5 customer types when shopping online – and how you can do them justice as a retailer

If you as a retailer offer your customers exactly what they are looking for, you will achieve an optimal conversion. But how does that work exactly, what types of customers are there and which are important to you?

First of all: you will find that our typology of online shoppers is far from complete – or that there are also mixed forms and situational differences. And you will possibly classify your customers according to other criteria (such as how Zalando did this , more according to socio-demographic groups and value affinities). Nevertheless, the classification according to buying behavior and frequency is definitely helpful in making certain decisions in your own shop.

If you are a regular customer of “your” shop in the photo or outdoor area, you can of course be significantly less loyal when it comes to clothing. How many customers of a certain group you have depends on the one hand on the product group you sell, but also on your marketing measures and the structure of the shop. However, it is important and useful to keep these five types of customers in mind if you want to be successful as an online retailer.

Customer type 1: The regular customer with a high level of loyalty

He regularly buys in your shop, has usually subscribed to the newsletter or follows you on Facebook. If in doubt, he will discuss certain products, evaluate his purchases or ask when a certain new product will be available from you. You can and should keep him happy with regular promotions, because he will usually remain loyal to you regardless of the pricing. Think about whether you can somehow particularly value such a customer, for example by making certain special editions or models available to them a few days earlier. If he ever has a problem with a product, you should have an open ear for him and, if necessary, show goodwill outside of the warranty.

Customer type 2: The price-sensitive impulse buyer

Among other things, you do the work for him with search engine advertising, with the price search engines and the sale via Amazon Marketplace (where ideally you make him a repeat buyer who next time buys directly in your shop). The impulse buyer does not know your shop and its structure, for him you should deliver the expected, support as many common payment methods as possible, offer good customer communication until the item is delivered. Because unlike the regular customer, he does not yet know about your workflows. If you have a well-structured shop with lots of details in the product texts, the chances are good that they will use your shop to find out more about the product type there in the future. Although (or precisely because) the impulse buyer is price-sensitive, you can show him upselling offers, make him a repeat buyer with the help of marketing measures. For him, you should pay attention to your reviews in the review portals – and seals such as the Trusted Shops logo convince him.

Customer type 3: The bargain hunter

If you think the impulse buyer is already fixed on price, you have not seen the bargain hunter yet. He regularly gets information about special offers from Mydealz and similar portals and also buys them as a priority. You usually do not need to come to him with upselling, it makes more sense to set time limits for certain offers or to indicate the number of copies sold in a certain period of time. Customer loyalty and loyalty are usually not possible with this type of customer, but conversely you will reap the storm if, in his opinion, a particularly cheap offer is sold out too quickly. Particularly cheap offers can be understood as a kind of marketing budget if you manage to attract bargain portals (possibly also with exclusive vouchers) to you.

Customer type 4: The omniscient product connoisseur

As a retailer, you can usually not fool this (often male) type – he knows the range better than some of your employees, has read various tests and reviews and usually places more value on service than on the absolute lowest price. You can win him over by letting him write reviews, requesting and appreciating his expertise – because he usually also likes to share his knowledge in forums and on social media pages. For him, you just have to make sure that he sees your shop at eye level with his expertise, that product descriptions are meaningful and complete (and of course correct). Since the product connoisseur usually likes to deal with the products himself as much as he buys them, you can teach them about topics such as content marketing come. It is the counterpart to the offline customers who just came to the store on Saturday mornings to talk shop with the salespeople and were annoyed by the mostly only moderately informed salespeople in the big chains.

Customer type 5: The repeat offender

To call him a regular customer would be saying too much, to count him among the impulse buyers, but it would also not be correct. He comes by every now and then or looks in your shop when he is looking for information about a certain type of product. Especially with a wide range of goods such as computer technology or clothing, the greater number of suppliers means that the probability is higher that you will have many of these customers. But you can come to him with newsletters, vouchers or other incentives to make him an existing customer. You can convince him with a particularly informative shop and the image of your company – these latent (non-) regular customers are particularly common with private labels that also operate branches

Avoiding mistakes in e-commerce: merchants should pay attention to these 7 points

As an online retailer, you can make a lot of mistakes. Because, unlike in brick-and-mortar retail, in the worst case, the customer is with one click at the competitor. This is how you make the customer happier with little effort.

There are countless studies that are on the trail of customers in online retail. Studies that are supposed to detect how much you can take the customer by the hand and educate them to order, but which also show that many customers keep staying with their usual portals because they have got used to their workflows. Many bad habits and mistakes by shop operators could be avoided by making a few preliminary considerations when setting up the shop and by choosing the right tools. Here you can find out which mistakes you shouldn’t make as a shop operator if you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop with you.

1. Mistake: Bad product descriptions

The product description is the basis for the customer to decide whether he wants to buy the goods from you or not. So make sure that everything is right here – not only is the content correct, but the customer also finds what he needs right away. You can find that out over time with A / B testing. Make sure you do a good on-site search and remember that a good and meaningful product description will help you increase conversion. Also, keep in mind that an incomplete description that raises questions will help the customer get the missing information elsewhere. And if he does that on the website of a competitor, he will also perceive his website as trustworthy.

2. Error: comparing products inappropriately

Consistency in the product descriptions is especially important if you offer a tabular comparison on your site. Although many manufacturers now provide surprisingly good tabular data about their products, in many cases the entries are not uniform and even with individual manufacturers they are not consistent over the years or product series. With the help of appropriate automation options, you should ensure that your customer does not stumble upon contradicting things or that differences are displayed where none are. Therefore, make sure that your tabular data is consistent across all manufacturers and, ideally, develop a style guide or writing rules for this.

3. Error: confusing product pages

Evil tongues claim that a confusing shop is not as important as you can see on Amazon. There is indeed something to it – because the reference in terms of online trading is really not a good example when it comes to the confusing and jam-packed product pages. But you could also say that Amazon writes its good sales figures anyway and not because of its lack of clarity. As a “normal” shop owner, however, you should stick to the keep-it-simple rule. In many cases, your shop system helps you to create a clear website based on appropriate templates. But also avoid the 6th mistake …

4. Mistake: Confusing return rules

Two weeks return period, 30 days return option, but then at your own expense, even 100 days exchange option, but you have to pay immediately … There are a number of regulations that are intended to educate the customer, to induce him to buy frivolously first, partially but also just confuse. On the one hand, you should keep the rules of how a customer can pay and return goods in your shop as uncomplicated as possible, but on the other hand you should also be accommodating when things don’t work out. And when you start a return request, you should first clarify whether it is a support problem or a misunderstanding in operation. This topic also includes purchase on account: Many customers in online retail are now used to paying in some way right away, that this has increased the proportion of invoice buyers who do not pay straight away. The first payment reminder should therefore be made in a particularly friendly manner, possibly with a reference to your support hotline if the customer has problems.

5th mistake: weaknesses in the checkout area

Do you know what ideally you can learn from semi-silly sites on the Internet? Regardless of whether it is about eroticism, gambling or other topics: These sites are optimally optimized to accept customers’ money – an extensive selection of payment methods, optimal workflows in which every step counts and a UX design that is as little as possibly confused and works across languages ​​and cultures. As an online retailer, you should approach it in a similar way so that you lose as few customers as possible on the way to the checkout. Because the checkout area is still particularly tricky when it comes to abandonment rates.

6. Error: The online shop “off the shelf”

In the case of smaller shops in particular, operators often don’t bother to adapt a standard shop solution to the needs of their customers. This is noticeable on the one hand in the unsuitable or standardized structure of the respective detail pages, but also in the fact that the customer in a German-speaking shop through all countries from A to D for Germany (or even better G for Germany, because only the term was translated, the Entry but still listed under G for Germany) must scroll through. Mobile-optimized number entries that do not automatically just call up the numeric keypad or incorrectly read autofill data stored in the browser are also popular errors that could be avoided by customizing the shop system. It is also noteworthy that how many shop systems still have weaknesses in the mobile version of their pages. Keep in mind that the mobile device is still less comfortable to use than the desktop version despite the constantly growing screen diagonal (and the customer often does not have the peace and quiet of a notebook).

7. Error: ERP that does not fit the shop

Another bad habit concerns the incorrect or delayed matching of the merchandise management system and online shop. It’s hard to believe, but especially in larger, established online shops, some of which generate enormous sales, the merchandise management system is not optimally harmonized with the shop solution and the payment service provider. The result: the shop is still happily taking orders while the warehouse is already empty. This is of course particularly noticeable in larger shops that, for example, offer goods cheaply due to an advertising campaign for a shopping event such as Black Friday and thus draw customers to the side on a large scale. It has been proven that a new customer who has ordered once and has not received any goods rarely buys there again,

E-commerce: 5 tips for online shops in times of the corona crisis

The needs of many customers in e-commerce have changed in the last few days. A reason for web shop operators to rethink and adapt their own shop.

The state of emergency that the corona crisis brings with it affects numerous online retailers in particular. But while the shops in the shopping streets have to close except for a few industries such as groceries or drugstore items, online retailers are still allowed to offer and sell their goods. That brings a kind of special boom if you as a retailer understand how to adapt your shop to the new circumstances.

The buying behavior of customers has changed accordingly: Shops that offer luxury items are currently struggling more than usual. An unprecedented reluctance to buy can be felt here. On the other hand, Amazon focuses on many everyday goods . But that is precisely what means opportunities for other retailers – namely, if they can place their range between these two extremes. Precisely because Amazon may have conveyed to you that you cannot currently bring your goods to the buyer via Fulfillment by Amazon , your own shop must be optimally coordinated so that you do not keep the goods in your own warehouse for too long.

In principle, it is primarily about usability, but at a higher level than usual: Johannes Altmann, managing director of the consulting company Shoplupe and expert for customer experience (UX) in retail, sums up the difference as follows: “Usability is suddenly no longer a hygiene factor , but the most important criterion: who has the goods, where can I order them most easily and who can deliver them quickly and reliably? “

E-commerce between reluctance to buy and increasing demand

The following five points can convey to you what is important in the current situation:

  1. Make your shop as simple as possible. For now, forget everything you’ve learned about upselling, conversion optimization with coupons, and shopping cart optimization. Your customer wants the goods – quickly and safely. As few steps as possible to checkout are the order of the day.
  2. Avoid the mandatory creation of customer accounts or the ordering of newsletters . Now it is possible to win satisfied new customers, but you shouldn’t insist on it. Generating additional business must be paramount.
  3. Make sure you invest in fast and safe shipping. The service provider who can guarantee you here (or from whom you accept it, because you will not get additional guarantees these days) that he will reliably bring the goods to the customer should receive your order. The customer will not thank you for anything else and will also give you a high return rate because they are forced to order elsewhere.
  4. Large shopping baskets and bundling offers are nice, but only work in the current situation if you can really deliver everything at the same time and from the same warehouse. Linked to this: The assurance of delivery dates (and of course compliance with them) should be even more important to you than usual.
  5. Make sure that your shop is performing well, especially when accessing it via mobile devices. It is better to do without tracking tools if you have to. The network is at times more busy than usual – and if you want to sell something to the customer, quick and reliable processing is even more important than usual. If you have performance problems due to a shop cloud, invest a little more in a better service provider, optionally in your network infrastructure.

Marketing in times of crisis: 6-step plan for online shops

55 percent of online retailers have seen a drop in sales due to the corona crisis. How online shops can now adapt their marketing in order to arm themselves in a structured manner and to emerge stronger from the crisis.

According to a dealer association survey, 82 percent of online retailers expect the situation to worsen. After the initial paralysis, it is now time to face the crisis courageously. The following six-stage master plan with three strategic stages, followed by three operational stages for marketing in times of crisis, provides a checklist for orientation. No magic formula, but full of food for thought for further action.

Stage 1: Create the basis – without sales there is no marketing

The order of the day is: don’t lapse into actionism. Freezing the budget could otherwise take revenge in the medium term as well as headless corona discount campaigns. First of all, it is important to create a basis for the continued functioning of the online shop.

Ability to deliver

First, online shops should guarantee their ability to deliver internally and externally. Internally, with employees working in multiple shifts and, as far as possible, from the home office. Externally, in that the supply is ensured by suppliers. A close exchange with suppliers helps to be informed about possible delivery delays and bottlenecks at an early stage.

Dispatchability

Second, it is important to ensure that it can be shipped. That means to be prepared if DHL suddenly stops picking up the orders. For example, if a DHL employee falls ill in the local distribution center, the location can be temporarily closed.

  • Online retailers should therefore contact their shipping service provider and clarify how the processes will change.
  • An emergency plan could provide for switching to other carriers, for example via a connection to shipping interfaces such as Shipcloud.

Sales potential

Thirdly, opportunities for sales potential should be examined in order to keep the overall slump as low as possible. A few ideas:

  • Price increases: Availability beats price – higher prices can increase sales and margins
  • Presence in shopping portals: sales on idealo.de, billiger.de, guenstiger.de can be realized in no time via data feed.
  • Platforms as a sales channel: additional sales can be generated via Ebay and Amazon.
  • International marketing: Online orders from Austria are currently increasing in many German shops due to the curfew imposed there – with campaigns via Google Shopping and dynamic search ads, you can participate.

Stage 2: analyze the status quo

Before targeted measures can be taken, online retailers should pay attention to the initial situation.

Situation assessment

Depending on the size of the company and sales development, the status quo varies from person to person. This has consequences for the further room for maneuver.

  • What is your own economic situation, what do the cost structure and reserves say?
  • How long can the ability to act be ensured despite a lack of sales?
  • What do you have control over and what not? The following applies: Concentration on one’s own sphere of activity, on what can be influenced.

Web analysis and inventory management

It is more important than ever to understand exactly what is going on in the online shop. New every day.

  • Which traffic sources are performing well? Can the percentage be increased by increasing budgets?
  • Where are sales missing? Can countermeasures be taken here?
  • What is currently being bought (increasingly) and what is not?
  • Which ranges and products are sold out now or soon?
  • How could the demand develop?
  • And how could customers react if a curfew is imposed?

Social media monitoring

Online retailers should develop a feeling for how their target group is reacting to the current situation. An analysis of the industry-typical hashtags as well as reactions to your own postings and comments from competitors can provide an insight.

  • With what focus does the target group discuss Corona?
  • How is the mood with the customers?
  • What are your questions, worries and needs?

Stage 3: Adjust marketing planning and strategy

The marketing plan for 2020 was ready? Now is the time to question the existing marketing strategy and adapt it to the changed crisis situation. This applies, for example, to promotions, image and seasonal campaigns, the marketing mix and media planning.

  • What was planned when, according to the plan, to what extent does it still make sense?
  • What are the chances of success of the planned measures?
  • Is it enough just to postpone the point in time or should the measure be canceled without replacement?

Campaigns that were planned for the next few weeks or months can be prepared. But then you should wait. There is no telling what will be in two months. If the situation is as chaotic as it is today, the advertising effect could fizzle out. The focus is too much on the daily news. This is especially true for cost-intensive measures that have to be refinanced through sales, for example print mailings to reactivate regular customers or advertisements in print media. Costs and benefits have to be weighed for each measure.

Especially when it comes to confronting the customer with something new – for example with a new logo or a shop relaunch – it is important to consider: At the moment, new impressions and tasks are falling on us every day. Our openness to new things has been exhausted. There is excessive demand and uncertainty. Taking away the familiar from regular customers creates avoidable confusion and could cost valuable sales.

Step 4: Check communication

The marketing messages should also be put to the test. Are the content and imagery appropriate given the current circumstances? Can customers (still) identify with it? One should be particularly sensitive with the choice of words. Those who respond emotionally to the customer’s situation and communicate closely and personally can only win.

In addition, the communication of benefits should be questioned: One chance could be to focus on other advantages because one’s own offer solves current problems.

  • Do all category images and headings fit? They have an impact on the conversion rate.
  • What about advertising materials such as ad texts and display motifs? They influence the click rate and image.
  • What do newsletter content, social media postings and guidelines for community management look like?

Step 5: Implement short-term measures – don’t burn your budget

The first tendency when sales collapse: reduce costs.

But be careful, you need a sure instinct here. The PPC channels in particular are torn between performance and sales. If countermeasures are taken too drastically, sales could completely dry up.

The following applies to PPC marketing in general:

  • Redefine goals: It is important to gain clarity about the maximum scope for costs and margins and, if necessary, to temporarily loosen the requirements for ROAS (return on ad spent) or KUR (cost-sales ratio).
  • Be careful with automatic bid strategies: In order for Smart Bidding and Co. to work reliably, the algorithms need empirical values ​​- there are none for the current situation. Everything is new and unpredictable. That’s why it is now time to look carefully. If in doubt, switch to manual bids and lower your CPC. Or the target for the automatic bid control is adjusted in order to set tighter guard rails for the algorithm.

Google Textads and Google Shopping

In order not to burn up a budget and to recognize potential in good time, SEA campaigns should currently be controlled on a granular (er) level. Specifically, this can mean:

  • Reallocate or reduce budgets at ad group and product group level if no conversions take place.
  • Downgrade non-performing ad and product groups
  • Pause product groups with delivery bottlenecks
  • Pushing product groups that are currently increasingly in demand

Online shops and the SEA agency should therefore be in close contact. Because shop operators know their product range, the delivery situation and their customers exactly, while SEA specialists can read and interpret the transactions in the account. Anyone who works with a love for detail now can take advantage of the situation.

Attention, risk of account blocking: The word ” Corona ” should not be used in the shop. It could result in the domain being blocked for a violation of Google Ads advertising policies due to the health context .

Retargeting and Display Network

Anyone who delivers dynamic product advertisements or general display ads via Google Display Network, Criteo and Co. should watch this very closely. Due to the increased news volume and the more intensive surfing behavior, more inventory is available for the delivery of advertising. At the same time, conversion rates are falling because the focus is on other topics. The algorithms want to take countermeasures and increase impressions. The costs rise, but the sales stay off. It makes sense to intensify the monitoring and then take countermeasures as described above.

Social media advertising

For online shops in particular, social networks are interesting for placing ads and especially as a performance channel. Here, too, more reach and impressions are currently available due to the increased activity of users. The CPM can decrease as a result and more users can be reached at lower costs. However, the conversion rate is often falling and the profitability of the campaigns decreases.

  • Depending on the individual (financial) situation and the range advertised, costs and benefits must now be weighed up.
  • The bottom line can be to pause top funnel and middle funnel campaigns that are designed to acquire new customers.
  • Bottom funnel campaigns such as dynamic product ads can continue to perform well.
  • In any case, it makes sense to increase the control frequency.

Social media (organic)

If you haven’t already done so, you should urgently review your editorial plans and stop automatically scheduled posts. Inappropriate postings like the question about the relaxed weekend could damage the brand and should at least be postponed.

For posts on current topics, sensitivity is required, as well as in dealing with humor, otherwise the shit storm is inevitable.

The dominance of negative topics and news creates a rather brand-damaging environment. At the same time, there is an opportunity in the increased user activity in social media. Everyone craves positive themes and distraction. Those who now purposefully radiate calm and, like Zalando, Aldi or DM, make the community idea tangible on Facebook can strengthen their image and customer loyalty.

Sending newsletters

In general, the same applies to sending newsletters as to social media: it is a tightrope walk between opportunity and risk. Risk because many online shops will feel a drop in performance (opening rates, click rates, conversion rates). Opportunity because it is currently the regular customers who are most likely to buy.

Just carry on normally? Depends on. Performance data should now be evaluated in detail. Instead of automatically scheduling the dispatch in advance, dispatch dates should be selected depending on the current daily news. If there is any new bad news, it is probably better to postpone the newsletter for a day so that the effect does not fizzle out completely.

Step 6: Medium and long-term measures – emerge stronger from the crisis

When the first chaos is over and the new circumstances of multi-shift operation and home office level off, the next steps can be organized.

Freed personnel capacities due to a lower order volume and fewer inquiries in customer service want to be used sensibly. Here are a few ideas for tasks that would otherwise fall by the wayside:

  • Optimize the PIM system (product information management): complete product data, revise product descriptions, create new products …
  • Clean up CRM: correct incorrect customer data, merge duplicates …
  • Content creation: collect FAQs from customer service, write purchase advisors for important product categories, create images, produce videos …
  • Build reporting dashboards: Merge all marketing-relevant data in Google Data Studio, create various reports and levels of detail.
  • Search engine optimization: Whether technical or content-related on-page optimization or off-page measures such as link building – the effect is delayed, but when everything returns to normal, you benefit from the greater upswing.

Customer loyalty

Acquiring new customers is expensive. At the moment, acquiring new customers is likely to be even more expensive, as attention is more restricted and other topics are more relevant. It therefore makes sense to concentrate on your existing customers and the performance channels discussed above in times of crisis.

If you have not dealt with customer loyalty before, you should do so now. Online shops generate three to seven times more sales per visit with repeat buyers and regular customers ( compare Adobe Digital Index ). The conversion rates are also significantly higher.

Brand building

Investing in your own brand also pays off in the long term. Now is a good time to devote yourself to branding strategy while the competition remains in a state of shock or focuses its energies on the struggle for survival.

Positioning is a good entry point. By comparing the target positioning with the actual positioning and then taking measures to correct the deviation. How is the shop perceived from the outside? What does the brand stand for from the customer’s point of view? Versus: How do you want to be perceived and differentiate yourself from the competition?
A distinctive storytelling can be developed based on the findings. What story does the brand tell? What added value does the shop offer customers? Why do you do what you do

outlook

Once the initial paralysis has been overcome, online retail is likely to benefit most from the current crisis. When customers spend a lot of time at home due to home office and curfew and cannot shop locally, it shifts to online business. Then it is important to be present.

Those who collect themselves now, roll up their sleeves and do their homework can really take off once the crisis is over.

Managing Risks, Getting Through Crises: How to Prepare

Risks are part of being an entrepreneur like drooling trousers are part of being a dog owner – you may not find it beautiful, but you have to be able to endure it. What can you do to still sleep soundly and be as prepared as possible?

Crises can affect any company, no one is immune from them. It is all the more important for managing directors and executives to recognize risks and develop mechanisms to counter them. You can find a few tips here!

1. Deal with potential risks instead of suppressing them

One thing is clear: not every company can pay its own risk management team that deals exclusively with the identification, analysis and quantification of risks on a daily basis. But that shouldn’t lead to ignoring the topic.

On the contrary: at least management and executives should regularly deal with the risks that could affect their own company. It helps to first break down which types of risks are fundamentally differentiated – for example, market, credit and valuation risks, operational risks, business risks and legal risks. As soon as you take a closer look at what this actually means, it often becomes clear very quickly where possible problems lie – from hacked CRM to total failure of the supply chain.

It is important not to simply leave identified risks as such, but to consider how one can and wants to deal with them: Can the realization of the risk be avoided, for example? And if so: is the effort adequate? Or can you protect yourself against the risk – for example by taking out appropriate insurance? Or can measures be taken that at least mitigate the effects? All of these considerations should be made and documented on a regular basis.

Of course, you can’t prepare for all eventualities, and in the end, sometimes the very things that you least expect will happen. But: Risk management is a continuous process that, in the best case scenario, does not start when your company is already in the middle of a major crisis. In this respect, the following applies: the more scenarios you think through, the better you are prepared for an emergency.

2. Work with clear and measurable goals

A risk is not an event. Rather, it is the effects of an event, a development or a circumstance that could endanger your company achieving its goals. In order to be able to assess whether a situation could become a risk for your company, you first have to be able to say what your company’s goals are. You need a clear vision that has been broken down into measurable, clear goals and thus can also serve as a strategic guideline for all your decisions – especially in the event of a crisis, when there is already enough chaos around you.

3. Know your numbers inside out!

You don’t know out of your head how high, for example, sales were in the last quarter, what costs (fixed and variable) you incur every month and how high your workload is right now? Then you should check it out urgently! You can only control what you know – that’s why you should always have an eye on the key figures that are particularly relevant for your company. If something is not going in the desired direction, you should also know where and from whom you can get more detailed insights.

4. Keep reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of your company

There are sure to be things your company is particularly good at – making customers happy, for example. On the other hand, chaos may break out regularly in accounting. Being aware of this has several advantages: On the one hand, you can better identify and assess risks. In the example mentioned, liquidity bottlenecks due to invoices being sent far too late would probably be a much more likely scenario than customers who suddenly move away in large numbers. On the other hand, it also gives you clues as to what you can build on if your company actually slips into a crisis. But don’t forget that your company is not a static structure, but is constantly developing.

5. Get to know the workflows and workloads of your employees and think about what is really business-critical

As with your figures, the following also applies here: What you don’t know, you can’t manage. Then you cannot prevent internal processes themselves from becoming a risk (for example because legal regulations are not adhered to). You do not know how external changes in the environment affect your company and its processes and therefore you may not recognize impending risks. And in an emergency, you cannot identify which processes and positions are business-critical and how you can keep them functioning by skillfully restructuring the existing structures. Therefore: take a look!

6. Be aware of addictions

No company can exist in isolation – you are always directly dependent on other actors. To your customers. On suppliers. To IT service providers. If necessary, on logisticians. The list can be expanded extensively in many cases. What does this mean for your risk management? That if you want to act with foresight, you also have to keep an eye on the environment of your partners and customers. What developments are there and can they then indirectly pose a risk for you?

Risk crises

Trust your employees and give them the opportunity to openly express concerns about possible risks. (Photo: Shutterstock / Wayhome studio)

7. Empower your employees and ensure an open communication culture

Encourage your employees to take personal responsibility and understand their work as an essential part of the company’s success. Of course, you should approach them with appreciation. Employees who are attentive and motivated, think along and act consistently in the interests of the company, will recognize internal risks much faster and better than those who stoically work through the tasks assigned to them. And if, against all efforts, your company does get into an awkward position, you will hopefully have a loyal, intrinsically motivated team that does not immediately throw its hat, but instead tries to pull the proverbial cart out of the mud. Trust in the expertise of your employees and create an atmosphere In which we speak openly and sometimes constructively and critically – regardless of hierarchies. Perhaps your employees see risks that you were not aware of or have good ideas on how to prevent or mitigate the realization of a risk.

8. Don’t forget your IT

If the keyword IT is used in the context of risk and crisis management, most people first think of IT and data security. Of course, nobody wants a hacker attack or a data protection breach due to faulty software configurations – after all, there is a risk of damage to the company’s image and legal consequences. But that’s not the only aspect you should take a closer look at your tech setup. Fail-safety and performance / scalability are also important. After all, you don’t want your website to collapse under every unexpected surge in traffic and miss out on valuable sales. You should also examine the flexibility of your tech setup at least as thoroughly. If you take the previous points to heart and evaluate various risks, you will probably come to the conclusion that that there are very many situations that could put your business under stress – with varying degrees of probability and varying effects. You will not be able to plan the perfect solution strategies in advance for all these situations. However, it helps if your IT setup is flexible and can be quickly adapted to new requirements – for example, if suddenly – like now during the corona crisis – more and more processes have to be digitally mapped. Microservice architectures usually offer you more options to react quickly than monolithic software. You will not be able to plan the perfect solution strategies in advance for all these situations. However, it helps if your IT setup is flexible and can be quickly adapted to new requirements – for example, if suddenly – like now during the corona crisis – more and more processes have to be digitally mapped. Microservice architectures usually offer you more options to react quickly than monolithic software. You will not be able to plan the perfect solution strategies in advance for all these situations. However, it helps if your IT setup is flexible and can be quickly adapted to new requirements – for example, if suddenly – like now during the corona crisis – more and more processes have to be digitally mapped. Microservice architectures usually offer you more options to react quickly than monolithic software.

Selling on social media: how retailers can reach their customers on Facebook and Co.

First the customers stopped going to stores, now they disdain the online shops. That is why retailers want to reach them where they are anyway: on social media. An overview of the shopping opportunities on Facebook , Instagram and Pinterest.

Mobile shopping is becoming more and more natural, especially for the younger generation. Social channels such as Instagram and Pinterest are playing an increasingly important role as sales platforms. One in five online customers who shop on their mobile device does so via their social media channels.

This type of online sales is called social commerce. The big social media companies offer ever more extensive options to enable shopping on their platforms. Ideally, users no longer leave the platforms to shop because they are suggested the products that interest them via the product recommendations of their social media friends. Only payment via the channels is not yet possible. For Facebook, Pinterest and Co., the advantages are obvious: They keep users on their pages for as long as possible, so they can offer more advertising, collect data on buying behavior and skim off a sales commission.

For retailers, social commerce offers the opportunity to reach more customers. Products that sell particularly well through pictures – clothing, accessories or furniture – are particularly suitable for selling on social media. One possibility is to market the products through influencers. Many online shop operators have already recognized the potential.

She has now reached 85 percent of her customers via Instagram, says Marlena Wester from the decoration shop Wild Daisy. “The platform is extremely relevant for our business.” Above all, it relies on Instagram stories and their features: 45 percent of their customers reached their online shop via tags or swipe-ups.

Mail order company Otto is also convinced of social commerce and is testing the implementation of its product catalog with Pinterest, which is very extensive with over a million items. “Pinterest is a very exciting channel for us,” says Marc Opelt, Head of Marketing at Otto. “We are reaching our target group in a completely new environment. Where the user likes to be inspired and is open to new ideas. “

However, if you rely on sales via social media, you should also be aware of possible disadvantages: A lot of customer data goes to the platform instead of to your own shop. Online retailers lose the opportunities for brand marketing and also lose track of the traffic on their own website.

In an international comparison, Germans are still relatively skeptical of the large platform operators. But because younger users in particular willingly share their financial information via the channels, social commerce is a trade with a future that shop operators have to grapple with.

On the retailer pages on Facebook there is the option of creating a shop to which products can be added. As soon as the shop contains at least one product, it appears as a section of the page and can be accessed via the corresponding tab. The products can consist of pictures, videos and a product description as posts. The posts are always organic. With the button “Buy via the website”, interested parties are redirected to the product detail page in the provider’s external shop in order to complete the purchase there. The posts reach a higher reach if users like, comment, share or save them. Shop owners can organically promote individual products by sharing them on their own pages or in groups. In the so-called “collections” within the shops, categories such as “bestsellers”, “offers” or certain product types can be created. Collections that should get more attention can be placed first in the shop and also on the page.

Shop operators can either maintain their products on Facebook directly on their page or use the Facebook Business Manager for this. A tool that also takes on the administration of the shop page, i.e. manages the orders, contacts the customers or displays the shipping status.

On the Facebook shop pagesonly physical products may be sold. In addition, the offer must comply with Facebook’s trading guidelines, which for example prohibit the sale of tobacco, alcohol, weapons, prescription drugs and animals. Facebook says it checks the new products within 24 hours. And Facebook decides whether the offers can stay in the shop or not – sometimes apparently arbitrarily. For example, Facebook allows condoms to be sold, but not menstrual cups. Why, that is not made clear, and so the dealers can only speculate. A fish spice called “Pistol Fish Rub” is not allowed to be sold. Because of the word “pistol”? Another sauce that was rejected contains the word “pork”, Facebook probably suspects a live animal behind it.

Sell ​​on Instagram

The user can access the shop area via the shop tab on the Instagram page. Shopping posts are organic image or video posts in which up to five products and their prices can be indicated. People and products can also be marked in the same post. The user recognizes the shopping posts by a shopping bag symbol in the top right corner of the posting. A click on the product marking leads to the product in the shop area, where it can be presented with additional pictures. The “View on website” button takes you to the dealer’s external shop, where you can then complete your purchase. Product markings can also be added later.

Instagram is likely to offer paid shopping posts in addition to organic shopping posts later this year. Retailers can then mark their products not only on pictures but also in the stories. However, only one marking per story is possible here. Using the product launch stickers in the stories, users can set a reminder for products that interest them. You will then receive a push notification as soon as the announced product can be purchased.

Instagram shopping is only available for company accounts and only works with a link to a Facebook account. The products must already be created in a Facebook catalog for e-commerce items. This catalog is a kind of product shelf for the various Facebook applications: With it, retailers can, for example, place dynamic ads, expand sales on Instagram or set up a shop on the company page of Facebook. Like Facebook, trading on Instagram is subject to the company’s trading guidelines.

Sell ​​on Pinterest

On Pinterest, the organic product pins contain the image of the product, the price, a description and a link to the product page for payment in the external online shop. Because even with Pinterest it is not yet possible to pay directly on the platform. The product pins are among the so-called “rich pins”, which offer additional details about pins. The Product Pins are automatically created from external product catalogs and update with the websites they came from. They appear in the Shopping tab on the Pinterest page. They can also be used to create paid ads. Pinterest is currently testing the catalog function in Germany with selected partners such as Home24, Fossil and Otto. Via the shop-the-look pins,

So you can buy individual elements of an outfit or an interior. Merchants who want to offer products on Pinterest need a Pinterest business profile. In order to automatically generate product pins from the catalog pages of the external shop, you must insert the specified OpenGraph or Schema.org markings in the HTML code area on each page. With the rich pin validator provided by Pinterest, retailers can check whether the integration was successful.

Pinterest uses the Pinterest Lens search technology to perform a visual search for each pin to find similar objects or products. In this way, users can search for certain objects – be it a couch, a vase or a wardrobe – that they have photographed with their own camera. With the help of Pinterest Lens, this product will be found if it is available through the shop. The search can also be restricted to just one image section. According to Pinterest, the search engine is able to recognize more than 2.5 billion objects in the “Home” and “Fashion” categories. With the search technology, the company wants to make browsing and shopping as easy as possible for customers so that they can shop even more through the Pinterest shop.

Trends from China

For trends in social commerce, it is worth taking a look at China. There, all-purpose messengers like the Chinese Wechat dominate the market, which enable mobile communication, gaming, shopping and payment in a single app. The active 1.1 billion Wechat users no longer need an official fast food app to order their burger. The menu is called up via the app and then ordered directly. Users who have uploaded more than ten videos to Douyin, known in this country as Tiktok, can post shoppable posts. They are either linked to the Taobao marketplace or to their own store. On Pinduoduo, with its more than 340 million active users, users gather to buy together in order to benefit from group discounts.

Under the keyword “Retailtainment” (Retail + Entertainment), many Chinese platforms ensure that users are entertained as well as possible while shopping: With short videos, cute mascots, mini-games, the free play of vouchers and extensive functions for sharing the shopping experience with his social media contacts. Western social media platforms are now emulating the Chinese apps and trying to establish e-commerce and payment systems in order to make them palatable to consumers. What is successful in Asia could soon establish itself in Germany.

This is how you increase your sales on Amazon

There are other strategies in addition to Amazon SEO to increase sales on the Amazon online marketplace . Our guest author gives four tips.

With more than 240,000 sellers, the competitive situation on Amazon’s marketplace is getting to a head. This makes it all the more important to understand the algorithm behind product placements. In this way, a profitable positioning on Europe’s largest online marketplace can be achieved in the long term.

In addition to the pay-per-click campaigns, the so-called A9 algorithm also influences the organic ranking of the products. The aim is to increase satisfaction and sales per customer.

But which factors influence product placement? How can the ranking be improved? And what influence does the conversion rate have? The following four tips will help.

Choosing the right campaign type

Depending on the structure of the Pay-Per-Click campaigns, the profit can vary greatly. In addition to higher sales figures, you can use PPC campaigns to increase brand awareness and achieve your first customer contact.

In the past, the following types of campaigns have proven successful:

Main keyword campaign

The search terms with the highest relevance are defined in the main keyword campaign. These main keywords can be identified with the help of certain tools such as Helium 10 or Junglescout. The tools provide information about the respective search volumes of the keywords.

Many Amazon sellers make the mistake of combining all of the keywords in a single campaign. However, the combination of keywords with high and low search volume leads to a cannibalization
effect : Keywords with low search volume, which definitely have high sales relevance, are not played out by keywords with high search volume. This results in unrepresentative data that make campaign optimization difficult. It is therefore advisable to split the campaigns according to search volume with an adapted budget.

Tip: In general, long-tail keywords convert better than short-tail keywords. The reason for this is that long-tail keywords pursue a specific purchase intention and competition is lower than with short-tail keywords.

Auto campaign

The auto campaign does not require any keyword definition. The algorithm places the ad by product and budget.

After two to three months, the auto campaign achieves an ACOS (Average Cost of Sale) of 20 to 35 percent. In order to have maximum control over the campaigns, the keywords under which sales were achieved can be identified under the “Search terms” tab.

These search terms can be used to set up a manual campaign that takes the best converting keywords from the auto campaign. In this way, the seller can better coordinate his campaigns, especially the display, and reach the target ACOS more quickly.

Competition campaign

A competition campaign is ideal if your own product is cheaper and ideally of higher quality than a comparable competitor product. For this, all ASINs of the competitors must be defined as search terms. This means that your own product is displayed on product pages from other competitors. The click prices are usually cheaper in the competitive campaign and therefore also lower for the ACOS. Anyone who sells a cheaper product than their competition will be able to achieve amazing results with this type of campaign.

Improve the listing

Since Amazon is a product search engine, conversion rates of up to 45 percent are not uncommon. In order to achieve high conversion rates, the listing must be optimized.

The most important Amazon SEO factors include the product title and bullet points. In third place are the downstream keywords, which can be defined as “general keywords” in the backend. The product description is given low weighting.

In all four areas, sellers should include the main keywords that are most relevant. Keyword bashing is not suitable because the customer experience suffers.

In addition, the following performance factors should be taken into account, as they are highly relevant for Amazon SEO:

  • reviews
  • Product images (1,000 x 1,000 pixels)
  • questions and answers
  • Length of stay
  • Response time to customer inquiries (maximum 24 hours)

An improvement in the performance factors has a positive effect on the click-through rate (CTR) and thus on the number of potential sales.

But be careful! A high CTR does not always achieve a higher positioning. If this worsens the conversion rate, the ranking also suffers. Therefore, the sources of external traffic should be chosen carefully.

Amazon’s Choice

Amazon’s Choice branding increases both visibility and conversion rate, as it gives the customer a feeling of security. For Amazon’s Choice branding, Amazon takes the following criteria into account:

  • Low return rate (less than 30 percent)
  • Sufficient stock
  • competitive prices
  • Increase sales under search terms that are highly relevant
  • Above-average sales history

Activation of the conversion booster

The A-Plus content is displayed instead of the product description and acts as a kind of landing page. Although the function does not have a direct effect on the ranking, it increases the conversion rate significantly, as it ultimately convinces potential customers of the product. However, A-Plus content is only available for registered trademarks. Thanks to the modular system from Amazon, you can set up an extended product description without any coding knowledge.

Conclusion

Implementing the tips not only increases sales, it also increases visibility and branding. Ultimately, the optimization of the ranking factors and PPC campaigns lead to synergy effects, which at the same time also increase the chances of a “choice” or “bestseller” positioning.

This is how customers want to pay in online shops today

Which payment methods belong in the online shop and what is really important to customers when paying? Current studies provide answers.

Customers want to pay how they want. According to current studies and surveys, the leading payment methods include PayPal, invoice, direct debit and credit card. For most customers, it is important to have an easy-to-use payment method, but preferences vary. Some love PayPal, others hate it. It is important for retailers to know and be able to serve customer preferences.

Corona crisis: Purchase on account is used more

The payment service provider Paysafe asked 8,000 consumers in Germany, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, the USA, Canada and Bulgaria about their payment habits and referred to the corona crisis.

  • 32 percent of German customers bought on account last month, compared with 23 percent in the previous year.
  • 39 percent of Austrian customers bought on account last month, compared to 24 percent in the previous year.

The customers surveyed named several payment methods, so they did not only buy on account. A possible interpretation of this change would be a growing proportion of older, conservative cohorts who previously bought less or no online shopping.

Multiple payment options are a must

In its survey, Paysafe found that German customers consider shops that offer several payment options to be particularly customer-friendly and modern. That sounds nice and soft, but in practice it has consequent consequences for sales and conversion rate.

The study “Success Factor Payment 2020” by Ibi Research shows that 72 percent of customers have a preferred payment method. If it is not offered, it is a big problem, as Forrester found in a study in March 2020 in collaboration with Bloomreach: 32 percent of customers were bothered by the fact that the preferred payment method was not available at checkout.

Paying should be easy and convenient

Customers are comfortable; If the payment data from a previous purchase is securely stored in a shop, 67 percent of German consumers are more likely to buy there again, instead of in a shop in which the payment data has to be stored again. According to the study by Ibi Research, the two leading reasons for choosing a payment method are 35 percent guaranteed buyer protection and 25 percent the ease of use of the payment method.

Customers consider the following payment methods to be simple:

  • PayPal (81 percent)
  • Invoice (62 percent)
  • Direct debit (46 percent)
  • Credit card (46 percent)

By the way, these four payment methods also lead to the question of the safest payment method.

These payment methods must be offered by online retailers

The authors of the study by Ibi Research summarize the most important findings about the payment preferences of online customers in a paragraph.

The conclusion is quickly drawn: every online retailer should use at least the four most popular payment methods. Paypal stands out most clearly. It is preferred by the majority (57 percent) of customers with a fixed preference for a payment method.

The 4 main payment methods

  • Paypal
  • invoice
  • Credit card
  • Direct debit

The suffix that customers also prefer methods that are not used that often should lead to the conclusion that other payment methods definitely belong in a retailer’s payment mix. This prevents customers from dropping out. Because according to Ibi, 60 percent of customers categorically exclude certain payment methods. These customers need alternatives.