Shopping Carts Most Likely to Be Abandoned due to Unexpected Shipping Costs

By Jessica Herbine

When an eCommerce business looks to optimize their site for better rankings and an improved user experience, one of – if not the most significant component – that affects their bottom line is the conversion funnel. How many of your total visitors make it to the confirmation page of a completed purchase? Or more importantly, how many visitors start shopping and add items to their cart without ever hitting that submit button? This act is known as cart abandonment and according to a recent study by Harris Interactive (June 2014), the culprit likely has nothing to do with your site design, sales language, color scheme or competitors’ products, and everything to do with your shipping costs.

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The survey suggests that no audience clutches their wallets quite so tightly as women in the Gen X and Baby Boomers age group. Even so, respondents across the board – males and females of every generation – cited shipping costs as their greatest pet peeve in online shopping, compared to other facets such as “getting put onto a retailer’s mailing list” and “getting something that looks nothing like it did online” after making a purchase. Millennials offered a bit of flexibility in that they weren’t as averse to paying more for same-day and overnight delivery, but this number is voided when you note that 70% of all users would not pay for same-day or overnight delivery when shopping, regardless.

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Nearly 60% of US shoppers abandoned their digital carts due to the unexpected total cost with shipping, and just as many loaded up a cart at a competitor’s online store to see how the totals fared. If your cart abandonment rate is sky high (the typical rate for online retailers is an average of 67%), Trinity Insight suggests employing a multivariate test to explore conversion funnel results achieved by different shipping costs, offers for free shipping, and automatic calculations of the total order cost before users start the checkout process, to see what your site can provide that will persuade your customers to shop more confidently.

What Facebook’s Mobile Success Says About Mobile Ads

By Yevgeniy Levich

Facebook’s Q2 report marks the 8th time in a row that Facebook has beaten quarterly projections. The take away most pundits have from the latest report is that 62% of Q2 ad revenue comes from mobile traffic, implying that Facebook has “solved” mobile advertising. However, there is a deeper story to tell here.

The only form of mobile advertising offered by Facebook is in-feed or native ads and it is their successful positioning and performance that leads Facebook’s ad earnings. Native ads that perform well and maintain user engagement are the key to Facebook’s mobile future, but they need advertiser cooperation to succeed in this.

This is the reasoning behind a Facebook study that was released on July 15th, two weeks before their Q2 report. Working with Adaptly and Refinery29, Facebook was able to show that campaigns that mix branding, social engagement, and direct response work significantly better at engaging and converting customers than direct response ads.

Longer, “sequenced” campaigns that targeted an audience over multiple days and combined a “brand story” with product based ads saw an 87% increase in landing page visits and a 56% increase in subscription rates over a traditional, sustained, call-to-action campaign.

Digging even deeper into the study, a case can be made for customer-centric advertising beating product-centric advertising. “Middle-of-the-funnel” ads had a stronger impact on downstream conversion than hard-selling product ads.

Key take-aways for marketers are:

  • Longer, more built out, sequenced, “content plays” that delivers customer value at the expense of a hard sales pitch, converts better in the longer term.
  • Channels should be seen as audience and brand builders over pure sales drivers. Marketers should focus on Facebook and similar channels as opportunities to grow and engage an audience rather than direct sales drivers.
  • Run multi-channel marketing campaigns. In the Facebook study, Refinery29, a beauty retailer, uses Facebook as a platform to “sell” its content proposition and then reach an audience on their own terms, through e-mail.  Facebook, and other media, can be a funnel for subscriptions and a direct audience, to lead to brand loyalty and more consistent sales down the line.

Clothing Brand Carter’s Shows the Momentousness of International eCommerce

By Joel Rosen

Carter’s Inc. reported in their quarterly report that over 40% of total eCommerce sales are from international shoppers, with the majority residing in Brazil and China. CEO Michael Casaey went on to say that last quarter, Q2, online demand has almost tripled in China.  Carter’s now fills orders to nearly 80 countries worldwide.

As marketers, what can we learn from this report?

First, we need to make sure our site is accessible internationally. By limiting ourselves to only shipping domestically, we may be losing out on a tremendous amount of profits. As evidenced by the report, Asia and South America are two of the fastest growing online markets.

Furthermore, simply having the site accessible worldwide is not enough. We need to ensure user experience is just as easy for potential customers across the seas as it is here. One way of doing this is to create a new site for a specific geographic market. For example, Carter’s has launched CartersOshKosh.ca for the convenience of Canadian shoppers.

In regards to the upcoming future of their online marketing plans, Casey says, “We’re leveraging our expanded eCommerce capabilities to reach more consumers and engage them more effectively.” It would be wise for all eCommerce marketers to start thinking about how they will do the same with their target international markets.

Google Removes Links Following ECJ Ruling

By Jamal Anderson

There has been much debate whether search engine operators are responsible for sifting through personal information on web pages published by various web sites. Earlier this year the European Court of Justice ruled that even though operators like Google simply index and display results from their crawlers, because it discloses and makes the information available in lists, that they should clean up personal data.

Following the “right to be forgotten” ruling in May, EU citizens were allowed to request that any information they found to be inaccurate, irrelevant, or excessive be taken down from search and “non-media websites.” The appeals have come rolling in upwards of 91,000 individual requests, with more than 328,000 single URLs as the subjects of dispute. Google has apparently taken down 50 percent of the link requests, but has also rejected upwards of 30 percent.

While this ruling has only applied in Europe, its impact is certainly felt globally. Have we come to an age where the courts have the ability to truly police the Internet? While there haven’t been legislations, in this scenario it appears we may be slowly headed in that direction. It is well known that Google gathers personal information to benefit its advertisers. It is also known that we as human beings have a right to know everything, but based on this ruling, we won’t know all.

It should be debated whether it’s the job of search engines to police the Internet, or if the courts need to update civilian’s abilities to take action upon individual websites. If there is some embarrassing photo, quote, or video out there, then take it up with the website and the courts. While Google does make a profit, it does appear to be unreasonable that a corporation becomes the judge as to what information should be readily available. It has even been suggested that removing so many links could have an impact on the wealth of public knowledge we have accumulated over the years.