A targeted group of eRetail executives gathered in the middle of New York Times Square to discuss some of the most pressing topics of 2012. Without a predetermined agenda, the retailers were able to engage in a lively conversation that even spurred an impromptu beer… The day covered everything from social, multi-attribution and how to choose a vendor (very insightful from my standpoint).
Let’s take a dive into the pain points of leading ecommerce retailers, and some of the solutions that were derived from the conversation.
How do we determine the most important attribute?
While data is one of the most beautiful bi-products of online retailer, it can easily become a daunting nightmare of irrelevant data points full of misdirection. A common cry, I have shoppers that visited the site via PPC, clicked a remarketing ad, then clicked through an email, went to the store, returned to the site and ultimately came through a comparison shopping site – How do I give credit? First touch, last point?
Sadly, we didn’t arrive at a final answer. It is important to understand how your vendors are tracking this revenue in order to properly gage success of each of these programs. This is an industry known struggle and the answer may continue to be ambiguous for the foreseeable future. As a resource, this article may help spur an idea and provide additional insight into the evolving problem: Multi-Channel Attribution: Definitions, Models and a Reality Check.
Why Do We Continue to Talk so Much About Social?
While social did consume a rather significant amount of time during the conversation, it was reiterated that retailers are spending too much time and money on trying to monetize a channel that very rarely returns revenue in a significant way.
However, social seems to be a topic that cannot be shaken, and certainly should not be ignored. The key for these retailers seemed to be in the data available on each of their customers. Questions all retailers should be asking:
- Who are my social media influencers? How do I identify them? How do I get them to drive referral business?
- What data (especially on Facebook & Pinterest) does a customer provide in a public forum that could give a deeper insight into the shopper’s preference?
- How do I create a community that helps define a brand?
- Does selling products on social media have a significant ROI? Or, should that channel be used purely for branding and customer service? A great customer service example is
- Delta Airlines (@DeltaAssist) which can even upgrade you to First Class right from Twitter.
- Not using Facebook Connect? You may want to consider this integration as it is can deliver a great deal of demographic information to your marketing team.
And a few tips to help customers generate some exciting content (courtesy of Compendium) that could be used to create social excitement:
- When requesting content from your customers, ask them to provide a picture with that submission. Retailers are 9x more likely to receive that valuable content when compared to no pictures.
- Create a “Street Team” which is your biggest customer advocates. Have that customer submit photos, answer questions and promote your brand / merchandise by submitting pictures and original content for an exchange of points and discounts. A great example to illustrate this point is KarmaLoop.com.
- Have your customer service / sales team submit answers to customer clients to the marketing team for fresh, original content to be posted on the web. Great SEO content – really helps with long tail searches.
How Can I Drive Customers Back to our Website?
It’s all about understanding a shopper’s behavior and preferences – it was unanimous cry. Only followed by, how do we get to that data amongst all the data available?
Retargeting and Remarketing seem to be the most popular way to drive customers back to the website after an original visit. Whether that message is through the email channel or through a retargeting advertisement, reaching these customers on an individual level statically draws customer back more frequently and with greater conversion rates than a generic or no message. Automation allows Direct Brands to send nearly 10 triggered emails batches a day based on a wide array of behaviors that a customer’s displays, helping them stay in constant communication with their customers and enticing them to repeat purchases.
A few clever tips discussed to help keep customers returning:
- Fab.com is offering $10 a month if you connect with Facebook Connect and post your purchases on your timeline. Shoppers know they have $10 to spend, making them more likely to return and make use of their “earned” income. Otherwise, it would be a waste!
- Customers love free samples! Helps increase signups for emails and can entice customers to purchase products when they are receiving something free. Try a giveaway to your top customers. Brenton received a free sample from Freshpair.com and ended up working there – ecommerce recruiting tool not a typical result, but interesting fact.
- “You have $10 Waiting in Your Cart Today Only” It is a different spin on a $10 coupon, but seems to compel customers to spend the money if they perceive they already have the money to be spent.
Mobile is still for real and growing faster…
Customers are shopping on their smart phones and tablets. This is nothing earth shattering, but important for retailers to understand as shoppers are savvy and are expecting a similar experience across every communication channel. Seen across the multiple round tables, mobile is making up between 5% - 25% of total online traffic, but conversion rates for these experiences is 50% of the site experience.
One of the most interesting case studies came from the Internet Retailer Online Magazine; Mobile exceeds 50% of sales on a single day at e-retailer Rue La La.
The responsive design seems to be the best way attack this problem, as it allows for a single site experience that adjusts dynamically to the screen size. For an example of responsive design, please check out iGoDigital.com & King Arthur Flour.com.
Let’s Wrap it Up…
All in all, the day was a great conversation that allowed ecommerce executives to share their knowledge and brainstorm ideas. As it has been so elegantly said, “These days are like AA for ecommerce.” Executives express problems and begin understanding creative ways to fix problems based on the experiences of their peers, while gaining a support group that can help them far beyond a single day of conversation.
Thank you for everyone who participated! Next stop Columbus, OH.