MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Online retailers stress efficiency, promotions

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago — Shoppers seek out time-saving tools where both technology and innovation are embraced to better serve the consumer. According to the 16th annual Mystery Shopping Study from The E-tailing Group, efficiency most often accompanies search where retailers almost universally (89%) have in place navigational dropdowns for a quick read of the assortment, while 90% of those retailers embellish these locations with favorite products or pre-defined offers.

The keyword search box, heavily used by online shoppers, finds 70% of retailers incorporating type ahead features though unfortunately only 29% employ visual search to further aid shoppers. Once results are delivered, 45% optimize search results with badging that can include labeling such as "new," "free shipping" or "sale" to capture the shopper’s attention. As many shoppers like to scan for an overview, one-in-two retailers allow for the ability to view all products and 60% make a quick view available to gather essential details about a product.

Online retailers also stress efficiency. Shoppers took advantage of a promotion 74% of the time. Adoption of the successful flash sale mentality can be seen in the growth of limited-hour specials now found on 53% of the sites up from 47% in 2012. Given its mass appeal, free shipping saw interesting shifts in 2013 where retailers simplified their strategies starting with the 20% of retailers who offered free shipping on all products. Of the remaining 80% of retailers unable to extend that benefit, 71% offered conditional shipping up from 57% in 2012, while only 35% funded free shipping on certain products.

Other notable findings include:

• Video is embraced by 89% of retailers with product page level integration at 72%, though unexpectedly down from 79% in 2012.

• Reviews are a standard and present on 89% of the retail sites.

• General links to social networks are consistent though the composition now finds growth from Pinterest (70% versus 52%), YouTube (69% versus 62%) and Google+ (47% versus 22%).

The study, conducted during the fourth quarter of 2013, benchmarks 335 metrics on 100 e-commerce websites across 13 consumer product categories.

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FINANCE

Study: Mobile payments account for 19.5% of global transactions

BY CSA STAFF

Amsterdam, Netherlands — Mobile payments accounted for 19.5% of all transactions worldwide in December 2013, a growth of 55% year-over-year, up from 12.6% the previous December. The third Adyen Mobile Payments Index, covering the period September to December 2013, also shows that mobile transaction volume in retail has risen by a third, up to 23%.

In retail, transaction volume for tablets rose 15.9% and for smartphones grew 7.1%. Average retail transaction values for tablet purchases were $122; PC purchases $92 and smartphone purchases $90. The retail industry stands out in that it recorded a higher transaction volume for tablets than for smartphones (and the highest share of tablet transaction volume in any other vertical) and it recorded the largest average transaction value for tablets comparative to smartphones and PCs in its vertical. This suggests that the retail industry leads the way in improving the tablet user experience for e-commerce, where a key part of the picture is streamlining the payment process to encourage more conversions.

Apple remains the most popular platform for mobile payments. The iPad won the highest share of 2014 holiday shopping transactions, taking 41% of mobile transactions over the September to December period, and in second place was the iPhone, at 31.6%. Android smartphones proved more popular than Android tablets, capturing 20% of mobile transactions compared to 6.6%. Windows Mobile devices have made up a steady 0.6% of mobile transactions since June 2013. BlackBerry hardly figured in the last four months, taking just 0.2%, down from 0.3% in the previous four months.

Looking at smartphones as a category, Android looks to be steadily closing the gap on the iPhone’s lead. In April 2013, iPhone had a 68.5% share of mobile transactions, compared with 30.7% on Android. By August, it was 62.5% to 35.9%, and in December 2013, iPhone share stood at 60% and Android at 38.6%. This reflects the increasing number of Android devices available, and in particular the growing popularity of Samsung, which shipped more than 300 million devices in 2013 and whose sales accounted for one in three smartphones sold that year.

“Ease of payment is vital for merchants to keep up with the evolution of mobile devices and consumer behavior,” said Roelant Prins, chief commerce officer, Adyen. “Businesses are focusing on enhancing their payment interface over mobile channels to make it responsive, simple and clear for users. That’s why having access to data on transaction volume and value is highly useful for merchants looking to optimize the user experience across mobile channels. It’s fascinating to look at a trend like tablets emerging as the leading device for more expensive purchases, and using this knowledge strategically to increase conversion rates.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Report: Poor tablet experience impacts purchase willingness

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Almost eight-in-10 (77%) of consumers report that having a poor or unsatisfying experience while trying to use a website on their tablet will affect their willingness to purchase from that brand. Other tablet research from omni-channel commerce technology provider Useablenet shows that 70% of consumers say that the quality of photography and design of a tablet site influences their decision on whether to purchase

In addition, more than 72% of consumers say that they use their tablet primarily at home, either while watching TV or in bed at night. Only 27% say that they take it everywhere, either for entertainment or work. Interestingly, U.S. consumers take their tablets outdoors more than U.K. consumers, who typically use their tablets at home. Useablenet analysis indicates this could be due to the higher availability of Wi-Fi hotspots and 4G technology in the U.S.

The top use cases of tablets for consumers include researching products before buying online (66%), watching videos and browsing photos (63%), checking prices and looking up store information (63%), reading ratings and reviews (54%) and browsing products and building shopping lists for later purchases (51%).

In addition, 61% of surveyed brands believe their customers want a tablet browsing experience that is consistent with the desktop, but optimized for tablet, while 28% think that consumers prefer a tablet experience similar to the smartphone. Ten percent believe that speed and convenience are the only factors that matter to tablet consumers, and 28% of surveyed retailers report that they have created a tablet-specific app and another 20% say they are planning one.

Click here for the full report.

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