and the first virtual store in the UK has been set up at Gatwick Airport, London. The stores are a virtual representation of a physical store, so the food items are seen in graphical form. Customers use their smartphones to scan the QR codes associated with the items they wish to buy and the items are then paid for via an app. Merging Online and Offline and Blended stores An exciting trends is the one that fuses the benefits (and coolness) of a digital store with physical stores. Burberry’s flagship London store is an excellent example. 82
  77. 77. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 77 Modeled on the website, so that the customer experience mirrors the online one – for example, use of clothes embedded with chips which activate when the wearer looks in the mirror; now it is possible to view the item on the catwalk and see how it was made. There are checkout staff that come to conclude a purchase with in-store iPads. This kind of digital-Social upgrade has transformed Burberry into a digital-savvy retailer that understands the power of Social Media in the real world. It represents a benchmark for all other retailers to follow and it will be interesting to see who accepts the challenge to join them. Another strong example of Social-retail integration and of blended stores, car manufacturer Renault has launched Facebook check-in in store that enables users to ‘like’ their favorite models.83 Whisper codes are codes that are given on social platforms, yet used in store, allowing retailers to provide social media only promotions.84 83 84
  78. 78. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 78 Augmented reality (AR) Augumented is a live, direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Augmented Reality brings a campaign to life by allowing customers to interact with the brand. Examples include: Walmart ’Scan & Go’ service85 that lets consumers save time by scanning store items with their iPhone device and bagging straight away. Consumers can head to a self-checkout lane, transfer their basket wirelessly and complete their payment. National Geographic brought Dinosaurs86 to life in an AR campaign designed to allow customers an opportunity to interact. Integrating Social with a Website The dominance of Social Media has had an unprecedented effect of e-commerce and the trendiest of websites in general. Many existing are modernising and mirroring the sleek, carefree Social look that sites such as Facebook and Twitter employ. From the more simplified nature of adding Social Media icons as a way of boosting a following and fan- base, website owners are now integrating Social feeds and Facebook connect/OAuth (Facebook login) like Small Business Can. 85 86
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  80. 80. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 80 CONCLUSION The key insights this Report has uncovered are:  the complex decision-making process for e-commerce design and setup  the strength of social media in relation to buying habits  the supporting nature of inbound marketing for retail  the rise of technologies such as mobile transactions, apps and augmented reality  the new trend of blended physical - digital stores E-commerce has adopted a daring approach combining use of technology and Social Media. The leading brands are allocating more of their marketing budget funds into technology and digital and reaping the benefits. Burberry’s flagship London store has created a new trend in digital; the blending of digital and physical. This powerful combination seeks to celebrate the relationship of digital AND physical. Renault has used the idea of blending with a Social influence, by featuring stations where customers can connect with Facebook to interact with products. Mobile continues to pick up the pace and disrupt the typical e-commerce model. A top priority consid- eration for online retailers is not only does the website look good, but does it look good on smartphones, portable devices and TV screens. PCs may still be a predominant device but the borderless technology that has powered the Internet, has found an ally in wireless. The ‘now’ of retail is all about flexibility, integration and wireless. Mobile marketing has also simplified the buying process, leading retailers to advertise specifically (Google Adwords has multi-options and one is Mobile only) and use location-based marketing to target customers in real-time. Subway’s ‘You Are Here’ campaign and WalMart’s ‘Store Mode’ mobile app incentivize shoppers to convert either close to or within their shores. Scan and Pay is revolutionising mobile as a complete transaction tool, capitalising on the momentous rise in mobile searches in the retail sector. In keeping with the ‘borderless and flexibility’ theme, technology knows no bounds and can be experienced anywhere as Tesco has shown with its virtual stores and the National Geographic with its augmented reality (AR).
  81. 81. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 81 Lastly, the speed of technology within e-commerce is a signal to retailers to ‘keep the ball in the air’ and be as progressive with stores as technology will allow. It moves swiftly, and retailers failing to invest, can quickly fall behind. Key takeaways: explore, interact, socialise, blend, mobile and integrate.
  82. 82. Social Business – E-commerce and the Digital Dynasty Page | 82 Contact the Ahain Group: Unit 206 | NSC Campus| Mahon | Cork Contact the Digital Marketing Institute Marina House, 11-13 Clarence Street | Dun Laoghaire| Dublin