The Retail TouchPoints Blog

Sep 19

E-Commerce Tracking And Attribution: Minefields To Avoid

By Paul Wright, CAKE

 

Tracking and attribution of online campaigns can make e-Commerce marketers feel like they are walking through a minefield. There are many factors to consider, and making sense of them all can be difficult and confusing, especially in today’s complex and fragmented marketing landscape. Which touch points along the customer journey are most and least influential in triggering conversions? Which campaigns are resonating well with customers and which are duds? Which affiliate marketers are adding value?

Today’s retailers can’t afford to make a wrong move. It’s essential for them to be able to capture and understand the multiple, varied sources of data that will help them make the best decisions possible. But as channels proliferate and billions of data points are generated daily, it’s easy to get tripped up. Here are three common minefields to steer clear of when developing and executing a strategy for e-Commerce tracking and attribution:  

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Sep 18

From The Lab Gives Beauty Lovers A Look At Innovative Products

By Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor 

As a consumer, I’ve always been a bit of a beauty junkie. But as a business journalist, I’ve always loved covering progressive start-ups. 

Well, with From The Lab, my two worlds have converged. 

As you can see from the above screen caption, consumers have the option of either shopping on an e-Commerce site or purchasing a monthly beauty box. While the steep discount is a great incentive on its own, what I find most interesting is that From The Lab gives consumers access to products that have been developed by innovation labs but haven’t been picked up by major brands or retailers. 

"What’s interesting about this model we’ve chosen is that these labs are producing the products and they’ve been completely beholden to the large cosmetic companies,” said Steve Dworman, CEO of Inside Beautiful, the parent company of From the Lab. “Unless they get one of them interested the product just sits on the shelf, it doesn’t matter how innovative it is.” 

In a way, From The Lab is bridging the gap between these product development companies and consumers, completely eliminating big brands and retailers from the picture. 

Now, it’s important to note that products found via From The Lab aren’t just run-of-the-mill cosmetics. They are considered luxury, high-end products, only made from the most quality ingredients. Even better: products are relevant to all females; no age restrictions. 

"All of our products are considered luxury," noted Lorraine Dahlinger, Co-Founder and President of Inside Beautiful. "We define them as first-to-market innovations with proven ingredients. It’s a conscientious approach to product development because we listen and deliver on what women want. This is crucial because women today are so savvy and can get anything they want." 

in addition to its extensive product assortment, From The Lab also provides educational content and resources for beauty fanatics. 

"We want to share knowledge and educate consumers," Dahlinger said. “We have robust web content and are transparent with ingredients so consumers know what to expect.” 

The From The Lab site also has an “Ask A Beauty Expert” feature, which allows site visitors to submit questions and receive answers via emai. 

Sep 17

Is Apple Pay The Mobile Wallet We’ve Been Waiting For?

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On September 9, during its annual event, Apple unveiled the new iteration of the iPhone, the Apple Watch and Apple Pay

The new iPhones contain an NFC chip and a dedicated chip called Secure Element that features Touch ID convenience. 

Major retailers, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Staples, Duane Reade, Whole Foods Market and Duane Reade, have already hopped on board. But will Apple Pay be a success? The RTP editors weigh in:  

Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief: Apple Pay will definitely be a key player in the mobile wallet race, but not the only one. MCX is backed by Walmart and Best Buy, to name just two of dozens. Also, most small businesses are not equipped to implement NFC solutions and have invested in solutions such as Square to offer mobile payment. The security aspect of Apple Pay is a plus if it proves to truly be secure. And certainly the Apple name carries a lot of weight in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor: Apple is undoubtedly the figurative cool kid and school that everyone wants to be friends with and tag along with. The industry has been debating for so long about whether Apple would include an NFC chip in its devices, or develop its own mobile wallet feature. Now, with Apple Pay, we finally have our answer. I think Apple has done a great job of outlining the key things that matter to customers: the value, how to use it and of course, security. In fact, I think the company has done a lot more to educate consumers than other mobile wallet providers. What’s more, Apple already has several large retailers accepting Apple Pay. An added benefit is that there will most likely be more seamless integration with Passbook, a feature already popular for many consumers. I can’t wait to keep track of adoption and see how consumers respond! 

Kim Zimmermann, Managing Editor: Mobile wallets have been trying to capture the attention of consumers and retailers for years. Google Wallet has not been the huge driver it was expected to be. Perhaps Apple Pay has a slightly better shot because it may be adopted by ardent iPhone users, but I still see a long road ahead. The recent iCloud security breach could impact users’ comfort level when it comes to Apple’s security. I’m comfortable paying for my coffee with my Dunkin’ Donute app, but haven’t adopted a mobile wallet yet. 

Rob Fee, Managing Editor: The concept behind Apple Pay is not new, but the execution is. Google released its wallet app three years ago and hit snags ranging where it could be used to whether or not mobile carriers, who wanted to promote their own services and partnerships, would even allow the service on their networks. Apple isn’t hitting any of these snags. I haven’t seen any mobile carrier say they wouldn’t allow it, and a slew of retailers already announced they would accept it. The technology, though, needs to overcome two key issues — educating users and industry adoption. The users are ready. Just the announcement of Apple Pay created more excitement than Google Wallet ever did. But it remains to be seen if retailers are ready to make the necessary POS upgrades to ease wider adoption. To flip the phrase from Field of Dreams, if you don’t build it, they can’t come.

Glenn Taylor, Associate Editor: The customer will likely identify with it more than previous wallet services, mainly because of the Apple name and its co-introduction with the iPhone 6/Apple Watch. The security concerns that come along with other wallets aren’t as prevalent, as Apple doesn’t hold your card on its server (only the bank issuing the card has access to the info). At least for now, I can see larger companies that are capable of handling the technology benefiting from it. The smaller companies may have to wait, but the majority of shoppers aren’t as likely to utilize mobile payment at those businesses in the first place.

Brian Anderson, Associate Editor: Out of all the retailers that can bring a particular technology mainstream, Apple has the most potential to find success. I definitely believe that Apple Pay will have a major impact on the growth of NFC technology. Apple has roughly 25% market share of smartphones in the U.S., and iPhone owners will definitely be looking to test out the new Apple Pay feature. The question is whether or not retailers will be able to adopt NFC payment technology as fast their consumers demand for it. Only time will tell, but I have a feeling many more retailers will hop on the bandwagon as soon as the new phone is made available to the public.

What are your thoughts on Apple Pay? Share your feedback in the comments section below! 

Sep 16

Cleanliness Is Key For In-Store Shoppers

Sure, shopping online may have its perks, but sometimes there’s nothing like visiting a brick-and-mortar store. 

While in a store, shoppers can browse through a variety of merchandise, touch and feel products, and interact with store associates who can act as knowledgeable brand representatives.

There are certain components of the in-store shopping experience that can have an extreme impact on customer satisfaction and overall loyalty. 

Of those factors, 22% of consumers have shopped at a competitor versus their local grocery store due to cleanliness issues, according to research from Interactions. In fact, cleanliness was a priority for 93% of consumers. They said they would return to a retailer that made cleanliness a priority.

The report, titled: The In-Store Experience Revealed: What Drives And Keeps Shoppers In Your Store, also indicated that more than half (55%) of consumers are dissatisfied with the checkout experience at their local grocery store.

Store associates also can affect consumers’ overall perceptions of grocers. The most important characteristics of successful store associates are: Friendliness, knowledge and accessibility. 

Up to 54% of consumers said employees at their nearby grocery store did not meet their expectations. 
 
Want to learn more about how to keep shoppers in your stores? Download the complete report today! 

Sep 15

3 Ways To Fix Your (Shopping Cart) Abandonment Issues

By David Rekuc, Ripen eCommerce

Last year e-Commerce owners lost an estimated $1.79 trillion dollars in abandoned shopping carts. No matter your business size, shopping cart abandonment is hemorrhaging potential sales and lowering your bottom line. Luckily, the fixes are real and manageable. Here are the three best ways to plug the leak and increase conversions in your e-Commerce site’s checkout:

1. Simplify the checkout

Don’t give on-the-fence customers a single opportunity to abandon. Allowing your shoppers to checkout as a guest increases conversion rates by 45%. Reduce navigation further by cutting out exit points like menu headers and sidebars for another 12% bump in conversions. Guests appreciate low commitment options and are more likely to continue to the final sales steps. Remember, you can always offer them an account after you’ve completed the sale.

2. Boost your CTAs

Switching to a large and direct call to action button can lower abandonment by 33%, and analytics fanatics: you can use this as an excuse to do as much A/B testing as your heart desires. Changing language, size, and colors of your CTA can have dramatic changes on your conversions.

3. Push return and shipping policies

Customers need to feel reassured; in fact, 63% of them want to view a return policy before buying. Make your terms easy to find and clear to read with an affixed or pop-up window at checkout, so customers won’t have to leave the checkout process to read it through. If you can manage it, try including some more lenient return policies to promote as well. While we all can’t offer a 365-day return window like Zappos, a fair and honest policy is more likely to win customer trust.

Between price comparison and the ease of online browsing, it is impossible to completely eliminate cart abandonment. But, with a few tweaks, your site can provide a smooth checkout process to guide users to the finish line and catch the ones who got away.

And when on-site strategy fails, don’t be too proud to beg (or follow up, if you prefer): automated retargeted email reminders are worth an average of $17.90 per email.

David Rekuc (@DaveRekuc) is the marketing director at Ripen eCommerce, a full-service digital agency that offers innovative development, design, and marketing solutions for online retailers. Rekuc has contributed to Entrepreneur.com, Internet Retailer, and MarketingLand.com, among others. For more information, visit www.ripenecommerce.com.