Every year, companies hire the wrong web developer. Maybe it’s a budget issue, an error in judgement, or simply a friend who offered “expertise” that doesn’t actually have any. Regardless of cause, here are 5 costly web design mistakes that plagued ecommerce sites in 2017 (and how to fix them!):
5. Supercharge Your Cart
Customers expect the cart to be located in the top right corner. We know this. Still, many sites stray from the convention, or even make the cart more difficult to find than it should be. Cart location is especially important in preventing cart-abandonment, as someone might leave the site with items in their cart… when they return, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find the cart again and continue to checkout.
Studies show that changing the word or icon from “bag” to “cart” and/or adding the word “checkout” can increase conversions significantly (Sources: UXmovement, Conversionfanatics). Last point on this note, consider adding a “checkout” link that only appears next to the cart once items are placed inside. A little encouragement goes a long way.
4. Feature Products Above The Fold
Many home pages leave a lot to be desired. Think of the laziest shopper in the world. For them, and even seasoned shoppers, scrolling is the enemy. For this reason, it’s important to feature your “New Products,” “Best Sellers,” or “Our Picks” section front and center of your homepage. This immediately draws interest from users, especially in retail when everyone’s searching for the hottest new trend. If you choose to feature a carousel of images, you’d do well to triple-check that it’s easily navigable, or risk losing customer attention. Limit the number of banners on your carousel to between 3 and 5, and make sure they all contain a clear call to action and/or deal. This is the most valuable real estate on your site. Use it wisely.
3. Rethink Your Links
All links across your site should underline when hovered over. Roughly 8% of men are colorblind, so a hover color alone might not do it. Remember to keep your link format consistent, and keep links evenly spaced from one another. If you different pages share the same link, ensure that you choose one standard location for the link so the customers know where to find it and don’t go searching. If someone has to ask “where is it?” you’re already losing customers.
2. Optimize Your Checkout Gateway
Another common mistake (or rather, a common set of mistakes) happens at checkout. There’s 7 things every site should have at checkout: A way to remove an item from the cart, a “continue shopping” button, total cost, a coupon code entry box, and shipping times (with options and other info if available). The sixth and possibly most important thing to have here are trustmarks. Is the site SSL secured? Is it accredited by the BBB? Are there credit card logos to show which types are protected / can be used? Are you an authorized/ accredited distributor of whatever you’re selling? These can be major selling points to the right customer, and frankly, if the site isn’t at least SSL secure, this author and 85% of consumers won’t buy anything. Trustmarks should also be clickable, linking to another page of your site or opening a new window to more info on the credibility of the security provider. The seventh part of any good checkout is of course…
1. Recommend Additional Products
Displaying “Related Products” or “Customers Who Bought These Items Also Bought” functionality that lists additional items your customers might want to add to their cart can be a very profitable move (RE: The Psychology of Upselling). You can accomplish this with several platforms like Nosto + Magento, but regardless, it’ll definitely give you a sales boost. These are just a few of our everyday encounters at Redstage. If you have questions about any additional web design mistakes, feel free to ask in the comments. If you want the expert devs at Redstage to give your site a conversion audit, click here!
Good luck! And may the odds be forever in your favor.
Earlier this month, IKEA emerged as the sleeper champ of retail’s augmented reality arms race. On the AI front, companies like Emarsys and Edgecase released ecommerce products that use advanced machine learning techniques to automate time-consuming data analysis and predictive forecasting strategies for retailers.
With such tools available to manage mass audiences and their data, this is an opportunity for tech-minded shops to get a leg up on the competition. As a result, we can expect to see some large retailers (those who fail to adapt) fall behind in a relatively short amount of time. Survivors of this retail purge will make themselves known in the next year or two as these technologies become cornerstones of ecommerce. Here are some big changes to expect in the new paradigm of online shopping that everyone will be adding to next year’s budget.
“The IKEA Effect”
Diving into Apple’s ARkit early-on, the home furniture & appliance giant successfully launched an AR app that lets users view how IKEA’s furniture will look in their home by selecting products from an online store. Released with iOS11, the brand was primed for a massive market reaction. Sure, the items still have some issues (they don’t adapt to lighting too well and their textures aren’t quite realistic), but as the first retail brand to jump into AR, the starting gun has been fired, and many companies are racing to capture value through this technology.
Redstage CEO Adam Morris sees huge potential for AR in ecommerce, stating, “There’s certain industries that I see really benefiting from AR, especially companies where seeing the item in-person plays a huge factor. I believe jewelry sales could be completely revolutionized with AR, and then on to home goods like furniture.” However, Morris notes that the ecommerce industry typically lags a few years behind the latest tech trends, relying on major user adoption for companies to jump on the bandwagon. “For instance,” he recalls, “we talked about ‘mobile-first’ for years, well before companies would begin implementing it. Most didn’t pull the trigger until they had no choice — when mobile users made up more than thirty percent of their user base. It’s easy to argue that the industry is still doing a horrible job at mobile commerce, even now with roughly two-billion online shoppers using mobile.” Perhaps the companies that have been slow to catch up with mobile will double-down on AR, or risk giving up their market share to the brands that do.
So what happens when health and beauty retailers jump onto this train? If Snapchat can already morph your face and add eye-shadow, will brands like Ulta Beauty and Maybelline step up to the challenge? How will consumers react to no-longer trying on makeup in-store, or to saving bundles of cash testing it through your app? Years down the line, this may even change the supply chain, because stores can test products without actually making them, without buying in bulk, and never worry about hemorrhaging money selling-off failed product. Will proactive make an AR filter to show what you’d look like without acne? Will Schick and Gillette face-off for a chance to show you how to carve up that beard? Furthermore, what will become of Snapchat, now that the company announced it will let brands create their own AR features? The possibilities are endless, and the brands that don’t engage AR or continue to view it as a passing trend will feel it in their bottom lines sooner or later.
Emarsys’ ecommerce platform is taking the world by storm. Using artificial intelligence to automate various customer retention and acquisition strategies, the AI uses machine learning to quickly create the perfect online shopping experience for each customer. Designed by Forrester, the system quickly crunches oceans of data about site visitors to cater to their needs and desires. After uploading two years of historical user data, ecommerce companies can maximize ROI on existing users. For new users, the Emarsys AI takes an average of 8 weeks to optimize the customer journey and activate recurring campaigns to keep engagement high. While there are many AI competitors out there, Emarsys boasts a robust, user-friendly platform that creates a truly personal experience for each shopper. As Morris describes it, “AI is becoming essential to work personalization into ecommerce, and machine learning systems offer huge advantages over rule-based systems. Marketers do not need to spend nearly as much time tweaking and administering a rule-based system when the AI is optimizing it automatically.” He adds, “We had a customer that doubled their newsletter list from 50k subscribers to 100k. However, since they did not employ any personalization strategies for what products were beingpresented, they only received a 15% increase in revenue from that channel.” As ecommerce threatens to surpass in-store sales (Business of Fashion) personalization of branded messages is critical. What are you doing to cater to each customer?
Fringe Shoppers Beware
We all do it. We’ll aimlessly surf Amazon or another online retailer looking for something cool to buy, even when we don’t know exactly what we want. Edgecase, the company formerly known as Compare Metrics recently released a new product that helps convert shoppers who have a vague idea or even no idea of what they want. In a time where ecommerce and marketing penetrate the lives of every consumer, tools like Edgecase that help convert the shopping addicted masses are becoming hugely important. When integrated with an online store, the software makes selections for users based on what they’re thinking of (i.e. a blue dress in a certain size) rather than a specific brand. Users can also receive lists of recommended items when shopping for a specific event like a wedding or graduation. As we enter that special time of year, consider how a system built to convert fringe shoppers can have massive impact.
As the holiday season looms, companies taking advantage of AR and AI pose the biggest threat to your bottom line. As the ecommerce arms race ramps up, winners and losers will be defined by how they spend their 2018 budget. Make sure you’re planning to implement these tactics by next year’s holiday rush, or risk being left out in the cold.
Possibly the most memorable viral marketing event in recent memory, the viral spread of this campaign made it an immense success. Whether it was the celebrity endorsements, the chance to show your support for a good cause, a dare from a friend, or simply being bored on a hot summer day, millions of participants drenched themselves, creating more than 2.4 million videos on Facebook alone. The result? One-hundred and fifteen million dollars in donations. What’s more, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person in the U.S. today who doesn’t know about A.L.S., the terminal illness that claims 100,000 lives per year. This is the pinnacle of viral marketing.
So what’s the recipe?
Step 1: Keep It Simple
Much of the Ice Bucket Challenge’s success resulted from the ability of anyone, anywhere, to take part. Unlike guerrilla marketing stunts that require prospects to be in a specific location or attending an exclusive event, most people have access to ice, water and some kind of bucket. Other memorable campaigns include the #nomakeupselfie campaign that generated $2 million for cancer research. The campaign worked because it resonated with a global population of women frustrated with beauty standards. Like the IBC, this went viral because millions of people were potential participants. If you can’t think of an activity almost anyone can do themselves, plan to host events in a variety of population centers that maximize exposure for your cause. New York, D.C., Miami, Chicago, L.A. Find a place with tons of foot-traffic and use it to your advantage. Today, Uber gives out ice cream on hot days in more than 252 cities around the world. Almost anyone can eat ice cream right? Now with the recent launch of Uber Eats, this campaign is more important for the brand than ever before.
Step 2: Inspire Spreadability
Without social media, none of the previously mentioned campaigns would be possible. You couldn’t stand on a curb in Manhattan and request a donation from someone after dropping a bucket of freezing water on them (you’d probably be unconscious). If you want your viral marketing to work, it needs to inspire shares. Redbull skydiver Felix Baumgartner fell 23 miles to earth from the edge of space, hitting a maximum velocity of 833mph and breaking the sound barrier with his torso. The key ingredient? Hosting the video live on YouTube, resulting in 8 million live views. Before the event, a content-fueled countdown of shareable articles, photos, and videos packed newsfeeds, building up the hype as much as possible.
After the jump, the spreadability of the content kept it in the minds of consumers everywhere, marking Redbull as the most badass brand on the planet. However, it was incredibly expensive. $65 million in fact. But it worked. Redbull saw U.S. sales skyrocket 7% almost immediately, roughly equivalent to $1.6 billion in sales. I’d say that’s solid ROI.
A year later, a low-budget video called “How Animals Eat Food” (below) received 88 million views at the cost of a camera and one man’s self respect. Of course, one is a video of a man accomplishing the impossible and the other features a man smashing his face into a kitchen table. Virality is not an exact science, but it’s borne out of a consumer’s desire to share what they’ve seen with their friends, family and co-workers. In addition to simplicity, spreadability is paramount.
Step 3: Leverage Influence
While influencers like social media stars and celebrities aren’t always paid during viral marketing events, their impact introduces the campaign to massive new audiences. Without them, many campaigns would simply lack that viral, global boost. An endless number of celebrities participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, continuously expanding its reach to their fans. Imagine how many people only participated because they saw their idol taking part. In an age where we vicariously live through the lives of the rich and famous, consumers want to feel connected with them any way they can. However, influencers don’t always have to be celebrities.
Some companies have seen success giving free merch to popular students on college campuses, well known community figures, or a child who wants to be batman for a day. It doesn’t matter who your influencer is, so long as they help broaden your exposure through strategic means. In a controversial stunt, marketers of the dating app Tinder took a slightly different approach… They attended college parties at large universities, standing on tables at fraternities telling guys young women were waiting for them on the app. Then they ran over to sorority parties and told them the men were waiting.
How you create viral marketing for your ecommerce site depends on your understanding of consumer interests. If you get it right, your campaign could bring millions of new customers to your site. It might be as simple as a clever product video like “Will It Blend” or as disturbing as the Squatty-Potty commercial (above). Perhaps asking your fans to make videos of themselves using your product is a better route. Maybe it’s worth it to give free swag to a YouTube celebrity. Just make sure it’s simple, spreadable, and you get the right people to expand your reach if need be. Otherwise, you might as well stick to coupons.
As a group of seasoned ecommerce pros, the Redstage creative team constantly devises ways for clients to increase sales online. If you’re in need of a creative strategy for your site, give us a call: 1-888-335-2747