March has been an interesting month with many developments in the e-commerce landscape. New trends and strategies have come to the fore highlighting some rules that, unusually, apply across the board. Google’s February announcement regarding changes to their ads policy is starting to show results and we have found more e-commerce inspiration from across the web in terms of both design and navigation. Our Accorin E-Commerce Newsletter is jam-packed this March and we are excited to share some of the best articles, inspiration and data we have found.
Trends & Strategy
E-commerce is evolving at an incredibly fast rate and with constant developments and changes it can be difficult to keep up. It can sometimes seem that the only rule is that there are no rules but thankfully there are a few rules that apply almost uniformly.
One rule that we at Accorin believe in is “Don’t Wrestle The Bear”. This is our take on an article written by Andy Dunn (founder of Bonobos) on Medium a few years ago. In his insightful article, he lays-out 4 strategic positions for competing in the e-commerce world in general, and Amazon (The Bear) in specific:
- Proprietary pricing
- Proprietary selection
- Proprietary experience
- Proprietary merchandise
Though written pre-Jet, before the entry of Alibaba into the US market and a few other big changes in the e-commerce marketspace, Andy’s article holds true today.
If you are competing in e-commerce and need some strategic insights, check out this excellent article here.
Back in February, Google announced a change in how ads would show up in desktop searches. Starting almost immediately, search results would not be showing sidebar ads and digital marketers around the globe began to panic. Now that the dust has settled, we have had time to collect data and analyze the actual impacts. These stats from Kenshoo give a great overview of what happened:
The findings? A one-penny reduction in cost and a 7% increase in click through rates. We can all rest easy again; time to move along.
AirBnB is booming right now. The company has a great concept and they have executed it brilliantly. This of course is backed up by a great web design, a wonderfully easy to use website and social proof points which encourages others to use their platform. The AirBnB website revolves around the process of searching, viewing and then figuring out the results.
Putting the search function front and center, they have allowed the user to easily find exactly what they’re looking for. We have consistently found that when a customer uses search on an e-commerce site, they are significantly more likely to purchase (call us, we can discuss some of the stats).
Trust is crucial online and what better way to know that you can trust AirBnB than to see the thousands of other users’ experiences right in front of you. Social proof is vital for e-commerce platforms. We find that, like AirBnB, star ratings can have a very big impact on add-to-cart and checkout metrics and it is definitely something to think about implementing if you haven’t already.
Image heavy, with a well-defined search box and easy to view results, AirBnB is doing just about everything right. Using their website is a joy for the end user and isn’t that the goal?
This month’s e-commerce inspiration comes from the forward-thinking, proactive energy company Biolite. Their website design and concept really stands out from the crowd. The rich, clean design is complimented with the excellent branding and cohesion in their color choices.
From a navigation standpoint, they have done a great job. It is virtually impossible to get lost on their website, you always have an option to navigate somewhere else and the mega menu really is a standout feature. The use of font weights, iconography and ordering to prioritize what they want to highlight seems effortless.
Product Detail Page
The product detail page is where you are most likely to convert visitors to customers. Providing enough information without overwhelming people is key and Biolite has done great work in this area. Large images give the reader the chance to really see the product up close and get to grips with it, long before they commit to buy, it puts them at ease and entices them with plenty of information to offer. And of course the ‘Add to Cart’ call to action is prominent, as it should be, and well structured.
We love what Biolite has done in terms of social impact. Giving back to the community, highlighting real issues and doing their part to help those in need. As well as doing good and raising much needed funds for where they are needed most, it paints a great image of this young company and highlights their commitment to bringing energy everywhere.
Do you run your e-commerce site on Magento? Do you care about security? Be sure to check out MageReport.com, one of our favorite e-commerce security tools.
Developed by Hypernode, a European company that specializes in Magento hosting, the MageReport site is completely free and runs an analysis of your website, assuming of course that you are running Magento. Through the analysis they will check to see if there are outstanding patches that need to be applied.
In addition to manually checking if your site is up to date on patches, you can also add websites that you are interested in monitoring, as we do for all our clients. The intuitive and easy to use dashboard keeps you up-to-date with all the latest updates and changes.
The Bottom Line
As you can see March has been a busy month in the world of e-commerce. Stay tuned for our April roundup. Our team will be keeping close eye on all that is happening online and we look forward to bringing you the best of what we find in next month’s newsletter in emerging trends, strategies and technologies from around the globe.