micro-influencer bunting

Micro-influencers: 4 Reasons You Need Them In Your Marketing Strategy

You might not immediately consider micro-influencers when you embark on your first influencer marketing campaign. They have smaller audiences – typically in the region of 10,000 or fewer followers – when compared to more well known influencers. You’ve likely never heard of most of them, but if you look a little closer, you’ll see that there is much for marketers to be excited about.

Micro-influencers have a dedicated following and far better engagement rates than their macro-influencer counterparts. They’re becoming increasingly in demand, and for good reason.

Here are four reasons why you should be using micro-influencers in your marketing strategy.

1. Micro-influencers make your brand look authentic

Micro-influencers are seen completely differently to celebrities or macro-influencers. When a celebrity posts sponsored content, the public’s reaction is often of distrust or cynicism – people often just don’t believe that the celeb uses the brand they’re promoting. They have all the money in the world to buy whatever brand they want, right?

Micro-influencers, on the other hand, carry a far superior level of authenticity, and their audience listens to them. They’re often experts or enthusiasts about their particular niche, and their opinion, therefore, holds more weight.

Ultimately, micro-influencers are regular people like you and me.

no_border

This beauty influencer @IFEBOB has a relatively small following of just under 23,000 followers, but is a makeup artist and expert in her field. This makeup tutorial is done in collaboration with a makeup company with links to the products she used. While this is a sponsored post, it doesn’t really feel like one – her opinion is trusted, and people can see how great the products look on her. Her engagement for this post was 41 likes per thousand followers.

2. They have higher audience engagement

Engagement is so important in influencer marketing campaigns. If an influencer gets tonnes of likes, comments, questions and shares on their posts, it’s a good indication that people care about what they post.

And that’s the great thing about micro-influencers. Believe it or not, they typically have much higher engagement rates than large-scale influencers. Just look at the research by Markerly, below.

Comments and like rates decrease dramatically as an influencer grows in numbers of followers.

beauty influencer

3. You’ll save money with micro-influencers

These great engagement rates also mean you get a lot more bang for your buck. According to the agency Hello Society, micro-influencer campaigns are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than macro-influencers campaigns, and therefore more cost effective, too.

Micro-influencers typically cost far less than celebrity influencers, who can charge eyewatering fees in excess of $250,000. Some celebs, such as Kylie Jenner, are estimated to charge a whopping $1 million per sponsored Instagram post. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are more likely to charge somewhere between $150 – $1000.

However, be aware you may not have rights to use the content in other places, and you may be charged to use the image in other marketing.

4. They’ll use their creativity to make your brand look good

We know that blatantly promotional posts aren’t as effective as they used to be. As influencer marketing grows, it’s important to find new ways to capture followers’ attention and imagination. Instagram is overflowing with celebrity sponsored posts that look – and are – completely staged. Let’s not forget Scott Disick’s Instagram fail, where he copy and pasted the Bootea marketing team’s message on a post to his 20+ million followers. Eek!

Micro-influencers love having creative control, and are much more likely to put time and thought into your joint campaign. A survey by Crowdtap found that their favourite projects are the ones that allow them creative freedom. Allow your influencer’s ideas to lead the way – they’re content experts after all, and have built their following through their carefully crafted content. Look beyond social posts and consider other types of content, such as videos, interviews, tutorials, or top tip articles.

Specsavers recently launched a microinfluencer campaign, where they featured social media influencers on their website wearing their favourite pair of glasses. They allowed the influencers to explain their choices, letting them show their personality with a link to their chosen glasses.

specsavers micro-influencer marketing
specsavers influencer instagram
influencer fail

To wrap up…

Research has found that 82 percent of consumers reported they were highly likely to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer. They’re trusted, have higher engagement rates, are cost-effective and love the chance to get stuck into a creative project.

When it comes to deciding between a micro or macro-influencer, you might just choose the micro-influencer, after all.

To find out more about how to get started on your next micro-influencer campaign, get in touch: hello@bunting.com

How to create urgency messaging like Booking.com

We have all been influenced by urgency messaging at some point in our lives. Ever purchased that dress you somehow convinced yourself you needed as there was free next day delivery for one hour only? Booked a swanky hotel because it was 15% off the standard rate and only 1 room left? Yes, we thought so.

We are now in a world where we have access to almost anything we need, at the touch of a few buttons, with numerous websites selling similar products. As a result, we are spoilt for choice, and retailers are feeling the pinch.

Companies are always looking for ways to raise sales, and creating urgency is an effective method of converting your visitors into customers. In this blog we will show you how to  break through your visitors’ mental hurdles to purchase, such as overthinking and waiting too long. Urgency encourages consumers to act quickly, and can often result in increased order values and conversions.

Time limited offers

It is well known that putting time limitations on offers are more effective than allowing them to be open ended. Injecting urgency in your website by notifying your visitors how long is left on the offer encourages them to make the decision there and then. Countdown timers can be used on offers such as free next day delivery, or discounts off purchases. A recent survey found that 71 percent of respondents residing in suburban areas would prefer free home delivery service ahead of free click and collect. If you choose to promote free delivery, be specific to your customers about when the item will arrive. Research has shown that stating the exact time you can expect your item to be delivered is clearer than stating the delivery speed (in days, hours etc).

You can A/B split test different variations of the offers, such as text, position and colours to see which are the most effective at boosting your conversions.

Scarcity Warnings

Scarcity techniques, such as highlighting to customers which items are low in stock, ranked first in the most successful e-commerce marketing personalization techniques worldwide as of June 2017. Results show that using scarcity warnings provide an average uplift in revenue-per-visitor reaching 2.9 percent.

We have all experienced that dreaded feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out), and your customers feeling that they’re going to miss out on that last item in stock is no different. Showing limited stock levels not only activates the fear factor in your customers, but also lets them know that their chosen items might not be available for much longer if they don’t act soon.

Social call outs

Urgency can also be created by showing consumers call-outs highlighting how popular the product they’re viewing is, based on other shoppers behaviour.

This feature can be added to your product pages using simple pop up boxes showing how many times items have been viewed or purchases in the last 24 hours, or even how many people are also viewing the item right now.

Showing consumers how popular a product is, heightens its desirability and therefore increases the probability of the product being added to basket. It is worth noting though, this could backfire if your product has had very few purchases!

Social Recommendations

You can create urgency using social recommendations by showing visitors notifications of how well products have been selling that hour, day or week. An alternative would be to feature a list of products which are selling fast on your homepage. This shows to consumers not only that your website is popular, but also creates urgency for them to purchase one of the best sellers before they all get snapped up!

Using colours to promote urgency

Booking.com is king when it comes to using colours to promote urgency on their website. Our bodies are hard wired to change our behaviour when we see different colours. Red is often associated with anger, importance but also love. Orange, whilst having some of the same energising aspects as red, does so in a slightly safer degree. Orange is a good way to add excitement to your urgency messaging with less severity. Green is seen to be a softer colour, and naturally represented as a safe colour, especially when placed next to the stimulating colours of red and orange.

 

As always, we highly recommend that you split test your colour choices to find out which works best for your site…however, there is a reason that red is most commonly used!

And finally…

Adding some urgency to your website encourages shoppers to take the actions you want them to, and has been proven, when used correctly to increase your conversions. We would always recommend that you split test any changes you make to measure the impact.

Need some assistance in getting your real time urgency messaging set up? Let us help!

Bunting offer a free months trial for our customers, so you can see the results for yourself.

GDPR and Bunting: What You Need to Know

25th May 2018 will no doubt be marked in the diaries of many a marketer.

It’s the date that General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, and all companies using EU citizens’ data need to comply. The new law regulates how businesses collect, use and protect the personal data of consumers, and hefty fines will hit those who don’t adhere.

Superseding the old Data Protection Act, the GDPR applies to personal data – and this time the definition is broader, referring to any data that can be used to identify an individual, including IP address.

We’re GDPR compliant

At Bunting, we use on-site shopping and behavioural data to personalize and improve the customer experience on websites. The majority of this data is not personal, but we do sometimes process a small amount of personal data such as email addresses. We only collect data that is necessary to perform the function of the tool.

Since last year, we’ve been preparing for the new regulation and working with our data protection lawyers. We’re fully GDPR compliant, having changed our internal processes as well as making important changes to the Bunting tool.

In our view, GDPR is a good thing, and has been worth the effort. It will allow consumers to control the usage of their personal data, meaning more rights that will force better practice in the industry. 

GDPR will put pressure on marketers to make their communications truly relevant, and, importantly, to get consent when necessary. Pre-ticked boxes will be a thing of the past as consumers can actively choose which marketing communications they want to receive.

What do companies need to do?

We recommend working with data protection legal professionals to do a full audit of the data flows within your organisation.  The ICO has some very clear guidance to follow on what you need to do.

Importantly, you’ll need to document how you comply with the GDPR, and you must establish your legal basis for using personal data. In some cases you’ll always need to rely on consent (such as email communications); in others, you may be able to rely on legitimate interests. 

From an ecommerce perspective, you must display a clear privacy notice detailing how and why you collect personal data. GDPR states it should be concise, written in clear and simple language, and easily accessible. Gone are the days of convoluted small print!

Check with your vendors

Bunting will be amending existing contracts with customers to include GDPR clauses, and Bunting users can find out here how to comply when using the Bunting tool. We recommend speaking to your vendors to ensure they are compliant, too, and get it in writing.

Amend your processes


You’ll need to make sure you’re compliant with the 8 Rights of Individuals under the GDPR – such as the right to access or rectify personal data. If you’re a Bunting customer, you’ll be able to implement your customers’ rights easily through the Bunting platform. Find out more about how to comply with the 8 rights here.

Get in touch…

While GDPR no doubt brings challenges, we do believe this to be a turning point in the industry which will ultimately lead to better, more focused marketing.

The Bunting team are happy to help with any of your questions. Contact us at gdpr [at] bunting [dot] com

The Essential Personalization Techniques to Retain Your Best Customers

Marketing budgets often focus on acquisition – driving new traffic, and then getting new customers. But do you really know the future value of your current customers? Gartner statistics show that 80% of your future revenue will come from 20% of your existing customers.

Retention marketing, conversely, means focusing on making your current customers happy, so that they become not only repeat customers, but fans. It’s hardly surprising that 82% of businesses agree that retention strategies work out more cost effective in the long run.

So, how can you make your customers happy and engaged? It requires getting to know them and nurturing that relationship. You’ll need to know who they are, understand their likes, dislikes, and what makes them tick. Long gone are the days of generic marketing communications and blasting irrelevant messages – it’s time to personalize your marketing efforts.

Let’s run through some tips on how to retain your most valuable customers.

1. Segment your visitors

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: you need to know your customers.

Analyze the plethora of data at your fingertips, and use it. This will allow you to segment customers according to characteristics which are relevant to your business. When considering retention, look at transactional and behavioral metrics such as their browsing history, average order value, and purchase history.

One example is to segment your visitors according to when they last converted. Customers can then be targeted in various ways based on how long ago they purchased. So, if a customer is approaching the end life of a previously purchased product, target that user for product replenishment – a helpful reminder of an item they might need to to re-buy. Or, try to re-engage a user who has been inactive for a while with personalized content related to products they like.

2. Find new ways to engage

The key to retention is keeping your customers engaged and interested in your brand and products.

Looking at previous browsing and buying behaviour, send your customers content and offers related to the products they love, and make sure they’re quick to know about new releases. Research has shown that for 78% of customers, offers and promotions are only effective when tied into how they have previously interacted with your brand. With this in mind, send targeted offers as a reward for purchasing from you, and add urgency techniques such as a countdown timers, to drive incremental purchases.

3. Get ready for their return

When your customers return to your site, a personalized experience should await them. This means engaging users with relevant content and personalized product recommendations as soon as they land on your site. Remind them of what they previously viewed on their last visit so they can easily start browsing again. Consider how the space on each page they visit is used, and split test to see what works. Here are some tips for your homepage.

4. Personalize emails

Email is not dead. In fact, it’s still a great channel to reach your customers, if it’s personalized. When it comes to re-engaging customers, segment customers by their last visit. A ‘we miss you’ email with a personalized message and recommendations is a great way to bring old customers back.

On your site, you should give visitors the option to have their abandoned carts saved and emailed to them – a great way to re-target customers later with a tailored abandoned cart email. Research repeatedly shows that personalized emails can seriously increase conversions over generic messages.

5. Reward your VIP customers

Your VIPs are your most valued customers, not only through their purchasing, but through their brand advocacy. However you choose to do this, the trick is to make these customers feel special, and behavioral targeting is one of the most effective means of doing this. 

Of course, targeted offers are effective, but consider other options, too. Remember your customers are bombarded with marketing messages and you’ll need to cut through the noise. So, be creative when thinking of other ways to reward customers. Previews of new product lines relevant to their preferences are a nice way to make shoppers feel valued. Other examples are invitations to events, free samples, free gifts or tutorials – whatever works best for your store and products. 

To sum up…

Retention marketing is sometimes overlooked. However, with the opportunities brought by personalization, it is easier than ever to effectively retain customers. Experiment – an effective personalization tool like Bunting will allow you to run multiple tests and see what works well. Get to know your buyers and then engage, target and reward . You might be surprised by the results.

How to Win eCommerce Conversions With Personalized Content Marketing

Last Friday was National Chocolate Cake day (apparently).

I mention this for no other reason than it reminded me of a great piece of e-commerce content marketing by the much-loved chocolate brand, Cadbury.

Cadbury isn’t a brand usually associated with baking. But, a central feature of the Cadbury website is a rather tasty looking recipe section. It’s a chocolate lover’s paradise, showing how to make dreamy delights such as the decadent chocolate cake below.  It even allows you to create a ‘shopping list’ with a link to buy all the ingredients (which, of course, includes many Cadbury products).


This is just one example of a fun and clever way to foster a positive customer relationship, providing shareable ideas, and excellent material for email marketing campaigns.

But is content marketing necessary for e-commerce?

In a word – yes. Research from the Aberdeen group found the average conversion rate of sites with content marketing is five times higher than that of sites with none.

And the rewards extend further. According to research from Demand Metric, customers feel a closer connection with brands that create content. As for SEO, since Google updated its algorithm, content is now an essential part of ranking well on the search engines.

So what makes really good content?

Marketer Neil Patel sums this up nicely:

“Create content people want to share, whether that’s because it’s funny, powerful, interesting, or newsworthy”.

He then goes on to say:

Personalize the experience whenever and wherever you can.
Tell a story that people can relate to.
Teach your audience something.
Adapt your content to new and different platforms.”

There are so many ways to create content, and of course it depends entirely on your customers and what they want. It’s likely you’re already publishing content of some kind, but does it resonate with your customers? If you don’t know, ask them.

Here are some ways top e-commerce brands are using content on their sites.

Tutorials

There are few types of content as useful and engaging as product tutorials. Maybelline has a ‘make up trends’ section of their site, showing their visitors how to create on-trend makeup looks, with handy product recommendations at the bottom of the page to ‘create the look’.

Ideas for Products

Knowing your target market can give you ideas for how they might like to use your products in different and perhaps even quirky ways. A brand that does this well is furniture giant, Ikea.

They have an ‘ideas’ section of their site, filled with highly visual articles for home inspiration, but also helpful and handy ideas on a range of home-related subjects, such as storage tips.

Ikea states that it doesn’t believe in a ‘perfect home’ but rather a home ‘where everything looks the way you want it to, works the way you need it to, and just generally makes you feel good…’. The folk at Ikea understand the emotional impact one’s surroundings can have, and position their content as a way to inspire and create happier people who enjoy their homes. In doing so, they create and nurture a positive connection with their customers.


Video


Of course, video can be used in a multitude of ways. And for eCommerce, there’s no better place to start than product pages.

Research suggests that conversion rates can rise by as much as 80% when you get high quality video onto your product pages. It shows products in a vivid way from multiple angles, and captures the essence of your products in a way that photos simply can’t replicate. It’s certainly worth trying out.

Telling spellbinding stories

Everyone loves a story. Crafting your brand or your product’s story – and filling your site with content around that story – is a delightful way to engage your visitors in a far more emotional way than a typical e-commerce brand.

As for the results? You’ll see customers who buy more.

Research by Origin looked into how stories affected sales. One of their studies was a test of two product pages of identical products on a wine selling website: one product page with the winemaker’s story vs a page with wine tasting notes. Which page won? The page with the story saw an impressive 5% more sales. And not just that, but shoppers who saw the story were willing to pay 6% more.

Is there a way to incorporate storytelling into your site?


Making your content personal

As we mentioned earlier, content works best when it’s personal. So how can you put a personal touch on the content you create?

Recommend relevant content

Once your visitors show an interest in a particular theme, product or category, you can recommend related content so they can learn more, be entertained more, or whatever it is that your brand’s content does best. The more (good) content your customers consume, the more they’ll connect with your brand.

You can also recommend content based on previous purchases – a perfect guide to go with their new product, for example. Or, you can suggest content to visitors based on what they’re currently looking at (enjoyed this how-to guide? Here’s another you might like!)

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Whatever you choose, good quality content will help your eCommerce brand in various ways. Make it shareable, make it engaging, make it personal. Your customers will thank you.

 

The New Google Update for Pop-ups: Is Your Site Ready?

On the 10th January, the ever-evolving Google search algorithm will change.

The big change in a nutshell? Google will now punish sites that use intrusive pop-ups or ‘interstitials’ on their mobile websites by lowering their search ranking.

Do take note, that this is only affecting mobile sites. So, you won’t need to make any updates to your desktop site.

Also, the update isn’t something to be too worried about. Google launched an update last year that gave preference in its search results to “mobile friendly sites”. This update is a natural extension of this, and one that isn’t difficult to work with. 

The tricky part is determining what is meant, exactly, by an intrusive pop-up. Let’s summarise what you can and can’t do when it comes to pop-ups.

These pop-ups are not OK: 

–  A pop up that covers the main content of the page.

–  Pop ups that are difficult to dismiss (can you clearly see the cross?).

–  Using a pop-up that is similar to the style of the above-the-fold part of the page.


These pop-ups are OK

– Pop-ups and banners that, in Google’s words, use a “reasonable amount of screen space”, and that can be dismissed easily. If in doubt, the app install banners provided by Chrome and Safari are safe to use and meet the new guidelines.

– Pop-ups that notify visitors of some kind of legal requirement. For example, cookie regulations or age verification. These should be at the top of the screen and not obscure the entire page.

Here’s a handy image from Google that illustrates acceptable pop-ups:

google-pop-up-guidelines

What about Bunting’s pop-ups?

Using pop-ups is a key part of our tool, and we all know how engaging pop-ups can be when used to personalise the customer experience.

Our advice is this:

When creating pop-up content, to play it completely safe, you can disable pop-ups for mobile devices. To do this, when you’re in visitor targeting, select ‘device used is equal to computer’. This will prevent mobile devices seeing the pop-up.

targeting-tool-equal-to-computer

A great alternative to pop-ups is displaying Bunting’s message bars on mobile. These can present a personalised message to users at the top or bottom of screen. They’re definitely not intrusive, and easily dismissable – keeping your customers, and Google, happy!

All in all, the new update is nothing to lose sleep over. By following our tips above, your site should be fine. And for our users, make sure you log in to your Bunting account to make any required changes!

How to Up Order Values with ‘Stocking Filler’ Product Recommendations

With the Christmas shopping season in full flow, it’s worth considering some new ways to boost sales and order values. This Christmas, a new Bunting feature is available – ‘stocking filler’ recommendations that can be filtered by price, allowing you to promote smaller, lower priced items.

Stocking fillers are often bought impulsively in-store, and these on-site recommendations provide a similar opportunity; letting shoppers grab a few smaller items on their way through your store. Splashing these recommendations at various touch-points can be a great way to increase conversions and order values.

One way is to create a list of ‘trending’ or best-selling Christmas gifts under a certain price on your homepage. By serving up an added bit of social proof, you’ll increase your products’ desirability by showing what’s hot at the moment. You could alternatively display them on your cart page to up order values, along with personalised cross-sells.

stocking-filler-recommendations

How to do this with Bunting

To do this, go through the usual process of inserting your recommendations in your desired place. Right click and go to ‘settings’.

bunting-price-filters

Here, you’ll find options to choose the maximum (or minimum) price for your displayed products. Make your choice, set an A/B test, and watch the results come in!

screenshot-results-1

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Happy experimenting, and let us know how it goes!

Not a Bunting user? Found out more about our award-winning e-commerce personalisation technology here.

bunting expo events

The Biggest and Best Events for Ecommerce & Marketing

At Bunting, we like a break from the office.  We’ll never pass an opportunity to get out to industry events and meet people – which is why you’ll find us out and about at the biggest and best e-commerce and marketing events that the industry has to offer.

We’re exhibiting lots this year and the next, and looking forward to meeting many of you at the shows.

Here are the events you can find us:

2016 Events

September 

14th – Ecommerce Live – Manchester, UK.
29th, 30th – Ecommerce Expo, Olympia, London, UK.
29th, 30th – Technology for Marketing expo, Olympia, London, UK.

expo

October

7th – NUX5 – Manchester, UK.
12th – Internet Retailing Conference – Hammersmith, London, UK.

2017 Events

March

14th, 15th – Etail, Berlin, Germany.

April

5th, 6th – Internet Retailing Expo – NEC Birmingham, UK.

June

20th, 21st, 22nd – Etail UK – Conference Centre, London, UK.

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Bunting is a website personalisation tool for e-commerce marketers.  We make it a priority to engage with the marketing community at as many events as we can – to talk e-commerce personalisation with us, book a meeting at hello@bunti.ng

How Your Online Store Should Prepare for the Black Friday Five-day

When it comes to profits, Black Friday is every retailer’s favourite American export. As manic as it may be, it is an amazing opportunity to drive sales, and capture new customers. This year will be no exception.

The big difference this year, however, is it’s predicted to be an overwhelmingly online event that will take place over a full 5 days. Goodbye Black Friday, hello Black Five-day – a five day shopping spree that will see visitors expecting online deals from the 24th November right through to Cyber Monday on the 28th.

It’s also predicted that this year’s event is going to be bigger than ever. More than 1 in 3 families will buy their Christmas presents over the Black Friday weekend. Sales are expected to surpass the $4.5 billion spent in the US last year, with £5 billion worth of sales predicted in the UK. And online traffic is expected to increase by up to 20%.

With expectations like this, it makes sense to get ready now.

Optimise and Personalise Marketing Activities

email-puc

In the run up to Black Friday, make sure you utilise the right channels to create a buzz about your event and remind shoppers of what kind of deals they can look forward to, and when. 

Interestingly, last year, email drove more sales than any other channel on Black Friday. Consider personalising content around customers’ buying and browsing behaviour – personalised deals and recommendations will convert better and see more return visitors.

During the event itself, feeding customers deals gradually will help control peak traffic spikes and reduce strain. Plan carefully to stagger marketing activites and think carefully about what times to send out your messages.

Test, test, test!

Some of the biggest brands’ websites have infamously crashed during the Black Friday rush. And while most sites think this may be a concern reserved only for high volume retailers, all sites should think carefully about site functionality and load times during peak hours.  Unprecedented numbers of online visitors are expected this year.

By preparing in advance, and carrying out performance tests you can avoid any disruptions during the big event. Discuss traffic concerns and limitations with your web hosters. Make sure your whole organisation is communicating across departments, particularly with regards to marketing activities that could cause traffic spikes.

Get mobile ready

mobile shopping

In 2015, 52% of traffic came from mobile. More than ever, it’s important your store responds well on mobile, and that your offers and marketing material are optimised and accessible on mobile devices. 

According to Big Blue, mobile and tablet devices accounted for well over half of traffic last year, seeing a 16% increase. In addition, mobile accounted for over a third of purchases and saw higher AOV than desktops. Black Friday has become a largely online event and this year will be more about mobile than ever before. With this in mind, you should make your mobile marketing personalised in line with other channels.

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While Black Friday may bring stresses and strains on your website, planning in advance will help ensure your site is ready to reap the benefits of higher traffic and engaged shoppers.

Watch this space for more hints and tips in the run up to the big week!

Ecommerce Optimisation: What you really need to consider for Q3

So we’ve made it half-way through the year which, to ecommerce folk, means we’ve reached Q3 of 2016.

We’ve seen a lot and learned a lot this year, with surprises along the way.  So, given what’s happened so far, what should you be considering for the next quarter?

1. It’s time to get video savvy

video toys r us ecommerce

The first half of the year has shown that customers are demanding more content rich and visceral shopping experiences. They don’t want just a mere photo and description. Vivid and detailed product descriptions are no doubt helpful, and beautiful product photography is great, but this doesn’t quite capture the essence of your products like high quality video.

Product tutorials, and demos can work well on video, and can also provide shareable material. A bit of creativity can go a long way. Look here for some video ideas.

2. Reputation marketing is more important than ever

Social proof is now a complete expectation, and affects both online and in-store purchasing. Google research shows 8 out of 10 people use a smart phone in store to consult reviews whilst shopping. Online, many shoppers won’t buy a product that doesn’t have a review, and they may go to an online store elsewhere that displays a good number of reviews.

Reputation marketing tools allow you to directly respond to customer feedback and manage interactions. Negative reviews can be turned into positive experiences with the right response. It’s also worth trying to incentivise your customers to leave a review – higher number of reviews translates into more trust in both your products and brand (unless, of course, reviews are largely negative!)

3. Customers are less patient


baby phone angry

The expectations of customers are changing rapidly, and this applies to online customer service more than anything. Online visitors have less and less patience when it comes to finding answers to questions – and if their answers can’t be found easily, why should they hang around?

Customers also might want a bit of advice and assurance about which product suits their needs. Live chat is the best current solution to this, and, from a vendor point of view,  is a worthwhile investment. Consider this: Live Chat has the highest levels of customer satisfaction at 73%, compared to 44% over the phone.

4. Get ready for the big online shopping days

cyber monday

It’s well known that events like Black Friday are huge opportunities to drive traffic and sales. Cyber Monday yielded $3 billion last year in the US, but the biggest day online was Singles Day in China with Alibaba making over $14 billion alone. It’s predicted that these days will only get bigger, and new event days are popping up.  It’s worth preparing for these days significantly in advance, with a targeted and personalised marketing campaign, and ensuring your site is well prepared for the weight of extra traffic. Other events to consider in this next quarter are Back to School Sales, Summer Clear Outs and significant days within your country or culture.

5. Personalisation is hitting the mainstream

homepage personalisastion

85% of marketers are now using personalisation across campaigns (source: Researchscape/Evergage), with personalisation typically showing conversion increases of 19%. There is no doubt that delivering personalised experiences is necessary to keep up with the competition, as customers similarly expect their onsite experiences to be relevant to them. Interestingly, most marketers rate their personalisation efforts as no higher than a ‘C grade’, so clearly work needs to be done. With a large proportion citing lack of technology as a factor, tools like Bunting will undoubtedly make the process easier.

So…

As we head into the next quarter of the year, it’s worth thinking about what we’ve learned so far, and how this information can help optimise your site. Making these changes now will no doubt help prepare your store for the winter buying rush in Q4 (But we won’t talk too much about that yet..!).

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