The Importance of Omni-channelling

Omni-channel

We’ve all seen it coming, the year 2015. It’s been out there for a while just waiting for us to arrive with all our knowledge and ideas. Now that we’re almost there, it’s time to look back at an all-important tendency of the past year, a tendency once followed might make those red figures green.

While e-commerce continues to grow, so does the importance of physical stores. The significance of omni-channelling shouldn’t be underestimated in the years to come. Both shop owners, and on and offline shoppers gain from omni-chanelling and a lot can be learned AND earned from Integrating different business channels. This is emphasized by e-commerce businesses all over.

It’s all about combining different physical and digital channels in order to give the customer the full experience and a number of possibilities. We see a lot of retailers who were previously only available online, now also create physical stores. During 2014 we have seen Zalando open shops in Berlin and Frankfurt and Amazon will open it’s first shop across from the Empire State Building in New York just in time for the Christmas sale season.

Omni-channelling was one of the fastest growing trends over the past year. Driven among other things by the fact that both retailers and former 100% e-commerce players are now counting on meeting the customer through multiple channels.

In the retail sector, it is becoming more common with omni-channel. A great number of companies are in a process of integrating physical and digital channels and the physical stores often act as a showcase for the Internet store, the latter being very important for consumer research.

More and more consumers are searching for the specifics of a certain item online and then buy it in the physical store. According to “E-handel i Norden 2014”, a report on ecommerce in Scandinavia made by PostNord, last year more than half of all consumers in the region sought information about a product in an online store and then bought the product in a physical store.

We also see the opposite happening, where the consumer tries a product in the store and then heads home to compare prices online after which he or she buys the jeans or whatever where it is cheapest.

Existing both on and offline is sooo 2015.

Consumer decision journey

Found this great video from McKinsey‘s David Edelman explaining about a new model for digital marketing and understanding your potential customers.

He stresses that the customer decision journey is not a linear and reductive process but a much more chaotic and winding process. Enjoy!

Why you can’t use Google Analytics to check ROI

show-me-ROI

Another Monday morning. Get out of bed, go to the office, check your Google Analytics to see if your campaigns has generated any revenue and to find out if there is a positive ROI on your campaigns overall.

Let’s say you’ve spent 30.000 EUR on AdWords advertising. The result is 30.000 sessions generating 600 transactions with a total value of 60.000 EUR. This is a 2% conversion rate and an average basket size of 100 EUR. Not bad at all.

You spent 30.000 EUR and generated 60.000 EUR. In Google Analytics you can look into your AdWords performance under your traffic sources and see that you have a positive ROI of 200%. 60.000 EUR in revenue divided with 30.000 EUR invested in AdWords. Things are looking great!

Or are they?

In e-commerce nothing is for certain. Further investigation will show you that Google itself explain that ROI is related to your net profit defined as Revenue – Cost of goods sold (COGS). According to the article the ROI metric you see in Google Analytics leaves out the money you spent on producing your product. The ROI metrics should look like this:

Revenue-(COGS+Advertising)/COGS+Advertising

Instead of just: (Revenue / Advertising).

Let’s say you’re a brand manufacturer of fashion clothes for men with a margin of 70% on your retail sales price. This gives you a COGS on:

0.3*60.000= 18.000 EUR

Your ROI is then: 60.000-(18.000+30.000)/18.000+30.000= 25%.

This is quite alright. Still looking at a positive ROI, right?

Not necessarily. When dealing with a physical product within e-commerce you also have to be extremely focused on return rates which in some categories can be above 50%. You also have to think about the cost of handling the order as well as costs for payment and shipping.

In that regard common profit eaters are Free shipping and Free Return. If you offer your customers to pay by invoice or by Paypal, you need to be aware that these payment methods are significantly more expensive than a normal credit card. Bottom line is that all these initiatives might be necessary in order for you to be relevant as a shop but be aware that they take a big bite out of your profit.

When doing cross-boarder e-commerce you will also realize that the behaviour is very different from country to country. Cost of traffic, conversion rates, return rates, shipping and payment costs differs from place to place which makes it crucial to develop a solid P/L model of the total operation showing you whether you are on track in each country or not. You will realize that a positive ROI of 200-1000% is not the case. At the most you will have a double digit ROI – if you’re lucky! There is not much margin left when you have paid everything so you need to be rather precise in your daily business across countries.

A sophisticated operations model will also take into account that you might lose money on the first sale, but if you are able to build an effective retention program and make more sales to the same customer, you might be able to build a truly great business.

Collins – Otto Group launches ambitious open commerce project

Just saw this video from Collins:

My German is not that good but I understand that the Otto Group company Collins has launched the platform http://www.aboutyou.de/. This is a state-of-the-art ecommerce platform with an API beneath enabling developers to create their own apps with the content provided from shop. 

1. generation ecommerce is about merchandising your product correct, providing a seamless basket experience offering the right logistic and customer care. “We get that” they say. 

2. generation ecommerce is about provide a much more entertaining and personalized shopping experience, with much more freedom to decide presentation and layout through the use of 3. party apps. 

Looking forward to follow the project and to see if any competitors wants and are able to follow. You need a fairly flexible system behind the scene to pull it off which puts up a natural entrance barrier. 

Marketing is not the responsibility of the marketing department

Marketing is everybodies responsibility according to Harry Booker, former CMO of Telefónica Digital.

According to Gary Marketing today is much more about P/L, numbers and creating value than about creative work.

I agree, today you need to be much more aware of your numbers all the way through the company. And it is not enough to create positive ROI on the media investment. It is just as important to manage your COGS and the ressources it takes to deliver on the product sold.

Luxury brands common Ecommerce problems

Luxury brands have a hard time going into ecommerce. They struggle to combine UX conventions with the luxury experience they want to give to their customers and often they are also hesitant with promoting e-shops because of unsolved channel conflicts.

Econsultancy has a fine post about that today:

  • Their usability sucks – both navigation and naming terminology.
  • Sites are slow.
  • They ask for strange user details creating barriers to enter sites.
  • They hide their e-stores.
  • Site search is hidden – often the highest converting segment.
  • Neglecting onsite SEO.

 

Google AdWords nu med Video

Så begynder Google at rulle deres Video Adwords teknologi ud.

Video er et fedt medie til reklame, fordi du kan vise lyd, billeder og bevægelser på samme tid, hvilket giver en meget større forståelse for et produkt, end det man opnår igennem traditionelle billeder og 360 graders-teknologi.

Det viser konverteringsraterne på video også!

Surprise, surprise – AdWords for video er tæt knyttet til YouTube, i den forstand, at du vælger den video du vil bruge gennem din YouTube-konto.

Mon ikke vi kommer til at se ændringer i forhold til YouTube og søgeresultater indenfor den nærmeste fremtid? I dag indekseerer Google eks. IKKE websider hvor du har embedded YouTube-videoer på, i dens søgeresultat. Den viser kun YouTube-resultatet. Men med AdWords for video bevæger man sig jo mod at lede trafik mod annoncørens side. Noget tyder dog på at dette er ved at ændre sig, men det er et helt andet blogindlæg 🙂

Her er en video som beskriver hvordan du integrerer video kampagner i din eksisterende AdWords-konto

Online video som sælger

Web-video, produktvideo, ehandelsvideo, kært barn har mange navne.

En ting er sikkert; optimering af online salg vha. online video bevæger sig mere og mere fra “nice to” til “need to”. Dette hænger helt sikker sammen med den efterhånden store dokumentation der foreligger for de positive effekter – se f.eks. her, her og her.

Som en start kan I her se en video som forklarer hvordan man lave video som sælger produkter:
1. Hvad motiverer brugeren til at købe netop dette produkt?
2. Fremhæv elementer som hjælper brugeren med at træffe en købsbeslutning (USP) – det kan eks. være gratis fragt, eller ekstraordinær support etc.
3. Call-to-action. Vi kender det fra TV-shop: Ring på xxxxx, vi sidder klar ved telefonerne. I en produktvideo kan man i stedet tilføje direkte links til eks. en bestillingsside eller en “tilføj-til-kurv knap” direkte i videoen.

Enjoy!

Ecommerce videos – damn interesting!

The last year when looking through new trends within ecommerce, I always stumble upon ecommerce video as an exceptionally growing activity in US.

RecentlyI have found a couple of interesting and free reports on the subject of ecommerce video. Invodo.com has released a white paper called “The Online Retailer’s Guide to Video Merchandising Success” and SundaySky released a report called “State of E-commerce Video”.

Invodo – ecommerce video increase your conversion rate with 30% in average

Invodo has studied 53 of it’s customers who in total have 7.314 product pages with ecommerce videos embedded. Invodo found that the conversion rate on the product pages has increased with in average 30%. “Assume you get 500,000 visits per month, each one viewing two product pages. If you currently convert at 3% with a $100 average transaction, you have $3,000,000 in monthly sales. A 30% increase in conversion would bring your conversion rate to 3.9% and add $900,000 in monthly sales.”

This is one of the clearest indications I have seen so far that Ecommerce videos are of vital importance for webshops. As a webshop manager you need to start experimenting with video to get some experience in what works and what doesn’t.

SundaySky – get the indexing right or lose a good SEO potential

SundaySky’s study covers top 50 online retailers according to Internet Retailer’s 2010 Guide. One of their key findings is that the adoption of ecommerce videos in US is moving a lot faster than expected. 65% of the top 50 internet retailers have more that one video on their site – it doesn’t say if it is a product video though.

This report mainly focuses on retailers missing the opportunity to exploit the SEO potential related to ecommerce videos. This is illustrated with their second key finding – less that 10% of the top 200 retailers have more than 10 videos indexed and only 4% have more than 100 videos indexed. This is conflicting with the point that app. 30% of the websites total traffic accounts from search engines.

It gets worse. When looking at YouTube the second biggest search engine 24% of the top retailers are not present. 34% have more than 100 videos on their YouTube channel. A lot of the top sellers in US is apparently missing a huge potential on YouTube since 30% of the top sellers have received more than a million views on their channel – probably the same that has more than 100 videos or more.

Whats next

  • Accoring to Forrester there is still a lot of work to get done to fully understand how we should implement ecommerce videos. “Retailers should focus on understanding drivers of consumer usage and find appropriate contextual uses for product videos by integrating them into the overall eCommerce experience.” In other we still need to experiment with where exactly to put our videos in order to get full value for money. This also suggest that the average conversion rate improvement potentially is much more that the 30% Invodo found.
  • Along with the improved conversion rate these insights opens a huge potential for you affiliate program – if you can raise your conversion rate with that much you need to start re-negotiate your incentive structure or get prepared to get much more traffic through that channel!
  • We need to get better at implementing the videos on our product pages in the first place in order to get the SEO effects. So don’t leave it unoptimized, untagged and unprofitable.
  • Pages with video are, on average, ranked much higher than those without: “Video stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page.” [Forrester, Jan 2009] (from SundaySky report)
  • Google presents video-powered search results as part of its universal search result pages (the standard search that most people use). Those searches are much more appealing and eye-catching than their textual counterparts because they have video properties and a video thumbnail attached, taking up more page real estate. Heat-map depiction of human interaction with search result pages shows that video-powered results draw users’ attention even when those are not the highest ranked result (though often they are). (from SundaySky report)

What do you think?
Have you had any experience with ecommerce videos?
What’s going on in Europe?
Please share some thoughts!

Corporate Social Networks, works?

From time to time I have meetings with so-called social media consultants. When discussing new initiatives for my company one of the suggestions are often to build a corporate community or corporate social network existing of members contributions, discussions and comments.

But does corporate social networks work at all?

Types of communities

In eMarketing eXcellence Dave Chaffey an Paul Smith identifies that online communities are typically build around either a shared purpose, a shared position, a shared interest or a shared profession.

  • Purposes could be sites for jobs, real estate or used cars etc.
  • Position could be sites dedicated for teenagers, sites for disabled persons, sites for people with health disorders etc.
  • Interest could be sites for betting, sport, beauty, music etc.
  • Profession could be sites for graphical designers, programmers or a more generic site like LinkedIn.

So a company has to tap into one of the four above communities types and facilitate a space for customers and supporters to express their opinions.

The reasons why to initiate a corporate online community are

The experienced community builder Dawn Foster lists some reasons why a company should have an online community.

  • You can control the conversation a little more by proactively engaging with people discussing your company’s products by facilitating discussions at your property.
  • Through the community you have a great feedback mechanism that you can use for product innovation. Ask questions, hear the complaints and comments about your brand and your products.
  • With a community you also have the change to grow evangelism. Some of the participants are people who really like your brand and  products. They will defend you against other people talking bad about your company and gives a lot of credibility to you products with their positive attitudes.
  • You can grow brand loyalty through engaged community members.

Should companies build online communities in the first place.

Corporate communities offers good potential to get closer to your customers experiences, opinions and wishes, but will people engage in a community sponsored by a large corporation other that Apple, Nike or similar top 1%?

And if they do, will they participate with anything else than negative remarks? Wouldn’t a corporate initiated community always foster a scepticism about the company sitting in the background controlling the conversation?

Some concerns about starting a dedicated corporate community are:

  • The community will primarily attract the most critical people who will use the community to voice their unique problems or bad service. To control that kind of communication on your own site is of cause valuable since you can use ‘no-follow” techniques to keep these comments out of the search engines.
  • The community will be dead. People don’t want to engage with the community at go another place to discuss the issues or worse they don’t care enough to discuss purposes, positions, interests or professional issues that you facilitates.
  • If the community is not dead it will be silent since it takes a huge effort to initiate discussions and keep a community vibrant and alive.

So as a company you really have to plan good if you want to run a company community. You have to find a reason for people to involve with your network – purpose, position, interest or profession.

More important if you find an open spot, you have to consider how much time you can afford to spent on nurturing your network to avoid a beautiful designed community no one will ever visit more that once if ever.

There are a lot of examples of corporate communities that have failed. Do we have any great examples of the opposite and is it a good business case? Maybe it is better business to co-brand or sponsor an existing social network? Or mayby a Facebook fan page is the answer the users are spending their time there anyway.

Please share your thoughts!