After Curbside Service Boosts Online Sales, Sears Introduces Product Returns From the Comfort of Your Car

By Missy Steinberg

Sears Shop Your WayIn acknowledgement of the millions of turtleneck sweaters –  tags still intact – that clutter closets across the country, Sears has made returning and exchanging unwanted items a less time-consuming  and physically laborious process with new additions to their Shop Your Way curbside service. Accessible through Sears.com and the Shop Your Way app, the feature’s latest update allows customers to take back products without leaving their cars.

Unhappy shoppers simply have to identify their product on Sears.com, wait for a confirmation e-mail, pull up to a designated return parking spot at their local Sears, and then let Shop Your Way’s in-app timer ensure that a sales associate rolls up within the five-minutes-or-less guaranteed timeframe . Since unveiling Shop Your Way at the beginning of 2014, Sears has seen an 18 percent year-over-year online sales increase. The company’s in-store sales continue to drop, but with the success of Shop Your Way’s online purchase pick-up participation and the promising addition of returns and exchanges, maybe the solution is right outside their doors.

Companies Adopt Touch ID To Drive mCommerce

By Jason Bauman

With the release of iOS8, Apple opened up Touch ID to third party apps through their Apple Pay program.  With consumers increasingly shopping on their mobile devices, retailers looking to streamline impulse buying are updating their apps to take advantage of this new payment solution.

How TouchID Works

Replacing the traditional home button on the iPhone 5, a small fingerprint sensor allows users to easily unlock their device without forcing them to enter their passcode every time.  A convenient security feature when it was first released, the application became significantly more potent with the release of iOS 8.

Apple Pay is the companies answer to the problem of mobile payments.  Previous attempts, such as Google Wallet and Visa Paypass failed to gain traction–In part due to the fact that the iPhone lacked the hardware needed to make the product work.  Without Apple’s popular mobile platform, many retailers did not want to spend the money updating their point of sale systems to accept Near Field Communication (NFC) Payments.

With the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, however, Apple is finally entering the mobile payments game with their own system–one they hope to see adopted due to the added security of TouchID.  Using an app called Passbook, customers can scan their existing credit cards into their device, storing the information in passbook.  Then, using a compatible terminal, consumers can tap with their phones, authenticate with their fingerprint, and pay without ever turning over the physical card to the cashier.

One key advantage that Apple Pay offers to consumers over it’s competitors is that the actual credit card information is never given to the store.  Instead, Apple uses a one time authorization to disperse the funds, making information leaks like those that occurred at target much less likely.

In a play to quickly overtake any competitors in the market, Apple also opened up this payment system to third party developers to build into their apps.

Friction Free Impulse Buying

Amazon is one of several companies already updating their mobile store to take advantage of Touch ID.  As customers add items to their cart, they’re presented to purchase the item immediately.  Instead of selecting which card they wish to use, they can bypass the entire checkout process with a single finger press.Other companies, like the start-up company Uber, will let customers request and pay for a vehicle without requiring that they sign up for an account.

The simplicity Apple Pay offers to customers looking at purchasing through mobile apps can be a powerful conversion tool for businesses that update their apps to take advantage of it.  but Touch ID offers more than simplicity.  With card skimming schemes getting increasingly complex, the promise of a secure, private payment system will likely be well received by customers looking for a way to protect their finances.

Mobile Video Viewing Jumps 400 Percent in Two Years

By Missy Steinberg

Ooyala-mobile-video-growthIt may seem like those 30 seconds spent watching a hula-dancing puppy on your phone are of little consequence, but they’ve added up to some astounding statistics from Ooyala’s Q2 2014 Global Video Index Report. Mobile video views have increased 400 percent in the last two years and currently account for 25 percent of all video views across platforms, according to the study. This steady rise comes as the result of larger screen dimensions, less laggy content and the ever-updating selection of videos being uploaded around the web every day.

When it comes to what type of mobile device users are tuning into, the preference depends on video length. If it’s smartphone users’ eyes you seek, keep your content’s run time short, as 45 percent of videos watched on phones are under six minutes, reports Ooyala, while longer clips are much more likely to be enjoyed on a tablet.

The report also notes that cold temperatures keep eyes frozen on the screen 29 percent longer than warm temperatures. With autumn’s official start already here and mobile video streaming expected to double by 2016, now looks like the perfect time to curl up and brainstorm some viral (possibly puppy-related?) video ideas.

[Infographic] How to Solve Cart Abandonment

By Jessica Herbine

If you have items available for purchase on your website, chances are that your first priority is making money from sales. Unfortunately, the majority of brands online are unable to effectively leverage this business opportunity. Cart abandonment is the term for when a visitor shops around and adds an item or items to the checkout cart, but never completes the order – and it happens far more often than you’d think.

According to an article published by Quick Sprout, 68% of shoppers are culprits of cart abandonment. This could be attributed to a number of reasons: lack of confidence with site security, lower prices from competitors, aversion to the total checkout amount once taxes and shipping are included, or the visitor was simply “window shopping”. In their handy infographic, Quick Sprout identifies potential solutions to some of the more common reasons that customers site cart abandonment.

The key takeaway they want business owners to understand is that a majority of the factors that come into play while shopping online are in the brand’s control, and not simply subject to the whims of the customer. Oftentimes, it is a lack of information or the cost of products and shipping that drives new and repeat visitors from reaching the order confirmation page. In fact, 22% of consumers abandoned cart because no shipping information was available, and 32% stated that the overall cost was too expensive to continue with the order.

If you’re unsure of which facets are having a greater impact your site conversion rate, Trinity Insight’s expert team can help to not only pinpoint your weaknesses, but help to turn them into strengths. Your total monthly revenue divided by .32 equates to lost monthly revenue. How much are you losing out on?

Cart_Abandonment

 

Retailers Hope To Use Beacons To Boost Sales

By Jason Bauman

iBeacons Can Boost Instore Sales

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Jnxyz

Beacons are inexpensive, often battery operated devices that can push content to a customer’s mobile phone using Bluetooth.  Since cellular and GPS strength are often spotty in buildings, a beacon is an excellent way to provide locally relevant advertisements during a typical shopping experience.

Maximizing Per-Customer Revenue

eMarketer, an analytic company that tracks eCommerce sales, predicts that overall consumer spending will increase 5% over the holiday season, while online sales will grow nearly 17% year over year.  Customers may still go to brick and motor stores hunting for seasonal specials, but they are increasingly using their phones to hunt for additional gifts to augment their large ticket purchases, often while waiting in line to buy those larger items.

Hoping to cash in on this mobile usage, traditional retailers are looking for ways to encourage shoppers to buy those additional items in stores using pushed advertisements from beacons.  If a customer is near the TV displays, for example, the company could push a discount for a related film or television stand directly to a customer’s device.  Ideally, this will encourage customers to pick up these additional items in stores instead of simply ordering them online.

Apple Pay Could Be A Dark Horse For Beacons

When Tim Cook Announced the new iPhone 6 and 6 plus, he demonstrated Apple Pay, a new payment option exclusive to these new devices.  Utilizing a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, customers can pay for their products securely by tapping their phone on a compatible credit machine. While the technology isn’t new, Apple’s popular mobile platform could finally push it into the mainstream.

A limitation of beacon technology is that, in order for a company to push content to a user’s phone, the customer must have that store’s branded application installed, and opt in to the beacon technology.  When Apple announced support for beacons in iOS7, they also built it into Passbook, a “digital wallet” application that users could store various loyalty cards in.

Apple Pay uses Passbook to house the credit cards it uses, which increases the likelihood that customers will activate this application, drastically increasing the potential Beacon audience.  The technology still requires that users opt into receiving pushed content, but it does not require that every company build and maintain their own application to take advantage of it.  Instead, they can educate customers on how to activate the feature in an app that already comes pre-installed on millions of iPhones.

Companies that adapt evolving technology quickly are often the ones that thrive once it hits mainstream.  In the retail landscape, traditional business are hoping to utilize mobile technology and local sales to combat the convenience that eCommerce increasingly offers.  Apple’s Passbook could offer an inexpensive way for small businesses to adapt Beacon technology in time for the holiday sales rush.

3 Mobile Moves to Make Now to Boost Conversions

By Missy Steinberg

It’s obvious mobile users are a market not to be missed. You’ve seen them buried in their phones, blocking subway platforms and holding up the line at your favorite café. Take it as a compliment. They may be checking out your site. According to Comscore data, 44% of the time that consumers spend perusing your site is spent on a mobile device.  As a Custora survey illustrates, the 2013 holiday season showed 30% of ecommerce sales occurring through mobile devices – up from 20% in 2012 – so now’s the perfect time to shake up your cell strategies. Take advantage of those distracted eyes and focus on these three areas.

Optimize For Local Search

local mobile conversionsComscore reports that nearly 80% of searches for local business information lead to a conversion. That outranks laptop, PC and tablet local search conversions by more than 10 percent. The logic is simple: You find yourself in the middle of Philadelphia and in urgent need of a stuffed Philly Phanatic toy. You pull out your phone and do a local search for the plush mascot and head right over to the nearest retailer to take one home. As a mobile user, you are already on the go, ready to make a purchase and less likely to stand around researching different options. Local businesses can benefit from playing up local keywords as well as designing a responsive, easy-to-use mobile site.

Focus On Mobile Sites Over Apps

Although nearly half of 2014’s mobile sales by Mobile 500 companies are expected to originate in apps, according to Internet Retailer’s 2015 Mobile 500 report, users would much rather make their purchases through a website. Mobile websites beat out apps with 67% of consumers preferring to shop through their browsers, as a study by Burke, Inc. found. For mobile shoppers, who are ultimately looking for most bang for their buck, opening up an app is just another obstacle in the bargain hunt. Make your mobile site intuitive and easy to use and you’ll guide customers right to the checkout lane.

Don’t Cut Out Coupons

Just because coupon organizers will soon be museum-worthy, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the dominance of the discount. Unsurprisingly, mobile shoppers, like everyone else, love coupons. Key Ring reports that 75 % of mobile users are clipping their digital coupons, meaning offering such discounts is a great way to bring in new customers.