Customer Ratings and Reviews – Benefit or Burden?

Historically, consumers have always talked to their friends and family about products and services. Does the baker around the corner have good bread? How do the shoes fit at the local shoe store? As products moved online, so did the voices of consumers who now trust the product experiences of consumers who they have never met or interacted with. Approximately 88% of online consumers now read online reviews before making a purchasing decision; a number that has continued to increase over the past five years and continues to go up.

So what are some of the benefits and burdens of customer ratings and reviews? Let’s take a look below…

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Understanding Gender And ECommerce

Understanding Gender and eCommerce

Men and Women eCommerce

Men and women have shopped differently for generations, well before the first eCommerce store launched. While it’s easy to translate the differences in retail settings, (low height shelves in women’s stores, hands-on product displays in men’s stores) for some retailers making the transition online has been more difficult when it comes to optimizing their online shopping experience for their targeted gender.

Here are some of the ways the tendencies of the different genders affect eCommerce…

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Canadian eCommerce and United States eCommerce – A Comparison

The state of eCommerce in Canada is unlike many other places in the world. The adoption rate of new technology in Canada is among the top countries in the world – almost the entire Canadian population is connected to the internet thanks to its dense urban population and smartphones in Canada will be owned by approximately 15 million people by 2014 (40% of the expected Canadian population). Despite the “early adopter” mentality Canadians have toward technology, many consumers surprisingly still prefer to shop in-person than online. Canada has been ranked as an “average” eCommerce country, with online sales expected to make up approximately 5.3% of the country’s total spending by 2016. Why has Canada lagged behind the United States (and other countries) in eCommerce when they are among the pioneers in other avenues of technology – and most importantly – will this change in the future?

Let’s look at some research to answer these questions…

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Tactics to Stop & Prevent Cart Abandonment

eCommerce abandoned cart

Getting consumers to visit an eCommerce site is a task within itself – retailers spend thousands on e-mail marketing, SEM campaigns, and display advertising in hopes of driving traffic to their eCommerce site. Site designs are practical and finding products is easy, yet the shopping cart abandonment rates are at an all-time high of 72% and are expected to increase in 2012. Consumers are visiting eCommerce sites but are not “pulling the trigger” on purchases, especially when they are new to the site, and combating this behavior is becoming more difficult.

How can retailers deal with rising cart abandonment rates? To find out more information on the topic I sat down with our cart abandonment expert and eCommerce strategist, Doug Mitchell…

What are some current tactics retailers are finding effective in combating cart abandonment?

Re-targeting e-mails are easily the most effective way to curb cart abandonment, but adding a persistent cart to a site (where items remain in the cart after a customer exits the site) is also important. Throughout the site adding a cart icon with the number of items currently in the cart is also a good tactic as it makes consumers aware they have items in their cart, especially if they are returning to the site and may have forgotten about the items.

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New Innovations in Online Payments

The way consumers pay for products online is changing to keep pace with the ever-evolving online shopping experience. Concepts such as the eCheck never caught on with the mainstream online population, meaning the way consumers paid for products online needed to be reinvented and not copied from traditional retail methods. Let’s take a look at some of the most current payment technologies and ones which may not be too far away…

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The Expectations of the eCommerce Consumer

college students with tablets

Take a moment and think back to just 10 years ago – mobile commerce didn’t even exist. Five years ago a tablet was something most people wrote on with a ball-point pen. Simply put, technology has evolved and so have the expectations of consumers when ordering products online. Here are four areas consumers expect more from their eCommerce experience:

  • Mobile commerce is now commonplace – Launching an eCommerce site is already an exhaustive task which can take months (if not years) of planning and execution. Although mobile still lags behind the personal computer in web sales, the smartphone adoption rate in the United States has soared to almost 50% of the population and the need for mobile support is essential. Just porting over or modifying a version of an eCommerce site for mobile use isn’t good enough anymore, consumers want a site built for mobile devices that’s low on bandwidth, easy to navigate, and makes checkout a breeze. 
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Cyber Monday 2011: The Results

With the biggest online shopping day of the year finally over, how did Cyber Monday 2011 stack up against years past and other major online shopping days of this year’s holiday season? Let’s take a look…

  • According to IBM Coremetrics, Cyber Monday sales were up 33% from last year, a huge increase even from previous years. Here is a great graph highlighting exactly what times of the day sales were the best for Cyber Monday 2011…

…As you can see sales followed the same trend as previous years until the evening. In years past many holiday shoppers logged off as business hours came to an end, and although there was a small surge of sales in the late evening, sales generally peaked in the afternoon (2:05 PM was actually the peak sales time for Cyber Monday this year). However, on Cyber Monday 2011, sales not only hit record highs in the afternoon but there was a fundamental shift in the way consumers viewed Cyber Monday in the evening. Instead of going home and turning on the TV or partaking in other activities, consumers kept their computers, tablets, and smart phones by their side and continued shopping. Sales continued to rise in the early evening to record levels which were significantly higher than recent years.

  • Although Coremetrics doesn’t release final sales statistics, comScore has reported Cyber Monday 2011 sales as $1.25 billion dollars, or up 22% from Cyber Monday 2010. Although this figure is not fully aligned with the 33% reported by Coremetrics, it certainly supports the notion that Cyber Monday sales in 2011 increased substantially over the previous year.
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