By Author Eloise Edstein

Australian Retailers Must Utilise Cross-Border Ecommerce Now

What is cross-border ecommerce?

 

cross-border ecommerce

Cross-border ecommerce defines online international trade. It involves the purchase of products via an online merchant outside of the consumers national borders i.e. the buyer and seller are not located in the same country and use different currencies (and perhaps different languages).

The norties have given rise to cross-border ecommerce for both B2C and B2B providers, as it offers an immense opportunity for merchants and brands to seamlessly grow their online customer space and effectively, increase online sales.

However, many merchants all too quickly render cross-border ecommerce too complex due to the perceived challenges that could incur for both the brand and the consumer. Especially for Australian companies; our distance from the majority of the first world can seem an intimidating feat to overcome.

The biggest challenge seems to be the fear of maintaining a frictionless and localised customer experience for the consumer, whilst simultaneously providing scalability, control and adaptability for the merchant.  

The general consumer poses the question:

“How can I trust a brand priced in a foreign currency with opaque delivery services? What if it’s not what I want? What is the risk? What taxes will be levie?”

The answer:

If you’re currently exercising your business as a successful domestic site that goes above standardized requirements, opening the doors to international borders could create a huge opportunity for your brand/business to grow your customer base, and incrementally increase sales. It’ll also simultaneously strengthen the overall merit of your brand.

How Can You Get Involved In Cross-Border Ecommerce?

Platforms like Borderfree (established 1999) provide hundreds of online retailers the opportunity to ship more than 200+ countries. Their platform allows shoppers to checkout in the shoppers local currency, take advantage of platform-exclusive offers, make multi-merchant orders and rely on trustworthy, international shipping regardless of where they happen to be placed in the world.

In late 2016, Pitney Bowes launched borderfree.com in Australia, and now leading home-grown brands such as Tony Bianco, R.M. Williams and Adore Beauty are taking full advantage of the platforms reach and its assurance for international growth.

cross-border ecommerce

 

According to McKinsey and Company, in 2016 the value of cross-border ecommerce amounted to over $50 billion AUD. Moreover, Australia was estimated to be the fourth most popular source of products, just behind the US, Japan and Korea.

Australian retailers would be silly to disregard the potential opportunity. 

How Do Retailers Tap Into Huge International Markets?

According to Nielsen, in 2018 cross-border ecommerce is set to grow to US$307 billion across six core markets: US, UK, Germany, Brazil, China and Australia.

Australian merchants tapping into the Chinese market alone, will immediately afford access to over 300 million potential shoppers – those same shoppers who happened to spend over US$500 billion entirely online in 2015. As Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba has stated,

“In other countries, ecommerce is a way to shop. In China, it’s a lifestyle”.

Moreover, it’s been reported by Startrack that 38% of Japanese consumers purchase goods overseas. With our (reasonably) close proximity to the asian market, this is an extremely exciting statistic for Australian merchants. One that is surely hard to brush off…particularly for retailers selling cosmetics, premium wine and vitamins/supplements (Startrack reports these as the most popular items Japanese shoppers tend to buy from Australian retailers).

Additionally, cross-border ecommerce for Australian merchants allows for many quick-wins with countries where English is their first language. Excluding the obvious US & UK, we can’t forget countries such as Canada, where cross-border orders account for 75% of the country’s entire ecommerce market. Other tempting markets include the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia where English is fairly proficient across the board – enough so that shoppers will not be put-off by English-based websites.  

How Can You Prevail In Cross-Border Ecommerce?

If you are going to go-ahead with cross-border ecommerce, it’s important to note there are a few things on your ecommerce website that will need to be enhanced and customised for cross-border success. This all comes down to knowing who your international shoppers are and how, why and what they shop for i.e. What country are they buying from? Which timezone are they located in? What season is it where they are? This is particularly important for clothing brands, as Australians typically follow a different climate pattern to the rest of the world. It’s also important to research your international competition and point out exactly what makes them successful.

Customising your online store to target specific regional needs (that are proven traffic-sources for your brand) will speedily increase the likelihood of converting your cross-border shoppers.

How Can Small Businesses Lead Cross-Border eCommerce?

“Local retailers have a huge opportunity to take advantage of cross-border shopping. The first step is to ensure your technology is aligned” – John Banfield, CEO of BPAY. 

As The Australian points out, cross-border ecommerce is not just limited to the larger, untouchable retailers. Business scalability has never been more painless. In fact, the flexibility and adaptability that all small businesses require in order to survive give them a landslide advantage over larger, less-adaptable corporations.

The Australian also reported that in 2016, the number of Australian trade businesses increased (for the third year in a row) by 2.4%. This can be put down to the extreme growth of small businesses. The growth of small businesses can then be put down to the billions of consumers all over the world making online shopping their number one location for consumer goods.

cross-border ecommerce

Borderfree says, cross-border ecommerce “should be just as easy to buy fine tailored tweed from the U.K as it is to shop at your local corner store in Australia.”

So, rather than sitting back and waiting for the rest of the country to do it before you do, stop procrastinating and find out how your online store can get involved in the cross-border conversation.

Here at acidgreen, we’re more than happy to help you accomplish those goals. As a full-service digital agency (Magento and Shopify Plus Partners), we have over fifteen years ecommerce experience helping our diverse range of clients achieve ultimate online success. Contact us today and find out how your company can confidently reach beyond the Pacific.

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.

By Author admin

Shopify, Responsive Images and Why They’re Vital To Ecommerce

You’ve heard it before, a picture is worth a thousand words.

When it comes to designing your website and your online experience, pictures can help you do exactly that; to express yourself without the need of so many *thousand* words.

In 2018, we’re continuing to see an increase in rich content on SEO-conscious websites. However, surprisingly, there are still a lot of ecommerce businesses who choose to compromise on site design in order to increase loadability.

responsive images

I can tell you now, images are just as essential to a website page as any other element. Including loadability.

Now so, more than ever before, it’s become more important to ensure your page and the elements on it look just as good on a customer’s small handheld device as it does on a desktop. This means thinking about how your images translate to mobile web browsers.

We’ve all experienced visiting an ecommerce store on our mobile, only to find the layout, pictures or information just don’t fit right, making the page impossible to navigate.

We all remember these experiences well, and not fondly. Now think… did you purchase anything on that site? Is your answer no?

Neither did anyone else.

When Akamai asked consumers about the last time they abandoned an online shopping cart, 33% of online shoppers reported it was because the page took too long to load; this is the third most common reason shoppers will abandon carts on ecommerce stores.

Keeping this in mind, there has never been a better time to consider using responsive images to help enhance your ecommerce store and improve your overall user experience.

What Are Responsive Images?

Responsive images and responsive web design are exactly as they sound. Elements that respond and fit naturally to the device your customers are viewing your site on. Whether it’s mobile, desktop or tablet.

Responsive images are natively supported by modern browsers using srcset. Currently 90.83% of all browsers in Australia and 87.74% Globally support srcset capabilities. This is a perfect and easy way to ensure all your carefully thought out content can be accessed by any user, whatever the device, at any time.

responsive images

The demand and development of responsive images is largely due to the increase in internet accessibility, through the help of smartphones and the progressively rich content of websites.. Responsive images means there is no need for separate HTML for your mobile and desktop websites i.e. the same site that works on your customer’s desktop is the same on that works on their mobile phone.

Designing responsive content also ensures as technology progresses and screen sizes change, your content is able to adapt and stay relevant. This is an integral factor for any front end development; gone are the days of single device web browsing.

A 2016 Oztam-Nielsen study found that Australian households had on average 6.4 internet connect devices. This magnifies how important it is that your content is compatible.

As the state of technology is constantly evolving and changing, you need to ensure your website is able to keep up with each and every change.

How Responsive Images Can Improve UX

The introduction of responsive images means you are not only improving the look of your pages on smaller devices, you are also able to reduce the time customers wait for pages to load as they browse your site; The smaller the screen, the less content the browser needs to load – reducing load times is that simple.

This may not seem like such a big deal, but from a customer’s perspective, load speeds and wait times are one of the main concerns expressed by online shoppers and online users alike. Even Google saw a 20% decrease in traffic as a result of 1 second increases to page load times… If the load speed of web pages is important enough for Google to uphold, it should be a priority for you, too.

Responsive images are a breakthrough in front end development as they allow websites to improve their user experience without compromising the usability or overall layout of the website itself.

The real win for front-end development in terms of responsive images comes from the ability to maintain your images across all platforms. This is an especially important component of multi-device user experience as the site your customers are able to access on their desktop is the same website your customers are able to access on their mobile devices or tablets.

responsive images

Websites that translate across all platforms can help build brand credibility and trust in the customers mind, which can ultimately lead to a higher number of conversions.

Why Responsive Images Are Vital to Ecommerce

We briefly touched on this before, but responsive images and web design are just as important to the overall layout of your page as the actual content. After all, what’s the point of investing hours designing a knockout page if it can’t be viewed on all your customers devices.

There are around 19.4 million smartphone users in Australia at the moment and these numbers are only growing. With so many Australians spending a large amount of time accessing the internet from their smartphones, you can bet they’re also doing their online shopping from the same devices. According to Criteo, in 2016, 48% of all Ecommerce transactions in Australia were completed on a smartphone. This gives us an indication that customers are replacing their ecommerce transactions on their desktops with more portable devices like their smartphones.

Regardless of how your customers are viewing your content, research overwhelmingly shows us they want to browse a site that loads promptly. This can be a challenge when images are a key component of your online store. Slow load times also resulted in a huge 75% of customers saying they would never visit a site again if it took too long to load. For e-commerce stores responses like this to slow loading content can be detrimental.

Criteo’s report from 2016 found that 37% of desktop customers viewed the same retailer’s site on one other device before securing their purchase. This shows us exactly how customers of ecommerce stores are shopping and really emphasises a brands need to have a consistent layout; Combining this information with the implementation of responsive images will really help ensure you’re getting conversions by limiting the load speeds of your e-commerce store. As little as a 1 second delay in page load times can result in a 7% decrease in conversions. While this doesn’t seem significant, for an ecommerce store generating $100,000 in sales daily a 7% decrease in conversions translates to $2.5 million worth of lost revenue a year, all because of slower load speeds.

Responsive images minimise the load times of your website and not only enhance the user experience, but could also play an important role in your SERP ranking. Although there are 200 ranking factors that google takes into account to calculate your all important ranking, the page loading speed is one of them. Optimising the time it takes your page to load could ultimately increase your rankings and help bump you up to the top of the search results page.

There’s no doubt that responsive images can help minimise the weight and overall wait times customers will experience on your website, but these factors can also improve overall user experience as well as the ever significant conversions.

Shopify and Responsive Images

With the introduction of new image properties late last year, Shopify now allows theme developers to have greater control over the responsive properties of their images. These advances to shopify’s capabilities now affords theme developers the opportunity to create and utilise different rules surrounding image attributes such as image.height, image.width and image.aspect_ratio.according to each individual image object. This allows you to implement responsive images on your shopify page, easily and seamlessly.

This feature can be utilised through the regular browser image attribute srcset in your HTML code, allowing you to load a particular sized images determined by the size of the screen the customer is using to view the content.

The srcset attribute gives you the ability to define a set of images, the browser then intuitively chooses the best fit for the device, replacing shopify’s previous solution to the picture sizing, image filter. The srcset attribute gives users the ability to set numeric parameters and dimensions in pixels, specified by width and height. By specifying a set of numeric parameters on custom themes, shopify gives you the ability to create a more responsive system, depending on how you think the image might appear on different sized screens. While there’s no need to alter all your previous image attributes under the image filter system just yet, images with parameters such as “large” or “grande” are still valid on existing custom themes but are slowly being phased out of the shopify platform.

It may be something you never really considered before, or something you had been putting off, but having responsive images on your ecommerce page can have a far greater impact than just making your page look good regardless of the screen size. Their impact comes in the form of reaching and winning new customers, gaining conversions through reducing load times and ensuring customer retention.

To update your ecommerce store to a more responsive, capable page, contact acidgreen your certified Shopify Partners. As we move toward a more fluid web experience between different devices, responsive images will help ensure your brand is not 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.

 

 

By Author admin

Automate Ecommerce Campaigns With Shopify Plus Launchpad

Flash sales, what are they good for? Absolutely everything!

shopify plus launchpad

But… they can be extremely taxing on businesses and usually require a lot of manual merchandising.

They’re a mandatory part of the business and yet, planning and executing these events involves time. It also usually follows with a lot of disjointed tasks, as well as a lack of confidence in how the sale will actually perform.

Thankfully, that no longer needs to be the case. Why? Because the experts at Shopify Plus have recently introduced Shopify Plus Launchpad into the market and it’s making bigger leaps than Neil Armstrong.

What does it do?

Shopify Plus Launchpad provides enterprise merchants with a robust solution for managing site traffic, stock and sales volume. The Plus native software now enables merchants to build and launch events such as sales campaigns, product releases, and content changes with ease.

Effectively, it reduces manual and recurring tasks, allowing your time to be utilised effectively and efficiently.

How Does Shopify Plus Launchpad Simplify Events?

Through scheduling and automation, Launchpad can simplify the execution phase by automating your business’ event checklist. Not only does this reduce labour time and costs, It also minimises any risk of error.

“The Launchpad app gives our merchants the ability to put a sale event on ‘autopilot,’ allowing for the pre-planning and automated execution of a sales event.” – Shopify

All the seller has to do is select the specific products for the flash sale or inventory launch.

Even better? Absolutely no coding is required. By utilising Shopify Plus Launchpad, users can simply select a discount of choice, save it and then the rest is history. Shopify Launchpad will automatically launch the discount when the sale date/time comes around.

Shopify Plus’s Launchpad provides:

Exclusivity

Initiate invite-only and limited release product collections

Demand

Automate selection of products launched for sales

Scarcity

Lock your site before the launch of your event & schedule for custom changes to take effect

Integrate Campaign-Specific Themes

With Shopify Plus Launchpad, you can build and adjust campaign-specific themes to highlight sale and/or priority products. Merchants can also optimise these themes in advance to ensure you’re not hit with any unforeseen surprises come launch day.

This is a great way to enhance the customer experience. And, according to a study conducted by Walker, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the number one key brand differentiator. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.

In short, Shopify Launchpad could help to boost your conversions/sales.

Automatically Publish Shopify Scripts

Shopify Plus Launchpad also features an automatic line item script that has the ability to offer exclusive promotions to certain customers on the checkout page e.g. offer a gift upon purchase or offer free shipping on orders over $100.

It also automatically enables a checkout CAPTCHA so you can sleep peacefully knowing your sales are devoid of any bots.

Real-time Tracking Capabilities

Monitoring sales in real-time can be challenging for businesses, particularly for those larger-scale sales and releases.

Luckily, Shopify Plus Launchpad allows businesses to monitor events performance in real-time i.e. allow for the tracking of total sales and placed orders, inventory levels and time-based average order values.

This is all available via Launchpad’s real-time analytics dashboard.

shopify plus launchpad

The dashboard gives merchants the ability to optimise the customer experience based on your audience’s specific consumer behaviour on-the-go. You can track report data at the beginning of the sale, right through to the end (note: the dashboard feature is only active for the first four weeks of your event).
The Shopify Plus Launchpad dashboard shows merchants:

  • Total sales, orders placed & average order values
  • Data about products sold
  • Customer conversion data

Why Use Shopify Plus Launchpad?

Why use anything that will help improve labour time, business efficiency, data reporting as well as help to increase sales?

By enabling Shopify Plus Launchpad, merchants are able to get the most out of their events.

They have the ability to:

  • Automatically schedule product price changes
  • Schedule a time/date of release
  • Rollout entire theme changes
  • Publish specific products to your sales channels
  • Increase inventory levels at the beginning of an event
  • Schedule creative and theme customisations
  • Integrate scheduled line item and shipping scripts for price changes at the checkout
  • Temporarily lock the site before sales or inventory launch
  • Utilise a CAPTCHA system to avoid bots
  • Track event performance via the Launchpad dashboard

With the increasing importance placed on flash sales, it is imperative that they’re executed seamlessly. They’re designed to generate traffic, move inventory and expand the business. However, without utilising systems such as Launchpad, they can cost more energy, money and downtime than they’re worth. The more time you invest in setting up a flash sale, the less valuable the profit from the sale seems.

“Knowing that sale events like a flash sale are an important part of today’s retail landscape, we wanted to provide our merchants with an integrated solution that made the process easy and efficient.” – Shopify Plus’ Director of Product, David Moellenkamp

Shopify Plus Launchpad means merchants can create innovative campaigns with peace of mind. It is your command centre for major digital commerce events; customer-facing automation and real-time dashboarding. For more information, watch the full demo here.

 

For ultimate automation, It also works great with Shopify Plus’ ecommerce automation tool, Shopify Flow that efficiently automates common, everyday tasks. To find out more, contact acidgreen today. We’re your certified Shopify Plus Partners, and we’ll help you choose the path that’s most suitable for your business.

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 LinkedInFacebook and Twitteror give us a call to learn more about our services.