I attended the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 last week, I figured for those who could not attend these are some good notes and maybe help a bit. The conference was set in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. If you have never been to San Diego it is a must! The best weather in the country by far. J street and 5th ave are some of the best bars and restaurants, except for this one called Dicks, this is a place for those who have a fetish for verbal abuse and vulgar language, and if you read the sign and still go in? Don’t complain!!! This is exactly what this place is for and boy can they dish it out so be warned. To end the week we ate at Nobu Japanese restaurant, I don’t think I can ever eat better sushi again. so anyway, here are some of my notes about the show.
Give great service, free delivery is king, quality images and information on product are essential, usability, test web sites often, and whatever the cost it will reap far more reward.
Alternate payments like using Amazon checkout make people feel secure and build trust. Many do not want to give their credit card or enter it into a site.
Survey your customer’s experience, Poll your customer’s experience.
Loyalty programs were mentioned by many as were social game based rewards, up and coming are Facebook credits (coins) this is Facebook currency which is used to buy items in Facebook games like Farmville, Farmville currently has 110 million installed and 11 million regular players. Bejeweled is another favorite. 1800flowers is offering a 10% discount and 15 Facebook credits for certain products. Credits cost 0.10 per credit. One speaker uses a % of the purchase price to be converted into reward points or game credits. (spend $$$ and get 50 FB credits or 100 miles points)
Customer service is essential, good service, consistent and quick responses, follow through on promises and policies are not always 100%, there are times to change it depending on situation.
Gifts with purchase, free upgrade to 2 day delivery, next day or free raises conversion rates. Emails offering access to private sales,
Usability studies was also part of many speeches, Borders doubled revenue after doing a study, also common mistakes are most retailers do not look at sites the way customers do, too many agendas from several departments and it was analogized as a tree stump theory, putting things on a page is like a tree stump in the middle of the conference table, as time goes on people don’t notice it as much, over time we put a table cloth over it, a vase, some other things and it becomes part of the décor for those who work there, but new people see a huge lump in the middle of the table. This is why they recommend usability often and staying on top of it.
Not all on the home page is seen, 30% of what you think is the most obvious on the home page is rarely seen.
Error messages should be prominent (not filling in a section of a form, not choosing to check off something, pick a size etc.) make error messages bigger than the norm and show the customer with red line or box around the error, also in yellow highlight describe the error. Have the page default to that error.
How people shop = Mobile- Social- Local
41% of people surveyed are using a tablet while watching TV, called “Connected Living”.
In a survey of tablet users the following are the results for use. Access email 73% Look up info 72% Play games 66% Watch video 56%
Emedia, (web) is becoming the dominant source of news and is growing according to Arianna Huffington.
Social and mobile-
460 of the top 500 are actively using Facebook and or other social outlets including Mobile to engage customers, it is very important that retailers weave themselves into the fabric of social media. This was mentioned by Ebay (groupgifts.ebay.com and the new platform that ties Ebay with Facebook and other social partners), Ebay will have where a friend can poll other friends about products they are thinking of purchasing and those friends can vote on them, also make other recommendations.
Arianna Huffington also quoted 3 winning things for the web. 1. Real time, 2. Social, 3. Engaging.
According to Ebay, $62 billion in 2010 sales and 60% were Buy it Now option. This shows that the web customer is a fast moving target with little time to invest in the buying process.
Mobile buying is on the rise, new apps (like Bling Nation teamed with Pay Pal to allow just a swipe from a cell phone that has a sticker on the back to make a purchase, eliminating Credit cards, cash, checks etc. sometime this will be the next “check card” or Debit card as we knew it, US 40 SOMETHINGS) an easy way to pay at checkout. Google wallet is also a contender.
Another subject that came up often was “give the customer multiple avenues to pay for purchases” PayPal, Bill me later, etc. These also cut the time in the paying process and have shown to decrease cart abandonment.
Free Delivery! Free delivery was often heard among speakers, the importance of offering free delivery (and advertising it) was common, and those who do charge are at or below the $25 charge.
Internet advertising is also taking a bit of a turn, many customers are turning their attention to Local shopping, especially with local search based on location. Rising search engines that specialize in local products and retailers are www.where.com and www.Milo.com local targeting was mentioned often by many exhibitors in the hall.
Re-targeting and dynamic re-targeting was one hot topic, using the product that a surfer was shopping for or left in the cart as an ad for re-targeting. Personalizing the re-target ad to the user.
RSR Research: With the information on the internet, customers now know more than most employees, the shopping no longer begins and ends with the store. Store employees also know less about their customers than the Ecomm teams.
In Arianna Huffington’s speech she said that Trust is the new black! Based on the seminars I attended this appears to be true, being transparent in policies and information are key ingredients customers are looking for. AOL is building strong content and segments to the Baby Boomers, Life after divorce and Sleep. Nonetheless, AOL appears to be a major competitor to other content and information sites.
Akamai. Which was quoted several times in seminars, They specialize in reaching “In market audience segments” building advertising models the prospect potential, predictive and shopping behavior. Most recent success was with Chico’s apparel, they have 4 sites running simultaneous, Chico’s, White House, black Market and Soma. The Company currently operates 1,084 women’s clothing stores, in 48 states, Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico operating under the Chico’s, White House | Black Market and Soma Intimates names.Chico’s has a $4 roas on display advertising through Akamai.The Company has 599 Chico’s frontline boutiques, 45 outlets, publishes a catalog during key shopping periods throughout the year and conducts e-commerce at www.chicos.com. WhiteHouse | Black Market currently operates 333 front-line boutiques, 17 outlets, publishes a catalog highlighting its latest fashions and conducts e-commerce at www.whitehouseblackmarket.com. Soma Intimates is the company’s developing concept with 86 frontline boutiques and 4 outlets today. Soma also publishes a catalog for its customers and conducts e-commerce at www.soma.com. Using Akamai and their pixel free approach because the ads are served from their platform which is easily integrated with other platforms and they can record every visit and action, can dynamic re-target them and apply the predictive segment, find hidden segments and use descriptive segments to gain sales and customers.
uses a pool of 550+ companies contributing 62 Billion in data behavior.
Shoebacca Started in a garage with 2 brothers, key ingredients were quality images, using the logo’s from major suppliers like Nike in all advertising next to the product builds trust, confidence and legitimacy. You must inform the customer frequently of any positive policies. Any policies that benefit the customer should be plastered in ads, print, radio, TV and Internet, Twitter, Facebook etc. They offer Free shipping and free returns 365 days a year. Shoebacca boosted sales conversions by 20% and returns rose very slight compared to period prior to launching the free returns. Shoebacca started to advertise their 110% price match gty and a 14 day price assurance that will automatically refund the customer the difference if the price is reduced in that time period. They garnered a 30% increase in sales 30 days after launching.