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  • 10 Ways to Dress Up Your Fashion Ecommerce Strategy - “By 2022, brick-and-mortar retail spaces will be little more than showrooms,” wrote BigCommerce co-founders Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper —…
    Topics: trends, examples, brands, customer, retailers, sites, online, fashion, ecommerce, shoppers, product, customers, industry.
  • 13 WordPress Plugins for Customer Support - Offering support throughout your shoppers’ purchase experience is a good way to ensure their return. If you have a WordPress site, there are a variety of customer-support plugins to help. Here is a list of plugins for customer support on WordPress.
    Topics: plugins, customer, start, support, help, free, agents, chat, tickets, price, wordpress.
  • 14 Ways to Automate Your Ecommerce Business - When it comes to owning a business, time is your most valuable resource — but, time is finite, and are a lot of tasks competing for your attention. You need to make sure the right products are listed on your website, that you're fulfilling orders and payments 24/7, and that you're processing and dispatching packages efficiently... all while staying on top of marketing campaigns, user reviews, and customer service. And, as you scale, your ecommerce processes get even more demanding.
    Topics: customers, send, automation, customer, emails, business, ways, tools, shopify, products, automate, youre, ecommerce.
  • 21 Data-Backed Reasons That Point to Why you Should Consider an Omnichannel Strategy in 2022 - Connecting with shoppers has never been as easy, or as difficult, as it is today. There are any number of channels businesses can use to market and sell their products, ranging from their own website or third-party marketplaces, to brick-and-mortar stores or even the traditional sales team. While you could probably find a buyer through any of these channels, connecting and converting the right buyers will depend on you reaching your customers when and where they are. That could be on Instagram, in their email inbox, on Amazon, or over the phone. While it can be daunting to try and strategize across a variety of different platforms, apps, mediums, and devices, recent buyer data has never been clearer – the single-channel shopper is dying. Taking an omnichannel approach to your commerce strategy will become core for your business to meet modern consumer demands, improve your customer experience and ultimately, your bottom line. Businesses like Stance, Bank of America, and Starbucks, are all great examples of businesses with omnichannel experiences. But, there is a catch. And it isn’t just budget. The key to an omnichannel commerce strategy (and how it differs from a multichannel strategy) lies not only in the mix of channels your business is leveraging, but in how those channels integrate and connect the customer’s journey. Buyers today expect their shopping experience to be as convenient and personalized as possible. If they’re researching online, they might want to know the nearest in-store location they can pick up their desired products up at. If they order online, they might want to return in store. While customer preferences will vary based on your business (the products you sell, your ecommerce business model, industry, and location), the same underlying behaviors impact everyone – and the answer is omnichannel. Here’s a few compelling statistics to help convince you that you should pivot to an omnichannel strategy if you’re not thinking about it already: Customer buying habits are already multichannel... 15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. (Marketing Week) 59% of shoppers surveyed say they research online before they buy to ensure they are making the best possible choice. (Google) 98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day. (Google Research) 56% of consumers have used their mobile device to research products at home with 38% having used their mobile device to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and 34% who have used their mobile device to research products while in a store. (Forrester) ...And rapidly moving towards omnichannel 50% of shoppers expect that they will be able to make a purchase online and pick up in-store. (Forrester) The number of orders placed online and picked up at bricks-and-mortar stores by customers grew 208% during the pandemic. (Adobe Analytics, 2020) 71% of shoppers agree that it is important or very important to be able to view inventory information for in-store products. (Forrester) 45% of shoppers in-store expect sales associates to be knowledgeable about online-only products. (Forrester) Over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact the same customer service representative on any channel. (Zendesk) Ready to Bring Your Own Omnichannel Strategy to Life? Make any touchpoint transactional and build unique commerce experiences catered to your brand with an Omnichannel approach. Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more. Read the Guide Omnichannel ecommerce will increase revenue... Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies. Similarly, strong omnichannel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for weak companies. (Aberdeen Group) Omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. (Google) Omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money. (Harvard Business Review) Customers that also used 4 or more channels, spent 9% more in-store when compared to just one channel (Harvard Business Review) Marketers using three or more channels in any one campaign earned a 250% higher purchase rate than those using a single-channel campaign. (Omnisend) ...And improve customer retention Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. (Invesp) 74% of consumers are willing to abandon a brand if the purchasing process isn't easy to navigate. (Source) An omnichannel strategy will make it easier to deliver consistent, personalized, and seamless the shopping experiences: 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.(Accenture) 67% of consumers think it’s important for brands to automatically adjust content based on current context. When brands don't adjust accordingly, 42% of consumers will "get annoyed" that content isn’t personalized. (Adobe) 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. (Segment) About 73% of consumers will ghost a brand after three or fewer negative customer service experiences (Coveo) 74% of consumers would find “living profiles” valuable if they could be used to curate the experiences, offers, and products they receive. (Accenture) Building a unified customer experience that can be delivered seamlessly across any touchpoint is the path to a future-proofed business. Buyers can either be fickle or have a deep affiliation for your brand and how you engage with them will make or break that bond. Positive experiences will mean less abandoned shopping carts, better reviews and in the end, expanded sales and less churn for your business. If you’re looking to get started with omnichannel ecommerce, or have already implemented the approach, Elastic Path can help you bring your vision to life and simplify the process with a flexible omnichannel commerce solutions. Chat with an expert today to get started.
    Topics: products, reasons, online, strategy, point, shoppers, used, consider, databacked, omnichannel, consumers, business, customer, customers.
  • 3 Types of Reward Programs Every Retail Brand Should Know About - Retailers must be three steps ahead in this fast-moving market.
    Topics: cashback, customers, customer, retail, merchant, experience, types, shopping, brand, reward, online, know, offers, rewards, offer, programs.
  • 4 Simple, Proven Ways to Improve Your Customers' Ecommerce Experience - Do you find yourself competing in a crowded ecommerce niche? Creating a little more wiggle room for yourself is easy.
    Topics: create, ways, website, simple, improve, shipping, proven, experience, ecommerce, customer, robust, customers, store, product.
  • 4 Suggestions to Improve Convenience for Consumers - When it comes to ecommerce, customers expect smooth experiences and convenience -- you need to meet those expectations.
    Topics: ecommerce, suggestions, product, online, customer, social, experience, consumers, shopping, convenience, improve.
  • 4 Tips to Clean Up Your Customer Data - Old email addresses, duplicate contacts, misspelled names... these are the bane of your marketing and sales efforts. After all, your CRM and marketing tools are only as strong as the data you’ve got in them. If you have poor-quality data in your databases, you’re setting up to fail in your sales and marketing initiatives. Your customer data is the most valuable asset your organization has, so it’s important to ensure it’s serving your business’ bottom line as much as possible.
    Topics: tips, marketing, crm, customer, contact, email, tools, information, contacts, clean, entry, sure, data.
  • 41 Types of Marketing Your Brand Can Invest In - Like many of the people who currently work in the industry, digital marketing was born in the 1990s. Since then, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed, sprouting many more types of marketing.
    Topics: customers, types, brand, email, marketing, product, audience, brands, strategy, invest, customer, social.
  • 5 Game-Changing Ecommerce Trends in 2022 - Consumer habits changed drastically in 2020 and 2021. Here's what the next year will bring.
    Topics: amazon, trends, customers, customer, gamechanging, way, businesses, shopping, ecommerce, virtual, voice.
  • 5 Things Online Businesses Can Do Today to Increase Conversion Rate - Moves you can make quickly, and which will have dramatic impact.
    Topics: online, average, rate, customer, conversion, customers, product, things, today, buying, website, increase, businesses, work.
  • 5 Ways iPaaS Tools Can Increase Employee Satisfaction - Look at any business and you will likely see customer care professionals on the frontline. Whether they are in customer service or account management, these people set customers up for success, keep them happy in the long term, and make vital contributions to the business's sustainability.
    Topics: pain, customers, customer, service, satisfaction, ipaas, teams, experience, employee, ways, multiple, points, increase, tools, data.
  • 6 Contact Management Best Practices for Small Businesses - As a small business or startup, you've got a lot on your to-do list: increasing awareness of your brand, converting leads into customers, and supporting customers post-sale. And, of course, there's all the admin behind the scenes.
    Topics: right, best, marketing, crm, customer, contact, business, need, practices, small, management, businesses, data.
  • 7 Best Practices for Lead Nurturing Emails - Lead nurturing emails allow you to build a relationship with your leads and move them down the sales funnel until they are ready to become a customer. It’s one of the best lead nurturing tactics you can use and an essential part of an email marketing strategy.
    Topics: email, practices, include, business, customer, emails, best, unsubscribe, lead, content, leads, nurturing.
  • 7 Effective Ways to Automate and Grow Your Business - There's more scope for automation in your business than ever before. With automation, you can schedule emails to be sent at the perfect time, follow up with leads that have abandoned their cart, sync data between apps, and notify team members of new tasks.
    Topics: marketing, automation, customer, grow, email, management, apps, business, ways, look, automate, data, effective.
  • 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Ecommerce Companies - Clearly defined goals can help ecommerce companies make 2022 the best year yet. The goals or resolutions should be aspiring and engaging enough to encourage action. What follows are seven resolution ideas for 2022. Adapt these to your company and implement them throughout the year.
    Topics: packaging, shipping, companies, customers, habit, resolutions, ecommerce, customer, goals, company.
  • 7 Reasons Scale-Ups Earn Investments, According to HubSpot's Founder - Every successful company starts with a single idea.
    Topics: growth, company, according, culture, scaleup, investments, earn, scaleups, process, youre, look, organization, founder, hubspots, reasons, customer, scaling.
  • - For many ecommerce businesses, the holiday season is the busiest time of year.  Whether it’s freshening up your landing pages,…
    Topics: tips, experts, campaign, holidays, dont, online, customers, customer, marketing, season, real, consider, brand, ideas, holiday.
  • 9 Things to Do When Your Business Is Generating Fewer Leads - All companies have ups and downs. There are times when new deals are closed daily, new prospects seem to be competing for your attention, and the phone just won’t stop ringing.
    Topics: content, sure, generating, customer, email, help, leads, slow, fewer, update, improve, things, business.
  • - B2B eCommerce and B2C businesses acting as manufacturers, distributors, or wholesalers face many challenges, the most important of which is ensuring their customers are happy. To help leave a smile on your customer's face, using the right eCommerce software platform… Continue reading A Complete Sana Commerce Review
    Topics: order, customers, ecommerce, customer, review, erp, commerce, online, management, complete, product, sana.
  • A Nightmare on E-Commerce St - It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s… oops, wrong genre. It’s that time of year for all things spooky, scary, and spiced pumpkin latte. In keeping with the theme we present common eCommerce horrors sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Or, better yet, get the conversation going on how best to avoid them. So grab your sweater, light the fire, lock the doors, and curl up for tonight’s ghost story… A Nightmare On eCommerce Street. Our story begins with a widget and a dream. But what lurks behind the corner? The goblins of eCommerce gone bad: Design Flaws – considering you have a matter of seconds to make a good impression on your site or app, the architecture must produce a flawless user experience from end to end. If the customer experiences delays in page loads, has trouble finding an item or a menu function, or has problems with checkout, that is a lost sale and a lost customer. And unlike a spirit, they won’t return. Have professional developers and UI/UX designers build your site from the beginning with the customer experience at the forefront. The goal is intuitive, de-cluttered flow. An Unreliable Host – how many times have you experienced or heard of this nightmare: it’s the holiday season and a site goes down for two hours on Cyber Monday from traffic volume. That is one expensive roadblock for just two hours. You’ll need to do your homework to find a reliable and responsive host provider who reduces downtime to minutes, if it happens at all. Look for reliability and accessibility to support when issues arise. Problems of Scale – something to think about as you review your digital commerce plan is where you’re heading. Think about your needs of today as in budget, your technological maturity, your product offering, and how fast you want to go to market; but bear in mind where you want to be in 3-5 years. Playing catch up with upgrades is costly. When looking for an eCommerce platform, make sure to lean towards partners and solutions that grow with you. Don’t let eCommerce complexities be the death of your business! Lack of Touchpoints – this frightening tale goes back to site design. When we talk about eCommerce solutions one of the goals is to create an omnichannel experience. Rising smartphone and smart home voice assistant usage are changing how we shop. As a customer browses from in-store, to smartphone, to tablet or laptop, the user experience must fit the device depending how the purchase is made. And as we know, not all screens are created equal. A site must be optimized to eliminate user issues along the buying journey. If not, you risk losing a customer to a competitor who is at the ready to accommodate modern shopping habits. Ignoring the Data – analytics are key for eCommerce experiences. You need to be monitoring cart abandonment rates, conversion rates, buying patterns, and what pages customers are spending their time on and for how long. The more you get to know your customers the better you engage with them from discovery to purchase. Returned Product/Customer Dissatisfaction – no way of testing or trying on the product creates a barrier to customer satisfaction. This leads to buyer hesitation or worse yet, returns. Ecommerce technology has answered the call with augmented reality applications with features like virtual try on; and the ever-essential review function calm many of the fears customers face when buying online. A few key takeaways: Smart, informed design sets you up for success. With proven UX/UI methodologies and industry metrics in place, your site is built to outperform the rest with a seamless user experience your customers can trust   Lean on trusted partners who grow with you. Seek out providers who are less outcome-based and more solutions-based, from the host to the credit card processor   Plan for tomorrow with an eCommerce strategy for where you’re going   Meet the customer where they are. Build an experience for any device and offer diverse payment options aligned with your customers’ habits and preferences   Embrace data and technology. The eCommerce playing field is a competitive one. Analytics and a tech-forward mindset influence the day Looking for more good stories? Follow our blog. And Happy Halloween!
    Topics: st, ecommerce, nightmare, customers, customer, experience, host, user, think, site, buying, youre.
  • A Simple Guide to Lean Process Improvement - There are many businesses out there that operate with a mindset of “Well, that’s how we’ve always done it.” Unfortunately, this type of close-minded thinking can lead to a great deal of waste.
    Topics: customer, diagram, simple, organization, allows, identify, help, create, process, improvement, lean, guide.
  • API-first commerce: Why it's OK to lose your head - This post was originally published November 1,2018 and has been updated for more comprehensiveness. In an effort to differentiate and compete, top brands are choosing a best-of-breed architectural approach due to the inherent limitations of monolithic commerce applications. As a result, headless API-first commerce is gaining momentum and traction across many industries.  For those who are still new to some of these terms: Headless Commerce refers to the decoupling of the frontend presentation layer of your eCommerce experience (what your customers see and interact with) from the backend commerce engine that powers it all. This type of architecture creates a high degree of freedom and flexibility to allow for your teams to continuously iterate and optimize your eCommerce experiences. APIs which stand for Application Programming Interface, refers to a set of rules that allows applications to communicate and interact with one another. These applications could be microservices, data, operating systems, and more. These types of automated interactions allow for simplification of application development and provide great opportunities to innovate and optimize your system. API-First is an architectural approach that ensures that APIs are at the center of any software design, so that applications created will be able to easily interface with one another.   Therefore, Headless, API-First eCommerce solutions are developer friendly solutions that provide your teams with the control and flexibility to effectively build and manage all of your features and integrations, while also eliminating the bloat of the platform and unnecessary complexity and rigidity that comes with monolithic approaches. While most monolithic architectures have begun to incorporate APIs on top of their existing platforms to extend their functionality, oftentimes these APIs are tightly woven with the core commerce platforms logic and capabilities, which make them a challenge to work with for more complex use-cases and projects. That is why we recommend choosing Headless, API-First eCommerce solutions to ensure that you will not have to compromise on your design and consumer experience. So why is it OK to lose your head now? Here are the top challenges to consider:    Challenge 1: Lack of control over front-end experiences  Traditional full-stack commerce platforms limit companies to a particular presentation or front-end experience throughout the entire commerce system. As a result, customer experiences are driven by the system’s capabilities and constraints, and do not necessarily represent the way a company wants to do business. Customizations are challenging to implement and maintain with future product releases. Over time, single-stack solutions grow larger and become overly complicated for developers to understand or make changes to without breaking functionality.    Headless advantage: The front-end layer is separate from the core commerce logic and offers maximum flexibility of the experience that is being presented to the customer. Customizations are containerized and don’t need to be rebuilt with each new upgrade. Any front layer is game, be it custom development, content management system or digital experience platform.   Challenge 2: The cost to experiment with new touchpoints  Single vendor, full-stack solutions can provide adequate implementations when only one or two touchpoints are required, e.g. web storefront and mobile-friendly sites. When adding more touchpoints to the experience, some companies replicate or use separate commerce solutions to support every new touchpoint. This approach creates commerce silos which cannot be easily connected back to systems of record. With business logic spread across silos and systems, this increases the potential for inconsistent customer experiences. Modifications to the systems are required to reduce these inconsistencies. Over time, this results in an unsustainable system with a high risk of failure.   Headless advantage: Decoupling the front-end from the back-end allows companies to innovate without needing to replicate the commerce logic for each touchpoint. Leveraging rapidly emerging touchpoints, such as IoT, bots, point-of-sale interfaces, screenless devices becomes easier than ever. This allows back-end systems to evolve as time and budgets permit.      Get hands on with an Elastic Path Free Trial Start building the commerce experience your unique business demands with a free Elastic Path Commerce Cloud account. Get in touch with us and we will setup a Free Trial store for you for six weeks. Sign up for a free trial   Challenge 3: The risk of tightly coupled, full-stack solutions   When the front-end and the back-end are tightly coupled, every change to the front-end impacts the back-end and vice-versa. In this type of architecture, the front and back-end software are too heavily reliant on each other. Even with an API layer in between, changes to the experience layer often require changes in multiple places, by different developers making them costly, time-consuming and error-prone. At the end of any development, major parts, and sometimes the entire system, must be redeployed. If the back-end of the commerce platform experiences a performance issue or, requires maintenance, this can create downtime for the live site. A single bug can quickly bring down the entire system. Because full-stack systems are slow to change, they limit the ability of a business to respond to market opportunities and meet customer expectations. Headless advantage: The changes in the back-end don’t impact the front-end. The change is needed in one place only and doesn’t require reset of the entire system.      Challenge 4: Unified selling across business units, channels and geographies Gaining business efficiency and transparency across business units, lines of business, channels, brands and geographies is top of mind among many business executives. Legacy full-stack platforms make it more challenging than ever to gain a 360-degree view of the customer and pivot the business towards a customer-centric model. Many enterprise brands with a global footprint find themselves with multiple siloed instances of commerce platforms and a siloed approach to commerce. With mounting maintenance costs for each platform, delivering one brand experience is harder than ever.   Headless advantage: API-first commerce offers unparalleled flexibility when it comes to sunsetting legacy systems and creating a unified selling platform.  Replacing one commerce functionality, e.g. pricing, shopping cart after another, unifies the selling with minimal risk to the business.   To sum up: Headless, API-first commerce solutions provide business users with the power they need to create new ways of interacting with customers, and new ways to monetize customer experiences without requiring back-end development. Starve your monoliths to death by losing your head now, and embrace experience-driven economy.  
    Topics: experience, commerce, business, lose, systems, customer, head, apifirst, ok, frontend, solutions, layer, ecommerce, backend.
  • Albertsons sets off Firework’s livestream, shoppable video experience on website - Albertsons is the first U.S. grocer to utilize Firework's platform to create, host and curate its own short-form and livestream video to improve customer engagement.
    Topics: using, fireworks, digital, customers, customer, techcrunch, albertsons, video, experience, shortform, content, sets, added, website, shoppable, livestream, humayun.
  • AtomChat secures new funding to capitalize on Latin American trend of sales through messaging - A majority of people in Latin America skip shopping on the web and instead use a combination of messaging and social apps to find inspiration, ask questions and make purchases.
    Topics: sales, capitalize, holmann, latin, company, customer, america, messaging, funding, customers, techcrunch, trend, million, american, apps, atomchat, secures.
  • B2B2C 101: What Is It and How Can I Leverage It? - If it’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic showed us, it was that disruption was inevitable - and we surely have seen that in the eCommerce industry. Over the past two years, businesses have had to adapt to a new normal and accommodate for new customer expectations throughout their eCommerce strategy. B2B businesses specifically have felt an unprecedented amount of pressure to expand their B2B offerings and align more with B2C shopping experiences. One such way that B2B businesses have begun to expand their offering is to extend their business to offer B2B2C eCommerce experiences. While the concept of B2B2C eCommerce has recently caught on and has been making headlines, B2B2C eCommerce has actually been around for quite some time now, but we may not have labelled the efforts as such. B2B2C eCommerce is still also a tricky business model to maneuver, which could have caused the slow rise in popularity. However, with the advancement of technology, businesses are getting in a better place to tackle this market. For those who are unfamiliar with B2B2C eCommerce, you’re in the right place. In this article we will break down what it is, how it differs from other business models, the benefits and challenges of adopting a B2B2C eCommerce model, and how Elastic Path may help to support your business.   What is B2B2C eCommerce and how does it work? Business-to-Business-to-Consumer eCommerce, otherwise known as B2B2C eCommerce, in its simplest term, refers to when a business utilizes a third party business to sell directly to their end consumer. This is not to be confused with white-labeling, when a company sells an unbranded product to a third party business, and allows them to sell the product/services as their own. This model combines the elements of a B2B and B2C business model where “Business A” partners with “Business B” to deliver “Business A’s” products and services to the “Customer.” While a variety of applications live under the B2B2C umbrella, this is the simplest form of B2B2C operations. UberEats is a great example of a B2B2C strategy deployed. Uber Eats (Business A) sells its delivery service to a plethora of restaurants, groceries and shops (Business B) which then allows them to sell the delivery services to buyers (Customers). Amazon also deploys a similar strategy in which they sell eCommerce hosting, warehouse storage and delivery services to businesses that have a product or service that they want to sell, and offer it to customers that use the Amazon platform.   What is the difference between B2B, B2C and B2B2C? The emergence of B2B2C in the market has caused quite a bit of confusion among the differences between B2B, B2C, and B2B2C models in eCommerce. So what are the differences?   B2B eCommerce: Business-to-Business B2B eCommerce refers to the sale of goods or services between businesses via online channels.. Take for example, an office furniture company. This type of business would traditionally be labelled as a B2B business because its primary targets are other businesses. One example of the largest global eCommerce websites that deploy a B2B strategy is Alibaba. Alibaba’s main selling strategy is to connect both B2B buyers and sellers within their platform instead of selling directly to customers.   B2C eCommerce: Business- to-Consumer B2C eCommerce on the other hand, refers to the sales of goods or services directly to consumers. B2C eCommerce is one of the most common and easiest eCommerce models to launch, making it consumers #1 preferred choice of shopping. Take for example, an online clothing boutique. This type of business would traditionally be labelled as a B2C business because its primary targets are direct consumers. An example of one of the largest B2C eCommerce websites is Walmart. Walmart’s main selling strategy focuses on marketing and selling the majority of their products to consumers. The main difference between a B2B and B2C business is the business strategy they deploy to cater to their intended audience. For example, B2B businesses offer multiple pricing, volume discounts, and leverage an account manager to manage issues, while B2C businesses offer a single pricing tier for customers, a streamlined checkout process and leverage customer service instead to cater to issues.   B2B2C: Business-to-Business-to-Consumer Now what do B2B and B2C have to do with B2B2C eCommerce? With the combination of these two business models, B2B businesses can now access all the benefits of B2C eCommerce that they were missing, without having to take on the B2C operations and responsibilities they intentionally avoided before. Now B2B companies will no longer have to be siloed from the customers, and instead have direct access to customer data so that they can help with rapid responses and improvements of their products.     What are the advantages of the B2B2C eCommerce model? Easy Control of Data Traditional B2B journeys end when the manufacturers sell to their retailers. From there, retailers are able to sell at their preferred price point, apply their preferred marketing and sell to the consumers. By deploying a B2B2C model, manufacturers can now manage their brand all the way to the end consumer and access all the information without friction.   Extended Customer Base B2B businesses usually have a smaller pool of businesses to sell to. By expanding to a B2B2C model, manufacturers can now leverage their partners’ customer base, boost their brand awareness and thus increase their overall product sales.   Reduction of Middle-people As mentioned previously,B2B manufacturers tend to lose sight of the product and service once they have handed it to the retailer, thus allowing middle people to offer higher prices and take a cut off profits. By adopting a B2B2C model, manufacturers can now streamline the supply chain and eliminate those opportunities.   Increased Efficiency of Supply Chain Typically B2B manufacturers have issues with delivering to customers in a timely manner. By adopting a B2B2C model, manufacturers can eliminate delivery partners and instead allow customers to get their goods more quickly.     What are the challenges of the B2B2C eCommerce model? While adopting a B2B2C model offers a variety of benefits, there are two main challenges you should be aware of.   Sharing Customer Base When a manufacturer partners with a B2C business, both businesses will now be sharing the same customer base. The B2C business might be hesitant to share such valuable customer data that would lead to the manufacturer’s benefit. Both businesses might also be hesitant to split profits. We encourage businesses to discuss the concerns as early as possible and create an equally beneficial proposal to ensure a smooth transition into partnership.   B2B User Experiences Another thing that B2B businesses continue to struggle with today, is providing B2C-like experiences across their eCommerce journey. B2B businesses will need to ensure that they have an adequate eCommerce solution and strategy across their all partner-sellers to maximize ROI. We encourage businesses to search for an eCommerce solution that is API based and with MACH based technology to ensure that they can design a highly customizable solution and make changes on demand while also maintaining full control of their solution. Of course not all MACH based solutions are alike and therefore you can use a Systems Integrator or Agency to evaluate vendors based on your specific requirements.   How does Elastic Path help with fulfilling your B2B2C requirements? The intricacies of supporting a B2B2C business model can be quite strenuous on eCommerce vendors due to a high degree of flexibility, control, and customizability demanded. However, Elastic Path makes it easy to rapidly digitize your B2B2C ecosystem with the power of its API-First Headless Microservices solution, advanced Product Content Management, flexible Catalog Composer and the dependable support of Composable Commerce XATM. Therefore, your business will be equipped to: Manage and deploy highly customized experiences for both you and your customers Grant the appropriate level of control to ensure unified commerce experiences using only one solution Continuously scale at the demand of your business To achieve the aforementioned benefits, you can leverage a variety of specific commerce capabilities including: Hierarchy org management Individual branding and controls Cloned stores Flexible pricing Access based profiles and controls Consolidated analytics reporting Pre-Composed Solutions for quick starts In addition to these capabilities, Elastic Path will also ensure to onboard your team with sales and support training, provide guidance on the solution architecture and also be your first line of support for your entire solution so your eCommerce strategy is always in good hands. So whether you’re an ISV who wants to add a white labelled commerce offering, a distributor or supplier network looking to provide value added commerce offerings to your business customers, or a fin-tech or bank organization looking to offer commerce functionality to your business customers, there is a place for you at Elastic Path. To learn more about B2B2C at Elastic Path feel free to reach out to one of our internal experts. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.
    Topics: leverage, businesses, b2b, ecommerce, b2c, sell, model, strategy, b2b2c, business, customer.
  • Big Data: How Small Businesses Can Leverage Its Benefits - The amount of data in the world is growing exponentially. By the time you finish reading this page, 90 million texts will be sent and received. 350,000 Instagram posts will be uploaded. 1.2 million Skype calls will be made. 21 million GB of traffic will be received on the internet.
    Topics: best, customers, team, data, customer, analytics, business, leverage, provide, small, businesses, benefits, big.
  • Black Friday 2021: How Your Ecommerce Store Can Survive the Holiday Rush - It’s that time of year again where retailers and shoppers rejoice. The clock is ticking and the countdown to Black…
    Topics: customers, shoppers, customer, holiday, shopping, history, ecommerce, ideas, sales, online, black, marketing, checkout.
  • Customer Data: What to Collect and How to Put It to Work at Your Company - Customer data is the most valuable asset in your organization. Your sales, marketing, and service teams all rely on the insights you hold about your customers to deliver the right experiences at the right time, all the way from lead generation to long-term customer retention.
    Topics: sure, company, customer, create, lead, collect, work, sales, team, record, marketing, crm, data.
  • Customer Service Is the New Upsell - If your customers aren't satisfied with their experience, you won't be able to convert new customers. Here's a deep dive into how to turn ecommerce expectations into guaranteed sales.
    Topics: site, purchase, upsell, ecommerce, returning, customer, help, service, offer, sales, customers, customerservice.
  • Data Tracking: What Is It and What Are the Best Tools - When data is surfaced, organized, analyzed, and applied effectively, you have the power to delight more customers and improve your business’s bottom line. But first, you need to obtain all of that valuable information.
    Topics: tools, web, page, tracking, best, track, tool, website, product, data, user, customer.
  • Drive Your Online Business's Sales With 5 Simple Strategies - Here are five strategies for growing your online business.
    Topics: businesss, sales, strategies, checkout, customer, bounce, experience, drive, business, online, process, site, trust, ecommerce, cart, simple.
  • Ecommerce Product Releases: November 30, 2021 - Here is a list of product releases and updates for late November from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on live-stream shopping, holiday shipping, drone deliveries, direct-to-consumer marketing, buy-now pay-later services, cloud training, and sustainable ecommerce.
    Topics: services, cloud, program, aws, service, free, releases, platform, network, customer, merchants, product, ecommerce.
  • Effective Holiday Email Marketing Tips to Help Spread Cheer This Season - The holiday season is a special time of the year and it’s an opportunity for email marketers to really shine.…
    Topics: marketing, content, tips, software, holiday, campaign, season, emails, email, right, help, customer, customers.
  • Elastic Path Mobile Self-Checkout: Digitizing in-Store Experiences -   This post was originally published on March 24th. 2019, and has been recently updated for comprehensiveness. Experiences to reach the modern consumer The average consumer uses six touchpoints before buying an item. Whether it’s Instagram or an interactive display, each one of these touchpoints is an opportunity to inspire consumers with product information or brand experiences. But, why stop there? Why inspire consumers, only to then dampen their enthusiasm with an intricate labyrinth of pre-purchase steps which leads them through a thorny journey of navigating through channels and downloading interfaces just to pay for an item? Or alternatively, why make them wait in line at a store to check out just because legacy technologies make it hard to give consumers what they want, when they want it? In an age of the digitally-empowered customer, delivering great digital experiences is an essential strategy and business imperative. Mobile mindshift has given consumers a much wider sphere of influence. These days, most of the product or service information flow, once in the hands of retailers, is predominantly controlled by consumers who share their experiences and opinion online for everybody to have access. This is why embracing this new customer journey ensures that a company remains competitive, and is able to monetize the digital experience expected by the consumer. “Experience” is the keyword here. Experience is shaping a new wave of thinking. The bigger the “wow” moment the better chance of engaging the customer all the way through to the actual purchase. It’s all about delighting the consumer on two dimensions. Being present to actively engage the consumers and, at the same time, doing it in a way that makes the brand stand out. Contained in this concept, the experience becomes the shop. As soon as the interaction is established, when the consumer is deep in an experience with the brand, the transaction can happen. Right there. In the moment.   “Retail is no longer about channels, but about creating experiences and giving consumers control to shop how and where they want,” Harry Chemko, Chief Strategy Officer at Elastic Path.   The once fashionable term “omnichannel” now simply means trying to put together basic functionality that will work for multiple platforms with the focus on the media rather than the consumer. At the same time, “experiences” means jumping straight to the moment where the brand and the consumer meet and where value is created. The notion of experience is no longer constrained to the media retailers use to reach out to the consumer, rather than finding perfect timing to induce unforgettable feelings, and with that, invite the consumer in. These trends are why many CMOs and CIOs are focusing more of their budgets on the customer’s digital journey, shifting their key responsibilities from a typical IT overseer to an increasingly strategic and cutting-edge business innovator. Leading-edge companies know that experience-driven strategies can help them compete more effectively through customer service and digital innovation, rather than on price or operational technology alone. They are aware that providing a customer-centric experience will make a brand unique, and thus, unforgettable.   The challenge of transforming retail Modern digital marketing has developed in numerous ways, resulting in incredibly creative sales opportunities to inspire consumers. The best campaigns are memorable, exciting and innovative; they make their way into social media channels, they become conversation topics. Which is fantastic. However, they all end up hitting that inevitable wall when they reach the shop floor: long lines and time-consuming checkout processes, especially during key peak hours like holidays. According to the survey made by a technology provider, Riverbed, almost all (98%) respondents admitted that technology, particularly cloud-based solutions that have a potential to improve the customer experience is key to transforming the digital retail experience. More than half (53%) are positive that the way forward is to deploy applications that reduce friction from the shopping process. The challenge nowadays is not to advertise a product in a way a consumer wants to buy it, but to keep the consumer’s interest long enough for them to go all the way through the entire customer lifecycle, right up until checkout.   Meet Elastic Path mobile self-checkout: the first app-free solution to dazzle the masses The Elastic Path mobile self-checkout solution allows customers to completely skip lines and kiosks, and check out using their smartphone. Mobile self-checkout empowers in-store shoppers to use their phones to avoid the otherwise intricate labyrinth of a typical checkout flow. It brings digital marketing into the very tangible context of the brick-and-mortar store, finally blurring the lines between the digital and the physical world. It also takes self-checkout a step further offering an app-free solution. For the first time ever, consumers can go through an app-centric experience without undergoing the laborious process of finding and downloading an application that drains their phone’s data usage, battery and space. Workflow The workflow is smooth and streamlined: a customer navigates from their phone to a short URL, scans the product’s barcode, and checks it out using Apple Pay, Google Pay or a credit card. The “app-less” approach makes the whole process even faster and more user-friendly. This progressive web app, optimized for mobile, is designed to behave like an app, but being fully browser-based, it’s compelling to the consumer as it behaves like a native application, and even better for the implementer, as they have the flexibility, speed and freedom of native browser tooling. Quick link A shortened URL or “quick link” makes the entire checkout experience as simple as typing in the user-friendly hyperlink. Visually appealing reduced link length promotes the feeling of trustworthiness.   Microservices architecture The Elastic Path mobile self-checkout is a progressive web application (PWA) using a reliable and scalable RESTful API built from “pick and choose” microservices. The self-checkout service utilizes Elastic Path’s APIs - creating a cart, adding products to the created cart, processing the checkout and payment, while Elastic Path’s backend allows the solution to integrate seamlessly with any existing infrastructure, including POS systems. In more detail, once a customer scans the barcode with the smartphone’s camera, the app uses the barcode information to request a product from the Products API. The relevant product is returned to the interface and displayed with information such as price and product description. On adding the product to a cart, the Elastic Path mobile self-checkout solution communicates with the Carts API to create a cart with a unique reference number to add the product to. The app seamlessly creates carts and requests product data over and over without the user having to interject. They can add as many products to their cart as they wish. To check out a cart, a customer only needs to provide their email address which will be used to send an email receipt. They can then pay for the order using their preferred payment method, be it a mobile wallet or Apple/Google Pay. Behind the scenes, the mobile self-checkout seamlessly communicates with the pre-defined Payment Gateway API to authorize and capture billing information making the payment transaction possible. To the consumer, they are probably unaware of any transitions. To the implementer,Elastic Path’s API abstracts the necessary interactions with various payment gateways into a standard set of  API calls. Elastic Path offers a wide choice of payment integrations such as Stripe, CardConnect, Braintree, Adyen, or manual (for custom integrations like PayPal) and so on. Additional integrations like email allows payment confirmation to be sent right into the customer’s inbox automatically and as part of the normal Elastic Path checkout process. This solution substantially decreases time needed for the resources to communicate with each other. A customer can scan, checkout and pay for up to 5 items in well under one minute. Secure solution Once the product has been scanned, checked out and paid for, a customer receives an online receipt that serves as proof of purchase. The order confirmation screen has been carefully designed in such a way to prevent malicious actors to easily fool retail store employees. The animated and interactive proof of purchase makes it impossible to fake via a screenshot or a back- engineered image. The communication between resources happens over the secured HTTPS protocol, and as such is hidden from search engines to ensure any usage stays localized to each store. All interactions are encrypted, and they use a secure connection. This enhanced security layer is especially important for the sensitive data transfer required when paying for goods. It also assures that no confidential data, like a customer’s email address can be stolen or misused. Additionally, since the entire experience happens through a single URL nothing that’s been used for purchase will remain on the device.   Customer-centric approach   Empowering experience Self-checkout stands for consumer independence. The customer has full control over the entire process of purchasing goods. This power-shifting experience combined with the freedom to check out at any time makes them feel more trusted and welcomed in the store. Time well-spent Customers can finally focus on their main goal, shopping! Mobile self-checkout takes away all unnecessary distractions for both parties engaged in the shopping process. A customer no longer has to locate and queue at the checkout to pay for goods, and a store employee no longer needs to spend excessive time at the cash register, swiping cards and bagging products. With this in mind, customers can spend more time browsing and less time waiting in line, combating worries for those whose time is in short supply, e.g. shopping in between appointments or during a lunch break. Appealing to instincts Mobile technology is reshaping basic human behavior and instincts. On average, a smartphone user reaches for their phone approximately every six minutes to do everything from checking the weather, reading an email, or sending a text to getting directions, buying something online, or discovering new products suggested by carefully targeted social media campaigns.They have an expectation that they can get what they want, anytime, in a strictly defined context, personalized to their specific way of living. The ability to self-checkout on one’s phone is a natural step in commerce evolution. Fast and intriguing Attention spans and patience are a delicacy in the world of mobile eCommerce. Studies show that it takes 2.8 seconds to distract a person4. Slow-loading pages not only drive customers away from the page but very often from the brand itself. Even just a delay of one extra second can result in losing a customer or their loyalty. This is where Elastic Path’s mobile self-checkout comes to the rescue offering a checkout solution that is not only appealing to customers thirsty for innovative technological experiences, but is also optimized for speed (it takes an average of two seconds to get from a full cart to a checkout page). Up-sell and cross-sell opportunities Now freed from the checkout, store employees can finally focus on the core task - assisting with shopping and promoting the brand. This means spending more meaningful time with the consumer, providing relevant information about the product, or suggesting alternative solutions. Walker’s Customers 2020: A Progress Report states: “Customer Experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020.” It’s time to embrace the changes, and focus on the exponentially growing needs of a consumer, instead of engaging in mundane processes that can be substituted by technology. Data capture to personalize experiences When asked about top data management challenges in the ENK Annual Analytics in Retail Study, 42% of retail respondents indicated that data capture was a top data management problem. Just 39% currently use in-store analytics and 36% are looking to implement better in-store analytics in the next 24 months. Elastic Path’s self-checkout solution facilitates this process, and allows for more direct and personalized marketing campaigns aimed at people who walk into a store with a mobile device already in their hands. This type of customer relies heavily on mobile-provided information, and would benefit greatly from such advertising approach. Targeted marketing communication catering to specific individual needs makes a business far more approachable. According to Return Path’s Email Intelligence Report, inept marketing communications account for 70% of today’s spam complaints. Modern consumers expect meaningful and highly relevant information to feel valued and respected by a company that attempts to reach out with their advertising campaign. Aimed at early adopters As PWC accurately points out, early adopters are known for their excessive spending habits, especially when a gadget or new technology is involved. According to their own survey, more than 1,000 consumers nationwide found that early digital adopters are less price-conscious, and are more drawn to the latest mobile novelties. Grow faster with less Instead of having a spacious traditional checkout area manned by at least a couple of cashiers, a mobile self-checkout option allows retailers to invest in small and relatively inexpensive kiosks and pop-ups to help grow their business. This leaves more space for product displays. Having the ability to check out anywhere also changes the way we physically purchase goods. You could capture a consumer right at the point of discovering a product before the doubt of purchase creeps in. Physical shop layouts can also be freed from the standard patterns we see day in, day out, liberating the design of spaces to encourage and invite customers to stay beyond their usual “dash in and out” purchase. Reduced costs According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employer costs for employee compensation averaged $36.32 per hour worked in March 2018, particularly during quiet periods, be it right after a huge sale, in between seasons or just that time of day when the customers turnover is scarce. Self- checkout can significantly cut back costs of staff upkeep. Lower overheads, in this case, won’t have any impact on the service provided, as the laborious checkout process would already have been taken away from them.   Self-checkout at work  The Elastic Path APIs offer a Headless approach to commerce, providing limitless flexibility over the device a transaction is to take place on. The example below showcases Stance, the first store to use the mobile self-checkout progressive web app implementation.   Stance case study Elastic Path powered self-checkout has already been deployed for Stance, an innovative California-based apparel retailer. Once a customer walks into a Stance store and picks up an item they’re interested in, they can then scan it, checkout and pay through their phone.   “We are really excited to be at the forefront of the retail experience by offering a truly hassle-free self- checkout experience in our stores. People don’t want to wait in line, and they don’t want to download an app to avoid a line either. This solution combines the richness of a physical retail store visit with the convenience of eCommerce to give our guests the best experience possible. We believe it will raise the bar in terms of what customers will come to expect from retailers,” says Paul Zaengle, Executive Vice President of direct-to-consumer at Stance.   Stance Architecture Stance self-checkout solution is powered by the Elastic Path API backend using a number of microservices plugged into their existing website and integrated with their specific POS system and payment gateway. The payment experience is optimized through the Stripe platform running alongside the Elastic Path APIs. Succeed with Elastic Path The solution is now available to all customers as a reference application that can be customized to unique business needs. The Elastic Path APIs can connect to existing catalogs, payment gateways and POS systems, allowing retailers to manage store catalogs, inventory and order processing with their existing systems if desired.   Quick and painless implementation Elastic Path uses an API-first approach to remove the constraints of traditional commerce. Thanks to flexible APIs, developers can build rich, vibrant commerce experiences. Retailers can embed commerce in any device, social application, or digital display, including smart televisions. They can build beautiful commerce experiences without being confined to a template, and make use of an easy, intuitive UX to use as boilerplate to develop the entire infrastructure around. To learn more about how you can implement your mobile-self checkout experience as a part of your Composable Commerce architecture please reach out to one of our internal experts. We'd be happy to help.         Stay on top of industry trends with the latest blogs and articles from our eCommerce experts.   i { -webkit-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; -moz-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; -o-transition: color .25s ease-in-out; transition: color .25s ease-in-out; color: rgba(68, 68, 68, 1.0) !important; } .subscribe--bar.module_15628520315781867 .btn:hover > i { color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1.0) !important; } ]]>
    Topics: customer, digitizing, elastic, instore, experience, consumer, selfcheckout, product, ebook, experiences, mobile, customers, checkout, path.
  • European point of sale provider SumUp acquires customer loyalty startup Fivestars for $317M - SumUp, a European-based competitor to Square, PayPal/iZettle and others that provide mobile-powered card readers and other sales technology to merchants and small businesses, has made an acquisition in the U.S. to dig deeper into that market and to expand the kinds of services that it provides to customers globally. The company has acquired Fivestars, which […]
    Topics: small, startup, customer, technology, company, provider, fivestars, techcrunch, businesses, merchants, used, sumups, million, european, loyalty, sumup, sale, point.
  • Everything You Need to Know About Gathering High-Quality Data - There was a time when gathering data was a hard task. Later on, it was a challenge to integrate data, and then it seemed almost impossible to keep it clean. Nowadays, all these things are not only possible but necessary.
    Topics: information, customer, provide, organizations, quality, email, need, highquality, know, gathering, marketing, increase, data.
  • Facebook Could Dominate Ecommerce - Facebook is among the top social media networks in the world. It is also a leading advertising and communication platform. And it could soon dominate ecommerce.
    Topics: data, online, ecommerce, users, similar, advertising, customer, social, facebook, dominate, platform.
  • Gartner Survey Review: Digital Commerce Revenue Skyrockets with B2B Surpassing B2C - Industry analyst Gartner released an eye-opening look at the digital commerce landscape, largely influenced from pandemic aftershock. Based on evidence from 2021’s State of Digital Commerce Report, and 2020’s B2B Digital Commerce research, the survey examines digital commerce through the lens of multiple verticals and business models. The results are in. Significant shifts occurred in the presence of digital commerce platforms, but also a turn towards B2B initiatives versus what has been historically B2C led. Let’s take a quick look at some of the survey’s key statistical findings: By 2025, 75% of B2B manufacturers will sell to their customers directly via digital commerce   By 2023, 15% of medium-to-high gross merchandise value (GMV) digital commerce organizations will have deployed their own marketplaces, thereby creating a digital ecosystem on their path to digital business   By 2024, 15% of B2B organizations will use digital commerce platforms to support both their customers and sales reps in all sales activities The New Normal: Digital commerce is becoming more mainstream. According to survey results, manufacturing leads the charge in B2B focused digital commerce initiatives. In an environment once dominated by retail, more industries across the board are adopting the digital path. Further point of interest is that as B2B businesses were hit hard by COVID-19, they were forced to adapt from a digital perspective at alarming speed to survive - or took the opportunity to accelerate their digital strategy given their new circumstances. Maturity influences decision making: Another key insight involves the digital maturity of buyers. As B2B buyers become more tech savvy, their experience expectations change. They expect more self-service options to avoid calls or emails and better business tooling; ultimately, they want a shift to a digital sales experience –an intuitive platform that anticipates their needs as a human representative once did. The drive to cut cost: So what is at the core of the shift to digital commerce? The Gartner survey points to 4 key drivers; one of which is cost savings, stemming from the automation of the sales process to a more self-service model. Cost savings is more on the minds of B2B organizations; in fact, according to the survey, almost three times as many B2B companies cited it as a motivator versus their B2C counterparts. Omnichannel experience remains a pain point: A major hurdle to achieving a robust digital commerce presence, as outlined by Gartner’s survey, is how a B2B company may struggle with the customer experience across channels.They struggle with the complexities and access to the tools for an optimized experience; if their existing customers can’t have a comparable, or even better than digital experience than what they currently have, they will not participate. This leads to additional insights gleaned from the survey on how B2B companies are increasingly looking for more composable solutions they can easily deploy and scale, especially those companies with large enterprise clients. Food for thought: additional survey statistics: By 2023, 80% of organizations using AI for digital commerce will achieve at least 25% improvement in customer satisfaction, revenue or cost reduction   By 2023, 75% of organizations selling directly to consumers will offer subscription services, but only 20% will succeed in increasing customer retention Take a deeper dive into the digital commerce landscape as it stands today by downloading your free copy.
    Topics: sales, customers, survey, surpassing, gartner, skyrockets, review, commerce, key, b2b, organizations, experience, customer, digital, revenue, b2c.
  • Gradient, 10xFounders back Zowie’s no-code, e-commerce customer service tool - Customer service tickets tend to fall into the same few buckets — returns, refunds or quality control questions. Not only are these repetitive, but it leaves little time for customer engagement on more complex requests, like relaying information on products or helping a customer find the best product for them. Maja Schaefer and Matt Ciolek, […]
    Topics: ecommerce, nocode, zowies, gradient, service, techcrunch, customer, company, support, questions, 10xfounders, product, sales, tool, zowie, schaefer, looking.
  • How Benefit Segmentation Will Take Your Marketing Campaigns to the Next Level - If you're a fan of HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Methodology, you probably understand the importance of customer success. In fact, 70% of businesses with growing revenue prioritize customer success as "very important." So, if you want your business to succeed you must make sure your customers do, too.
    Topics: attract, customers, phone, level, benefit, segmentation, campaigns, ford, value, airbnb, marketing, customer, different.
  • How COVID-19 Impacted Customer Service & What's Next [Data + Expert Tips] - We all know the importance of customer service for retaining customers and scaling a business — and it's only increasing in value over time.
    Topics: support, team, tips, reps, pandemic, data, covid19, impacted, told, remote, expert, service, whats, teams, customer, customers.
  • How Ecommerce Brands and Subscriptions Can Navigate the Post-Pixel World - Here are three things successful subscription and ecommerce companies are doing to come out on top in a post-pixel world.
    Topics: customer, media, postpixel, relationship, build, navigate, subscriptions, consumer, social, experience, world, ecommerce, brands, way.
  • How Ecommerce Businesses Build Healthy Relationships With Customers - A customer walks up to your store. What’s the first thing you do? Ask them what they need? Show them a few choices that are trending? Let them check the store out before reaching out to them?
    Topics: customers, build, support, customer, online, improve, experience, business, relationships, provide, businesses, healthy, ecommerce.
  • How This Gender-Defying Clothing Company is Tailoring its Operations - When Kelly and Laura Moffat were looking for clothes for their wedding, they were faced with a mutual frustration for the options. The styles in the women’s section didn’t feel right and menswear options didn’t fit right. The shopping experience inspired Kelly and Laura to launch Kirrin Finch, a gender-defying fashion label that's focused on using sustainable and natural fabrics. In this episode of Shopify Masters, we chat with Kelly and Laura about becoming accidental designers and how working through the pandemic challenged them to grow in new ways.More
    Topics: operations, genderdefying, things, product, going, right, lot, really, clothing, customer, thats, tailoring, think, company, shirt.
  • How To Get Ahead of The Competition with Easy-to-Launch eCommerce Subscription Services ? - Prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a shift in customer buying habits, as more and more shoppers were in search for convenience and preferred to complete their purchases online. So it’s no surprise that after the COVID-19 stay-at-home measures were implemented, the demand for online subscription services spiked. Shoppers fell in love with the ease and convenience of online shopping for their favorite products and having it automatically delivered to their door steps, without putting their health at risk. In 2020 alone we saw a 48% increase in subscription enrollment, with $3 Billion in orders in the physical goods eCommerce subscription space, with no signs of it slowing down even after the end of the pandemic. As such, it is a great time for retailers to enter the market and add subscriptions services to their existing physical products or simply start from scratch. By deploying subscription services, it puts brands in an ideal position to drive predictable and sustained revenue, while also generating increased customer loyalty with more affordable buying options. Gartner even predicts that, “By 2024, leading commerce organizations will generate 10% of online revenue from services, such as subscriptions, attached to physical products.” However, they also state that while “75% of organizations selling direct to consumer will offer subscriptions services by 2023, only 20% will succeed in increasing customer retention.”   Why’s that you may ask? Firstly, while consumers are easily enticed to purchase subscription services, they tend to cancel those that don’t create extended value and deliver superior end-to-end user experiences. Once they find that the subscription is too limited, they often aren’t able to justify the value and cancel, leading to a high churn rate for brands. And secondly, it’s difficult for brands to continuously drive convenience, offer personalized and curated choices, and grant exclusive access for their subscription services, when they leverage traditional out-of-the-box subscription management solutions. These types of solutions lack the flexibility to create personalized subscription experiences or are excessively expensive and time consuming to do so. This leaves brands incapable of keeping up with customer demands, which leads to high churn. So how should brands who are interested in entering the subscription services market go about doing so? In this article, we will dive into understanding if you need a subscription management solution and explain how Elastic Path can help businesses excel when launching subscription management services, thanks to our newly launched Pre-Composed SolutionsTM for Subscriptions.   Do You Need A Subscription Management Solution? It’s important to first understand if your business even needs a subscription management solution. Oftentimes, brands think they need a “subscription management” solution, when what they really need is a “recurring billing” service. These terms are used interchangeably quite often, even though they serve different purposes. Subscription management is the organization and oversight of the interaction between the business and its customers. This could include: Handling customer information and communications Customizing precise subscription packages Managing bundles and promotions Providing access to customer analytics and more. While recurring billing is the process of: Generating periodic invoices for customers Tracking and collecting payments on a predetermined basis And storing payment information   So as you can see, the two are indeed not the same, but are actually complementary to each other. However, when paired together, they do create a good solution for both managing the services, and what we might see as the most important part, collecting payments that go towards your revenue. Therefore, if you’re the type of brand that is just looking for a way to allow your customers to sign up with their payment credentials, and have a payment be automatically collected for a specified period, then a standalone recurring billing service may be right for you. However, if you’re the type of brand that is interested in: Developing schematic pricing Offering limited exclusive discounts Leveraging dunning management to communicate with customers Customizing customer-specific subscription bundles And integrating with an eCommerce solution that allows you to create a unique shopping experience Then a subscription management service may be right for you. So how can you get started and get up and running quickly? With the new Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions built by our partner Pixie Labs.   New: Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions At Elastic Path, we understand the desire to innovate and test new business ventures quickly, while also minimizing risk. That’s exactly why we offer Pre-Composed SolutionsTM. These business-ready solutions are pre-composed from a combination of Elastic Path commerce capabilities, third-party integrations, and customizations that brands can use to quickly deploy a commerce solution; with greater flexibility and less risk. Our new Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions, built by Elastic Path partner, Pixie Labs, on top of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, provides a complete subscription management solution that allows for B2B, B2C, and D2C brands to quickly create and customize unique subscription services for their customers, that drive predictable and scalable revenue channels. In addition to the Elastic Path core commerce capabilities, this solution comes pre-integrated with: Stripe for payments Postmark for email services And an analytics dashboard to allow brands to build differentiated subscription services from scratch, or as an addition to their existing Elastic Path implementation. As previously mentioned, traditional subscription management solutions are often rigid and come predefined, which makes it difficult for brands to create custom subscription services. This Pre-Composed Solution™ reduces the time and complexity of configuring customer-centric subscription services, and thus empowers brands to get ahead of their competition faster. Additionally, the ultimate flexibility of the microservices architecture also enables brands to quickly experiment with new approaches that could give them sustained advantages in their market. Therefore, brands can now feel empowered to create differentiated subscription services that keep their customers engaged and satisfied, allowing them to succeed in increasing customer retention and driving more sustained revenue. With the joint solution from Pixie Labs and Elastic Path, brands will have access to a complete end-to-end eCommerce subscriptions solution that offers: Speed to Market: You can get up and running in weeks and update with ease as market demands and product offerings change. High configurability: You will be able to cater to customer specific subscription preferences that usually involves complex bundling of products, pricing, and promotions. Sustained and predictable revenue: By offering more cost-effective models to customers through subscription services, you will be able to yield a higher retention rate, which would lead to more predictable revenue. Reduced Cost: You’ll be able to reduce your overall total cost of ownership by eliminating the need to license multiple software vendors, to achieve your personalized subscription management solution. We'd love to talk about how this Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions could help you launch your subscription management services in record time. Reach out today or join us for a live “All Demo-No Pitch” session of this Pre-Composed Solution™ on December 14th. Register Here.  
    Topics: brands, subscriptions, ecommerce, customer, services, solution, easytolaunch, path, subscription, elastic, management, ahead, precomposed, competition.
  • How Will Online Buying Evolve in 2022 and Beyond? - By now we are all familiar with what the global pandemic did to buying behavior and how that affected some of the world’s biggest brands. We had winners and losers, and the common denominator between winning and losing came down to agility to transform customer engagement or the fact that the business was deemed “essential” by the government. You can see below some very recognizable brands could not survive the impacts of the pandemic. However, it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall to know how many of these brands were discussing or maybe even in the process of budget planning to transform using digital experiences leading up to February 2020. The buyer trend for more online and digital experience was already present in the market pre-pandemic, which is why some were ahead of the game as early adopters, but why companies did not prioritize would be interesting 2020 hindsight to learn from. (Source) Now that that the dust is settling, we are moving from reactive to a more proactive planning for eCommerce and while there was a rush to pivot online back in 2020, our buyers are now discussing how to improve and or replace what was in place and looking to “future proof” their eCommerce approach going into 2022. Future proofing the eCommerce experience is all about how you invest in technology and ensuring the foundational components are flexible and adaptable to the unknown future of buying experience and back-office workflows. What was once a bleeding edge experience that differentiated brands is quickly become part of the standard expectation of the buyer. Just consider a basic use case we all live with every day. We are not far from a time when most restaurants big or small had very little in the form of online presence and only the big brands like Dominos or Applebee’s had a way to order and pay online for delivery and take out. Then came the “delivery marketplaces” like Uber Eats and Grub Hub which expanded the opportunity to digitally order your dinner and providing more local restaurants a channel to sell online. Building a marketplace of you own? Discover how Elastic Path Commerce Cloud can power and support your marketplace. Learn More Living up in Southern NH (which is only 32 miles from Boston – so not the back woods by any means), there were not many options for either just before the pandemic. We were lucky to find a menu online and we had to pick up the phone to place an order for delivery or pick-up. Within a matter of months every restaurant trying to survive, big or small, had dedicated parking for online ordering, they all had menus online and ways to purchase using credit card or PayPal. Some of the bigger chains spun up mobile apps to try and create a brand presence and accommodate multiple locations within a buying area. I can tell you firsthand that some did it well, but most took an MVP approach that had buyers like me going back to the phone only because the food is good. The few that did it well have earned new business from me, but they are the exception vs. the rule and sad to say they are the bigger chains with deeper pockets. Now that life is getting back to some normalcy just having a shopping cart online or mobile app is not going to be enough. Buying behavior has shifted and we the buyer are expecting better, multi-channel experiences. We don’t want to go to the store because we half to, we are going back because we want a day out of the house, and we might not even buy anything. If I need something I just go online and order it. So, this shift is not only changing the experience online it is also changing how we interact in person. While I am not a fortune teller that can predict what new buying trends will emerge in 2022, I did want to share some customer experience examples every brand and retailer needs to be doing to just meet buyer expectations. When reading this, If you consider these things are hard to do because of the eCommerce technology you have today, then that is a major signal that you might need to start looking for a different, “future proof” eCommerce solution. Also keep in mind, the biggest question you need to ask the technology vendors is not can you do this or show me where you have done this – but rather how fast did your customers do this, how much did they have to customize the solution to make it work? If you can transform quickly, you will never be able to keep up with the ever-changing and increasing buyer expectations. Blending Online and Offline is already the expectation Retailers that quickly merged online and offline experience with options like Curbside pick-up were on the winning side of the buyer shift that happened in the pandemic. I briefly mentioned this in another article I recently wrote as being one the keys to Best Buy’s winning without being “essential”. Digital Commerce 360 did a study earlier this year on the topic and below shows just how much this experience has been adopted from December 2019 (pre-pandemic) to August 2020. What is interesting is now we are starting to see the effect this having on how the physical experience is shifting. Companies are looking to invest in smaller retail space that is optimized for pick-up and delivery. In fact, I would not be surprised to see dedicated drive thru lanes for services like Uber Eats and Grub Hub and maybe even loyal online buyer pick up window at McDonalds coming soon. And I can even envision “distribution” sites where there is only a kitchen so that companies can operate in lower cost industrial districts vs. paying higher rent on Main Street. These points illustrate why “future proof” decisions for technology need to be more cloud-based and composable, per Gartner Groups "By 2023, organizations that have adopted a Composable Commerce approach will outpace competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation." Other use cases that blend of online and offline: Contactless checkout. Provides a unique buying experience where there is never a que to pay. Even the self-service lines are getting longer as less clerks run registers. This allows the buyer to skip the line all together and your staff can spend more time helping customer 1x1 on the floor and stuck behind a bar code scanner. Having a data driven catalog solution means you can ensure the in-store experience is the same as online. Buyers can see product in the store and even if it is not available in that store, they can find it online with the same price and option to purchase and ship to their home. The data and availability is in full sync with your warehouses. Sell your brand direct to great trust and loyalty Marketplaces and retail sites are great ways to get your product exposed, but then you are just a commodity stuck presenting your product the same way as your competition. However, you need to have a place where you can control the online experience and have that work seamlessly with the marketplaces and retails you also may use – online and offline. If you currently are managing the information about your products and services in silos across these channels, you may not be operating on a “future proof” platform. Many eCommerce vendors claim multi-channel as a strength, but really, they are just enabling loosely couple separate instances that require a ton of user and technical support to operate effectively across channels. Adding to this complexity and something that is at the heart of Elastic Path’s customer base is multi-brand and multi-geo. In order to have a seamless experience across this ecosystem you need to consider how well your current platform enables this integration on both the customer experience and back-office operations. The bigger and more diversified your company gets, the harder this will get. While the quick to deploy cloud monolith might look attractive to get started. You will soon outgrow it if you are successful, and you will likely fail to scale with an experience buyers will expect as a standard in the near future, as more and more buying happens across digital channels. Want curbside pick up or contactless checkout? Elastic Path enables you to quickly and easily spin up new digital purchasing pathways so you can keep up with modern customer demands and scale your business. Learn more Channel variety will continue to diversify Think about why major brands had to be on main street or in the mall? Foot traffic. They knew that just by being visible to buyers when they went out shopping would help drive revenue, even if they if what they were selling was not the main reason a buyer went out. Now that the buyer is spending more time online and the internet can reach everyone no matter if they are at home, work or on vacation the new main street is social media. But it is not enough to just promote you brand with ads and sponsored posts. You need to have a personal presence and you need to make it easy to transact within the social experience. Using social will continue to rise according to most experts and the statistics are amazing for how things look today, considering MySpace came on the scene less than 20 years ago. Below are some stats compiled by Hootsuite earlier this year. (Source) It will be in the best interest if the social platform and seller to utilize open, standard ways to connect – aka APIs. But not just any API, these connections need to flexible and capable of connecting without custom code. This again underscores the importance of having a modern, composable eCommerce platform designed to connect in a modern cloud world. Buying Online will become the experience Back to the mall one more time. Remember when going to mall meant hanging with friends, going to music store to check out the latest album or heading to Footlocker to check out Nike’s latest new kicks. All that is gone, but we are still visual and social beings. The experience online needs get better in this area to win. If the experience online is not a good one and your product does not create an emotional bond with buyer, you will lose. But it will go beyond cool websites and mobile apps as technology like VR/AR being to take hold. According to Goldman Sachs, the market for AR and VR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025. The fact is most current eCommerce platforms are not ready to meet the unknown future, which is why we are seeing growing interest in the market for headless commerce solutions. However, companies that want to future proof eCommerce need to think beyond the CMS and Mobile as the head – they need to image a world where everything we interact with can become an interface to transact. That is why you need to consider platforms that have been built from the ground up using open API architectures. To those platforms, the “head” can be just about anything you can imagine it to be.
    Topics: future, buyer, going, ecommerce, customer, buying, online, evolve, need, brands, experience.
  • How a Microbiome Company Runs a 7-Figure Ambassador Program - BIOHM Health was found by Afif Ghannoum, a biotech lawyer and his father Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum, a microbiome researcher. The duo wanted to combine their expertise to create a probiotic company that brought research from the academic world into the homes of consumers. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Afif shares BIOHM Health’s journey of building a 7-figures sales channel with an ambassador program, and how they increased customer lifetime value by 40%.More
    Topics: 7figure, theyre, customer, going, trying, runs, thats, ambassador, youre, product, lot, really, microbiome, company, dont, program.
  • How to Build and Scale a High-Performance Marketing Team, According to Leaders Who've Done It - In 2020, I started using Headspace.
    Topics: youre, according, business, build, marketing, told, highperformance, customer, culture, whove, need, team, hire, scale, leaders.
  • How to Create a Funnel Report [Quick Guide] - You’ve probably heard that it’s crucial to keep a full, flowing funnel for a business. But what does this mean, and how do you know when you’re on the right track?
    Topics: leads, create, guide, marketing, report, stage, quick, funnel, reports, customer, conversion, customers, sales.
  • How to Create a Successful Holiday Customer Service Strategy - The holiday season is unlike any other time of year and it’s important that your ecommerce store is ready for…
    Topics: customers, revenue, stressful, need, chat, free, youve, holidays, service, steps, crucial, successful, customer, holiday.
  • How to Easily Manage Customer Data Across Multiple Apps - In an ideal world, your business has immaculate customer data. You know exactly where to find the right contact email, when they became a customer, and who in your team spoke to them last. Your data is segmented, up-to-date and reliable.
    Topics: app, sync, syncing, easily, customer, different, apps, manage, business, multiple, experience, uptodate, data.
  • How to Enable Data-Driven Decisions by Integrating Your Apps - How big is your business's database? From the moment someone becomes interested in your product or service and long after the purchase, you're collecting data — and it can multiply fast.
    Topics: different, datadriven, customer, apps, businesses, teams, leads, decisions, integrating, right, marketing, tools, enable, business, data.
  • How to Grow and Scale Your Ecommerce Brand in 2022 - Learn how to harness recent trends and shifts in consumer shopping to propel your sales and scale in 2022.
    Topics: customers, brand, customer, online, grow, need, scale, social, shopping, experience, ecommerce, trends.
  • - How to maximize profits on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
    Topics: send, audiences, retailers, purchase, holiday, bfcm, black, profits, marketing, strategies, customers, customer, maximize.
  • How to Sell Jewelry Online and Build a Store That Shoppers Love - Jewelry is a timeless and powerful part of the human experience.  According to the International Gem Society (IGS), the earliest…
    Topics: practical, build, customer, need, business, jewelry, sell, ecommerce, brand, guide, marketing, online, shoppers, successfully.
  • - Walmart has grown into a globally recognized brand and dramatically changed the retail landscape since opening its first store in…
    Topics: marketplace, sellers, success, customer, walmart, merchants, fulfillment, products, sell, bigcommerce, product, guide.
  • - Convenience is the name of the game for online subscriptions. People like to know that their mega pack of toilet paper shows up on their doorstep every month. They want access to an infinite supply of streaming channels instead of… Continue reading How to Sell Subscriptions on Shopify (Jan 2022)
    Topics: model, product, products, jan, customer, subscription, subscriptions, sell, customers, business, shopify.
  • How to Set Up Automated Email Marketing Workflows (+ Examples) - Without email marketing automation, your marketing team is missing out on major opportunities to nurture and engage your target audience and existing contacts.
    Topics: marketing, workflow, trigger, customers, customer, contacts, examples, workflows, automation, email, set, emails, automated.
  • How to set up volume pricing with Elastic Path - In the eCommerce industry, we’re always looking for ways to increase conversion rate, maximize average order value, and maintain brand loyalty. One such way that eCommerce merchandisers entice their customers to purchase a larger quantity of their products, is to employ a volume pricing strategy. In this article, we will be discussing what volume pricing is, the benefits of employing a volume pricing strategy, and how to set it up in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud.   What is Volume Pricing? Volume pricing refers to the pricing structure that creates discounts for large quantity purchases. In this type of strategy, specific unit prices are assigned to a quantity range for a product. So this means a customer will get a discounted price per unit, based on the quantity range their purchase falls in. This essentially leads to overall higher discounts for the customer when their purchase falls in a higher quantity range. Let’s take a look at an example to better demonstrate this strategy. Let’s say you run a home improvement business, and you have decided to apply a volume pricing strategy with the following ranges: A customer who chooses to buy 85 units of tiles will only pay 85 x $35 = $2975; compared to 85 x $50 = $4250 that they would have been subjected to pay if volume pricing wasn’t deployed. By deploying this strategy you get the opportunity to clean out some of your inventory and make way for new products, while your customer saves $1275.   Benefits of Using Volume Pricing Deploying a volume pricing strategy for products in your catalog can be beneficial for your business.   It encourages customers to buy more. When you offer volume pricing for products, it usually motivates customers to purchase higher quantities so they can receive the discount. This in turn leads to higher sales for your business.   It helps to move out inventory. If your store still contains products that didn’t have a high demand during the season, you can deploy a volume pricing strategy to clear our expiring products or simply make way for new ones. This allows you to minimize inventory and at the same time minimize overall shipping cost as well. This type of strategy becomes specifically handy during holiday seasons like Christmas, Easter and Halloween.   It could help with converting new customers. Offering volume pricing to new customers, could cause your business to convert more new customers compared to your competitor. As the strategy has initiated a customer’s first purchase, you will now have the opportunity to gain their regular price sales, as well as potential sales for other products as well.   It could help with maintaining customers. Similarly to converting customers, you could also deploy the same strategy to only allow volume pricing to loyal customers. This sense of exclusivity could compel them to shop with your business rather than shopping with your competitor.   It could increase your customer base. By offering this type of value to your customers, you could create affinity towards your brand. This could lead to more customer loyalty, as well as word of mouth marketing to your customers’ friends, enticing them to also shop at your store.   How Do I Set Up Volume Pricing With Elastic Path? Setting up volume pricing in Elastic Path is quite simple. Here is a short demo below: We hope this was helpful. Visit our demo library to explore other features with Elastic Path Commerce Cloud
    Topics: purchase, set, quantity, products, pricing, higher, elastic, strategy, path, customers, volume, customer.
  • - When it comes to the best marketing software to help you manage your customer experience, there are two major players in town: HubSpot and ActiveCampaign.  HubSpot is a cloud-based CRM software (customer relationship management system) designed to help entrepreneurs align… Continue reading HubSpot vs ActiveCampaign: Battle of the CRMs
    Topics: battle, tools, activecampaign, hubspot, customer, sales, marketing, team, crm, engagement, vs, email, crms.
  • Inside Elastic Path with Nikola Radic - Our Inside Elastic Path blog series features Nikola Radic, a Principal Performance Engineer, who has been with Elastic Path for 8 years. Nikola’s role consists of optimizing the Elastic Path Commerce product to meet customer expectations and improve user experience. Learn more about Nikola and what he loves about our company. Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Principal Performance Engineer? Nikola: My day can be very different, depending on whether I work on a customer issue or on a regular task.  Customer issues usually require my full attention and a quick and effective solution. Regular tasks may include (but are not limited to) the development of new performance features, fixing non-urgent performance issues, optimizing build pipelines etc. Generally, my ultimate goal is to improve the efficiency of both, the product and the development process. Q: In your current role is there something you are most proud of? Q: How would you describe the culture at Elastic Path? Nikola:In two words, the people and culture. However, the culture overall at Elastic Path is unique, and simply amazing. There is so much collaboration between teams, the people are friendly, and willing to help at any possible moment. Q: Thinking back from when you first joined Elastic Path, what led you to join the company? Nikola: I came across Elastic Path when looking for jobs before moving to Canada. I have had experience working in the eCommerce area before, and Elastic Path stood out to me. The culture and the job description aligned with everything I was looking for, which is what caused me to apply and join the company! Q: If you had to say to someone that was considering on applying, what would you say?   Nikola: Elastic Path is a great company to work for, and it is very rewarding, so I recommend applying. I also enjoy how we can further our skills in our role, and take professional development courses with our allowance to learn new things. Q: What is your favorite movie? Nikola: My favorite movie would have to be the first Matrix movie, and if you have not seen it, check it out!
    Topics: performance, elastic, work, path, role, customer, inside, radic, development, nikola, regular, product, culture.
  • - It may sound surprising, but dropshipping has been a profitable form of business model for fulfillment since the 1960s, even before the internet was around. Mail order catalog companies like CompuCard partnered with larger retailers like JCPenney and Sears to… Continue reading Is Dropshipping Worth It? Find Out the Truth About Dropshipping Success
    Topics: customers, dropshipping, dropshippers, business, truth, products, product, youre, success, shipping, worth, customer.
  • Leveraging customer feedback and data to iterate on your product - We held a panel during Disrupt with Jean-Denis Grèze of Plaid, Stephanie Mencarelli of InVision and Pete Thompson of eBay on being data driven, segmenting your user base, iteration speed and more.
    Topics: iterate, data, youre, segmenting, mencarelli, customer, techcrunch, forms, leveraging, feedback, thompson, say, important, things, product.
  • Maev secures $9M; will have your dog howling for more of its raw pet food - Now with the new capital in hand, CEO Katie Spies plans to “put a foot on the gas” to push its 20% month over month growth to 25%.
    Topics: customer, spies, maev, raw, product, secures, started, howling, dog, 9m, pet, food, products, company, pets, techcrunch.
  • Make it Big 2021: Now Available On Demand - Our 2021 Make it Big conference was bigger than ever — with more industry legends, global thought leaders and ecommerce…
    Topics: customer, conference, tiktok, demand, learn, creating, big, available, session, shares, walmart.
  • - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. In 2021, digital…
    Topics: today, digitalmarketer, richard, digital, understand, customer, marketing, lindner, podcast, think, started, day, watch, trends, big, copy, youre.
  • Make it Big Podcast: Delivering a Seamless Post-Purchase Experience This Holiday Season - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. In this episode,…
    Topics: delivering, brand, loyalty, customers, things, seen, big, season, merchants, weve, podcast, experience, really, customer, holiday, shipping, postpurchase, seamless.
  • Make it Big Podcast: Trends and Predictions for an Unprecedented Holiday Season with Trustpilot - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. In its 2021…
    Topics: customer, reviews, going, trustpilot, need, review, trends, podcast, unprecedented, holiday, big, youre, season, experience, predictions, service, think.
  • Marcus Murphy and Oli Billson Share Leading Trends for UX and Digital Innovation at Make it Big 2021 - Digital innovation is moving at a speed we’ve never seen before — which means constantly changing customer expectations. At BigCommerce’s…
    Topics: theyre, platforms, leading, message, murphy, innovation, oli, customers, think, billson, ux, brands, customer, share, trends, know, really, ways, digital, marcus.
  • Michael Mosser Explores New Ways to Win with Walmart Marketplace at Make it Big 2021 - Did you know that 89% of people in the US shopped at a Walmart store last year? At BigCommerce’s 2021…
    Topics: sellers, walmart, mosser, marketplace, big, omnichannel, trust, customer, ways, shopping, michael, explores, customers, things, win, brand.
  • Neuro-ID takes in fresh capital to combat fraud from all of our taps, types and swipes - The company captures real-time customer behavior so companies can see who is genuine, and who is fraudulent, and identify the root cause of customer friction.
    Topics: digital, fresh, types, fraud, combat, swipes, techcrunch, taps, capital, customer, analytics, customers, series, million, takes, neuroid, revenue, funding.
  • Ocurate raises $3.5M to show customer lifetime value for B2C companies - Ocurate believes lifetime value is a better prediction of how much profit a customer will bring to the company.
    Topics: value, customer, round, techcrunch, customers, ocurate, data, clients, raises, lifetime, companies, 35m, b2c, company, konitzer.
  • Optimove raises $75M growth investment to manage customer-led journeys at scale - Optimove's customer relationship management marketing platform helps brands keep customers coming back.
    Topics: messages, techcrunch, customerled, data, scale, raises, journeys, customers, yakuel, company, growth, investment, summit, right, marketing, 75m, manage, customer, optimove.
  • Personalization is Changing Marketing, Here's What To Expect - Want to capture more conversions and engage more leads? You'll want to get personal. But how can marketers make this personalized approach work for their brands?
    Topics: changing, information, privacy, personalized, personalization, marketing, consumers, customer, social, heres, personal, expect, customers.
  • Prepare Your Shipping for the 2021 Holiday Season - Over the last couple of years, ecommerce business owners have seen their fair share of shipping and delivery woes. From…
    Topics: shipping, return, best, business, fulfillment, options, easy, practices, delivery, customers, holiday, customer.
  • SMS Marketing for Ecommerce: Everything You Need to Know to Supercharge Your Sales - Ecommerce is growing fast — particularly mobile commerce or mcommerce. And while email marketing has long been one of the…
    Topics: revenue, ecommerce, strategies, customer, customers, marketing, messages, message, text, sms, platform, email.
  • Seel secures $17M round to infuse AI in customer product returns - Merchants can add “return assurance” to an order, if it is returned in the next 30 days, Seel, instead of the merchant, will pay for the refund.
    Topics: ai, underwriting, returns, return, assurance, product, secures, peng, techcrunch, 17m, customer, ecommerce, order, sold, round, seel, merchants, infuse.
  • Seven Ways Jetpack CRM Can Help Your WooCommerce Store Grow - Jetpack CRM is an excellent CRM for WooCommerce, with a modular approach, seamless integration, and limitless functionality. Find out more.
    Topics: store, product, jetpack, dont, crms, woocommerce, ways, grow, need, help, data, business, crm, seven, customers, customer.
  • - ShipBots is an order fulfillment service for ecommerce stores with standard storage and shipping needs. It also offers unique fulfillment options for subscription boxes, retail, Amazon FBA prep, merchandise, and apparel. In the booming industry of 3PL (3rd-party logistics), is… Continue reading ShipBots Review: A Family-owned, Highly-flexible Ecommerce Fulfillment Company
    Topics: customer, storage, shipping, warehouse, ecommerce, shipbots, familyowned, inventory, fulfillment, highlyflexible, review, online, company, order.
  • Shopping Cart Checklist – What to Look For in a Checkout Experience - Author's Note: This is an update to a post originally published in May 2011 and has been edited for relevancy There are myriad reasons why your customers don’t complete a purchase; from sticker shock, to wanting to showroom an item instead prior to purchase, to simply getting distracted and abandoning the cart,andit can be something entirely unrelated to design or usability. When shopping online here are several things related to cart/checkout to look for that affect your customer’s experience in meaningful ways: Must Have Shopping Cart Page Features 1. Cart is visible throughout the experience Research shows when a cart is constantly within range of the shopping experience abandonment rates diminish. Amazon does this effortlessly on their dedicated app. 2. Seamless Multi-brand or Multi-geo When multiple brands co-exist the cart/checkout process should look seamless to the customer. Deliver unique customer experiences Get a custom demo to see how Elastic Path will help you deliver the unique customer experience you've always imagined. Check out Demos 3. Easy to view thumbnails The product is the hero and stands out within the cart. 4. Product availability is prominent Should the item be out of stock, it’s clearly set off in a different font size, color, or housed within a separate design element.   5. Offer clean, non-competing CTAs (Calls to Action)  CTAs should never compete font-wise, nor be similar in size, shape, or color. Be clear in what you’re asking the customer to do. 6. Shipping and Tax Calculation All costs are clearly visible, so the customer knows exactly what they are paying in total for the item(s) including tax and shipping. 7. Chatbot Should there be questions or issues within the checkout process or throughout the shopping journey, a chat feature pops up to assist in real time. No need for emails or calls that may adversely affect the customer experience.   8. Move to Later Not a must-have for every shopping experience, but certainly worth it to retain the purchase for later and to help with conversions on the retailer side. 9. Save Cart Especially helpful for a buyer purchase when the order may be larger or more complex for a specific project. 10. Gift Options Icing on the cake for a busy shopper! 11. Universal Cart  A bit more complexity than meets the eye, but certainly in the zeitgeist of eCommerce. A universal cart allows customers to add, remove, modify, or purchase any of the items in their digital cart whether customers are in-store, online or on the retailer’s mobile app. When taking a deeper dive into the universal cart concept, you’ll need to ask yourself a key question as a retailer: What price are you willing to honor across all channels and geos? Spending and shopping habits drive the experience. Shoppers are increasingly demanding the lowest price for an item, no matter what channel they’re using to find it. The presence of these elements are not the end of shopping cart optimization. It's also key how they are presented, and how your cart page works. This list is a guideline to show you what you may be missing, but ongoing testing is the best way to continue to learn what works best for you. Looking for more eCommerce content? Check out our Mobile Commerce Guide for more insights and trends.
    Topics: customer, shopping, experience, customers, item, purchase, look, works, checklist, visible, checkout, universal, cart.
  • Should Merchants Launch Their Own Marketplaces? - For manufacturers, distributors, and enterprise retailers, owning a marketplace could be a competitive advantage and a key to business growth.
    Topics: marketplace, customers, launch, customer, forno, business, example, marketplaces, merchants, products, sellers, nussenbaum.
  • Social Chat launches with $6M to bring brands closer to their customers - Social Chat was founded on the premise that social commerce should be the standard for every store, and it may very well be soon.
    Topics: customer, market, customers, commerce, closer, brands, 6m, bring, personalization, techcrunch, chat, shopping, social, launches, wish.
  • Subscriptions Power Disco Past iOS 14.5, Amazon - The year 2021 has been a doozy for Ben Smith. In March, he celebrated an investment round for Disco, his direct-to-consumer skincare company. In April, Disco's customer acquisition cost increased by a whopping 300% with the release of iOS 14.5. In May, he began selling a top item on Amazon.
    Topics: acquisition, facebook, marketing, amazon, subscriptions, customer, money, ios, google, power, cost, past, disco.
  • TechCrunch+ roundup: Less VC for SV, 2022 marketing predictions, GTM research strategies - The fact that the Bay Area's share of startup funding is shrinking shouldn't be cause for alarm — it's good news for the entire country.
    Topics: customer, management, writes, customers, strategies, gtm, marketing, great, techcrunch, vc, investment, factors, visa, roundup, predictions, research, growth, sv.
  • - Welcome to our ultimate BetterCommerce review. The ecommerce space is extremely competitive and without access to the best solutions, your brand may suffer. Large scale enterprises are in the same competing space as midsize and small businesses and this makes… Continue reading The Complete BetterCommerce Review (Oct 2021)
    Topics: bettercommerce, platform, product, ecommerce, oct, provides, features, customer, review, solution, data, business, complete.
  • The One Thing Ecommerce Success Stories Have in Common - Beyond snappy content writing and market research, and more critical than SEO and clever accounting, there is a unifying principle to steady Ecommerce growth.
    Topics: think, products, customers, business, ecommerce, brand, youre, worked, customer, feel, common, thing, know, success.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Database Marketing - No matter what your service or product is, you need to get in front of potential customers in order to make the sale. Many businesses put their faith in social media.
    Topics: business, information, customer, ultimate, status, customers, marketing, social, database, data, guide, dont.
  • - Welcome to our ultimate Sezzle review. If you run an online business you know how crucial it is to offer your customers the right payment solutions at checkout. Imagine offering only Sripe as the payment option for shoppers on your… Continue reading The Ultimate Sezzle Review (Dec 2021): A Pay Later Service for Online Shopping
    Topics: online, dec, customers, customer, product, ecommerce, pay, shopping, later, credit, solution, sezzle, review, ultimate, payment, service.
  • The hybrid customer experience may be the key to your eCommerce success - This post was originally published on March 11, 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy in the market. Why a Hybrid Customer Experience is Essential for Today’s Consumer There are 2.14 billion digital shoppers today. Having an eCommerce strategy has become not just a nice-to-have, but a vital component of any business’s long-term success; And the recent expansion of IoT, proliferation of smart devices, global crises like COVID-19, and trending mobile apps like TikTok, have forced businesses to shift their focus, expand their online presence, and accelerate their digital strategy. After all, that’s where the customers are, right? While yes, many consumers today do prefer shop online as it can be more accessible and cater to personal preferences, it’s not the end of the brick-and-mortar store. As it turns out, based on a 2019 study, many customers actually prefer a hybrid experience over one that is entirely online or in-person. In fact, customers that shop using more than one channel have a 30% higher lifetime value than those that only use one. What exactly is a hybrid customer experience? The hybrid experience is a commerce experience that combines elements of both eCommerce and in-person shopping experiences, whether that’s in-store, at an event, or over the phone. A good example in understanding the hybrid experience is how many companies now let customers order products online and pick them up at one of their local stores. Many businesses also now allow customers to return items they ordered online to a local store to receive a refund or even cash. We’ve even recently seen the adoption of in-store mobile self-checkout and COVID-19 introduced the concept of curbside pickup. These hybrid experiences are driven by an integrated ecommerce strategy and solution that allows companies to carry not only brand messaging, marketing tactics, and product information across channels, but also customer data. This means businesses can give customers a more seamless, frictionless experience. Their account information can be accessed by in-store representatives or pulled up on different devices, and shoppers can hunt for product data such as pricing or in-store availability. At the end of the day, consumers can take that next step of their journey when and how they want. That level of convenience is one of the core underlying behaviors that drive all shoppers today. Why all businesses should consider a hybrid approach In 2016 and 2017, customer experiences that were fully online experienced a one percent decline, while customer experiences that were hybrid actually increased by one percent. For large companies, a one percent change in either direction can represent either a loss or gain of hundreds of millions in revenue. Today, in 2021, companies that can build and deliver strong multi-channel engagement for their customers can actually see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue. Here are a few additional compelling trends and stats that highlight the importance of leveraging a hybrid customer experience: Consumers of all ages – including 62% of Baby Boomers and 58% of Gen Zers, still prefer buying from a physical store (Source) 63% of shopping occasions begin online (Source) 45% of brick-and-mortar buyers check online reviews before buying (Source) 50% of Consumers Expect to Buy Online and Be Able to Pick Up In-Store (Source) 39% of consumers are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer’s store if the online store does not provide physical store inventory information (Source) 71% of in-store shoppers who use smartphones for research say their device has become more important to their in-store experience (Source) 56% of consumers have used their mobile device to research products at home with 38% having used their mobile device to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and 34% who have used their mobile device to research products while in a store. (Source) Given some of the stats above, it apparent that in-store moments matter to customers, whether they’re stand alone or augmented by a digital concept. The reason why the hybrid experience was deemed better than online or traditional experiences is mainly about convenience. Customers aren’t necessarily looking for a specific shopping experience. Instead, they are looking for the best overall shopping experience for their wants and needs. Customers today demand shopping experiences that are simple, lack any friction, and can cater to their preferences and timeline. The emotional response to the shopping experience is another important factor. Less friction, more personalization, and better convenience will satisfy consumers, and a positive emotional response increases brand affiliation and can result in positive reviews, word-of-mouth, more revenue and less churn. When a company’s overall shopping experience is pleasant, customers tend to remember that and often become repeat customers as a result. Ready to Bring Your Hybrid Commerce Strategy to Life? Make any touchpoint transactional and build unique commerce experiences catered to your brand with an Omnichannel approach. Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more. Read the Guide Hybrid Customer Experience Example 1: Carvana Carvana for example, is typically an online-only car company founded in 2012 that embraced the hybrid experience in a creatively big way. The company’s business model involves selling slightly used vehicles online for less than what traditional car dealers sell them for. Customers can order cars online and have them shipped to their homes. They then have seven days to decide whether to keep them or return them for a full refund. But Carvana customers also have another option. They can travel to a Carvana location and pick up their new vehicles in person if they want. And to make things interesting, the company has created what it calls a “car vending machine,” which is a five-story automated car storage and retrieval system. Carvana customers are given a large token. When placed in a token receptacle, the system is activated and the vehicle they selected is pulled from inventory and placed right in front of them – just like a vending machine In the Carvana example, and with other companies that have embraced the hybrid experience, the important takeaway is customers aren’t necessarily looking for a traditional retail experience or an online experience. They are looking for a shopping experience that makes them feel like a valued customer. It’s about offering customers a superior shopping experience, and it’s a strategy you can embrace with your eCommerce business to take it to the next level, win over more customers, and close more sales. Hybrid Customer Experience Example 2: Birchbox Birchbox is another prime example of a brand that that took their mastery of online ecommerce and expanded to physical locations. Birchbox, founded in 2010, is a global online monthly subscription service for beauty products and cosmetics. They offer a wide variety of skin care products, makeup, perfumes, and other organic-based beauty lines to consumers in the US, the UK, France, Spain, Belgium, and Ireland. In 2014, four years after launching their online-only business, BirchBox dove head-first into in-person retail and opened their first brick-and-mortar shop in New York City’s Soho neighborhood. Consumer data showed that shoppers in New York had a 3x higher lifetime value than any other customer. In an attempt to cater to their most loyal customers, they wanted to offer a personalized, in-person experience. Customers can build custom boxes, in-person, just like they might online, but they’re also able to get the knowledge and expertise of the BirchBox representatives, ask questions, and get an even more personalized experience. Where Birchbox excelled was how they carried their online brand experience and messaging to an in-person experience. Consumers could still pick-and-mix while choosing from the top 100 products and brands that Birchbox had to offer. Even the store coloring and concepts matched their digital store, from the color and styling to the packaging.  Developing your hybrid experience strategy If you want to cash in on the benefits of the hybrid shopping experience, you’ll need to develop a strategy to implement hybrid solutions in your own eCommerce business. There are many different ways you can do this, and a strategy that works for one company isn’t necessarily going to work for another. Still, there is a general approach to developing a strategy that does work well for most businesses. The first thing you want to do is to brainstorm ways you can transform your eCommerce business from a solely online or in-person venture into a hybrid business. What are some ways you can improve the customer experience by adding a physical or digital element to your business? Write down everything that comes to mind and then carefully consider each idea to see if it makes sense financially for you to pursue. The next thing is to implement your idea to see if you see an increase in customer loyalty and repeat business. If you do come up with more than one idea, it’s important to experiment with only one idea at a time. That way you will be able to easily determine the things that work and those that don’t. Consider split testing your ideas. Measure shopping outcomes prior to implementing ideas and after so you can have a clear comparison of the results. You also want to consider investing in the latest technologies if a technological solution will be a part of your strategy. How long has a particular technology been around? You don’t want to run into a situation where you invest in a technology only to find out something better and/or more affordable is about to be released. Which companies offer the technology you are interested in? Take the time to evaluate different options to see which company offers the best solution for your needs. Other factors to consider when evaluating options include how much customer support is offered, availability of product training, and overall ease of use. Finally, when developing your hybrid experience strategy, it’s vitally important to always remember what customers are looking for. It isn’t an issue of online versus offline. Rather, it’s about the overall shopping experience. The purpose of developing a hybrid strategy is to increase brand loyalty. Anything that takes away from that goal should be discarded. Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Hybrid Customer Experience Do Ensure Your Messaging is Consistent Both Online and In-store You want your customers to have the same brand experience walking around your brick-and-mortar shop as they do when browsing online. This can include your graphics, copy, sinage, and even product labeling or packaging. They don’t need be identical, but should give your customers the vibe they know and love. Don’t Try to Make the In-Store Experience the Exact Same as Your Digital Experience In fact, you don’t want it to be. In-store shopping is a much more sensory experience than a digital one and should be treated as such. People shop in-person still because they like to see, smell, feel, or try on the products they’re evaluating, and this is something brands should take advantage of. Take Sephora, the retail beauty giant. The brand look and feel and messaging is the same across the website and in-store experience, but when you go in person, you can smell the perfume when you walk in. You can get physical free samples and even get your makeup done at the counter.   Imagine Sephora decided to remove all that, but you could still use their digital app in-store to virtually ‘try on’ the newest lipstick color. Doesn’t quite make sense, does it? Do Offer the Same Level of Communication and Education as You Do Online Customers want to feel like they’re getting the same value as they do when hunting for product information online. You’ll want to ensure your ground staff has been trained on company branding, messaging, and are knowledge on product information. Having one-on-one recommendations come from an in-store representative feels personal, one of the other core trends consumers crave today. The bottom line At the end of the day, you could just continue doing the things that have already made you successful and not bother with embracing the hybrid experience. Why rock the boat? But ignoring the power of the hybrid experience is leaving money on the table. Making the hybrid experience a part of your strategy is really about increasing customer loyalty, brand recognition, and revenue. It’s about scaling your business and growing the bottom line.
    Topics: key, brand, customers, ecommerce, online, strategy, instore, success, customer, store, shopping, experience, hybrid.
  • This Is Why You Need to Adjust Your Ecommerce-Channel Strategy Today - Ecommerce continues to grow and thrive, but companies must adapt to find real success.
    Topics: business, ecommerce, instagram, sell, single, multichannel, adjust, ecommercechannel, channel, today, channels, need, customer, platforms, strategy.
  • Three Areas to Focus on Customer Service in 2022 and Win Online - A headline recently caught my eye, which highlighted the rising cost of delivering an ecommerce experience and how the days of going online for better deals may be shifting as retailers and branded manufactures start to raise prices online to improve margins. Working for a company that sells an ecommerce platform, it got me thinking about how this reality might impact online customer experiences. While there was almost a blind rush to get 100% online during the pandemic, businesses will no doubt be evaluating how they invest in ecommerce to support permanent shifts in buying habits. In 2021, buyers started to go in store/in person or continued embrace a hybrid approach like buy online and return in store, this had created more data that shows profits are better when buyers use brick and mortar commerce. The corporate bean counters that analyze spreadsheets will be pressing the business to push buyers down a more profitable path and likely begin question the value of ecommerce investments in favor of seeing recovery from more traditional channels. Others might view ecommerce as a risk mitigation approach for when the next pandemic hits and make sure there is something viable in place. And some may focus on how to cut costs across the ecommerce supply chain, with little thought on the impact to the buyer – hey it’s the new normal as we wait 6 months for a couch, right? However, real winners in all this will be the companies that look at ecommerce as part of a multi-channel customer service experience. Instead of grouping buyers into those that buy online and those that don’t, businesses will need to consider the following three segments: Those that prefer to buy online Those that prefer in person buying experiences Those that move almost equally between both experiences. Add to that a deep layer of buyer complexity for the hybrid buyer is how they move from online direct-to-consumer vs. online marketplace sites vs. in person buying. The following are three areas that companies should consider pulling in your customer success/customer service team to input on design ideas and optimize across multiple channels where ecommerce is involved. 1. Returns/Exchanges Always a hot topic around the holidays and certainly driving the discussion around the rising cost of ecommerce in 2021 is returns and exchanges. The impact of returned merchandize is having major cost impacts on businesses, but also some are seeing it as an environmental impact. “According to research firm Statista, the delivery car fleet could reach 7.2 million vehicles by the end of this decade, and total emissions caused by parcel and freight shipping are forecast to generate 25 million tons of CO2. In addition, the average commute time, including last-mile delivery, is expected to increase from 53 minutes in 2019 to 64 minutes in 2030.” (Source) “Approximately 30% of e-commerce sales are returned compared to 10% of brick-and-mortar sales, according to CBRE.” (Source) Data shows that consumers return more things bought online and if you think about the deliver chain for returns, the environmental impact of delivery is 2x and if you exchange something it is 3x – deliver the item, return the item, and deliver the new item. While companies focus on fuel efficient modes of transportation, it likely will take decades to offset the rapid rise in transportation required to support rising online buying behaviors. However, there is a customer service opportunity that elevates your brand, cuts cost and maybe even adds to an upselling model when enticing buyers into the store when returning an item. Providing incentive to take items ordered online to a branded store or reseller location can accomplish this task – but it can’t just be a reward model, brands can use this to connect ethical environment issues with buyers that find this more and more important. Buyers are choosing loyalty not just based on convenience, but also how the brand aligns with their personal values. Having the buyer bring back the merchandize themselves while on their way home from work or out grocery shopping will reduce the use of less fuel-efficient vehicles and packaging waste required to return an item. 2. Online Search The great thing about selling your goods and services online is your entire inventory is online for the buyer to find. The bad thing about selling your goods and services online is your entire inventory is online for the buy to find. Companies that are using outdated search tools (many of which are packaged with an “all-in-one” ecommerce platform) are missing an opportunity to provide a customer experience critical to generating that first sale and generating loyalty and referrals. By now, it's not a secret that search can drive revenue, but the experience needs to be optimized using more best-in-class tools (part of the composable commerce movement) and consider evolving buying stages when searching. Research circa 2013 showed that search was aligned to late-stage buyers coming to your site and driving higher conversions as a result. But that motion is dependent on the buyer already knowing your brand when they used the search function. With more and more buyers engaging with your brand online as a first experience, your search needs to be an experience versus just a means to an end – it needs to be fast; it needs to understand natural language and type tolerance, it needs to be able to pull in promotions and suggestions in a more engaging format, it needs to align with your catalog management layer to create dynamic and engaging filters to help refine how buyers find products.   Give customers a better experience with an Omnichannnel approach An Omnichannel approach to your commerce strategy will help you deliver a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, at every stage of the buyer's journey. Learn more with our complete guide. Read our Omnichannel Guide 3. Be proactive when there are delays One of my biggest pet peeves buying online is getting to the cart, or even worse, submitting an order to only to be informed that what you want is out of stock or will be delayed due to back-logs. This has become an even hotter topic in 2021 as the supply chain crisis has impacted so many buyers across all industries. Every online seller should make it their mission to create transparency on availability of items and when the buyer has accepted the terms that there will be a delay, proactively update them on status – even if the status is we are still working to get a delivery date. I can speak to this personally having recently ordered a new living room set. We were told it would take up to 10 weeks to get our living room set and we were okay that because it was the “new normal” for 2021. However, that timeline has moved out several times and the only way we know is we (my wife and I) had to call up the company for a status. It is frustrating to think that this company has banked thousands of dollars of our money and we are waiting on product with little to no communication – at least pretend that someone has eyes on our order and is working to get it fulfilled. Not to mention it is possible an alternative may have come up that is in stock and depending on our personal preferences, we might have upgraded to a more expensive set just to get it faster. Not only are there opportunities to improve the customer service experience, but companies could be leaving an upsell opportunity on the table. This will require orchestration across in-store, online, manufacturing and delivery – but knowing that is an area that needs optimization to cut costs, makes sense to include the customer support team into the project to find ways to integrate the buyer communication experience as well. What is interesting is this concept of helping the buy is nothing new. I worked at Herb’s Sport Shop in Hartford, CT back in the 90’s to help pay for college expenses. We had a very small retail floor – so we were limited in the merchandize we would have for customer to browse. The owner required that every customer that came in the door was greeted within seconds of entering – it was the owners only mandate. Most customer loved it as they could describe what they wanted and we help them find it in seconds and we would also upsell in a conversational way, “we have some new team apparel that would match the color on these Air Jordan’s perfectly”. We focused on making sure the customer got value from stepping into our store, we did not have the mall traffic as we were selling on “Main Street USA” – but we knew that every person that came into the store had value and we needed to maximize that experience and this is the principal that needs to be applied across every customer interaction if you want to win in a world of endless online options.
    Topics: win, delivery, areas, needs, ecommerce, customer, store, search, online, focus, buyer, service, buyers, experience.
  • Top 10 Things Customers Expect from Your Online Store - Customer experience is key to any online shopping scenario. Shopping behaviors dictate these experiences and if you’re paying attention to your bottom line there are a few rules to follow: 1. Omnichannel Experience: Allow your customers to shop any way they choose. What that usually means is a blended, omnichannel approach from discovery to purchase. Your customer may start in a brick-and-mortar store window shopping for their next couch, but the transaction may occur on a tablet as they settle in for the night streaming their favorite show. What that means for you isa consistently branded, fully optimized experience across all platforms. From store, to smartphone, to laptop, the experience is seamless. 2. Clear Shopping Interface: One of the key detractors for an abandoned cart is always a clean interface with the shopping cart in clear view. One of theUser Interface design champions is Amazon. With the uncluttered layout and icons (including shopping cart), the user is guided through their shopping journey from search to checkout. 3. Visual Appeal: In addition to clear focus towards checkout, shoppers respond to pleasing layouts (more UI driven design). A trend in the mobile commerce world is the adoption of integrated design. More and more apps are turning to animation and card layout design to entice the user to engage in any way they choose. Here is an example of the card layout design. 4. Robust Search: The larger your product catalog, the more important site search is to your ecommerce success. While it's rare to find an ecommerce site without a search box, it happens, even among some of the most famous brands. Search result usability is also important. Customers expect filtered navigation to further refine results by attributes that are meaningful to them (category, price, star ratings, color, size, etc.). Killer search result pages provide filters, the ability to sort results, prices, stock availability, large thumbnail images, product description snippets and add-to-cart/add-to-wish list buttons. When it comes to product search, Elastic Path partners with Algolia to enable product catalog sharing. Elastic Path offers the script to push the catalog from Elastic Path Commerce Cloud to Algolia. With an integration partner for functions like search, you ultimately build better user experiences with easy implementation and quicker speed to market. 5. Customer Reviews: Customer reviews are known to increase conversions by as much as 270%, with a majority of shoppers (82%) seeking out negative reviews. Word of mouth matters, and shoppers not only seek it out they clearly trust it. 6. Chatbots Shoppers: Prefer the ease of contacting a chatbot to resolve cart or order issues versus making a time-consuming live call and be subjected to the dreaded call queue, or the slower pace of waiting on an email inquiry response. Aside from customer support, product suggestions are a chatbot use case to guide your customer towards purchase, much like a personal shopper. You may also see applications in weather, online banking, news, or even ordering a pizza. Chat is good for business. Research shows sales activity transacted through chatbots, digital voice assistants, and messaging is expected to rise from $41 billion in 2021 to $290 billion by 2025 according to Juniper Research. Read more about top chatbot providers in the market. 7. Personalization: With so much competition in the marketplace it’s important for brands to differentiate themselves with unique experiences. A growing demand for personalized shopping, often tied to social media, is highly sought after among online shoppers. With the ability to curate personal collections and browse influencer content, shoppers are enticed by product suggestions specifically tailored to their style. 8. Payment Methods: Allow customers to pay with any method they choose. Alternative payment options like digital wallet options from Apple, Google, or Samsung are widely accepted and favored for their touchless function. A growing trend in mobile payment is the BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) option from vendors like PayPal and Klarna. BNPL provides a broader payment solution for those on a budget who seek big ticket items. 9. Quick Page: Speed The albatross of all shopping experiences. The slow page load. You have a matter of seconds to impress a shopper once they arrive at your site. The good news is you have established metrics and UI/UX design methodologies in your corner to optimize the experience. 10. Easy Checkout: The checkout process can be tedious enough with entering multiple fields on a smaller smartphone screen. It’s frustrating to get so close to the “place order” finish line then have the burden of a forced account sign up. It most likely results in an abandoned cart. Create more options for shoppers by allowing them either path to purchase; create an account, or simply checkout as a guest.
    Topics: shoppers, customers, customer, things, store, shopping, cart, expect, design, online, search, payment, path, experiences, product.
  • Top Customer-Driven B2B eCommerce Trends - B2B eCommerce has rapidly been changing over the past few years, and 2021 is no exception. With the disruption of COVID-19, new trends have emerged, and the eCommerce landscape is transforming. B2B companies are implementing new strategies to adapt to the changing consumer needs and take advantage of a growing online customer base, characterized by new loyalty programs, deep personalization options, and AI-based features. Below are some of the major customer-driven B2B eCommerce trends of 2021, as well as some key calls to action for B2Bs to optimize their eCommerce strategy. Customer Loyalty Programs: Almost all B2B marketers strive to find a balance between acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers. However, data shows that: 33% of marketers plan to increase spending on customer acquisition, versus only 18% on customer retention. Additionally, 82% of B2B marketers prioritize lead generation, while 43% focus on customer retention. Despite these efforts: The probability of winning a new customer is 5% to 20%, and they account for 70% of a mid-sized firm’s revenue The probability of selling to existing customers is 60% to 70%, and existing customers spend 31% more than new customers on average The cost of acquiring a new customer is 5 to 10 times higher than the cost of retaining an existing customer A 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% to 95% increase in profits With these figures in mind, prioritizing customer acquisition over customer retention can be both costly and risky for B2B firms. By leaving behind an existing customer base, B2Bs can forgo opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, while also losing customer loyalty to potential competitors or customer referrals towards gaining new clients. While customer acquisition enables the development of a strong customer base and count, finding a balance between both is vital to maximizing sales and growth. More and more B2B firms are incorporating customer loyalty programs to boost repeat purchases and strengthen customer retention efforts. Loyalty programs such as transaction-based discounts, referral rewards, priority partnerships, and enrollment into reward-based programs have proven cost effective and offered numerous advantages. Such programs help businesses to meet the increasing expectations of B2B buyers for strong customer service, while also offering benefits such as: Increased brand awareness Simultaneously supporting customer acquisition and retention Boosted upsell and cross-sell Greater customer referrals Improved brand reputation   Deliver a smoother B2B experience Joinn Bryan Beck and ecommerce experts from Amazon Business and Elastic Path as they discuss the key to delivering a smooth B2B omnichannel experience. Watch the Webinar Customer Personalization: Expectations for personalization have continued to increase, with clients requiring more advanced personalization options and features; buyers are demanding experiences that are tailored to their specific needs. According to data from Smarter HQ: 72% of B2B buyers only engage with personalized messaging 69% of B2B buyers are willing to pay more for a personalized experience 67% of B2B buyers will provide personal information to get personal service As the role of customer experience expands in B2B eCommerce, brands are investing heavily into personalization. By utilizing technology such as Progressive web applications, Headless, and The Cloud, in addition to implementing new loyalty programs and taking advantage of AI, B2B manufacturers are leveraging data and consumer insights to cater to more niche and unique needs. Aside from product recommendations and shopping carts, businesses are prioritizing personalization in key components and functions such as search, catalogs, pricing mechanisms, and merchandising. B2B personalization is grounded in boosting efficiency; by making the buyer journey feel convenient and optimized, customers are not only driven to make a purchase, but are also encouraged to buy more. B2B personalization should primarily be aimed at driving efficiency and is typically built around offering an improved customer experience throughout the B2B commerce cycle. This helps B2B organizations’ highlight how their buyer experience is superior in comparison to its key competitors. B2B manufacturers that successfully implemented new personalization options and put personalization at the forefront of their efforts enjoyed steadily increasing revenues. Methods to offer a customized and personalized buyer experience could include: Enabling corporate accounts Modifying Search to showcase available and obtainable products Implementing digital self-service options Using mini-catalogs to support internal operations and teams along with the buyer Providing personalized and dynamic pricing to increase conversions Creating personalized product recommendations Tailoring content and promotions to provide unique customer experiences and highlight the right information Effectively segmenting the market to better target and market to B2B prospects Showcasing personalized, real-time inventory availability (Available to Promise, ATP) Delivering personalized error messaging Offering personalized account management However, it is important that B2B organizations do not become trapped in a B2C personalization mindset. While B2C personalization is based on driving revenue through transactions, B2B personalization drives revenue by optimizing efficiency. Rather than simply personalizing content, B2Bs should focus on personalizing the entire user experience by re-evaluating and iterating on key features and functionalities on their platform. Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence (AI) and its various applications have been a hot topic in business circles over the past few years. Businesses have continued to adopt and integrate AI programs to expand their scale, achieve new targets, and maximize growth. Market researchers predict that spending on AI-based systems will rise to over $52 billion by 2021, marking a 50% increase over the previous five-year forecast. Key figures show that: The forecasted AI annual growth rate between 2020 and 2027 is 33.2% By 2030, AI will lead to an estimated $15.7 trillion, or 26% increase in global GDP 20% of businesses say automating tasks such as invoicing and contract validation is the second most crucial use of AI 48% of companies use data analysis, machine learning, or AI tools to address data quality issues 51% of eCommerce players have implemented automation technologies across sales, marketing, and customer service teams to ensure a seamless user experience for customers. The top three most significant challenges companies face when considering the implementation of AI are staff skills (56%), the fear of the unknown (42%), and finding a starting point (26%). Moreover, research and data also support that with its large growth and continued expansion, AI will become increasingly applicable to B2B eCommerce operations. With over 50% of eCommerce firms already incorporating AI in some fashion to develop and improve on existing user experiences, there is high potential for new AI-based features. Some of the key capabilities of AI that are useful for B2Bs include: Data Analytics: Artificial Intelligence enables complex data analysis across systems, while supporting the capturing, organization, recording, and prediction of missing values. This has helped B2B firms gain new insights about their eCommerce operations. Increased access to data combined with predictive analytics empowers them to incorporate changes, transform marketing efforts, and maximize sales. Personalized product recommendations: Artificial Intelligence uses demographics and activity to create product recommendations, self-educating and iterating to improve over time. Since personalized product recommendations can directly influence conversion rates and affect sales, many eCommerce companies have invested into AI-powered recommendation engines. Thirty-five percent of Amazon sales come from their machine-learned statistical models directed at product recommendation. Amazon launched Amazon Personalize to enable merchants to utilize demographic and user activity data to create recommendation libraries; Personalize studies this data and utilizes algorithms to optimize recommendations, improving sales and conversions. Predictive Analytics and Guided Selling: Artificial Intelligence systems allow B2B manufacturers to maximize their existing resources through predictive analytics. Through the construction of predictions based on multiple data points, combined with self-education for improved predictive analytics over time, AI can help B2Bs adapt to changes in an evolving market, react to competitive pressure, and optimize business decisions and processes in an uncertain environment. With guided selling, AI systems can also help with the identification of deals at risk of not being won and formulate predictions about which specific items may or may not be purchased. Sentiment Analysis: Artificial Intelligence can recognize sentiment in speech, with many eCommerce brands using these analytics to aid buyers reading reviews. According to data from G2, over 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a product after reading a trusted review. With sentiment analysis, AI systems can create models that help B2B firms understand customer complaints and satisfaction to modify shopping experiences, further combining this with personalization efforts such as personalized product recommendation. Chatbot: Chatbots have become one of the most commonly used AI systems, deployed by businesses of all types. By using natural language processing, chatbots an engage in direct communication with customers or prospective clients, acting as a frontline customer service platform to provide responses about common inquiries, product questions, and FAQs. A report published by bold360 highlighted that 81% of B2B buyers have left a page because they did not want to fill out a form. Chatbots engage users with relevant and contextual information, while removing the need for scheduling or direct communication with sales representatives. The same report highlights a Forrester quote from "The Forrester Tech Tide: B2B Marketing Technologies" report,  “Chatbots add value to B2B marketing by helping buyers progress further into their purchase journeys, improving conversions along the way, and ultimately generating more revenue.” Ranging between lead generation, lead nurturing, scheduling, and frontline sales support, there are numerous applications of Chatbots in B2B eCommerce. An estimated 80% of businesses claim to either already use a chatbot or have plans to deploy a chatbot.   AI in ECommerce: The Future of the Customer Experience Maximize the use of AI within your business. Check out our white paper to learn more about the latest technology, how leading brands are using it today, and how to effectively leverage your team to get started. Read the ebook SEO and Educative Content: SEO remains a major priority for all eCommerce sites, and this has been reflected in increasing commitment to and investment in educative resources such as blog posts, webinars, and educational tools. While paid search can help B2Bs place at the top of SERPs, its high cost makes it unsustainable and unfeasible in the long run. With effective SEO and optimization strategies, B2Bs can rank highly in search engines such as Google and Bing, ensuring that their pages provide the best solutions to a user’s search intent. Key statistics show: 41% of large companies consider link building as the most difficult SEO tactic (Source) SEO has 20 times as much traffic opportunity than PPC on both mobile and desktop (Source) 82% of marketers report the effectiveness of SEO is on the rise, with 42% stating it’s increasing significantly (Source) 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing organic presence is a top inbound marketing priority (Source) Google dominates the search engines, accounting for 92.42% of all global desktop search traffic, followed by Bing at 2.61% and at Yahoo 1.9% (Source) Brands and agencies in the USA invested $72.02 billion for SEO services in 2018 alone (Source) Organic search is responsible for 51% of all website traffic, compared to 10% from paid search, 5% from social media, and 34% from other sources (Source) This is further reflected by an increasing commitment to content. Content marketing is closely tied with SEO and should be made a priority when aiming to maximize and boost optimization. By creating authentic, relevant, and engaging content, firms can ensure that they are informing and supporting their audiences, while also attracting new visitors to their website. This is critical for visibility and relevance, especially as the market becomes saturated with new players, and major firms continue to drive increased traffic. Incorporating content such as blog articles, product pages, testimonials, guides, and videos can all create a strong foundation to support other optimization strategies and overall SEO efforts. Below are some statistics that highlight the importance of content for eCommerce sites: Websites with a blog typically have 434% more indexed pages than those without (Source) Business websites with blogs have 97% more inbound links, which ultimately helps SEO performance (Source) Refreshing old blog posts with new content and images can boost organic traffic by as much as 111% (Source) 45% of all companies say content marketing is ‘highly integrated’ with their SEO strategy. (Source) High quality content and link building are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search (Source) About 25% of Google searches have at least one video in them. (Source) By implementing new educational resources such as blog posts and guides that feature keywords and trending terms, eCommerce sites can boost ongoing, free, high-converting organic traffic to their site. This also prevents over-reliance on paid search and ad spending. Furthermore, the expansion of the eCommerce space with new competitors and trends has made SEO critical for B2Bs aiming to acquire new customers and drive traffic to their website. Developing quality content on a regular basis is vital for effective optimization, and this is reflected in the strong benefits presented thus far to websites that have made content such as blog posts and videos a priority. Here are some key calls to action for B2Bs to maximize their SEO strategy and content development: Curate and refresh existing blog posts to feature new images and rich media, while also incorporating keywords Make keyword research a priority, using tools such as SEMRush and Google Analytics to implement the right terms and keywords in your future content. Make Video SEO a priority, optimizing your website’s videos for different search engines. Leverage local SEO to optimize your online presence and attract customers from local searches. 2021 and Beyond: B2B eCommerce showcased new opportunities and high growth in 2021. These are just some of the customer-driven trends that represent how B2B companies are adapting to the changes caused by COVID-19, providing customers with increased personalization, loyalty programs, and content, while leveraging SEO and AI to deliver on buyers’ expectations. Check out our blog on the top Market- Driven B2B eCommerce Trends of 2021 and Technology-Driven B2B eCommerce Trends of 2021 to learn more about how 2021 has solidified B2B eCommerce in various industries and how B2Bs can form a new path forward.
    Topics: seo, trends, ai, content, customer, customerdriven, data, personalization, product, b2b, search, ecommerce.
  • Turning Questions into Sales: How to Create an Effective FAQ Page For Your Store - FAQ pages do more than just answer questions about your business. They alleviate purchasing anxieties, improve SEO, and reduce customer support queries. Learn how to create your own FAQ page in this guide and you’ll see the benefits of higher sales and more satisfied shoppers. More
    Topics: sales, effective, questions, product, brand, create, page, customers, customer, answer, pages, faq, store, turning, question.
  • What does a waste management company, floral business, and religious literature seller all have in common? - What could possibly tie the topic of dumpsters, flowers and bibles? In commerce practice we run into all kinds of business problems, the solution to which almost always requires distinctly different approach and, more often than not, a significant amount of customization in order to either fit the solution to the business or bend the business to fit the solution. This blog post will recount the three-week true story of how a team of Elastic Path commerce experts helped three customers from completely different industries achieve successful but, drastically different outcomes with one commerce platform. WEEK ONE: Dumpsters The Customer At the beginning of the trip, on week one, we met with one of the major national waste management companies. The best way to characterize the product catalog of this customer is a small number of service offerings with extremely complex availability and pricing rules. Getting right to the essence of it, waste management is a subscription-based service, not unlike telco for example. The market is competitive, and our customer wanted to get ahead of the competition by eliminating the friction associated with speaking to a representative in order to sign up; reducing confusion by taking the guided selling approach, and removing the barrier to entry by offering a personalized pricing to each customer. At the time of implementation, the client was of mixed digital maturity, varying from very low to moderate. The Challenge Parts of the business were archaic, to say the least, running on manual processes and mainframes, while their service availability and their extremely complex, location-specific pricing were managed on very advanced GIS (geographic information system). As mentioned, their pricing model is complex and a price for a particular service is dependent on the location, term of service whether under contract or not, etc. In addition, this brand wanted a phased roll out: once their B2B and B2C online businesses were stable, they planned to eventually include their commercial line of business, which was at the time solely in the domain of direct Sales interactions. Sure, why not. WEEK TWO: Flowers The Customer Next week we met with one of the largest private floral and gardening businesses in the Midwest. The client wanted to ensure that the cut flower arrangements their consumers ordered online were delivered to the right person, with a correct dedication, and at the specified time. Unlike the last example, this customer had a low digital maturity but, we were still eager to understand their challenge. The Challenge Among other things, we had to integrate with a largely manual distributed fulfillment system. Obviously, the complexity here lies in the formation of the products as well as the fulfillment. The product, a sellable item, is a flower arrangement, consists of several elements plus various flowers in specific quantity. Any issue with any one of these elements makes the product unavailable. Plus, here were also all kinds of free-form, make-your-own flower arrangements. The customer also operated a couple of garden centers, as well as a landscaping materials depot, and their aspirations were to get the gardening and landscaping included in their online commerce presence along with their principal cut flowers business. This, obviously, would involve selling bulk landscaping materials such as sand and gravel online. Need help evaluating eCommerce Providers? Connect with an Elastic Path expert to answer all of your questions, set up a demo, access a free trial, or discuss pricing options. Get in Touch WEEK THREE: Bibles The Customer The week after that we met one of the oldest and most respected publisher and bookseller in North America, specializing in religious literature whose goal was to move away from maintaining their hundred plus brick-and-mortar stores. This customer was of very high digital maturity and needed their commerce technology to easily integrate with their existing microservice and event-based systems. The Challenge Anyone who has implemented commerce will agree with me that selling books is, well, hard, and this was even more interesting than your usual book seller. A massive catalog with their own- and third-party products, significant product variance, and more. Both B2B and B2C buyer journeys were complex, riddled with a variety of group-buy and buy-on-behalf scenarios as well as complex fulfillment requirements. The customer's aspirations were, once fully transitioned to online sales, to get out of their traditional geographical territory which was limited by physical store presence and increase their reach nationally and internationally. They wanted regional and country level distinction, micro-sites, separation of group-buy and products for personal use. So, complex and dynamic, personalized catalog segmentation. What do waste management company, a floral business, and a religious literature seller all have in common? I am not going to sit here and tell you how we implemented all of this in three weeks. The subsequent implementations were appropriately long for each of the cases and depended on the complexity of integration. In the end we ended up with three happy clients. But that's not the point. The point is that we used the exact same commerce system in all three business cases and were able to model the business in our commerce system without customizations or modifications exactly the way the customer wanted. Not only that. We gave our customers the freedom to continue to develop and transform their business with minimal help from IT. All of our customers, regardless of their industry or size wanted to be better than competition, different than their competition. We managed to provide each of our customers with the ability to succeed and grow by giving them the power of effortless differentiation. So what do dumpsters, flowers, and bibles all have in common? They can also be sold with one hyper-flexible commerce solution. Learn how you can start selling your products with Elastic Path Commerce Cloud today.
    Topics: wanted, business, customers, system, service, flowers, dumpsters, commerce, complex, pricing, customer, solution, bibles.
  • What is Dropshipping? Drop Shipping 101 for Beginners (in 2021) - What is dropshipping? We cover the pros & cons of dropshipping plus the margins, risks & profitability of drop shipping in 2021 and beyond
    Topics: products, drop, beginners, business, customer, shipping, online, customers, supplier, updated, dropshipping, product.
  • What the Future of Automation Looks Like (& How to Get Ahead Right Now) - A far cry from its early days on factory production lines, automation has entered into our organizations and found a place in the operations of every department — and it isn't going anywhere.
    Topics: looks, future, customer, work, automation, sales, ai, business, marketing, right, tools, ahead, data.
  • When should your B2C startup enter a new market? - The toughest questions most entrepreneurs face will involve international expansion. Whether to, when to, where to and how to expand all involve a wealth of complex considerations.
    Topics: b2c, market, strategy, business, startups, international, sales, enter, youre, techcrunch, demand, expansion, customer, startup.
  • Why Landing in a 'TikTok Made Me Buy It' Listicle Isn't Something Your Company Should Be Striving For - It's in everyone's best interests to shop more mindfully.
    Topics: customer, shoppers, listicle, tiktok, good, shopping, fact, striving, isnt, thats, mindless, retailers, landing, buy, dont, company, experience.