3 hot-topics for your eCommerce: Social Users, Webrooming and Showrooming

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2014 has seen the most concerted efforts so far by some of the world’s biggest social networks to integrate e-commerce into their platforms. And, as a recent GWI Commerce report shows, it’s a move which is likely to resonate with significant sections of the social audience.
Globally, 7 in 10 active Facebook users say they have bought a product online in the past month, with the equivalent figure among Twitter’s active user base climbing to approach the three-quarter mark.
What’s more, a quarter of internet users say that social network-based retail stores make them more likely to purchase online – with a notable peak among Twitter users. In this context, it’s not hard to see why both Twitter and Facebook are trialing ‘Buy’ buttons in the hopes of opening up new and lucrative revenue streams.

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Let’s also take a look at the impact of webrooming (where products are researched online but bought in-store) and showrooming (when items are tested in-store and then purchased online).
With the chart looking at the ratio of online researchers to buyers across nearly 30 different product categories, it’s clear that there are some big differences in evidence.
Where the ratio is above 1 – meaning there are more researchers than purchasers – the products in question are susceptible to webrooming. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is most likely to be taking place for big-ticket items such as cars, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and games consoles. Internet users might be discovering and researching them online, but the purchase journey is being completed inside a physical retail environment – whether to take advantage of customer service, to “test” the product or to gain a sense of reassurance about their financial outlay.
In contrast, many other categories have more purchasers than researchers and hence have a ratio below 1. Some of these products are simply too low in value, or else are purchased so habitually or on the basis of deals, that no research is necessary. But there are others where a degree of showrooming is likely to be taking place – as with clothes and shoes. Evidently, some consumers are using retail stores to find correct styles and sizes, but then purchasing the products online to get the best prices. And this is a trend that’s likely to have special importance as we approach the Christmas period when people invest greater amounts of time and energy in locating the best presents.

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Free delivery is the most effective Online Purchase Driver, followed by Rewards and Customer Reviews

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As explored in the new GWI Commerce report, free delivery is the most effective online purchase driver. Of the 15 different options tracked by GWI, it’s this measure which scores the highest response globally – with 4 in 10 internet users saying it makes them more likely to purchase something online.
The power of free delivery is far from even across regions, though. It exerts its biggest impact in Europe and North America but is less important in a market like China (where internet users instead place the highest premium on customer reviews and feedback).
As the chart demonstrates, other important global motivators include:

  • Financial rewards such as coupons or discounts (35%)
  • Customer reviews (34%)
  • Loyalty points (29%)

For reviews, though, there’s a clear disconnect between supply and demand; from market to market, there are more people writing reviews than actively looking for them.

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[Source: GlobalWebIndex]

Social Commerce: Which Social Media Platforms Drive the Most Sales?

Business owners often wonder about the “ROI of social media”. Is my Facebook page actually driving sales? Is all this tweeting really doing anything for my bottom line? Should I be on Pinterest and Instagram?

Well it turns out, when it comes to ecommerce, being social matters.

To better understand how social media is impacting the ecommerce industry, Shopify analyzed data from 37 million social media visits that led to 529,000 orders.

Here’s some interesting data points they uncovered:

  • Facebook dominates as a source of social traffic and sales. Nearly two thirds of all social media visits to Shopify stores come from Facebook. Plus, an average of 85% of all orders from social media come from Facebook.
  • Orders from Reddit increased 152% in 2013.
  • Perhaps most interesting and surprising was community style site Polyvore which is generating the highest average order value ahead of Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Also noteworthly in this category is Instagram which is also generating higher average orders than those same sites. This is especially impressive considering the only clickable links in Instagram are those in profile bio’s.
  • Facebook has the highest conversion rate for all social media ecommerce traffic at 1.85%

In addition to these stats, they’ve also analyzed specific industries to determine which platforms are performing better. You can check out all the findings in the infographic below.

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[Source: Shopify]

PwC Total Retail 2014

This survey, PwC’s seventh annual study in a series tracking changes in global consumers’ shopping preferences, is our biggest one yet: 15,000 online users representing 15 countries.  Among the expectations that global consumers now have are:  24/7 retailer availability, real-time insight into the retailer’s stock, compelling in-store technology, and consistent prices and offerings across all the retailer’s assets.

Today’s consumers have raised the bar for retailers. Multichannel shopping is a given — the price of admission into the conversation. Within our data we’ve unearthed eight customer expectations that transcend geography and product category, and will require that retailers evaluate their business model from top to bottom.

  • A compelling brand story that promises a distinctive experience
  • Customised offers based on totally protected, personal preferences and information
  • An enhanced and consistent experience across all devices
  • Transparency, real-time, into a retailer’s inventory
  • My favourite retailers are everywhere
  • To maximise the value of mobile shopping, both store apps and mobile sites must improve
  • Two-way social media engagement
  • “Brands” act like retailers, and we’ll treat them that way

Take a closer look at the main takeaways and feel free to discuss and share them! Please, don’t hesitate to contact me for any doubt and follow the hashtag #TotalRetail!

You can find all the contents, video, and much more on www.PwC.com/TotalRetail

1. “Trust the brand” is the #1 reason people shop at their favorite retailers, so retailers should change how that brand is communicated, both internally and externally.

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2. Retailers need to strike a balance between customization and security because online shoppers demand customized offers based on totally protected, personal preferences and information.

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3. Consumers expect a consistent experience across all devices, so companies need to ensure that customer information “travels” securely with each device.

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4. The back-office of retailers needs to move at the speed of the customer because shoppers want real time, transparency into a retailer’s inventory.

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5. Favorite retailers are everywhere, so retailers should examine their store portfolio taking into account how consumers want to shop.

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6. To maximize the value of mobile shopping, both store apps and mobile sites must improve. Businesses should focus on the mobile browser experience first, and then ramp up apps.

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7. Online shoppers seek two-way social media engagement, so retailers need to listen to customer’s comments and turn that commentary into actionable data.

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8. Shoppers don’t see the difference between manufacturers and retailers, so both sides need to work together to share consumer insights and collaborate to enlarge the pie and drive more success for both.

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A Look Into the Future of eCommerce

Technology is revolutionizing the retail landscape. By 2016 it is estimated that global retails are expected to reach a staggering $1,321.4 trillion, a 67 percent increase from 2011. With the freedom to compare prices, greater efficiency and the growing prevalence of same day delivery offers – the allure of eCommerce is drawing more consumers each day.
The proliferation of mobile technology has also been an enormous driver in the retail world in recent years. Nearly 80 percent of all smartphone owners today use their phones at least once monthly to shop, while more than 1/5th of all consumers habitually utilize mobile devices to enhance their shopping experience. Our smartphones let us compare prices, read reviews, obtain digital customer service, and learn more about the products we see in stores. Consumers today can even purchase items from competitors online while standing in the showrooms of brick-and-mortar retail outlets. So the future of shopping looks bright for consumers everywhere. To learn more about the ways technology is influencing your shopping experience, take a look at this illuminating infographic produced by online retailer Gift-Library on The Future of How We Shop.
Is your eCommerce ready for this? Do you feel that your company is in need for a shift towards xCommerce? If you need a refresh on this maybe you should take a look at the PwC xCommerce Methodology… Page in Italian for the moment, but you can always contact me for any question!
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[Source: Social Media Today]