Retail, in the eyes of the everyday customer

new ideas and thoughts about the online retail world

What’s Your Story?

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I don’t understand why most sites either:

1: Don’t tell their story.

2: Tell a formulaic story.

There is no template for an About Us page.  All you have to do is give the world a glimpse of who you are and what you stand for.

The first thing balsamiq.com does when you land on their homepage is show a prompt to their About Us page (see bottom right corner of screenshot below):

Balsamiq.com_About_CTA

And on click this content is shown on top of their About Us page.  It’s very short, to the point and full of personality:

Balsamiq.com_About_Top.png

Now here’s the thing, Balsamiq is used by some of the largest companies in the world:

Balsamiq.com_Client

But that information is buried lower on the page.  Balsamic is giving more prominence to their About Us content over their client list.  And that’s the right thing to do.  Shoppers buy from people they trust.  Yes, social proof is important, but it’s less important than your amazing personal story.

Written by betterretail

June 27, 2016 at 5:27 am

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Using Email for Word-of-mouth Marketing

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Word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful.  But it’s hard to get right.

Here is an idea I thought up:

DANAT is a gourmet chocolate manufacturer (not a real company).  Their fans absolutely love them but only 0.005% of chocolate lovers in the US even know of DANAT.  DANAT could spend on spray and pray marketing but they want to use their marketing dollars wisely.  DANAT wants to reach friends of DANAT fans.

So they send their super fans an email with an interactive map.  The teaser copy reads, “Can you think of 1 close friend who would love DANAT?  Where does this friend live?”:

DANAT_Map

The reader feels compelled to interact with the map (all humans feel compelled to interact with interactive maps).  Picking a state takes them to a landing page.  For the sake of argument assume they click Michigan.  This is what they’ll see on landing page:

DANAT_LP_Message

When they visit this page a cookie is set.  That way if visitor returns to email and clicks on some other state the site recognizes the cookie and prevents user from making an alternate selection.

Written by betterretail

June 20, 2016 at 5:37 am

Keep the Scent Alive

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Jibjab.com makes money when visitors create $18/year paid accounts.

People land on the site looking for creative greeting cards.  The first thing jibjab.com asks you to do is personalize your favorite card.  This drives engagement.  At this point the user doesn’t have a clue about the $18/year ask.  After personalizing you compose a message for the recipient and hit DONE.  This is when they ask the user to create a paid account:

Jibjab.com_Paid_Account

The clever bit is that to the left of the payment form they show the card you had selected for customization as a subtle reminder of why becoming a paid member is such a good idea.  Why does this matter?  Well, when a shopper is going through the payment process they are constantly asking themselves, “Should I really be paying $x for this?” and seeing the thing (personalized greeting in this case) that got them this far into the funnel is a warm reassurance.

Written by betterretail

June 13, 2016 at 5:14 am

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Generating the First Sale

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Eco-Fill® Deluxe 2.0

Here are details for paper system (product on the right):

1: It’s more expensive over the long run ($4.99/month versus one-time fee of $14.99)

2: More steps involved in using paper system.

3: The flow of coffee is slower with paper system so I have to wait longer for 1 cup of coffee.

4: Earth-unfriendly.

My mother-in-law raves about Eco-Fill® Deluxe 2.0 (product on the left) and is always reminding us to switch from earth-unfriendly option to the paperless system.  But it took us a whole year to give it a shot.  Habit is a hard thing to break.

This is the same resistance you have to overcome on your site.  You may have a far superior product to what the shopper currently has but just listing 5 features is not going to be enough to overcome the bigger urge to do nothing.  You have to work harder.  But the rewards are amazing on the other side.

Written by betterretail

June 6, 2016 at 5:38 am

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eCommerce Speed = Win

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The amazing thing about our super-connected world is that smart eCommerce entrepreneurs can capitalize on a high popularity but short-lived trend.  Brick and mortar retailers don’t stand a chance.

The hit show Game of Thrones has generated a really popular meme around the character Hodor.  This buzz can’t last more than 15 days, but, for those 15 days the buzz will be intense.

This is why a clever entrepreneur can add a sticker to a door stop and sell it on Etsy for $30:

Hodor_Door_Stop

Written by betterretail

May 31, 2016 at 5:32 am

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Bad Ad

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Touchofmodern.com has this prominent (and likely expensive) ad on CNN.com:

Touch_of_Modern_Ad

The ad did a good job enticing me to want to click.  So I did.  I was then shown this landing page:

Touch_of_Modern_Ad_LP

The landing page doesn’t say one thing about keychains.  But what’s worse is that the user is completely stuck; you can’t get rid of the app download top bar notification, or close the email signup popup.  I understand all exit routes have been blocked because touchofmodern.com wants a signup, but, come on.  If nothing else at least present a link to your About Us page so I can understand the benefits of giving up my email address.

Written by betterretail

May 23, 2016 at 5:45 am

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Super Cool Order Confirmation Email

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Order confirmation emails are boring.  And the reason is simple: order confirmation emails are generated after the customer has given up their credit card info.  So why bother making it cool or interesting?  That’s what the retailer is thinking, anyway.

But that isn’t how CDbaby.com thinks.  Here is their order confirmation email:

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

 

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day.

We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sigh…

We miss you already. We’ll be right here at www.cdbaby.com patiently awaiting your return.

Was the product you received defective or damaged? Check out our Return Policy.

All your friends at CD Baby
Sell your music on CD Baby and in stores worldwide

Lesson: Show your personality every chance you get.

Written by betterretail

May 16, 2016 at 5:28 am

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