Tim Gulson Paypal Opening Keynote Speech

Here are my key points from the keynote speech by Tim Gulson of Paypal at the Internet Retail Expo.

Tim talked a lot about mobile payment and shopping unsurprisingly.

  • In 2010 13% of people bought using mobile devices.  In 2016 this is projected to be 42%.
  • 36% of people shopping online will actually purchase in store.
  • 72% are smartphone owners, meaning that 28% aren’t.  This includes feature phones and tablets.
  • The male / female split is almost half and half – 54% male, 46% female.
  • Tim pointed out that many apps are deleted quickly, so it’s essential to have a mobile website too.
  • Mobile visitors expect advanced features and performance.
  • There are 2-3m active PayPal app users.
  • Companies want to replicate web experience on mobile devices.
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Making Retail Social and Mobile

Here are my key points from the keynote speech by Richard Anson of Revoo at the Internet Retail Expo

Making Retail Social and Mobile

  • 750m pieces of Revoo content used by consumers monthly.
  • 18% uplift in sales on sites using Revoo.
  • 4.8x time on site.
  • 3.5x pages viewed per visit.
  • 1.1x return ration within a month.
  • 1.8x conversion rate
  • Distribute review content socially
  • 95% of people read reviews before some / all purchases -Fly Research Sept 2011.
  • “Brand amplification” helps to spread the word, and attract traffic to the site.
  • As well as more traffic, more long-tail search terms, and expanded keyword sets.
  • Increase in rankings and organic traffic, saving money on PPC etc.
  • Likelihood of purchase is 3x greater with reviews.
  • Up to 5% conversion rate if reviews are read.
  • An increase in reputation leads to an increase in conversions.
  • Contact customers immediately for a review.
  • Increases trust and authority.
  • “Flawsome” (UGHHHHHHH) nobody is perfect, and that’s OK, but it’s how you deal with the problems and negative feedback that matters.
  • If you wait for reviews, then up to 24% will be negative – people only contact you if they’re very happy or very unhappy.
  • If you ask for reviews, only 6% will be negative. Higher score, and more accurate.
  • Bad reviews are good for business – people look for downsides, and want to know how you respond to problems and criticisms.
  • Revoo saw a 44% increase in mobile visits to retailers from March to September 2011.
  • 55% of people read reviews on mobile devices.
  • Collect data to see how many people submit reviews by mobile devices.
  • Revoo saw double the number of mobile reviews from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012.
  • 28% of people research prices or look for reviews in store.
  • More emails are read on mobiles than on desktop PCs.
  • And unsurprisingly, optimise for mobile visitors.

I’m not convinced that much can be read into the fact that having reviews on site increases the amount of time spent on site, and the number of page views.

Reviews are definitely helpful and useful for some products and brands, and less so than others.  If you’re buying a car, or a camera, or booking a holiday, then knowing more about it from owners, or people who have experience of the purchase will be beneficial.

Personally I like reviews, and I like to find out the negatives as well as the positives.  As with any sort of reviews though, it’s essential to weed out the unhelpful reviews, whether it’s from people who have never used the product, but it’s bound to be brilliant / rubbish, or “user-error” reviews such as those who bought the wrong product or expected it do something it’s not designed for, or didn’t read the description properly.



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Mobile Glues Together Multi Channel Retailing

Here are my key points from Fraser Davidson Javelin Group and Vic Watson Mothercare – Mobile Glues Together Multi Channel Retailing.

  • There will be more people accessing the web via mobile than desktop by 2013/14.
  • Know your customers – different demographics.
  • Use Analytics, product search results etc, and establish priorities
  • 3 ways to do mobile:
    • Platform – dedicated mobile ecommerce system
    • API – take a mobile tool and build a front end
    • Proxy – the current website on a mobile device
  • An app is ideal if you want to make use of the device’s native capabilities such as location or the camera.
  • Measure results:
    • What are people doing on site?
    • What improvements need to be made?
    • Identify trends
    • Are people buying or researching?
  • Mothercare sees 25-30% of traffic from mobile devices
  • 10%  of revenue is from tablets.
  • Fast moving consumer goods such as nappies and wipes sell best.
  • Bigger goods ordered online via “classic” website.
  • Early learning Centre is larger goods, that are researched more.
  • 80% of mums (presumably customers) check reviews.
  • 72% of mums (presumably customers) look for vouchers.
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Getting The Mobile Experience Right

Here are my key points from Lee Duddell What Users Do and David Howdale Howdale Associates Getting The Mobile Experience Right

  • Mobile UX is complex, with new and unknown journeys, and devices with multichannels and different contexts.
  • Focus on users’ expectations.
  • Why would you buy a fridge whilst on the bus? Mobile offers more opportunities.
  • Ocado allows mobile visitors to add to an existing  order. Forgotten items of shopping can still be purchased.
  • In Japan, shoppers will try on clothes at lunchtime, buy via their phones in store. Why? Because they don’t have to queue, and can get their items delivered, and so don’t have to take them back to work or home with them.
  • Mobile is like Green Eggs and Ham

    I like green eggs and ham!
    I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
    And I would eat them in a boat!
    And I would eat them with a goat.
    And I will eat them in the rain.
    And in the dark. And on a train.
    And in a car. And in a tree.
    They are so goodm so goodm you see!

    So I will eat them in a box.
    And I will eat them with a fox.
    And I will eat them in a house.
    And I will eat them with a mouse.
    And I will eat them here and there.
    Say! I will eat them ANHYWHERE!

  • Mobile visitors expect the same content, and links to related products.  Showed a video of somebody using hte House of Fraser mobile site, trying to find pillow cases to match the duvet cover she wanted.  She’d found the pillow cases on the desktop site, but they weren’t on the mobile site.
  • 5% of ecommerce sales are done on mobile devices, because they can.
  • 60% of mobile users experience a “conversion killer”.
  • You need to identify what’s wrong and fix it.
  • Test a competitor’s site and get feedback before creating your own site.
  • Manage users’ expectations, do the best you can.
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The Ideal Way To Do The M-Web

Here are my key points from Paul Boag’s presentation The Ideal Way To Do The M-Web.

This was the talk I was most looking forward to and I wasn’t disappointed.

Paul started by saying that people should stop obsessing over native apps.  Apps have become the next “must have”, without stopping to think why.

  • Mobile devices have limited screen sizes and storage space.
  • Many people buy / get an app but don’t use / keep it; “use and lose”.
  • Many apps are downloaded for a 1 time purchase or action.
  • Creating apps is expensive and time consuming:
    • App for each platform / device
    • What about future devices?
  • Apps are the right choice:
    • Where there is a clearly defined task, such as Skype.
    • Where the app will be used daily or weekly.
    • Where it needs to use the native features of the device, such as the camera or location.
  • Mobile sites have traditionally had a bad reputation
    • ugly and cheap – no attention spent on them
    • Multiple URLs leading to m.domain.com or domain.com/mobile, and URLS don’t resolve.
    • Hard to use.
    • Limited features – users can’t do what they want to do.
    • Too many assumptions about what users want.
  • HTML5 and CSS3 making websites much better.
  • Browsers can make use of native features.
  • Use Responsive Web Design!

When Paul explained Responsive Web Design, and showed examples, and how it worked, I could see people were literally having their minds blown!

As an advocate rather than practitioner  of RWD, I was pleased to have my thoughts and opinions consolidated by Paul.

I imagine that many people will be changing their mobile strategy now.  And that is a good thing!

PS, unlike Paul himself, I will mention that he creates an extremely useful podcast that is well worth listening to, whether you’ re a web designer or developer, or someone who runs a website.

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Why Native Apps Are Not The Future

I’ve been thinking for a while that native apps aren’t the way forward.

Before I got my iPhone 3GS in November 2009, I looked on longingly at all those people talking about apps, and downloading cool games and doing much more than I could with my phone at the time (a Blackberry Curve).

When I eventually got my iPhone I too joined the millions of people downloading amusing apps, maps for places I’d never go to, camera apps I’d never use, apps for some of my favourite brands and stores, and apps to help me be more productive, and many others too.

Slowly but surely the novelty wore off, and now I’m down to a handful of apps that I use on a regular basis.

Personally, I use the Amazon and eBay apps, the Kindle app, a couple of guitar tuner apps, Sky News, and Sky Football Scores, Twitter, Dropbox and very few others.

My iPad however is testament to the fact that I downloaded 10s of apps, used them once or twice, and and have never used them again.

Listening to Paul Boag today at the Internet Retail Expo tell a room full of ecommerce people that native apps were not a good idea, was a breath of fresh air for me.

Paul outlined several reasons why apps were not a good idea, including the fact that many apps are deleted after a couple of uses (I can vouch for that), that they are time consuming and expensive to create, and that because there are so many apps available across the different platforms and operating systems such as IOS, Windows Mobile, Android and Blackberry, getting an app to stand out is very difficult. Even more so for an ecommerce brand.

Paul outlined 3 scenarios where an app could be a viable solution:

  1. Where there is a clearly defined task, such as Skype or Kindle
  2. Where the app is likely to be used on a daily or weekly basis, like news apps
  3. Where the app makes use of the phone or tablets native features, such as the camera, location detection or the accelerometer.

However, mobile sites have had a bad reputation for many reasons, and the opportunity to “start again” with a native app can be compelling for many brands.

As there are many different types of devices creating mobile sites can be hard. Serving mobile users a “cut down” version of a site or reducing the functionality or making them hard to use will frustrate them, and so lead to negative impressions of the brand, and off to a competitor’s site.

The current solution is that of Responsive Web Design, whereby the website content adapts to the screen size. There is no loss of content, but the layout and navigation will often change to suit the context.

Indeed, this website uses a responsive web design template so that no matter what device you are using to access it, you have a good experience. (whether you enjoy the content is another matter!)

As Jeremy Keith and many others have said, there is no mobile web. There is only the web. If there’s a problem with the way a website looks in your chosen web browser, whether desktop, mobile, tablet or TV screen, the problem is the website, not you or your chosen method of viewing the website.

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Self service checkouts

I’ll let you into a secret i do the shopping in our household. I go to our big Tesco and fill a trolley with enough food to last us a week (it would probably last most households longer, but we like our food!).

I’m not showing off, or saying I’m hard done to, because I’m not. I’m just saying, that’s all. For the items I’ve forgotten or for something nice to eat as a treat, my beloved will go to Asda or Sainsburys. If it’s the weekend then we’ll often both go whilst we at out and about.

So, I speak with some experience…

I like the idea of self service checkouts, but they can be really hard work.

I mean, you’ve got to either have your own bag ready, or use a shop supplied one. There is no chance to change your mind partway through the process, when you think that perhaps you do need a bag after all, or that you want to put an item in a separate bag. If I had a pound for every time I heard “unexpected item in bagging area” I’d certainly be wealthier than I am now.

Sometimes items don’t scan, which makes it tricky. At least when a cashier is doing it, it’s their problem.  When you’re scanning your own shopping, it’s your problem. You’re the one holding up the queue. You’re the one who can’t find the bar code, or flatten the packaging down until the bar code can be read.

For age- restricted items, you’ll need to wait for a member of staff to approve your purchase, and it’s likely that you can’t continue scanning items.

Currently at Sainsburys, and I’ve only experienced it here, discounts are only applied once you’ve selected the payment type. This is appalling from a customer’s point of view, and I wonder home many actual abandoned baskets it has led to.

I’m not even convinced that using the self service checkout actually is quicker. Of you pay by card it seems to take ages, and posting coins into the slot and waiting for them to register takes forever too.

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Auto Playing Video Adverts Suck

Auto playing video adverts annoy me beyond belief.

Perhaps in a bid to be efficient and to save time, I quite often open several links from a page in new tabs. This is particularly true for the news websites I read at work, like Yahoo. Perhaps I want to see the headlines and then read some of the football news.

What tends to happen is that at least one of the 1-4 tabs auto plays a video advert, and the trick is to find and close the tab Whilst annoying for me, if I haven’t turned down my laptop volume it annoys my colleagues as well.

Sometimes these videos don’t have a pause button, and so my only quick option is to close the tab. This means that I miss out on the news and the advertiser misses out too.

This seems to be an increasing trend and is going to lead to people abandoning certain web sites because of these videos.

The adverts that take over the page when you accidentally hover over them, or the adverts that are the background of the page, and those that have an animated car driving around are equally as frustrating as an auto playing video advert, but at least they only annoy the person looking at the screen. Video adverts affect everyone in the room.

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I Heart Jeffrey Zeldman

Today, .net magazine asked on Twitter how Jeffery Zeldman had affected our lives.

I immediately responded by saying that he had shown that it “wasn’t just me” and that websites could (and more importantly should) be done properly.

As a website user rather than designer or developer, I’ve often moaned (mainly to my long suffering other half!) about websites that don’t work properly, or that are 80% there but lack a few essentials or aren’t doing things properly.

I’ve since discovered that the majority of my gripes can be resolved, and that every designer and developer needs to have a copy of Designing With Web Standards, and should read it and learn from it.

Whilst some of the recommendations may take a little longer to implement or be more expensive, it’s morally the right thing to do for clients and the users of the website.

Providing a better experience for every visitor is better for visitors, better for the web design agency and for the reputation of the industry too.

On occasions, the industry does get a bad reputation, and whilst often it is unfair criticism, sometimes companies don’t deliver on their promises or don’t provide the best used experience. Jeffery Zeldman has shown that doing the right thing is the right thing to do.

With many years of SEO Experience I have previously thought about websites only from a Search Engine point of view and not from a visitor’s point of view. Jeffery has made me think that doing things properly is likely to have a massive positive impact o the search engines too.

I discovered Jeffery through a Boagworld podcast and bought Designing With Web Standards and then started following him on Twitter @Zeldman.

Within minutes I had also discovered many leading lights in the world of web design that were a million miles away in their thinking than the large agency I was working for. I can’t possibly mention them all, but people like Jen Simmons, Ethan Marcotte, Mark Boulton, Andy Budd, Andy Clarke, Aral Balkan, Bruce Lawson, Remy Sharp and Molly Holzschlag and many more are all extremely passionate about improving the web for everyone.

Following these people on Twitter has introduced me to even more incredible people and changed my perception: being found in the search engine results pages is not the most important consideration.

Thank you Jeffery for all your hard work and effort. If this is the effect you’ve had on me, someone who only uses websites, from a non design or development background and who doesn’t make websites, what sort of effect have you had on those who do make websites?!

#iheartzeldman Do you>

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