Posted by & filed under Content Marketing, Content Strategy, ecommerce.

Customer LoyalityAs we posted recently, I had the opportunity attend IRCE in Chicago, where I had many conversations with both brands and retailers about the challenges of customer loyalty and customer retention. Online shopping has always been good for customers and increasingly difficult for brands. Customers leverage the convenience of the web to research product verticals, inform themselves about their options and then make their purchasing decision based on one single metric: price.

For brands, this poses several well-known problems. In the brick and mortar environment, brands at least had more control over display, placement, and, of course, pricing. How do you, as a brand or e-tailer, leverage that same level of control and consistency when customers have an almost limitless amount of sellers who are just a few clicks away? Shopping from the comfort of home surely benefits consumers. Companies, on the other hand, are (understandably) consistently worried about brick-and-mortar attrition, and, at least according to what I heard from company after company in Chicago, how to maintain a relationship with an anonymous buyer.
The One Thing That Hasn’t Changed About Customer Loyalty

Retaining customers is now, and has always been, cheaper and more profitable than finding new ones. We’ve already a the Harvard Business Review study that shows returning customers can increase revenues up to 95 percent. Even in the dynamic world of online retail, this singular measurement hasn’t changed.

What Are the New Customer Loyalty Drivers?

Location used to be a major deciding factor in what product or service a customer selected. Customers in a recent (2017) survey from Accenture revealed that they’re looking for other factors that outweigh even price. Customer appreciation, like discounts, rewards, gift cards, and other “thank yous” matter quite a bit, as does personalization. How can your brand offer services to buyers that make each product feel specific to them? This isn’t always a straightforward or easy issue to manage, but it may mean the difference between a customer searching online by brand name (ideally, yours) rather than trusting Google’s and Amazon’s search algorithms to make the best choices for them.

Where and How Content Can Help

Think of the role of the in-person sales associate or the store owner: that person used to represent a knowledge base that served the customer. Brands can’t just rely on the online store as the source of that knowledge. Instead, present your customers with impartial resources that explain and differentiate products in every vertical. Brands: examine the content pages on all your major third party sites. Are they consistent? Are they informative? Do they engage your customer in the same manner that a shopkeeper might? Is there any missing information that could impact your customer’s buying decision.

Content Resources for Internet Retailers

Since the marketplaces, especially Amazon, tends to drive customers to only a handful of product pages, the information you present on them is crucial. Product pages, from the keywords to the features, should have a conversation with your buyer. Anticipate their needs at every step and they’re more likely to turn to you as a product authority.

For internet retailers: think impartiality as much as possible. Present yourself as an expert in every vertical. Buying guides, online FAQs, and videos that place information and education ahead of conversion are genuine resources for buyers. Retailers have a lot of opportunity to manage platforms where customers can reliably find educational materials about consumer electronics, food, and lifestyle products. Also: study your search results in all of your product categories. Are you pushing out of stock products at the top? Can you spot other results that could frustrate and impede customer experience?

The good news about customer retention is that, because it’s still extremely cost effective, it’s worth all the investment that you put into it. Consistency, quality, and availability of content for both brands and retailers are as vital in the virtual world as they ever were in the brick and mortar environment. In fact, study after study is showing that the availability of information online is even more important now.

Alok Jain

Co-Founder and CEO

CrewMachine by eZdia: AI powered, human-curated ecommerce content to improve your ROI

Posted by & filed under ecommerce, Marketplaces.

Best KPI for Product PagesBrand managers are painfully aware of how important KPIs for e-commerce businesses are. You’re likely collecting dozens of different measurements and monitoring them carefully from day to day and month to month. How you track those KPI for product pages has a huge impact on revenue. That’s hardly a revelation for anyone involved in e-commerce.

Brand marketing is a science, a perfect blend of measuring the right analytics and interpreting them accurately. While that may sound obvious, we find in our business that many managers aren’t reading or tracking their KPIs correctly. Measuring experience is a practiced science. Here are some practices to make sure that the KPI for e-commerce business metrics you’re tracking will work better for you.

Your Top KPIs for E-Commerce Business Success

1. Page Load Speeds

According to a 2015 report from digital SEO marketing firm Wolfgang Digital, fast load time leads directly to high conversion rates. It also has a direct and correlative impact on Google search results. Per their data, an additional delay of one second reduces conversion rates by 7 percent. So pay close attention to your product page load speeds, especially for items that aren’t hitting your forecast ROI numbers.

2. Desktop VS. Mobile

While there is quite a lot of hype around the traffic generated by mobile, the conversion numbers still aren’t quite there. Adobe analyzes 80 percent of all retail traffic from the top 100 retailers in the U.S. every year. Their data is vast, encompassing 290 plus billion visits. Because of the company’s massive infrastructure, $7.50 of every $10 spent with the top 500 retailers goes through its marketing cloud. When it comes to mobile, 26 percent of carts on desktops turn into orders compared to only 16 percent on smartphones. However, smartphone traffic is increasing, according to that same report. So, bottom line: balance your focus on mobile platforms vs. desktop accordingly. Read the full report here.

3. Product Page Visits

Measuring the best KPIs for product pages starts with a ranking of your most viewed to least viewed. This is maybe the single most important metric to track for your product pages. What if, for example, the most viewed pages are not generating the most revenue? What is the average ROI for the pages that you spend the most resources promoting? Generate a dynamic report for your product page visits so you can watch trends, especially during big buying seasons.

4. Returning Visitors

The 80/20 rule applies to almost every aspect of business. For retailers determining how to leverage important KPIs for e-commerce, assume that 20 percent of your loyal customers will generate 80 percent of your revenue. How many of your overall page views are from returning customers? What do those returning customers do on the site? How does that relate to your sales forecasts? Just like restaurants get the most reliable business from their regulars, so do e-commerce sites.

5. Cart Abandonment Rate

If there’s one KPI for e-commerce businesses that needs its own weekly report, it’s how many customers purchase items that they place in their carts. The Baymard Institute went through the effort of collecting abandonment rate statistics from a 37 different sources. In 2013, Comscore cited that 67 percent of shoppers abandon their carts. In 2017, Adobe listed the number at 75 percent. Your homework: know the average in your industry and constantly dive in to those numbers so you know how your business compares.

Delving into KPIs for e-commerce is as time-consuming as it is crucial. Tracking the right metrics is akin to a doctor washing his or her hands before surgery: it’s good business hygiene. Of course, it’s not easy, and most teams need third party support to do it right. Let us know how we can help.

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Customer Behavior AnalysisThere isn’t a marketer on earth who would turn down the ability to look into the future. What brand manager wouldn’t want to know exactly what and how much of a new technology or a hot new gadget customers will buy in droves next holiday season? Predictive analytics is a relatively new tactic, and has been met with mixed reviews and success. Executing it properly requires a hefty amount of dedicated resources and a fair amount of experimentation. Going through these exercises, though, can certainly give you some interesting insights into how well you can leverage customer behavior analytics to facilitate business growth.

What is Predictive Analytics?

Predictive analytics have been around for a long time in several industries, including insurance. In that model, actuaries use historical data to predict certain outcomes and apply a cost to risk assessment. So, for automotive insurance, a driver’s history factors into the likely cost of potential accidents, driving individual policy premiums up. A policyholder with safe driving record typically receives an incentive (or discount) as a reward for good behavior.

Using customer behavior analytics to predict buying patterns, prevent fraud and make other business decisions is a relatively new development. With advancements in machine learning and more insightful data, companies are starting to develop methodologies to make educated, scientific guesses as to what their customers are likely to do in the next buying season. Developing your own analytical framework is resource-intensive and will garner mixed results, but the process, if deployed correctly, is informative and educational.

1. Use Regression Models

You can’t guess what someone might do if you don’t study what they’ve already done. There is a lot of experimentation that goes into content marketing. Start with buying history. Look at responses from your previous campaigns and organize them. Some of the items you should study include:

  • Number of items purchased
  • Total purchase amounts
  • Discount codes
  • Purchase dates

If you’re looking for more information about the general use of regression analysis, which is used across the spectrum from science to education, check out this piece from the Harvard Business Journal.

2. Segment Customers into Groups

Now that you’re on your way to building up your historical data, it’s time to merge that with some customer segmentation. The more refined you can make these groups, the more you can stop guessing what customers want and simply observe what they do. Customer observation is at the heart of all good customer experience marketing. If you have a strong statistics team, use them to integrate one of the many accepted statistical models for segmentation. If not, building those groups manually may take time, but it could also still be worthwhile especially if you segment by:

  • Demographics (age, region, income)
  • Buying history (x purchases within the last x months)
  • Responsive behavior (referrals from social media, newsletters, email campaigns, etc.)

Before you begin, understand that statistical modeling is complex and requires active maintenance. However, the better you and your team get at it, the more sophisticated your marketing becomes down the line.

3. Deploy a Smart Suggestion Engine

Amazon mastered the suggestion engine early on, and owes a huge amount of its success to this mastery. If you don’t have the resources in house to build your own, there are plenty of enterprise solutions that use actual machine learning to make smarter suggestions to your buyers using customer behavior analytics and buying history. The advantage of a third party engine is that you don’t have to maintain or update it. The disadvantage is that you don’t own it outright; you may stumble into some interesting and useful IP if you DIY an in-house engine. In any case, if you’re selling goods online, you need a recommendation driver. So do your homework and figure out which solution works best for you and your audience.

4. Build Slowly

The good news about customer behavior analysis is that the industry is getting better and better at data collection. The downside: there is an almost unlimited amount of data to sort through. So before you throw everything into one pot and overwhelm your marketing team, try adding one to two factors at a time, experiment, and then add another factor. Predictive analytics for marketing purposes is still a developing field. You’ll need plenty of flexibility to integrate real-time data as you go. Doing so will make the process more exciting and engaging for your team.

5. Stop Making Assumptions

Let this process educate you. If (or more likely, when) you learn the data you used to collect isn’t proving to be as useful as you assumed it was, stop collecting it. For example, data researchers used to bank all of their messaging predictions on bounce rates. Today, most marketers tend to ignore that statistic. Predictive analysis should stop you from guessing, not encourage you to guess more. As soon as you start to see new patterns emerge, respect the data and let it push you into arenas where you never thought you’d go.

The most important takeaway in all of marketing is this: data never lies. Data and customer behavior analytics paradigms should become the drivers of all of your product development and marketing tactics. It’s never a perfect science, but it is a science. How well you use it can determine the difference between repeated successes or disappointment.

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Customer Retention StrategiesIn a landmark study, Harvard Business School estimated that returning customers increased revenue from between 25 to 95 percent. Loyalty, while a rare commodity on the internet, still pays. Keeping existing customers will always be cheaper and more profitable than converting new ones. So, when you’re completing your regular analysis of strategies to increase revenue, make sure to include competencies that not only lure new users to your product, but also reward returning and loyal business.

1. Make Your Brand Social Proof

Having your customers tell their own success stories and posting them consistently and dynamically creates a sense of community. Sharing relevant numbers (social media followers, total sales, other key milestones) also helps to social proof your brand. Share press coverage, endorsements, certifications and subscriber numbers whenever possible. Using those metrics publicly increase your customers’ confidence. It validates their approval of your brand and encourages them to come back again and again.

2. Say Thank You When They Least Expect It

It’s a given that your confirmation emails will start with “thank you for shopping with us.” Where else in your customer experience can you say thank you to a loyal customer? Are there other ways that you can surprise them, like with a credit in their account for free shipping on their next order? Believe it not, people love handwritten notes. Can you and your team send out 5-10 during the week? Thank them for their business and ask for feedback often, especially if they haven’t ordered anything for some time. You may start a dialogue that leads them back to your products.

3. Make Everything Easy

Customers themselves know the importance of customer retention, so much so that people are far more likely to write up a bad review than a good one. Ensure that you create a friction-less experience on your website. Every time you make an update, check load times (no one is patient in the 21st century). Make sure that you’re using proven user testing strategies before you launch a new product. Everything from navigation to help and contact pages should have ease and flow. The simpler your site is to use, the more return business you’re likely to see.

4. Do Your Customer Support HomeworkCustomer Retention Techniques

By the time someone reaches out for help, they’re probably already frustrated. Make it as easy as possible to help them by figuring out how your customers want to be communicated with, and then follow that to the letter. For example, if you’re confirming an appointment or an order, let your customer decide if they get an email or a text message. Do your customers need a chat function for better service? If you’re not sure, ask them. Email surveys can be frustrating for some, but if you segregate customers by spending habits and only contact your frequent spenders, they are far more likely to respond with helpful tips.

5. Reward Your VIPs

Frequent shoppers deserve rewards. VIP strategies tend to increase revenue because it encourages spending and repeat business. Whether you use a point system, special discounts, free products or other perks, remind yourself that whatever you give away to your volume customers you’ll reap quickly in repeat business. So, make those rewards meaningful and give them real value. Research what loyalty strategies your competitors use as a customer retention strategy and make it a point to one-up those competitors whenever possible.

No matter what your total annual budget is for your customer retention techniques, it is more cost-effective than new customer acquisition. Of course, a smart agency can always help. Ping us here and we’ll be happy to discuss some clever and creative content marketing strategies to keep your loyal customers happy.

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 factors influencing consumer buying behaviour In e-commerce, there are certain factors from the customer’s point of view which influence their purchasing decision. Here’s a look at thosee concerns that leverage customer buying behavior:

1. Good Product Quality

One of the most important factors influencing consumer buying behavior is the quality of the product and the quality of information about that product. These have a significant impact on the visitors to your website and turn them into potential buyers. Your products must reflect different geographic and regional flavors, speak loud the cultural ethos and fit the trend of the season. Product descriptions, specifications, catalogues and images all influence the customer buying decision process. A convincing and well-crafted representation of the products is sure to fetch better results.

2. Free Shipping Experience

Free Shipping is the second most principal factor in influencing an e-commerce consumer’s purchase decision. Free shipping is an attractive element for frequent online buyers as they save on the cross-border shipping cost to quite an extent.

3. Easy Return Policy

A simple, well-defined return policy is the third most influencing factor in urging customers buy a product. A customer-friendly return policy that’s laid down in clear language is convincing to online consumers. A well-structured return policy in case of faulty goods or mismatched sizes is mandatory for every genre of products, from apparel and household accessories to electronic goods and automobile parts. An easy, no-questions-asked return policy grows a sense of trust among customers for your website or brand.

4. Reviews from CustomersSmartphone or mobile phone with text rate your experience on the

Healthy and positive product reviews from existing customers invite new customers. Appreciating existing customers and positive reviewers with award programs, such as free gifts or discounts on the next purchase, strengthens the bond further. Proactive initiative to resolve the problems of not-so-satisfied customers is also a kind gesture. These loyalty-building gestures encourage a growth in your regular buyer database.

5. Easy Navigation

Most e-commerce websites come with well-defined categories of products. That way, a customer can frame a very good idea of the exact location of the products they are looking for. Incorporating the keywords into the search bar also helps in navigating through the pages and finding the desired products or categories quickly. Accurate keywords create better search results. A well-designed visual site map, proper product listing and easy to understand controls like previous/next commands all contribute to simple and easy access, which positively influences customer buying behavior.

6. Hassle-free CheckoutHassle Free Checkout

Easy checkout logic is yet another deciding factor. Customers don’t appreciate a complicated checkout procedure. Anticipate their needs and make checkout a simple and logical process. Customers wish to complete the payment within one or two steps through debit/credit cards or net banking. They may need items to be shipped to different address. They may have discount codes, gift cards or coupons to apply. Once these checkout features are taken care of, customers are more likely to continue with their online shopping.

7. Special Purchase

While shopping online, a customer can opt for several special purchases. Unlike many physical stores, e-commerce services make special categories and special custom sizes available in one destination. Not only this, special deals and special sections also create quite a buzz among customers and convert them into potential buyers.

 

To have customers coming back for more, e-commerce firms must take care of some factors influencing consumer buying behavior:

  • must make sure that their website is stable and easily accessible
  • must invest in building trust and a strong reputation
  • must focus on maintaining appropriate content volume
  • must focus on security and privacy policies to protect customers
  • must promote their website to increase awareness

In an urge to retain existing customers and draw new customers, e-commerce firms are constantly recognizing and implementing customer-friendly actions. All these efforts are made to influence customer buying behavior and take e-commerce to the next level of prosperity.