Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Music: The Secret to Keeping Employees Happy and Productive


SocialMonsters1
 

What’s the secret to keeping employees happy and productive while at work? The answer may surprise you. A study from the University of Windsor found that listening to music improves employees’ moods and enhances perception while working. Additionally, research from the Journal of Music Therapy shows that listening to music can lower tension, even if it’s loud, rapid or energetic, like the type of music that’s played in Abercrombie and Fitch.

 

Productivity Studies

Beyond improving your employees’ moods and lowering tension at work, research published in the journal Applied Ergonomics shows that people who listen to music while conducting repetitive work tasks are more efficient. In addition, an article published by the Institute of Leadership and Management states that managers can cut the number of sick days by seven million and increase worker productivity just by playing music in the background at work.

 

Playlist Services

Professional playlist makers like Spencer Manio are behind what you hear coming from the speakers at the mall. Manio has worked for retailers including Nordstrom, Converse, Under Armour and BlackBerry via PlayNetwork, an agency that reaches 75 million people per day. Additional music services such as Custom Channels, Mood Mixes and Sound Reef provide background music for a wide range of retail stores. From art galleries to clothing retailers, these providers help reinforce brand identity by creating a specific mood suitable for both customers and employees. And in many cases, it’s affordable. Mood Mixes, for example, charges just $15 each month for services.

From brand to brand, retailers’ music choices reflect their values and may be based on location. For grocers, the most popular type of music is radio-style. By playing this type of transmission throughout the store, grocery stores can broadcast promotions and special offers. Whatever approach you take, you or a music expert must test, review and refresh the music selection every so often.

 

Sound Systems

Before outfitting your retail establishment with a music-playing system, consider the pros and cons of using surround sound versus sound bars. According to The Dig, retail spaces that are larger than 15 by 20 are best suited for surround sound systems. But for smaller spaces, like boutiques, a sound bar is a good option.

 

The Bottom Line

Mark Faithfull, writing for Retail Week, states that music played in a retail space reflects the brand message and enhances the customer experience. And if this is done correctly, it results in a higher volume of sales. So, which music is right for retail? Music experts like Vanessa Walmsley of Mood Media say a mix of ambient playlists and recognizable artists is best for drawing in customers and keeping employees engaged.

Music is everywhere, from cafes on the corner to giant department stores, so make sure your business is included. Not only does it impact your sales team and customers, it impacts your bottom line. And that should be music to your ears.

Photo Credit: Provided by Social Monsters with permission to use. 

To view this original article please visit: Retail Minded

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What’s the Secret to Hiring and Keeping a Quality Staff?

baby store owner           
 
One of the biggest challenges in retailing today is finding, hiring and training qualified people.
Today’s employee turnover is higher than ever. Independent retailers who strive to be the best and sell the most recruit and retain the best. But here is a catch: the best people aren’t always looking for work. I am going to share with you some of the best tips to find great staff and keep them working for you for years.
 
There is a laundry list of hiring tactics such as employee and customer referrals; signs in your front window and at your cash register; community networking; posts on your website, the online job sites and social media; government programs; job fairs at schools, colleges and universities; and speaking with salespeople you meet when you’re out shopping. But most of you know all that. Some of these strategies work well and fast, while others take time; some get you good people and others do not. So keep working on all these ways to post that you are looking for sales people don’t pick just one or two methods. Always be hiring. You can always find an opening for someone who is very good.

 

Finding employees with ownership

However, there is also a considerably different approach hiring quality staff.
 
You may never have thought of this before, but it has become clear to me over the years of working with independent retailers, that when you have new hires and staff who display ownership, you have the right people working for you. Ownership is an attribute that can make or break a retailer. If your staff isn’t displaying ownership, they may not be working with your best interest at heart.
 
In simple terms, ownership means the act, state or right of possessing something. Business ownership is displayed when a person has either money invested or is connected emotionally.
 
Finding employees with ownership, may very well happen by accident. You hire a person that displays proactivity, while getting things done and done well.. You want more of these types of individuals working for you. And for those employees working for you right now that do not display ownership, start training them with ownership in mind. I’ll give you a few tips later on in this post.
 
Advertise job postings for retail sales staff with ownership. No matter if you use traditional methods or social media platforms, put these items in your next ad:
  • To work for us you must want to find ways to do things better, faster, and more cost-effective.
  • To work for us you must exhibit an ambition to grow our business one customer at a time, one interaction at a time, and to delight and impress each customer.
  • To work for us you must exceed our expectations in attention to detail and your efficiency.

Lets have a look at interviewing for ownership. The process goes like this, screen new hires while thoroughly testing applicants and meeting each one of them personally. Here are some of the traits you are looking for: a great attitude, people skills, common sense, communication skills, leadership and ownership. During the interview, ask what ownership mean to them and ask for an example of how they have taken ownership for something in their previous work, school or family. If there is no response, they do not get it.

 

Effectively training new employees

Finally ask yourself this question: Can this potential new hire effectively be integrated into the store’s sales and customer service culture?

Lets have a look at the training you should provide under this idea of ownership. First steps are setting the outcome you want from your new hire and giving them performance guidelines. Let them put their own personality spin on the outcome and there you have it: the ownership component.

The 4 key training areas for your staff are how to sell; how to deliver best customer service; product knowledge; and store procedures.

Remember what’s important to you is important to your staff. I encourage you as the owner to get out on the sales floor daily, show yourself interacting with customers. Observe what your staff is doing and give feedback accordingly. Praise in front of other staff and give negative feedback in private.

As management you should strive to encourage self-motivated employees to display ownership because you do not want total control all the time. It doesn’t work. It’s exhausting. Establishing clear goals and performance levels and accountability are the key first steps. Along with advertising, hiring and training employees with ownership and being their own person is what you want and what will guarantee you hiring better staff and staff staying with you for a very long time.

 

Tips from a fellow independent retailer

I asked Diane Petryna, an independent retailer and owner of Take a Hike in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to share her thoughts on finding and keeping good staff. Here is what she had to share about her experiences.

“Because people’s lives are complicated, finding and keeping great staff who are able and willing to work whenever and how often you need them is an ongoing challenge.

Over the years I’ve recruited many wonderful employees right here in the store. As existing customers, I knew they already loved my store and products and because I make a point of building relationships with our customers, I know their personalities ahead of time and have developed a sense as to how they might fit in.
Finding and keeping good employees is an art and a science. Unfortunately there are days when there’s paint on the floor and an explosion in the science lab. Fortunately, it’s mostly good.
We can supplement employee wages with other things they value such as flexibility in scheduling, sufficient hours of work, product discounts, positive relationships, social events, training, recognition, etc.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to keep good employees is to let the poor ones go.
I’ve never known a good employer who wasn’t a good person first. Every day I try to do better than I did the day before.“
 


This post was contributed by our partner and friend, Barbara Crowhurst. Barbara Crowhurst is the CEO of Retail Makeover and North Americas’ leading Retail Business Coach and Store Designer. She also writes retail specific articles, blogs, e-books and is an international speaker. Her comprehensive and detailed approach to retail comes from years of working in the industry. Her career has taken her from working with some the largest corporate retail stores in North America to consulting with tens of thousands of Independent Retailers.


To view the original post please visit: Snap Retail

Monday, August 31, 2015

10 Types of Visual Social Media Posts That Get Shared Like Crazy

 
 
By Anna Guerrero

Do you want double your social engagement and get your content shared like crazy? For small businesses and brands everywhere, posting multiple images on social media has been proven to have massive traction. It seems simple right? But if it was so easy wouldn’t everybody do it?
 
Like most good things, in life – there’s a catch. And it isn’t not needing a huge budget or incredible graphic design skills.
 
When it comes to content creation, many people make this simple mistake: they add more visuals just for the sake of it. This is a basic approach. Smart content marketers create a visual content strategy that reaches people’s emotions – content with real psychological impact.
 
If you’re not a graphic designer or artist, don’t worry. I’m going to walk you through you ten types of powerful visuals that are easy to create and can double your social media engagement. Let’s get started.
 

1. High quality stock photography

Beware: your fans will smell a cheesy stock photo from a million miles away. Not only will it lead them to discredit your professionalism as a brand, but will deter them from wanting to share your post.
 
On the other hand, high quality stock photography can do the complete opposite. As well as making your brand seem more credible, high quality and relevant images help establish your brand’s reputation and boost engagement. If you’re looking for original content, check out this handy article that lists and rates over 70 free stock photography websites.
types of visual social media posts
Image: Elite Daily
 
Take a look at this post on Elite Daily’s Facebook page. By using relevant and high quality stock photography, the band achieves a “wow factor” which immediately tempts the viewer to click through to the blog.
 
After all, everything your audience shares on social media will reflect back on themselves. You can’t blame them for wanting to look good, but you can choose the right images to make it possible.
 

2. Screenshots

You’ve probably heard the old adage “seeing is believing.” In terms of visual content, the psychological lesson here is that when people can see something for themselves, they’re more likely to trust the source – which develops its credibility.

types of visual social media posts
Image: Buffer
 
In this Twitter post Buffer gauges interest around one of its growth experiments by showing two screenshots of an A/B tested email. By doing so, Buffer is able to immediately impress the viewer, intriguing them to read on.
 
The text used to accompany the post is short yet effective: providing a hook for the article but letting the image become the compelling factor.
 

3. Infographics

The most basic way to understand why visual content is so effective on social media is to consider that the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. When we’re scrolling through hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of posts, tweets and updates – images are simply easier to digest.
 
Infographics take this concept to the next level, allowing brands to capture complex pieces of information and turn them into engaging social media posts.
 
Notice how Charity World Vision have created a Pinterest board dedicated solely to its infographics. By doing so, they’re able to share large chunks of information in a single visual post.

types of visual social media posts
Image: World Vision
 
By following design guidelines to ensure your infographics are easily readable and visually engaging, this is a great opportunity to increase impact beyond what a single image could achieve.
 

4. Personal photographs

The best way to connect with your audience on a deeply authentic level is to show them that you’re human, no matter how successful you are. If your business or brand doesn’t have a human face, people will find it hard to relate to.
 
To execute this personal element in your visual social posts, add snaps of your CEO or management staff. In this example taken from fashion retailer Nastygal’s Instagram, the brand’s CEO Sophia Amoruso is seen at a book signing of her recent book #GIRLBOSS.
 
Not only does this boost interest around the book, it builds the authenticity of the brand. Look at her: she’s a boss!
 

types of visual social media posts
Image: Nastygal


5. Behind the scenes shots of your workplace

Another way to connect people to the human aspect of your brand is to show behind the scenes shots of your workplace. This exclusive insight fosters a personal connection with your fans and strengthens their brand loyalty.
 
This particular type of imagery is more suitable for Instagram and Facebook, which are often considered the more “social” mediums. Designer Jen Gotch does this well on her instagram account by regularly featuring quirky shots of team activities.
types of visual social media posts
Image: Jen Gotch
 
These images show the “real people” behind the brand and even encourage fans to consider Jen as a friend.
 

6. Quote graphics

A throwback to those motivational posters in your school counselor’s office – a quote graphic is still very beloved, and highly sharable. In fact, quote graphics work on every social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
 
The three things to consider with a quote graphic are the quote, the font, and the imagery. Go for a short quote with words that are easily digestible. Consider a font that’s readable on smaller screens because a lot more people are viewing through mobile devices.
 
Be sure to find an image that captures the spirit of the quote without competing with it for attention. The image should serve as a meditation space for the mind to go while its considering the quote.
 

types of visual social media posts
Image: Canva Quotes
 

7. Original designs

Branding your images is essential in order to build recognition on social media – a goal that should always be at the forefront of your visual content creation.
 
Also consider that generic images are rehashed over and over again, so creating unique content gives you a much greater chance of becoming memorable.
 
When designing your own images, always create a style guide to ensure brand consistency. This means determining rules for your fonts, color scheme, and image personality. The goal: you want your brand to be instantly recognizable.
 
Take a look at how Amanda Fuller, creator of Kaleidoscope Blog, uses a simple yet original design over and over in her posts on Pinterest. Whenever I see a pin from the Kaleidoscope Blog on my Pinterest feed, I know exactly who its from based on this unique calling card design.
 

types of visual social media posts
Image: Kaleidoscope
 

8. Images that reflect the essence of your brand

If you want to create images that impact your target audience always consider: what made them choose you over your competitors?
 
The answer to this question is your unique selling point. By choosing images based around it, you’ll be strengthening the foundations of brand loyalty.
 
Consider VOSS Water. Propelled by brand values of purity, distinction, and social responsibility, VOSS Water’s visual social media posts always reinforce one (or more) of these ideals.
 
In the Facebook examples below, you’ll find the distinctive VOSS Water bottle featured prominently as anchor branding. Both images convey a sense of nature/natural living, and the fruit infusions look fresh and healthy, right on target with branding.
 

types of visual social media posts
Image: Voss
 

9. Action shots

Stimulate the imagination of your audience with an action or experience shot. Nothing is quite as convincing as a still photo that captures a moment in time.
 
Charity: Water engages its audience with this vibrant image of clean water and outreached hands. Without reading, you instantly get the visual: What’s a bigger need than clean water? And what’s a great joy than having access to it?

types of visual social media posts
Image: Charity Water

While you may not be providing clean water to those in need, you can still use this type of visual social media post to inspire your followers to feel good about you and themselves, also, for following you.

Share images of your product or service in its ideal use. There’s a reason why, depending on the brand, beer ads show customers partying at the hottest club or lounging on the beach – that’s the desired experience.

Whatever you’re selling, you want a product shot of your ideal customer actively reaping the benefits of it.

10. Images with a striking color palette


Colors can depict and elevate mood. Whether you’re looking to compel or commiserate, colors play a huge role in human psychology. Consider: what are the feelings you want to evoke from your social media audience? Try and replicate that feeling with the colors you choose.
types of visual social media posts
 
An easy way to do this is to use a color picker tool to extract colors from your favorite images. Before you start designing, you should always set out to limit yourself to four main colors – this will help establish a theme or feeling for your designs and increase their impact.

Now it’s your turn!

Adding visual content to your social media strategy is a no-brainer, but using visual content that reaches your fans emotions and catches their eye is the smart marketer’s approach. Whether you’re creating original content, sourcing photographs or shooting your own, always consider how it will impact your audience.
 
To view the original article please visit: NewsCred
 
Want to see more articles like this? Check these out:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Back-to-School Trend Preview: Standout Brands and Retailers

/ June 4, 2015 

Vans Custom Sneakers
Vans is among the brands expected to perform well for back-to-school. (Seen here: winning designs from Vans' Custom Culture national high school design competition).
Courtesy of Vans
 
School doors may have barely slammed shut for summer break but Footwear News is already thinking of the shoe trends that will dominate when students make their way back into the classroom in September.

Industry insiders say there are no major trend surprises popping up yet but many of the usual players are set to do big numbers.

Key brands to watch include Vans, Converse, Skechers and Steve Madden, with canvas and fashion-athletic styles, in particular, expected to outperform.     “I think Skechers will be a key winner—especially with adult takedown styles attracting an older child,” said Wunderlich Securities Inc. analyst Danielle McCoy.

B. Riley & Co. LLC analyst Jeff Van Sinderen is equally bullish on the brand.

“Skechers is on fire,” said Van Sinderen. “I think the brand will do well [because they have] a strong assortment of accessibly-priced, on-trend product in kids and plenty of casual/comfort product that appeals to a wide range of older (high school, college and up) age groups.”

CL King & Associates analyst Steven Marotta said he’s placing his bet on Steve Madden which “from a share perspective, is poised to perform well.”

“Steve Madden has a little wind to its back and I think a lot of the styles that are doing well for them in the spring will translate into the fall for back to school—in the fashionable sneaker category in particular,” said Marotta.

Van Sinderen also noted that Nike’s offerings in the basketball category will continue to perform well among kids, teens and young adults.

Retailers forecasted to have the prime share of must-have shoe items include Famous Footwear—Caleres’ standout performer in the family space—and Genesco Inc.’s Journeys.

“Famous Footwear’s offerings are trend-right and in-stock,” said Marotta. “They invested heavily in canvas which has done well in the spring and we think it will do well in the fall.”

McCoy and Sterne Agee CRT analyst Sam Poser also called out Famous Footwear—which reported a 27 percent increase in canvas sales in the first quarter—as a retail chain to watch for back-to-school.

“Famous Footwear is well-positioned with its new marketing,” said McCoy. “They have been working with a third party to enhance consumer engagement and I think the back-to-school campaigns will reflect the work they’ve done.”

McCoy also noted that the retailer’s assortment mix features key back-to-school favorites that include Keds, Sperry, Skechers and Madden Girl.

Journeys, the chain that continues to boost Genesco against pressure from its underperforming chain Lids, capitalized on the strength of strong boots and canvas trends in Q1. Market watchers expect that canvas will remain the driver for the firm’s sales in the back-to-school shopping season.

“Management continues to feel confident in the business with strong visibility into back-to-school in addition to traffic and conversion driving initiatives such as increased catalogue spend…” wrote Susquehanna Financial LLLP analyst Christopher Svezia in a note on May 29.

Regarding new shoe trends, the market will just have to wait to see if something emerges.
“Outside of the usual brands and retailers, there’s nothing else showing signs of strength right now,” said Marotta.

To view the original article please visit: Footwear News

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Add to Cart: How to Get More People to Take Action on Product Pages

by Ott Niggulis 

Add to Cart: How to Get More People to Take Action on Product Pages
feature
Today is Monday. On Wednesday I have an long-haul flight to São Paulo and I just realized my traveling sneakers are done. I need my sneakers to be comfortable, because with my luck, the gates for connecting flights are always on the other side of the airport. 
 
I need to find a new pair ASAP.
 
With everything I have to do to prepare, there isn’t enough time for a trip to the mall. In-between thoughts of the presentation I'm preparing, I browse different online stores and I find what I’m looking for.
 
But there’s a problem - I need my sneakers delivered overnight or I risk not having them in time for my trip.  That’s not a risk I’m willing to take.
 
I look around the product page of the first store - there’s no information on shipping on that page, none.
 
I end up buying from my second choice simply because they clearly state next-day shipping is available.
 
Later I find out that first store also provided free next-day shipping, but that information was provided on the last page of the check-out flow. What a waste.
 
Have you noticed something that is extremely important in all ecommerce, but that I didn’t care about at all? Something that is the cornerstone of every site that is selling online, but in this instance, didn’t play any role whatsoever?
 
That all-so-important thing is the “Add To Cart” button.
 
It didn’t play any role in me passing on my first choice and buying from somewhere else. That button is extremely important, we have written about it before here and I personally have written a whole mega article just about that button here.
 
While the “Add to Cart” button is important and it’s one of the defining features of an ecommerce site, it does not carry the entire burden of of getting itself clicked.
 
You can have the most “optimized” button in the world but if it doesn’t work with the rest of your site or you’re just plain sloppy and forget to mention next-day shipping (for example) on your product pages... you are still going to lose business.
 
This article will try to give you a more holistic picture on what else you need to pay attention to when selling stuff online besides that damn button.
 
So let’s get started.

 

How Do We Discover Why People Aren't Clicking "Add To Cart"?

Image via Hello Matcha
 
So imagine that we’re online tea sellers, specifically we’re selling Matcha green tea online. The above picture is of our product pages.
 
We have high-quality product photography, psychological pricing, prominent “Add To Cart” button, some shipping info, instructions about making the tea, brief intro into Matcha teas and so on. Everything seems to be in place.
 
Additionally our Google Analytics data which tells us how many people land on this page (and how they got here) and we can see how many people clicked our buy button.
 
This is pretty good, but we also see that only .56% of our traffic is clicking "Add To Cart". That's not enough. 
 
What we really want to know is what we should change about this product page to make even more people take steps towards buying.

User testing is one of the tools that can help us with accomplishing this goal.

 

User Testing Helps You See The Page Through Your Customer's Eyes

Your shop is online, you have your customers and because you are a smart marketer you have set up email list segmentation which allows you to email different segments (repeat, biggest spending etc) of your customers.
 
Before we go forward with changing things around based on “best practices” we must first get an understanding on what the buying experience is like for our customers.
 
You’ve looked at your product pages hundreds of times and you know by heart where everything is situated and it all makes sense... to you - very often, this is the exact opposite scenario for the majority of your visitors.
 
To solve this, use remote user testing to see first hand how visitors are using your site.
 
Remote testing works by recording audio & video of what’s happening on your visitor’s screen via screen capture software.
 
The facilitation is done either through pre-loaded prompts that appear over the top of the website being tested (when using professional user testing software) or simply in the form of activities do be done sent to the testers email.
 
In the end you will get a video recording where you can see and hear exactly what was going on.
 


Image via GotGroove


 

What Do You Ask During a User Testing Session?

As questions go, our goal is to understand what information is lacking from the buyer's perspective that makes them hesitate clicking "Add to Cart" and if the information they need to feel comfortable purchasing is easily accessible.
 
If I’m the owner of an online shoe shop, a customer would most likely want to know if they have my size, shipping info, materials used etc.
 
Possible tasks for user testers would include:
  • Browse around the site, what kind of shoes is X selling?
  • Find a pair of men’s loafers that you like.
  • Do they have your size in stock?
  • Add a pair of loafers to the shopping cart, then open the shopping cart and change the size of the shoe one size down.
  • Find another pair of shoes you like and add that to the cart.
  • Are the shipping options clear? How much are they, and what is estimated delivery time?
  • Etc..
 
You get the picture. Try to imagine yourself in your customers shoes and what they would need to know to buy from you. Then derive tasks from that and use them.
 
Once you have gone through the process once with your current setup, it’s time to analyze and improve based on that feedback and then go again for another round.
 

Image via Dale Ahn Design
 

What Customers Do You Ask To Participate?

The question of who should to the testing is an easy one - your own customers!
 
Like I said earlier, you are a smart marketer and you have set up your list segmentation already.  The only thing left is contacting those segments and asking for help with improving your site - you can offer discounts, free shipping etc to get customers to be more willing to join you.
 
As segments go start with your best customers, since they have bought from you numerous times already they trust you and are more willing to help you out. Be aware though, that you shouldn’t only rely on them - they have used your site extensively so try to include customers from all segments to get a fuller picture.


Additional segments you can test might be:
  • New users
  • Email visitors
  • Social Media visitors
  • Referral visitors
  • High spenders
  • Etc
 
Displaying different messaging to these kinds of visitors can be configured with an optimization tool such as Optimizely.
 
For actually conducting the user test, full service providers like UserTesting.com, YouEye.com, OpenHallway, TryMyUI and others which have made specifically for this task.
 
If you need to make a case before investing in these tools, you can use any screen capture software, and instructing users to follow the think aloud protocol as they perform a set of tasks given to them in an email. Windows 10, for example, has screen capture build right into it, so your users don’t need to install any additional software at all.

 

Using Session Replays And Heatmaps To Watch How Visitors Interact

User testing on it's own can lead to some serious bias however. Because people know they're being watched, it can influence the answers they give.

Session replays are similar to user testing in that it enables you to see customers interacting with your site - where they click, what drives attention, which form fields they hesitate on etc. - without having a test administrator standing over their shoulder. 
 
With the session replay, you're viewing videos of users screens as they use your site - there is no possibility to make them complete tasks or ask questions afterwards.
 
It’s biggest strength and weakness is that it records everything that everyone does - so depending on what you're trying to find, you may need to watch a lot of replays to get what you need.

Let's say you're wondering why more people aren't clicking "Add to Cart" and you watch through some session replays. In the replays for one of your more popular items you see that a significant portion of people are clicking the "size" dropdown, but one of the sizes is out of stock.
 
After which they either 1.) Leave or 2.) try to find another item in a similar size. If they leave, it's an easy assumption that they had no reason to click "Add to Cart" because you just didn't have what they wanted.  
 

 

Using Heatmaps to Find Where Your Visitor's Attention Does And Doesn't Go

Moving on from session replays, heatmaps are the next step to find out how to get more people clicking "Add to Cart".
 
Strictly speaking heatmaps are divided into 2 categories - click-tracking heatmaps (see where the user is clicking and moving with his/her mouse) and eyetracking heatmaps (tracking users eye movement). By far the more popular is the clicktracking variety simply because it’s way more cost effective.
 
Another big difference between them is that click-tracking is used in real-time while eye-tracking requires specialized equipment and is usually done in focus groups and in a lab environment.
Then there is the debate if mouse-tracking has a high or low correlation with eye movement.
 
Meaning that, depending on who you listen, my mouse is either always around the area I’m reading or my mouse is in a random place while I’m reading. There really is no right or wrong answer here, so just use it with caution.
 
As a word of advice, use heatmaps that show actual clicks and disregard everything else.
 


Image via HowerOwl
 
With either tool however, the point is to see where the "hotspots" are on the page, or if the right elements are getting attention at all.
 
It's not uncommon to discover when viewing heatmaps for the first time, that important areas of the page aren't grabbing the visitor's attention, and therefore might as well be invisible. 

 

Click-Tracking Heatmaps

Click-tracking heatmaps enables you to get progressively more data. With user testing realistically you’re getting data from 20 - 25 people, with session replays around 150 - 200 (you don’t really want or need to look through all the thousands of sessions).
 
And finally with heatmaps it combines clicking data from all your store's visitors and overlays  them graphically over your website with easy to understand “hot” and “cold” areas - with the hottest ones getting the most clicks and vice versa.

 

Popular Click-Tracking Tools

As far as tools go, most of the popular ones include both session replay and heatmapping capability along with a host of other features like form analytics and scroll maps.
 
Tools also different on the definition of what a heatmap even is - some include mouse movement (hover) data while others count only clicks.
 
CrazyEgg, for example, has click-maps that show different traffic sources in different colors - great for visually seeing how behaviour differs between traffic sources.
 
On the other hand, it doesn’t include session replays which more advanced tools have. So your best bet is to read up on a couple of tools and their use cases, what they can and can’t do and decide then depending on your needs and budget.
 
When it comes to analyzing, go and read “Analyzing Survey Responses” section in this article to get started. It talks about user surveys, but same principles hold true here.
 
Last two include only heatmaps, no session replay capabilities unfortunately.
 
Image via UXPin

 

Example - Heatmap Of Category Pages

To see heatmapping in action, let’s look at an eyetracking study that Nielsen Norman Group ran on ecommerce category pages from Pottery Barn and Amazon.com:


Image via Nielsen Norman Group
 
In the case of Pottery Barn (left picture) thumbnails of bookcases were studied intensively, while descriptions were mostly left alone. The opposite was true for an Amazon page which featured TVs (right picture) - only 18% was spent on photos, while over 80% was spent on the text.
 
In the case of the TVs, pictures were of no help whatsoever when deciding. Are you really going to choose your TV based on what’s on the display? So because you like football and there’s a picture of a football player on one of the TVs I’m going to buy that one? Of course not.
 
Still, be very careful when making these sweeping generalizations. Just because it works for Amazon doesn’t mean that it will work for you and vice versa.
 
There is no substitute for running tests yourself on your products with your audience. This is just to exemplify that different things work in different product categories and surprising results can be found.

 

Using Exit Surveys And Live Chat To Discover Why Visitors Leave Without Buying

Remember the story at the beginning of the article when I chose another vendor because I wasn’t sure that they provided overnight shipping?
 
If the store owner looked at their data, all they would have seen was that I was looking for sneakers, landed on a product page and then left without clicking "Add to Cart".
 
Fortunately there are ways for marketers to get more context on why I left and thus make changes to make me stay longer on my next visit and possibly buy. I’m talking about exit surveys and live chat.
Exit surveys pop up usually on the right side of the screen just as you’re about to leave the site. They can either provide text based answers where you choose the correct one or a free form field. In the shipping example the exit survey could have looked like something like this:
 

Image via Qualaroo
 
While this wouldn't have persuaded me to buy, it would give me the opportunity to let them know why. But for me as an business owner it gives me an answer to why people are leaving which I can then use to improve my store.
 
Another way to achieve the same goal is to use live chat where customers and potential customers can get answers to their questions and continue shopping with the piece of mind that what they were searching for is either available or not.
 
And that is exactly what your customers are doing - already back in 2012 customers said that they liked live chat because they get their questions answered quickly (79% of responders) and 46% agreed it was the most efficient communication method. We'll be going more in-depth on Live Chat later this week (subscribe to the blog to get notified).
 

Image via Shopify
 
Now I understand that all this feedback and mountains of data can be overwhelming. 
 
User tests, session replays, heatmaps, live chat etc all produces a lot of data and it takes a lot of time to go through it all. But here’s the thing - you don’t need to go through every single piece of data and analyze it like a mad person.
 
The idea is to “triangulate the truth” by watching and learning, and to develop a well-informed hypothesis, which will be the basis of a testing plan focused on getting more people to click the “Add to Cart” button.

 

Use Personalized Content To Tailor Messaging To Specific Traffic Sources


Image via Vizion Interactive
 
It’s no secret that traffic from different sources converts at different levels.
 
You can’t reasonably expect that traffic coming from your newsletter and traffic coming from organic Google search will convert at the same level. That’s never going to happen.
 
Different traffic sources want different things and their behavior and clicking patterns are different. People that know you (like your newsletter subs) have bought from you and they trust you already, while people coming from other sources may have never heard of you and so you must work harder on earning their trust.
 
One of the easiest things you can to do earn great trust right away is to make sure the messages you're promoting outwards on your social channels, ads and the like match what is happening on your actual pages.
 
Take a look here at this Facebook ad:
 

Image via Unbounce
 
And now compare this with the messages on their landing page:
 
Image via UnBounce
 
It’s a perfect match!

They are using the same words and call to actions (not to mention graphics) on both the ad and the actual landing page. That’s the way all clickable ads should be done.

 

Personalization

Getting messages to match on ads and their respective landing pages is relatively easy but what if we could personalize pages for all the different traffic sources you are likely to encounter?
Now that would be awesome, and luckily for you it’s doable.
 
We already have all this data that we gathered through Google Analytics, user testing, watching session replays and exit surveys and live chat and heatmaps and more.
 
So why not put this into good use and instead of simply visually seeing how different sources interact differently with our pages but also change the pages depending on their browsing behaviour?
 
This is where personalization and behavioural targeting software comes into play. There are a multitude of different companies that offers these services starting with your favourite A/B testing software like VWO or Optimizely and a bunch of companies like Personyze, Monoloop, Monetate and more that offer these services.
 
Essentially what they offer is an interface that allows you to choose your variables and then what kind of content they should be greeted with.
 
Image via VWO
 
You can segment by traffic source, previous purchases, their location and more. This is where all the research that you have done before comes in handy - you are creating different experiences for different customers based on what works best for them.
 
This is the holy grail of ecommerce - customer sees only the things that interest them in a way that is personally unique to them.

 

Conclusion

"Add to Cart" - these 3 simple words are the most important words in ecommerce, although you might be mistaken seeing as I have only mention the actual button once or twice throughout this article.
 
It is unquestionably a very important piece of the ecommerce puzzle.
 
You should most definitely think about things like placement, contrast, size and words on that button, microcopy surrounding it, guarantees, shipping info and more.
 
All these small things play a huge and important role in your success. Just remember,it doesn’t live in a vacuum and to be truly successful you need to look at the whole picture and work on all the different parts of the puzzle.
 
It’s not going to be quick, it will take time and hard work but I promise you it will pay off in the end.
 
 
To view the original article please visit: Shopify
 
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Use Your Website to Boost Brick and Mortar Visits

SocialMonsters1
 

Is your business’ website doing more than giving customers your location, hours of operation and phone number? Is your brick-and-mortar retail site encouraging customers to check out your website? Cross-marketing your physical and online spaces increases awareness, engagement and revenue for your business. When looking to boost your marketing efforts, here are a few points to consider:

Ensure They Boost Each Other

Marketing across channels is an excellent way to reach new customers and encourage existing ones to return. Although a website can’t deliver the highly-personalized services of a skilled salesperson, it can serve as a valuable bridge to attract customers’ attention. Make sure your website delivers the information your customers need about the products and brands you sell. Include high-quality photographs that encourage them to visit your store in person for a closer look. Boost your website by encouraging retail store customers to sign up for emails that announce sales, pre-orders and other specials.

 

Help Customers Discover Your Website

Most shoppers operate in three distinct phases, according to Boutique Window. These are:
  1. Discovery: This phase gives customers who aren’t in your geographic area the chance to find you through local online searching. You can expedite this phase by adding your website to local search engine directories so local customers can find your retail space. Make sure your website content includes geographic and product keywords that customers are likely to use in their searches.
  2. Connection: The second phase lets customers see if your store provides the products or services they need without making an actual trip to the store. Develop website content that informs and educates your customers about specific products. Demonstrating knowledge and expertise helps persuade them you’re a credible and trustworthy business.
  3. Sales: The final phase can happen online or in your store.

 

Impress With Your Landing Page

Most online searches take the customer directly to the website landing page. Like your store, it must convey a positive first impression to encourage visitors to stay and browse. Your site also needs to make your customers feel safe and secure, not like they’re being spammed. Show perks of shopping online, such as free shipping or promotion codes. Also display security badges that testify to your site’s security. A good site will show that its site is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, approved by Norton Secured and a verified merchant from Authorize.Net.

 

Let Them Research Online and Buy in the Store

Many customers invest more time researching expensive products online before purchasing them from a physical location, according to ShoppinPal. This gives businesses with both online and in-person stores an advantage to target customers. An infographic on MineWhat cites research from RetailingToday that says 60 percent of consumers begin product research through a search engine and visit at least three online stores before deciding where to make the purchase.

Although nothing can replace a personalized, in-store experience, a well-designed website can be a valuable sales tool that encourages customers to visit your store to forge that relationship. For example, Spencers TV & Appliance embeds links on its website that users can click on to call and check on specific products, prices and availability. It’s easy to visualize a good salesperson using this opportunity to bring a potential customer into your store.

Photo Credit: Provided by Social Monsters with permission to use. 

To view the original article please visit: Retail Minded

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Holographic Window Display That Never Sleeps

Ido Lechner                
6 august 2015

The Holographic Window Display That Never Sleeps

 
Holographic displays have evolved since their Tupac debut; as Paul Smiths shows, now retailers are using them too.
                   
A window display concept developed by Carl Bresnahan aims to engage and attract potential customers through some technological trickery. The interactive holographic display, titled The Window that Never Sleeps, can be operated even after hours when the store—in this case, a conceptual Paul Smith facade—is closed, embedding a standout image in the minds of shoppers and prompting them to return when the store reopens.

A recently released promotional video by Bresnahan demonstrates the capabilities of the leveraged holographic display of the storefront to attract customers by presenting multiple different colored animated yet uninhabited suits performing human-like actions such as playing with a yo-yo or ‘making it rain.’



An interactive holographic shop window display concept for Paul Smith on Floral Street, Covent Garden, London, Bresnahan’s concept aims to engage and attract potential customers in one of the busiest places in London out of hours. This concept was a degree project and only mocked up in the Floral St window, therefore, it is not currently on display.

The three suits—one a blueish purple, one red and one near-burgundy—are just three of the many available offerings within the store, and watching them move offers a nearly 360 degree visualization of the suits themselves and their fitting.

 
 photo LankyFeistyAmericancurl_zpsfv4dhes0.gif
 
 
Far ahead of its time, Bresnahan’s holographic window display is sure to catch the attention of any and all passerby, with a layer of interactivity eliciting an enchanted response that sets the store apart from any others nearby.

Since there’s a significant lack of information available on the Internet regarding the display, why not pay a visit to London and watch a person-less suit throw holographic bills in the air?
For more information regarding holographic window displays please email: Carlbresnahan@gmail.com. The Window that Never Sleeps

To view the original article please visit: PSFK
 
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