Bytedance Sells TikTok Tech: How This Could Change eCommerce

BytePlus only launched in June 2021 (according to the Financial Times) but already has several clients around the world, including US-based fashion app Goat, an Indonesian online shopping start-up, a Singaporean travel booking site, and a social gaming platform in India. ByteDance, Beijing-based company’s new division behind TikTok & DouYin, is called BytePlus. Created with the aim of reportedly selling its TikTok AI-powered tech to customers looking to replicate the video sharing platform’s success in their eCommerce apps and services.

TikTok’s Interaction-based Algorithm

What drives its so popular is the very recommendation algorithm that TikTok uses. As the social media platform that boasts the highest overall engagement rate, the videos you get shown on TikTok’s For You feed is based on how you interact with videos you’re shown.

These interactions are based off of which videos you like, share comment on, or create; including video information, such as captions and hashtags; and device and account settings including what device you’re using, your language preferences, and your location settings. Through buying the AI from BytePlus as a business, you will also gain access to automated speech and text translation and real-time video effects along with data analysis tools.

What This Means for eCommerce’s Future

The success of its recommendation algorithm, which now allows with businesses to personalise it according to customers, will offer a whole new insight to how content marketing will be delivered. The feed – also known as the ForYou Page – has been serving very varied feeds and wildly claimed by audiences to know them better than they know themselves. From medical diagnoses, to age-based preferences and personality tests, the app’s uncanny ability to relate and curate to each user has long been part of its highly addictive scroll-worthy appeal.

  1. Accelerated innovation on R&D: By gaining insight to user meta data and interactions, eCommerce businesses will get a better grasp on how users engage with their products and innovate accordingly.
  2. Gain effective measurements on content strategy: If the goal for an eCommerce business is to increase Lifetime Customer Value, consistently driving engagement and having a strong nurture process is key. In many instances, content strategies and campaign deliveries can be hit-and-miss, but via the algorithm, this allows marketing teams to test and optimise campaign outcomes in a more effective manner.
  3. Stickier solutions: Having data that drills down to customer behaviours, will give you the ability to create relevant and niche customer solutions that actually solves needs and desires.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Or, better yet, check out our secret to helping your business grow with less effort over time.

The Power of Marginal Gains: How Your Online Business Gets Big Boosts from Small Tweaks

There’s a lot to be said about the power of little things – particularly when the eCommerce climate is in a constant state of flux. The ‘Marginal Gains’ theory ( popularised by Sir Dave Brailsford CBE, one of the principal architects behind Great Britain’s gold medal winning cycling team, Team Sky ) is the idea that making 1% improvement in a whole host of areas creates a significant change in performance as a whole. But how does this principle translate to the performance of your online business? And most importantly…how true is it?

They May Come If You Build It, But Will They Buy?

It could be that you’ve had a thriving online store for quite some time. Things were ticking along just fine. Then, out of nowhere, your results become stagnant. Sales have just stopped…or worse, dipped. Has complacency set in? Where could you be going wrong? Alternately, imagine building a brand new website, spending considerable amounts of time on the images, branding and using precious time and marketing resources to promote it. Yet your conversion rates are devastatingly low. Whether it be the former or the latter, it’s important to identify where these gaps are happening and what actions to take. This is where applying a marginal gains perspective would help immensely.

Here are some small tweaks that can help:

  • Don’t put the hard work on the user: always apply a fresh consumer perspective to your store design. If someone has to search high and low for more info about something they want to buy (though you might think it’s fine after having been on the site for hours), it’s a good chance that they will quickly go somewhere else.
  • If a lot of crucial info is TLDR, make sure it’s summarised or easily spotted: be succinct when it comes to copy and strategic about placements and positioning with buttons, section headings, and call-to-actions. Making these as obvious as roadside neon signs will lead the customer towards info they want (or you want them) to have.
  • Speed it up: nothing irks shoppers more than sites that take forever to load. No matter how appealing or striking the videos you worked hard to create can be, consider the weight that it adds to your website and what you can do to boost your page load speed.
  • The 101 on your 404: Have you factored in your ‘Error 404’ message? Adding a reminder to return to the store or having a more playful take on this will help and engage a lost shopper to find their way back. More so than just the stock standard error message.
  • Shoppable social media: Instagram, TikTok and Facebook are boarding the eCommerce train and for good reason. As entertaining as they are, social media platforms collate a strong consumer network that are watching real-time reactions to products on their personalised feeds. Find out what social platforms your customers are interacting on and why they are engaging with certain content. This helps you create content that trigger purchases and promote the ways your product benefits them.
  • Always be automating: Identifying gaps, testing subject titles, or requesting reviews at the right stages of the cart abandonment process is key. And once you’ve refined the process, automating all of this would lift a weight off your shoulders too.
  • Simplify the checkout process as much as possible: 3 clicks and strike – you’re out! Obviously, customers are used to clicking, filling in fields and providing some info at this stage. But making this process more tedious than the experiences they’ve had on other sites is a danger point. You don’t want them changing their mind because of there being too many hoops to jump through.

While marginal gains rebukes the idea of one grand overhaul that solves all your eCommerce problems, it makes sense. Given the ever changing nature of the digital landscape, the online businesses that thrive are the ones that continuously measure the small stuff and identify adaptable solutions in these small improvements over time.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Or, better yet, check out our secret to helping your business grow with less effort over time.

Black Cart: Could Try-Before-You-Buy Shopping Shape the Future of e-Commerce?

Imagine this: sighing dejectedly at your reflection when yet another outfit you bought online – the one that looked perfect on the the model – looks way less appealing on you? Despite the true-to-size size guides, videos and 3D product close-ups, getting a try-before-you-buy option is a massive confidence booster for a customer who was intending to purchase anyway.

Given that 57% of European shoppers still find e-Commerce uninspiring compared to offline, there’s still a race to bridge the gap between the tangible nature of offline shopping and the seamless convenience of digital experiences. Enter BlackCart, a Canadian fashion tech start up that raised funding rounds of $8.8 million entirely over Zoom.

What Is It

A try-before-you-buy platform that integrates with e-Commerce storefronts, BlackCart allows customers to ship items to their home for free and only pay if they choose to keep the item after the end of a “try on” period (set by the retailer).

What Is The Promise

In their own words,

“BlackCart was founded on the premise of making the experience of online shopping less painful for customers, while enabling merchants to deliver the same fitting-room experience to consumers everywhere.

As the first technology provider to bring try-before-you-buy to market, our expertise stems from the many experiments we’ve conducted to ensure a model that delivers results. By taking a methodological approach, we help merchants maximise conversions, create happier customers, and boost bottom-line sales.”

How It Works




Images: How It Works – BlackCart

In the form of a simple plug-in that works with most e-Commerce platforms, the lifecycle of every order is automated. With BlackCart having its own technology in terms of returns, payments, and overall user experience, it shoulders all the financial risk on each transaction associated with fraud, damaged, or unreturned items. This removes the need to take hold of the shopper’s credit card for authorisation.

Each customer’s account would be adjusted if the item was kept or returned. If no actions occur by the end of the trial, it is assumed that the items are kept and the customer will be automatically charged. BlackCart makes money via a rev share model meaning retailers gets charged a percentage of the sales where the customers have kept the products.

Things to Consider

“Retailers are catering to a new generation of non-committal millennials who have massive spending power in conjunction with massive uncertainty, and it’s a profound shift for nearly every consumer spending category.” – Danny Ouyang, CEO, BlackCart

With the pandemic driving up online sales and more customers sticking to this mode of shopping, it makes sense that Try-Before-You-Buy options would drive customers to make quicker purchasing decisions. Here are a few reasons as to why retailers would consider this as a viable way to complement their current e-Commerce strategy.

  • It decreases returns. Having this option deters the common practice of customers purchasing in bulk to try, and returning items that don’t live up to expectations.
  • Increases buyer confidence in high stakes purchases that have massive spending potential (bridal/occasion wear, shoes, mattresses, luxury items, etc.).
  • Removes the barrier-of-entry for newer brands as customers feel more encouraged to try out new products they won’t normally opt for.
  • Trust building. Trust is the essence of every good business. By taking on the risk and inviting test-drives, it shows that brands stand by the integrity of their product and its capability to provide value.

Other players in the try-before-you-buy industry include: Nok and TryNow.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Or, better yet, check out our secret to helping your business grow with less effort over time.

What To Do About iOS 15’s Effects On Your Email Marketing

On top of an overarching bid to offer users more control over their own personal data, Apple’s latest iOS 15 updates (happening anytime between September to November) also boasts powerful ways to help users stay focused, featuring enhanced on-device intelligence to discover information, and expanded ways to explore the world through Maps, Weather, and Wallet. One major change that will leave marketers reeling again though, will be its impacts on email marketing.

What the iOS 15 Updates Mean

Apple users will now be able to:

  • Turn off open tracking
  • Hide their IP addresses
  • Hide their email addresses

It’s quite likely that users will be turning off the open rates, should actions follow in line with the previous Apple updates. When Apple released iOS 14.5 and its app tracking update, a whopping 96% of its users decided to leave tracking disabled. So it should come as no surprise that a similar adoption rate will happen with iOS 15.

Apple commands up to 58% of the email client market share and a full 90.5% of all mobile email opens happen on an iPhone, so the update will certainly be a huge turning point for email marketers everywhere. But as most marketers & eCommerce businesses know, a solid email marketing strategy is more than just measuring open rates. A few issues to note:

  1. Retention and re-engagement strategies need to be revisited
  2. List hygiene will be impacted
  3. Campaign and automation workflows will also need to be adjusted

How to Pivot

A good marketer is more than their tools so adapting your strategy in a deliberate and informed way is going to be crucial. Preparing yourself by deciding on new data and metrics to measure your email campaign success is key. Seeing that a full release of iOS 15 is to come in October, making the right plans now buys you a bit more time should further adjustments need to be made. Here are some of the things you can do to stay ahead of these changes:

Focus on Click-rates

Leaning on this metric more will give you an idea of your email content effectiveness and what resonates the most with your customers.

Expand Your Engagement Based Segments

Moving the focus away from open-rates centric measurements is essential. Include action-oriented activity that spurs clicks and purchases to lead you to an albeit smaller, but much highly-targeted audience pool.

Test, Test & Test Some More

Start A/B testing email content and email subject lines that boost clicks. No one audience list is the same. While different audiences resonate and engage with a variety of different subjects, now would be a great time to find out what sticks when it comes to clicks and focus on creating winning content.

Get More Out Of Your Shopper Analytics

If the end-goal is sales and not engagement, it’s much more beneficial for customers to receive create high-value content that serves their convenience. Looking at shopper recency, order value data and purchasing history would also give you a better idea on how to segment your audiences. Not only does this help you carve a more data-driven approach, but it also allows you to consider the aspects that go into your customer’s real purchasing journey.

Conclusion

Let’s face it – the shift to a world where customers can take ownership over their personal data is in general, a better one. While this may present its own set of obstacles, businesses and marketers would need to adapt and shift to rise to the challenge. Whether it’s creating more innovations in personalisation, or finding more ways to offer customers value in exchange for info, or even utilising existing customer data in smarter ways; it would be interesting to see how this would push the shift across all measurements in success moving forwards.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Or, better yet, check out our secret to helping your business grow with less effort over time.

“Should TikTok Be In My eCommerce Strategy?” What We’ve Learnt So Far [July 2021]

What exactly are retailers doing with the Gen Z centric platform? Should your business be prepped with a TikTok eCommerce strategy? As one of the fastest-growing and most talked about channels, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore TikTok’s hype. Keep reading to decide if bandwagon-hopping is worth it.

Where TikTok Is At

Following in the footsteps of Vine, TikTok has cemented its status as having a strong engagement footprint as well as a deepening cultural impact.

The results of #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt (3.3 billion views) is staggering to say the least. American Eagle CMO Craig Brommers was even quoted as saying: “What TikTok creators wear, American Eagle sells.” While companies may now be trained to listen to their audiences, savvy customers are now just as quick to see t brand’s authenticity or if they’re just on TikTok for the hype.

Strong Consumer Ecosystem

It’s no secret that products that go viral on TikTok, sell out. From leggings to car essentials, items that deliver exactly on what they claim to do (no matter how hyperbolic) will capture the attention (and purse strings) of avid TikTok scrollers with ease.

Given that the recommendation algorithm is unique to every user, it’s no wonder that products that appear in your feed can seem to be exactly what you “need in your life”. To further justify this level of accuracy, TikTok Australia general manager Lee Hunter says the algorithm considers things like the types of videos a person likes, shares and comments on: “a whole range of things that give us a sense of who you are”. 

Matt Cleary, TikTok’s director of retail and dining global business solutions, says, “The reason #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is such a huge trending hashtag is because of this idea of community commerce…fueled by discovering and sharing new ideas, new products, new brands.” With our world being in a constant state of flux, TikTok’s adeptness at feeding consumers not just the latest trends, but highly personalised recommendations at that, is clearly resonating.

Product Quality Matters

The channel’s highly visual nature elicits an immediate reaction in customers, creating an impact that’s more concrete than merely a text review. In fact, being able to see how customers react to a product in realtime leaves a deeper impression on viewers overall. However, a positive reaction still remains a byproduct of a brand’s commitment to actually making quality products.

It’s important to assess your consumers, what they resonate with, and why they are using social media to engage and communicate. Ultimately, it’s vital to see if your brand values align with the nature of this channel. Whether a TikTok eCommerce strategy is one that makes sense for your services and if you can authentically engage its fast-paced audiences. At the risk of seeming like a parent desperately trying to relate to their Gen Z-er, approach this with clear goals and well weighed-out intentions. The classic adage of tailoring your campaigns to suit your chosen platform and relaying your product benefits in a clear, enjoyable and delightful manner, still holds true.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Or, better yet, check out our secret to helping your business grow with less effort over time.

Shopify Online Store 2.0: The Latest Updates [2021]

At its annual Shopify Unite 2021 event, the Canadian eCommerce powerhouse announced its largest set of platform investments to date for a stronger, better, faster and more flexible future of eCommerce; specifically through Shopify Online Store 2.0.

Given the staggering boost pandemic lockdowns triggered in online shopping, it’s only expected that the understanding for better customer experiences will give way to more customisable updates, better brand story-telling and checkout efficiency.

As per the announcement,

“The internet is the world’s largest city, and Shopify is building its commerce infrastructure,” said Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify. “Especially over the past year, we saw independent businesses succeed by showing up creatively and uniquely in this city. The future of commerce on the internet relies on creative expression at every touchpoint. Together with developers, we are building the infrastructure to make this possible.”

Key Points from Unite 2021

  • Shopify unveiled “Online Store 2.0” and customization was at the forefront. This includes a big upgrade to Shopify’s Liquid platform, allowing business owners to get the best from developer features, without the need for coding. A new editor experience will be on its way too, with theme app extensions and a Shopify Theme Store, available from July 15; along with a fresh default theme in the shape of Dawn. The new Storefront features code-free design capabilities and a “Theme Store.” Netflix even used the new platform to launch its first e-comm store.
  • Shopify Checkout will be even faster, giving any shop the capacity to handle tens of thousands of purchases per minute. The stated goal is for a single merchant to be able to sell 300,000 pairs of sneakers in just over eight minutes, and for each shop to have the ability to handle as much sales volume as was served across all of Shopify at the peak of Black Friday Cyber Monday in 2020.
  • Shopify revenue share is now 0% for the first $1M app developers make annually on the platform. This share model will also be rolled out to Theme Store developers. Currently, Shopify charges 20% revenue share, so this aims to increase the opportunity for developers to build and grow their businesses.
  • The introduction of Hydrogen, a new React framework for developers to build custom storefronts and Oxygen, the future hosting platform for custom storefronts on Shopify.
  • Merchants, with the launch of Metafields, can now add things like products and product variants, with more upgrades to happen later in the year.
  • Built on top of the new Metafields infrastructure, the upcoming Custom Content will serve as Shopify’s Content Management platform. Providing merchants capability to store content of any format within Shopify.

For more detailed breakdowns of these upgrades, head to Shopify Unite 2021.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Or better yet, check out our secret to helping your business grow with less effort over time.

Facebook’s Latest Report on Evolving Customer Experiences [2021]

In the wake of COVID-19, 81% of global consumers say they’ve changed their shopping habits since the start of the pandemic, and 92% say they will continue this new behaviour in the long-term.  As part of its Industry Perspectives series, Facebook has released a new report involving industry expert insights from both in and outside the company on their predictions on the future of customer experience. Along with findings from Facebook IQ research, three defining themes have been uncovered that will shape customer experience in the near future.

As per Facebook, these are the three main segments outlined in the report:

The Customer Curated Storefront

“In the same way that people want offline shopping to take its cue from digital developments, they also want eCommerce to lean into the best of in-store shopping.”

‘Frictionless, flexibility and friendliness’ are pillar terms for the new frontier of customer experience. More and more customers look to stores that combine the best of humanized offline experiences with the convenience of online shopping. Ultimately, users want to feel in control of their choices, with readily available and switchable omnichannel options that reassure them and reaffirm their purchasing decisions.

The New Value Equation

“Between the introduction of new privacy legislation and global changes in advertising policies, consumers are more in control of their data than ever before. They’re also looking to brands to create optimal customer experiences, whatever their data sharing choices.”

It looks like turning discovery into demand for customers can be resulted by just how much personalisation, ownership and choice a brand can offer. Though with that being said, changing data privacy laws point towards a future where companies need creative strategies that integrate both a highly personalised shopping experience and the retention of customer privacy. So make no mistake, things like tailored recommendations are valued by customers, as long as brands remain vigilantly transparent with their intentions on how and what customer data is being used. 

facebook report 2021 how many consumers want more transparency on privacy

Creator Culture

“Mass digitization during the pandemic and consumers’ yearning for new types of content after global and personal upheaval accelerated this reciprocal relationship. Amid new, augmented social shopping experiences, our experts predict what type of creator culture will resonate most with tomorrow’s shopper.

House-bound consumers have definitely looked to the creativity of content creators as a respite during pandemic lockdowns. It’s evident that creators have become an invaluable part of the eCommerce ecosystem, from thought leadership to becoming a part of someone’s carefully curated list of daily watch/follow list. Whilst more racially and culturally diverse representation stays an ongoing topic across the board in mass media, this need is met online as diverse creators amass bigger and bigger community followings on social media. This shows that customers are shifting towards a more values and identity-centric approach in the way they are making their purchasing decisions – also revealed the growing demand for establishing closer connections with creators they resonate with. Clearly, brands that thoughtfully consider these aspects in partnership collaborations with creators would be the ones that come up on top.

facebook report 2021 online shoppers who buy from social media
facebook report on the percentage of people who follow content creators

Conclusion

The future of shopping lies in the hands of companies prepared to be in the business of experience as a whole. Rather than reducing customer relationships to a few touch points and product features, a brand’s long term success will be determined by its commitment to innovation in the way they grow and change; all while prioritizing their customer’s convenience, resonating values, needs and personal preferences.

Feel like your eCommerce business is ready for a spike? Boost that growth with us today and see how we can help. Book a free strategy session here. Find out more about the WDM secret sauce to long-term eCommerce success.

How Your Returns Policy Affects Your Online Business Success

Returns and refunds are all part and parcel of running an e-Commerce business. However, in your customer’s eyes, the way a business handles this process reflects how it deals with customer service in general. Perception is one thing, but an unclear or restrictive e-commerce returns policy is costly for both retailers and customers. It ends up consuming a lot of time, money and energy, not to mention a seemingly endless amount of back and forth when it comes to customer communications. If you do get this process right though, you’ll start to see how this can be a chance to generate more long-term revenue, to demonstrate strong standards of service, and increase customer retention. Meaning that you’ll have the ability to change what once was a dreaded part of running an online business into a tool that gets you positive long-term effects. 

Why Turning Your Returns Policy Into a Win-Win Matters

68% of shoppers check a website’s return and exchange policy before making a purchase (according to UPS). That’s why it’s common for many brands to advertise “free,” “easy,” and “no-hassle” returns and exchanges to increase conversion rates and online purchases.

With the amount of competition happening in the e-Commerce space, the power of standing out lies in the extent of flexibility, responsiveness and increased convenience online businesses can offer. Customers could be returning products for a myriad of reasons – they could have been faulty, they received the wrong item, or maybe it didn’t fit properly. Customers, however, want to be assured from the get-go that making an shopping online will simply be an extension of the in-store experience they are accustomed to. 

Whilst the mere thought of a customer returning your product or asking for a refund can be a painful experience (mainly from a monetary and resources standpoint), it’s not an aspect to be brushed aside. 

A Great Returns Policy Is Important Because

  1. A poor returns experience could make its way onto Google reviews and social media comments, hurting your brand’s reputation. According to Nielson’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 66% of people surveyed trust consumer opinions posted online so negative sentiment makes a huge impact. 
  2. There are so many online options readily available, and a bad returns experience easily gives customers a reason to look elsewhere.
  3. It benefits both you and your customer as a powerful tool that i) demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and ii) makes their shopping experience one they look forward to repeatedly.
  4. A whopping 96% of customers would shop with a retailer again based on a good returns experience.
  5. 33% of shoppers would be deterred from buying if they cannot locate the returns policy online.
  6. It’s getting more expensive to acquire new customers and a solid returns policy is the most common driver of strong repeat purchase rates.

Conclusion

Take the time to resolve this so it becomes part-and-parcel of building rapport with your customers and sustains positive reputation management. Whether it’s opting for swift and easy RMA systems that simplify self-returns, or deciding on a cross-sell strategy that smoothens customer returns into exchanges; these need to be considered when you draft your policy. A company that decides on a painless, well thought-out returns strategy is one that not only retains their customers, but encourages a great experience that they’ll share with their friends, too.

Need help with consistent growth for your ecommerce business? Get a free strategy session with us today – click here.

Facebook Ads VS Apple: How the iOS 14 Update Affects Your Online Business

Sure – change is the only constant in life, we’re told. However, the new iOS 14 changes have marketers and advertisers all on edge. Facebook themselves claim these changes will “harm the growth of business and the free internet.” But what does it mean for your online business exactly?

What Is Apple Doing?

Apple will now prompt users to allow tracking or not allow tracking for Facebook applications. Should users opt-out, advertisers won’t be able to track the events and conversions of those users, limiting the data advertisers have to optimize appropriately on Facebook. This will diminish your ability to track conversions, retarget to your audience, run effective dynamic ads, and more.

Whilst comprehensive industry-wide reports are still limited, initial reports indicate up to a whopping 90% in user opt-out rates (especially since the default is for tracking to be disabled when iOS 14.5 is installed). This is a huge cause for concern for advertisers on this platform. As their reachable iOS audiences may decrease dramatically, App publishers depending upon an advertising-supported model and advertisers who target users with personalised ads will face significant revenue drops.

In light of this, Facebook has developed a “Speak up for Small Business” campaign that encourages user generated content from business owners to voice their concerns.

This campaign states that “…these changes will limit your ability to:

  • Effectively deliver ads to people based on their engagement with your business
  • Measure and report on conversions from certain customers
  • Ensure your ads are delivered to the most relevant audiences at the right frequency
  • Accurately attribute app installs to people using iOS 14 and later
  • Predict and optimize cost per action over time and efficiently allocate budgets”

In another attempt to overcome this, Facebook will also show a pop-up mentioning the consequences of the changes this will bring depending on the user’s choice. This will provide more details on how Facebook uses data for personalized ads and the ways it limits the use of activity other apps and websites send them if people don’t turn on this device setting. 

facebook-smal;

“So What Can I Do For My Business Now?”

While this may call for a shift in strategy regarding your marketing channels, Facebook ads are here to stay (albeit in a changed state). As data privacy continues to be a big concern for customers, businesses everywhere would have to accept that limited access to customer information will be the new norm. But update or no update, it’s critical that businesses continue to test and learn and innovate ways to adapt to a digital landscape which is in constant morph mode to begin with. Meanwhile, be sure to prioritize data governance, adopting incentivised value-exchange strategies to attain consumer data and seek out alternatives to cookie-tracking.

Other Tips On Surviving Apple’s iOS 14 Changes

  • Ensure that the data collected and stored has proper user consent.
  • Make sure that the data stored can be appropriately leveraged for media execution purposes. 
  • Implement Conversions API to ensure that the events are passed back to Facebook directly from the server—not just from the pixel. 
  • If you use Shopify, set up the Facebook Sales Channel App. Simply connect your Facebook account and watch all your products sync automatically – this will make it easy to promote on Facebook & Instagram.

Need help with consistent growth for your business? Create the right kind of snowball effect with us. For more details on how we can help, click here.

Online Store Features Customers Love in 2021

72% of Aussie shoppers say they wouldn’t give an online retailer a second chance if they had a bad experience. Online shoppers were savvy before, but how much has the pandemic changed our online shopping expectations? For starters, there are more than a just a few online shopping trends we’re holding onto. In this article, we highlight some of the top online store features customers can’t do without. So if your online business is looking to make the most of the e-commerce surge; consider implementing these features if you haven’t already.

Just last year in Australia alone, 1.3 million households were first-time shoppers – 93% of them making their very first purchases between March and December 2020. With these increasing numbers, e-commerce businesses must not only anticipate changing customer interests, but also consider just how diverse shopper demographics can be. In case you’re worried about getting a case of shiny object syndrome, here’s what’s worked well so far.

In a survey according to Savings.com, the most valued feature for 49% of American customers (compared to a year ago) is having convenient payment options. Other features include:

•   Fast shipping options 46%
•    Simple returns process 44%
•    Easy-to-navigate website 43%
•    Pricing information clearly shown 37%
•    Rarely out of stock 35%
•    Quick checkout 35%
•    Fast websites 31%

There are also differences between men and women when it came to the following options.

Preferences from Female Shoppers vs. Male Shoppers

•   Fast shipping women 51%, men 41%
•   Simple return process women 48%, men 40%
•   Easy-to-navigate website women 50%, men 36%
•   Pricing information clearly shown women 42%, men 32%
•   Rarely out of stock women 42%, men 28%

72% of women shop online compared to 68% of the men.

So what does this mean for the role of innovation in user experience? A need for timely, engaging and personalised touch points. Whilst a digital-first approach gives way to more innovative online shopping experiences, we can see that (amongst Australian consumers in particular) having an online store that brings them as close as possible to the offline experience is great step in the right direction. 63% of Australians say they’re looking forward to being able to shop in-store for pleasure, which is considerably more than the 55% global average.

Online Shopping Trends & Store Features Australian Shoppers Love

  • Faster page loads: 48% of Aussies with a household income of less than $50,000 would switch for a faster experience, 63% of those with incomes over $150,000 would change.
  • Simple and free returns: 86% of cross-border shoppers say easy returns are important to their purchasing decisions. BigCommerce found that 62% of ANZ shoppers have switched online stores for free returns.
  • Easy, accurate checkout and order review: 44% of Aussie shoppers have abandoned purchases because checkout took too long or was too complicated. 40% said they’d left before buying to avoid creating an account first.
  • Free Delivery : 71% of Australian shoppers say that free delivery is a priority when ordering online, while only 19% prioritise fast deliveries.

What Aussie shoppers would like to see more of in online stores (Emarsys)

• Augmented reality features to try on products take the lead – 40 %

• In-app quizzes to ensure products are personalised to individual preference – 28 per cent%

• Having the ability to track down products worn by influencers/celebrities online and automated stylists that recommend products based on previous purchases – 26 %

Sources:

Savings.com Survey: https://www.savings.com/insights/consumer-shopping-preferences

https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/news/aussie-shopping-preferences-survive-pandemic-but-online-migration-gathers-pace/44333

https://www.thebusinessconversation.com.au/news/2021/03/29/bigcommerce-reveals-online-shoppers-priorities-2021/1616978016

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Interview: Thinking of Migrating from Magento to Shopify? What You Need to Know

So your growing e-Commerce store has been a little clunky lately and a move might be in order. While replatforming is imminent and you’ve done your research, you’re still a bit unsure of a few things and that’s stopping you from taking the plunge. 

We sat down with our resident Shopify Certified Expert, Yuvraj Rao, as he clarified some of the many migration perks and pitfalls that affect your e-commerce growth. He’s worked with some of the biggest e-commerce retail brands in Australia, and as a senior programmer, has deep technical knowledge when working with complex databases and applications typical of e-commerce sites.

In your view, what are the key differences between Magento and Shopify and why would anybody choose them?

One of the key differences between the two platforms is that Shopify is a cloud based hosted solution, while Magento is a self-hosted solution. Since Shopify is a hosted solution, there is no extra effort or cost is required from you to maintain or update the solution. Your monthly Shopify fee should take care of it.  Magento is free to install but you are required to pay for hosting and frequent Magento updates. In most cases applying updates is very complicated and requires a professional team.

Self-hosting is quite an undertaking, I would imagine. And particularly if your business grows! Because you’ve got to scale up your hosting as your business grows, right?

Absolutely! Self-hosted solutions can be tricky when it comes to backing your day-to-day operations. For any low to medium traffic stores, regular hosting might be OK. However, in promotional events like Black Friday where you are expecting heavy traffic, it is crucial to have a proper server infrastructure backing your site. With Shopify, since it is a hosted solution, it has  bandwidth to scale as per traffic giving you a surety that the website will be up and serving during crazy times. Take 2012 Click Frenzy for example – it was the first time a one day promotional event of this scale was introduced in Australia, and many businesses did not anticipate it to be the huge success that it was. With all the PR and heavy marketing leading up to the event, on the day Clickfrenzy experienced a huge jump in traffic. Many big brand websites couldn’t handle this surge in  traffic and were brought down throughout the promotional period. In the meanwhile websites which had proper server infrastructure came out on top and took the lion’s share of the promotional traffic and sales

What other things are there that business-owners should know about or take account of when they consider these two options?

Between the two, Magento is a more senior system. It’s powerful, and gives you creative freedom through code. For example, you can have a custom checkout experience for your customer, whereas on Shopify you may not be able to do the same. However, Shopify can easily adapt to 90% of businesses with a retail component and provide a smooth and sophisticated system with proper business process flow. Another thing to consider is data analytics, which lets you know how your users are behaving and performing different actions across your site. The level of insight you get from Shopify is more in-depth compared to Magento -it can even detect the exact point at which a customer chooses to abandon their shopping cart – without having to plug in different components, which you would need to do with Magento. 

Sounds like Magento’s got a lot of base capability, but anything beyond that would then be coming from third party plug-ins. Whereas with Shopify, a lot more is coming squarely with the product?

Correct! For instance, if you are running a trophy business and each trophy needs to be customised before it can be purchased, Magento provides the capability to customise the ecommerce store as per your business needs. In this case, you can achieve a better user experience on Magento than Shopify. But if your business doesn’t require that level of custom user experience then Shopify would be able to tick most of the boxes. 

Even retail giant JB Hi-Fi recently migrated to Shopify (7th biggest retailer in Australia) and experienced a 18% uplift in online sales since replatforming – Shopify Plus migration was mentioned in their 2020 shareholder notes as a key area of focus for the year. I would say one of the reasons big retailers are choosing Shopify Plus is for its ability to identify and profile a customer. From my experience Shopify trumps Magento in that sense. It gives you that data from the get-go and it’s way more customer-centric, with so many different components and plugins available to scale your e-Commerce growth. Particularly when it comes to personalizing e-mail newsletter campaigns around customer segments on your website! Magento can achieve this too, but it’s more labour-intensive and requires heavy programming knowledge and a team of skilled experts.

So I’d imagine there are people who might think Magento is better and vice versa for Shopify, right? What would be the things that a business owner, or a business operator, need to be mindful of when they’re thinking about migrating?

Definitely. The Shopify vs Magento comparison will always be there when it comes to the evaluation of switching platforms. 

Behind every successful ecommerce store migration there is a proper business requirement scoping involved. If you are thinking of migrating from one platform to another then you must think about first going through a business scoping process with your team. This allows you to evaluate platforms from the perspective of what is the best fit for your business needs and allows you to plan the migration comprehensively. If you are migrating from Magento to Shopify, then it is logical to have all your Customers, Orders, Coupons and other historical data migrated too. 

I see. So eCommerce businesses should do a very proper audit of what their capabilities are first then figure out how it’s going to move or if it’s even capable of migrating?

Exactly! Proper planning with a platform migration expert experienced in both platforms will give you the clarity you need. So you can make a solid decision that you won’t regret in a few months.

What are some of the mistakes that people who do a migration fall into?

One of the best examples I can give is the data migration. There are instances where you migrated platforms but didn’t migrate any of your orders. Or say, on Magento, you were given a $50 voucher code that was never migrated to Shopify. So when a customer gets to the website only to find that the voucher code has stopped working –  that’s a really negative experience. Ensuring that customer orders, loyalty points – basically someone’s entire transaction history with your business – needs to be migrated to the new platform so you can preserve the same customer experience.

So is that something the typical e-Commerce business owner can tackle in-house?

To save yourself significant time and any room for error, I would recommend a professional’s take for the analytical process like migration – a component that’s often overlooked. That’s when someone with strong business acumen, combined with a deep understanding of both platforms and technical expertise can tell what data needs to be migrated. A tactical plan with a strong grasp of the kind of data that should be stored and migrated comes with experience. 

So an online business owner who is looking to migrate may potentially miss a few things because they lack the experience to do so?

Yeah, they could end up stuck in a hole with bits and pieces that didn’t migrate and being able to move backwards or forwards in the process. To start with, e-Commerce platform migration requires programmatical knowledge. So a lot would be missing without it. Off-the-shelf tools aren’t enough and a series of testing and discretion is required. In real life, it’s unimaginable to move your entire business without first checking if the new place is a good fit, making sure that there’s functioning equipment and ticking off a checklist to make sure that all utilities are up and running – moving an online business requires the same care, with a lot more moving parts and accuracy at stake I’d say. 

So, in your experience, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve seen eCommerce business owners make?

One of the biggest mistakes is when customer accounts go missing or weren’t migrated over. Another instance is failing to record customers who had active accounts or placed an order just before the migration occurred. If those transactions get lost, you could end up not fulfilling the active order and realise it only when a customer complains.  I have also seen many store owners do not opt for the migration process because it adds more time and money to the project. The way I see it,  not migrating data over to a new platform is very costly and time consuming exercise. If your past customers have to call you to inquire about their lost data , it is a cost to the business as the customer service team will have to spend time investigating and responding accordingly. 

So, what does it take to make the entire shift seamlessly?

So every migration has a dry run, sort of like a dress rehearsal. We migrate once, see how it’s mapping the data, make sure all the necessary data is migrated, then we get the confirmation. A migration plan follows where we migrate all the completed cancel data which is less of a priority but still important. Just before we go live, we migrate the transactional data, incremental data from that point onwards to make things smoother and faster

Ok, so how would this ultimately benefit an e-Commerce business looking to migrate?

A great part of this is that we have extensive hands-on expertise when dealing with a large amount of data. We know the level of detail and understanding required for everything to be mapped comprehensively. This level of experience is quite rare in most digital marketing agencies. Having a deep understanding of both Magento and Shopify is one of our key strengths because we’ve had great opportunities to build stores on both platforms from scratch. Plus we’re stickler for details. We developed our planning process unique to our experience and provides a really thorough analysis that mitigates risk. This helps clients understand the outcome so there wouldn’t be any surprises.

Sounds like the level of insight and details have resulted in some very happy clients!

Haha, yeah! We’re super fortunate, and really thankful to be able to help our clients in a thorough way. Seeing that we’ve been a part of their growth makes me really proud.

Get your Shopify Migration consultation today

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Woocommerce vs Shopify Ongoing Costs Comparison [2020 Update]

Currently evaluating whether you should make the move from Shopify to Woocommerce? To help clear things up from a financial standpoint, we put together a comparison table of ongoing costs between the two platforms.

There are few things to consider when making a decision to migrate platforms, one of them being the difference in ongoing costs. You might be thinking, WordPress is free, right? While Shopify charges a monthly fee and takes a % of store earnings.

Not quite.

To clear up these misconceptions, our team has put together a detailed side-by-side cost breakdown between Woocommerce & Shopify to keep you best informed on the financial aspects of your decision.

Woocommerce vs Shopify Ongoing Costs Comparison Table

Notes:

  1. $ amounts are AUD unless indicated otherwise
  2. WordPress Fees are industry average based on comparative specifications

WordPress + Woocommerce Shopify $29USD/month plan recommended Shopify $79USD/month plan
Monthly Fees $0 $29USD $79USD
Web Hosting with CDN (Cloud Delivery Network) $50-90 per month
SSL $50-200 per annum
Web Maintenance (Platform & Plugin Updates) $99-$300 per month
KnownPaid Plugins E.g. Advanced versions of Yoast SEO or WooCommerce Many free and out of the box features to use. For Paid Shopify plugin, majority charge a monthly fee, and are fully maintained
Payment Gateway Fees PayPal
Australian2.6% + $0.30
International/Amex3.6% + fixed fee

Stripe
Australian1.75% + $0.30
International/Amex2.9% + fixed fee

AfterPay ~5% seller fee

ZipPay ~2-4% + $0.15
Shopify Payments (includes Apple Pay Google Pay)
Australian1.75% + 30¢
International/Amex2.9% + 30¢

PayPal, AfterPay, ZipPay No additional fees
Other payment gateways Additional 2% Fees
Shopify Payments (includes Apple Pay Google Pay)
Australian1.6% + 30¢
International/Amex2.8% + 30¢

PayPal, AfterPay, ZipPay No additional fees
Other payment gateways Additional 1% Fees

Detailed Shopify Fee Pricing – https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ztk3eFtZrLeHGB5C_s1VDS5CIgFKaFFrKybyfVhSYY/edit?usp=sharing

PayPal Fees – https://www.paypal.com/au/webapps/mpp/paypal-seller-fees

Stripe Fees – https://stripe.com/au/pricing

In summary, with what you get within Shopify’s monthly fees, the equivalent WordPress + Woocommerce option ends up becoming a lot costlier. 

The difference with WooCommerce is that a lot of these costs are hidden. For example, the % payment fees would have been charged out at similar rates through the payment gateways installed on WooCommerce. Without seeing the full cost picture, a lot of business owners make the wrong decision thinking it was cheaper to go with the WooCommerce option, giving up all the other benefits you get out of Shopify on this basis. We hope this pricing research keeps you better informed when evaluating your options.

Get your Shopify consultation today

Book a free Strategy Session with a certified Shopify Partner.

Enquire Now