Tag: ecommerce

10 Ways a PIM Solution Can Help Your E-Commerce Business Scale to New Heights

People Running Up Mountains

10 Ways a PIM Solution Can Help Your E-Commerce Business Scale to New Heights

Brands and retailers must disrupt their existing business models in order to cater to the expectations and demands of today’s consumers – who want everything available in just a couple of clicks. Failure to do so puts their business at risk of going under, fast.

However, self-disruption is a major undertaking involving people, processes and technology, and it’s not cheap. To fast-track processes and mitigate cost, brands must find a solution that ties all these components together.

What is PIM and how it helps?

A PIM (Product Information Management) solution helps brands and retailers collect, clean, enrich and distribute product information across multiple sales channels. It serves as the organization’s central repository for product information as well as a hub where internal collaboration begins.

Why is this important? The more data you have, the more complex its management becomes. A manual and siloed approach usually results in errors, operational inefficiency and a host of other business critical issues, which eventually leads to higher operational costs, revenue loss and worse, customer dissatisfaction.

Implementing a PIM solution not only puts all product data in a central and accessible area, but it streamlines processes needed to go to market faster and improves product experiences. By eliminating the challenges around product information management such as inaccuracy, incompleteness, inconsistency, duplicates, etc., businesses can put the focus on enriching their product content.

How? A PIM solution enables companies to deliver the right information to the right channels, at the right time – and in the right context.

Why PIM?

Ultimately, a PIM solution is foundational to the delivery of compelling product experiences. It is the starting point in developing campaigns and promotions based on personas, locales and preferences – enhancing the ability of brands and retailers to personalize and contextualize product experiences.

Learn more in the “10 Ways a PIM Solution Can Help Your E-Commerce Business Scale to New Heights

The Definitive Guide to Creating a Solid Product Page

Woman looking at desktop

The Definitive Guide to Creating a Solid Product Page

The product page is where consumers land after a Google search, or clicking on an ad or a link on social media. In a typical customer journey map or marketing funnel, consumers who visit your product page are usually in the final leg of their purchase journey or decision-making stage. This makes the product page your most valuable conversion tool. As Marketing Land’s Andrew Waber puts it, “Product pages are the new packaging.”

The question now is what kind of welcome did you prepare consumers for after their long journey? Have you done enough to persuade them to perform your desired task (e.g. contact, purchase, subscribe, renew, etc.)?

If your marketing and sales goal is to eventually convert visitors into customers and then turn existing ones into advocates, what types of information should your product page have?

Elements of a high-converting product page

Although a universal template for product pages doesn’t exist, you could get an idea from e-marketer as to what elements resonate well with consumers. According to their findings, images, descriptions/specs and reviews are the top three elements consumers are looking for in a product page:

Product Detail Page Features

Let’s look at these elements in detail:

Images/photos

The socialmediatoday compilation “14 Visual Content Marketing Statistics to Know for 2019” reveals that out of all visual materials, marketers use original graphics (37%) and stock photography (40%) the most:

Most Frequently Used Visuals

The same study shows that original graphics (40%) draw the most engagement:

Best Performing Visuals Format

It’s clear that consumers prefer custom and well-thought-out images over stock photography. Content Marketing Institute’s Buddy  Scalera advices, “Don’t use stock images on your branded website. Stock photos are cheap and easy, hence tempting. Do not be tempted by cheap and easy.” This is especially true for product pages that are expected to feature original products.  In order to make your images work harder for you, follow these best practices:

  • Present products from a variety of angles. Recreate the experience of picking up a product in-store and twirling it around for inspection. If you’re selling shoes, for example, remember that your consumers rely on your presentation to help them get a feel for a product. If possible, get a shot of all angles (or five to eight images as per a 2019 Marketing Land survey) and give consumers the feeling of not leaving any stone unturned. Observe how Lacoste did it:  

White LaCoste Sneaker

⦁ Provide a sense of scale. Help consumers gauge the size of the product by displaying it against another or placing it in actual situations. This is especially important if you’re in the furniture business. A first-time bed shopper, for example, might not know the difference between queen and king size beds without illustrations. In terms of giving a sense of scale, take a page out of Casper’s mattress size comparison guide:

How Mattresses measure up

⦁ Transmit scent and taste. Activate the consumers’ memory of what something smells and tastes like using creativity with color psychology (although a digital scent player is in existence). Help consumers smell and taste your product just by using their eyes. In Colors that Influence Food Sales, the color white connotes clean, while green denotes healthy and brown signifies natural. This Campina goat cheese page used all three of those colors to successfully communicate what their goat cheese is all about, which is probably why it’s nominated on awwwards.

Goat Cheese

⦁  Capture texture. Convey more information about your product using texture. Show consumers what it’s like to touch and feel your product using zoom and 360-degree view. In this Amazon bath towel page, the image zooms into the details of the product as users mouse over it – effectively communicating its degree of softness.

As an added value, you can also support your product page with videos. Consumers simply love watching videos and they demand brands to produce more.

  • 54% of customers want more videos from brands they support
  • 72% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product or service
  • 74% of consumers who watched an explainer video subsequently bought the product

Vat19 is an example of a brand that relies heavily on video on their product pages to sell. Their goal is to have consumers experience the product on the page – and it’s working!

Mystery Box Video

Descriptions/Specs

With 85% of consumers conducting online research before making a purchase, ensure that they get what they’re looking for – and more – once they land on your product page. What are they looking for? Consumers are looking for accurate information. According to Neustar’s research “What Erodes Trust in Digital Brands”, the top reason why consumers distrust a website is inaccuracy.

Perceptions about trustworthy websites

Consumers are also looking for complete information. According to Episerver’s “Why 92% of shoppers abandon online purchases”, 98% of shoppers don’t transact on a purchase because of incomplete and incorrect content.

Beyond the standard title, description, specs, price and call to action requirement, what should your product page have to get consumers to buy?

According to Meaningful Brands® 2019 study, 77% of brands could disappear today and consumers wouldn’t care. On the flipside, brands (such as Google, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, etc.) who convey meaning and are perceived as making the world a better place:

  •  Outperform the stock market by 134%
  • Multiply their share of wallet by nine
  • Experience greater returns on KPIs

This means that consumers are expecting brands to deliver content with personal and collective benefits. How does this translate into the product page’s description/spec section? Let’s take a look at how Method does it on their page:

The product name “Dryer Sheets” immediately conveys the benefit. Followed by “Are your clothes getting too clingy?”, the copy goes directly to the consumers’ exact pain point. “We hate when that happens, too” is a statement of empathy. Then it goes on to provide the solution to the problem, inform consumers that they’re eco-friendly and then make a play to the imagination by writing, “We tamed the zing of ginger…
If you scroll down, you’ll find that they also provide the ingredients and what those chemicals do.
Ingredient List

For transparency, they also provided information where consumers could go or who to contact should they have more questions – effectively conveying accountability.

Product reviews (from customers)

According to the white paper “The Growing Power of Reviews“, 97% of consumers read product reviews with 85% looking out for negative reviews before making a purchase. Today’s consumers are brand-wary preferring to hear from fellow consumers as to their experience with a product or service.
Depending on your branding and strategy, you can make the review section of your product page fun just like Old Spice:

The brand didn’t need to entice customers with gimmicks and contests to make them leave ratings and comments. It’s the creative and branding concept that carried the page. Not only did Old Spice make it easier for customers to give ratings by using stars (with numeric equivalent), they also made customers feel good by using amusing made-up terms such as “Awesomabilities” and “Smellgoodedness”. On top of that, they actively responded to comments with comical lines such as, “It’s like we were meant to be! From one Oldspicer to another, thanks for being manly with us.

Where to start in creating a solid product page?

It all starts with managing your product data. Putting all the above-mentioned elements together in a page is no small feat especially if you are dealing with volumes of product data and teams scattered across the globe working with disparate systems. If the number one pet peeve of consumers on product pages is inaccuracy, address it by leveraging the right technology, such as a Product Information Management (PIM) solution, to consolidate all your product content, giving people access to it anytime, anywhere. It’s only then that you can start cleansing, enriching and sharing product information that is accurate, complete, consistent and relevant across all channels.

The State of Fashion & Apparel 2019

The State of Fashion & Apparel 2019

The Fashion Industry has been one of the past decade’s best success stories. But according to McKinsey, in partnership with Business of Fashion, 2019 will be a turning point because of digitalization. Success in this fast-paced landscape entails fashion players to evolve as fast as consumers or if possible, even faster.

Disruption

Traditional brands must not only recognize the shift in the behavior of their consumers, they must also realize that emerging nameless brands are dominating the fashion space. This is because consumers today are more socially aware and are on the lookout for something new. This monumental shift caused a slight dip in industry growth (3.5-4.5%) compared to last year’s. To survive and remain competitive, key fashion players must disrupt their business models and offerings.

Awakening

Regionally, fashion players recognize the possibility of industry slow down by 2020. Forty-two percent accept the fact that conditions may worsen this year.

However, not all regions are slowing down. The APAC region is emerging with China overtaking the US as the largest fashion market, while India is projected to become the 6th largest apparel market by 2022.

The fashion segments, especially luxury, tell a different story. Ninety-seven percent of economic growth for the whole industry are contributed by only 20 companies. Luxury brands are projected to enjoy above-average growth fueled by the growing APAC economies and increase in global travel.

As for the product category, sportswear continues to be on top followed by handbags and luggage, which can be traced to the increase in global travel.

Adaption

The fashion industry needs to be more adaptable to catch up with digital consumers, who are no longer satisfied playing the observer role. Liberated by fast-developing digital technologies, they prefer to be participants and interact with brands they admire. Since they favor brands who are taking controversial and political stands for the environment, fashion players must adapt to keep up and stay afloat. A fact not lost on fashion executives and thought leaders who agreed that “the need to achieve greater sustainability and transparency” should be embraced as a strategic challenge.

Overall, the fashion industry is in a state of uncertainty. The reign of top fashion players can end quickly with the slightest shift in market condition, technology trend or consumer behavior. While these changes may present opportunities, it cannot be denied that they also present risks. Only brands who are prepared to brave these shifts and self-disrupt can come out as winners.

Discover more facts and figures in the following infographic:

5 Considerations in the Consumer Buying Journey

woman buying from her mobile

5 Considerations in the Consumer Buying Journey

As a business, rather than concern yourself with how to sell, why not put yourself in consumer’s shoes and explore the reasons why you buy. So, in this article, I’d like us to take a new approach and look at things from the consumer’s point of view.

The thing about fashion is that it’s more often a luxury rather than a necessity. For example, you “need a shirt”, but you “don’t need a designer shirt”, and the same can be said for any article of clothing or accessories.

But this isn’t to deny the existence of brand conscious people or those who think having a branded item is a need. The significance of this distinction is when someone is buying something they want, not need, they have more flexibility to make decisions.

So, what’s going through their minds as they head down their path to fashion? While this article isn’t about the psychology behind what makes people desire expensive things, and certainly all fashion is not overly expensive, a good place to start is asking yourself why you do. Envision your own buyer’s journey and consider that many people think similarly to you.

Let’s take a look at five important things to keep in mind about the buyer’s journey:

1. The Customer Journey Is No Longer Linear

Marketers used to have a linear mindset. It was marketing’s job to map out the path a consumer would take and to control the narrative. Today, it’s still marketing’s job to control the narrative, but mapping a consumer’s path is simply no longer possible. Consumers are now just too savvy and have too many options to even consider going down a brand’s narrow path to content.

So, in today’s climate, your goal is to put the right product in front of the right person, rather than every product in front of everyone. A person’s journey to buy a shirt, for example, does not begin with a pair of pants. It begins with a search on an e-commerce site or possibly on Google for a shirt. The journey has taken place in their head before they fired up their laptop.

Getting people to your product pages is your number one priority today. Consumers don’t care about you, they care about the product you’re selling. With loyalty at an all-time low, it’s obvious that a strategy that requires a linear journey will no longer work. Marketing needs to realize that the content that needs to be front and center is the product content itself.

That being said, customer acquisition costs roughly five times what retention costs. So, after the first transaction, it’s important that you have a tactical marketing strategy that includes special offers and continual awareness, on top of, delivering a quality product the first time around.

2. Fashion First

The good news for the fashion industry is that when people begin their online journey it’s likely to be for something in the fashion category. According to a McKinsey study, approximately 30% of new online shoppers start with apparel and footwear. Add to that the fast fashion market that sees online shopping as not different from a trip to the mall. It could be argued that e-commerce and fast fashion work together to make each other trendy. Just look at the people on their MacBooks at a coffee shop. Do you think they’re not making a fashion statement?

It’s also worth noting that 85% of product searches begin either on Amazon or Google. Therefore, search, both organic and paid, is a vital investment to make to ensure that consumers are able to find you. Once found, you can start offering personalized experiences. With a staggering 43% of purchases being influenced by personalized recommendations or promotions and 75% of consumers preferring to be marketed to with personal messaging, it’s essential that you have a plan once they do land on one of your product pages.

3. People Want What They Pay For

Oddly enough, when someone buys something online, they’d like the actual product to resemble the product depicted online. If they don’t get that, they’d feel a bit cheated. One reason that stores with a strong physical presence do well with online sales is that it’s easy to return items bought online. The difficulty of returning items is likely the last major barrier to people shopping online, but once that conundrum is solved the fear of a bad purchase will no longer be a hindrance. The cost of returns is also a huge issue. Online purchases are returned at a rate of 15 to 40 percent, which is roughly $400 billion worth of inventory.

While it’s a hassle to return items bought online, a substantial amount of it is still being returned. Certainly, there is a combination of factors when it comes to returning wardrobe pieces, such as the challenge of finding the right size without first trying it on and the shirt that doesn’t quite match the pants that has been envisioned. That being said, while there is no way to eliminate returns, accurate product descriptions and realistic portrayals would surely go a long way in reducing the number of returns, therefore saving you and your customer the headache of the return procedure and upping your chances of retaining your customer.

4. Easily Influenced

Consumers might have the upper-hand during the buying process, but that doesn’t mean that they want to go it alone! Instead of hearing directly from you, though, they want to buy proven items. Influencers in some form are part of the customer journey 84% of the time.

In fashion, people tend to buy what other people make fashionable, but how can they know what’s fashionable? They learn the same way we’ve always have — by looking at what celebrities or influencers are wearing. Remember “The Rachel”, from the TV show “Friends”, haircut in the 1990s? The only difference between Jennifer Aniston on Friends and influencers today is the medium, which is now social media, most notably Instagram. (The stats on Instagram as an influencer channel are pretty amazing and you can check them out here.) Advertising may have moved from the inside of magazines and television commercials to social sites, but that does not mean that it’s not an important part of today’s customer journey.

5. …Yet, Still Price Sensitive

With brands like Zara who are able to get clothes from design to shelves in only two weeks, there’s no doubt that quality takes a bit of a hit in the sake of trendiness. The good news for consumers is that for stores to continually restock their shelves they first have to sell what’s on them. And to ensure that things sell quickly, good deals appear from seemingly everywhere. This new trend called fast fashion has allowed consumers to keep up with the latest fashions and has also spoiled them with low costs.

The apparel industry’s market size is expected to top $1.65 trillion in 2020, up from $1.05 trillion in 2011. Industries don’t grow that fast if they only cater to the high-end consumer. Fast fashion has made it feasible for people to buy outfits for any occasion and in many cases have no plans of wearing it twice. Which means the circle will continue on and on for many consumers on the fashion buyer’s journey.

There’s a lot to consider when you consider the customer’s point of view during their journey. From how it can begin anywhere to the people influencing them to make decisions and, like most industries, budget concerns. While a lot of thought needs to go into your strategy to ensure that you are addressing your prospects along the way, by considering your own motives you already have a good idea on how to address each stage of the process.

 

Why Fashion Retail Should Go Online First

Group of People with Shopping Bags

Looking at global sales figures, retail is still a model of success. However, there has been a massive shift from brick-and-mortar retail to e-commerce. The reason is fairly simple: the fashion industry is focusing on consumer behavior – and consumers are increasingly staying online. Plus, the apparel industry in particular, is currently generating the highest revenues from e-commerce on a global level. So, if a fashion company is aiming for a long-term success, integrating digital channels within the ecosystem is imperative.

Added value is worth it

Fashion brands are given two ways to communicate with their customers: online and offline. Based on this there are endless touch points made to get in contact with consumers. In the digital age, however, the encounter with a brand increasingly takes place online and in most cases long before a purchase actually takes place. This in turn has a profound impact on the way a potential customer searches, finds and evaluates products. The business model must adapt to this changing user behavior in order to be successful. Playing the digital keys consistently and confidently, delivers a whole range of advantages:

  • Scope and customer base are expanding due to online-business. 4.3 billion Internet users thus become potential customers of the clothing industry in one fell swoop.
  • Location, time and mood are not showstoppers for the shopping tour. After work in front of the TV, from the bathtub or simply on the road, consumers can find everything they need without restrictions and can quickly get an overview of availability and pricing.
  • Relevant content can be applied on the web without limit: Next to context-optimized product information, additional content like blogs, videos, reviews, recommendations and more can play a decisive role in creating a convincing product experience; thus forcing a willingness to buy.
  • Multiple touch points facilitate the decision-making as e-commerce is not only a single online shop. Consumers leaving a shop without a purchase? That´s not necessarily the end of the story. You can keep up the awareness and remind them of their product choices throughout different touch points, channels and devices to positively influence their purchase decisions.
  • Social media is key to emotions. Platforms such as Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest influence people´s gut feeling and self-esteem, thus justifying purchase decisions. Also social media is a great opportunity to actively interact and engage with consumers – and to set up a direct relation to a brand’s online shop.
  • Marketplaces like Amazon, Asos or Stylebop allow brands to use powerful additional sales channels to distribute products on a large scale.
  • Knowing your customer is necessary in order to meet their preferences. Online channels allow businesses to track and analyze their customers’ full digital footprint and to convert this knowledge into more targeted communication. The better the resulting customer experience, the more likely consumers will be willing to provide their data – which enables brands to learn even more about them.

Opening up an online flagship store

Those who assume great customer experience is only relevant for in-store shops are very much mistaken. Nowadays, a customer-centric approach is essential for every touch point. Thus, an online shop needs to be much more than just a digitalized catalog. Dealing with a large assortment of products and no opportunity to physically try them out requires innovative approaches to boost product experience. The basics are already set: ordering straight from the branch for home delivery, convenient product returns, and free and fast delivery. Now comes the fun.

Zalando Ecommerce product image

Zalando: Close up images

The fashion industry strives to make in-store customer services available online. The virtual service shows up in different ways: products are shown as closeup images, worn by different models, 3-D animations or in short video clips – to present different perspectives. In order to ensure that customers get the best possible product experience – and to reduce the number of returns – it also comes down to a solution for a helpful size guide. The most innovative ones support them in finding the right fit without the need for a dressing room. To give a few examples: Asos and Thirdlove are using a list of detailed questions to recommend a personalized size, based on individual conditions, as well as previous purchases and experiences. Macy´s gives concrete explanations via video, while Mr. Spex evolves by enabling customers to virtually try on glasses.

Zalando Infographic

Zalando: Same item worn by different models

Pretty little thing catwalk video

Pretty little thing catwalk video

 

Macy´s Fit Guide für Herren

Macy´s Fit Guide for Man

Mr. Spex: Virtuelle Brillen-Anprobe

Mr. Spex: Try on glasses virtually

Expanded shopping opportunities through individualization

Established brands, with their own chain of stores, are expected to have an online presence. But consumer demands are going much further today. Personalization has become a decisive factor. Customer data, purchase and search behavior – gives reliable conclusions about consumers´ preferences in order to optimize marketing and sales processes. In the long term, this will allow brands and retailers to address individuals with targeted real-time offers – that are relevant and in context.

Technical foundation for your data

Fashion companies will need the right technological infrastructure to achieve this status. Deeply integrated systems allows companies to optimize their communication by integrating data from multiple sources and quickly distributing rich, high-quality product information from a single source across all channels – a major requirement for customer loyalty.

There are numerous software solutions on the market that claim to help solving challenges in marketing products – but to efficiently support online channels, a product information management system would be the core of any digital strategy. As a central repository, a PIM system can help you easily integrate product data from different sources, enrich and localize it, and publish up-to-date product information into connected systems like e-shops, e-fulfillment and content management systems as well as to platforms like Amazon, eBay or Alibaba.

Mobile shopping

Since online shopping becomes more and more a mobile phenomenon this holds another vast chance. Today, almost everything comes together on a mobile device even if it is primarily used for communication – especially via social media. This paves the way for companies to step into their customers´ private life. Thanks to Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, it´s much easier for fashion brands to engage with consumers – an ideal foundation to inspire, inform and incite them. A successful social and mobile strategy goes above and beyond just a simple presence in certain social networks or delivering a mobile app that is just a mobile rendering of their website. Fashion brands are able to connect different touch points – using social media as a sales channel in e-commerce and mobile commerce.

Journey to success

The customer journey does not follow a linear curve but is rather formed individually by a number of touch points. Technological developments are enabling even more to connect online and offline steps to that journey. QR-codes make it possible to call up product information, mobile apps allow easier product search and purchasing, while stores offer pick up same day. Consumers appreciate the comfort-level and differences of online shopping, but they don’t plan to renounce the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. The main challenge for brands is keeping an eye on further innovations to create a cohesive omnichannel shopping experience – with the consumer at the center of all efforts.

Fashion on the Move – Disruption as an Opportunity

Fashion Influencer

Fashion on the Move – Disruption as an Opportunity

Why the fashion industry should be optimistic about the future and embrace upcoming challenges.

The heyday of fashion is over. This is how a lot of fashion companies in Europe and the US feel, following global issues such as Brexit, current US-China trade disputes and the rise of protectionism on both sides of the Atlantic.

On top of those, a lot of powerful players in the Asian region have left behind their cheap supplier role to directly and confidently challenge their European and American counterparts. And not only are they winning, they’re dominating their domestic markets.

Meanwhile, according to McKinsey´s State of Fashion 2019, emerging new markets such as India and China are developing at a rapid pace and overtaking the established ones.

While India currently has the highest growth rate, China, on the other hand, is now the world’s largest fashion market – ahead of the US.

Source: McKinsey, State of Fashion 2019, p. 26

In today, out tomorrow

Once upon a time, fashion manufacturers dictated how often collections come out and limited them to two a year. Nowadays, consumers not only expect something new all the time, but they drive current trends primarily via social media.

The power of the consumer influencer

Gone are the days when brands rule fashion from up their ivory tower, as today’s consumers have taken over. Self-confident and knowledgeable, millennials and generation Z tell brands what, where, how and when they want something.

Thanks to Amazon, they’re also used to not having to wait long. They use digital channels as a matter of course and have access to a multitude of product information, offerings and inspirations.

Thus, they have usually already made a purchasing decision long before they appear on the radar of companies.

They often don’t even get their inspiration from fashion labels and retailers, but from prominent social media influencers and opinionated peers, with emotional experience as the trigger.

The importance of brand presentation

If today’s consumers are both online and offline and on different channels, it’s essential for fashion brands to ensure a consistent brand image and product presentation on all touch points.

Although the work can be challenging, technologies such as Product Information Management (PIM) can help to centrally manage product data and deliver it to the right touch point – without spending too much time on manual work.

A PIM also has analytics tools that can provide insight into consumer behavior. With this, fashion companies are empowered to deliver a consistent product and brand experience to potential customers and influencers.

Digital channels as game changers

 

Source: McKinsey & Company analysis based on Instagram data, State of Fashion 2019, p 73

Social Media, whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube or WeChat, is the new showroom. Therefore, “digital first” should be a top priority for all businesses that want to be successful — big fashion brands, start-ups and niche providers, alike.

But unlike established brands, the newcomers are not slowed down by rigid business processes. The small challengers, in particular, are posting through the roof fan base growth rates of up to 300%.

With the help of new technologies, concepts and business models, they react quickly to market conditions and focus on customer interaction.

For them, e-commerce is the way to go, but in addition to their own shops, they also rely on the diverse possibilities of social and mobile commerce to reach consumers on the spot.

Among others, Patagonia uses Pinterest to increase sales opportunities and awareness

Sustainability and trust

In recent years, ethical resource management and humanitarian and social values have increasingly become decision-making criteria for consumers on whether to trust a brand or not.

Whether it’s the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh or the burning of unsold collections somewhere else – various scandals involving global brands have left their mark on consumers.

Sustainability, fairness and transparency also play an important role in gaining trust, especially for the millennials and Generation Z.

According to McKinsey´s “State of Fashion 2019 Consumer Shifts”, more than a third of consumers include these points in their purchasing decisions: choice of materials, traceability of the value chain, uniform information and the sustainable use of products.

This can be an opportunity to realign the brand, examine new business areas and show a clear attitude with a consistent appearance. In addition, new technologies such as blockchain can help to document the supply chain seamlessly in the future.

Everlane pursues a sustainable approach and relies heavily on social media.

Using digital technologies

The path of the customer from first contact to purchase or the customer journey consists of a number of contact points. It’s almost impossible to maintain each point manually and, at the same time, provide consistent information.

But systems for the central maintenance, administration and output of product information, copy and media data, such as images and videos, can help to simplify this task enormously.

Analytics and product experience management tools also make it possible to get to know consumers better and provide them with relevant information at the right time.

E-commerce systems, mobile shopping apps, sophisticated search functions and recommendation tools make it as easy as possible for customers to find the product they want and make the purchase.

Partner platforms such as Amazon, Zalando and Otto increase the reach, and social media increases awareness, customer loyalty and the desire to buy.

There’s a lot of opportunities and chances, as well as challenges to tackle in the “Year of Awakening”, as McKinsey´s newest “State of Fashion 2019” calls it. So, it’s time to get down to business with agility, speed and new business ideas.

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

Getting consumers to your product page and getting them to purchase your products are two different things. The average ecommerce conversion rate hovers just below the three percent mark. That’s not quite three people out of every 100 visitors to your product pages are purchasing. So, you can’t afford to turn off any would-be buyers and they would be if your pages aren’t relevant enough.

Relevancy is more than a product match with a consumer. Unless you sell a very niche item, your product would also be available from a number of retailers. Anything from a shirt to a car can be bought across hundreds of sites across the web. One of the key pillars to relevancy on the web is trust, which makes a lot of sense since buying something online is somewhat final. (Even the easiest return policies are somewhat tedious, which is a reason why retailers with a strong brick-and-mortar presence tend to have better online performance.)

How do you convince consumers that you are trustworthy when they land on your product page? Below are three time-tested and proven techniques to make trust the key pillar on your product page.

STEP 1: Product Reviews

It should be no surprise that people trust other consumers more than they trust a brand. One survey states that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews prominently displayed on your product pages will give people the peace of mind to make purchases.

What about negative reviews, you might ask? Most consumers are smart enough to realize that not every product is a great fit for everyone. Some people are more vocal than others and sometimes they’ll leave unflattering reviews of your products. Read them and take action, but don’t delete them. A bunch of five-star reviews is just as damaging as having no reviews at all. In fact, 82% of consumers seek out negative feedback only, so if they can’t find it there will be an even greater chance of mistrust.

Your product will speak for itself over time if it’s sold enough, but until then, be thankful for reviews left on your site. Think of them as a little bit of free content marketing from the people that matter most, your customers.

STEP 2: Authentic Photography

The first thing that should come to most product marketers is quality photography. But, quality photography and authentic photography are two different things. How many fast food restaurant commercials have you seen with amazing looking food only to be dismayed when you order the same thing at the restaurant? Those commercials don’t exactly exude trust, do they?

What exudes trust are user-generated content (UGC) like Instagram posts. Because consumers crave authentic photos so much, they take photos themselves to share with their peers via the platform. It became a phenomenon, so a social media agency based in New York gathered and analyzed data, and found out that “Instagram-style”photos increase conversion rate by 25% more than professional product shots.

A professional photographer can make anything look great, and they should, but, consumers expect to get the same thing they see online. If they don’t, and instead got a slightly worse variation, then your product pages will have the same amount of trust as a fast food commercial.

STEP 3: Knowing Your Customer

Perhaps the quickest way to earn trust is to know someone and help them solve a problem. While most products can be found across the web, they’re mostly flashed in front of you as if the product itself is enough reason to buy it. Typically, a person is swayed to spend money on something that solves a problem for them.

How do you know the problem that your customer is trying to solve? That takes persona research and the ability to display variants and suggestions based on who is searching for what. Once you figure out your persona pain points, then you can solve for those and offer your solution on the right touchpoints at the right time. By solving their problem, you’ve gained their trust. Personalization is so effective that according to Accenture, 58% of consumers are more likely to buy from a shop that offers items based on their history.

There are many other ways to prove your trustworthiness, but your product page is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Most people aren’t concerned with your corporate messaging and the educational sales funnel that might be set up. When they land on a product page you have a small window to prove that you are worthy of them going through the sales process. That’s done with relevancy, authenticity, and with proof from the people that came before.

Customer and Product Experience at 350,000 Transactions Per Second

Online shopping

Singles Day Burns Up the Wires

With “Singles Day” breaking another year of all-time records it’s a unique repeatable situation that stretches the imagination of many commerce organizations. Where the basecamp for this year over year growth success can be found in positive customer and product experiences.

In terms of numbers, last year was already mindboggling with over 800 million transactions in 24 hours. This year the number even excelled itself as more than $31b was generated – of which alone the first 10% in the first 5 minutes! But it doesn´t only refer to a monetary aspect. When you take a look on all this from a technical perspective, just imagine the pressure on the tech stack and the organizations behind all this. Fascinating!

It´s All About the Experience

Not even 10 years ago Alibaba connected the singles day to the commercial success we know today. The year over year growth could only be as successful as it is if the overall customer experience is positive and people get the product experience they are after. Without these two main factors Singles Day would never become as successful as it is today.

Thus, what makes a great customer experience? It’s actually more about the perception that the customer has with the brand. In many of the big commerce hubs like Alibaba, Amazon and local others the customer connects through these hubs because of the brand experience they offer. Where the context of each customer interaction plays a tremendous role in shaping the customer experience. This starts often at the first touchpoints with the brand and ends with the product experience, where if this last point isn’t managed correctly it will get returned.

All that leading to one decisive fact: Managing the product experience is key! How often haven’t we all ordered something online (with and/or without proper vetting the options) only to get disappointed when delivery takes place. Commerce hubs and their suppliers are on the hook for shaping the experience. And offering a contextual product experience can not only create a better customer experience, it can reduce costs greatly.

What happens if you don’t offer a great experience?

Roughly 30% of all orders get shipped back, simple because they don’t live up to the expected product experience – which according to a study from UPS can eat into 20-65% of the costs of an organization. Apart from the financial position, consider the effect on the consumers. Although returning products gets easier every year, as an organization you can only get away with this bad experience so many times before your customer chooses an ecommerce shop that makes good on the end-to-end experience.

Being in Marketing Operations myself with a love for technology on how it can help the business, of course we will take a look at the technology supporting all this. But it comes down to the main following:

  • Alibaba’s Cloud solution including autonomous scaling
  • AI and machine learning for display advertising
  • Several solutions to optimize the customer and product experience, including
    • AI powered fashion mix-and-match suggestions based on product images and deep product information
    • Virtual fitting rooms to try the product before purchasing

Over the years Alibaba made full use of futurized technologies, always focused on delivering amazing customer and product experiences. By overdelivering year over year on the experience Alibaba was able to again pull of a smooth Singles Day obliviating previous years and offering a great experience to returning customers and a whole new generation of long lasting new customers.