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As ecommerce merchants we recognise the scenario – and as customers we’ve all been there ourselves. There you are, ready to make that exciting purchase, but the supposedly empowering tool that we call online shopping is behaving like a petulant child. You can’t find what you want, you don’t understand how the site works, displays are unclear, pricing changes when you checkout…it’s almost they’re deliberately trying to put you off! Take a look at this brilliant video from Google that shows what would happen if you transferred such experiences to the physical world.

Tongue in cheek this might be – but Google illustrate an important point. Econsultancy reports that over £1 billion of online business was lost in 2011 due to abandoned transactions. That’s serious stuff.

In a previous blog I showed the importance of creating a visual merchandising experience akin to the high street for retaining and converting visitors. With conversion rates still woefully low across the sector (The State of Retailing Online reported conversion growth in 2011 but the starting point of 2-3% is hardly a commercial utopia), it’s vital to adopt sophisticated tactics across your site to ensure that users enjoy their experience with you. Here are some key ways in which you can do exactly that, using real case examples from Locayta’s key clients.

Get your ecommerce search running like a dream

It’s hardly an earth shattering statement to point out that the more accurate your search results are, the more likely customers will be to buy. Get this one wrong and you’ve lost out straight away. But if you’re using an outdated black box engine that promises personalisation, the chances are it’s delivering exactly the opposite.

That’s because assumptions are made based on group targeting rather than on genuinely individual behaviour.

What’s more, consumers are getting wise – take a look at this frustrated blogger’s indictment of online retailing techniques. Genuine personalisation is a long way off, he suggests. In fact the good news is that it’s here right now.

Locayta have developed intelligent behavioural and ranking algorithms that track individual user behaviour and can make intelligent decisions as to that user’s preferences at that minute. They cooperate with merchandising rules – defined by the retailer – to optimise product placement in response to search queries and your own retailing rules.

The proof is in the pudding, of course. That proof comes directly from our clients including boohoo.com, Superdry and Tesco Clothing – all of whom have reported increased conversion rates since using Locayta Freestyle Merchandising®.

Tempt customers with clever recommendations the Tesco Clothing way

Tesco have certainly enjoyed their share of the press this week due to their planned shake up. In fact, Tesco Clothing is dominating the European market share with sales up by 12% in the past year alone. Tesco clearly recognises the value of ecommerce with plans to invest a further £150 million in their online performance.

One of the tools in their armoury is Locayta Product Recommendations. Again, they respond directly to the user’s real time behaviour – but can also be weighted to the retailer’s strategic priorities behind the scenes thanks to Locayta Balance Factor®.

Take it from the horse’s mouth. Our recently published IRX2012 article includes an interview with Tesco Change Manager Mark Wakeley, who confirms that “the ability to control product and accessory recommendations makes sure that customers have fast, convenient access to the outfit they seek, ultimately increasing conversion rates and order values.”

It’s also worth taking a tip from another of Tesco’s key strategies announced for the future: their “clicks and bricks” plan to expand the 770 store collections for products bought online. For the first time this will apply to all products and not just groceries. It’s a canny response to widespread evidence that 50 to 70% of shopper abandon their carts, and a key factor in this is the failure to show exorbitant delivery costs until the point of purchase.

Get your site updates streamlined for optimum profit

One of the issues we regularly encounter with new clients is the level of manual labour involved in keeping their sites up to date. With Locayta, that’s no longer a worry. Once the technology is plugged in (without any need to make changes to your own platform) you can control every aspect of your search, merchandising and product recommendation functionality via a single, simple to use dashboard.

 

 

Naturally you can opt in manually when you need to – but for many of our clients including Prezzybox this has made a massive impact – saving them “hundreds if not thousands of man hours” to quote Founder Zak Edwards.

Tempted? Contact us at Locayta today. It might just transform your ecommerce success!

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Read more…

UK shoppers abandoned over £1bn of online transactions in 2011 David Moth, March 2012

The State of Retailing Online (Forrester Research and Shop.Org, September 2011)

Ecommerce conversion rates: making visual merchandising matter Locayta, April 2012

Personalisation doesn’t work…yet Brian Manning July 2011

Tesco working to improve its clothing offer

http://www.just-style.com/analysis/tesco-working-to-improve-its-clothing-offer_id114098.aspx Just Style, April 2012

Tesco to invest £150m in online business ComputerworldUK, April 2012

Tesco the six point turnaround plan Telegraph April 2012