By Author admin

The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Product Recommendations

Give your customers exactly what they want and at the time they’re most engaged using product recommendations.

What Are Product Recommendations?

Product recommendation algorithms present online shoppers with a personalised selection of the most relevant items for them in real time. They have become incredibly popular on eCommerce websites and email campaigns, most notably on Amazon which has integrated recommendations so well across their website that an estimated 35% of all sales are driven by their recommendation engine.

eCommerce personalisation tools like our partner Barilliance provide informed product recommendations based on both individual and aggregate browsing behaviour and purchase history. These tools help to shape unique experiences across the buying process for each of your customers, providing undeniable benefits.

Read on and find out how product recommendations can improve your website’s user experience and ultimately boost your profits.

How Will Product Recommendations Benefit My Business?


Skyrockets Conversion Rate

First thing’s first, we know that your bottom line is the most important to you and the effect of product recommendations on conversion rates is nothing to be sniffed at. In fact, Barilliance has found that customers who click on product recommendations have a conversion rate 5.5 times higher than those who have not.

By showing a customer the right content at the right time, you can reach them at the moment they’re most open to making a purchase.

This rate is so high because it optimises product discovery where customers are exposed to items deeper in your product line that suit their tastes that they would otherwise not have found by themselves.

While 20% of products may account for 80% of your sales, this type of personalisation enables you to boost the ROI on long-tail items in your product line that may currently have a low turnover rate.

Boosts Loyalty and Repeat Purchases

Crafting this personalised experience for shoppers where they feel valued and seen by your site is also instrumental in building loyalty and repeat purchases.

By showing customers what they want to see and saving them the effort of performing multiple searches, you are creating a good user experience and improving customer satisfaction for both new and returning visitors alike. Data from Salesforce has proven that shoppers who clicked a recommendation were nearly twice as likely to return to a website. Over the long-term, this has the effect of boosting the holy grail of customer lifetime value.

Increases Average Order Value and Average Number of Items per Order

Recommendation engines also have the effect of increasing your average order value by up to 50% as well as raising the average number of items per order.

This happens as a result of creating product bundles, showing highly relevant products when a customer is in the mood to buy, triggering impulse purchases and more that we will cover below.

eCommerce Product Recommendations - Product Bundles

Drives Traffic

Looking for ways to make your campaigns stand out? Try adding some dynamic product recommendations into your emails.

Email marketing is renowned as the channel which generates the most ROI for a site and a large part of that is because they provide personalised content directly to a customer.

With Barilliance, you can integrate their product recommendation blocks directly into your existing templates no matter which email provider you use.

By enticing customers with such relevant messaging, you can boost your email clickthrough rates by 35%, driving more and more traffic to your website.

How and Where To Effectively Implement Product Recommendations

Phew! Those are some enticing benefits.

So how can you capitalise on the data that your customers are giving you?

When implemented correctly, product recommendations work nearly everywhere an eCommerce site, for example on the home page, category pages, product pages, cart page, 404 pages and more, and is also very successful when used in email campaigns.

Below we have summarised the best product recommendation blocks to use and where to place them, covering those that use personalised data, aggregated data and product data.

In all these strategies, you can customise the underlying rules of the recommendation engine to include and exclude specific products and categories from the recommendations based on your individual company needs.

Personalised Data

Customers want to feel seen and understood when shopping on your website, which is why capturing individual data and using that to provide recommendations that are unique to them is always the best way to go.

Recommended For You

With the clickthrough rate of personalised ‘Top Sellers’ recommendations 200% higher than recommendations that aren’t personalised, it’s easy to see just how effective these are.

Recommendation engines like Barilliance take into account the browsing patterns in the current session to determine a customer’s intent and combine this with their historical habits and purchase history.

For example, if a customer sorts a category by low to high price, the algorithm can infer that they are price sensitive and recommend them cheaper products or those that are on sale, or if they have bought medium sized clothing in the past, they will only be shown products that have stock available in that size.

This is also combined with data from other visitors who have made similar choices in order to provide the best recommendations.

As such, personalised recommendations work anywhere on your website, even on 404 pages which encourages a customer to continue browsing instead of leaving your site altogether. While a mix of the most relevant products for an individual could be shown on the homepage, for category pages, consider segmenting the recommended products so they match the category the visitor is currently browsing.

Even after a purchase has been made, you should still be showing personalised recommendations. On the checkout success page, thank the customer for their order while suggesting even more products that they may be interested in to encourage repeat sales.

Personalised product recommendations also work really well in email campaigns. Embed a personalisation block into the template of your regular newsletters, or even better, recommend more relevant products in the last email of your abandoned cart series when it is clear that the customer is no longer interested in the product they left behind.

As Barilliance dynamically generates the recommended products at the time the email is opened, this means they are always up to date with the data you have on that visitor.

eCommerce Product Recommendations - Recommended For You

Recently Viewed

Have you ever had a product catch your eye as you’re browsing through a store but when you finally make up your mind to buy it, you’re unable to find it again?

If a customer can’t find a product, they can’t buy it. It’s as simple as that.

Help your customers avoid this problem by providing them with access to their browsing history.

This is an especially suitable feature for stores where customers regularly purchase the same items, like in supermarkets.

Aggregated Data

Data compiled from the actions of previous visitors to your site highlights trends and relationships that humans may overlook.

Much like how customers trust reviews from their peers rather than messages from the company itself, these recommendations indicate the endorsement of a product by other shoppers and make a compelling argument for someone to also purchase them.

Best Sellers & Popular Products

Highlighting your best sellers and most popular products on your homepage is a highly effective tactic for giving new visitors to your site a better understanding of your product offerings.

It also helps to capture the interest of those who are just browsing and aren’t looking for anything specific as it lends social proof to certain items and makes a customer feel confident about purchasing it.

When you haven’t gathered enough data on a particular customer to show them personalised products, these types of recommendations also work as a good fall back option both on your website and in emails.

Optimise this feature by segmenting the items displayed to be more specific to the category a visitor is currently browsing.

“People Who Liked This Also Liked” & “Frequently Bought Together”

Through combining information from a large number of visitors about which products are viewed or purchased in the same session, recommendation engines can be used to automatically bundle products together.

Algorithms can predict product preferences in a way that you cannot, and you can use this to recommend relevant items to visitors even if you don’t have personal data about their tastes.

Much like how displaying ‘best sellers’ is effective, customers perceive these products to be approved by other shoppers similar to them, and they are influenced to view more and more items on your website.

The result is that your average order value receives a boost as customers are easily made aware of items that they might want or need without them having to do additional research.

This type of recommendation is especially effective when shown on the cart page as it reaches the customer when they have committed to a purchase and triggers further impulse buying.

eCommerce Product Recommendations - Frequently Bought Together

Product Data

For those who want more control over what products are recommended to a potential customer, tools like Barilliance allow you to manually select and filter the products shown.

Related Products

Much like how the “Frequently Bought Together” strategy makes use of automatically created product bundles that encourage customers to spend more on each order, you can also manually control which related products are displayed on product pages.

If a customer is still researching and deciding between products, promoting alternatives and substitutes encourages them to keep browsing on your site instead of abandoning you for a competitor’s site to find items that better meet their criteria.

You can also use this opportunity to upsell similar products that have more features and are sold at a higher price point.

By showing products that are related on the features and functions level, you improve the user experience as visitors who have an aim in mind don’t have to take a step back and begin their search from the category page again, they can flow from product to product until they find the right one.

Compatible Accessories

Using recommendation engines to cross-sell on the cart page can also increase your average order value and number of items bought per order. This involves matching your product range with their corresponding accessories, for example a dress with coordinating shoes and a bag, so customers can shop a whole outfit in one go.

Keep in mind that this may require some manual effort to set up, especially for electronics and the like where you must ensure that the add-ons you’re suggesting are actually compatible. You don’t want to recommend a bluetooth mouse that doesn’t actually work with the tablet the customer is looking to buy.

This type of recommendation is also very effective to use in an automated follow up email that you send after a customer has made a purchase. For example, 6 months after a customer has purchased a printer from you, check in with them and see if they need to purchase more of the related toner.

Get Started Now

The earlier you set up product recommendations on your site, the earlier the algorithm can start gathering data to provide more accurate suggestions.

Not sure which of the strategies are best for your business? Contact us today and we will analyse your site and devise the best plan for you.

acidgreen is an award winning eCommerce agency specialising in Magento, Shopify Plus and digital marketing with over 15 years of  industry experience. Our certified developers and digital marketers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing Magento and Shopify Plus websites that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. Be sure to follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitteror give us a call to learn more about our services.

By Author admin

Email Marketing Best Practices in 2018: What You’re Doing Wrong (and How To Fix It)

The DMA Marketer Email Tracker 2018 report uncovered some crucial areas that marketers need to improve in if they want their email campaigns to succeed.

As Dotmailer partners and email marketing experts, we’ve summarised the key takeaways of what marketers are doing wrong and provided solutions for how to fix these issues, so that you can ensure that you’re up to date with email marketing best practices in 2018.

Conduct Thorough Testing

What if I told you that there was an easy way to increase your deliverability and boost opens and clicks…but many businesses out there aren’t utilising it properly, if at all?

Really.

As marketers, but more importantly as smart business people, we know that all our decisions have to be informed by data. So why do half of organisations (47%) only test a quarter of the emails they send out?

Conducting thorough tests on your campaigns before they’re sent is our top tip for email marketing best practices in 2018, because right now almost a fifth of respondents (19%) believe that their company has no competence in email testing. And in addition, 15% of respondents reported that their businesses do not conduct email testing at all, an increase of 8% compared to the previous year.

If you’re not testing your emails they’re not optimised. You wouldn’t launch an advertisement without market testing it first so why would you hit send before thoroughly checking a campaign?

Testing should be an integral part of the email marketing process that helps you weed out strategies that don’t work, so you can avoid making the same mistakes over and over.

How do I get started with email testing?

Email testing involves a wide spectrum of activities both technical and creative, but don’t worry, these processes are straightforward to carry out and many can even be automated if you’re using email marketing platforms like Dotmailer.

These are the tests you should always carry out before you send:

Inbox and Spam Filter Tests

Open your most recent email campaign on your phone, and then in the browser on your laptop. It’s a completely different experience isn’t it?

Now think of all the different combinations of devices and email clients that your subscribers are using. The Gmail app on an Android, Outlook 2011 on a Mac, Yahoo! Mail on an iPad…

Just because a campaign renders well on your preferred email client doesn’t mean it will appear the same for all of your customers. If you want the experience to be seamless for everyone, a cursory glance at preview mode isn’t going to be good enough.

Avoid your messaging not getting across due to images not loading or text getting cut off by conducting inbox tests.

Dotmailer has Litmus tests built-in so you can see a screenshot of how your campaign appears on all major email clients before you send it out.

Litmus also provides a spam filter test which checks your campaign for red flags like a low text-to-image ratio and an overuse of trigger words so you can make the necessary adjustments and prevent the campaign you’ve worked tirelessly on from going straight to junk.

Email Marketing Best Practices 2018 - Inbox Testing
An example of inbox tests.

Split Tests

Split testing isn’t as technical or challenging as you may think it is. Platforms like Dotmailer and MailChimp make it easy for you to compare two or more versions of a campaign and determine which is the best for achieving your goals. This is an email marketing best practice as you can ensure the campaign you send out is the most optimised, and also capture data about what works and what doesn’t that you can use for future decision-making.

So what types of things can you split test?

Nearly everything in a campaign can be split tested, whether you’re optimising for opens by testing the effectiveness of a subject line, friendly from name, from address and preheader text, or trying to boost clicks by editing the content within a campaign like the layout, images and text.

And the best part is that this process is easily automated!

Simply configure the split test to send out the different versions of your campaign to a sample percentage of your subscriber list, wait a set amount of time and the version that best performed based on the metric you specified will automatically be sent to the remaining contacts.

Quality Assurance

So you’ve finally got that coveted clickthrough but wait… a 404?

It may seem like obvious advice but sometimes a final review will catch simple errors, like typos, that can make or break your campaign.

With Dotmailer, you don’t have to manually test each link as they provide the status of all included links on the confirmation page before the email is sent. From this screen you can ensure that your contacts will be directed to the right landing pages, and make edits as necessary. You also want to make sure that all the links are being tracked by Google Analytics for future reporting.

In accordance with email marketing best practices, other elements you should QA test are whether your pictures load. Corporate email filters are notorious for blocking images so especially if you’re a B2B business, you must confirm that you have alt text set in case your artwork does not appear.

Also remember to perform some test sends to check your dynamic content. You don’t want merge tags to show, and you need default text in place so that if you haven’t captured a contact’s information for that field, it isn’t left blank.

Dear @[email protected],     x

Dear ,                 x

Dear Customer,         

Combine Branded Content and Loyalty Scheme Content

The DMA Marketer Email Tracker 2018 report uncovered a major disparity between the content that marketers believe will help them achieve their campaign objectives, and the content that consumers actually like to receive.

While 36% of marketers uphold that content created by the brand such as videos, articles and magazines are important for accomplishing business goals, from a consumer perspective, only 4% of recipients enjoy these.

Instead, there is significant potential for B2C businesses to craft content around loyalty programs and related rewards. Currently only 15% of marketers find this content useful, compared to nearly a third of consumers (30%) expressing demand for it.

An email marketing best practice that we suggest is combining branded content such as new product updates, user guides and product reviews with loyalty reward campaigns. You can integrate loyalty programs like Smile.io (formerly Sweet Tooth Rewards) with Dotmailer, and then create segments and automated programs based on the rewards points consumers have earned.

For example:

  • Issue a monthly rewards statement to let customers know how many points they have and how they can redeem them. Use this campaign to promote new products that you have available.
  • Set up triggered emails that remind customers of vouchers and points that have yet to be redeemed and are about to expire to create a sense of urgency. Supplement these campaigns with favourable reviews for the products you want to push.
  • Announce exclusive deals and sales to your VIP customers and provide them with user guides detailing the benefits of the new products that they could be the first to own.

Boost Sign Ups With Competitions

Just like how leading a horse to water doesn’t guarantee that it will drink, you can’t just leave a sign-up bar on your site and hope visitors will take the initiative to subscribe themselves to your newsletters – you have to offer them solid incentives.

If you’re stuck wondering how to bring in new leads through this channel, you’re not alone. In fact, 45% of respondents saw their mailable list size stay the same or even decrease over the last 12 months.

So what can you do when previous email marketing best practices for increasing sign ups like providing free gifts or a small welcome discount no longer stand out enough to significantly improve your subscriber growth?

Similarly to how consumers reported that they liked receiving loyalty program reward content, this is also something that they would happily sign up for more of. Only 14% of surveyed marketers believed this was an effective method of gaining more subscribers, however the 46% of consumers who view this as an incentive to sign up highlight loyalty schemes as a promising method of boosting sign ups.

Another major opportunity for growing a subscriber list exists in the use of competitions where 30% of consumers reported that they enjoyed such content, but only 16% of marketers found it to be effective. This demonstrates a need for improvement in the way these competitions are run.

When designing a competition with the goal of increasing subscribers, one of the most important considerations is to offer a prize that is relevant to your niche so that you attract subscribers who will actually remain interested in your content once the competition ends. Sure millions would love to win the latest Apple product but your target market are the ones who would jump at the chance to win a ticket to the latest industry event.

Further, make sure that all recipients will derive some benefit from the email in which you announce the winner. Promote content that has been popular in the past and highlight the best that your website has to offer in order to retain all these new subscribers in the long run.

Email Marketing Best Practices - Boost Sign Ups with Competitions
Campaign Monitor has great tips for building your email list using contests.

Prevent Unsubscribes Using Preference Centres

In a similar vein, how can you hold onto the subscribers that you’ve worked so hard to gain?

A great way to discourage someone from unsubscribing completely is the use of a preference centre. These give subscribers the ability to determine the content they receive from you and how often they receive it,  which not only helps you retain contacts, but also allows you to target them more accurately.

Early adopters of email marketing best practices have set the benchmark as now 17% of consumers expect to be directed to a preference centre and 9% to a survey when they unsubscribe. However only 7% and 2% of businesses, respectively, provide these measures. When your unsubscribe button immediately cuts off all future contact you may have with a subscriber, you have foregone the opportunity to ask them why they no longer wished to receive your messaging.

The main types of preference centres are frequency-based and content-based, or a combination of the two.

With frequency-based preference centres, subscribers can opt-out of receiving your campaigns for a set time period, or receive less emails from you ongoing. With 77% of email marketers already believing that there should be general policies that govern how regularly they can contact a customer, passing the control to individuals to set the standard for this frequency is an effective way of keeping your customers happy.

Perhaps the most useful for marketers are content-based preference centres where subscribers can tailor the campaigns they receive by selecting their interests from a pre-determined list of topics. Essentially, they segment themselves for you and help you to deliver targeted campaigns that perform better.

Email Marketing Best Practices 2018 - Preference Centres

The preference centre is also a great avenue to promote your social media accounts as there are customers who may prefer to receive messaging via these channels instead.

Let’s do it!

With these strategies in place, you can reduce unsubscribes, improve the relevancy of your content, and overall achieve your email marketing objectives. Contact us today to implement these email marketing best practices in 2018!

acidgreen is an award winning eCommerce agency specialising in Magento, Shopify Plus and digital marketing with over 15 years of  industry experience. Our certified developers and digital marketers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing Magento and Shopify Plus websites that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. Be sure to follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitteror give us a call to learn more about our services.

By Author admin

How Progressive Web Apps and Magento Commerce Are Changing Mobile Commerce

As always Magento Commerce is paving the way, and with the help of progressive web apps, they are delivering a next-level mobile customer experience. Magento understands the e-commerce business like no one else, and to make sure you’re ahead of the curve they’ve already started developing to bring new capabilities for 2018.

Here is everything you need to know about progressive web apps and how they can help your e-commerce store.

Progressive Web Apps

What are Progressive Web Apps?

With the wide range of devices we all use on a day to day basis, chances are you’re well versed in responsive web pages. But progressive web apps (PWAs) take it a step further. Even if you’re not familiar with the name, I’m almost certain you’ve come in contact with a few PWAs.

PWAs are similar to responsive websites where content naturally fits the size of the screen it’s displaying on, but the range of capabilities and advantages of using a PWA instead of a responsive website are what’s causing such a stir.

Every now and then you come across a website or an e-commerce store on your phone or tablet that makes you stop and think, am I still in the browser? This is a progressive web app. PWAs are websites that look and behave as seamlessly as apps but runs through your browser.

This is fast becoming the new standard for building a modern UX. Magento Commerce, with the help of progressive web app technology, is creating a responsive, accessible and well-polished shopping experience for all consumers by integrating the latest innovations and merging the accessibility of the web.

So what’s the difference between a PWA and a responsive website?

You’ve probably realised by now that PWAs are more than JUST websites, but what are the main differences and how can they actually help your e-commerce store? Well, there are a few key features that progressive web apps are capable of, that a regular website just isn’t cut out to do.

These features are what’s making them so popular among e-commerce stores and the online developing community alike, and why PWAs are the all-important key to unlocking your real potential.

Progressive Web Apps

They’re not called progressive web apps for no reason, they actually function and run with many of the same features we have come to expect from a regular native smartphone app.

Being an app, PWAs give you the ability to send push notifications to your customers. This gives you a higher level of engagement and eventually re-engagement with the customer.

In an e-commerce sense, this is perfect because customers want you to know about them and personalise their shopping experience to them. Features like Push notifications allow your communication to be more contextual and personalised. Ensuring you are building brand loyalty and getting those elusive repeat sales.  

This is more than just Magento magic though; the ability to access your content offline is super important for reliability. Anyone running an e-commerce store will tell you that having a reliable website that your customers can always access is absolutely vital to your success.

Why replace responsive websites with PWAs & What are the advantages for Magento merchants?

Like most web development, progressive web apps aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for all websites. They are ideal, however, for any site that updates regularly or requires real-time data to display. This fits e-commerce to a T!

We touched on it briefly before, but there’s a wide variety of ways PWAs can improve the online shopper’s experience like no regular website can.

Progressive web apps are currently compatible with most mobile browsers, which is excellent for Magento stores as it allows widespread access to your content. So, If you have any recent smartphone or device chances are you’re ready to access the world of PWAs.

Many browsers already recognise the advantages of having PWAs on your device and provide simple options to add the site to your homepage. The app then sits with a user’s native apps, allowing for easier access to your content at any time.

Progressive Web Apps

Yes, anytime! PWA’s can load while offline or with low connectivity which is a real benefit. I won’t go into the technical details on how this works but its thanks to a magical piece of script known as service workers.

This means they’re ready whenever your customers are prepared to shop. According to KPMG, 52% of online shoppers said that offline channels are important for their brand awareness and to create trigger moments.  

When the PWA is accessed from the device’s home screen, the app can load instantly. This always-open access allows you to create a far better experience than shoppers can receive from brick and mortar stores. At a time when everyone wants everything 5 minutes ago, this feature is excellent for your UX.

The ability to add your PWA to a device without the need for an app store improves the likelihood that those all-important return customers will actually download. After all, the web reaches three times more people than apps currently do.

It’s clear that progressive web apps are more accessible and perform better than traditional websites but what about the other features customers want like one step checkouts?

PWAs offer an even more seamless checkout process and expand upon the tenets that Magento has built into their OneStepCheckout process. For any mobile e-commerce, an easy to navigate checkout is a necessity. Not only is this great for your conversion rates and sales it can do wonders for your UX.

Progressive Web Apps

The reliable performance and faster accessibility will drive traffic to Magento e-commerce sites utilising progressive web apps. Ultimately resulting in higher conversions and increased revenue.

Websites are already being rewarded for their switch to PWAs. In the case of Flipkart, they saw their mobile conversions increase by around 70%. For any current Magento store looking to boost their mobile conversions, a PWA could be a simple solution.

And just like that progressive web apps can integrate the best features of websites and mobile applications to build a second-to-none customer experience.

As Magento rolls out this breakthrough in web development to the entire Magento Commerce community this year, it may be worthwhile to consider utilising these features. When you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, contact us to make sure you don’t get left behind.

acidgreen is an award winning e-commerce agency specialising in Magento, Shopify Plus and digital marketing with over 15 years of industry experience. Our certified developers and digital marketers are highly qualified to create aesthetically pleasing Magento and Shopify Plus websites that generate the highest amount of conversions and provide the best ROI. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or give us a call to learn more about our services.