Tags Posts tagged with "Mobile Devices"

Mobile Devices

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Editor’s Note: Meet Armando Roggio at Ignite 2015, our conference on Sept. 16 and 17 in Dallas, where he’ll co-present three sessions: “How to Build an Ecommerce Brand (and Reduce Reliance on Paid Traffic),” “Content Marketing Essentials: Attracting and Engaging Shoppers, for Higher Conversions,” and “Ecommerce Opportunities for Brick-and-mortar Merchants.”

Filtered navigation, which narrows search results or listings on a product category page, may help online shoppers quickly find or discover products, improving the shopping experience for consumers and boosting sales for online merchants.

The success of the filtered navigation system on an ecommerce site should be measured by the results it produces, its ease of use, and how it impacts sales. Here are a seven ways that you can ensure your filtered navigation is the best it can be.

1. Offer Filters for Anything that Makes a Product Different

Navigation filters should guide an online shopper to the specific product he wants. If products come in sizes, colors, or diverse styles, include those selectors in filtered navigation.

As an example, Threadless, a leading online t-shirt purveyor, includes navigation filters for color, size, and style on its product category pages.

Threadless includes products variations as filters on category page navigation.

Choosing to include filters for product attributes also means that those filters should differ by product. You would not necessarily expect to find all of the same filters on a category page for t-shirts as you would for auto parts.

2. Offer Theme-based Filters

In addition of product-specific filters, consider including theme-based or category-wide filters that may also help a shopper find the item she wants.

Online t-shirt seller Design by Humans includes filters for trending, new, and best selling t-shirts at the top of its product category pages, featuring, if you will, these options.

New or trending filters are examples of theme-based sorting. "New" is not necessarily a product attribute, rather it describes a category of products recently added to the site. <em>Source: Design By Humans.</em>

Design by Humans also includes themed-filters in the left-side navigation on its product category pages, allowing shoppers to select collections — like Star Wars, Assassins Creed Unity, and HP Lovecraft — or categories.

Theme-based filters also include collections, like Star Wars, as shown here on Design by Humans.

3. Indicate How Many Products Each Filter Selection Represents

Although it is a far less common feature than it should be, showing shoppers how many products a particular filter represents can be helpful. For example, if a customer knows that selecting a filter will reduce the total product count to two, she just might not click.

Jinx, which sells t-shirts, among other products, shows site visitors exactly how choosing a particular filter will impact the number of items.

Showing shoppers how many items a particular filter represents may help them decide if they want to apply that filter. as shown in this example from Jinx.

It is also important that filter counts update each time that a new filter is applied. If the navigation showed 378 small t-shirts and 362 medium t-shirts before the shopper selected the red color filter, those options (small and medium) should adjust to the new total after the red filter is chosen.

It is also important to remove filter options that would lead to a blank result. For example, if there are no small, red t-shirts available on a particular retail site, when a shopper selects the color red, the option to choose a small size should be hidden or disabled.

4. Allow for Multiple Selections of the Same Type

While filtered navigation is designed to help shoppers zero in on a particular set of products, that navigation should still give customers the latitude to select more than one filter of the same type.

This is what BustedTees does, allowing a shopper to pick multiple colors, like black or white, or even multiple sizes, like medium or small.

Some shoppers will want to choose multiple filters of the same type, like color, price range, or similar — as shown here at BustedTees.com

Why would a shopper want to look for both medium and small shirts at the same time? Perhaps a mother would, if she wants matching shirts for her two sons.

5. Show Applied Features Inline and as a Control Group

The Baymard Institute, a research firm, produced a 502-page report around ecommerce product lists and filters, recommends that applied filters — those the user has selected — be displayed both inline, meaning where they were before, and in a control group listing, at the top of the filtered navigation.

Positioning applied filters this way makes it easy for shoppers to identify what they have already selected and remove filters as quickly as they applied them.

The Jinx website does a good job of collecting applied filters.

Jinx shows an easy to understand list of applied filters at the top of the filter navigation.

Similarly, Threadless does a good job of featuring applied filters inline.

Threadless changes the color of applied filters and adds a checkbox, making inline identification easy.

6. Make Filters Easy to Use on Mobile Devices

As with any modern website design or feature, filtered navigation should work well on mobile devices. Make certain that filters are easy to understand and easy to click.

When viewed on a mobile device, the Jinx website makes good use of its applied filters control group and shows a touch-friendly button for adding more filters.

Filters must be functional on mobile devices. <em>Source: Jinx.</em>

7. Don’t Duplicate Content

Every feature and design consideration and all content on an ecommerce site should first be pleasing and engaging to humans. Nonetheless, there is no reason that filtered navigation should create duplicate content that might interfere with how search engines index your site.

Essentially, you want a clear, unique path to any given result set. Google Webmaster tools has a good explanation of the potential problem, just know that filtered navigation, which is good for human site visitors, can also work for search engine bots, too.

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With the growing number of consumers using mobile devices, such as cell phones and PDAs, to access the Internet, it’s important to make sure your website can be accessed by potential customers using these devices. To get started, ask yourself a few questions about your website: Have you ever seen your website on a mobile device? Are you confident your customers can find the information they are looking for and make a purchase from your website on their handheld device? If your answer to all of these questions was not a resounding “Yes!,” then you need to read on.

Check with W3C

The first thing to do as a developer is to check the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specifications for CSS and mobile devices, which can be found at: W3.org/TR/css-mobile/. If you are still awake after the first paragraph, you can move into some more useful analysis. Is your site using tables? Does your site use a lot of images or multi-media files? Does your site take a long time to download on a web browser. While the Internet works essentially the same on mobile devices as it does on computers, you want to be sure the information on your website is easy to read and navigate.

A good resource to convert your current site into a mobile device friendly format is Skweezer.com. Simply enter your website’s URL, and it will display your website in a mobile-friendly version by removing large images, CSS styles and page elements that will not display properly. I like to look at this as a template, or starting point, for making a mobile CSS profile for the site. To provide an alternative CSS stylesheet for users with mobile devices, insert the following code in the head of an HTML document:

<link href=”/css/global.css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” media=”handheld” />

A couple of things to think about when assigning styles for mobile devices is to keep it very simple. Mobile devices are still a bit slower, so you want to avoid using lots of images and graphics. In addition, there are varying screen sizes and resolutions with handheld devices, so it’s a good idea to scale page elements by screen size, rather than setting fixed pixel widths for page elements.

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In my articles I try to provide positive, practical advice on how ecommerce businesses can improve. With this article, however, I’ll explore common mistakes that ecommerce merchants make that harm their businesses. I learned some of these the hard way in my own company. Others are ones that merchants tell me when their revenues or profits are declining and they need help.

1. Growing Dependent on a Few Sources of Traffic

As many merchants learned in 2012 and again this year, Google changes its algorithms frequently. If you depend on organic referrals from Google, your revenue can tank in a single day. Beyond Google, being too dependent on any traffic source is a mistake. It’s best to balance traffic from organic search, pay-per-click, social media, affiliates, partner sites, blogs, other advertising, email promotions, and direct traffic.

Continually seek new referral sources. Many merchants feel PPC ads are prohibitively expensive. But aggressive campaigns that offset declining revenues are a huge advantage even if those campaigns produce lower margins.

2. Getting Comfortable with Current Products

Consumer tastes change consistently. Competitors introduce alternative products. Price competition gets fierce. Suppliers discontinue products or run out of stock. Shoppers simply like to see new things.

Change it up. You can keep best sellers, but keep trying out new products. Experiment with new product categories. Expand your selections. Promote them differently. Whatever you do, keep a fresh pipeline of products ready to add to your store. Adding new products and selling them to existing customers is one of the easiest ways to increase your revenue stream.

3. Letting your Online Store Get Stale

It’s a challenge for many smaller ecommerce merchants to continually refresh content, feature new products, create promotions, re-arrange end caps, and so forth. It’s important to keep your online store fresh — at least every season. Ideally, you are presenting new products on your home and category pages weekly. That’s a stretch for many merchants. But strive to change your home page and a few categories and promotions regularly.

Make sure that old promotions are removed. If a product is out of stock indefinitely, pull it from the store. Check your links regularly and remove broken ones. Make sure your site-search results are returning live products.

4. Failure to Monitor Performance

This is a huge point of failure. It is crucial that you monitor your key performance indicators daily. I addressed KPIs earlier in the year, at “21 Key Performance Indicators for Ecommerce Businesses.”

At a minimum, monitor daily your store traffic, new visitors, referral sources, cart abandonment, checkout abandonment, revenue, new customers, average order size, and other key metrics. Check your pay-per-click ad performance at least weekly. Review your ads in-depth to make sure you are not wasting money.

If you outsource activities like PPC advertising, make sure you monitor your supplier’s performance. Agencies do not have the same incentive to deliver results that you do. They sometimes spend money on underperforming ads, campaigns, and keywords.

5. Assuming you Know What your Customers Want

It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming you know your customers so well that you really don’t need their input. This is especially true with product selection and the design of your online store. It is especially dangerous to make design changes merely because you or your designer prefers it.

Ask your customers what they think. For the design of your website, conduct A/B tests if you have enough traffic. Get customer feedback with surveys, by offering online chat, informally polling customers, or talking with customers who call in about what they would like to see you do better. You can ask questions about all aspects of your business: products, customer service, your store, or your pricing. Ask and you may be surprised at what you learn.

6. Relying on Promotions to Drive Revenue

As competition heats up or revenues start to decline, merchants often resort to promotions to maintain revenues. It’s a good short-term tactic. But, it’s not a long-term strategy.

You need a user experience that is not reliant on discounts or free shipping. You do this by selling compelling products, and offering rich content, superior customer services, and a solid perceived value. Building a solid brand with a store that is easy to navigate and fun to shop is also important.

7. Ignoring Mobile Devices

There are likely smaller merchants that believe mobile shopping is not going to affect them. They are dead wrong. Consumers love to shop on tablets and read email and research on smartphones. They love mobile apps for their simplicity and ease of use. The transition to mobile has begun. If you don’t offer a mobile-friendly experience, your revenues will decline.

For some merchants, this may mean finding a vendor to help build or host a mobile store. For others, it may be a redesign of your existing store to a responsive design. (For a primer, read “Getting Started with Responsive Web Design.”) Changing platforms may be the best option for stores with older, smaller shopping carts. If you haven’t investigated your alternatives, do it now.

8. Ignoring your Competition

Ecommerce businesses are increasingly using automated software to monitor prices against competitors. That’s overkill for many merchants. But it’s important to understand your competitors, their product and pricing strategies, and to monitor them regularly.

Competitors are a good source for new product ideas, products that are not selling — see the clearance pages — and to gauge appropriate pricing levels. Failing to watch competitors may leave you selling a product at a hefty premium while they are aggressively marketing it at a lower price.

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Retail holiday sales for 2012 from the first of November through Cyber Monday rose 16 percent year over year to more than $16.3 billion. Email marketing, mobile shopping, and on-site promotions have all played an important role in online sales.

The 16 percent boost in early holiday retail spending was in part thanks to particularly strong sales on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, which were up 32 percent, 28 percent, and 17 percent respectively from the 2011 holiday shopping season, according to trend analysis firm comScore.

“Despite some news reports suggesting that Cyber Monday might be declining in importance, the day has once again set an online spending record at nearly $1.5 billion,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “However, it is also clear that the holiday promotional period has begun even earlier this year, with strong online sales occurring on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Now, we shall see the extent to which continuing and attractive retailer promotions are able to boost sales for the remainder of the week.”

Email Marketing Drives Cyber Monday Sales

Some 44 percent of American shoppers surveyed for Bizrate Insights, an analysis firm, learned about Cyber Monday deals that lead to purchases from retailers’ email marketing, making that channel, perhaps, the single most effective way of engaging shoppers in the 2012 holiday season.

Email was also an important marketing tool for Black Friday, with 39 percent of those surveyed in the Bizrate study learning about special offers from November 22 to November 25 from retailers’ emails.

An additional 15 percent of shoppers learned about Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials from friends who forwarded emails or from others emailing specials or lists of specials.

Shoppers Check Prices, Buy with Mobile Devices

About 23 percent of the shoppers questioned in the Bizrate survey said that they used a smartphone or tablet to shop online either on Cyber Monday or Black Friday. Of these, 70 percent actually made a purchase. Mobile purchases helped to contribute to solid ecommerce saves on Black Friday.

“Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see this shopping day become more and more prominent in the ecommerce channel — particularly among those who prefer to avoid crowds at the stores,” said comScore’s Fulgoni. “With Black Friday online sales up 26 percent and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8 percent, we can now confidently call it a multi-channel marketing phenomenon.”

Smartphone and tablet users also checked prices — 56 percent on Black Friday and 48 percent on Cyber Monday — research products — 60 percent on Black Friday and 56 percent on Cyber Monday, according to Bizrate.

Of those browsing on a smartphone or tablet, more than 70 percent used the device at home, while some 13 percent used them in a brick-and-mortar retail store to make sure that they were really getting a bargain.

Retailers’ Websites Important Too

Finally, more than 40 percent of respondents said that they had used the retailers websites to learn about Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, emphasizing just how important it is for merchants to have an online store and a good brand reputation since shoppers had to know about the retailer before they could visit the retailer’s website.

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There were some fantastic email campaigns in 2012. And there were some ineffective ones, too. In this article, I’ll address three of the top email marketing mistakes from 2012.

Sending Emails Too Frequently

As an email marketing professional, I subscribe to hundreds of ecommerce emails. I scrutinize the emails I receive. Thus, my tolerance for high volumes of email from any one retailer is likely higher than the average recipient.

However, while analyzing Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, I noticed one e-tailer, Toys“R”Us, that sent many more emails than the others. I received seven emails in one day from that company. Seven emails, from anyone, is more than one person can possibly process. Moreover, each email featured multiple sales, discounts, and last-minute chances to purchase various brands or toys. Where is a consumer to begin?

With two small children, I am active purchaser of toys. But I unsubscribed from the Toys“R”Us email program. Seven emails in one day was simply too many. On a busy day or weekend, I may not check my personal email for a few days. During that time, the number of emails from Toys“R”Us can grow to more than 20.

In short, increasing your frequency and the mixed messages per email — in the manner of Toys“R”Us — is simply a bad strategy.

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Toys"R"Us sent seven emails in one day, prompting the author to unsubscribe.

Toys”R”Us sent seven emails in one day, prompting the author to unsubscribe.

Sending emails weekly, or even daily, can work. Understanding your customers’ purchasing behaviors, and monitoring metrics like open and click rates, and unsubscribe rates, will help determine your optimum frequency. Identify a rough sales dollar per email sent, based on historical averages. When you start to over email, you will see a sharp reduction in the dollars earned per email sent. That means it is time to reduce the number of emails sent.

Ignoring Mobile Devices

This year, the number of people opening email on their smartphones and tablets has skyrocketed — 30 to 70 percent of your email opens may be coming from these devices. That number is just too large to ignore. We’ve all read articles and attended webinars about the increasing role of mobile in email. We have learned the basic tricks to optimize our email design to render correctly on smartphones and tablets. These are all important tactics. However they are only half of the equation.

The other half is to understand how consumers use mobile devices. The purpose of email marketing, after all, is to drive traffic back to your site to convert. Keep the process as easy as possible. Effective emails convince the recipient to immediately perform the desired action, such as reading news article, or completing a purchase in your shopping cart.

The point is, don’t design your email so that it looks good on a mobile device without also strategizing how you want mobile users to interface with your website. Their behavior is much different than people using a desktop computer. Spend time analyzing the path mobile users take, and use that as a starting point to plan your mobile strategy.

L.L.Bean, for example, has a very effective smartphone version of its email, making it easy to navigate to the mobile site to browse and purchase.

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L.L. Bean's emails render well on smartphones and facilitate clicking to that company's mobile website.

L.L. Bean’s emails render well on smartphones and facilitate clicking to that company’s mobile website.

Underestimating Email’s Overall Impact

Within hours of sending an email, you know how many people opened, clicked, and purchased or converted. What is hard to measure, however, is all the other ways in which an email will actually affect your bottom line.

After years of sending email and analyzing results, I’ve consistently seen a huge percentage of recipients coming back, within three days, to purchase via another channel. I have also seen large percentages of consumers use an email-only offer code while calling to place an order, or consumers calling in not to use a promotion code but mentioning they received an email. In short, measuring the effectiveness of an email through initial clicks captures only a portion of the actual impact. Similar to television or radio, email contributes to the bottom line in a way that will never be completely quantifiable.

Spend time with more advanced analysis. Look at all the sales since a specific campaign, and track which people had opened or clicked on the email. The true impact of a single campaign will likely emerge. Email is an effective branding tool, helping consumers remember a company, even when they don’t open an email.

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Last week, I cited estimates for the number of Internet-capable mobile devices sold in 2009, and how this has already outpaced the number of computers sold, both portable and desktop. Here I’ll show you some useful tools for determining how effectively your site, in its present form, operates on a mobile device.

The best way to observe your online store’s performance on a mobile device would be to use the device itself. But there are also some free online tools you can use to simulate a mobile browser’s effect on your site.

I tried each of these tools using TheFreeTiger.com, an online student publication I helped found at the University of Missouri. We, like many journalists-turned-online-publishers, are not well versed in CSS, so we use the Drupal content management system to develop our site. The results were telling—we have a lot of work to do for mobile optimization.

The Free Tiger home page.

The Free Tiger home page.

mobiReady Page Test

This is a good place to start to see how a specific page stacks up to commonly-accepted standards in mobile optimization. The mobiReady Page Test evaluates whatever URL you enter according to the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices, which helps ensure users get the optimum experience browsing a site on a mobile device.

TheFreeTiger.com’s home page scored a 2 out of 5 on the test, with the general prognosis being that the page will display very poorly, if at all, on a mobile phone. Below were a list of criteria receiving passes, fails and warnings for various design and development aspects that affect mobile browsing. Our biggest problems were oversized graphics tied to specific measurements that exceed the dimensions of a mobile phone screen.

mobiReady top of page.

mobiReady top of page.

The best part about this tool is that it differentiates between development criteria and points to specific examples on the page that break the rules. This is great for finding what images are too large and what parts of the page rely too heavily on external resources or tables.

mobiReady bottom of page.

mobiReady bottom of page.

Opera’s Small Screen View

In addition to its popular mobile browser Opera Mini, the standard browser has a small screen view that can be useful for simulating a mobile screen. If you toggle between large and small-screen view on mobile optimized sites, you can see how the site uses a different set of instructions for rendering on a mobile or large screen. I tried this with Opera’s home page.

Opera home page.

Opera home page.

Opera home page smaller.

Opera home page smaller.

I then tried it again with TheFreeTiger.com. Not terrible, but certainly not an enjoyable browsing experience. We would need to better arrange the content so our more important features are displayed in a higher position than the recruiting page with the Uncle Sam Tiger icon we use to beg for more staffers.

The Free Tiger on Opera.

The Free Tiger on Opera.

iPhone Tester

This online tool, designed by an Australian developer for Atmail the night before the iPhone’s release, is a useful way to get a rudimentary idea of how your page would display on the iPhone. Type in the URL of your site, and you can see an approximation of the iPhone’s rendering. A button on the side of the virtual device allows users to switch to the horizontal view.

The Free Tiger on iPhone.

The Free Tiger on iPhone.

The images on our home page rendered properly, but they are obviously too wide for the iPhone and would require far too much manual navigation. The headers and footers are too big; a user would have to scroll sideways several times before they could see the main title and logo for our site. I was unable even to find headline I could read in its entirety without making a zoom or scrolling adjustment.

Android SDK

Setting up this emulator is a little tricky, but it allows users to create a virtual Android device on their computers, so it’s effective for testing mobile functionality. Go here to download the Android SDK, and then follow this simple tutorial by Ben Hedrington for Mac, or this for PC.

I chose to download the latest version of Android, Android 2.1. The home page of TheFreeTiger.com rendered pretty well except for some unwanted text in the header, but videos and audio on all other pages failed to load properly. When you spend a lot of time working on these, it’s important to know anyone who visits the site on an Android device will not be able to see them.

The Free Tiger on Android.

The Free Tiger on Android.

Solutions

By running their sites through this series of mobile emulators, merchants may have some idea of how their content will look to the mobile user. Fixing some of the issues that cause bad rendering or loading time can often be a matter of creating a simplified version of every page.

Matt Swezey, President of Tulsa, Okla.-based web design firm MDS Media Group, said he has spent the last few months creating a mobile version of his social city guide StreetMavens.com. He said the site “automatically detects mobile browsers and displays a light-weight version of the current page.”

Mobile version of StreetMavens.com.

Mobile version of StreetMavens.com.

“I highly recommend serving different content to mobile devices such as smaller, optimized images, text instead of images where possible and cutting out any heavy JavaScript that will not run well in a mobile browser,” Swezey said in an email.

He did acknowledge that doing this might be difficult for an ecommerce merchant with an expansive catalog. Merchants might have to use different product images for their standard and mobile pages, among other variances.

Ultimately, merchants’ ability to optimize their sites for mobile depends on their shopping carts. Some carts do offer these capabilities for their users. Nick Hendler, President and Chief Developer for Kryptonic, Inc., which manufactures ClickCartPro, said in an email that his cart uses XHTML Strict code, a W3C standard for mobile developers. He also said users had the ability to adjust their templates.

“Currently our users can adjust the CSS and displays in their display templates, or skins as we call them, to provide alternate layout for mobile devices,” Hendler said.

Because the number of mobile devices is growing rapidly, and mobile traffic may at some point eclipse computer traffic, mobile optimization may become a more of priority in a merchant’s choice of shopping cart.

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U.S. online sales are expected to exceed $61 billion in November and December, making the holiday shopping season vital to small and mid-sized retailers.

Six trends — ecommerce growth, mobile sales, an increased number of free shipping offers, early sales promotions, competitive pricing, and new competitors — could have an impact on holiday revenues.

1. U.S. Retail Ecommerce Sales Will Grow More than 15 Percent

Last week, trend monitoring firm eMarketer revised its holiday sales projections upwards and reported that it now expects 2013 U.S. retail ecommerce holiday season sales to grow about 15.1 percent to $61.8 billion, up from $53.7 billion in the 2012 holiday season and $46.6 billion in the 2011 holiday shopping season.

For the entire year, eMarketer expects U.S. retail ecommerce sales — excluding travel and ticket sales — to reach $262.3 billion, up 16.4 percent from 2012. On a quarter-by-quarter basis, U.S. retail ecommerce should grow about 15.5 percent in the fourth quarter to $83.2 billion, again according to eMarketer.

Separately, ecommerce platform provider Volusion predicted that global retail ecommerce sales for small and mid-sized businesses would grow about 20 percent. Although Volusion’s forecast and the eMarketer predictions are not based on the same sample or data, both may imply that relatively smaller retailers might enjoy greater sales growth than large retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart.

2. 16 Percent of U.S. Online Sales Will Come From Mobile Devices

U.S. retail ecommerce sales from mobile devices should reach $9.8 billion in November and December of this year, accounting for 16 percent of ecommerce market, according to eMarketer data released September 5.

“Tablets are particularly significant for m-commerce sales growth,” eMarketer reported, adding that retail ecommerce sales from tablets should total $26 billion for 2013, accounting for some 62.5 percent of all mobile-based ecommerce sales. Growth in tablet-based online sales should top 87 percent.

3. Even More Retailers Will Offer Free Shipping

Many consumers have come to expect free shipping or at least free shipping with a minimum purchase. In fact, a UPS study conducted in May 2013 found that 68 percent of shoppers have recommended a particular online store to a friend simply because it offered free shipping.

Separately, Google reported that queries for the term “free shipping” surge early in the holiday shopping season, peaking on Cyber Monday.

In response to this sort of popularity with consumers, expect even more online and multi-channel retailers to offer free shipping options.

4. Promotions Will Start Sooner

“For the big shopping seasons, people are making their wish lists — and shopping lists — earlier than ever,” wrote Google sales managers Erin Dean, Jacalyn Stolt, and Nina Thatcher in an August 2013 article. “In July, nearly half of surveyed shoppers already had made plans for when to purchase their holiday gifts. Of those actively planning, 30 percent are expecting to start before Halloween.”

With shoppers eager to buy early, retailers are responding. A survey from personalization provider Baynote and The E-tailing Group found that 30 percent of retailers plan to start holiday 2013 promotions by October 1 this year, indicating that many stores want to capture early season sales.

5. Unfortunately Price Will Matter Even More

While many of the 2013 holiday shopping season predictions have been generally positive — more ecommerce sales, more mobile sales — it may also be the case that shoppers will, perhaps increasingly, use price to make buying decisions.

A Google Consumer Survey from July 2013 found that consumers are generally not loyal to a particular brand when shopping for gifts, with 40 percent of those surveyed saying that they simply look for the best price.

What’s more, finding the best price is getting a lot easier for holiday shoppers, who can check online marketplaces like Amazon, Rakuten, and Newegg; shopping price comparison sites, including Google Shopping, NexTag, PriceGrabber, and similar; and mobile price comparison applications.

6. More Competition for Small Sellers

Many brick-and-mortar retailers, including Walmart, missed second-quarter sales estimates this year, indicating, perhaps, that while ecommerce is growing, overall retail is not nearly as hot.

Potentially sluggish brick-and-mortar retail sales has motivated some small shop owners, who had been holding out, if you will, to begin selling online.

In addition to boutique stores coming online, better and easier-to-use ecommerce solutions from companies like Bigcommerce, Volusion, Shopify, and Magento are making it even easier to start a new ecommerce business.

As ecommerce revenue grows, so will the number of retailers trying to earn a share of those sales.

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