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5 Winning Strategies Social Ecommerce Ebook

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5 Winning Strategies in Social Ecommerce is a useful guide for retailers heading into 2010 planning. Written by ecommerce bloggers Adam Michelson, Jochen Krisch and Marc Osofsky this ebook will offer ...

5 Winning Strategies in Social Ecommerce is a useful guide for retailers heading into 2010 planning. Written by ecommerce bloggers Adam Michelson, Jochen Krisch and Marc Osofsky this ebook will offer 5 proven social strategies that will help retailers increase traffic, conversion rates and order size.

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    5 Winning Strategies Social Ecommerce Ebook 5 Winning Strategies Social Ecommerce Ebook Presentation Transcript

    • Table of Contents Introduction………………………………………………………………………………pg. 3 Make Your Online Store a Destination………………………………….pg. 4-8 Publish Content to Connect with Customers………………………pg. 9-18 Integrate Concise Product Videos……………………………………..pg. 19-23 Improve ROI with Smart RIA Integration…………………………pg. 24-43 Make Shopping Online a Social Experience……………………..pg. 44-50 Contributor Biographies…………………………………………………….pg. 51-54 Optaros Contact Information…………………………………………….pg. 55-56
    • Introduction Our experiences working with clients across the globe gives us the unique opportunity to see how ecommerce trends differ worldwide. This ebook compiles the social trends we are currently seeing in the global ecommerce market — trends that we believe will have a major impact on the future success of online retailers.
    • Make Your Online Store a Destination Great stores draw you in, make you want to return often and entice you to make significant impulse purchases. Image credit: elena777
    • Make Your Online Store a Destination However, most online stores operate under the assumption that shopping online is an activity of efficiency — consumers know what they want to buy, research the product online and purchase it wherever they find the best price. Because of this, many online retailers follow the same strategy: make it as easy as possible for consumers to find a product, place it in a cart and check out. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 5
    • Make Your Online Store a Destination The strategy of most online retailers is wrong. As outlined in the Harvard Business Review article, In E-Commerce, More is More, an exhaustive study of 1,700 ecommerce sites shows that adding compelling content to directly engage customers is correlated with stronger financial performance. Dramatic Outperformance: The companies that engaged customers the most outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 12% annually from 2003-2006. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 6
    • Make Your Online Store a Destination The majority of managers we spoke to in our global study told us they believe that a broad array of information diverts attention from the core offerings. But we found it helps customers search for solutions, invites them to think of all the ways the core products might add value to their lives, wins their loyalty, and entices them to buy. In fact, we found that exploiting consumers’ desire for engagement is the single dominant driver of superior shareholder value for e-commerce companies. Andreas B. Eisingerich and Tobias Kretschmer, In E-Commerce, More is More © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 7
    • Make Your Online Store a Destination Business Takeaway: The principles of retail still apply on the web. Great stores should draw you in, make you want to return and entice you to make significant impulse purchases — even when they are online. What Next? Offer your customers more than just a place to purchase by incorporating dynamic, relevant content. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 8
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers Many ecommerce retailers continue to rely on mass emails and pay-per-click advertising as the primary mechanisms for driving website traffic and sales. There are two major problems with these tactics: 1. Rising costs 2. Decreasing effectiveness
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers According to Forrester Research: • In 2003, 31 percent of consumers deleted email advertising without reading it • In 2006, that number reached 72 percent If you are an ecommerce retailer and email marketing is your main strategy, then your message is getting lost. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 10
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers Pay-Per-Click Example: Google search for “flat panel TV” (no quotes) © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 11
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers Take a look at the results. This is a highly valuable keyword that, according to Google’s Keyword Tool, is searched roughly 10,000 times per day. Many retailers (including Best Buy, Sears, Dell, NewEgg, Circuit City and Target, that as we can see) are playing the pay-per-click game, and paying roughly $2/click for this keyword. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 12
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers 5 of the top 10 results on page one of this search are blog or news articles. One retailer that does a great job of using content to attract customers, Crutchfield, is in the #1 spot for our search. They don’t pay anything for this. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 13
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers Consider: • Studies have shown that the #1 result for a given search will receive about 50% of clicks. • Of 10,000 daily searches, Crutchfield can expect about 5,000 visitors to their site every day. • If other advertisers are paying $2 per click for “flat panel TV” searches, that means… Crutchfield is getting the equivalent of $3,650,000 per year in free advertising — all by creating compelling content. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 14
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers Crutchfield has learned that a more cost-effective and consumer- valued approach has proven effective in countless other industries, and retailers that adopt it first will achieve a competitive advantage. Search + Blogs = Traffic © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 15
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers Search Most consumers start with a search when looking for a product. Natural search results (versus paid advertisements) receive more than 75-percent of the clicks. Blogs The best way to rank on the first or second page for keyword searches that are relevant to your business is to provide fresh content, optimized for those search terms. Blogs provide a convenient venue for regularly publishing your content, and can be set up to create an optimized web page for each blog post. Traffic Blogs are a cost-effective traffic enhancer (no cost per click or email fees). Blogs provide an avenue for greater customer engagement with your brand. When managed properly, a blog can provide a sizeable traffic increase in a matter of weeks. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 16
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers For Example: Mega-retailer Target and fashion enewsletter Daily Candy announced a partnership in early June 2009 that will result in the co-branded online store, the Red Hot Shop. Here, Target benefits not only from regularly updated content, but also from on-site endorsements of their products by a third party. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 17
    • Publish Content to Connect with Customers Business Takeaway: Publishing optimized content that is relevant to your potential customers will bring people to your website — at the time when they are looking for your products — for little more than the cost of your time. What Next? Draw customers in with product videos. (But don’t make them too long.) © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 18
    • Integrate Concise Product Videos What is the optimal length for product videos in online shops? It’s hard to imagine a more lively discussion topic than this.
    • Integrate Concise Product Videos A recent ecommerce study reveals that short videos on shopping sites, with a duration of one minute and 30 seconds (1:30), were received significantly more positively by online viewers than videos of about six minutes (6:00). Chart credit: Business Insider © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 20
    • Integrate Concise Product Videos Attention span drops considerably after 48% of total video duration, no matter the video length. The study also offers valuable input related to video integration, mentioning that photo icons of videos are better perceived than pure text links. > ecommerce interview © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 21
    • Integrate Concise Product Videos While the “30-second rule” of online marketing doesn’t appear to match one-to-one with video shopping, merchants with shorter video clips do seem to have an advantage. The success of Shoeline’s 20-second clips seem to confirm this. Note: In this section, “ecommerce study” and “30 second rule” links are to English translations of German articles. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 22
    • Integrate Concise Product Videos Business Takeaway: Videos can enhance the shopping experience, but only if they are unobtrusive and considerate of your customers’ time. What Next? Add rich internet applications (RIA) that improve your return on investment (ROI). © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 23
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Rich internet application (RIA) capabilities, such as whiz-bang Flash and AJAX capabilities certainly look cool, but do they attract a return on investment (ROI) as ecommerce solutions?
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Before integrating RIA elements into your site, it is important to consider the potential business benefits. Ask yourself whether or not an integration can: • Drive up conversion rates • Increase average order size • Deter cart abandonment © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 25
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration For most ecommerce sites, ROI is the primary yardstick for determining the effectiveness of any site element or strategy. There does not seem to be any definitive A/B testing consensus to prove it, but it does appear that some RIA capabilities do have a positive impact on site performance, though many offer dubious returns. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 26
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 27
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration The major factor to consider when evaluating RIA elements is… Will this distract or confuse customers, or will it enhance the customer experience and guide them through the buying process? © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 28
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Some RIA standards are emerging that appear to improve the customer experience, increase conversion rate and order size, and deter cart abandonment: • Non-wizard checkout • Dropdown cart • Quick-pick modal • Inventory integration © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 29
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Non-Wizard Checkout Objective: Deter cart abandonment RIA Technique: Create a one-page checkout with overlays, rather than a multi-step wizard-style checkout. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 30
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration When customers get to the checkout, ask only the questions that must be asked, in order to fit all necessary questions on one page. Then, use RIA elements that allow customers to opt-in for additional information. This technique allows essential information to be presented in an above-the-fold page. Other elements can be presented using RIA techniques on-demand so that the page expands when the customer requires it to. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 31
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration For Example: Many people will have the same address for both billing and shipping. Create a checkout page with only one address field, but with an option that allows the customer to enter different billing and shipping addresses. Tip: The same setup can be used for gift messaging, gift wrap options and changing the shipping options. Additional information, such as the return policy, can slide in or a layer can be used to overlay the checkout page to deliver this information upon request. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 32
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Dropdown Cart Objectives: Increase average order size; deter cart abandonment RIA Technique: Use a drop-down cart that shows the customer’s current order without disrupting their shopping experience. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 33
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration When a customer chooses to purchase an item, many retailers redirect the customer directly to a large cart page and then on to the checkout. This is to drive conversion, but at the expense of the average order size. The goal here is to increase the average size of each order by allowing customers to keep adding items, without interrupting their shopping experience. This RIA technique aims to strike a balance, by enabling the customer to decide whether to check out or keep shopping. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 34
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration For Example: Gap seems to get the consensus for introducing the non-wizard drop-down cart. In the previous screenshot, you can see that the cart drops down from the top-right of the page. This cart allows the shopper to continue shopping or to check out. It is minimally disruptive, and allows the customer to keep shopping by not taking them away from the page they are on. Tip: You can also decrease abandonment by showing tax and shipping information, so that the customer is not surprised at checkout time. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 35
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Quick-Pick Modal Objectives: Drive up conversion rates; increase average order size RIA Technique: Use a modal overlay screen to provide customers with important product information, rather than sending them to a different page. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 36
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Quick-pick modals are modal screens that display critical product information when the customer hovers over a “quick pick” or “quick look” button displayed on or near product images on product catalog pages. This technique allows customers to research products of interest more quickly and to find exactly what they are looking for. It also makes it easier for customers to find other items of interest, because the quick-pick modal offers a minimal commitment when clicking to read about product. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 37
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration For Example: The previous Old Navy quick-pick modal screenshot uses some RIA techniques to fit a surprising amount of information on a catalog page, potentially as much as a product details page. Tip: This modal should not be a pop-up, or browser pop-up blockers may prevent it from appearing. Instead this should be a layer that has the appearance of a modal pop-up, but is integrated more seamlessly into the page, and thus will not be blocked by popup blockers. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 38
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Inventory Integration Objectives: Drive up conversion rates; deter cart abandonment RIA Technique: Show your customer how different product options impact inventory availability. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 39
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration This technique provides customers with real-time inventory messaging as they select product options. RIA helps here by allowing clever inventory codes to access availability of specific product options (usually size and color) and present them in an efficient way. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 40
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration For Example: Your store has plenty of size 6 shoes in black, but only two left in red. However, there are plenty of red shoes in size 6 ½. If your customer chooses a red shoe, this RIA application would show that only two are left in size 6. However, if size 6 is selected first, then it would show only two left in red. Tip: Other options, such as shipping fees, can also be updated in real-time as the customer adds items to his or her cart, in an effort to reduce surprises at checkout. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 41
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration RIA: An affordable option All of the RIA capabilities mentioned here can be implemented without an architectural overhaul. They are user interface widgets that can be added to almost any existing website. This means: If your organization’s current ecommerce infrastructure is good, then you can just include AJAX JavaScript libraries to build these widgets. If not, you can put new architectural scaffolding up next to your existing infrastructure, which can bring these capabilities to life relatively quickly (perhaps 2-3 months) and can evolve into a new site infrastructure. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 42
    • Improve ROI With Smart RIA Integration Business Takeaway: The right RIA elements can have a direct impact on your site’s conversion rate, average order size and cart abandonment. As widgets, RIA capabilities offer an affordable way to update your ecommerce site, as well as to test new features and functionality. What Next? Encourage your customers to take their friends shopping with them. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 43
    • Make Shopping Online a Social Experience Shopping has always been a social activity. People take friends and loved ones along to help them make purchase decisions and choose the best products. Image credit: BWorthey
    • Make Shopping Online a Social Experience With the explosion of social networking and capabilities offered by Web 2.0, it’s not surprising that online retailers want to know how adding community aspects to their ecommerce sites can increase traffic, conversion rates and average order size. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 45
    • Make Shopping Online a Social Experience Retailers routinely post customers’ product reviews online, hoping that favorable comments will boost sales. But there’s a more powerful influence on shoppers that [online] retailers have yet to harness: the advice of friends. Many retail sites have email-a-friend features… but that approach has one big drawback: Shoppers are unlikely to get immediate feedback while they’re still at a retailer’s site, so their decisions may be delayed, putting sales at risk… The biggest [social] networking sites have developed tools that make it possible for a member shopping on a retailer’s site to get immediate feedback in the form of any reviews friends have left there, as well as a history of friends’ purchases on the site. Jennifer Saranow Schultz, Wall Street Journal article Shop Talk: Retailers Explore Links to Social-Networking Sites © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 46
    • Make Shopping Online a Social Experience The major player here, being assessed by retailers across the globe, is Facebook Connect. A key factor in the effectiveness of Facebook Connect is how deep the integration is to the product detail information and product imagery. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 47
    • Make Shopping Online a Social Experience Think about it: If you want to get a friend’s opinion on something, or show them a product you think they would love, it needs to be very clear to them what the item is. You need to connect your customers with their friends using exact product images and information including size, color, style and price. A simple link to a product detail page, or just an image do not perform as well. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 48
    • Make Shopping Online a Social Experience Tip: Another determinant is the clarity of the call-to-action your customer’s friend receives, and the ease of use. For example, offering a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down option, along with a free text box, works well. Comment: This is the perfect dress for your sister’s wedding. I love it! © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 49
    • Make Shopping Online a Social Experience Business Takeaway: People like to go shopping with others when shopping in person. With Facebook Connect and other social shopping applications, you can replicate this experience for your customers online. What Next? If you enjoyed this eBook and haven’t read our Social Ecommerce Guide, please download it now. If you are interested to learn which of the practices discussed here may be right for you, contact us to set up an Assessment Call with one of our ecommerce experts. If you like what you’ve read and want to get started implementing any of the features discussed, please submit an RFP. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 50
    • Contributor Biographies This e-book was developed using the intelligence and insight of Marc Osofsky, Jochen Krisch and Adam Michelson.
    • Contributor Biographies Marc Osofsky Marc Osofsky is the vice president of marketing for Optaros and leads the company’s go-to-market efforts and solution development. Marc has more than 15 years of experience in helping businesses leverage new technologies to achieve their business objectives. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 52
    • Contributor Biographies Jochen Krisch Jochen Krisch is an ecommerce consultant focused on identifying and helping clients implement new online retail concepts that outperform the industry. Jochen works with some of the largest and most successful online retailers and innovative startups. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 53
    • Contributor Biographies Adam Michelson Adam Michelson serves as the director of ecommerce at Optaros. He works with clients to leverage next generation internet technologies for ecommerce re-platforming, new online retail concepts and multi-channel efforts. © 2009 Optaros, Inc. All rights reserved. 54
    • Optaros Contact Information Corporate Headquarters (Boston) Phone: (617) 227-1855 Email: OptarosBlog@Optaros.com
    • Thank you for your time! We hope you enjoyed 5 Winning Strategies in Social Ecommerce. Please connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or our Ecommerce Blog to let us know your thoughts.