Monthly Archives: March 2013

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    Pinterest trends credit: tblc.org

     

    Vision Critical recently put out this great study from March 2012 detailing Pinterest trends, behaviors, and habits among users. Some background: Pinterest is a social-media platform primarily used by women aged 18 to 34; in the platform hierarchy, Pinterest is more popular than FourSquare and is used less often than Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 500 Pinteresters replied with candid information on the elements of Pinterest that influenced their purchasing decisions. Here are a few eye-opening conclusions from this timely study:

    • 12% of Pinterest users have purchased something they've pinned online.

    • 16% of Pinterest users have purchased something they've pinned offline.

    • 1 in 5 Pinterest users are buying items they have pinned.

    • 2013 may be the year of Pinterest: 61% of users signed up in 2012.

    • Those who joined prior to 2012 purchase more pinned items, statistically.

    • Three quarters of current Pinterest users plan to use the platform for the foreseeable future.

     

    Pinterest purchasing trends

  • magento e-commerce module credit: digitaloperative.com

     

     

    We can all agree that the jaw-dropping spread of Magento modules is fundamentally a good thing—it ensures a purpose-built tool for every niche function, and the sheer volume fosters healthy competition. It’s one of the Magento platform’s key selling points. By the same token, though, that variety can generate serious compatibility issues, and not all vendors are created equal; standards vary considerably, not to mention ethics when it comes to support. What’s an online retailer to do?

     

     

    Effective Magento Module Testing

     

    That’s what! Let’s go over a game plan to manage your expectations and smooth the module acquisition and implementation process. First things first: there’s no such thing as a Magento module that installs and functions well immediately. Keep that in mind, and you’ll avoid unpleasant shocks down the road. It’s the nature of the beast to be fickle, requiring dedicated development time to tame even the most popular modules.

     

    Magento modules have to play nice with one another, and they won’t automatically do so right off the bat. This is true even for bug-free modules that perform perfectly on the default install. To differentiate your business, you’ll need several previously installed modules, and the interaction with these is where you should be most careful. Ask yourself (or your developers): are there code vulnerabilities, or will added code be detrimental down the line?

     

     

    Magento Module Tips and Tricks

     

    • DO NOT install a bunch of modules first and test later. This is a recipe for disaster—it will be that much more difficult to pinpoint the root of any problems that arise.
    • After each module is individually installed, ensure that the cache is completely cleared, then reset the session by logging out and back in again.
    • If you’re used to storing modules in archives, then don’t install too many modules directly into the Magento installation at once. For one thing, this would overload the admin panel by automatically launching too many modules at once when it initiates. For another, you might have to overwrite or cancel a particular file/extraction if two modules utilize the namespace fallback mechanism.
    • For many modules (especially those based on AJAX layouts), take the time to understand the exact configuration before you do anything. In other words, read the instruction manual, and be in contact with support services if necessary.
    [credit: Chintan Aegis for articlesbase.com]
  • Black Friday is so named because it's typically the time that stores start earning a profit, or going from the red "into the black". To celebrate to sales explosion the guys over at StrangeLoopNetworks created this infographic containing Black Friday sales data from the holiday period and some distressing facts about slow sites.

    Some Highlights:

    • $96,000,000,000 - the amount spent ONLINE by shoppers during the 2012 holiday season.
    • $123 per order by tablet users. 21% more than their laptop and smartphone toting counterparts.
    • 8/10 - amount of carts abandoned during the holiday season.
    • $658,000,000 - amount of revenue lost to online business owners due to website slowdowns.

    Black Friday Sales Data

  • Online Retail Report Q4 2012 credit:upstreamcommerce.com

     

     

    A review of key macroeconomic online retail trends sourced from comScore’s global panel of 2 million Internet users via behavioral tracking and custom surveys

     

    Check out these findings from a comprehensive “state of the economy” compiled by the folks at comScore! Thanks to their efforts, some truly interesting figures have come to light from across the e-commerce spectrum. Here, we break down some wide-scale trends, zooming in on areas of note for U.S. online retailers.

     

    For more context, as well as a rich trove of graphic representations, please consult the original study.

     

     

    The Big Picture

     

    2012 Dollar Sales Growth in Billions:

    • Retail spending rose 15% year over year, from $162B to $186B.
    • Travel spending broke $100B for the first time, posting 9% growth from $94 to $103B.

     

    In general, online retail sales growth continues to trump offline totals, with 14% Q4 year over year online growth outpacing Q4 total retail growth of 2% (excluding autos, gas, and food/beverage).

     

    Another first: e-commerce broke 10% of all discretionary spending for the first time in Q4 2012. Typically, winter bodes well for e-commerce shares.

     

    Consumer Perceptions of the Economy

     

    • When asked, “How would you rate economic conditions today?”, only 42% of respondents rated the economy as “poor” in January 2013. While this number is by no means ideal, it marks the first time that “poor” was not the #1 response (44% replied “fair”).
    • For the sixth consecutive quarter, rising prices remain the chief concern for consumers, followed by unemployment (at 47% and 31%, respectively).

     

    Retailer and Product Category Overview

     

    All key e-commerce metrics have shown solid growth compared with Q4 2011:

    • Dollar sales are up 14%.
    • Overall transactions are up 10%.
    • Average dollars per buyer are up 8%.

     

    By retail category, online sales posted encouraging growth:

    • Mobile phones and plans grew 40%.
    • Portable devices (e.g., tablets) grew 46%.
    • Desktop computers continue a downward trend with a loss of 13%.

     

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon averaged 115.2M monthly unique visitors in Q4 2012, a 3% growth. Compare:

    • Apple.com Sites lost 1%, averaging 50M monthly unique visitors.
    • Target Corporation lost 7%, averaging 33.6M monthly unique visitors.
    • Lowes.com grew 14%, averaging 12.1M monthly unique visitors.

     

    Flash sale sites are on fire, with most showing double-digit year over year growth:

    • Zulily.com grew 72%, averaging 3.1K+ monthly unique visitors.
    • Gilt.com grew 23%, averaging 2.2K+ monthly unique visitors.
    • Myhabit.com grew 49%, averaging 1.1K+ monthly unique visitors.

     

    Consumers’ Path to Purchase

     

    Here are the top three answers for three categories of shopping tools:

    • Traditional Tools: direct mail, magazines, newspapers.
    • Digital Tools: “deal of the day” sites, digital coupons, Facebook.
    • Mobile Tools: mobile brand websites, mobile coupons, mobile location-based services.

     

    Using a different set of parameters, here are the top three answers for three common consumer purposes:

    • “Saves Me Money”: digital coupons, online search engine, newspapers.
    • “Saves Me Time”: online search engine, retailer website, digital coupons.
    • “Helps Me with New Ideas”: retailer website, recommendations from friends/family, online search engine.

     

    Digital Wallets

     

    Digital wallets are a method of storing an individual’s payment credentials and facilitating rapid, secure transactions via a digital interface, usually mobile. As an emerging trend, exciting research points towards widespread adoption in the near future.

    • 51% of consumers are currently aware of digital wallets besides PayPal. Of these, 39% don’t currently use them as a payment alternative. Combined with the 49% of consumers who are unaware, that totals 88% of users who don’t currently use digital wallets besides Paypal.
    • An estimated 1 in 2 consumers will continue use of a digital wallet or will likely adopt a digital wallet in 2013 should the awareness gap be rectified via appropriate marketing campaigns.

     

    Here are some demographics regarding the adoption of digital wallet applications:

    • 67% of current users are male, 50%+ are in the 25-34 age bracket, 17% earn $150K+ annually, 49% consider themselves “tech-savvy”, and 42% use Apple smartphones.
    • Prospects more closely mirror the average consumer: 51% are female, just under 30% are in the 25-34 age bracket, 7% earn $150K+ annually, 22% consider themselves “tech-savvy”, and 35% use Apple smartphones.

     

    The overwhelming obstacle to consumer receptivity of digital wallets is security, with 47% of respondents raising concerns over the safety, theft, loss, or digital security of their phone.

     

    Intriguingly, barriers to digital wallet adoption closely match those to ATM usage 30 years ago:

    • Awareness
    • Understanding of benefits
    • Technology resistance
    • POS infrastructure availability
    • Security/privacy concerns

     

    2012 Holiday Season

     

    Holiday spending has bounced steadily back from a plunge to $28B in 2008 to a record $42.3B in 2012, with year over year growth of 14% between 2011 and 2012.

    • Though there was a late season surge, December’s lull couldn’t bring the growth rate up to the predicted 17%.

     

    2012 growth rates accelerated markedly over Thanksgiving and Black Friday (32% and 28% growth over 2012, respectively). These figures may be cannibalizing Cyber Monday, which only grew 17%.

     

    In 2012, 12 days surpassed the $1B sales threshold. Of these, 4 fell within the week of Green Monday.

     

    Comparing 5-year growth for the following periods, Thanksgiving Day has experienced the most dramatic boost, followed by Cyber Monday:

    • Thanksgiving day: +132%
    • Black Friday: +96%
    • Cyber Monday: +100%
    • Green Monday: +45%
    • Full Season: +45%

     

    Free shipping is quickly become an expected feature:

    • While the percentage of e-commerce transactions offering free shipping has vacillated in recent years, it once again reached 50% for Q4 2012 (following the general pattern of a free shipping spike every holiday season).
    • As of January 2013, 54% of consumers stated that they would cancel their purchase if they reached the end of an e-commerce transaction without being offered free shipping.

     

    So, what changed between holiday 2011 and holiday 2012? The four S’s!

    • Social Commerce—Pinterest reached an all-time high of 29M visitors.
    • Smartphones—10M new 4G smartphones in Q4.
    • Sit-Back Shopping—Tablet sales grew 46% year over year.
    • Showrooming—Men who own smartphones showroom the most.

     

    Showrooming Deep Dive

     

    Some quick facts on this practice:

    • 36% of consumers agreed that they engaged in showrooming after being shown the definition of the term.
    • Why showroom? 74% seek to find a better price online.
    • 46% of smartphone-owning respondents admitted to showrooming, compared with only 27% of non-smartphone-owners.
    • Consumer electronics are more likely targets than apparel for showrooming overall.

     

    While showrooming, consumers use their smartphones to:

    • Search for better prices (53%)
    • Search for item information (42%)
    • Look for online promotions/deals (37%)

     

    Amazingly, four in ten showroomers never planned to buy in person! 40% of showroomers confided that they planned to buy online from the get-go, but wanted to see the item in person before ordering.

     

    Overall, it seems that millennials are driven by convenience, while baby-boomers are driven by price points in motivating their purchasing decisions while showrooming.

  • Among the many steps to ensuring an accessible, interactive, well-received website, marketing attribution models are emerging as an effective means to conversion for modern e-tailers. To start: what, exactly, is marketing attribution? Basically, it’s an informed approach to valuing long-term marketing channels. While many retailers only take “last-click” options into account—the final step before the purchase is made—marketing attribution aims to quantify and analyze results based on the user’s total behavior on your site, which means considering every interactive element on or leading to your page. This could include organic search, social networks, clickable advertisements, and more.

     

    Decent attribution models aim to isolate and prioritize proven methods of generating sales, providing the right channels to the right users and thereby maximizing conversion. Of course, these things take time and effort, not to mention various web analytics platforms; online retailers need to decide for themselves whether the investment is worth it.

     

    Luckily, there are infographics to help! Econsultancy and Adobe assembled this excellent visual guide to the best practices and pitfalls of marketing attribution models, brought to our attention by Linda Bustos at GetElastic.

     

    Here are a few noteworthy conclusions for your perusal:

     

    • Only 54% of business use marketing attribution at all; of those, 28% limit themselves to last-click.
    • 89% of marketers using marketing attribution say it has a positive impact on their businesses. 29% called it a “major” impact.
    • 60% of marketers cite disparate tech and data sources as the biggest barrier to use.
    • 28% of marketers blame internal politics for why they haven’t adopted marketing attribution.
    • Just 35% of companies incorporate offline touchpoints into their attribution models.

     

    attribution models

  • Fraud Bad; IPad Good
    Hara Partners and SecureBuy – a SignatureLink company, Magento Supported Fraud Survey - Participate and Win an IPad 3 or IPad Mini.

    Magento Fraud Survey

    SecureBuy, a Magento Gold Partner and the industry leader in online fraud detection and prevention, in conjunction with Hara Partners, a leading NetSuite developer and Magento Silver Partner, is conducting the inaugural Magento payment fraud survey. Born of a partnership with Magento and a strong desire to educate users and improve the Magento landscape, the survey will be open to all Magento users and all results and analysis will be freely available for perusal in the Magento Library once the survey has been completed. The internet security giant plans to run the survey annually and expects the data gathered to prove invaluable in the effort to protect all denizens of the Magento ecosystem.

    The survey itself is short, only 20 multiple-choice questions, and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. All the data gathered will be used by SecureBuy for educational purposes and to create a set of recommended best practices.

    Participation in the survey entitles you to:

    • Entry into the IPad drawing (2 winners will be selected)
    • An advanced copy of the completed survey, with expert analysis
    • A VIP access to a SecureBuy hosted webinar where the survey results will be discussed
    • VIP access to the special Survey Presentation at this year’s Imagine E-commerce Conference.

    No business or personal contact information submitted in the survey will be disseminated to, or shared with, any outside party. Your email address will only be used to verify your account and to notify you in the event you win the IPad.

    To participate in the survey, please visit http://www.signaturelink.com/magento-2013-fraud-study.html

  • What's an API? More importantly, why do i care about them?

    Good questions! That's why Angela Bartels over at RackSpace conjured up this nifty infographic explaining just what you need to know about APIs.

    • API's allow two separate entities to communicate even though they don't speak the "same language".
    • Businesses on the web are increasingly turning to API's to automate tasks and raise efficiency.
    • API use has grown exponentially recently - look for this trend to continue.

    magento api

  • Galaxy S3, iPad Mini, Nexus 7, Microsoft Surface – with the never-ending parade of new mobile devices hitting the market, what’s a marketer to do to engage with their audience on devices with varying screen sizes and capabilities?

    The answer is simple: Responsive Design. Here is a look at what marketers need to know about this approach to web and mobile design.

    Consumers use a variety of devices to reach different goals.  90% of people use multiple screens sequentially.

    Most popular cross-device activities

    • 81% Browsing the Internet
    • 67% Shopping Online
    • 46% Managing Finances
    • 43% Planning a Trip

     

    What is Responsive Design?

    Responsive design is a ‘write once, run every-where’ style of designing websites. Rather than building separate sites for each web and mobile device, responsive design uses CSS3 media queries to create a single website that intelligently adjusts its layout and features based on how it’s being viewed.

     

    Key Benefits

    • Content Focused – Device specific elements become secondary
    • Cross Platform – Responds to audience device and consumption habits
    • Cost Effective – Less need for standalone sites and apps
    • SEO Friendly – Links are cleaner and used across platforms
    • Future Proof – Design that is fluid to adapt to new technology

     

    Success Cases

    Publishers, arguably the kings of content, are already on the responsive design bandwagon:

     

    BBC – “We believe Responsive Design is one of the most innovative and largest scale uses of a new approach to creating Web applications. It enables us to deliver a better BBC News experience.” – Chris Russel Head of Product, BBC News Online

     

    The Boston Globe – “We couldn’t have just built a smartphone version, but that wouldn’t have helped us with the rise of tablets. There are so many different screen sizes proliferating now that we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on future opportunities.” – Jeff Mriarty, VP of Digital Products

     

    The Guardian – “A key focus of the new site is that it offers best in class performance, taking into account a user’s connection speed and adapting accordingly. We want to ensure our readers have the best possible experience.” – Tanya Cordrey, Chief Digital Officer

    year-of-responsive-design-infographic

  • cart abandonment credit: compendiumblog.com

     

    Capturing prospective customers’ emails should really be the first checkout element in your online store. When confronted with inevitable cart abandonment, they’re your first recourse in saving the sale—recovery emails are well worth your while for the effort, even if you only snag a few extra conversions in the process.

     

    But what happens when, for whatever reason, you never get that email address? What if they left before that step, or got distracted, or were interrupted at the point of entering their email? All is not lost! Read on for a couple techniques that could change your tune.

     

    Catch Cart Abandonment in the Act

     

    You should be prepared to act upon the following signals:

     

    • Session timeout
    • Closed browser

     

    Without the presence of an email address, these indicate sustained interest in your site and give you a (brief) window of opportunity to act while your products or services are still on users' minds.

     

    Recovery Options for Cart Abandonment

     

    Method #1: Retargeted Advertising

     

    Just like email, conversion rates for retargeted ads have short shelf lives—recognize this, and plan to target visitors quickly once they leave your site. In fact, it’s probably worth it to shell out a little extra to make sure you can find and advertise to them on other sites almost immediately. The goal is to target them while your site’s still open on their browser (usually this means they’re comparison shopping with multiple browser tabs).

     

    Method #2: Exit Lightbox

     

    This logic should trigger as soon as you detect browser-closing on the user’s part and isn’t suited for session timeouts. Thank them for visiting, then offer to “save their place” by sending relevant links to their email.

     

    Interested in finding out how to take advantage of cart abandonment recovery techniques for your Magento platform? Reach out to us—we offer plenty of design and development options to capture additional revenue, secure repeat customers, and keep your business in the forefront of your customers’ minds.

  • With the advent and massive influx of smart phones, tablets and PDAs the supply of available information regarding e-commerce has grown exponentially into what is referred to as Big Data. And if knowledge is power than there is A LOT of power just waiting for e-tailers to snap it up. The e-commerce solutions folks over at Monetate put this handy infographic together to help make some sense of Big Data; here’s what you need to know about it:

    • Big Data is REALLY big: by 2016 expect a whopping 61% of all traffic to come from “non-traditional” sources

    • The top Big Data challenge facing retailers right now is handling information overload

    • Follow the 5 step guide to develop your own Big Data Game Plan for your e-commerce solutions

     

    e-commerce solutions

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