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eCommerce

eCommerce and inbound marketing: driving traffic to your website

Harnessing inbound marketing to get visitors to your eCommerce shop

By Blog posts, eCommerce
eCommerce and inbound marketing: driving traffic to your website
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Harnessing inbound marketing to get visitors to your eCommerce shop

Wherever you are with your eCommerce journey, there’s no doubt that one of your biggest objectives is to get customers, old and new, on your website. There are many ways you can achieve this, including PPC campaigns focusing on display, remarketing and Google shopping. But today we’re looking at eCommerce and inbound marketing. Or more specifically, the lifecycle marketing automation workflows that drive traffic (try saying that quickly!).

Consumer behaviour in 2020

With a pandemic hitting, we were all online A LOT more than usual. According to research by SendCloud, in 2020, 33% of British people shopped online at least one a week, making an average of 2.3 orders monthly. For comparison sake, in 2018 and 2019 this stat was 22% and 26% respectively.

How often do British people shop online per month?

eCommerce UK shoppers average spend was £125.40

With that, comes a lot of browsing!

Ideal content types for eCommerce

Your customer personas will heavily influence the areas of inbound marketing you focus on to drive web traffic. For the purpose of this blog, let’s focus on those that tend to be a good cover-all: content marketing delivered through social media, email marketing.

The world is very much your oyster when it comes to eCommerce content marketing. So long as it resonates with your customers (and leads!), you have the license to be as creative as you want.

Product edits

Years and years ago (ok, 2018 but doesn’t that feel like a lifetime ago?) Missguided were worshipped across social media for hearing the cries for a ‘jeans and a nice top’ category on their website. Have a think of clever edits and categories you can utilise and talk about across your channels.

Supporting content: video

Did you know around 90% of consumers say that videos help them decide what to buy? Of course you did! If you’re already utilising videos on your eCommerce site, make sure you’re talking about them everywhere possible! 

How product videos increase sale: TruConversion

Whether they are product demos, like how to install a car seat or how to build furniture, or showing how clothing looks in motion (because who wants to buy a skirt only to discover it’s transparent when it arrives!), show it off!

Don’t forget, hosting on YouTube is great for your SEO too. As the second largest search engine (also owned by Google) using the right keywords places you in a great position to be discovered. And that’s just the organic possibilities! There are plenty of great ad options to be had too.

User generated content

When done properly (you absolutely must get consent!), user generated content is a fantastic way to showcase your products in real life. Plus it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than influencer marketing (which is also an option of course).

In particular, we love these examples from Fortnum and Mason, showing how customers recycle and reuse their famous packaging and wicker hampers.

Fornum and Mason IG user generated contentFornum and Mason IG user generated content

On-site editorial content

Blogs. Articles. News. Whatever you want to call them. These are a great way to bolster your SEO efforts, as well as engage with customers. Whether you’re talking about new products, partnerships and brands, or company updates, it matters. Have a look at our top tips on how to create articles that people want to read here.

Social media

Organic social media content

Once again, it’s important to make sure the social media channels you use align with your personas. And it’s no good being on everything if you don’t maintain an active presence (we’re firm believers in back to basics marketing if you’re struggling).

Anyway, with a winning social media strategy in place, you’re in good stead to drive traffic to your website. Make sure you’re thinking about how to create content properly, because regurgitating what’s on your website on social media won’t cut it. Consider if you need to adapt your tone of voice to suit the differing demographics of each platform.

Social media advertising

Ads are a great way to bolster your reach and engagement, as well as for remarketing. Remember, it’s not just limited to Facebook and Twitter, you also have YouTube – the second largest search engine with 2 billion monthly active users!

Email marketing

2020 email benchmarks

Of course, some of you might be skeptical of email. There’s always a rumour on the way that it’s dying out and irrelevant these days, especially with the rise of social media. But how do you know the true success of your efforts if you aren’t able to compare your results with your peers?

Enter: Campaign Monitor’s 2020 benchmark report. Of course, there are millions of these around but this is the one we’ve decided to share.

Average email benchmarks for all industries

Open rate: 17.8%

Click-through rate: 2.6%

Click-to-open rate: 14.3%

Unsubscribe rate: 0.1%

Bounce rate: 0.7%

You know the score, so have a look at your industry averages and see where you sit:

Campaign Monitor email marketing benchmark 2020Building your email marketing database

One of the simplest ways to engage with your web customers is by building an email list. It’s key to have a strategy in place here, as sending a gazillion emails when the mood takes you simply won’t cut it anymore.

How to build your email marketing list

  1. Feature your signup form on your website footer
  2. Website popups (not too many!) with new subscriber offers
  3. Share on social media
  4. Set your PPC goals to build an email list
  5. Option to sign up during the checkout process

Marketing automation for eCommerce

First things first, having a robust CRM that integrates with your website is essential. Being able to track things like customer orders, frequency and categorise their interests makes planning your lifecycle emails more efficient and easier to automate.

Customer lifecycle touchpoints

If you can track your customers, you can determine where they are in the lifecycle. This diagram from SmartMail does a great job of illustrating what opportunities you have for emails and at which points:

Smart Mail's customer lifecycle journey

One step that is missing here is a new customer activation email. This is typically an icebreaker with a discount code for something like money off or free shipping (more on that below). And, if you collect birthdays (although we recommend collecting birth month, as specifics without good reason e.g. age restrictions, can have backlash from customers who are ever increasingly sensitive about data exchanges).

Win-back with abandoned cart emails

Did you know that 67.4% of online shopping carts are abandoned? There are many reasons why this happens, from real world interruptions to janky checkout processes. But one thing’s for sure, if you set up an abandoned cart email workflow, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to win those customers back.

TruConversion: conversion rate optimisation statistics

Neil Patel: how likely are you to buy products you left in your cart, if offered again at a lower price?

Most eCommerce platforms will have email plugins that allow you to easily set up an abandoned shopping cart workflow. So ultimately, it’s down to you to decide what your pull offer is.

Newsletters that actually drive traffic

As mentioned earlier, sending regular (planned!) updates to your customers can be a great way to encourage them back to browse. It’s important to make sure you have something ‘worthwhile’ to share though, so think about new products, brands and deals. But it’s also important not to over saturate their inboxes, as this can have a negative impact!

Identify your customer segments in your CRM

By tracking and segmenting your customers based on their interests (e.g. product categories), you can be more confident that you’re sending the right content to them.

Discount vs. free shipping

In our article about eCommerce shipping and fulfilment, we found that nearly 30% of shoppers will abandon their carts because of shipping costs. But is free shipping always more attractive than discounts? In short, no.

While free shipping can be a barrier to complete a purchase, it’s not necessarily enough of a pull for existing customers. Shopify has examined 19 ways to use discounts to generate more sales.

Inbound eCommerce strategy summary

Wherever you sit with email marketing (and marketing automation!), it’s definitely a valuable tool for driving traffic to your website. If you’re thinking of revitalising your email strategy, starting from scratch or simply want a fresh pair of eyes, get in touch. Our team of certified email geeks will be more than happy to help you on your way to converting web visitors into customers.

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Shipping, fulfilment and delivery: the forgotten steps in your eCommerce journey

Shipping, fulfilment and delivery: a beginners guide to eCommerce

By Blog posts, eCommerce
Shipping, fulfilment and delivery: the forgotten steps in your eCommerce journey
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Shipping, fulfilment and delivery: a beginners guide to eCommerce

The internet is a great leveller, especially when it comes to eCommerce. No one has to know how big or small your operation is. And with a winning SEO strategy, you stand just as good a chance as the next player. Regardless of why you’re perhaps a little late to the eCommerce party, you’re finally here! You know what you’re selling, you have a marketing strategy in place and you’re ready to launch. But have you planned your eCommerce shipping and fulfilment strategy?

Let’s start with a quick glossary:

eCommerce fulfilment: supplying your customer with their order at a set price and time frame, that is clear at the point of sale. In essence, fulfilment is setting up your shop and selling goods.

Outsourced fulfilment: a third-party that stocks and arranges shipping for your products. Asendia describes the process like this:

The exact way the fulfilment centre you choose works will differ. Generally speaking they will follow this process:

  1. You place an order for your products from the manufacturer.
  2. These products are transported to the fulfilment warehouse, where they are received and checked into your inventory.
  3. Your products are stored in the fulfilment warehouse until orders are received from your sales channels (e.g. your website, Amazon, eBay).
  4. The new orders are picked and packed at the fulfilment centre into the packaging you’ve specified.
  5. The orders are shipped to your customers.

Distribution centres: they handle everything from shipping to selling. However, what makes them different is that they don’t ship to retailers. Instead, they become the retailers themselves.

Shipping: this literally describes what it is – the handover from merchant/fulfilment/distribution centre to a courier service who transport the goods to the customer.

Delivery: the final step, the handover from the shipping courier to the customer.

Innovative ways retailers are responding to the pandemic closing high street stores

Perhaps you’re paving the way to your eCommerce venture later than others. With COVID-19 forcing many lockdowns, meaning non-essential retailers must close their doors, it’s sink or swim for many. While you’re on your way to creating your eCommerce store (and if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about your fulfilment options too), what’s the best way to store your stock and retain your staff? Here’s what Ted Baker are doing…

Ted Baker has fulfilled an extra 101,000 online orders in one year following the implementation of a new ship-from-store initiative.

The British label teamed up with omnichannel order management specialist OneStock last year for the initiative which sees a proportion of orders packed and shipped by stores.

Let’s talk shipping

Now the basics are out the way, let’s look at how shipping effects your business.

It may seem pretty obvious, but shipping rates vary based on things like:

  • Your packaged products dimensions and weight
  • Stock location and customer address
  • The speed of shipping (e.g. standard, next day or named day)
  • Extras like insurance, tracking and signed for services.

While you want to make sure that you can ensure careful and timely delivery, you need to be conscious of pricing. Keeping an up to date inventory of product weights is one way to do this.

Choosing your shipping provider

There are many things to consider when choosing who you send your parcels with. You’ll need to think about price of course, but also reputation. It’s no good using a service that’s fast if your customers complain their orders arrive damaged. Or get left out in the elements. Or worse, in their bin on collection day…

Which? have recently compiled a consumer research poll, ranking the top shipping couriers. They asked about customer satisfaction in three key areas:

  1. Time slots offered
  2. Communication from shipping company
  3. Where the parcel was left

Which? Best and worst delivery companies

Know your margins!

It goes without saying that knowing your margins helps you stop preventable losses. Cost of packaging, shipping and card fees are often forgotten about. Shopify recommend factoring in the following to help calculate your total price:

  • Cost of product
  • Packaging
  • Shipping
  • Customers/imports/duties
  • Card fees
  • Profit margin

How to ship online orders

Here’s a great video explainer from Shopify on all you need to consider for your shipping strategy.

Shipping rates are the biggest turn off

It’s reported that almost 30% of shopping will abandon their cart based on shipping.

Neil Patel: reasons for cart abandonment

When examined in further detail, SendCloud found there were three problematic areas:   

SendCloud stats on shipping

How to make free shipping work for you

You’re potentially losing up to 30 of every 100 potential customers, that’s something you’ll want to fix. We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so let’s how free shipping can work without you making a loss:

#1 Increase product prices to cover costs for shipping (customer pays).

#2 You pay the full price of shipping out of your margins (you pay).

#3 Increase prices of products to cover some costs of shipping (you and your customer pays).

#4 Offer a discount code to certain customers for free shipping.

Additionally, you can also try offering free shipping on a minimum order. This strategy can help offset the costs of shipping by helping to increase your average order size, but you’re still the one paying for it out of your margins.

Summary

Hopefully this has given you some food for thought for your shipping and fulfilment strategies. If you’re ever a little (or a lot!) stuck with your eCommerce journey, talk to us. We’re passionate about all things eCommerce. From building and optimising your store, to helping you overcome pain-points, and your strategy.

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eCommerce Best Practice

eCommerce Best Practice: how to build a successful online store

By Blog posts, eCommerce
eCommerce Best Practice
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eCommerce Best Practice: how to build a successful online store

Now more than ever before, having an online store is crucial for not just success but survival. But how much do you know about eCommerce best practice?

As we start another lockdown, non-essential stores are once again forced to close. Meaning many need to get creative with how to continue operating business.

Pub transforms into shop during lockdown

A great example of change strategy saw this pub converted to a shop and pizza delivery service.

But for many, especially outside of the food and beverage industry, it’s not possible. And that is where eCommerce is the MVP. Take a look at ASOS, arguably the biggest industry player before the pandemic:

ASOS UK sales have risen by 18% year-on-year to £1.18bn, according to the brand’s full year financial statement ending August 31st 2020. International retail markets, which include the European, US and ROW regions, performed even higher at +20% during the same period.

Whether you’re new to eCommerce, or not, it’s always a school day. And when it comes to making tweaks to boost your success, it’s good to keep up with the latest trends and research.

Top eCommerce platforms

There are many eCommerce platforms available, each with their own merits.

#1 Shopify

Ideal for fledgling businesses, all the way up to enterprise, Shopify is simple to set up and use. It has many features to customise your store and its own apps. You will pay a monthly subscription for this, which includes hosting.

Eyelash Emporium eCommerce store built on Shopify

Find out how we support The Eyelash Emporium with their Shopify store >>

#2 nopCommerce

Arguably our favourite platform at DPC+UP, nopCommerce is a great alternative to Magento. As another open source platform, it’s feature-rich, fast, secure and the perfect ‘out of the box’ solution.

Rokers eCommerce store built using nopCommerce

Find out how we set up Rokers Petshop for success with a nopCommerce site >>

#3 WooCommerce

Another open-source commerce platform, we love WooCommerce! Plugging directly into your WordPress website, WooCommerce is scalable, free to use and there’s no limit to customisation. Like Magento and nopCommerce, you will need to pay for extras such as hosting, security and some extensions.

eCommerce best practice

We’ve split our eCommerce best practice tips into three areas, covering the core areas to focus on first:

  • Website
  • Payments
  • Optimisations

Website

#1 SEO is your priority

Regardless of your website function, you should always prioritise your SEO strategy. This is especially true of eCommerce. Research suggests that nearly half of consumers will start their journey on Google.

#2 Focus on your user journey!

Again, it’s not just an eCommerce best practice, but for all websites. Analysing user behaviour enables you to understand how customers use your website. And from there, allowing you to optimise their experience. And what does a better experience bring? More conversions.

#3 Simplifying menus

It can be easy to get carried away with menus and mega menus. Yet over complicated structures can turn off consumers and can slow page load times.

We recently rebuilt Zone3’s website using Shopify Plus. We focussed on optimising their store and updating the design. In particular, we simplified the menus, showing only the main categories identified in the user journey process. The result is a clean design with minimal clutter.

Zone3 simple product menus

Read more about Zone3’s eCommerce website here >>

#4 Product filters

Following on from simplifying menus, your customer is still likely to want to narrow down their selection to what they want to see. No one wants to scroll endless pages to find what they want.

For example, eCommerce best practice champions, ASOS, simplify their menus to show:

Gender > Category: e.g. Shoes and from there use a range of filters to narrow down your search.

ASOS eCommerce product filters#5 Optimise your product pages

We’re not only talking about SEO here, but describing what’s there. Think of what’s lacking when you can’t shop in-store. Customers want to know brand, material and functional features. But they also want to know: is it soft? Is it sustainable? Is it going to be see through?

A selection of high quality images and videos can be helpful here.

#6 Search bar!

So you’ve decluttered your website. You’ve simplified your menus and you have some great filters on the category pages. But nothing beats instant gratification!

Think about websites like Amazon. Do you ever go through the menus, or do you treat it more like a search engine?

Payment

Don’t let anything be a barrier to converting your customer! By offering a range of payment methods, you remove obstacles, like having to find your card.

According to JP Morgan, here’s how online payments looked in 2019:

JP Morgan's report on eCommerce payment methods

(digital wallet includes Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal)

Furthermore, according to Neil Patel, 23% of users will abandon their shopping cart if they have to create an account.

When you force users to create an account before checking out, you are basically saying “no” to a huge amount of conversions. Personally, I’d rather have a more conversions including guest checkouts than to have less conversions and a few extra membership signups.

ASOS offer three journeys:

ASOS checkout options

  • Sign up with social credentials for new customers
  • Login for existing customers
  • Guest checkout

Optimisation

As always, we’re evangelical about optimisation. Whether that’s doing regular A/B split testing on pay layouts, buttons and the like, or something else. Regular testing and learning is so important to keeping on top of any website.

As of 2020, here is the global breakdown of internet traffic:

  • 50.88% mobile
  • 46.39% desktop
  • 2.74% tablet

So there’s really no excuse these days to not have a fully mobile optimised website.

In particular, this graphs below show the gain vs. loss for non-mobile optimised pages vs. those that are fully responsive.

Gain vs. Loss on mobile optimised pages

eCommerce best practice summary

If you’ve got eCommerce on your mind but don’t know where to begin, please get in touch. At DPC+UP, we are passionate about all aspects of eCommerce. Whether it’s building a new online store, upgrading an existing one or helping solve your pain points, it’s what we do. Simply fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

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nopcommerce v magento

nopCommerce vs Magento: Weighing up the best eCommerce platform

By Blog posts, eCommerce
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Which is the king of the mid-sized – enterprise level eCommerce platforms?

nopcommerce v magento

Since 2008, Magento has been leading the charge regarding eCommerce platforms.

With the release of Adobe Magento Commerce, the competition in the market place has been rising. The dark horse competitor, nopCommerce, has become a remarkable challenger to Magento, and with good reason.  Here’s the competition broken down.

Price

nopCommerce is open source and free. It doesn’t demand any subscription fees however it will require some expenditures, such as hosting and potentially some extensions for features that are not available straight out of the box. However, it’s very unlikely that the cost of these extras and plugins will have a higher total that the cost of the Magento Commerce edition.

Magento has a free plan – Magento Open Source 1 and two paid plans under Magento Commerce. Magento Commerce has plans ranging from £14,500 to £17,500 but can rise to £60,000 + a year for their cloud based solution.

In our opinion, nopCommerce offers the best value for money.

Features (out of the box)

nopCommerce comes packed full of features straight out of the box. These include SEO features, product management, a complex discount engine, inbuilt analytics, multi-lingual capabilities, multi-store, multi-vendor features, payment and shipping customisations. It doesn’t stop there, it has tier pricing (great for wholesale vs consumer pricing), recurring payment/subscription engine, and probably the most surprising, it also has an inbuilt loyalty scheme.  These integrations notably come at no extra cost and are all out of the box.

Magento does not come with this range of features straight out of the box. However, all can be added by using third-part extensions (plugins). One potential pitfall is that with Magento, adding these extensions can lead to conflicts within your site, such as adding a feature can cause another not to work.

However, the features differ greatly between Magento Open Source and Commerce. With Magento Commerce, you ARE provided with extras such as tier pricing, customer loyalty tools, inventory management tools, flexible pricing tools, coupons, up-selling and cross-selling tools. But these do come with the additional price tag.

Due to the fact that with nopCommerce you’re provided a wide range of features straight out of the  box, we believe nopCommerce edges Magento regarding standard features.

Customisation

Both are open source (Magento still offer an open source version), they are able to be customised to meet the requirements you need. Both have open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to interact with databases, other software, Google merchant and product feeds, and more. Also, inbuilt functionality can be enhanced with plugins and integrations provided on the marketplaces. Both of the solutions have large marketplaces. Some of those extensions are free while some might cost you. Besides plugins, you can install new themes for your store.

nopCommerce has rather a good reputation for how smoothly plug-ins can be personalised. With Magento on the other hand, developing and customising modules require highly experienced developers.

However, both platforms are rather advanced for users who only have basic technical knowledge. Therefore, this would require a professional developer to deliver a complex customisation.

Both platforms provide a great starting point for customisation.

Security

This is one of the major dividers between nopCommerce and Magento. nopCommerce is written on ASP.NET, this means it is hosted on a Microsoft server. Magento is written on PHP, which is community driven and usually hosted on a linux server.

Arguably, ASP.NET is considered one of the most productive environments and it is faster, this means you’ll spend less time and money on resources and cheaper hosting. nopCommerce also has a malleable architecture that allows developers to override most of the functions from plugins without touching the core. It is easier and faster to customise.

Magento (the open source version) has a checkered history from a security perspective. Some users have experienced repeat issues with the security of their Magento store. Magento releases security patches in each version upgrade and sometimes even in between. This is valid only for the Commerce version. Open Source doesn’t even get regular security updates, the patches are only introduced when they become commercially viable. 

In our opinion, from a security perspective nopCommerce wins hands down. 

Support

Both nopCommerce and Magento offer product documentation that will give you basic knowledge on how to use each platform. Both also have forums where members can try and help each other. Both communities have more than 200,000 users however nopCommerce’s seems more active with 190k+ post over Magento’s 73k+.

Fear not, you wouldn’t have to rely on forum posts and documentation to fix your problems, paid support is available. nopCommerce’s premium support costs £77 per month. However you can only pay for 3 months (£231) or a whole year (£617).

Magento Open Source only offers support with community forums whereas Magento Commerce includes a 24/7 professional technical support system through a ticketing system or by phone.

This will really depend on your agency and what support they can provide based on their support levels.

Conclusion

Both platforms are powerhouses in the eCommerce industry, allowing businesses to create wonderful eCommerce sites for their customers. Magento has been around a lot longer and with over 140,000 sites running on Magento compared to nopCommerce’s 50,000, it is clear that Magento is still the most popular.

However, nopCommerce is more secure, provides more at less cost, faster running and an ever-growing solution. It is ultimately the individuals choice but nopCommerce seems fit for the future of eCommerce.

If you’re interested in getting to know nopCommerce, find out more here.