Retail Reimagined: 9 Trends for the Future of Physical Retail

The chatter of the “Retail Apocalypse” began long before the recent events of a global pandemic. However, the last year has accelerated the need for retailers to go digital, leaving many struggling to adapt. Despite the challenges retailers face, there are opportunities for retailers to not only survive but to thrive, but it means understanding […]

The post Retail Reimagined: 9 Trends for the Future of Physical Retail appeared first on CXL.

The chatter of the “Retail Apocalypse” began long before the recent events of a global pandemic. However, the last year has accelerated the need for retailers to go digital, leaving many struggling to adapt.

Despite the challenges retailers face, there are opportunities for retailers to not only survive but to thrive, but it means understanding that the pre-pandemic rulebook no longer applies.

In this article, we’ll look at the nine retail trends shaping the new world of retail and how marketers can adjust.

Simmer on this: at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 10 years of ecommerce growth happened in just 90 days.

(Image source)

In a nutshell: the future came early. Now what do we do about it? 

Retailers have proven amazingly resilient in the past year, as they’ve worked through the mass shift to ecommerce and balancing the demands of lockdowns and shifting consumer behavior. 

To navigate these challenges successfully, we need flexibility, innovative thinking, and a focus on the new ways that consumers are meeting their needs to transition into a different reality.

Is the Retail Apocalypse here? 

In a word: no. 

The in-person shopping experience can’t be replicated online, and that’s good news for retailers.

Shopping is multi-dimensional. We want to see and touch and smell and try on and (sometimes) taste the products we’re buying, and the eCommerce experience can only go so far. 

Think about Cinnabon- the way that you can basically smell it, even if it’s been years since you’ve been in one of their stores (sorry for making your drool). 

How about trying on outfits and seeing which materials feel best for you?

Small retailers are the bedrock of our communities, and consumers will still choose to shop retail when the experience is worth it.

Harley Finkelstein, President of Shopify, put it this way:Retail will never die, it will only evolve.”

So let’s talk about the ways that retailers can proactively adapt to the new reality and grow, even in the chaos of 2021.

Retail in 2021 (and beyond)

While retail isn’t “over” it has been irrevocably changed. 2020 transformed the world of commerce. We’re now in a period of rebuilding across industries. 

Shopify research shows:

  • 46% of buyers in the US and Canada have made purchases from local, independently owned businesses since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Of that group, 34% reported doing this more often than in the pre-pandemic era.
  • 57% said they specifically seek out local, independently owned businesses to support with their purchases.
  • 61% of buyers said they plan to buy from local and independent retailers six months from now. That’s significantly more than those who reported doing so in the first three months of the pandemic.

In many cases, consumers are excited to buy from smaller, local businesses, but there’s a catch—their habits have adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic and their expectations have shifted accordingly. 

In nine of 13 major countries surveyed by McKinsey, at least two-thirds of consumers say they have tried new kinds of shopping. And in all 13 countries, 65 percent or more say they intend to continue to do so. 

Here are the top trends we’ve uncovered through our twice-a-week podcast, Resilient Retail:

1. Getting the most from ecommerce

Having a digital presence is table stakes, and the data backs it up. 

  • 52% of buyers say they’ve shifted more of their spending to online due to the pandemic.
  • 51% of those consumers said they felt uncomfortable with in-store shopping during a pandemic.

It’s this simple: without a a digital presence it’s virtually impossible to succeed in retail.

Before the pandemic hit, Minnesota brand TC Running had two brick-and-mortar stores and zero ecommerce presence. When shelter-in-place hit last March, forcing their doors to close, their revenue dropped to nothing overnight. 


In about a week, TC made a huge pivot and brought $1.5 million of inventory online and recovered all their lost POS revenue with online sales. 

It took us just over a week to get our online store and POS up and running. We have a lot of SKUs, and Shopify made it really easy to set up products and inventory counts.” said Jeff Bull, Brand Manager TC Running

Not only that—they took things a step further and launched their Run Squad membership program. They pivoted quickly and found new ways to stay top of mind for their customers, even without foot traffic.

Your online store might have been a temporary stopgap to help your business survive shutdowns, but consider building it into a permanent aspect of your strategy.

How to embrace this trend:

  • Make sure your inventory is unified across all channels; 
  • Use tools such as Shopify Compass to navigate the fundamentals of eCommerce success;
  • Flesh out your website with eye catching product images, a strong brand story, and engaging product descriptions;
  • Use your social channels, email list, and other communication tools to let your customers know to check out your online store;
  • Direct people online within your physical location with signage and QR codes.

2. The rise of new fulfillment methods 

Curbside pickup, local delivery, contactless payment, and Buy Online Pick up In Store (BOPIS) continue to rise in popularity.

But these fulfillment methods make sense even outside of a pandemic situation. They’re quick, convenient, and fit really naturally into consumer lifestyles. 

For example: roughly the same percentage of consumers who used curbside pickup in the early months of the pandemic (40%) say they will continue using it in the future (38%). 

Denver-based small retailer ReRoot embraced these new fulfillment methods with open arms.

The first thing that I did was start asking on Instagram. ‘What do you guys want? Do you want us and want us to offer curbside pickup? Do you want us to offer delivery?’ They said yes to all of the things that we wanted to do. We did them.

Paige Briscoe, founder of ReRoot

There was an overwhelming demand for curbside pickup, so Paige and her team turned their tiny retail space into something closer to a fulfillment center. 

Local delivery has also been a saving grace for a lot of retailers with close ties to their community. 

For example, when the initial waves of the shutdowns hit Canada, Great Lakes Brewing had 15,000 gallons of beer sitting in their silos. And no one to drink it. 

With no way to serve it in their restaurant, their revenue flattened. Thus came another resilient pivot.

Within a few weeks, the Great Lakes Brewing team transitioned their operations to meet the needs of their community by offering free delivery on orders over $50.

Soon after launching their local delivery program, they were averaging over 500 orders per week.

And the benefits go way beyond pure revenue. It’s a brand builder. A community connection, and as Troy Burch puts it, a much needed reminder of their WHY.

We have branded vehicles to get the brand out there, if you will. You can see our vehicles all over the city. And that not only saved jobs, but it also gave our staff another sense of community, again, to get out there and interact with our supporters from behind a door or glass window.

They were able to have that one on one connection. “Hey, how you doing?” “Are you OK?” “How is your family?” And the smiles on the faces of the people that we are delivering to at the end of the day, made it so much… It was shining a bright light on a dark day.

-Troy Burtch, Marketing and Communications Manager, Great Lakes Brewing

How to embrace this trend:

  • Connect with your customers to find the best ways to serve them (ReRoot found local delivery wasn’t the best option, but curbside was);
  • Work through the logistics (What is your delivery schedule? What are your delivery borders? Do you need to hire additional staff to complete the drop-offs? Will you charge a fee for delivery?)
  • Look for ways to streamline so your customer experience remains simple, efficient, and convenient from beginning to end;
  • Communicate new options for fulfillment clearly through onsite signage and digital announcements (like social media and email);
  • Think about the right ways to update customers at every touchpoint  (confirmation email, text message, etc.) to keep the experience seamless
  • Create on-site signage that clearly directs customers where to go for curbside pickup.

3. Holistic (omnichannel) commerce

Having an online presence alongside a physical store alone isn’t enough: your channels need to work together to build a holistic experience. 

Omnichannel retailing is a fully-integrated approach to commerce, providing shoppers a unified experience across all channels or touchpoints.

Whether you’re selling wholesale, or you own your own retail space, or you sell at popups, the digital channels need to be intimately connected to the physical space.

Curbside pickup and BOPIS already toe this line, but there are plenty of ways to take this process to the next level. 

Digitally-Native brand, Mack Weldon, is an exceptional example of true omnichannel commerce at work. 

You can purchase Mack Weldon products directly on their website:

In their Hudson Yards store:

And on modern marketplace, Huckberry:

An omnichannel commerce doesn’t require you to be everywhere possible, just the right places for your customers.

In my interview with Brain Berger, Founder and CEO of Mack Weldon, he told me how to approach this multichannel strategy:

It’s about being really strategic around how you position your brand to your customer and what channels in which you do that. So for us it’s not, ‘Oh, we’ve conquered digital or reached a level of scale, so now we’re just going to start opening up stores at a rapid clip.’ It’s really about thinking about the role of each channel and how it fits into your overall game plan.

-Brian Berger

How to embrace this trend:

  • Map out common customer journeys with a focus on both online and offline sales;
  • Reach local customers by using geo targeting in your paid advertising;
  • Use in-store signage to drive customers to your online store and social channels
  • Collect email addresses at the point of sale;
  • Build a loyalty program that rewards both in-person and online sales;
  • Use the physical space of your brick’n’mortar store to produce content for social media, product images, etc.
  • Offer virtual styling and video chat with store employees through a digital tool like HERO to improve the experience of your online customers;
  • Consider using augmented and virtual reality to bring your physical experience online;
  • Use SMS notifications for curbside pickup and local delivery (then use the channel to engage customers post-purchase)

4. A focus on local

Community is everything, especially during hard times.

Whether it’s Zoom happy hours, TikTok dance competitions, or  Kickstarter campaigns to save local institutions, we’re all craving real, human connection. 

That translates to the ways (and the places) where we shop.

Young people are particularly invested in supporting smaller, independent retailers right now, with 63% of 18-34 year olds saying they seek out locally owned businesses to support. 

On top of that, nearly 80% of people who chose to shop locally made that choice to protect local jobs or support their community. 

We’re even seeing cities build out programs designed to drive local support for retailers. Check out this example in my hometown of Colorado Springs. 


The takeaway here is simple: lean into your neighborhood.

Moving online opens up many new markets, but focusing on your local community and their needs, then building outwards means that you can maintain the connections and the passion that drove your business from the beginning.

I really think that one of the biggest reasons why we survived was because of our community. They were the ones that were spreading the word about ReRoot. They were the ones that were showing up for curbside. Our community really showed up.

-Paige Briscoe, ReRoot

That can mean sourcing local ingredients, underwriting local events and nonprofits, or a huge range of other community-oriented moves. 

How to embrace this trend:

  • Use hashtags that encourage local support (#shoplocal #shopsmall);
  • Connect with local media to build press hype in your area;
  • Partner with other local retailers to drive awareness for both of your brands;
  • Create Instagrammable signage or experiences that drive passersby to stop and share;
  • Leverage local influencers to connect with your audience;
  • Highlight the different ways that your business supports the local community using in-store signage, social media, and your website;

5. A different kind of store associate

There continue to be major shifts in the roles that different team members play within a business, and often that requires retail employees to wear multiple hats.

Think about virtual shopping, or tools like HERO that allow customers to video chat and text with store associates while they shop online.

Adam Levene, CEO of HERO explains this trend:

What HERO does is connect a shopper who’s online who needs that same assistance, same inspiration and guidance as they would usually find in the physical store, and we allow them to get that whilst shopping online. But instead of speaking to a bot, instead of speaking to someone in the customer service center, they’re speaking to an expert, a sales associate from the store nearest to them and through text and through chat, through video calling, they’re able to connect and get that same IRL experience online.

While these experiences may not be traditional, they present unique opportunities for your customer service to shine.

It might sound daunting, but bringing your store associates into new roles that balance brick’n’mortar work with digital consultations creates the kind of one-on-one connection that shoppers crave.

Knix Wear has found massive success with their virtual styling program, making it a permanent piece of their business.

We’re seeing about a 70 to 75 conversion rate from appointments in terms of purchase,” said Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO. 

Joanna continues: What we’re hearing from people is they’re actually preferring it over an in real life fitting because it’s almost more intimate, but without the awkwardness. Now it’s a big part of our company.”

It’s more personal, more helpful, and inspires loyalty on a level that is difficult to match with a traditional ecommerce experience.

How to embrace this trend:

  • Train your retail staff on ecommerce tools, tech, inventory, and the ways that these digital elements play into their day-to-day roles;
  • Enable live chat on your website, and train store associates to run the account
  • Use a tool like HERO to add live video calling and online consultation to your store;
  • Build a virtual styling program;
  • Host live Q&A sessions with store associates;
  • Highlight your store associates on social media and use them as brand ambassadors. 

6. Experiential, personalized in-store experiences

With in person shopping down over the last year for obvious reasons, that means associates can spend more time with the people shopping.

Think of it as something closer to showroom retail: one-on-one personalized experiences that give the customer a sense of what they really mean to your business. 

Universal Standard is taking this approach and getting amazing results. And it makes sense- as fashion brands, they’re able to leverage their associates as style consultants, guaranteeing customers an unprecedented level of time and attention.

Alexandra Waldman, Co-Founder and CEO of Universal Standard told me about this non-traditional approach:

We wanted to create a much more personal experience. So we created a space where you were one on one with a stylist. You made an appointment, or even if you dropped in. It is very much your space.”

As we continue to move through this “new normal”, heightened in-store experiences and community connection will be highly sought after.

We can look to modern retailers, like Daily Paper, for evidence of this trend. Jefferson Osei, Co-Founder explained why the team built experiential spaces, like a rooftop cafe, into the design of their brand new flagship store in NYC.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible at this moment in time but looking forward, we really think that the store in New York will become a community hub where all these people can get together and link with like minded people. And the space will also serve as an educational space. We will dedicate certain areas to host certain initiatives, work with young talent in and around New York, and also collaborate with local initiatives and other parties.


How to embrace this trend (post-pandemic):

  • Look at ways to reshape your physical layout to encourage customers to spend more time in-store;
  • Add tablets or QR codes for customers to engage with in your physical location
  • Create spaces (like Instagrammable mirrors) that drive engagement with the space and your brand alongside purchasing;
  • Train your store associates for longer, more intensive interactions;
  • Host community events like workshops, meetings, or trainings
  • Offer your space for rent for your customers;
  • Add extra experiences, like a coffee bar, into your store;
  • Lower your stock and build out the experience. For example, that could mean using a 3PL or warehouse to make more space and offering buy in store, ship to home

7. Micro-retail

Moving forward, there are tons of opportunities for brands to offer smaller, boutique experiences that still provide the physical, “three-dimensional” approach to shopping that we crave.

So what does that look like? It can be a micro-retail location, as in the case of online bakery Klado, which chose to open a 50 square foot storefront. For founders Jen Prado and Jesse Klee, it was about creating an intimate “hole in the wall” experience for their customers. 

Pop-ups are another exciting way to offer tons of opportunity for low-cost experimentation, and even if inventory is limited, these spaces can drive traffic to your online store, setting up a multi-dimensional connection with customers.

Even opening a location inside of another store can be a great opportunity to connect with a new audience. Sephora has been doing this for well over a decade, but more recently Birchbox has seen great results opening up a popup inside of the Washington DC location of Rent the Runway.

Basically, low overheads, deeper community connections, and a novel shopping experience make micro-retail a great opportunity for growing brands.

The trick here is to lean into the things that already work for your brand. Knowing your strengths and amplifying them in a smaller space is your best bet.

Is the breadth of your inventory a big draw? Micro-retail might not be the right move.

However, if customers love interacting with your associates, putting that experience front-and-center in a smaller space can build lifelong connections.

How to embrace this trend:

  • Partner with other brands to build micro shopping experiences;
  • Host community events;
  • Explore the unique experiences a smaller space can offer;
  • Prioritize safety using digital tools- i.e. tracking the number of customers in-store
  • Collect email information or phone numbers to create digital connections after sale;
  • Get creative: Retail doesn’t always mean four walls;

8. Local partnerships

While 2020 was full of uncertainty, one positive that we’ve seen, is new partnerships between businesses offering exciting customer experiences.

Many cafes have started selling groceries from local farms. My go-to cycling studio in Colorado Springs sources their t-shirts from the printing shop next door.

Common People Shop, a small retailer in Ontario who was forced to close down their store, has leveraged a local partnership to keep curbside pickup as an option.

Steph LaPosta, co-owner of Common People explains:

When we decided to face the reality that now was no longer the time and space for our Brick + Mortar, we knew the decision to close would not only impact the growth of our business, but our connection with our community.  As we began to experiment with ways to keep that connection alive we knew one thing — we had to find somewhere local that we could partner with, to still offer curbside pickup.  That’s where Parkdale Pet Foods came in.  Partnering with them meant we could drive traffic and attention their way, give them a portion of our profits, and keep both our brands alive and thriving in the Parkdale community.

This kind of collaboration is really common between DTC brands (anyone remember the BarkBox + Glossier toys?), and it’s so exciting to see retailers branching out in similar ways. 

It’s all about finding businesses with complementary offerings that don’t compete with yours. Think creatively about the different needs that you can meet for your customers and the ways that other brands in your local economy can help that partnership.

Having a strong sense of your own audience and that of potential partners (i.e. some overlap, but still distinct subsets) will really help these partnerships succeed.

How to embrace this trend:

  • Connect with other brands in your area and learn what they’re working on;
  • Put together a co-marketing digital campaign;
  • Create content for another retailer;
  • Create popups within each other’s stores
  • Release co-branded products
  • Team up on give-back campaigns within your community
  • Use social media to reach each other’s audiences
  • Look for mutually beneficial ways to build a better customer experience (or meet specific customer needs) together

9. Virtual experiences

Your brand has more to offer than just your products. Every business is made up of experts on a range of topics. 

Many restaurants are offering online cooking classes with starter kits. Bars are creating online mixology classes. Yoga studios are offering virtual sessions. 

Universal Standard is a standout in this category. They’ve partnered with Airbnb to host online readings of their children’s book, “What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us,” building an extraordinary connection between the brand and the community they serve.

The trick here is building an online platform for your brand that meets a range of customer needs and empowers them to engage with your products, beliefs, and mission in new ways. 

There are plenty of ways to offer both instruction and kits that let customers learn or take part in something new and hands on.

How to embrace this trend:

  • List out the important elements of your brand experience and determine what can thrive online;
  • Create engaging digital events that supplement your products;
  • Prioritize community and connection between customers as well as with your brand;
  • Train your staff with a specific focus on virtual experiences;
  • Talk with your customers about the kinds of events that be exciting and valuable to them;
  • Consider partnering with a complementary brand to broaden the audience.

Conclusion

As retailers continue to adapt to a new world of commerce, there’s plenty of opportunities to build a thriving brand and business.

  • If you don’t have an a website or online store, consider investing in setting that up.
  • Even post-COVID, many consumers will expect new fulfillment options such as curbside pickup, local delivery, and contactless payments.
  • Having a digital presence alone isn’t enough, the entire experience should be seamless both in-store and online.
  • Now is a great time to focus on serving your local community.
  • Your store associates can be a great resource to educate and serve your customers through digital consultations and other virtual interactions.
  • Consider experimenting with unique and personalized in-store experiences.
  • Micro retail locations can also be an effective way to create a memorable experience.
  • Local partnerships offer an opportunity to better serve your customers and enter new markets.

While overcoming these unique challenges won’t be easy, we’re entering a wide open frontier with endless possibilities. Things have been rough, but I, for one, am feeling optimistic about the future. 

The post Retail Reimagined: 9 Trends for the Future of Physical Retail appeared first on CXL.

How to Create an Ecommerce Website in 15 Minutes

A worldwide audience is lifechanging for your business. We’re talking… sold out shelves, explosive growth, and access to an infinite stream of potential customers across the globe. The ecommerce business is booming and you know you want a p…

A worldwide audience is lifechanging for your business. We’re talking… sold out shelves, explosive growth, and access to an infinite stream of potential customers across the globe. The ecommerce business is booming and you know you want a piece of it. However, the technical side of building a website has you feeling uneasy and unsure […]

The post How to Create an Ecommerce Website in 15 Minutes appeared first on The Daily Egg.

We Estimated the Effect COVID-19 Has Had on E-Commerce Traffic

Our models show the e-commerce traffic industries experienced in 2020 compared to an estimate of what they would have seen in absence of a pandemic.

The post We Estimated the Effect COVID-19 Has Had on E-Commerce Traffic appeared first on Monetate.

As the economic effects of COVID-19 continue to unfold, the data science team at Monetate analyzed how our clients have been impacted by changing consumer behaviors. At Monetate, we deliver data-driven, personalized customer experiences to the e-commerce websites of medium-to-large-sized businesses across a wide variety of industries.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how e-commerce traffic has changed for particular industries over the last two months as public awareness of COVID-19 increased.

To accurately estimate the independent effect of COVID-19, we modeled our clients’ weekly page views, accounting for general trends and seasonal patterns in their site traffic, and included Google search popularity data to quantitatively estimate how COVID-19 awareness approached its saturation point in the general public.

Web Traffic Changes by Industry Vertical

Our modeling allows us to produce statistically significant estimates of the precise effect COVID-19 has had on our clients’ web traffic. As we would expect, the effects varied by industry. Some industries have been impacted more than others, some not at all, and some have even seen an increase in web traffic that can be attributed to the pandemic.

The hardest-hit industries come as no surprise: social distancing behavior has had a significant effect on travel and event service companies. Booking sites (grouped under travel services above), road-side assistance services (same), vacation cruises, ticketing services, and resorts and hotels (grouped under lodging, in pea green) have all experienced a 16-21 percent drop in traffic. Even luggage and bridal retailers saw fewer visitors with an estimated loss of 13-15 percent.


Note: Noticeably absent for our list of industries affected by COVID-19 are apparel and fashion. Although we are beginning to see signs that these industries will be affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, at this point it is too soon to state with confidence what extent the early effect we’re seeing is directly attributable to COVID-19, rather than simply natural variation in the data. As the economic strain continues to be felt around the country, we’ll be monitoring the situation closely and look forward to sharing updated results about the apparel and fashion industry as we have them.


The following graphs show the web traffic these industries experienced in 2020 (red line), along with an estimate of what they would have seen in absence of a pandemic (the dashed blue line), and we also include the prior year’s data for reference (the pink line).

The first week of March was clearly the inflection point in the United States. On February 29th, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency. Just under two weeks later, President Trump extended this state of emergency nation-wide. During this period, Americans began to realize the gravity of the situation and changed their consumption behavior to reflect their increased concern about large gatherings and travel.

Our web traffic models allow us to estimate what the level of traffic for these industries would have been in February and March of 2020 without the effect of COVID-19 influencing consumer behavior. More precisely, for each client we fit a linear model that includes terms for significant monthly effects as well as a term for public concern about COVID-19, represented by the popularity of Google searches for “coronavirus.” Errors in this model are represented as a “SARMA process (Seasonal Autoregressive Moving Average), which accounts for periodic, lag, and spike effects in the time series. Fitting such a model results in an estimate of the independent effect that COVID-19 has had on traffic.

By subtracting this effect out of the time series of true page views, we estimate what the page views would have been without the impact of COVID-19. 


As we can see in the plot of average effects above (titled Industries Impacted by COVID-19), some retailers actually experienced a surge in traffic related to COVID-19. We estimate COVID-19 led to a 13 to 15 percent increase in traffic for some retailers in both faith and firearms industries. With students home from school and more people working remotely, home office and children’s arts/crafts supply retailers saw a significant increase in traffic as well, with an estimated percent change of 17 and 28 respectively.

e-commerce traffic COVID-19

People are also looking to fitness equipment retailers to help them beef up their home gyms. And as the market fluctuates, many are seeking out personal investment resources to stay informed and manage their finances. There was also a very large increase in traffic to retailers of vegetable seeds and gardening tools and supplies. These e-commerce sites saw an average increase in traffic of around 45 percent.

Whether your company has been impacted positively or negatively by the COVID-19 event, there are a variety of ways to optimize your customers’ experience in a data-enriched manner to mitigate the impact of falling demand, or better handle the influx of new visitors to your site. By weaving this data into your onsite experience, you can better act on a customer’s intent, providing better-optimized experiences for optimal engagement and higher conversion during these oscillating times.

The post We Estimated the Effect COVID-19 Has Had on E-Commerce Traffic appeared first on Monetate.

NRF 2020 Recap: Introducing Personalized Commerce

Last week’s NRF big show in NYC was a great way to kick off the first year Kibo, Certona, and Monetate are operating as a single personalized commerce cloud (Missed our announcement? Catch up here) — we’re so excited to show how powerful the combination of order management, ecommerce optimization, and personalization can be in…

The post NRF 2020 Recap: Introducing Personalized Commerce appeared first on Monetate.

Last week’s NRF big show in NYC was a great way to kick off the first year Kibo, Certona, and Monetate are operating as a single personalized commerce cloud (Missed our announcement? Catch up here) — we’re so excited to show how powerful the combination of order management, ecommerce optimization, and personalization can be in a future-proof, flexible platform.

First, I want to congratulate all of our ecommerce clients on wrapping up a fantastic holiday season and for working with us to develop an integrated, personalized commerce roadmap. We have some powerful 2019 client stats to celebrate:

  • Over 150 million orders processed
  • More than $300 billion in revenue influenced across the Kibo Group
  • We now have 950+ brand clients focused on delivering relevant, personalized experiences to customers

At NRF, we highlighted several expansions in personalization capabilities that our clients implemented for Q4 2019: DICK’s Sporting Goods worked with Certona to launch a new sports bra fit finder on their site, while GameStop replatformed their ecommerce experience in time for the holiday season. 

We were also thrilled to announce Taco Bell’s new personalization capabilities on their app, offering menu item recommendations to guests. Using machine learning and AI technology, the app will show users the most relevant menu items, promotions, and content based on their individual preferences, past dining history, location, weather, and restaurant-specific menus and pricing.

On the convention floor, I found it invaluable to spend time at the show with the savvy retailers and other thought leaders who are focused on connecting every element of the commerce experience with seamless backend technology to deliver personalized customer experiences in real time. 

In particular, many of the NRF attendees I chatted with were focused on gaining value and efficiency across the customer lifecycle. They are looking for easy-to-use, future-proof ways to bring AI into their teams’ day to day workflows. They’re also thinking about the intersection of new privacy and data laws and personalization — an area our product and engineering and strategist teams are all hyper focused on.

Another NRF highlight I’m thrilled to announce is that Kibo was a finalist for “Vendors in Partnership,” a new group that shines a light on all the great technologies that help retailers run and grow their commerce business. The honor is particularly meaningful for us because clients, prospects, and other vendors get to vote; it’s the “People’s Choice Award” for Vendors. 

Our head of partnerships accepts the “VIP” finalist award

Thanks again to all of our clients and partners for supporting us in 2019. We can’t wait to share more of what’s to come for Kibo in 2020, including expanded client events across the globe. 

Andrew Koperwas is the senior director of product and client marketing at Kibo.

The post NRF 2020 Recap: Introducing Personalized Commerce appeared first on Monetate.

Monetate Retrospective: Holiday Season 2019 (and What to Do Next)

The holiday magic was in the air this peak shopping season. Despite industry worries about sluggish sales, more people than ever shopped over the holiday week that includes Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. NRF reports that 189.9 million Americans shopped during this time, 14% more than in 2018 (165.8 million). And this year also…

The post Monetate Retrospective: Holiday Season 2019 (and What to Do Next) appeared first on Monetate.

The holiday magic was in the air this peak shopping season. Despite industry worries about sluggish sales, more people than ever shopped over the holiday week that includes Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. NRF reports that 189.9 million Americans shopped during this time, 14% more than in 2018 (165.8 million).

And this year also proved that holiday shopping has gone cyber. While Black Friday commanded headlines for decades, online sales are taking over. Early tallies show that the US had the biggest Cyber Monday ever with $9.4 billion in sales. About $3 billion of that spending came from smartphones. 

The shopping journey is obviously more complicated than a few days and two channels. Brick-and-mortar store sales on Black Friday dropped 6.2% compared to 2018, according to data from ShopperTrak. However, the firm also notes that foot traffic in stores increased 2.3% on Thanksgiving Day compared with last year. So, while people prefer to buy online, they still like to shop. Similarly, “buy online pickup in store” (aka BOPIS and click-to-collect) also increased for the holiday weekend by 43% over last year, and delivered 64% more value in store than sales from non-BOPIS shoppers.

With so many elements to connect, it’s important for retailers to understand what works and how to give customers a positive experience in the process. Personalization can be a cornerstone of a successful holiday weekend. With a 2x increase in session volume for this year’s holiday shopping weekend over last year, we had plenty of our own data to analyze in order to provide some insights. 

There’s a lot of good news for brands. We found a big increase in the use of personalization overall, and as a result, Monetate clients saw improved YoY conversion rates and order values. 

Here are a few highlights from our clients’ holiday seasons:

  • US Conversion Rates were 5.6 times higher for pages with Monetate personalization compared to non-personalized pages.
  • UK Conversion Rates were 3.2 times higher for pages with Monetate personalization compared to non-personalized pages.
  • Average Order Value increased 54% for US shoppers exposed to Monetate personalization
  • Average Order Value increased 11% for UK shoppers exposed to Monetate personalization
  • Monetate also found that retailers grew the use of personalization by more than 200% from 2018 to 2019 across the US and the UK. This includes growth across segmented experiences, Individual Fit Experiences (one-to-one personalization) and Majority Fit Experiences (dynamic testing).

We also looked at cross-device and customer identification rates (aka the “cold start problem”). Monetate did find that over the Thanksgiving weekend, our clients identified just over one-third (35%) of their visitors across desktop and mobile compared to only 23% visitor identification last year, which is a great improvement. But do the math in reverse and that means 64% of visitors weren’t identified. Our UK clients increased their ID rates but tend to have slightly lower match rates overall due to a different approach to privacy protections. 

As we’ve highlighted in the past (see the full post here), using AI-enhanced personalization allows brands to create unique strategies for “small slice” audiences. For example, we found that retained holiday shoppers from a year ago are very loyal and actually spend more even than regular shoppers come next holiday season. This relatively small group are a perfect example of a group that deserves a marketing strategy to identify and personalize a campaign that will keep them coming back next year, growing the group over time.

[Looking for more holiday shopper research? Download this report from the Monetate data team.]

The good news is that clients can increase their match rates with Monetate and identify more of these small but valuable audiences that are likely to come through over the holiday season. You can collect your Person ID (unique identifier assigned to an individual) either onsite, or through clickthrough. The onsite method can be utilised by using a JS variable or a cookie triggered on sign-up or users log in and / or at checkout. 

The clickthrough method uses the query parameter that includes an identifier, set up by your ESP. The value in this parameter is unique and tied directly to a person which means that you can stitch this ID to the Monetate cookie. This will give you the connection you need to bring match rates up and create more one-to-one personalization using IFEs.

We know that holiday planning for 2020 starts now, and it’s the insights we get that help us chart a successful season next year. Now’s the time to analyze what works and chart a course for an even bigger holiday shopping season in 12 months.

Phil Lee is a senior strategist on Monetate’s client success team.

The post Monetate Retrospective: Holiday Season 2019 (and What to Do Next) appeared first on Monetate.

Getting Started with Homepage Personalization

Some retail brand leaders (particularly towards the more luxury end of the spectrum) have traditionally viewed their site homepages as highly curated canvases — much like the front window display of a store. I’m an artist myself, so I’m very sympathetic to the concept of a unified brand aesthetic. However, these brands are limiting their…

The post Getting Started with Homepage Personalization appeared first on Monetate.

Some retail brand leaders (particularly towards the more luxury end of the spectrum) have traditionally viewed their site homepages as highly curated canvases — much like the front window display of a store. I’m an artist myself, so I’m very sympathetic to the concept of a unified brand aesthetic. However, these brands are limiting their ability to convert more customers and increase revenue by not personalizing the homepage experience.

Personalization really is the key to unlocking the most revenue from your homepage. I know that every marketer (and technology partner) seems to have a different definition for personalization… and that’s a topic for a future blog post. It can mean dynamically updating a homepage banner based on previous purchases, or serving a recommendation slider with products relevant to a specific visitor. For marketers still building the case for homepage personalization here, let’s focus on 1-to-1, AI-driven personalization and how retailers are using Monetate to increase revenue.

Why homepage personalization works + a case study

Monetate customers use what we call “Individual Fit Experiences” to deliver personalized homepages to their site visitors. This method uses both first- and third-party data to inform individualized content decisions — meaning that each site visitor receives a unique combination of the variants determined to be most likely relevant to them. 

This is different from something like an A/B test, where it’s certain that a random section of your target will see a less relevant experience. In fact, Monetate examined data from over 2 billion personalized experiences in order to learn how manual methods perform compared with their AI counterparts. Our finding? Individual Fit Experiences succeed 4X as often as A/B tests.  

[Read more about AI-enabled testing here]

To illustrate why, let’s look at a real-world example where I’ve only removed identifying features about the brand. A current Monetate customer and well-known retail and ecommerce brand (with a top-down culture of viewing the homepage as a work of art) decided to launch a personalization pilot to compare personalized performance with the one-size-fits-all approach.

With executive buy-in achieved and a goal metric (click-through) set, the next step was establishing how to personalize the homepage. Should they create variants specific for genders or product lines or something else? We ultimately decided to create variants across four of these, including the traditional curated homepage as a “control”, and let the Monetate Personalization Engine decide what visitors would see. 

Key results? After 14 days, the Individual Fit Experience drove a cumulative +26.42% lift in click-through from the homepage. Using Monetate, the marketing team was also able to get insight into which categories our AI-powered engine determined were most influential to assign traffic to our goal metric, and this will help them plan future strategies.

How to start with homepage personalization

As you can see, running a successful homepage personalization pilot can be done with minimal variants and the data you already have. If you’re ready to get started, here are some additional tips from my work with leading retailers:

  1. Start small. Most homepages already include a wide range of persona-specific products. Using an Individual Fit Experience to update what content is above the fold can be incredibly effective, and it doesn’t require any additional resources.
  2. Trust the engine. This isn’t the typical “If you bought this, show this” type of experience, and we have proven results. With a clear goal, you just need to let the engine learn and make the right decisions. Remember that you’re still in control of all the variants.
  3. Bring data. Monetate’s Individual Fit Experiences can make decisions out-of-the-box based on context it can “see” but your first-party data can also ensure visitors are getting the perfect experience.

Greg Giletto is a Senior Platform Consultant at Monetate. Austin Rochford, Monetate’s SVP of Data Science, also contributed insights to this article.

The post Getting Started with Homepage Personalization appeared first on Monetate.

40+ Ecommerce Marketing Stats for 2020 Planning

In order to create strategies to maximize sales and drive impact, your team needs an understanding of ecommerce trends and data. Below are important metrics as they relate to conversion rates, add-to-cart rates, and personalization. Utilize this information to help craft your 2020 marketing plan and personalization tactics.  Let’s take a look at the 50…

The post 40+ Ecommerce Marketing Stats for 2020 Planning appeared first on Monetate.

In order to create strategies to maximize sales and drive impact, your team needs an understanding of ecommerce trends and data. Below are important metrics as they relate to conversion rates, add-to-cart rates, and personalization. Utilize this information to help craft your 2020 marketing plan and personalization tactics. 

Let’s take a look at the 50 ecommerce marketing stats you need to know now.

Customer Acquisition

  • Ninety-five percent of all purchases in the UK are projected to come via ecommerce by the year 2040. 
  • Mary Meeker’s most recent trend report cites phenomenal 22 percent YoY growth in digital advertising spend for 2019.
  • Email is a valuable tool for ecommerce sites. About 70 percent of users who visit a site for the first time from an email will return within a 60 day timeframe. Forty-eight percent will return within six days.
  • Eighty-three percent of all email visitors make a return visit, while those who enter via social media channels have a likelihood of returning that is below 75 percent.
  • A lack of content relevancy generates 83 percent lower response rates in the average marketing campaign. 
  • 43 percent of ecommerce traffic comes from Google organic searches. 

Add-to-Cart Rates 

  • In Great Britain, add-to-cart rates are 15.98 percent and in the US add-to-cart rates are 10.21 percent.
  • Tablets have the highest add-to-cart rates globally (11.87 percent) and in the US (12.20 percent). However, in Great Britain, add-to-cart rates are higher on desktop (16.55 percent).
  • Add-to-cart rates are higher for those who use multiple devices – 73 percent compared to 12 percent.
  • 61 percent of shoppers say they have left a transaction behind due to added costs such as shipping fees. 
  • Another 34 percent say they’ve abandoned their carts because it was too difficult to create an account. 

Conversion Rates & Purchase Rates

  • In the US, conversion rates are 2.57 percent and in Great Britain, conversion rates are 3.81 percent.
  • Conversion rates are performing best on desktops (3.90 percent) globally. 
  • 61 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. 
  • In the US, desktop conversion rates are 4.14 percent and in Great Britain, desktop conversion rates are 4.97 percent.
  • Relevant product recommendations can play an important role in conversions. Clients who click on a recommended product are 70 percent more likely to make a purchase than those who see a product recommendations, but do not interact with it.
  • Return sessions for those who left a recommended product in their cart are 45 percent more likely to convert.
  • Almost half of survey respondents noted that they had made an impulse purchase as a result of a recommended product. 85 percent of these were happy to have made that purchase.
  • Loyal customers are more valuable to retailers than first time customers. They convert at rates 4x higher.

Average Order Value

  • Average order values are $107.36 globally, $118.17 in the US, and $71.86 in Great Britain.
  • Average order value from organic searches is $79.01, while AOV from direct website visits averages at $112.01.
  • Desktop users have a higher average order value with $128.08 globally, $135.07 in the US, and $86.47 in Great Britain.
  • AOV increases by as much as 33 percent when customers buy or add recommended products to their carts (compared to those who see the product recommendations and do not interact with them).
  • Average order value is $86.47 on mobile globally.
  • AOV is 38 percent higher for those who return to a site after making a purchase from a recommended product than those who did not.
  • Cross device customer journeys are more valuable to organizations. Average order value increases from $115 to $130 when customers shop across devices.

The Compounding Effects of Personalization

  • Conversion rates doubled for consumers who are exposed to three personalized elements, compared to two personalized elements.
  • Companies see a 55 percent increase in leads when increasing their landing pages from 10 to 15. 
  • Add-to cart rates improved by 74 percent when comparing the second and third personalized pageviews.
  • By the 10th personalized webpage, conversion rates skyrocketed to 31.6 percent and add-to-cart rates increased to 65.2 percent.
  • Cart abandonment rates improved when users were exposed to personalized webpages. After two personalized webpages, it dropped to 82.6 percent and by the tenth personalized webpage, it dropped to 58 percent. By the 20th, it dropped to below half (40 percent)

  • Seventy-eight percent said that they will not even react to a retailer’s offer if their interaction is not personalized.
  • Eighty-eight percent of shoppers say that they are more likely to make a purchase from an organization who delivers a personalized experience across devices.

Personalization Strategies for Organizations

  • Eighty-six percent of companies who are seeing a high return on their investment (2x or more) are investing at least 21 percent of their budget into personalization efforts.
  • Companies that exceeded their revenue goals in 2018 were 25 percent more likely to have financial specific personalization initiatives in place.
  • About 60 percent of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, but 77 percent believe real-time personalization is crucial. 
  • Seventy-nine percent of organizations that exceeded their revenue goals had a personalization strategy in place. 
  • Sixty-six percent of marketers say one of their biggest struggles with personalization is securing the internal resources needed to execute their strategy.
  • Ninety-three percent of organizations who had an advanced personalization program in place grew their revenue. 0 percent experienced a decline in revenue.

The Next Step for Businesses

The ecommerce industry has been affected by disruption with emerging technologies and trends. Despite all these changes, customers continue to look for a personalized experience across their platforms. Monetate and our personalization experts can help you deliver a best-in-class customer experience in 2020.

The post 40+ Ecommerce Marketing Stats for 2020 Planning appeared first on Monetate.

The Complete Guide to Selling on the Walmart Marketplace in 2019

The Walmart Marketplace won’t ever be the new Amazon, but that’s doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for retailers. We’ve seen Walmart scale… > Read More
The post The Complete Guide to Selling on the Walmart Marketplace in 2019 …

The Walmart Marketplace won’t ever be the new Amazon, but that’s doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for retailers. We’ve seen Walmart scale... > Read More

The post The Complete Guide to Selling on the Walmart Marketplace in 2019 appeared first on Retail Performance Marketing Blog - CPC Strategy.

Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018

It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year. In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in […]

The post Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018 appeared first on Brooks Bell.

It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year.

In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in its infancy. But despite all the changes we’ve experienced since then, one thing remains true: it is the opportunity to connect with so many interesting people that are solving big problems for their business that makes our work worthwhile. Thanks for walking with us.

A look back at some of our big moments from 2018

Winning like Winona

In January, our Founder & CEO, Brooks Bell, was recognized as one of 25 women who rocked digital marketing in 2017. Later in the year, she was also announced as a Southeastern Finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

We also celebrated 2017’s record-breaking growth, were recognized as Optimizely’s North American Partner of the Year, and we garnered our local business journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Getting Lit with Illuminate

Fun fact: We originally built Illuminate to help us better manage and iterate upon our clients’ tests. Over time, we got so much great feedback, that we decided to make it available to everyone this year.

Now, with a successful beta launch under our belt and even more new features being added to the software, we’re excited to see where this new endeavor takes us in 2019.

F is for Friends, Fun and…Fear?

In October, things got a little spooky around the office and it had everything to do with Scott, our Director of Sales, who decided to channel his inner Ellen Degeneres for the day (much to our colleagues’ horror). Watch the video if you dare.

Making Bacon for our Clients

Back in 2014, we set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to achieve $1 billion in projected revenue for our clients. By the end of 2017, we’d reached $500 million. And this past December, we hit $1 billion. (cue ::gong::)

But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ve set some aggressive goals for 2019, with a focus on personalization, and we’re pumped to get to work.

Brooks Bell takes the Bay Area 

In September, we officially opened the doors to our San Fransisco office. This decision came after years of working with clients on the West Coast and our desire to work even more closely with them. And with the Bay Area’s rich history of innovation, we can’t think of a better place to help more companies push their boundaries through experimentation.

Still Clickin’ 

Last May, we hosted our annual Click Summit conference. We might be biased but this remains one of our favorite events as it’s filled with meaningful connections and seriously impactful takeaways. 2019 marks our 10th Click Summit, and we’ve got big plans. Request your invite today.

2018 on the blog

 


The post Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018 appeared first on Brooks Bell.

E-commerce Abandonment Rates

There are few key performance indicators that everyone focuses on for an e-commerce store: conversion rates, average order value and the number of monthly visitors. These metrics translate into money…

Please click on the title to read the full artic…

There are few key performance indicators that everyone focuses on for an e-commerce store: conversion rates, average order value and the number of monthly visitors. These metrics translate into money...

Please click on the title to read the full article!