Retail, in the eyes of the everyday customer

new ideas and thoughts about the online retail world

(Unfair) Importance of Newest Review

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I was on a product page that had 562 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. 96% of respondents said they’d recommend this product to a friend. That’s amazing, right? We’ll, it depends.

While the overall stats are impressive their latest review was very negative:

Bedinabox.com_Review

This one negative review stopped me on my tracks. It’s silly to focus on the latest review when the next 4 have 5 star ratings, but who said shoppers were rational??

So, what is the etailer to do? They have 3 options:

1: Moment the review came in they should have posted a review reply stating they’ll fix the situation.
2: They could have sent an email blast to people who made a purchase in the last 60 days but didn’t post a review. This would effectively push the negative review lower.
3: They could have added a graphic like this to the right of the review:

Bedinabox_com_Review_Response

Option #3 can only be used sparingly. If you apply this tactic for every negative review then it’ll lose its potency. Use it only once on a popular product page.

Written by betterretail

July 11, 2016 at 5:35 am

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Ensure 90% of Site Visitors See Your #1 Asset

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If 90% of your site visitors aren’t seeing your #1 asset then the person responsible for not achieving your potential is you.

Dharmashop.com is an online store.  As I explored their site I didn’t see anything that really blew my mind: they have a fairly good product selection, fairly OK site design and fairly good number of customer reviews.  Then I stumbled on their Facebook page and saw they have 254,391 fans.  And these are active fans who comment on every DharmaShop post.

I haven’t seen many ecommerce sites with 254,391 fans so my mind was blown.  Talk about social proof.  Why didn’t Dharmashop.com draw attention to their Facebook page moment I landed on their site?  Most visitors spend less than 20 seconds on a site.

They should have done what bavariasausage.com does.  When you visit that site the first thing you notice is this Facebook floating tab:

Bavariasausage.com_Facebook_Minimized

It’s impossible to miss and on mouseover it opens to this:

Bavariasausage.com_Facebook_Open.png

Nice and simple way to let shoppers know how many people love you on Facebook.

Dharmashop.com doesn’t need to copy bavariasausage.com but they do need to figure out a way to ensure 90% of their site visitors know they have 254,391 Facebook fans.

Written by betterretail

July 4, 2016 at 6:32 am

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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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