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Top 2023 resources on experience

Best experience resource in 2023.
Learn more about experience to improve your e-commerce strategy.

  • 10 tips from Philip Kotler to get your message across to the people who do want to buy from you - This expert tells us what to add to this model to be successful in the age of e-commerce.
    Topics: user, tips, right, experience, person, sure, philip, buy, product, tell, offering, shopping, kotler, message, remember.
  • 12 Examples of Brands in the Metaverse - Metaverse is the blending of digital and physical experiences. The term first appeared in a 1992 novel. Now brands are in the metaverse, engaging consumers creatively.
    Topics: world, mobility, reality, metaverse, experience, examples, visitors, roblox, worlds, brands, virtual, digital.
  • 12 of the Most Inventive Interactive Marketing Examples We've Ever Seen - If you really think about it, the content formats we rely on today have an uncanny resemblance to the content formats we relied on yesterday — our blog posts look like print articles, our offers look like books, and our slide decks look like look presentations.
    Topics: content, video, seen, viewers, interactive, weve, marketing, inventive, experience, audience, using, article, way, examples.
  • 17 Marketing Job Descriptions for Hiring Managers & Job Seekers - Looking to grow your marketing team? As you embark on the hiring process, don’t neglect the importance of providing clear, well-written job descriptions for your team’s open roles.
    Topics: role, media, marketing, seekers, content, manager, team, job, managers, hiring, descriptions, social, experience.
  • 19 Omnichannel Experience Examples from Top Brands - This post was originally published in July 2022 and has been updated for relevancy on Nov 29, 2022.  Front and center in any conversation about commerce are the words personalization, omnichannel, customer-centric, and experience-driven. Today’s brands (if they are paying attention) are taking note of how customers interact with their brand, and how the brand makes them feel to optimize the customer journey. Shoppers crave experience, and the way to get to an optimal experience (and the conversion), is to collect and act on the data.  The numbers (from the mouths of actual shoppers) help tell the story:  Purchase frequency is 250% higher on omnichannel vs. single channel, and the average order value is 13% higher for omnichannel vs. single channel  Customer retention rates are 90% higher on omnichannel vs. single channel  Ninety-eight percent of Amercans switch between devices on a daily basis  Source: Clout Brands  The experience plays out in any number of ways, dependent on customer preference; do they want to shop entirely online and pick up in-store? Do they prefer the in-store experience but engage with an app during the buying journey? Do they want suggestions of other products of interest based on their purchases? Maybe they enjoy building up points towards offers and promos? Brands have more power than ever to meet the shopper where they are.  I don’t know about you, but I love a good app. The food kind, yes, but for these purposes, the digital kind just as much. I’m not attached so much to the in-store experience, but when I do shop in the physical realm, I like an app to play well and merge the two worlds with the end game being my convenience and confidence in the brand.  When I enter a store, I like to know where I stand in my loyalty program, any possible offers directly loaded to my account, and similar deals in-store to online – no surprises. Nothing like the frustration of finding out a deal on my favorite shampoo is only available online when I sign up for delivery.  Today’s brands are embracing the omnichannel experience and reaping the rewards: more conversions, lower bounce rates, and maintaining a healthy Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), to name a few. And how do they do that? By investing in the omnichannel experience. Here is a selection of brands raising the bar on creating differentiated experiences… 1. Best Buy The leading electronics retailer does a few things well in the app space to refine the omnichannel experience.  It’s easy to navigate and uncluttered, but packs relevant information in a well-balanced flow, with the shopping cart always within sight at the top. I can set my store by allowing the app to pin my location, or easily change stores with a tap.  Shoppers have options for checkout with curbside pickup, or of course add to cart. A particularly helpful feature is the ability to locate a product at a different store and have it shipped to the designated My Store, or have the option to pick it up where it’s available right now for pickup today.  Other convenient features include deep deals of the week on frequently purchased items like smart TVs and laptops, and seasonal sales for Back-to-School events or the high volume sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  2. Disney Experience App For those Disney lovers out there (I’m a big fan of Moana, anyone else?), downloading the Disney Experience app makes the most of any family vacation to the Magic Kingdom or any one of their attractions and parks.  Through the dedicated app visitors are able to create a plan before entering their park of choice  and use the app during their visit to engage with more of the attractions. There are many conveniences accessible through the app such as the Disney Genie to track your itinerary and make reservations. A built-in guide to make the most of your experience pre-visit, and discover more of what’s available based on your interests or the age groups within your family. Showtimes and hours are listed daily by park on the app so you won’t miss a minute, and for some select attractions access the virtual queue prior to the park opening to get a jump on the day. With the sheer size of the parks and attractions and the high volume of visitors each day, Disney helps true fans navigate the experience with customizable features based on preference - a sure way to encourage repeat visitors and loyal fans.  Disney tracks and acts on multi-generational preferences with the ultimate goal of winning lifetime omnichannel customers:  The most critical outcomes of Disney’s pivot to providing STEM toys will be an increase in customer lifetime value (CLV) for Gen Z customers, which will be seen through the lengthening of connection between on-screen content and in-person purchases.   Source: Ivey Business Review  3. Crate & Barrel Home goods retailer Crate & Barrel is responding to the call for streamlined omnichannel experiences regardless of channel in ways involving payment and pickup. The retailer is expanding payment options with digital wallet and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) adoption. From an omnichannel perspective, Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) was widely adopted during pandemic restrictions and has not waned since in-person restrictions were lifted. Customers clearly like the convenience, speed, and peace-of-mind of picking up their items curbside.  4.  CVS A pharmacy favorite for many, CVS expanded their app to include many shopper conveniences. I’m able to see what prescriptions are on auto renewal and ready for pickup, or schedule delivery. I get a clean look at my loyalty rewards status, including what deals are available that week. With a tap the deal is added to my loyalty account and will appear at both in-store (both live and self-checkout kiosk) and online checkout. For those preferring the in-store experience, any CVS location allows customers to print out loyalty program coupons at a kiosk, and  select locations offer self-checkout.  5. Walgreens Another worthy pharmacy omnichannel example is the digital offering Walgreens built for their customers. To deliver a more convenient pharmacy experience, they launched a mobile app enabling customers to refill their prescriptions by scanning a barcode on their medication with a smartphone.  Customers can also access their prescription history, easily change pick-up locations, and set a pick-up time. While not groundbreaking, it’s a prime example of how pharmacies can and should be thinking about how to improve their customer omnichannel experiences. 6. DSW Shoes! Handbags! Accessories! DSW has it all, including the deals. The dedicated app in my experience has been just as well-organized and friendly as the in-store experience. Again, well thought out flow of information, and plenty of personalized offers. I’m reminded of how far I have to go to reach the next membership threshold (for even deeper discounts), and my coupons are front and center with a gentle reminder to BUY THE SHOES. I can easily change my store, and when in-store I have the option for self-checkout. Simple and satisfying, like all shopping experiences should be. 7. Dunkin' Donuts Go ahead, treat yourself to some Dunkin’. The app reflects the branding and feel you’ll see in-store, plus the meaningful extras like joining the loyalty program for freebies, and the ability to order ahead and skip long lines. They also do a great job with imagery tantalizing their fans with what’s on the menu. They offer equally satisfying experiences in-store for those who want to kick back or work, but for those on-the-go the omnichannel customer conveniences are there for those who want them.    8. JCPenney JCPenney gets high points when it comes to omnichannel examples by offering Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPIS), and also offering returns on online purchases in-store (cross-channel returns). They’ve also brought their online experience in-store by having their website accessible at POS. JCPenney team members use it to check inventory at other locations and place orders. These investments add up to a better, faster, more convenient experience wherever their customers are.  9. Macy's A well-known retailer headquartered in Ohio, Macy’s is a standout among the more traditional department store formats who successfully weathered the retail storm by incorporating more digital assets into the customer experience. They’ve made significant investment in their app for easier product discovery and checkout, and they’ve also invested in smart fitting rooms in-store complete with wall-mounted tablets for customers or associates to scan items for availability across locations. Another feature of the in-room tech allows a shopper to “complete the look” with access to reviews and product recommendations. The investment to scale their omnichannel experience shows in the numbers: their digital sales were up 12% in 2021 and were up 36% over 2019. 10. Meijer Meijer is a leading grocer in the Midwest. They offer food, clothing, electronics, home goods, toys, and a broad selection of craft beer, wine, and liquor. Talk about one-stop shopping. As a loyal Meijer customer, I have their app and I am an mPerks loyalty member. Their in-app functionality directly affects the omnichannel customer experience.  Each week I  “clip” digital coupons based on my purchases (personalization),  with the option of curbside pickup or delivery. One of my favorite features on the app is all my receipts are stored by date, and I have a clear picture of how much I’ve saved over a time to the cent. If for some reason I need to return an item I don’t need to find a paper receipt, the app recalls it for me. Notice how clean and personalized the interface is; their physical stores mirror this aesthetic down to the color palette and coupon layout.  Omnichannel eCommerce Made Simple Boost brand loyalty and scale your business with unified commerce experiences across every consumer touchpoint. Go to Omnichannel Solutions 11. REI As an avid outdoors fan, REI is the place to go for everything I need to enjoy myself with the best equipment, developed by people who’ve been there. By joining the co-op for a nominal fee, I’m a lifetime member with exclusive access to discounts and promotions.  With this membership, I feel as if I’m a part of something special. REI takes a clear stance on sustainability and stewardship; for example, they’ve consistently run a social proof campaign at the holidays to encourage people to #get outdoors,  instead of shopping on Black Friday. Their stores are closed on the sought-after, controlled chaos of the shopping holiday, to give their employees back the time to enjoy outside. Clearly walking the walk, REI.   Their app offers in-store pickup or cart checkout for ease, and I get a sneak peek at their Garage Sale events for co-op members only. Their blog is worth the time; so many testaments to loving the outdoors, and a full schedule of in-store events and trips designed for all season sports and an active lifestyle. They have a customer for life. The level of omnichannel customer service is well balanced from in-store experts to chat, to a dedicated customer service number, depending on customer preference.  12. Target Retailing behemoth Target continues to go all in on the omnichannel experience with exceptional results. Their Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) usage increased exponentially during the height of pandemic restrictions (nearly 500%)  and has remained a top priority for the retailer.  Customers enjoy the convenience of ordering basics online and having the order fulfilled and loaded into their car by Target team members in under 2 hours from time of order placement. BOPIS is seen as a safer option for customers who have limited physical capabilities and may not be able to lift heavier items into a vehicle without injury. A win for accessibility for all.  13. Teilor A global luxury jeweler since 1998, Romania-based Teilor needed more of an omnichannel experience to connect with customers given pandemic restrictions. The traditional in-store experience had to be rethought. Elastic Path was eager to help them transition the experience with the expertise of systems integration partner Orium, formerly Myplanet.  Managing three child brands across numerous catalogs, and expansion into multiple locations required a simplification of sorts onto a single platform using Elastic Path Pre-Composed Solutions (™) for a quick launch.  Read their case study for more of the Teilor omnichannel story.  14. Ulta You may have heard of this beauty giant in the retail space, offering live demos from hair and makeup stylists. What I love about the app experience is how I can get the same treatment from wherever. They have a virtual beauty assistant of sorts, where I snap a pic with my phone and see how a bronzer or lip gloss shade will look on me prior to purchase. It’s like being in-store without messy testers. I can schedule an appointment at my nearest location, and as you can see from the screen grab, they keep me informed of my purchase history across channels.  15. Verizon I know many have mixed feelings on phone carriers, but I do enjoy the Verizon in-app and in-store omnichannel experiences in equal parts. The few times I’ve been in a store, I’ve had great service and not felt pushed to buy add-ons I don’t need. That might be luck, but for the in-app experience it’s been consistently helpful and easy. From the app I can manage and order existing and new devices, chat with the help desk, get deals and offers, and make changes to my account like Auto Pay.  A particular feature has also strangely pleased me. In my settings I can set a name of what I like to be called. It’s touching (and a prime example of personalization), to open the app and see first thing, “Hi, Em.” Well done, Verizon. You got me.  16. Dick's Sporting Goods With about 600 stores in the eastern U.S., Dick’s also owns Golf Galaxy, and operates specialty stores True Runner and Field & Stream. Where Dick’s gets their omnichannel wins are through the in-store experience in how they equip their team members. Referred to as an “endless aisle” experience, associates have handheld devices to assist shoppers with real time inventory and product information.  17. Sierra Trading Post If you know this company, much like another name in their retail family, TJ Maxx, you probably know that its shoppers are price-conscious. It’s a key driver in their value proposition. To deliver on this proposition just as items are tagged in store with a comparison price, the same information is available for online shoppers. Additionally they offer Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS),  consistent pricing across channels, a shared cart across devices, and three ways to contact customer service: phone, email, or chat.  18. Apple They’ve essentially written the book on omnichannel experience and making the path to purchase as seamless as possible across channels, and while they were at it, revolutionized the way we access and purchase music. From talking to an expert live in-store, to chatting online and purchasing for contactless delivery, they’ve reimagined the commerce experience. They were industry leaders in launching Apple physical locations that allow customers to interact with their products live before purchase - Apple stores set the bar for in-store discovery. After initially browsing and asking questions, shoppers are free to either purchase in-store or complete the purchase from any device.  19. Amazon  As long as we’re talking about behemoths, I’d be remiss not to include Amazon. They’ve set the bar for eCommerce best practices, but have not let the in-store experience fall by the wayside given there is appetite for it. With their Amazon Go stores they’ve expanded the physical store to connect with the online experience by enabling zero contact checkout. For those Whole Foods shoppers, in-store checkout is connected to your Amazon account to access discounts and create more opportunities for personalization with product discovery. You may have also seen Amazon pop-up stores in airports and shopping centers using the Amazon Go model, for those busy travelers on the go. As omnichannel experiences become more relevant due to customer demand, look to Amazon as a thought leader in the space.   This is by no means a complete list, but it does give you an idea of how much the best omnichannel retailers (big and small) are investing in omnichannel. It’s no longer a nice to have, but a must to stay competitive. Looking for more insights? Check out our guide to Implementing an Omnichannel Strategy.
    Topics: customer, app, stores, experience, instore, pickup, omnichannel, customers, store, examples, online, brands.
  • 27 Free Resume Templates for Microsoft Word (& How to Make Your Own) - No matter what industry you work in (or your experience level in that industry), a plain, black-and-white resume written in Times New Roman font just doesn't quite cut it anymore.
    Topics: skills, work, resume, free, color, microsoft, information, experience, template, templatedownload, word, templates.
  • 3 Smart Ways to Differentiate Your Ecommerce Business and Give Customers What They Really Want - It's time for businesses to break up with ecommerce best practices. Here's why — and what to do instead.
    Topics: experience, ecommerce, ways, shoppers, sales, best, differentiate, business, smart, businesses, website, industry, practices, brand.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 5 Ways to Improve Checkout Process - This is an update to a previous blog published on October 13, 2022. As we approach the busiest shopping season of the year, it’s critical to review all aspects of the shopping experience. Your goal is to make the experience as seamless, quick, and convenient for your customer every step of the way. One of the key areas of the shopping experience is checkout. We joined with payment provider and Elastic Path Payments partner Stripe, for a webinar based on recent findings from a Stripe and Edgar, Dunn and Company study regarding best checkout practices in North America. The webinar asks the critical question, “Is Your Cart Black Friday Ready?” We were joined by Kevin Flynn, Retail Industry Lead at Stripe for his insight into how best to create checkout experiences to meet customer demand and expectation. From a pool of the top 200 eCommerce businesses across the U.S. and Canada, the study found 96% of the companies surveyed had at least FIVE basic checkout errors. They include deficits in the following areas: Checkout Form Design Localization Mobile Optimization Buyer Trust Security Let’s dive into the challenges and the solutions presented in the webinar surrounding each key area… Checkout Form Design Here we see an alarming insight into the shopper experience. As many as 1 in 5 eCommerce shoppers would abandon a transaction if it took more than one minute. Challenges within the experience from the study tell us that as much as 56% of checkouts took longer than three minutes to complete. In addition to timing issues, another point of friction comes from unspecified error messages causing the shopper to abandon the transaction altogether. So how do you address this customer pain point that dramatically affects conversion rates? With easy design solutions: Support Auto Complete. As the shopper types in address or region information, allow for an auto-fill function to shave off a few seconds on the clock.   Format credit card blocks. Make it as easy as possible to enter numbers, expiration date, and the CVC security code.   Offer to save the card details. As easy as a check box, it will save time and convenience for the next visit your shopper makes to your site.   Specify the roadblock. Is it an expired card? Have they left off a number from the security code? Be upfront and clear with messaging so the shopper knows exactly what to fix to complete the transaction. Localization Payments are not created equal in the shopper’s mind. How we pay is dramatically influenced by where we are in the world. “Just as cultures differ around the world, so does the way we pay. There will be some kind of different aspects that will be reflected in payment method.” Kevin Flynn, Retail Industry Lead, Stripe From credit cards, to bank transfers, to digital or mobile wallets, the preferred payment method varies depending on geography. For instance, 40% of shoppers surveyed outside the U.S. and Canada prefer to pay with a method other than a credit card. As many as 15% of shoppers in European markets abandoned a transaction because their preferred method of payment was not available. Localization of payments is fundamental to completing the purchase. Your customers expect it. The great news is that country specific payment options boost conversion rates. Instances where customers offered optimal localized methods saw a 40% boost in incremental sales. Kevin points to methods with an uptick in popularity beyond the traditional credit card, such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). The alternative, installment-based payment method is largely popular in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, and is gaining traction across North America.   Shopping Cart & Checkout Solutions Ensure your Customer Feel Connected Up Until the End of Checkout Go to Checkout Solutions Mobile Optimization The world has clearly gone mobile. The study tells us that 56% of eCommerce traffic occurs on a mobile device. Maybe not surprising to today’s brands and retailers, but let’s look at just how mobile optimization and payment is tied to conversion rate from the shopper’s view. An overwhelming 62% of surveyed shoppers said it’s either “very” or “extremely” important that sites be mobile friendly. Front end developers need to be aware of this statistic as they format sites and the fact that abandonment rates on mobile are twice that of a desktop. The shopper's expectation is to complete the experience through checkout entirely on a mobile device. Surveyed results give us more context about the rising star of payments: Mobile Wallets. Branded options such as Google, Apple, or Samsung Pay are widely preferred across Asian and European markets, with the payment option picking up steam across North America. What are the critical points behind mobile optimization to improve conversion? Offer mobile payment or digital wallet options. Auto resize the screen specifically for a mobile device. Enable a one-click, mobile-first intuitive experience. Buyer Trust & Security The final two areas covered in the webinar are around shopper trust and security. As Kevin points out, buyer trust and payment security is a delicate balance. While customers want a rapid checkout experience, they want personal information safeguarded in the process. One of the easiest ways to alleviate shopper stress around personal security is to allow the customer to check out as a guest. Card information and personal details are not stored in the guest checkout experience as they would from a password-protected account. Additionally, Kevin shares a social media checkout option. With this alternative, shoppers trust a social media platform where their personal details are stored in a profile, and in many cases, this type of checkout expedites the process down to a single click, once the account is connected to the cart. Survey data tells us that brands are not supporting this option: Ninety percent of eCommerce brands in North America did not allow social media checkout options; those numbers were slightly lower globally with 77% in the Asia-Pacific region, and 85% in Europe not providing the experience.   In the North American region, 18% of brands did not allow guest checkout, while Asia-Pacific regions came in at 32%, while Europe came in at a slightly higher 41% not providing a guest checkout experience. Related to buyer trust, there is a learning moment for brands. If there are issues within an order such as incorrect quantities or a forgotten discount code, shoppers want to rectify the situation from a single screen or an order summary, without the hassle of scrolling back through multiple screens. According to survey results, as many as 22% of North American eCommerce sites did not offer an order summary option, with Asia-Pacific coming in at 15%, and Europe rounding out the findings at just 8%. The message is clear from consumers: make it easy, fast, and convenient or expect cart abandonment. Meet Your Customers Where They Are There are many critical findings to consider as you prep your eCommerce business for Black Friday and the holiday season. Interested in seeing the webinar in its entirety? Or check out the Black Friday Checklist we’ve compiled to meet customer demand and drive revenue during the largest shopping weekend of the year. 
    Topics: checkout, experience, improve, shoppers, payment, ecommerce, mobile, customer, ways, shopper, north, trust, process.
  • 5 Ways to Provide a Positive Customer Experience in Ecommerce - Today, consumers have many online shopping options to choose from, making the customer experience a key competitive differentiator for ecommerce companies.
    Topics: provide, customer, shopping, service, ways, mobile, experience, shoppers, online, ecommerce, positive, companies, consumers.
  • 7 Amazing Sample Answers to - The interview question, "What makes you unique?" is not an opportunity to confess weird habits or odd quirks. It's a chance to provide the interviewer with insight into how you'd be the best candidate for a role, while proving you're someone who can think on her feet.
    Topics: prior, amazing, unique, interviewer, role, youre, makes, skills, answer, sample, company, experience, answers.
  • 8 Innovative & Inspiring Examples of Augmented Reality in Marketing - The Augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality market size worldwide is expected to jump by more than 220 billion USD between 2021 and 2028. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has said that AR will one day be as important in our everyday lives as “eating three meals a day.” 
    Topics: things, stranger, marketing, technology, reality, examples, inspiring, innovative, experience, ar, products, users, app, augmented.
  • 8 Ways to Make Your Website Faster (and Why It Is Critical to Your Business) - Many factors contribute to a successful SEO strategy, and page speed is one of the most important ones.
    Topics: page, things, faster, business, pages, webpage, critical, ways, experience, website, load, speed, user, content, web.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An Inside Look Working as a Marketing Co-Op - Elastic Path's culture values learning and development from the very core. We embrace the young, bright minds within the technical industry and provide opportunities for these students to obtain on-the-job experience with cutting-edge technology in the e-commerce space. Many of our Co-Op/internship students choose to return to Elastic Path once completing their studies because of the exceptional experience we offer them.  The hiring process for most of our Co-Ops begins a few months prior to the start of the semester, which is usually September, January and May of each year. Elastic Path’s recruiting team usually conducts internal interviews and we partner with various universities/colleges across Canada, the United States and United Kingdom to hire great talent globally.  The latest blog in our Inside Elastic Path series features our Marketing Co-Ops, and we are thrilled to showcase their journey at Elastic Path!  Graphic Design Co-Op Caroline Taylor Caroline has spent 6 months on the marketing team with us as a "Graphic Design Co-Op," and joined Elastic Path in June of 2022. Caroline is from Toronto, Ontario and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Graphic and Informational Design. She has Minors in Marketing and Sports Media at Northeastern University. She is planning to graduate in May 2024. Caroline has demonstrated amazing growth during her co-op term and has shared her experience here at Elastic Path in the testimonial below. Caroline will be completing her Co-Op at the end of this year. Digital Marketing Co-Op Aiden Murphy Please welcome Aiden Murphy, the “Digital Marketing Co-Op” on our Marketing team. Aiden has also spent 6 months with us, and joined Elastic Path in July 2022. He will be completing his Co-Op term at the end of this year. Aiden is from Boston, Massachusetts and is currently studying towards a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration. He has a Concentration in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Management & a Minor in French at Northeastern University, and is planning to graduate in May 2023. Aiden has proven his skills in digital marketing during his time at Elastic Path and we are excited to share his experience in the testimonial below.    Elastic Path Careers Explore Elastic Path's Open Positions and Whether You Think You'd Be a Good Fit Go to Careers Caroline Taylor's Testimonial: Q.  What did you enjoy most about your internship with Elastic Path?  - While searching for a Co-Op, Elastic Path stood out to me due to the opportunity to truly be a part of the team and have creative freedom in the work I do. From the less creative editing of slide decks, to creating advertisements and designing socks or stickers for trade shows every day during my time at Elastic Path has been different. I have yet to have a day where I am not excited to go to work. Being able to have so much flexibility and independence during my first co-op is one of the things that I value most about this experience.  Q. What was the biggest learning during your internship?  - Coming into this Co-Op as a graphic design and communications student, I knew very little about the tech and e-commerce industry. Elastic Path made it easy for me to gain a large amount of knowledge quickly during my onboarding experience, and I continued to learn more throughout my Co-Op. Another notable learning was balancing being the only individual with a graphic design background on my team. Learning how to balance people's ideas and branding with design principles and accessibility was something I learned to manage and value. My team and manager were there every step of the way to answer any questions and give feedback during my experience. Q. What are you most proud of from your time at Elastic Path?  - During my Co-Op I have worked on various projects and am proud of each in various ways. The three that I am most proud of were the new LinkedIn campaigns, and creating custom infographic and merchandise for trade shows. Each of these allowed me to exercise my graphic design skills in several ways. Myself and Aiden worked on developing new concepts for LinkedIn advertisements that differed from our regular content, this allowed me to push my creativity in a more formal sense. Additionally, I worked on two sets of stickers and socks for one of our trade shows that allowed me to have creative freedom in a more playful sense. The custom infographics I created for one of our blog posts was a happy medium between the two.  Q. What advice would you give to future Elastic Path interns/Co-Ops?  - My biggest piece of advice for future Elastic Path Co-Ops is to push yourself to try new things and meet new people. If there is something that you want to try, ask to try it out because this is the perfect place to test new ideas and learn from them. Your team at Elastic Path wants you to succeed and take advantage of the co-op experience so don’t take it for granted! Aiden Murphy’s Testimonial Q.  What did you enjoy most about your internship with Elastic Path?  - What stood out to me the most was the independence and encouragement from my manager and the rest of the team members here at Elastic Path. I got to work on a diverse set of projects and tasks such as making web page recommendations, performing search engine optimization research, designing ad mockups and web pages, and much more. I consider myself a very proactive person and like to be challenged consistently, which was a constant part of my experience in my Co-Op position at Elastic Path.  Q. What was the biggest learning during your internship?  - My biggest learning experience at Elastic Path was easily web page designing and building. It took me several months to understand just the fundamentals of a website, let alone an enterprise-level website that adheres to several constraints like branding, technical capabilities, content schedules, graphic designing, and much more. After six months, I feel confident in my abilities to create a successful, professional-looking online presence that meets the standards and criteria of a modern, fast-growing brand.  Q. What are you most proud of from your time at Elastic Path?  - I am most proud of the work that Caroline and I were able to achieve with the Marketing team’s account-based-marketing campaigns on LinkedIn. It was easily my longest and most arduous project here at Elastic Path. My contributions included performance analyses of all campaigns to-date, designing ad mock-ups to update the look and feel of our ads, pitching my own creative ideas and suggestions, and several review and reiterations rounds with managers and superiors. It is something I was given the opportunity to own from start to finish.  Q. What advice would you give to future Elastic Path interns/Co-Ops?  - One piece of advice I would give for other future Co-Ops and interns is if there is anything you want to learn at Elastic Path, always bring it up. No one will say “no” to you right away, at least until after you make your pitch. Sometimes an opportunity might take some pre-work and preparation, but if you’re curious and show enough initiative there is no door that is truly closed. There are countless opportunities and room for growth for anyone at Elastic Path.  Quick thank you to Caroline and Aiden for their time spent with us at Elastic Path and wishing them all the best with their studies and future careers.
    Topics: elastic, marketing, look, design, team, aiden, graphic, experience, working, path, coop, inside, learning.
  • Announcing BigCommerce + Bolt One-Click Checkout - Consumer expectations aren’t what they used to be. The last two years have accelerated changes in what consumers expect to…
    Topics: checkout, network, experience, payment, ecommerce, ready, customers, oneclick, announcing, bigcommerce, bolt, merchants.
  • Announcing the 2021 BigCommerce Partner Awards Winners - At BigCommerce, we provide the platform for brands to build, innovate and grow their businesses. Additionally, when they need help…
    Topics: announcing, partners, experience, agency, solutions, technology, bigcommerce, winners, winner, partner, merchants, platform, awards, ecommerce.
  • AvantStay, a platform for kitting out — and then renting out — high-end vacation rental homes, raises $160M - Another travel startup that found itself scrambling to pivot as the COVID-19 pandemic took off is now announcing a huge round of funding after finding its feet and proving that it can grow, even under adverse circumstances. AvantStay — which has built a platform where it decorates and then lists properties owned by others for […]
    Topics: vacation, rentals, kitting, raises, avantstay, techcrunch, renting, funding, experience, rental, series, platform, homes, continue, highend, guests, company, properties.
  • Black Friday Checklist: How to Prep Your eCommerce Store - Black Friday Checklist: How to Prep your eCommerce Store Black Friday is the official kickoff of the chaotic holiday season. And with heavier traffic in recent years to a digital experience, it’s key for you to prep your eCommerce store for the spike - just as any physical store preps their floor and staff for the holiday wave. Before we dive in on how to best prepare your site, let’s look at a few stats regarding the busiest shopping day of the year. What the Numbers Tell Us After pandemic restrictions were lifted and in-person shopping was greenlit for most of the world, the predictions gravitated towards a shift back to the physical store. However, that’s not exactly how it all played out. eCommerce shopping behavior studies show the needle would not sway dramatically back to the in-store experience. Across global markets, there are accelerated patterns towards post-pandemic shopping behaviors towards the following trends: Buying online for home delivery More time in research/discovery online BEFORE going to a store Buying online for store pickup Black Friday Deals Trend Earlier Retailers are choosing to offer deals ahead of Black Friday, as shopping behavior trends shift to starting the process earlier to “beat the rush,” or perhaps get an exclusive deal. A recent poll tells us as many as 22% of shoppers start as early as October to cross items off their list, with early bird shoppers spending on average $460 more than those who wait until after Thanksgiving. If you offer the deals, your shoppers will come. Follow the data and the demands of your customers. If the data tells you customers are looking for Black Friday deals in October, then set up a plan to have special promotions and marketing campaigns in place to support an early start. This may look like a deeply discounted 3-day early bird sale, or perhaps a special Black Friday sneak peek for loyalty customers with special pricing. Here is a checklist to keep top-of-mind as we enter the busiest shopping season all year long: 1. Set the Course for an Easy Checkout Process 2. Draft & Review Cart Abandonment Emails 3. Check Your Site Performance 4. Be Mobile Friendly 5. Be Promo Ready 6. Glean from Data Analytics 7. Beef up your Social Commerce Strategy 8. Cater to Loyal Customers 9. Beef up your Holiday Merchandising 10. Determine On Call Schedules for Support Teams   Black Friday Prep: A Digital To Do List 1. Set the Course for an Easy Checkout Process. The less friction from discovery to checkout the better. Don’t require shoppers to create an account to checkout. Allow for a guest checkout option. While some shoppers prefer having payment methods or loyalty rewards at a glance available to them at checkout, there are significant numbers of shoppers who want speed and convenience. Meet your shoppers where they are and allow for both. Keep the cart icon front and center at every click through your site. Even better, have a constant numeric reminder of what is currently in cart. It’s important to have a visual cue to the shopper whether it’s empty, full of “maybes” or items that are a sure thing. Allow customers to pay in the way they prefer. That means well beyond traditional credit/debit cards. Offer a range of payment methods to include PayPal, Venmo, digital wallets (Google, Samsung, ApplePay), and an increasingly popular BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) option like Klarna or Afterpay. Some European markets allow for bank drafts as a method of payment, but this largely depends on what the demand is of your consumer in your geographic locale. 2. Draft & Review Cart Abandonment Emails. As shopping cart abandonment statistics for 2022 reveal, the average cart abandonment rate ranges from 59.2% to 79.8%. Clearly too much revenue left on the table to ignore as a retailer. Here is where personalization becomes your ally. Using auto-generated, targeted emails to customers with abandoned carts is a proven strategy for conversion. Examples include offering a customer additional reward for purchasing such as a percentage, or flat amount with a cutoff date. Some shoppers change their mind about items. Offer alternatives based on their shopping history; sometimes offering a different style or brand, or perhaps accessories to support the category they were shopping such as camping or gaming. 3. Check Your Site Performance. If your site isn’t performing at peak speed, you stand to lose everything you’ve worked hard for as a brand. What is the importance of site performance? You have as little as 50 milliseconds (or .05 seconds), to make an impression on your site visitors. If pages take too long to load, or there is a delay in the checkout process, that is a customer gone for good. Fifty milliseconds sounds daunting, but there are web performance and speed testing tools at your disposal to gauge this critical metric your customers’ experience relies so heavily upon. Let’s take a look at some of the criteria for site speed/performance: How to Test Your Site’s Performance. Programs such as Pingdom Speed Test, GTmetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights (see a Top 10 list here) help you diagnose problem areas you may not have known existed so you can fix the issue quickly. You’ll be able to see how your site is measuring up across devices, and also geographic locations. Also key to performance is how well your site is ranking in user experience. Does your site load quickly? But also is your site easily navigated? Can your customer find what they’re looking for quickly through your menu or search function?   Dynamic vs. Static Content Management. The difference between the two is dynamic content is anything subject to change based on user input such as product, pricing, or descriptions. This content is stored in a database and is fetched when the user engages with it, otherwise known as async communication. Static content on the other hand is anything remaining the same in the experience such as the navigation menu. Both types of content have distinct yet crucial functions on a site but are managed differently. Load speed is generally case by case so we recommend an API-first/ best-of-breed approach that gives you the flexibility to deliver quick speeds and dynamic content. As you edit dynamic content you want to avoid editing the HTML code as this will cause breaks in your site. Additionally when managing dynamic content, use proper caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to bridge the gaps between dynamic and static content.   Image Optimization. No surprise that visual content engages users. However, high quality imagery means larger files that eat up load time. Using resized and compressed files is a lighter lift for the server to load the image. Within imagery you’ll want to pay attention to the file format. There are four file types: PNG, JPEG, GIF, WebP, and SVG. A general rule of thumb is to avoid GIFs since they do drag on site speed. When choosing between PNGs and JPEGs, PNGs work well for graphics and screenshots, while JPEGs are ideal for photographs. The newcomer is the SVG file format, or scalable vector graphic that renders well in web applications and across other use cases. Lazy load plugins are also useful to only render photos where the user is browsing.   Reduce HTTP Requests. HTTP requests occur when the browser sends a request to the server for information. The fewer requests a website must make the faster the site can load. The amount and the size of the requested files affects load times, however most engaging sites have both multiple and larger files. The best way to address this issue is to run a full report on your site and assess what images are taking the longest to load and if in fact you need them. After you assess what’s needed, you can reduce the file size.   4. Be Mobile Friendly. Having a site optimized for mobile is mission-critical to your site’s performance. If a customer doesn’t have the same flawless experience from laptop, to tablet, to smartphone, you stand to lose. Consider this: 70% of web traffic comes from mobile phones, and 80% of the top-ranked websites are mobile-friendly. The great news is that site performance tools help identify mobile optimization deficits and fixes. As you gear up for the holiday shopping season, it’s an opportunity for cross-collaboration between business and IT teams to address the issue head on given how much it affects user experience and bounce rates. As much as 60% of shoppers won’t return to a site that is not mobile-friendly. Nearly 43% of Black Friday sales in 2021 happened through mobile phones. You’ll want to lean into your developer team to fully optimize your site for mobile. The end goal is to have the exact , flawless experience from desktop to tablet to smartphone. This involves a few tactics such as image optimization as I’ve mentioned above, ensuring your site has a responsive design, and optimizing the above-the-fold content to engage shoppers quicker and for a longer period of time. Additionally, avoid intrusive ads that will hinder your shopper from engaging with your site, especially if they are on a mobile device. Recent studies have found that 96% of eCommerce businesses in North America and 94% in Europe have at least five basic errors in their checkouts. Watch the Webinar to make sure your business is not making them. Go to Webinar 5. Be Promo Ready. Are you prepared to manage the deep deals the holiday season brings? As I mentioned above, if the data shows your customers want the deals and they want them early, are you set up to provide them? Is your site prepped for sales banners front and center on your site driving shoppers to the deals you’ve carefully curated? Is your Order Management System (OMS) prepped with a clear view of inventory and a plan for backorders or pre orders for items that sell out quickly? An OMS can help automate these functions which gives your operations teams more flexibility to handle holiday shopping issues while still satisfying the customer with clear communication and a timeline as to when to expect delivery. 6. Glean from Data Analytics. In the same vein as Always Be Testing, take a look at data from the year before. What drove revenue and what might have fallen flat? What can you tweak from last year’s holiday season? You have customer gold in the numbers. Take a look at what product categories and pages saw the highest volume of traffic. What days of the week saw a spike in traffic? If you had an early bird special or flash sale, analytics and your OMS will tell you how many eyes were on it, and how well it performed revenue-wise. 7. Beef up your Social Commerce Strategy. Selling products through social media channels is currently estimated at $45 billion and expected to triple in the next few years. This figure equates to more than half of U.S. adults alone purchasing through social media. Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram allow brands to create another channel through curated content and influencer marketing. Perhaps the biggest advantage to social commerce is its power within the discovery phase of the buying journey. Instagram reports 60% of its users discover new products on their platform. When paired with word-of-mouth reviews from people you trust, (or at least share similar tastes) and the ability to tag and highlight products in both Story and Feed, you've got a highly versatile, perpetual sales engine. The path to purchase is expertly laid out from discovery, research, review, one-click purchase, and delivery. As you dive into this holiday season, it’s critical to use social media to your advantage. You’ll be missing out on a significant shopper segment, many of whom will be looking for new products to fit the people on their list. You may consider using live shopping feeds to fully tell your brand’s story and what’s new in your product line, and always make sure products can be purchased within the app using personal information already stored within a profile. In app links easily navigate shoppers to products and one click checkout. Additionally you may consider the power of social proof. As you market your products through a social media shop, offer your shoppers a way to interact with products and share them across the platform. Through the use of hashtags you create, empower your customers to use the hashtag and create their own posts. A two-fold benefit is that your customers peer review your products and have a voice, while enabling customer confidence for the shoppers new to your brand. On the flip side if a shopper is dissatisfied, you as a brand have the opportunity to address the issue. Prior to Black Friday, you may consider having a campaign for your loyal shoppers to share product reviews with a coupon reward or offer like a free gift. Peer reviews increase both customer confidence and conversion. 8. Cater to Loyal Customers. The unicorn of customer personas! Here are a few eye-opening stats on what Lifetime Customer Value (LTCV) or what is often referred to as Customer Acquisition vs. Retention: The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%. It costs up to 7x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. Sixty-five percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers. What does that mean? You have a treasure trove of information on your loyal customers; you know their shopping habits, their product preferences, and even their payment preferences. Take full advantage of these habits by giving them an exceptional customer experience. In the realm of holiday shopping, what can you offer? Plenty. Double the points or rewards on all holiday shopping. Free gifts for loyalty members. A Black Friday “sneak peek” sale exclusive to loyalty members with special pricing. Free holiday wrapping and gift options. A portion of holiday proceeds goes to charity. 9. Beef up your Holiday Merchandising. You have more shoppers now than any other time of year. How will you stand out among the competition? Convenience. Many holiday shoppers find themselves frustrated with what to buy for the loved one/receiver who has everything. Enter gift sets or bundles. If you can afford the cost to offer this type of merchandise, it’s a solution for many harried shoppers trying to check off people on their list. Think of spa baskets, grooming products for men, kids’ items like themed candy and holiday stockings, wine and cheese assortments, or teacher gifts. Additionally for the shopper who is looking for a gift for themselves, you may see dynamic bundling as an offering. This allows the shopper to pick and choose from a selection within the bundle. An example is for the gamers or sports enthusiasts in your customer base. For the gamers, maybe you offer a choice between a headset or an additional monitor, or maybe for the skier, your options include goggles or a choice of gloves. An all-in-one gift option with more selection and control on the user experience side, but with the convenience of a single price point. 10. Determine On Call Schedules for Support Teams. Determine on call schedule for each department. It's not just IT, for example a promo may be broken, or products not published to the catalog. Elastic Path similarly has a plan and schedule in place to offer support for our customers during peak holiday traffic. In Closing Food for thought as you think about future holiday shopping experiences that drive revenue and are meaningful to your customer while optimizing your team’s time. Gartner tells us to look for a trend in how brands interact with products. According to the analyst, companies should invest in more robust product experience management (PXM) solutions. Gartner outlines this shift in their 2022 Strategic Roadmap for Digital Commerce in Direct (D2C) and Indirect Channel report. What does that mean? Brands will fare well who broaden their geographic and channel reach, and do more on the customer experience side. How will they do it? As you think about each of these strategies and tactics to optimize the holiday shopping experience, there are options to streamline it and empower people to solve customer pain points, especially in the role of merchandiser who is pulled in several directions as it is. Eager to talk about what’s next for your eCommerce strategy and how we can help? Reach out to us.  
    Topics: holiday, customer, checklist, shoppers, site, experience, black, customers, products, content, strategy, shopping, ecommerce, offer.
  • Bloomreach, now valued at $2.2B, continues to plant seeds of customer personalization - Bloomreach powers hundreds of billions of dollars in gross merchandise value by enabling businesses to personalize customer journeys.
    Topics: bloomreach, plant, trillion, datta, 22b, used, online, seeds, techcrunch, grew, ecommerce, valued, personalization, experience, million, continues, customer.
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO): Everything You Need to Know About This Important Role - Most companies have goals related to growth. I’m not sure of many companies that want to make less money or reach fewer people over time.
    Topics: operating, experience, officer, company, business, chief, role, companys, coo, growth, important, know, need.
  • Composable Frontend Q&A with David Stover - Embracing Composable Commerce gives brands the control to customize, accelerate change and reduce TCO. But designing, integrating, and launching the frontend experience can be a daunting and overwhelming task that can take months to complete. Should you build your own frontend experience, outsource the build to an SI, or choose an all-in-one platform that comes complete with an integrated frontend experience? Unfortunately, choosing the latter with a legacy platform leads to mediocre functionality, slow site speed, a bloated frontend, and decreased customer engagement. That is why at Elastic Path we are excited to launch our Composable Frontend.  Composable Frontend eliminates these problems and de-risks the frontend build of a Composable Commerce approach.  I sat down with our Senior Director of Product Management David Stover to learn more about Composable Frontend.   Q: What is Composable Frontend?  A: Simply put, Composable Frontend is a frontend that can be composed using a simple build tool. Brands simply answer a few simple configuration questions and Composable Frontend automatically and quickly builds a reusable modular, Next.js frontend, pre-integrated with Elastic Path and best-of-breed backend vendors. Our previously announced D2C Starter Kit is one output of the Composable Frontend framework.  The frontend includes elegantly designed, ready to use (and re-use) components for the Homepage, PLP, PDP, Cart and Checkout. It currently supports EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) functionality including bundles, variations and standard product types.  Composable Frontend includes pre-built integrations to Algolia Search, EP Payments and Braintree Payments with more integrations coming soon. Brands can also rest assured that business-model specific requirements (like account management and multi-cart) for B2B are included in Composable Frontend. Q: Why did we launch this?      Q: How is Composable Frontend unique in the market?       Q: How does Composable Frontend help brands?       Q: What’s coming next for Composable Frontend?  A: We are planning on building out the customer management area which will allow customers to login and maintain their own accounts, see their order history, maintain wishlists and reorder products which had been previously ordered.  We also have additional integrations planned such as Coveo, Advanced Commerce, Shippo and more as well as giving our customers the ability to launch new commerce experiences directly from within our Commerce Manager UI.  You can learn more about Composable Frontend here.   
    Topics: qa, experience, stover, integrations, frontend, david, launch, management, commerce, composable, brands, build, product.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: What It Is and How to Measure It - We’ve all had it happen to us: we try to choose an option on a website, and right before we click, the page jumps away and we end up clicking something we didn’t mean to. Doh!
    Topics: experience, cls, performance, layout, content, web, cumulative, shift, page, site, website, measure, user.
  • Customer Personas: What Are They and Why You Should Care About Them -  This blog was originally published on June 6th, 2011 and has been updated for context and relevance on November 18th, 2022.  When you think of “personas” – what comes to mind? Are personas profiles of hypothetical customers that marketing invented? Or, are personas developed from customer surveys asking what they want and don’t want from your website? Are they segments of your web visitors? The answer to all the above is a resounding no.  What are Customer Personas? Personas are fictional characters based on actual observed behaviors of real users that a UX (User Experience) professional experiences in the field, talking one-on-one with users. These customer profiles are a composite of this qualitative research, and are typically presented as 1-2 page documents. How To Identify a Good Customer Persona  A good persona description is not a list of tasks or duties. It's a narrative that describes the flow of someone's day, as well as their skills, attitudes, environment, and goals. A persona answers critical questions that a job description or task list doesn't, such as: Which pieces of information are required at what points in the day? Do users focus on one thing at a time, carrying it through to completion, or are there a lot of interruptions? Why are they using this product in the first place?  Where are they hanging out on the Internet? Instagram? Reddit? TikTok?  How are they spending their free time?  Income level?  What are their common frustrations?  Education level?  Life Goals?  What a Customer Persona is NOT A persona is not a demographic profile, a market segment or a summation of survey data. Rather, a persona is a combination of data modeled from ethnographic and behavioral user research, as well as narrative.  The term persona often gets clumped together with market research (surveys, focus groups, etc), and though they are not the same thing, market research can certainly complement persona studies. Ethnographic Research 101 Ethnography is a qualitative method for collecting data often used in the social and behavioral sciences. Data is collected through observations and interviews, which are then used to draw conclusions about how societies and individuals function. Ethnographic research is looking at behaviors in order to understand the "whys" and build around them. Observation is key, because what people do and say can be entirely different things. For example, a small business owner may report that she does not use paper anymore - all her record keeping is electronic. But if you look at her home office, you may find binders full of printouts of Excel reports and invoices. EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) Merchandise Every Unique Commerce Experience, Without Custom Dev Work Go to EP PXM Ethnography: The Cure for the Common Customer This is why ethnography, or fieldwork  is a powerful tool. Think of Dr. Jane Goodall, famed English primatologist who was the first to observe chimpanzees making and using tools; a trait or behavior up until that point was thought of as distinctly human. Great insight comes from interaction and observation. There are three primary techniques for gathering data for persona development: Interviews - think less Jimmy Fallon and more Larry King, Oprah, or a client relationship with a healthcare professional. These sessions are one-on-one, and are more like in-depth conversations full of probing questions.  Fly on the Wall - more observational, where the interviewer may accompany the interviewee for a “day in the life” and ask questions.  Master & Apprentice - where the interviewee teaches the interviewer a system they use or common tasks they perform.    The Benefits of Customer Personas  Personas can be really helpful for design and development planning. We’re often so focused on requirements we forget who's actually using the system. Personas: Identify opportunities and product gaps to drive strategy Provide a quick and cheap way to test, validate and prioritize ideas throughout development. Give focus to projects by building a common understanding of customers across teams. Help development teams empathize with users, including their behaviors, goals, and expectations. Serve as a reference tool that can be used from strategy through to implementation When Should You Create Customer Personas?  Persona development should ideally start prior to any strategy. They are most effective when used to inform a strategy, that is, to hone in on specific opportunities to improve, innovate on, or fill other gaps, and are critical to have before making any significant changes to an existing project, or kicking off any innovation projects. Q: What does the persona research and development process look like? A: You begin with a research process that includes:  Participant and research requirements gathering Recruiting and planning the study Conducting user research interviews Analysis and synthesis of interviews Creation of the persona profile   How Should Customer Personas be Applied?  Personas are primarily developed to help determine where there are opportunities and areas for improvement in a website or application's experience. This can guide the feature set and validate your UI design decisions. You may also find value in sharing your persona data with web marketing teams to apply to A/B tests and email campaigns, your web analytics team, customer service / sales organization and even to guide your personalization strategy.
    Topics: development, care, persona, personas, users, experience, customer, strategy, data, used, research.
  • Digital Merchandising Best Practices - No argument that eCommerce sales skyrocketed in the last two years, as the world turned to mobile devices to buy everything from a week’s worth of groceries to a new couch for the family room. But even as the world opens up post-pandemically, eCommerce retail sales maintain the top spot on the leaderboard. Projections point to upwards of $7 trillion in sales by 2024. What’s happened to merchandising as we’ve made the shift from brick-and-mortar to a virtual store and cart? Plenty. How do you translate an in-store experience into an engaging digital one that leads a shopper to Buy Now sight unseen? Let’s dive into the world of eCommerce merchandising and find out how retailers create a path to purchase from the physical to the digital experience. What is Digital Merchandising? Also known as eCommerce or online merchandising, digital merchandising is the practice of marketing goods in the digital space. Just as you map product placement and displays in-store with branding considerations to draw the customer over, the same actions happen in a virtual store to entice the shopper from their chosen device. Product merchandising is about having the right assortment, and showcasing it at the right time to the right customer. You are essentially creating content; and given the 2024 online sales projections retailers can’t afford to sit this one out. Make a Plan & Get Campaigning You may have a number of goals for your business; you’ve targeted a specific sales growth percentage or doubling down on the number of promotions per month, or you’d like to grow your loyalty program for top spenders. Whatever the case may be, once you’ve set the goals it’s now time for strategizing. You’ve stated the what - now you need to flesh out the how. Personalization: It’s a New Day for Data Collection When it comes to eCommerce merchandising campaigns it’s ok to get personal. In fact, it’s mission critical. With the death of third-party cookies, retail marketers are forced to revisit how they collect data and lean in on first or zero-party solutions to power personalized shopper experiences. Research shows today’s shoppers care how you get their data and what you do with it. “Seventy percent of consumers like personalization, as long as brands are using data they’ve shared directly.” Source: Twilio A Common Personalization Trap: The Creep Factor There are many schools of thought on how much personalization is too much. I think we can all agree that ultimately personalization should best serve the customer and fulfill a need. Stepping outside the boundaries and creating an inaccurate assumption defeats the purpose of winning trust. For example, I’m a pet owner. I often browse and shop online for pet food and supplies and have tried the numerous subscription services based on this category But that also means over the years I’ve had to inevitably say goodbye to pets. Here is a snapshot of the types of personalization I could experience based on the data capture: Zero Party: The cat food you liked in our poll is now BOGO First Party: The pet carrier you browsed last month is on clearance Second Party: Congrats on the kitten! Need pet insurance? Third Party: It’s hard to lose a furry friend. Next time, check out our pet caskets and internment services You’ll notice as we progress through each scenario, the degree of personalization falls a bit further into the off-putting range. What you ideally want to do is solve a problem or create a convenience; not push the limits of knowing too much. “Personalization can mean a lot of things, so it’s important to understand what a marketer thinks it is and how it’s creepy. This can often clear up initial concerns. Then for us, the guiding personalization principle is to figure out if and how it adds value to the end user…” Source: Paul Munkholm, Kettle Interested in Learning More About eCommerce Merchandising? Discover 10 areas to optimize your eCommerce merchandising strategy for your business and more with our playbook. Go to Playbook Ecommerce Merchandising Trends and Tips to Consider Many of today’s digital merchandising tips and trends are based in AR/VR technology, embraced in greater numbers by Gen X and Millennial groups. A few examples of these tactics include: Virtual dressing or try-on rooms allowing shoppers to try clothing or makeup swatches from any device, wherever they are, before purchase “See it in your room” capabilities for furniture or décor accessories to replicate digitally what the item will look like in a shopper’s home or space (a useful deterrent from returns) Social networks like Pinterest and Instagram have leveraged this technology in their algorithms. Studying how they strategize and leverage it in the path to purchase in-app can be useful if you’re looking to see more AR/VR in play Implement 360 plug ins and enable virtual product tours across devices It really depends on your product assortment and what you’re able to invest in as far as technology – you need to assess what works best for your business. Bear in mind how critical it is for shoppers to get the same level of comfort and confidence they do from an in-store experience and a face-to-face conversation with a retailer - having a unique experience is key to engaging (and keeping) today’s shopper. Product Merchandising Product merchandising is key to all types of channels. And what eCommerce has shown us is the complexity around merchandising. In today’s eCommerce landscape retailers have multiple digital storefronts, complex pricing needs to reflect flash or scheduled sales, loyalty pricing, or bundling models. A Rapidly Changing Landscape Ecommerce changes rapidly so it’s important to be on top of what’s trending in digital merchandising technology and how that affects your customer. The in-store experience is not going away; instead the merging of the physical and virtual is now the combined commerce narrative. Operating and streamlining the experience in both worlds is becoming the norm. Above all – make it easy, friction-less, predictive, and personalized (appropriately), from discovery to purchase. Answer questions for your customers before they even know they had them. Build trust and confidence from the first time they click on your site or app. Make shopping with you an unforgettable experience they simply can’t do without.
    Topics: sales, pet, todays, merchandising, personalization, practices, digital, experience, data, ecommerce, best, virtual.
  • Don't Build an Ecommerce Site If You Don't Have These 7 Things Covered - If handled correctly, your ecommerce platform can provide a solid basis for success.
    Topics: experience, covered, dont, site, help, website, providing, customer, things, strong, products, build, customers, ecommerce.
  • 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.
  • Easol raises $25M for its experiences and event marketing, booking and payments platform - The gradual return of tourism and travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to see a wave of startups raising rounds of funding to meet new opportunities in the market. In the latest development, Easol, which has built event and experiences software that third-party companies can use to market and sell bookings — […]
    Topics: software, customers, event, 25m, experiences, million, market, growth, techcrunch, easol, platform, booking, events, marketing, different, experience, raises, payments.
  • Egypt’s e-commerce platform Wasla nabs $9 million from retail finance provider Contact - Contact Financial Holding, Egypt’s non-bank consumer finance provider, has invested $9 million in the country’s e-commerce super-app Wasla, setting the stage for the rollout of new online shopping capabilities, products and regional expansion. Contact has been in the business of consumer finance since 2001, while Wasla was founded in 2018 by Serag Meneassy and Taymour […]
    Topics: million, finance, introduce, provider, payment, wasla, techcrunch, set, ecommerce, financing, including, retail, nabs, experience, platform, egypts, business.
  • 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.
  • Elude secures additional funding as it aims to improve travel booking experience - Elude launched on iOS, but has plans to launch a web version and Android version in the coming months.
    Topics: improve, venture, additional, simon, partners, money, secures, funding, companies, booking, travel, round, experience, techcrunch, million, elude, shonk, aims.
  • Employee Experience: What It Is and How to Improve It - From the moment someone applies for a job, to the moment they send their resignation letter to leave the company, they’ll experience plenty of connections and moments that determine their employee experience.
    Topics: company, need, great, chance, ex, culture, experience, employees, improve, employee, onboarding.
  • Everything You Need to Know About Brand Experience - Online sales are reaching all-time highs as buyers become more comfortable with digital transactions — in 2021, for example, consumers spent a collective $14 billion online across Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
    Topics: know, need, customers, brand, social, consumers, user, experience, create, efforts, positive, customer.
  • Flipkart X Polygon: A Strategic Partnership To Build The Indian Web3 Landscape - The e-commerce giant in a race to overtake rival Amazon is welcoming metaverse and its players with open arms
    Topics: announced, platform, build, blockchain, indian, x, experience, landscape, users, polygon, entrepreneur, web3, partnership, strategic, company, flipkart.
  • Gartner Predicts 2022: B2B eCommerce Orgs Will Miss the CX Mark - Through extensive research and trend monitoring, industry analyst Gartner releases a report of yearly predictions. The blog series kicked off with a focus on their first prediction, the impact of unified commerce; while the second installment sheds light on how B2B eCommerce organizations are and should be tackling digital optimization with the customer experience at the forefront. Here’s what they had to say:  “By 2025, 60% of B2B sales organizations’ digital sales optimization projects will not meet customer experience goals because of focusing on operational targets only.” Data Collection Without Understanding or Intent Gartner finds that while data collection is indeed a driving force behind how organizations set priorities and goals, that information is not properly interpretated towards improving the customer experience. Best case scenario, an organization may adopt new technologies to automate sales or customer service functions but miss the greater opportunity for customer experience wins. The challenge, Gartner posits for these companies to make the shift from operationally focused to a customer-centric approach. While in pursuit of building the perfect data beast, they’ve lost sight of the customer; oftentimes missing the mark completely on where the customer really is on the buying journey. The remedy from the problematic process-forward to the customer-forward approach is an 11-step path on how best to build strong customer relationships. Gartner references a few key steps highlighting an active listening stance, and being open to stepping outside the conventional when it comes to the customer to better earn their trust. Analyst Recommendations To counteract the shortsighted effect of process or efficiency- based digital commerce, Gartner suggests the following for B2B eCommerce organizations as they move towards transformation: Adopt modern technology designed to meet the customer where they are such as conversational AI and engagement analytics; leverage the appropriate technology with the intent to better understand your customer Take an honest, open look at your KPIs to determine which are operationally driven versus CX focused Assess your CX initiatives to ensure balance; avoid organizational silos where CX doesn’t lead the charge towards a unified digital transformation   Looking for a B2B eCommerce Solution? Elastic Path is Transforming B2B Commerce Experiences Quickly & Efficiently While Driving Substantial Revenue Growth. Chat with an expert today to see how our flexible, composable solutions can speed up your time to market, reduce costs, and improve your customer experience. Talk with an eCommerce Expert Elastic Path Delivers on Multi-Channel Experiences One of the key advantages of choosing an Elastic Path platform for your B2B eCommerce needs is its flexibility across business models spanning B2B, B2C, and B2B2C. Navigating the complexities of each channel is a challenge; instead of piecing together fragmented solutions you now have the power and agility to control commerce capabilities in whatever space you’re in from a single platform. Consider the flexibility of creating unique catalogs across multiple markets, and delivering personalized account-based pricing. The focus moves away from simply order taking, to cultivating customer relationships with differentiated experiences. Check out our guide for choosing the right eCommerce solution for you. Read a full list of Gartner’s 2022 Predictions  and stay tuned for more highlights from their extensive research and survey findings.
    Topics: orgs, mark, path, b2b, digital, ecommerce, experience, customer, gartner, commerce, organizations, cx, miss, sales.
  • Gartner Predicts 2022: Total Ownership Wins the Day - In the wake of massive disruption to the eCommerce industry begins a new year of challenges and changes. Each year Gartner makes market predictions based on trends and research. We’ve covered two predictions in the series regarding unified commerce and the B2B customer experience, and now a third prediction with core responsibilities and roles within digital commerce org strategy. Here’s what Gartner predicts: “By 2025, organizations with distributed responsibilities for digital commerce  will outperform those without by 25% in revenue growth.” From IT-Only to All Hands-on Deck Digital commerce strategy and implementation has traditionally been treated as an IT project. Simply build a website, and they will come - a purely transactional relationship. As digital commerce exponentially grew in recent years, most notably within the last two years of pandemic affect, an omnichannel experience is mission critical. The requirements became more sophisticated, and ownership expanded beyond a special project status managed by a handful of developers or a CIO. To create the seamless experience customers now demand, (and will happily go elsewhere to find), digital commerce evolved into a multi-disciplinary enabled transformation; the roster had to expand, and fast. Everyone from marketing, sales, IT, finance, customer support, and logistics is integral to the success of an organization’s eCommerce strategy. Gartner supports this shift with findings from their 2021 Digital Commerce State of the Union Survey: 84% of respondents indicated there can be more than 12 primary leaders of a digital commerce initiative. The remaining respondents cited no primary lead for a digital commerce strategy. Similar questions posed in a 2019 survey produced the same results. A shift has occurred towards a digital commerce approach of total ownership distributed across the organization. Bottom line: a siloed environment is the death of CX. When fostering innovation and a truly friction-free customer journey a vertical organizational structure may seem more efficient, but it creates barriers to growth; more often than not the structure results in perceived boundaries among teams stifling forward motion and worse yet, adversely affecting your customer’s experience as they move through each stage. A frustrated customer will soon no longer be your customer. Interested in Learning More About Elastic Path Commerce Cloud? Launch and optimize innovative experiences fast, with a modern, headless, SaaS, API-first, & microservices-based commerce platform. See the Future of eCommerce Provide the Path of Least Resistance Frictionless, low barrier access to you and your products or services is key to the customer experience. The easier you make it for your customer, the better performance and metrics will be. According to Gartner’s findings here’s where to focus: Establish a coordinated technology vision across the organization with multiple business leaders, with emphasis on integrating sales into the digital commerce motion Identify points of business interaction within the vision and ensure representation to meet those needs cross functionally Establish goals and KPIs to support the entire CX journey, requiring multiple teams and collaboration The results from a coordinated vision and integrated digital commerce strategy, according to Gartner, include better performance as mentioned, and increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Stemming from increased customer confidence, organizations should also see a decrease in customer acquisition cost. Distributed teams and the Composable Commerce Approach The Composable Commerce approach towards digital commerce supports distributed teams/coordinated vision strategy. From its foundational principles in modularity, flexibility, an open ecosystem, and a business-forward mindset, leading with a distributed team supports bringing together the business and tech leaders for the greater good of digital commerce, ultimately creating differentiated customer experiences quickly and cost effectively. When we look at the partner ecosystem within the Composable Commerce approach, there are parallels as you develop and scale your digital commerce platform - you are free to engage with vendor and tech partners without being locked into a particular service or partner. You use what resources you need to accomplish your unique business goals. A second parallel comes from the beginning of your replatforming journey as you’re considering what to do or where to go next. A key action is to get all the players in the room to determine where you are now and map out your digital commerce vision. That team roster may look different from company to company, but it should involve a diverse representation. As Gartner points out marketing, sales, customer service, supply chain, IT, and finance all should have a seat at the table. Read a full list of Gartner’s 2022 Predictions  and stay tuned for more highlights from their extensive research and survey findings.
    Topics: predicts, teams, vision, experience, distributed, survey, gartner, digital, customer, business, commerce.
  • 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.
  • Gartner® Report: Market Guide for PIM Solutions - Industry analyst Gartner® predicts by 2025, 70% of organizations will choose data management software products primarily based on the business user experience, up from 20% in 2021. So what does that mean? Data management is mission-critical, however how brands deploy that data is changing at an accelerated pace. Elastic Path is recognized in the guide as a select vendor of PIM software. The research and insights are compiled in the Gartner 2022 Market Guide for PIM Solutions.   A Comprehensive Guide to eCommerce PIM Solutions for Decision Makers Gartner developed the guide for companies embarking on changes to their current solutions based on product information management trends. Its content educates and informs data and analytics leaders like you on how to pick the best PIM for eCommerce based on your business needs, so you are consistently managing and optimizing product information.   Inclusion and Evaluation Criteria Gartner does the research so you hit the ground running on RFP and vendor selection. You get a global overview of the market players based on specific criteria. Gartner typically limits their inclusion criteria to a set number of vendors, a revenue threshold in dollars, and product availability on more than one continent. As for evaluation, Gartner makes an assessment of the different vendor offerings based on general criteria such as global viability, client experience, marketing strategy, revenue, and revenue growth. For each offer, the criteria are ranked and weighted according to their importance for Gartner at a High, Medium, or Low levels. The process is no ordinary selection process. Gartner provides a thorough, rigorous review of who is in the market, what they offer, and how well they are performing. To be included in the guide means a company is differentiating and leading in the market as a PIM solution. The next choice is yours given which of them provides the best solution for your needs.   Closing the Loop on the Product Content Life Cycle Let’s begin with the basics of Product Information Management (PIM), or what Gartner refers to as the value delivered from a PIM: The ultimate purpose of PIM is to speed up your time to market, improve all aspects of sales, and deliver compelling product experiences across any touchpoint. Regardless of what channel you’re selling in, PIM provides the foundation for customer experiences using relevant product information across touchpoints, and is especially crucial when enabling a digital eCommerce strategy. PIM enabled eCommerce allows your brand story to be told with a single source of product truth without silos; sales, merchandising, marketing teams have access to and are empowered to build off the data.   Enter PXM, a Crux of One of Gartner's Predictions for 2025 Product Experience Management (PXM), is an arm of a broader approach to PIM for eCommerce. Working in tandem with PIM, PXM levels up the customer experience with analytical tools, such as Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA), machine learning, and artificial intelligence. The result is richer, more engaging customer experiences across touchpoints that support multiple use cases and product complexities. For channels that are long-term strategic investments, manual processes will eventually become insufficient. Instead, companies should invest in more robust product experience management (PXM) solutions, which represent an evolution beyond traditional PIM systems. PXM capabilities include automated rich content creation using natural language generation, AI-assisted rich content optimization and channel behavioral data, and DSA. When referencing a “closed loop” , Gartner predicts that businesses adopting more robust PXM capabilities to enhance PIM will have greater leverage in building a revenue-generating, multichannel eCommerce solution. By gathering product information derived from PXM functionality, brands are now able to make changes and push those changes back out to their channels through syndication. The results? Product content optimization across every touchpoint and channel.   EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) Merchandise Every Unique Product Experience, Without Custom Dev Work Go to EP PXM Further Down the Road for Today’s Brands: Leveraging More Data While Gartner points out in the report this practice rarely exists today, businesses will in the future tap into data from more resources than ever before such as existing PXM systems, point-of-sale in physical storefronts, and commerce platforms to further optimize across channels. The analyst notes that if the process happens today, the majority are performed with outdated PIM solutions. Within the report is a helpful visual tool as you envision the product data supply chain and how PIM affects the ecosystem: p>  Terms to Note Worth mentioning among this cavalcade of acronyms, are two I am highlighting from the report with additional explanation: Digital Asset Management (DAM) - A single source of truth for all digital assets including video, audio, presentations, media files, and animations to name a few. Housing these assets in a centralized location streamlines brand identity and consistency, enabling automatic asset updates. It also streamlines content repurposing which is fast becoming key to a brand’s social media presence and social commerce strategy.   Master Data Management (MDM) - As businesses increasingly went digital there was a rush to adopt Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), but that became somewhat limiting when businesses were faced with multiple use cases. MDM emerged as the answer to building a better beast; housing unified data across tools, systems, and locations to form a single source of truth.   Elastic Path Product Experience Manager (EP PXM) Good news for organizations of all sizes embarking on today’s complex and competitive commerce landscape: aligning with Gartner’s predictions and recommendations for the future state, is a product designed for your success: EP PXM. EP PXM combines re-imagined eCommerce PIM software, Product Merchandising, and Catalog Composer capabilities into one central place for merchandisers to create the complex product experiences that keep your brand front and center in the eyes of increasingly demanding customers. The market guide references supportive PIM functionalities vendors provide that fall outside traditional core capabilities, such as supplier data onboarding, content optimization, and print publishing. Two standouts mentioned within the guide where EP PXM differentiates are product variant management and catalog creation. The product is designed with the merchandiser in mind with the ability to manage thousands of SKUs and multiple catalogs. In fact, EP PXM is the ideal solution for companies with “multis”: multiple brands, channels, geos, and use cases. As those sought after, hyper-personalized customer experiences become critical to your brand’s growth and reputation, this is the PIM game changer. Interested in hearing more? Get in touch with our experts today to learn about Elastic Path's very own product information management solution. In the meantime, unlock and download the Gartner’s full 2022 Market Guide for PIM solutions report here.  
    Topics: ecommerce, experience, report, gartner, pxm, product, pim, guide, market, solutions, management, data.
  • Here's What Really Builds Customer Loyalty in the B2B Industry - While experience loyalty has been around the B2C world for decades, the B2B industry is now catching on that delighting customers doesn't build loyalty. Here's what does.
    Topics: b2b, digital, heres, industry, buyers, business, customers, experience, really, customer, loyalty, create, payments, builds.
  • Holiday Shopping Fails – 2021 Sales Fall Short - Another holiday shopping cycle bites the dust, and the results are in: nothing for the record books. AdWeek reported lower projections, with the biggest returns projected for Cyber Monday. Amid supply chain issues and a national labor shortage, it seems shoppers made the bulk of purchases earlier in the season to ensure no disappointments on Christmas morning, as retailers offered deep deals as early as October to get a jump on the season. Not surprisingly the most sought-after items include high-definition TVs, next gen smartphones, devices, gaming systems, household appliances, and the latest toys for the kid, or the kid-at-heart, who has everything. A few key numbers and findings: Online sales reached $8.9 billion on Black Friday, slightly below last year, according to data from Adobe Analytics Physical store traffic rose from last year, but still well below pre-pandemic levels Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services are on the rise, and in recent months several major retailers now offer the option at point-of-sales both in-store and online Curbside pickup remains steady since the pandemic began, while other shopping behaviors have waned. According to Adobe, curbside services were used in 20% of all online orders placed on Black Friday. For the month of November, curbside services were up 78% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019 And now on with the show… Holiday shopping woes abound in the Twittersphere and among the TikTok nation, with pain points ranging from no inventory to coupon missteps, and overall lackluster shopping experiences. Here are snapshots of a few #fails: When the deal is really anything but: No availability for highly anticipated new product launches on the busiest shopping day of the year is in this shopper’s mind not just a fail, but one of epic proportions:   While some retailers do accept expired paper coupons, in the case of online codes for an on-demand service, it requires an extra step to chat with customer service when the code fails – or when you don’t even get to redemption because the offer is marked with an expired date. Inconsistency on sale models and pricing, whether intended or triggered by a glitch in your inventory system, damages the trust you work so hard to build with your customers. And when you do find that unicorn of a deal, your size seems to be the only dreaded out of stock: While this instance could be chalked up to tough luck, or maybe this shopper has niche taste beyond a 4K Ultra HD TV, a deeper dive could suggest you aren’t listening to what your customers want. Again, glitches can ruin the experience; especially when you’ve been led to believe you are “next in line”… Despite all the inevitable #fails along the way, many shoppers found they got exactly what they were looking for at the right price, either in person or online. I shopped Small Business Saturday by purchasing handmade items from some of my favorite local artists. But even if you didn’t have the best experience, some shoppers dug deep and found a certain amount of humor in the situation: And brutal self-awareness: We can’t forget our Black Friday shoppers who braved the in-store experience, only to find curious merchandizing decisions: (Video Source) And well, at least you aren’t this guy: (Video Source) That’s a wrap on holiday shopping 2021…it turned out to be more of a bear than a bull, one could say. Stay tuned for more insights and trends as we continue to navigate shopping habits in these unprecedented times.
    Topics: holiday, shopping, fall, prepandemic, service, fails, shoppers, sales, black, retailers, online, experience, services, short.
  • How 3 Childhood Friends Without Business Experience Built “The Best Brand in Denmark” - In this episode of Shopify Masters, we chat with the founders of the recently named “best brand in Denmark,” Shaping New Tomorrow. The three friends, Christian Aachmann, Kasper Ulrich, and Christoffer Bak were able to disrupt the menswear industry, build multiple physical stores, and scale beyond 8-figures in annual sales.More
    Topics: experience, childhood, pants, menswear, friends, tomorrow, shaping, built, good, scale, denmark, brand, best, business, lot, really, products.
  • 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 Experiential Ecommerce is Digitally Reconceptualizing Human Connection - Experiential ecommerce is changing the way people shop online, as brands shift gears towards humanizing connection.
    Topics: shopping, reconceptualizing, digitally, human, feel, connection, consumers, experiential, brands, ecommerce, experience, user.
  • How Fast One-Click Checkout with EP Payments Boosts Conversions & Checkout Speed - Customer expectations are escalating rapidly, and what people learn to love in one industry, like food delivery, increasingly defines what they expect in other industries, like shopping for jewelry. These ever-shifting expectations put pressure on businesses to meet their customers where they are—delivering their products faster, cheaper, and more seamlessly than ever. Most checkout experiences have upwards of 18 fields, adding friction and giving your customers opportunities to abandon their carts. According to the Baymard Institute, 70% of customers will leave when the checkout process takes too long. Watch our webinar to learn how to overcome the 5 common checkout mistakes that over 90% of brands make. At Elastic Path, we obsess over checkout optimization, helping brands to improve their conversion rates continually. That’s why we've enabled fast one-click checkout for all businesses using EP Payments, powered by Stripe, at no extra cost.  How easy is it for customers to use one-click checkout? The proof is in the pudding, the example checkout flows below showcase the benefit of a simple and intuitive checkout flow for your customers.  One-click checkout relies on the largest “rapid checkout” network in the industry; with Stripe’s 30M+ known customers, one-click checkout auto-fills your customers' payment and shipping details so they can check out in a single click.  By simply adding and customizing the payment element on your frontend, you will enable one-click checkout—giving your customers an easy and secure checkout experience.  EP Payments Support Complex Checkouts Across Brands & Channels Go to EP Payments Drive Tangible Business Results Increase conversion. Reduce cart abandonment by creating a frictionless, fast eCommerce checkout experience. One-click checkout increases conversion rates by over 7% for known customers. Speed up checkout. Enable customers to check out in just six seconds with the optimized experience—9x faster than anonymous customers. Optimize the user experience. A simple checkout flow creates a better user experience for returning customers. Known customers purchase 4x more often than anonymous customers. The one-click checkout experience is just as simple for your buyers. It auto-fills saved payment details and a shipping address in a few simple steps. Your customers’ data is encrypted to keep it secure and as a certified PCI Service Provider Level 1, EP Payments one-click checkout meets the highest level of certification available in the payments industry. 1. Save Payment Info Customers choose to save their payment details and shipping address to your one-click checkout-enabled storefront. 2. Mobile verification When customers use one-click checkout on a new site or new device, they’ll receive a one-time code to verify their identity. 3. One Click Payment For future purchases, one-click checkout autofills saved payment details so customers can check out in a single click. Enabling your customers to check out faster is critical to delivering an optimized checkout experience. Existing customers can visit EP Payments to turn on one-click checkout.  For new customers, we’d love to chat with you today to see how EP Payments and one-click checkout can supercharge your conversion rate.
    Topics: speed, payment, ep, conversions, simple, check, conversion, checkout, payments, boost, oneclick, experience, fast, customers.
  • How These 3 Small Businesses Innovated Their Way to Massive Success (and How You Can, Too) - Here's how a few business owners are embracing new strategies and tools to thrive in the new era of digital commerce, and what you can learn from them.
    Topics: lead, customers, way, stellar, customer, small, business, experience, businesses, abogados, examples, latinos, video, online, transform.
  • 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 “Nightmare” Ring Shopping Experience Turned Into a Niche Business - Shopping for wedding bands is a high stakes experience, due to the cost and nature of the product. So when John Ruggiero and Michelle Luchese went shopping for a wedding band for John, they had a “nightmare” experience finding one that matched his personality and budget. That’s when they decided to launch Manly Bands, a line of rings that uses high-quality, non-traditional materials like dino bone, meteorite, and deer antler. In this episode of Shopify Masters, John and Michelle discuss how to differentiate themselves in a saturated market and how to hire the ideal team for expansion.More
    Topics: customers, things, business, thats, shopping, lot, nightmare, experience, ring, niche, really, product, rings, customer, youre, turned, different.
  • How to Build Brand Loyalty Through Augmented Reality - Combining AR and 3D experiences into a website is increasingly vital to foster customer engagement and brand loyalty.
    Topics: tryon, reality, 3d, video, brand, build, augmented, ar, experience, brands, retailers, virtual, loyalty, consumers, shopping.
  • 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.
  • - Phone cases are everywhere. And the demand for phone cases is constantly rising because of new phone version releases, old phones, broken cases, an increase in population, and new customers getting into the market (like teenagers with their first phones).… Continue reading How to Start a Phone Case Business (With No Prior Experience)
    Topics: design, shopify, printful, cases, start, case, product, prior, store, experience, phone, business.
  • How to Write A Career Objective That Gets Your Resume Noticed - Career objectives are a topic of hot debate in the resume space. Certain career experts say they're outdated. Others claim they give hiring managers a quick glance at your top attributes and experiences.
    Topics: statement, objective, hiring, career, skills, marketing, experience, gets, resume, write, manager, job, noticed.
  • How to Write A Statement of Qualifications - Finding a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience. You pour your heart and soul (not to mention your entire work history) into this document and wait by the phone (or your inbox) for the interview requests to come in.
    Topics: soq, person, job, statement, skills, write, youve, experience, resume, help, qualifications.
  • How to Write a Marketing Resume Hiring Managers Will Notice [Free 2023 Templates + Samples] - As we collectively enter into yet another year of an uncertain employment landscape, having a stand-out marketing resume will only strengthen your position in the job market.
    Topics: hiring, samples, write, notice, managers, skills, youre, marketing, experience, resume, job, templates, free, dont, role, applying.
  • Inclusive live commerce: Engaging live agents to move beyond captioning - Solving for the widest possible range of abilities tends to create unintended benefits for all.
    Topics: standards, shopper, techcrunch, commerce, experience, inclusive, agent, captioning, example, brands, agents, shopping, engaging, live.
  • India’s Simpl raises $40 million for its buy now, pay later service - Bangalore-based fintech startup Simpl has raised $40 million as it looks to expand its online buy now, pay later service’s offerings in the world’s second-largest market. Valar Ventures and IA Ventures led the six-year-old startup’s Series B round. LFH Ventures and some existing investors also participated in the round, said the startup, which has raised […]
    Topics: service, pay, customers, indias, ecommerce, startup, services, raises, million, checkout, later, ventures, buy, experience, techcrunch, merchants, simpl.
  • Inside Elastic Path with Kenneth Culala - Kenneth Culala is a Software Engineer Test, who has been with Elastic Path for 3.5 years. He graduated in 2017 with a diploma from British Columbia Institute of Columbia. Prior to his role, Kenneth had a year of internship experience before joining the team full-time. Learn more about his role at our company! Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Software Engineer Test? Q: What is typically the highlight of your day or week? Kenneth: The highlight of my work week is when my team comes together at the end of a 2-week sprint. We discuss what we achieved, and it is a good time to recognize each individual's contributions. It also opens a moment for self-reflection, and to align on where we want to be. Q: In your current role, is there something you are most proud of? Kenneth: Something I am most proud of is my ability to put myself in the shoes of our customers. This is further reinforced by the internal tools that I get to use with our platform, it allows me to see how we impact their day to day. We can use these insights to make suggestions that could improve the way they use the platform and ensure that their customers have the best experience. It also opens up opportunities for myself and the team to discuss the value we bring, and make improvements for the customer. Q: How would you describe the culture here at Elastic Path? Kenneth: The culture at Elastic Path is very collaborative, and every employee is a slack message away. I also love how we are able to be there for one another. Q: Thinking back, what were the reasons that made you join Elastic Path? What are the reasons you choose to stay? Kenneth: I joined Elastic Path after seeing a friend of mine at the time, join the company after transitioning from an internship experience to full-time. This really spoke to me on how the company is willing to invest in the careers of individuals, ‘plucking’ them right out of school, teaching and building them up. I stayed due to the way the teams were organized. We have trust, autonomy and are able to self-organize in delivering value to the customer. Since the pandemic, we have had the flexibility that comes with working from home. I have been able to leverage this to run errands and go to the gym at my convenience. Q: If you had to say to someone that was considering on applying, what would you say? Kenneth: At the company, you will learn a lot, there is a lot of flexibility, and opportunity to push yourself and make the most of your career. For example, at Elastic Path, they foster development through a professional development benefit as well as PTO for individuals to encourage them to hone their skills. Q: What is your favorite movie? Kenneth: I find it hard to have a favorite but I lean towards the sci-fi genre when it comes to movies. One movie I recently watched was Dune, and it was very cool to see in theatres, due to the sound design and effects.
    Topics: elastic, kenneth, culala, team, experience, comes, individuals, company, day, able, inside, role, path.
  • Introducing the BigCommerce 2021 Partner Awards Finalists - It’s time for the BigCommerce 2021 Partner Awards! Marking the fourth year of the program, the BigCommerce Partner Awards is…
    Topics: finalists, awards, solutions, bigcommerce, customer, design, clients, partner, ecommerce, online, introducing, experience, business, digital.
  • Is Live Shopping Right for Your Business? - As technology drives shopper experiences, brands must look for new and innovative ways to reach the customer and make a connection. What is live shopping? Live shopping has its origins in Asian markets, and is fast becoming a staple in North America. You may also hear it called live stream shopping, social shopping, streamable shopping, and live commerce. The popularity of live shopping experiences comes from in part the entertainment value. Most feeds are hosted by an influencer or internet celebrity, and sometimes include movie or TV industry celebrities of a select country who are endorsing the product or brand. As the host introduces the product, attendees have the ability to ask questions in real time and engage with other people watching the feed. Links are available to purchase the item or items without leaving the streaming service or app. In short, any product becomes a shoppable ad. Who are the Leaders in the Live Shopping Platforms Space? Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch are often mentioned platforms currently supporting the live experience; however Amazon, NTWK, TalkShop, the Bambuser app, PopShop, and TaoBao are fast becoming live shopping platforms with a following. Here are a few key livestream shopping statistics regarding live shopping and its growing buzzworthiness: Live video will be used for more than half of all shopping by this year People are spending an average of $500 per purchase on live-streamed items The most popular categories to shop include clothing, beauty products, and home Would a Live Stream Experience Augment Your Business? It depends. Consider the following:  If you’re trying to reach a particular generation such as Gen Z or Millennials, you may want to consider offering a live shopping experience. It’s an excellent way to reach new customers who are craving both the social engagement or community of a live feed, and who consider influencers a form of social proof, instilling confidence in a brand or product.  Do you have an existing presence on social media today with an influencer marketing budget and a plan? Investing in social commerce is a segue into live shopping experiences. Customers who follow you across social networks may be expecting or excited to see live stream shopping available and eager to buy with one click. Maximize Social Commerce in Your eCommerce Strategy How will you use social eCommerce to your advantage? For more resources on what’s trending and what the future holds, check out our resources on the Future of eCommerce. Look into the Future Mastering Live Shopping With Multiple Geos, Brands, or Catalogs  If you have certain complexities with your business, live shopping feeds can work in your favor. If you have multiple brands under one umbrella, you sell your products in different locations or perhaps multiple countries, you have an opportunity to create customized, even personalized content.  By Geo or Region  A livestreaming commerce feed helps target particular markets with tailored content for the region, such as content for North American versus European markets, or broken down by regions within a country. It’s also possible to offer personalized content based on your customer data, such as by invitation only sales or new product launches for loyal or rewards program customers.  By Brand Let’s say you’re an apparel retailer with multiple brands. A live feed shopping experience helps you refine the message to your audiences. You may distinguish the event by any number of customer segments or products such as outdoor apparel and accessories by season, footwear, or children’s clothing. Each feed can additionally have its own influencer closely aligned with the brand who resonates with those customers and builds consumer confidence.   By Catalog  Consider the possibilities of creating net new catalogs with the information you’ve gleaned from a live feed. You may discover from engagement during the feed that your customers have an interest in overstock items or a post-holiday refurbished items event. You can then take that information and build a specific catalog based on real customer demand.  Post Show Offers Benefits of the live feed extend out to the post-show experience. Consider an offer to attendees only such as a percentage discount or free shipping after a certain spend. For those who missed the event, consider a follow-up email describing what they missed. As I’ve mentioned before in blogs, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), is a powerful marketing tool when creating customer engagement and driving conversion.  Knowing that your audience has interest in the product offering already is a leg up in conversion - you already know they intend to buy, it’s a matter of how much they will spend, and what you can do to increase AOV.  Use Live Shopping to Differentiate  As brands compete for market share, you’ll need every tool to set yourself apart from the competition. Another advantage of live shopping feeds is the low barrier to entry. Anyone interested in selling a product or service with an internet connection can in some way create a feed or shoppable opportunity.  Even if your brand is not backed by an influencer shopping app at present, you still have the tools readily available to experiment with live shopping and scale according to your business plan. 
    Topics: experience, brands, consider, feed, live, business, customer, right, shopping, multiple, product, social.
  • Klarna jets into travel with Inspirock acquisition - Though it might seem strange for a company like Klarna to get into travel, CMO David Sandstrom says travel is a pain point Klarna wants to solve for its consumers.
    Topics: klarnas, way, acquisition, experience, techcrunch, shopping, klarna, sandstrom, travel, inspirock, planning, jets, trip.
  • Make It Big Podcast: Enhancing UX Through AR and VR with Threekit and Lindsey Scoggins Studio - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. Bring experiences to life with AR…
    Topics: podcast, threekit, im, scoggins, ecommerce, vr, things, look, youre, big, kind, lindsey, ar, studio, enhancing, ux, really, experience.
  • Make It Big Podcast: The Gen Z Effect on Culture and Commerce with Hana Ben-Shabat - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. Gen Z’s impact on commerce and…
    Topics: gen, big, podcast, hana, culture, generation, effect, way, brand, benshabat, brands, technology, think, z, experience, going, commerce.
  • 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: Optimizing Checkout for a Frictionless User Experience - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. In this episode,…
    Topics: big, frictionless, checkout, average, order, user, fast, podcast, click, product, payment, optimizing, payments, buy, way, experience.
  • Make it Big Podcast: Optimizing the Checkout Experience with Bolt - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. In this episode,…
    Topics: checkout, merchant, optimizing, network, experience, big, oneclick, site, bigcommerce, podcast, bolt.
  • Make it Big Podcast: The Current and Future State of B2B Ecommerce - Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. In this episode,…
    Topics: ecommerce, future, podcast, custom, online, experience, state, b2b, seeing, buyers, shopping, headless, digital, current, big.
  • 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.
  • Marc Lore-backed ‘conversational commerce’ startup Wizard raises $50M Series A from NEA - Marc Lore, who earlier this year stepped down from his role as Walmart’s head of U.S. e-commerce, is now backing a new startup in the e-commerce space called Wizard. Lore has taken on the roles of co-founder, chairman of the board and investor in Wizard, a B2B startup in the “conversational commerce” space which believes […]
    Topics: lorebacked, series, stylust, company, conversational, nea, consumers, really, marc, experience, team, text, techcrunch, wizard, startup, lore, commerce, raises.
  • Merchandising for Today's Omnichannel Shopper - In today’s digital world, merchandisers must take full advantage of the omnichannel space to influence and guide the shopper through the decision-making process. It’s all about the right place, the right price, and the right product to optimize the sale. When you consider there is an 80% increase in revenue  for businesses that focus on improving customer experience, it’s critical to leverage all the tools in the box to guide the experience. Enter online eCommerce merchandising; what was once solely focused on end caps and unique displays, audio/visual, in-store demos, and amply stocked shelves has now transitioned to the digital world. How do we create the same engaging content online to drive the customer through the buying process? Today’s shopper is now demanding an omnichannel experience; so the journey must seamlessly integrate a mix of the in-store and online components. Eye-Catching Homepages to Mirror the Buyer Think of your favorite retailers and what you like about their online presence; do they provide quality imagery, engaging color schemes, great copy, or drive offers front and center to the homepage so you don’t miss the deal? Does this same look and feel weave through their in-store and social media experience? In the case of luxury jeweler, Teilor, they sought to provide what is traditionally an in-store buying experience to their growing population of online shoppers. Through original, curated content they made the online experience a reality. High-quality, detailed imagery of their precious gemstones and diamonds, along with photography to match and attract their target buying persona is set off by product copy; not a standard description full of dimensions and care instructions, but something that reads more like prose to effectively convey the very personal investment of jewelry purchases. Video Clienteling This tactic is used to bring a more personalized experience to buyers either one-on-one by appointment or through live streaming. In the case of Teilor as mentioned above, video clienteling gives the opportunity for customers to see the product and ask questions in real time. With such a personal and significant investment like jewelry, it’s well worth the time to ensure the customer is completely satisfied and more likely to return for repeat purchases. While this tactic is not new to in-person retail experiences, video capabilities and live streaming make it possible in today’s commerce. Advertising Banners Use banners in a variety of ways to call out promotions, sales, best-sellers, etc. Best practices when using banners: keep it simple. While the ad should stand out to attract the shopper’s line of sight, don’t make it so large that it’s distracting or worse yet takes too long to load. Attract not detract. Always keep banners towards the top of the page, and make sure your related content is nearby. Is it a Back-to-School supplies sale? Place the banner close to your product category navigation where the inventory normally lives. The shopper can either click on the banner ad or navigate over to that category link for the same results. Social Proof Word of mouth is fire. Shoppers rely heavily on the experiences of others from product performance to customer service. Customer reviews are a key component to this tactic. Invite your customers to review and post those reviews by their corresponding product. If the response is less than favorable, reach out personally and find out why. (Poor quality, shipping issues, incorrect size, product details not true to imagery). The frontrunner of digital notepads, reMarkable uses social proof by asking customers to share their experiences with the product through a common hashtag. This brings authenticity to the brand with assets that can be used throughout future marketing campaigns. A two-fold win: your customers engage with your product and feel heard, and you have relatable content to support the brand that is best case scenario repurpose-ready. Personalized Offers/Sales Events You don’t need a federal holiday or a gifting season to create a viable offer. While the most popular sales seasons are winter holidays, consider creating offers based on less popular holidays or even an everyday offer. Valentines’ Day, Easter, or President’s Day sale events, or a Treat Yourself-type event can be created with special pricing designed for your loyalty customers. If the inventory can support the event, be creative with your offerings and let your customers shopping behaviors inform them. Know your customers are tea lovers? Create a special event to commemorate National Hot Tea Day. (Yes, it’s a real day, and it’s January 12).   See Catalog Composer In Action Check out our on-demand demo to see how Elastic Path Commerce Cloud makes it easy to manage unlimited unique catalogs for any business. Watch Demo Bundling/Cross-Sell/Upsell Bundling is a common merchandising tactic with many variations. You may use common variations to support a new product launch in the health and beauty category by bundling a more well-known brand with a new to market product. You may also see opportunities with sporting goods to bundle equipment and upsell/cross-sell accessories. When merchandising next gen skis or snowboards, a bundle variation may include an equipment upgrade for the next skill level plus accessories like bindings or boots. If your margins can support bundling it’s a proven tactic for value creation. Visual Hierarchy Visual hierarchy is well covered territory when it comes to in-store merchandising sets, but similar rules apply to your online store or app. When viewing online content, the natural sight line is from the top down, left to right. When refreshing product information you may also consider placing the content you want your customers to engage with the most to be placed in the direct line of sight. As mentioned above, banners should be towards the top of the page with the related content nearby. Similarly, consider elements that guide the customer down the page; this may include a chat bot feature as the customer scrolls that is not intrusive or distracting. A proven tactic to reduce cart abandonment rates is to keep the cart icon in direct line of sight throughout the session. See what’s new from Elastic Path in product variation support to power up your merchandising strategy.
    Topics: todays, merchandising, experience, online, content, tactic, instore, customers, customer, support, shopper, product, omnichannel.
  • Mobile Form Design: A Beginners Guide to Converting Mobile Users - Think about a time when you were on the train, sitting in the airport, or simply lying on the couch, and you had to complete an online form on your smartphone. Did you ever pay attention to the mobile form design?
    Topics: beginners, fields, form, converting, experience, user, visitors, users, guide, forms, mobile, design, complete, screen.
  • Next-day package delivery startup Veho valued at $1B following $125M Series A - Veho's technology matches package delivery demand with qualified driver partners and lets customers know the actual time of delivery and even communicates when the driver is headed their way.
    Topics: delivery, techcrunch, technology, ecommerce, customers, nextday, valued, veho, 1b, package, series, zur, grow, following, startup, company, experience.
  • Part 2: How Retailers can Navigate the eCommerce Economy - With so many mixed economic signals, as well as consumer shopping patterns and 2022 eCommerce trends falling back in line with pre-COVID norms, how do eCommerce retailers prepare for the future? In case you missed it, in my previous post, I talked about how investing in composable commerce technology during uncertain times can help differentiate businesses, starting with the catalog. While investing further in technology during a downturn sounds counterintuitive, a recent McKinsey report talked about why that’s a winning strategy. Per McKinsey’s research, most U.S. consumers (75%) have been researching and making purchases in both online and brick-and-mortar stores. One specific passage from the report resonated with me, based on what I see from our customers every day: “Winning in e-commerce is not about optimizing the current business to play in a digital world. It instead reimagines business through an omnichannel-first lens. In everything from commercial decisions and processes to talent and human capital management and data, on-the-margin tweaks to the existing operating margin do not create winners.  While the channels and platforms 'of the moment' might be clear today, the digital world is a moving, ever-evolving target. Winning in this space will require more than executing successfully in opportunities today; organizations must leapfrog the competition by being nimble and digital-first. Companies that fail to make digital an organization-wide priority across every function put their relevance, profitability, and market share at risk in the near term.” The good news is that reimagining your business through an omnichannel-first lens isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Composable Commerce architectures help you move fast enough to reimagine the parts of your commerce experience that differentiate you from the competition. The commerce catalog is a perfect place to start. Let’s look at some of McKinsey’s recommendations from this report, and how you can put them into action today. 1. Play strategically in the right channels  Recommendation: “Consumer goods companies need to be where their shoppers are; as new platforms emerge, players that can embrace them rapidly will be best positioned.”  Our take: From TikTok to live commerce to Web3, consumer preferences ebb and flow. Taking advantage of the latest content distribution channels is a matter of being nimble enough to start quickly, test and learn. Not every channel will be right for you based on your audience and where they spend the most time online. Fundamentally, legacy commerce systems and ERP platforms don’t enable this type of experimentation. It can be challenging to justify the sheer time and resources you need to mobilize your development team to run a campaign or set your brand up to process transactions directly within an emerging channel. This is especially difficult if the channel doesn’t prove its ROI. A flexible, modular commerce catalog can make it much simpler to get up and running in emerging channels – delivering newfound agility without having to reinvent the wheel every time. Decoupling the product catalog makes this possible by isolating each component of the catalog into its own set of separately managed microservices (vs. cumbersome legacy ERP system integrations). 2. Use analytics within your commerce platform to drive smarter decisions  Recommendation: “Gone are the days of gut-feeling-driven decision making across merchandising, pricing, promotions, assortment, and content online. Execution decisions will be made based on granular insights to drive outsize growth.” Our take: One of the strongest ways to differentiate your omnichannel customer experience is to use data and analytics to drive smarter decisions. Having end-to-end customer data allows you to create a better, more personalized user experience across consumer and business marketing channels. Using a solution like EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) gives you visibility into your product data, price points, geos, channels, bundle combos, payments, orders and more. Merchandisers can feed this data into their analytics engine of choice to create user journeys and merchandising bundles that increase average order volumes (AOV), improve customer satisfaction, and drive repeat orders.       EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) Merchandise Every Unique Product Experience, Without Custom Dev Work Go to EP PXM 3. Rely on your in-house technical talent  Recommendation: “Foundational digital literacy and analytics capabilities are critical enablers in achieving a long-term competitive advantage in e-commerce. Doing so requires in-house proficiency of technical talent, tools, and capabilities.” Our take: Many eCommerce retailers will continue to rely on external system integrators to set the commerce strategy. That trend isn’t going away. But, with a rise in composable architectures, in-house teams can take on the task of day-to-day, agile commerce implementation. Composable (API-first) commerce allows most changes to take place easily and can be built or managed in-house. As Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson put it, “In order to differentiate yourself in the mind of your customers, you MUST be building. By definition, you cannot buy differentiation: the only way to have differentiation is to BUILD it. Companies that can adapt most quickly to the changing needs of consumers will be the ones that survive.”  Building has never been simpler. With our Composable Commerce offering, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, we are building tools such as reference architectures, pre-built integrations, pre-configured payment gateways, and pre-composed solutions to shorten implementation timelines and complexity. This enables developers to unlock their creativity, rather than slog their way through drudgery. Having an advanced starting point and a core set of integrations will increase the pace of change and help teams focus on areas that propel the business and deliver results. Investing in an in-house team of citizen builders can make it easier to play strategically in the right channels, and leverage data to continue building brand loyalty by improving the customer experience. To sum up, reading the tea leaves of consumer spending and economic trends is rarely straightforward. Smart commerce leaders know that investing in the right technology can prepare them for the future – regardless of the latest channels where customers spend their time and money.
    Topics: data, product, consumer, retailers, composable, set, ecommerce, commerce, channels, business, experience, navigate, economy.
  • Pepper brings in $16M, gets back to its roots of spicing up ordering experience for food distributors - The ordering system is specifically designed so food distributors can launch mobile apps and websites to accept orders and payments online.
    Topics: food, industry, company, ordering, brings, cheung, distributors, technology, ventures, pepper, customers, roots, gets, techcrunch, restaurants, spicing, experience.
  • Pet video marketplace Camlist eyes UK growth after raising $1.3 million pre-seed funding - Camlist, a video marketplace for pets, has raised $1.3 million in a pre-seed round, funding that the startup plans to use to develop its platform and grow its workforce — as it looks to expand its reach in the UK, its second market (after the U.A.E.), which it entered earlier this year. Unlike other marketplaces, […]
    Topics: buyers, dubai, raising, video, experience, items, market, sellers, preseed, techcrunch, pet, funding, marketplace, uk, million, pets, camlist, growth.
  • Resume Tips to Get You The Job You Want, Straight from Recruiters - I can't think of many tasks people dread more than writing a resume. There are so many little things you need to add, rephrase, check, double-check, triple-check.
    Topics: resume, straight, hiring, using, sure, email, job, experience, tips, youre, recruiters, included, skills.
  • 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.
  • Stryx, a DTC Brand, Prepares Rollout in Target Stores - Stryx is a pioneering direct-to-consumer seller of men's cosmetics. The company is soon to launch its products in 950 Target stores. The decision comes with risks.
    Topics: tiktok, cvs, target, products, retailers, prepares, brand, dtc, rollout, stores, stryx, experience, thats.
  • - The best ecommerce course could be a valuable tool for you if you’re planning on launching a new store online. Already the size of the ecommerce market is expected to reach a value of beyond $7.5 trillion by 2030, and… Continue reading The Best Ecommerce Courses for Business Owners
    Topics: owners, ecommerce, online, experience, business, youre, store, marketing, courses, youll, best, shopify, course.
  • The Good End comes more digital than ever, your business cannot be left behind - Do you remember your reaction the last time you tried to buy something online and the page did not allow you to see all the options, or did not accept the payment method you were planning to use?
    Topics: social, customers, comes, products, left, business, online, digital, entrepreneurs, experience, sales, strategy, good, end.
  • The Job Search Process: 10 Tips on How to Land Your Dream Job (+3 Resume Examples) - The job search process can feel daunting. Every step of the process — from finding relevant opportunities to interviewing — is a major time investment. However, an organized to-do list can keep you on track.
    Topics: interview, tips, help, experience, linkedin, examples, recruiters, youre, land, resume, positions, search, job, dream, process.
  • The Myth of Headless Commerce - Headless Commerce is the buzz word that just won’t go away. So much talk about being headless evokes the image of the headless horseman for me. And so, I finally looked him up, to satisfy my curiosity about what he represents. The headless horseman symbolizes a past that never dies and continues to haunt the living. That sounds a lot like what Headless Commerce has turned into lately. Over my last several years supporting organizations and brands looking to modernize their customer experience, the first qualifier seems to be “are you headless”? But what does that really mean? When a brand asks a commerce vendor if they are “headless”, the answer will always be YES! Every eCommerce Platform available today makes a claim that they can operate in a headless manner. Let’s pause for a moment. What are brands really looking for when they are asking for headless? A read through of the past several (dozen or so) RFPs that have come across my desk indicate that organizations, whether they realize it or not, want the headless horseman. The “head” separated from the body, but still haunted by the past. What do I mean by that? Organizations want headless, ostensibly to create a more flexible and extensible commerce architecture that will support long term growth. They want more engaging experiences that drive more conversion. They want blazing fast site speed. They want a commerce architecture that will support the rapidly changing nature of commerce. But simply removing the “head” (or frontend) will not accomplish any of that. When I read an RFP asking for Headless Commerce typically what follows is a ridiculously long checklist of the features from the monolithic platform the customer is currently on. If this approach sounds familiar, then you are inviting the headless horseman into your organization. You will be haunted by a commerce architecture that’s as inflexible and rigid as it has always been. Being “headless” just isn’t enough to help brands drive revenue growth. Ready to Get Started with Headless Commerce? Discover the steps for getting started, how to implement your front-end, considerations for choosing the right platform and more with our full guide. Read the Guide So, what is the alternative? How does an organization respond to the pace of change in the market? How do you prepare for the expansion of commerce to touchpoints we haven’t even imagined yet? To fully realize the promise of ‘Commerce Everywhere’ (more on that in an upcoming post), brands should consider each part of their customer experience independently. For example, how important is search to how your customers experience your brand? If search experience is important to you, consider it independently from your eCommerce platform, against the requirements and KPI’s relevant for your organization. Do you have a large content management team that has robust requirements around driving engaging content? You won’t be able to satisfy those requirements with a built-in CMS in a monolithic commerce platform. Instead, you should consider separating your content management and your commerce platform. This ‘composable’ approach to commerce allows organizations to fit solutions to their requirements, instead of having to fit their requirements to the technology. External composability is important however, this ‘composable’ approach should also be applied to your evaluation of a Commerce vendor’s solution. While every Commerce vendor can reasonably claim to be Headless, few are truly composable. And even fewer have designed their own architecture from that same composable viewpoint. At Elastic Path our APIs are built around packaged business capabilities, each of which is easily composable both with each other and external capabilities (like search, content management, etc.).
    Topics: content, commerce, architecture, horseman, brands, composable, headless, myth, platform, requirements, experience.
  • The Trade-offs of Third-party Add-ons - Third-party apps and add-ons can enhance an ecommerce platform. Examples include exit popups, customer reviews, product recommendations, and marketing automation. But third-party add-ons can create more problems than benefits.
    Topics: performance, speed, improve, addon, site, slow, experience, create, thirdparty, tradeoffs, addons.
  • The eCommerce Catalog is Dead - I am a prolific on-line shopper. I’m not trying to brag… but I have spent countless hours perusing online shops, from makeup to shoes to furniture to everything Amazon has to offer, especially during the pandemic. And I will bounce off a site with lightning speed if I cannot find what I’m looking for, or if the site makes it difficult to find and purchase my desired item. What offenses are these sites committing that make me shut down my browser, or head to a competitor? A few examples: Quickly finding something in the size and color I’m looking for on the ‘virtual’ sale rack. Perhaps I’m not the only one who has had this experience, trying to identify what’s on sale in your size only to have the page cluttered with items that are your size but not on sale. Or worse yet, when you are redecorating and go to a furniture site that has a ‘shop the room’ page, yet when you click on one of the products you are not taken to that style and color, but rather the generic product page. There you must sift through every color/fabric option to find what was promoted on that shop the look page. Shop the look, indeed… more like hunt for the look! Most of these merchandizing no-no’s are a result of the commerce platform’s rigid catalog structure, that has brands adhering to what the technology dictates - rather than the platform supporting the ability for merchandizers to create the site experiences their customers want and need. I first began my career in eCommerce at the start of the 2000’s. Back then, most organizations would create their product catalog by pushing the structure directly out of their ERP. Commerce Catalogs were built to support this type of rigid structure.   Interested in Learning More About Elastic Path Catalog Composer? Manage unlimited catalogs across accounts, business models, brands, geos, or touchpoints 5x faster Watch Demo   However, most ERPs (then and now) are not built to support the experiences customers need and want, they are built to support internal business processes. And yet, in the many years that have transpired since then, that rigid catalog structure has not changed in virtually all commerce platforms. So, what have organizations done to mitigate this problem. Exactly that: they’ve created workarounds, complex integrations, data replication, etc. When an organization wants to adapt their product experiences based on, let’s say, a new product offering, a flash sale, or any kind of merchandizing change, all those workarounds must be addressed. This results in a delay in getting those new experiences out to customers, affecting the ability to generate revenue. Elastic Path has an alternative to this antiquated, rigid approach to product catalogs. Rather than accept that there is only one approach to managing a catalog, as other platforms do, Elastic Path has decomposed all the parts that make up a product and catalog experience, allowing our customers to create product and merchandizing experiences easily and efficiently, when they want and how they want, without relying on any complex workarounds to make it happen. How are we able to do this? Each component of the catalog has been isolated into its own set of microservices, that can be managed separately. Merchandizers can create any combination of products they want into a flexible set of hierarchies. Price lists are managed separately from the product, so again, merchandizers can create multiple pricing strategies (to support loyalty pricing, for example). Then, with just a few clicks, a catalog experience can be ‘composed’ by choosing the hierarchies and price lists that the merchandizer wants to make available for their targeted customers.   Do you want to offer a new product range to your best customers first? Create a loyalty hierarchy with those products, assign it to your loyalty catalog (alongside your standard categories). Then, simply apply your loyalty rule, and in just a few clicks, your best customers will have access to those new products.   Do you want to separate just a few size/color combinations from the master style into your sale category, without having to copy and/or remove them from their main category? Easily done with just a few clicks (and no calls to IT!). Open your sale category, assign those select SKUs, and republish! Now your customers can easily find the products they want without having to sift through products that are not relevant to them. This ability to separate a ‘child’ product from its ‘parent’ is often a challenge and is typically solved with workarounds or another technology. Remember that shop the look example? Doing this well is all about merchandizing the individual SKUs separate from their parent product. The possibilities are truly, quite endless once you have the flexibility to work with each individual component of the catalog separately! My frustration as a shopper is somewhat born out of my experience with eCommerce platforms. I understand why some of the experiences I have online are the way they are. I’ve worked with many customers who have convoluted product data management practices, created so that merchandizers can create the experiences they want. I’ve worked with customers who have tried to overlay other technologies on top of their commerce catalog to enable a better experience for shoppers. And I am not the only one. This collective experience, both with platforms and with our own shopping experiences, is what has inspired our product innovation team at Elastic Path to develop the world’s first truly Composable Catalog.
    Topics: experiences, workarounds, product, ecommerce, customers, sale, products, catalog, support, create, dead, experience.
  • This Seafood Company Scaled 6X While Swimming Through Logistical Obstacles - From the coast of Maine to kitchens all across America, Mark Murrell and the Get Maine Lobster team have been shipping fresh lobsters and seafood for over a decade. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Mark shares his methods for shipping live seafood, managing exponential growth through logistical hurdles, and using content to build relationships with customers.More
    Topics: seafood, logistical, right, scaled, going, thats, lobster, 6x, maine, lot, think, great, obstacles, really, experience, company, swimming.
  • 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.
  • Tips for Women Considering a Career in Tech - A little bit about me, I've known I've wanted to be in some sort of computer field since I was 12 years old. I got to visit my aunt for the summer and play Sim Farm (oh the good old days of games on floppy disks), and I was fortunate to able to take a few computer classes in high school (even in small town Saskatchewan).  I knew I wanted to go to tech school (Sask Polytech), and be done with school as soon as possible to start working. I also organized a Women in Tech meetup group for a few years. I joined Elastic Path four years ago as a backend developer with the intent to become a manager. It was the culture and the interview process at the time that won me over. They'd done some research and made sure to have a female in all my interviews, even though they didn't have any female managers or developers at the time in order to have a more balanced representation. The team pulled out all the stops in my second interview to sell themselves and make an offer. And since then, they've supported me on my chosen career path.  I've officially been in the tech industry for about 15 years (graduated in 2007)! And so I must of have some advice or experience to pass along right?  Before You Decide to Start a Career in Tech 1) Have Thick Skin and Confidence     As much as its hard to say this, you need to have confidence to know what you know, and push back when necessary. You need to pick your battles and draw lines and be able to say something if those are crossed.  2) Be True to Who You Are      You get to choose if you want to wear makeup or not (I don't), or do your hair in more than just ponytails. And don't let them tell you, that you can't show passion and emotion. Men do it, so be ready to push back against if people try to criticize as you as "too aggressive" or "too emotional." 3) Understand the Differences in the Culture and Gender       Research shows women are more likely to volunteer rather than be "voluntold", and even then it won't help with promotions (source). It's also helpful to be aware of the gendered ways we communicate.  For example, the top three communication strengths for women in the workplace include reading body language and non-verbal cues, good listening skills, and displaying empathy; while communication strengths in men are physical presence and direct interactions (source).  Interested in Learning More About Tech Careers? Discover unique opportunities at Elastic Path to start your tech career today, create an unforgettable experience, and invent the future of eCommerce. Go to Careers Before Getting Hired 1) Apply to Jobs Even if You Don't Have Experience for Every Requirement in the Job Posting.   "Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them" (source). If you have experience with some of the requirements, apply! And think about customizing your resume for the job you are applying for.  2) Negotiate      Stand up for what you are worth and negotiate your salary, especially your starting salary. Know the job market, and just because you didn't check all the boxes (see #1) doesn't mean they shouldn't pay you. Especially the time of the Great Resignation, companies have to be competitive in a lot of aspects. 3) Trust Your Gut      If you are interviewing somewhere and not getting a good feeling, definitely see that as a red flag. At interviews, people are probably on their best behavior, so if personalities aren't matching there's a good chance things will only get worse after you're hired. And remember, you're interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Also, check LinkedIn to see how diverse their current workforce is. If their current workforce isn’t diverse, prepare some questions to ask during the interview to address it.  After Getting Hired   1) Negotiate       Reminder to negotiate every pay cycle. And push for promotions. You are your best advocate. Keep track of what you've done and contributed and if you can equate that with ROI (return on investment), even better. 2) Find Allies on Your Team       If you followed the previous advice of "trust your gut," there's a good chance that you find someone on the team to connect with who you can trust during meetings and other group settings. They can help back you up, and amplify your voice if people are interrupting you or not acknowledging your answers. None of these tips are really new, and there are many research papers and other articles that have been written about them, but hopefully this helps a few of you!
    Topics: good, apply, job, experience, start, women, considering, career, tips, tech, school, trust, push.
  • Transforming Digital Experience with Composable Commerce and Co-Innovation - Companies today compete and win through their digital experience. At Bounteous, we focus our efforts on co-innovation and transformative digital experiences to drive results for our clients. We elevate brand experiences through our technology partnerships and unparalleled platform expertise. Elastic Path’s API-first enterprise commerce platform, ability to support complex business models, and open-source technologies provide the ability to create immersive experiences throughout all stages of a customer’s journey. Together we combine our content and commerce expertise to deliver commerce experiences that drive greater ROI. Are you looking for an edge in digital experience? This post will break down how your business can stay innovative and ahead of the curve in the current digital landscape, important factors your business must consider at the start of a digital transformation project and current trends in digital experience that are critical to future success, including insight around Composable and Customer-Centric Architecture. Innovation in the Current Digital Landscape At Bounteous, we exist to help leading companies compete and win digitally by continuously innovating brand experiences that drive transformative results. We believe that innovation begins with a critical insight and that a competitive advantage is attained when a brand can continuously generate and apply those insights. Simply stated, innovation is doing better things and doing things better. Therefore, insights need to be generated for various purposes - to help organizations define their thesis for transformation, create distinct brand experiences, expand and identify customer segments, flawlessly execute to drive conversion, and so much more. We achieve this through our model of co-innovation which is not a project or standalone initiative; it is fundamentally about enhancing the way we work together with our clients to deliver results. We believe that companies today compete and win through their digital experience - and how that digital experience connects to all other aspects of their ecosystem. While that’s been true for a while, we’ve seen it accelerate these last two years as companies need to connect with their customers more and more - and as 1:1 relationships with customers become the norm. Keith Schwartz, Co-Founder & CEO of Bounteous, has introduced the Co-Innovation Manifesto, which includes principles and a call-to-action for business executives seeking to compete and win digitally. We highly recommend you check it out! What to Consider at the Start of a Digital Transformation Project First and foremost, we believe in the power of ‘critical insights’ to inform strategies and experiences we create. We generate critical insights to develop end-to-end strategies that yield the most valuable opportunities for experience and commerce innovation. Innovation is accelerated by a virtuous cycle we call ‘digital flow,’ in which data yields critical insights that enable multi-moment orchestration and continuous experience and commerce innovation. We believe in always having a measurement strategy in place with the right tracking to ensure we can continue to learn from and evolve the digital experience – making it work harder and smarter for you. Lastly, when we talk about co-innovation and collaboration, we talk a lot about the right enablement model that must be in place in order to help our customers mature across talent, methods, tech and data - all of which are critical in achieving a continuous cycle of innovation. These pillars are critical to delivering innovative digital experience. Without the right team, technology, strategy, platform, and data tools, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Trends in the Digital Experience (DX) That Are Critical to Future Success Composable Architecture Trends in headless technology have offered breakthrough improvements in customer experience, but implementing headless as isolated projects limit the total business impact. Composable architecture, on the other hand, provides business agility, speed, and reliability by combining efforts logically at the infrastructure level. Composable architecture is a comprehensive approach to consolidating headless initiatives—ultimately bringing agility to the digital experience infrastructure. Think of composable as the big sister of headless DX architecture. Composable requires more initial planning but brings greater long-term savings through process optimization and flexibility. With composable, you can manage the true value of decoupled systems and create the best-in-class solutions for your business—making composable the future of digital experiences.   What does it mean to have a Composable architecture? Discover more about the latest approach to ecommerce, it's three core architectural tenets, and whether or not the approach is right for you. Read the Guide Customer-Centric Architecture In the early phase of a relationship between your organization and a platform partner, it’s crucial for your partner to understand the business need and your customer so the platform customization can be architected with those factors in mind. When you lose sight of your customers by letting technology dictate your approach, you start serving the means rather than the end, meaning you’re implementing technology for its own sake, rather than serving a business purpose. As our digital ecosystems become more sophisticated and integrate multiple platforms as well as bespoke components, we expect to see a growing trend around customer-centric architecture. Co-Innovation When we work together, we succeed together. Often, departments within an organization talk to each other but have their own unique goals and objectives in mind when building a platform rather than a single set of overarching, unifying goals. That tends to create data silos and issues surrounding the points of control around data flow. A good partner can serve as communicative and connective tissue between the departments in an organization. They will help your team look beyond individual department goals and see a cohesive picture that can better inform the implementation. We expect to see more clients demand this kind of mutuality from their partners in the future.
    Topics: composable, data, transforming, insights, experience, platform, coinnovation, experiences, business, commerce, technology, digital, critical.
  • Using Amazon Pay to Create a Customer-Centric Checkout Experience - Shopper experience lies at the heart of ecommerce. Businesses can succeed or fail depending on how seriously they take customer…
    Topics: payment, pay, amazon, customer, create, process, experience, trust, using, shoppers, customercentric, checkout, merchants.
  • What Is A Frontend And How Does It Work With Elastic Path? - When you first visit a website, what’s the first thing you notice? It’s not the available payment providers, it’s not the security measures, it’s not even the products. It’s the design! And as an eCommerce brand, if your design isn’t aesthetically appealing to your customers, you stand the risk of losing your website visitors quickly. This design is hosted in what we call the frontend of your eCommerce experience. Therefore, understanding what your frontend will look like is equally as important as understanding the eCommerce solution that will power your eCommerce experiences. In this article we will break down exactly what a frontend is, your frontend options, and how it works with Elastic Path.   What Is a frontend? The frontend refers to the all the elements that your users see and interact with when they visit your website. These elements include features such as font, color themes, drop down menus, search bars, imagery, click interactions and more. This is why the frontend is most commonly referred to as the customer-facing portion of your eCommerce experience. As the customer-facing portion of your website, your team has the opportunity to use these elements to “wow” your customers, make an impact and create an overall appealing experience while they shop. The frontend is not to be confused with the backend of your eCommerce experience. The backend, otherwise known as the server side of your eCommerce experience, refers the data access layer that holds all your information and powers the functionality for your store. It works by processing, storing, and delivering all the data and functionality to and from the frontend. Therefore, your backend is essentially responsible for bringing your frontend elements to life so that your customers may interact with your store and complete their transaction.   What To Expect From Your Frontend In Traditional Legacy Platforms? Since the emergence of eCommerce, traditional legacy platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Oracle ATG, and SAP Hybris have been built as all-in-one systems, where the frontend and backend were constructed in tightly coupled architectures. Coupling the frontend and the backend brought tremendous benefits at first, as it allowed brands to quickly deploy online stores and manage them with ease using templates that were provided by their vendors. However, as technology advanced over the years, customers were demanding more unique and engaging experiences. This posed a problem for brands utilizing these coupled architectures because they lacked the flexibility be able to customize their unique solution. And even if they did find workarounds for their customizations, they were still time consuming, costly, and had the potential of breaking their eCommerce store, slowing down their website, and leaving customers with a bad experience. Therefore, this type of hyper dependent architecture has not been ideal for brands who want to continuously innovate and update their frontend experiences to keep up with customer expectations. Over the years, the eCommerce landscape has evolved to overcome the rigidity of this type of architecture. Around 2013, a new approach called Headless Commerce emerged, which decoupled the frontend presentation layer from the backend functionality layer, to allow for more creative freedom. Headless Commerce vendors today include Elastic Path, Big Commerce, Commercetools and more.   What To Expect From Your Frontend In Headless Commerce Solutions? The Headless Commerce approach allowed for the frontend and backend systems to exist independently. This meant development teams no longer had to worry about the interdependencies between the two layers, and brands and their teams had more freedom to create and update their frontend presentation layer without the fear of anything breaking. Additionally, as the backend was now able to communicate via APIs, brands were now able to create one frontend layer and have that be utilized across multiple touchpoints such as mobile, and IoT to reach customers in different places.   Interested in Learning More About Elastic Path Commerce Cloud? Launch and optimize innovative experiences fast, with a modern, headless, SaaS, API-first, & microservices-based commerce platform. See the Future of eCommerce   What Frontend Options Do I Have If I Want a Headless Commerce Solution? Customers are oftentimes confused by Headless Commerce because they have only been accustomed to working with all-in-one solutions. So, we often get asked, “If Headless Commerce removes the “head” and decouples the frontend from the backend, does the eCommerce solution still come with a frontend? What are my options?” And well the answer to that is, “Well, it depends.” As you can imagine, more frontend freedom comes with more options, and depending on a company’s current state, there will be different frontend options that will be better suited for them. The frontend option you choose will usually differ based on: ● The size of your business ● The level of in-house resources you want to utilize ● Current skill set of your dev team ● The number of stores you have across your business ● The number of channels you want to deploy across ● The type of products you carry (simple/complex) ● The level of churn ● The size of your marketing/merchandising team ● The level of innovation you want   Based on the assessment of these criteria there are 3 possible routes you could take. 1. Leverage a Frontend-as-a-Service A Frontend-as-a-Service (FEaaS) allows you to build and design your features, and their functionality such as grid layouts and carousels for your product, using minimal coding. If you choose this option, you will utilize an agency or your FEaaS team to carry out your first-time implementation of your frontend with your commerce solution. Once that is completed, your team of marketers, content creators, and merchandisers will have the flexibility to innovate and make updates without reliance on your engineering teams. Examples of FEaaS include Frontastic, Mobify, Moovweb and Mason.   2. Utilize a Digital Experience Platform A Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is a more advanced and fully integrated experience designed to enable the composition, management, and delivery of digital experience across different journeys. DXPs have expanded from traditional CMS to focus on more connected and consistent experiences both across internal teams and consumers. If you choose this option, you will utilize an agency, SI partner, and/or in-house technical team to build and carry out the first-time implementation of your frontend with your commerce solution. From there, it is usually best that you have a dedicated in-house team to manage the frontend solution. Examples of DXPs include: Bloomreach, Acquia, and Adobe Experience Manager.   3. Build Your Custom Frontend A custom built frontend tends to be built from scratch by in-house frontend developers who leverage popular frontend frameworks such as ReactJS, Angular JS, Next JS, VueJS, and follow JAMStack architecture and philosophy. Of course, if you choose this option you will you will require your in-house team or hired agency to build and manage it for you. To learn more about how the aforementioned criteria connects to each frontend option, please take a look at Chapter 3 in our Headless Commerce Guide.   How Do These Frontends Work with Elastic Path? Elastic Path provides industry leading API-First, Headless Commerce solutions to allow you to rapidly build, deploy, and continuously optimize highly differentiated commerce experiences. However, we do not sell frontends for your Headless Commerce Solution. You can think about Elastic Path as the core commerce engine that powers the backend of your eCommerce solution. This means that you will be able to work with your agency, system integrator and/or Elastic Path to determine the right frontend option for your business and deploy its right on top of Elastic Path services. As we mentioned before, as Elastic Path is a Headless Commerce solution, it can be connected to any frontend via APIs, and we will work with your team to fully integrate the two. Therefore, you can have the frontend of your choice that will allow you to create your unique presentation layer that will keep your customers engaged and propel your revenue growth. We hope this was helpful but if you have any more questions or you’re just interested in learning more about our Headless Commerce solution and how we get your solution up and running, feel free to reach out to us.   .otro-blockquote{ font-size: 1.2em; width:100%; margin:50px auto; font-family:gilroy; font-style:italic; color: #555555; padding:1.2em 30px 1.2em 75px; border-left:8px solid #ea7317 ; line-height:1.6; position: relative; background:#EDEDED; } .otro-blockquote::before{ font-family:gilroy; content: "\201C"; color:#ea7317; font-size:6.5em; font-weight: 600; position: absolute; left: 2px; top:-20px; } .otro-blockquote::after{ content: ''; } .otro-blockquote span{ display:block; color:#333333; font-style: normal; font-weight: bold; margin-top:1em; }
    Topics: headless, does, frontend, team, backend, ecommerce, path, solution, elastic, work, experience, commerce.
  • What a Crisis Manager Does and How to Be a Great One - You may be familiar with the adage, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” As much as we don’t want to think about the terrible things that can happen in business and life, negative occurrences are inevitable. Whether it’s a product defect that leads to a recall, a security breach that leaves our customer’s data vulnerable, or violence or disasters in the workplace, bad things are bound to happen at some point.
    Topics: does, public, business, employees, management, experience, manager, crisis, identify, great, plan.
  • Why Page Load Time Matters - Have you ever been frustrated by an online shopping experience? Clicked on a link while scrolling social but abandoned it because the product page loaded too slowly? Increasingly, customers expect convenient and seamless experiences when buying online. These expectations can have a surprisingly impactful effect on your brand's bottom line. When it comes to eCommerce, an often-neglected aspect is website performance. How fast your website loads directly impacts your customer experience and outcomes. Is your website doing all it can to encourage purchases, or is it causing your brand to leave dollars on the table? Does it Matter to Your Brand? Over the past couple of years, you've undoubtedly heard about the increasing use of mobile to make purchases, both for B2C and B2B brands. Flashy stats and presentations often lead to knee-jerk reactions like setting up a mobile channel but fall short on delivering an experience that will help your brand convert more sales. As ever, the numbers don't lie. Here are a few stats to consider: “When pages load in less than 4 seconds they win 59% of the conversions, and those that exceed the four second mark experience 58% of the bounces” - eCommerce Speed Hub Each second of a buyer’s journey matters, ‘the Site Speed Standard benchmark data proves that reducing page load time by just 1 second results in a 3 – 5% conversion lift’ - eCommerce Speed Hub Before your customers can make a purchase, ensuring they make it through the door is essential to making a sale with the probability of a bounce increases 90% as mobile page loads go from 1s to 5s. Another added benefit is that your site speed directly impacts where you will rank on search. A few years ago, Google even announced it as an update, yet a significant number of retail sites still have poor load times. "Sixty-four percent of all online retail is from mobile, but conversion rates on mobile are only half that of desktop. That's more people browsing, but fewer people buying... In fact, we've seen that companies who commit to great mobile design are seeing 32% increases in revenue. And, get this, up to 400% improvement in conversion rates. " - Adrienne Clem, Director of Search Ads Growth and Optimization at Google. Check out our mobile commerce guide to learn more. This isn’t to say that mobile experiences should be the be the sole focus of your page speed optimizations. Providing seamless experiences across channels is a crucial benefit of a cloud-based Headless Commerce platform like Elastic Path; it's a perfect fit for your website's scalable, near-instantaneous performance. To learn more about how a Headless Microservices-based cloud platform, check out our guide to Headless commerce here.   Build Faster, Seamless eCommerce Experiences Start building the unique commerce experience your business demands with a faster, more flexible and scalable headless solution. Sign up for a free trial What Site Speed Should You Target and How Do You Get There? The holy grail of website performance is simple: a page load time of 3s. Two of the usual culprits for lagging performance are large images (file size), and the architecture used to build your site (from poorly designed coding to back-end systems like your eCommerce platform). Thankfully, there are a plethora of resources to help guide you on your optimization journey. We recommend Google's PageSpeed insights tool to start. The tool helps determine where you stand, and how you can start to make improvements. Optimizations will be an ongoing process for your IT team, however, it’s great to have the peace of mind that your eCommerce platform can help support your journey to stellar performance. Here’s a quick snapshot of what an Elastic Path powered site performs like. Versus a not-so-great performance on other Headless Commerce platforms. Ready to switch to an eCommerce platform that helps rather than hinders your website's performance? Chat with us today to see how Elastic Path can help your brand.
    Topics: page, speed, commerce, site, experience, headless, website, performance, ecommerce, load, mobile, matters.
  • Will Marketers Continue to Use Twitter in 2023? [New Data] - With so many changes coming to Twitter, many wonder if marketing on the platform could be impacted in 2023. 
    Topics: platforms, continue, plan, data, platform, saying, leave, marketing, experience, twitter, respondents, marketers.
  • With founders hailing from Colombian unicorn Rappi, payments startup Yuno raises $10M from a16z and LatAm VCs - As the Latin American startup scene has matured, founders and executives of multibillion-dollar companies in the region have started to move on to new ventures. On Wednesday, TechCrunch reported on Mara, a São Paulo-based startup that aims to “reinvent” the grocery shopping experience for the underserved in Latin America, and its $6 million raise. One […]
    Topics: startup, raises, vcs, rappi, companies, pain, payments, solution, unicorn, experience, latam, yuno, hailing, payment, latin, techcrunch.
  • eCommerce Landscape 2022 - We’ve put together sixteen quadrants of top eCommerce vendors in these categories: eCommerce platforms, Search, Payment, Loyalty/Rewards, CMS, CRM, PIM, Conversational Commerce/Chatbots, ERP, Email Marketing, Social Media, System Integrators, Tax, Analytics, & OMS.     What’s Driving Innovation?   Using AI to cross and upsell, and visualize purchases (virtual dressing/show rooms) Subscription models Buying behavior influenced by a strong sustainability practice Multichannel customer support Personalized marketing Growing B2B segment with enabled automation Growing D2C segment How to Stay Competitive:  If you sell everything, you’ll end up selling nothing. Carve out your niche by knowing your customer. Successful brands create demand for their products by speaking to customers shared beliefs, lifestyles, and goals Map the customer’s buying journey from end-to-end with specific touchpoints Monitor customer data and respond to it with testing and engagement Optimize the experience for all devices Barriers to Entry:  Taxing Customs Cybercrime, security issues Intellectual property issues Why Do People Shop Online?   Convenience Safety Faster/zero shipping Broader access to brands Reviews Better pricing With So Many Pros to the Online Shopping Experience, What is a Major Drawback?   Not being able to touch, feel, or try a product prior to purchase (51%) followed by possible breakage, no physical store experience, no interaction, fraud, and delivery issues. Source: 50 Consumers Online Shopping Behavior Trends [Survey] 2022 (brizfeel.com)   With the experience of online shopping driving its popularity and growth, brands must optimize the journey every step of the way. By removing friction points (simplified checkout, diverse payment options, quick loading pages, advanced search, mobile optimization), the path to purchase is easy. Leveraging loyalty programs, AI-powered technology to predict behavior, and merchandising options are crucial tools to conversion and retention.   How Are Customers Finding Brands?   In the initial brand awareness period, retail websites and physical stores (see showrooming), influence a customer’s first pass at a product; however when the buying journey heats up it shifts to more word-of-mouth (product reviews) and social media (social proof) impacts.    What Are People Buying Online?   It may not be surprising to find that electronics and tech top the list for the most popular items purchased online, however, with a saturated market, niche items have emerged in popularity such as shapewear, travel accessories, and health and beauty products.   Source: 50 Top Trending Products To Sell Online in 2022 for High Profits (cloudways.com)    See How Elastic Path Delivers Unique Customer Experiences The Elastic Path Demo Library features multiple demos that showcase the power and scale of our products. Go to Demo Library eCommerce Platforms: Adobe Commerce Cloud (Magento)  BigCommerce  Commercetools   Ecwid  Elastic Path    Fabric   Intershop  Kibo  Optimizely   Oracle  Salesforce Commerce Cloud   SAP Commerce Cloud  Shopify   VTEX  Wix   WooCommerce  Search: AddSearch  Algolia  Amazon CloudSearch  Apache SOLR  Attract  Azure Cognitive   Bloomreach  Cludo  Commvault  Constructor  Coveo  Elasticsearch  FACT-Finder  Funnelback   Google Cloud  Handshake by Perficient   Hawksearch  Inbenta  Klevu  LucidWorks  Prefixbox  Sajari  SearchSpring  Sinequa  SiteSearch360  Swiftype   Yext   Payments: Adyen  Affirm   Afterpay  Atome   Authorize.net  Blackcart  BlueSnap   Bolt   Braintree   Bread   CardConnect  Catch   Checkout.com   Citcon  Clickatell  Computop   Cybersource   Dalenys  Digital River  Epam   ESW  Fat Zebra   Flagship  Flow   HiPay  Humm  Jifiti   Katapult   Latitude Pay  Limepay   LMS  Mercado Pago   Norbr   Novalnet   Nuvei   Openpay   Paidy   Payment Cloud  Payment Depot  PayPal  Payvision   Pennies   Progressive Leasing  ProMerchant  Ravelin   SeQura   Sezzle  Solupay  Splitit   Square   Stax   Stripe  Till Payments  Vyne   Worldpay  Worldplay  Zip   Loyalty/Rewards: Annex Cloud  Antavo   Captain Up  Clutch  Clyde  Craver  Datacandy  Eagle Eye  Epsilon  Five Stars  Giftbit   Hashtag Loyalty  Highstreet  Influitive  Kangaroo   LoopyLoyalty  Loyalty +  Maxxing  Narvar   Open Loyalty   Plazah  Poq  Preferred Patron Loyalty  Punchh  Qualtrics CustomerXM  SailPlay  Salesforce Experience Cloud  Smile  Talon. One  TapMango  Unboxing  White Label Loyalty   Yotpo   Zinrelo  CMS:   Acquia  Airtable  Akeneo   Amplience   BlogLINK   Bloomreach   Brand Maker  Cloudinary   Contentful   Contentserv   Contentstack   Core Media   Creator   e-Spirit   Falcon  Imgix  Issuu  Kaljabi  Kentico   Klevu   Live Story   Magnolia  Market Page   Mercaux   Pacenotes   Paperflite   Royal Cyber   RWS  Salesforce Marketing Cloud  Sprinklr  Threekit   Subscriptions: ChargeBee  Chargify  Order Groove  Recurly   Stax Billing   Stripe   Stripe Billing   Zoho   Zuora RegPack    PIM: Akeneo  BetterCommerce  Brand quad  Catalog Builder   Catsy  Contentserv   Creative Force  inRiver   Kontainer  PIMworks  Plytix  Quable   Riversand  Sales Layer  Salsify   Syndigo  Talkroot  Conversational Commerce/Chatbots: Ada  Amazon Lex  Automat  Botsify  Chatfuel  Dialogflow  Drift   Flow XO  IBM Watson   ManyChat  Microsoft Bot  Mobile Monkey   Octane  Pandora Bots  ERP:  Acumatica   Brightpearl   Deltek  Epicor  Infor   Microsoft Dynamics  Odoo  Oracle NetSuite  Plex  QAD  SAP Business One  Syspro  Workday  Email Marketing: Acoustic  Adobe  AWeber   Bluecore  Braze  Campaign Monitor  Campaigner  Constant Contact  Drip   Emarsys  Epsilon  GetResponse   Hubspot  Kajabi  Klavio   Klaviyo   Listrak  Nutshell   Omnisend  Salesforce Marketing Cloud   SendGrid  Sendinblue   Sendlane   ActiveCampaign   Zeta   Social Media:   Cloud Campaign  Conversational Cloud  eClincher   Falcon   Hootsuite  Marketing 360  Monday.com  Oktopost  Salesforce Marketing Cloud  SOCi  Sprout Social  System Integrators: Accenture  BORN Group  Bounteous Deloitte Digital DigiCommerce MyPlanet Nortal Sutrix Group Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)  CNetric HCL TA Digital (Formerly TechAspect) Publicis Sapient   Slalom Consulting Apply digital Sirius Computer Solutions EY Consulting Reign New Elevation AKQA Ateles GSPANN Cognizant CORRA ELCA EPAM Gorilla Hycome Infosys MMT Momentum (onX) Object Edge Pictime Perficient Pivotree Prokarma PwC Rackspace Reply Wunderman Softek Tech Mahindra ThoughtWorks XumaK Les Fabricans Envoy McKenna Consultants Great Spinup TMX Pyxis ATNA Technologies Bluink DB Consulting IAP Japan MicroMind Pjili Wattpad OMS:  ACommerce  Aptos  Aspire   Blackcart   Brightpearl  CEDCommerce  CloudSense  Deck Commerce   EnVista   FastOMS  Feedonomics   FluentCommerce   Fujitsu   Fusion Factory  Highstreet.io   Idyaflow   Jmango   Litmus7  Logic Broker   Marketplacer   Mirakl   One Stock  Ordergrove   Orderhive   Publicis Sapient  Quickbooks Commerce  Salesorder  Ship Station   Skubana   Sticky.io  Stord   Subscribe Pro  Tecsys   Veeqo   Visionet  Yuansfer   Zoho   Analytics:   Botify  Clicky  Data Dome   Dynamic Action   Fathom Analytics  Fenix Commerce   Gauges  Get Feedback  Google GoSquared  Heap  Hitsteps  Idea Tarmac  Kissmetrics  Matomo  Minubo   Namogoo  Netacea   Perimeter   Piwik PRO   Plausible   Precognitive  Queue-it   Radware  Refersion  Simple Analytics  StatCounter  Treasure Data   Woopra  Tax:   Avalara    CCH Sure Tax     Digital River     Global-e     TaxJar    Vertex  Thomson Reuters Onesource   Taxify   Sovos 
    Topics: landscape, product, customer, experience, path, customers, marketing, products, social, online, ecommerce, shopping.
  • eCommerce Loyalty Programs: How to Manage a Loyalty Experience - In today’s market, it’s critical for brands to implement impactful merchandising strategies that drive conversion and customer lifetime value (CLV).  A study by Incentive Solutions found that integrating a loyalty program with your commerce platform can increase your average order quantity by a whopping 319%. Another study from KPMG revealed that 75% of consumers will favor a brand if there is a loyalty program. At Elastic Path, we understand how impactful it can be to curate loyalty experiences for your customers. That is why we built functionality within EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) that enables merchandising teams to easily create and manage loyalty experiences, without relying on custom work from their developer counterparts.   What is a Loyalty Experience? A loyalty experience is a marketing strategy created by brands to nurture and reward their best customers with perks for being a member. Memberships can either be free or paid and members can receive special discounts, deals, rewards or points that can be redeemed for prizes. The more the member engages with the brand or buys products, the more incentives they can receive. A loyalty program is a great start but what if you could curate the products and prices your loyalty customers see?  At Elastic Path we believe that traditional "loyalty programs" are just a starting point for nurturing relationships with your regular customers.  We think all brands should be able to curate loyalty-specific experiences that encourage their highest value customers to remain loyal, return regularly, and purchase more. Let’s dig into how you can manage a loyalty experience of your own, using Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. How to Manage a Loyalty Experience with Elastic Path EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) Merchandise Every Unique Product Experience, Without Custom Dev Work Go to EP PXM To best understand the steps required to build a loyalty experience, let’s walk through a sample scenario.  STEP ONE: Offering Early Access to Loyalty Customers  For this example, we’ll pretend you are a retail brand that wants to offer early access to our best customers for our upcoming products. The idea of “pre-ordering” products that we commonly see in brick-and-mortar businesses, is exactly what we will be doing in this scenario. Once you are in Commerce Manager from Elastic Path, your merchant should head straight to EP PXM and choose “Configurations.” Then you will choose your hierarchy or category of products that you want for pre-order. For example, choose the “Fall Pre-Order” hierarchy. This will allow you to start merchandising the products that you want to list for pre-order. Your nodes are the subcategories, like men and women. You could also add child nodes, which would be the subcategories within the subcategories. To begin the process, click on the node or subcategory. For example, the “Men” category. Then click on the Add SKUs button and add the SKUs or products that you want to make available for pre-order within this category. For pre-order products, there are a few additional steps we need to take with EP PXM to ensure the correct availability and quantity shows on the product detail page. To get started, you are going to use product templates to hold custom data for your different products. For each product in this example, you would choose the correct product templates and then check the pre-order box. You would also type in the “Limit Inventory” number to establish the maximum number of products for preorder and the “Max Quantity per Order” which is the maximum number of products that a customer can purchase within the pre-order catalog.  STEP TWO: Adding Pre-Order Products to Existing Catalog In order to add these products to the appropriate loyalty catalog, go to the catalog section within EP PXM. You would choose your pre-configured loyalty catalog or create a new loyalty catalog if you did not have one already. In the hierarchy section of your loyalty catalog add “Fall Pre-Order.”  STEP THREE: Adding Specialty Pricing to Loyalty Catalog Not only do we want to give our best customers early access to these products, we also want to incentivize them with promotional pricing. So, in the loyalty catalog you will go to the price book dropdown menu and select “Loyalty Pricing.”  In EP PXM, a price book contains a list of product SKUs and the prices you want to change for those products. If your brand serves multi-geos, a price book can contain prices in each of the supported currencies.   Once you have selected the loyalty price book, click publish and the catalog will be updated. STEP FOUR: Use Rules To Assign an Audience  How do you ensure that only the members of your loyalty program gain access to your loyalty catalog? You create rules. In the catalog section of EP PXM, select the Rules heading. As you edit the rules section add your loyalty catalog. Then, add accounts or the list of people that you want to have access to this loyalty catalog. This can be done in numerous ways, whether via API, an integration with CRM, or uploading a list. STEP FIVE: Shop The Loyalty Experience  At this point, we’ve created a product experience specific to your loyalty customers. Let’s check it out! To see your customer’s view of the loyalty experience, log in to your front-end store. If you or your customers do not log in they will get a general catalog experience. You should now be able to see the new top-level navigation for “Fall Pre-Order” as part of your loyalty catalog. Your loyalty shopper can explore the loyalty-only, pre-order products that you added to the loyalty catalog. Based on whatever rules you have for pre-orders, that product will be shipped when appropriate.  Driving Your Loyalty Experience Forward With EP PXM, you can easily create loyalty product experiences within minutes. At Elastic Path, we will continue to give merchandisers the control to create product experiences that drive conversion and revenue. If you would like to learn more about our merchandising capabilities, check out our latest blog on how to create dynamic bundles. 
    Topics: manage, experience, loyalty, ecommerce, catalog, ep, pxm, products, customers, programs, add, preorder, product.