Posts tagged inSite
The following excerpt, from the article Whose answers do shoppers want – brands’ or consumers’ – online and in stores?, was written by Tara DeMarco and published on Bazaarvoice.com. Read the full article for more information on how to handle different categories of customers seeking information and how to increase your retention rate.
Unanswered questions keep shoppers from buying. Over half (56%) of consumers will leave a retail site if they have questions about a product and the merchant doesn’t provide assistance. Smart retailers now offer consumer Q&A, letting shoppers ask questions on product pages. Shoppers who read it show 94% higher conversion – and 161% higher conversion when they read Q&A in combination with reviews.
But how do you know from whom shoppers want an answer – consumers or brand reps? And how can brands and retailers deliver the desired answers – both online and off?
Seeking questions vs. discussion questions
The type of answer a shopper wants has everything to do with the type of question they asked – and is often tied to the product category.
Seeking questions ask for product-specific use cases, and look for facts rather than opinions. “Does this hotel offer free wifi?” “Does the rear-view camera in this SUV come standard?” Seeking questions are most common in expensive and complex product categories. Our study found that most questions asked in automotive (81%), travel (79%), and consumer electronics (79%) were seeking questions.
Discussion questions, on the other hand, ask other consumers to weigh in with subjective opinions, often at the category level. “What brand of diapers do you recommend for newborns?” “I have sensitive skin, does this sweater’s fabric get itchy?” These questions are often found in commodity categories, allowing more room for personal opinions. Our study found that most questions in CPG (64%), retail (58%), and general manufacturing (53%) were discussion questions.
Because retail-related questions tend to be in the discussion section, we’ve included the information that DeMarco cites on how to handle them below. View the full article for more information on how your store can best respond to seeking questions.
For online discussers: Foster active C2C Q&A communities
Brand answers to some discussion questions will have value; for example, “Which shade of eye shadow looks best with blue eyes?” Providing expert opinions to these queries fosters a helpful and knowledgeable brand image. But often, consumers ask “Which brand is best?” type questions, making answers from brands less trusted.
To influence these shoppers, brands and retailers should focus heavily on fostering peer-to-peer discussion communities amongst their customers – especially in categories prone to discussion questions. Follow up purchases with an email, inviting customers back to the site to share their trusted, first-hand product knowledge with shoppers. After a consumer answers a question or submits a review, never leave them at a dead end; once someone contributes, they’re more likely to contribute again. Take them to a thank you page that includes a few more related, unanswered questions.
For in-store discussers: Connect them with consumer opinions via mobile and store signage
In-store shoppers with subjective, opinion-based questions might be less likely to ask a store associate for help. And even those with seeking questions may prefer finding answers themselves – 73% of shoppers prefer to handle “simple tasks” on their smartphones in stores rather than speaking to an employee.
Recognizing this desire among shoppers to answer their own questions via mobile rather than ask for human help, Samsung brings richer product information into stores through QR codes, says Sten:
“We’ve used learnings [from Q&A] to build out richer assets that address the things that we’re finding out that people need to know. So we use that feedback loop to create better content on our end and then bring it in more effectively. We’ve played around with QR codes on displays… Digital is much more efficient way of adding to that story.”
Use QR and barcodes on signage in aisles and on product packaging to encourage shoppers to read Q&A via mobile in stores, and learn from questions asked to improve packaging, store signage, web copy, and more.
Answering a shopper question can give them that last bit of information they need in order to make a confident purchase. Brands that fill information gaps everywhere – online and in stores, via brand reps or consumers – will win more sales.
Google Analytics has recently revamped its design, giving it not only a cleaner look but also updated data sets. You can now find everything from real-time stats to details about which mobile device your site visitors come from.
Though the data possibilities seem endless, Google Analytics product manager Phil Mui says the design reflects three core metrics: acquisition, engagement and outcome. Let’s take a closer look at what these numbers mean and how you can track them with one of the most widely used web analytics platforms.
The lowest-hanging fruit of web analytics is counting metrics. This data encompasses the number of visitors that come to your site and can be filtered to show what sites they’re coming from and how many of them have or haven’t been to your site before. In Google Analytics, this is described as “Visits.”
The tool has long provided information about where your visitors are coming from (geographically and on the web), what language they speak, how often they visit your site and what computers and browsers they use to get there. More recently, Google Analytics released mobile reporting. As people increasingly access the web from smartphones and tablets, this information is key to optimizing your site for those looking at it from a mobile device. This and most visitor-specific information can be found under the Audience tab. On report pages, the Visits metric can be found in the upper-left, while New Visits — the percentage of visitors coming to your site for the first time — is second in from the right.
Measuring how many people are coming to your site is the most cut and dried — but it’s only one piece of the metrics pie.
These numbers consider the quality of your site traffic. Once visitors come to your site, they’ll do one of three things: read the page they came to, click to more pages beyond their entry page, or leave. Engagement metrics focus on these actions visitors are taking once they get to your site — and how good you are at keeping them there.
The three key engagement metrics in Google Analytics are:
- Pages per Visit: This is the average number of pages a visitor views when coming to your website. The more engaging your site is, the more inclined visitors will be to continue clicking beyond the entry page.
- Average Time on Site: This refers to the typical amount of time visitors spend on your site, despite whether they continue to stay on the page they came in on or navigate elsewhere within your domain.
- Bounce Rate: This represents the percentage of single-page visits to your site. It gives you a sense of how many visitors left your site from the entrance page rather than clicking further into your site as compared to total visitors. Like Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate can help you determine the performance of your entry pages based on the actions visitors take (or don’t take) after they’ve arrived on your site.
Engagement metrics are especially important for reports created in the Traffic Sources and Content tabs. On report pages, Pages per Visit and Average Time on site are located at the top middle of report pages, while Bounce Rate is at the far right.
So, how do you know if your site is “engaging?” Ask yourself: Is your site user-friendly? How simple is it for a visitor to click to the next page? Is there interactive content in which your readers can participate? Does landing page content match the keywords in its title? Considering these questions when designing your site is a surefire way to improve the quality of your web traffic.
The Goals area is where your data tracking can really help you make a difference. These outcome-oriented metrics help you dive deeper into your site performance and learn whether you’re achieving what you want with your website.
The first step is defining your business objectives: Are you driving visitors to make online purchases? Getting them to view a specific piece of content? Aiming for more newsletter signups? Once you’ve pinned down your site goals, make sure your site administrator enables Goals in Google Analytics in the Account Settings page. Then you can choose one of four Goal types to track:
- URL destination: This metric is best if your goal is to get visits to a key page of your site, such as your homepage or a post-purchase message page.
- Time on Site: If you’re looking to measure engagement, this will track visitors spending a defined amount of time on your site.
- Pages per Visit: Also important for engagement, Pages per Visit will keep tabs on a defined number of pages visitors view in a session on your site.
- Events: Released in the most recent version of Google Analytics, Event Goals allow you to track specific actions visitors are taking on a page. This includes anything from downloading a PDF to watching a video.
Goals reports can be found under the Conversions tab, which will provide information about goal completions and conversion rates. You can opt to track goal value and abandonment rates (the percentage of visitors who fail to convert on the goal) as well.
If you’re an online retailer, it may make more sense for you to set up Ecommerce in Google Analytics, which allows you to track transactions and order values. It’s a more complicated setup process, but will provide more actionable metrics for visitors’ purchasing behavior on your site. For Google Adwords users, linking your account to Google Analytics goals can help you keep a closer eye on your marketing campaigns.
The following informative article offers a great perspective on upcoming trends that apply to this year’s fall rush. The information was published on InternetRetailer.com and was written by Thad Rueter, Senior Editor. Click here to view the article.
Smartphones and social networks will play prime roles in back-to-school shopping this year, according to a new survey from Deloitte LLP.
The consulting and accounting firm says that 64% of consumers with web-enabled smartphones will use the devices for back-to-school shopping; 61% will use their mobile devices to find the best prices for school products. 43% of consumers will use their smartphones to download discounts, coupons and sales information; 37% to locate a retail store; 29% to receive product information; and 25% to access a retailer’s web site.
“Price-conscious and time-constrained, consumers are navigating virtual and physical storefronts to get the information they want quickly and easily,” says Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Deloitte’s retail & distribution sector leader. “Retailers need to respond with an integrated experience. In short, they must unite the store with their online and mobile channels to enable consumers to easily access product availability, promotions and information.”
Deloitte based its findings on surveys conducted between July 5 and July 11 of 1,000 parents of children in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The survey offered no historical data about smartphone use during the back-to-school shopping season.
But Deloitte did find that more consumers will turn to social networks this year for back-to-school shopping. 35% of parents who took part in the survey plan to use social networking sites during their shopping, up from 29% last year. Most parents—69%—will use social media to sniff out promotions, while 44% will use the likes of Facebook to browse products. 28% will seek out product reviews and recommendations via social media. 12% will watch product or retailer videos, while 9% say they will use social networks to post comments and reviews about back-to-school products.
To stay up to speed on these new back-to-school trends, here are some of MBS’ suggestions:
•Integrate QR Codes onto shelf-talkers or in-store signs with additional product information. Learn how.
•Place price comparison information on your inSite e-commerce page through the MBS-Verba integration.
•Talk with your inSite Client Representative about enabling the newly enhanced mobile capabilities of your inSite page.
•Ensure your location information is easily searchable on websites such as Yelp.
Google Inc. and Twitter released separate tools this week that make it easier for retailers to reach online shoppers. The Google feature lets consumers influence the search results their friends will see on Google, including promoting products they like, while Twitter’s new tool makes it easier for consumers to receive messages from their favorite e-retailers.
Google today made available code that enables any web site to add a +1 recommendation button to any web page. When Google launched the +1 recommendation tool in March, it allowed web users to indicate they like a particular Google search result, similar to the way Facebook members use that social network’s Like button. +1 recommendations are reflected in the search results that other consumers see and are one of the signals used to calculate organic search results on Google.
Google says consumers will soon see the +1 button on Best Buy and Nordstrom e-retail sites. “With a single click, you can recommend that raincoat, news article or favorite sci-fi movie to friends, contacts and the rest of the world,” Google says in a blog post announcing the expansion of +1.
Meanwhile, microblogging social network Twitter also released web code this week that makes it easier and faster for consumers to start following e-retailers’ Twitter posts. E-retailers that embed a Twitter “follow” button on their sites enable consumers logged into their Twitter accounts to subscribe to the e-retailer’s posts. Previously, to subscribe to a feed, consumers had to visit an e-retailer’s Twitter page and click to subscribe to the feed. Adding the new code makes it possible to bypass that step and keep the consumer on the e-retail site.
“For publishers and brands, adding the follow button to your web site and using Twitter to stay connected with your audience is a powerful combination. People who follow your account are much more likely to retweet and engage with your tweets, and to repeatedly visit your web site,” says a Twitter blog post announcing the follow button.
Webmasters can configure a follow button for their website by visiting the resources section of Twitter.com.
Did you know that adding these new features and other social plug-ins, for that matter, to your inSite page is as simple as copy and paste?
Once you copy the code provided by the social network of your choice, you can paste it within your e-commerce site using the design module of inSite Content Manager (iCM) Design Editor. You can add a like, follow, or +1 button, and even embed the Facebook status RSS feed to display on your website.
Along with this capability, we’ve also embedded our own social feature, “Add This,” within the platform. When enabled, this optional feature allows students to interact with your site by selecting the merchandise they like, and sharing it with their friends.
With 340 available social networking sites to choose from, “Add This” makes it easy to spread the word about your favorite merchandise, products, or services with the click of a button.
Even better, this interactive feature provides analytics to help your store determine its most popular items. To activate this function, simply navigate to the Social Networking Options menu within the iCM Design Editor.
To add any of these features, contact your inSite Client Representative for more information and assistance with making your website social!
As e-commerce and social media continue to grow, one thing is clear: your customers want instant access to the information they’re looking for more than ever before. So it’s no surprise that Quick Response, or QR, codes, are quickly catching on and becoming a popular retail trend in 2011.
Scannable from any smartphone, these two-dimensional barcodes direct an audience to a
designated message, website, or other piece of digital content, and can also activate phone functions such as email, IM and SMS. Though they may look a little overwhelming, QR Codes are an easy and effective method your store can implement to meet your customers’ needs and boost sales. Don’t know how? Let us help.
The first step in any new marketing strategy is always planning. Your store should decide what the purpose of your new promotion will be, how you will implement and track your progress, and most importantly, how it will benefit your store. There are lots of options when it comes to QR Codes, so explore different methods and see which will be the best fit before deciding.
Here’s a basic checklist of questions to consider in the planning phase:
•Who is my target audience?
•What is my goal? (provide information, increase traffic, enhance customer service, increase sales)
•Where do I want to direct my code? (URL, Google Map, Contact Information, Email Address, SMS, Text, RSS Feed)
•What type of marketing materials will I put my code on?
•What tactics will I use to distribute these materials? Where will they be distributed?
•How will I track my success?
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to get to work! There’s a never-ending list of services that create QR Codes, free of charge, based on your store’s needs. You can start by searching for ‘QR Code Generator’ and browsing for your own, or go straight to the
For the more adventurous, Kerem Erkan, another code generator, allows you to explore more innovative options such as linking to your foursquare location or even encoding a specific user’s last tweet. This service also offers options for further customization with the ability to change the background and foreground colors as well as the margin size. But, ensure your code sticks to the basic formula of a light-colored background and a darker foreground. Always ensure your code is scannable by downloading a QR Reader and testing before placing on any marketing materials.
After selecting a service, simply fill in the required information prompted by the Generator to create your customized QR Code. You can save your code to the computer to print on business cards or signs, or use its permalink to embed on your website or social media site.
MBS makes it easy for you to link QR Codes to your most relevant content by supporting mobile shopping on the inSite platform.
“Your store can create QR Codes for specific products on your inSite web store, as well for any webpage,” explained Carol York, MBS Requirements Analyst.
iPhone, Android and other mobile devices are all supported, but stores should check with their inSite Client Representative for the specific URL used to create the barcode, as they may be slightly different, she advised.
Now that you’re up to speed on how to create a QR Code, here are some innovative ways to incorporate them into your store:
•Increase Your Numbers: Use services such as likify to create a QR Code that points users to a landing page containing a fully-functioning ‘Like’ button linked to your Facebook Page, or direct students to your opt-in webpage to sign up even more participants in your Loyalty Program.
•Talk the Talk: Create customized shelf-talkers for your most popular textbook titles to provide students with a seamless experience. By linking these QR Codes to your inSite page, complete with MBS-Verba Software Integration, your students will be able to see real-time price comparisons between your store and top competitors so they don’t have to shop around. This strategy greatly increases customer loyalty and keeps the sale in your store, providing commission on any competitor sales.
•Answer Questions: Have a large store? Give your students the customer service they deserve by posting stations in various high-traffic areas with text reading, “Have a Question? Scan Me!” Direct your code to load a phone number into the students’ phone, allowing them to call a specific help line equipped with a dedicated customer service employee who can answer their questions. This approach reduces customer frustrations and takes stress off sales floor employees who may be occupied at that moment.
•Extend Your Hours: Create a QR Code on a window cling instructing students to ‘Shop Online Now’ and hang it on your front display or door. Students arriving after closing will then be able to scan the code, directing them to your e-commerce inSite page. This lets
them easily locate the product they need, converting an otherwise passive consumer, who would have likely gone on to the next store, to take immediate action with the power to make a purchase.
•Green Your Product Information: Kirkwood Community College Bookstore uses QR Codes as an eco-friendly alternative to take-away flyers. The store decided to save some trees by marketing their electronic products with QR Codes that allow smartphone users to view spec. sheets as well as product information on a bookmarked webpage from their mobile device.
Check back tomorrow for a financially savvy strategy that will save your store money on QR code marketing! A new summer discount is available to businesses and we’re giving you all the info you need to take advantage of this great deal!
Portland Community College Bookstore strives to support the college mission by providing exceptional service, reasonably priced items and an overall desire to help students in any way they can. However, with 4 metropolitan campuses, their mission is no easy task. That’s why, for the past 19 years, they have worked alongside MBS to stay on the cutting edge and expand their store with the latest technology.
“We originally chose MBS because they had the best products for a multi-campus environment,” explained Laurie Bales, bookstore manager. “Now, with a student credit FTE of over 26,000, our business has fortunately grown quickly. MBS has proven to be able to help us navigate this growth and become more efficient and effective.”
To best meet the needs of their large student body, the store implements only the most innovative programs and services. “We use inSite for the web and faculty adoptions, and were part of a pilot program, offered at only 10 schools in the nation, when eBooks were first introduced,” she said. “Our online presence has helped us serve our distance learning students better.”
Even with these in place, PCC Bookstore still has to be mindful of growth and maintaining the capacity to service any increase in demand. That’s why one of their main concerns is finding new ways to continually bring value to the institution as course materials evolve.
A suite of MBS Systems solutions, including TextAid, T2, A/R, GM and GL modules, as well as the touch screen MBS POS terminals, have helped the store overcome this issue. In fact, with these applications in place, PCC Bookstore found compliance with HEOA to be relatively easy using the MBS system. “We were already in a position to offer students the information they needed for their course materials and the costs associated with them,” added Bales.
Additionally, the store incorporates MBS programs to assist in its sustainability initiative, using One Planet Books to recycle titles not purchased at buyback. They then donate all commission earned on those books to the Phi Theta Kappa chapter on campus.
Based on their continued success, PCC Bookstore now considers MBS to be a strategic partner in accomplishing their long-term goals. “While each store will always have their own priorities, MBS listens and prioritizes their users’ needs. They are receptive and responsive, which makes a good partner,” Bales explained.
Moreover, as a store that prides itself on innovation, PCC Bookstore upholds the same values as MBS. “MBS devotes a lot of resources to research and has a proven track record in innovation. They aren’t satisfied to rest on their laurels; they continue to look to the future and what’s coming next. ” she said. “inSite, rental programs, hosted websites, Xplana, Mobile POS, and partnerships with companies like Verba are just some of these examples.”
The same can clearly be said for PCC Bookstore who, even with their current retail success, is always looking for further ways to improve. “We want to position ourselves to be relevant through product mix, convenience, and being a resource for our campus community,” Bales added. “From network constraints to online offerings and knowledgeable staff, we need to continue to evaluate our position.”
To other college retailers looking for ways to enhance their store’s success, Bales suggests attending the annual MBS Systems Users Symposium offered every fall. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for store staff to learn and network,” she explained.
As for the future, PCC Bookstore has no plans to slow down anytime soon. Next, they plan to pursue some of MBS’s newest online solutions. “We are seriously investigating using the MBS Hosting Model, to remove our store back-office server. This service will ultimately save us time, money and worry! Updates will be done automatically, security will be ensured and maintenance costs should go down,” said Bales. “We are also investigating mobile POS. The opportunity for us to go to events on campus and sell bookstore items would be a big asset.”
To implement any of these Systems and Wholesale services in your store, talk with your MBS representative or send questions to email@example.com. To Pre-Register for this year’s Symposium, click here.
inSite Content Manager now offers a flexible, modular page layout to help customize your online store. We have completely redesigned the file interface for images and documents that allow you to add content to any page with ease. These innovative enhancements also allow you to customize additional navigation options, including submenus and design your store with full CSS support. When you enable the new inSite Content Manger, it will not simply change your existing site, but rather allow you to maintain your current store while building an improved iCM site.
University of Wisconsin-Madison recently enhanced their store’s site using the inSite Content Manager and saw immediate benefits to the updated system.
“Utilizing the inSite Content Manager feature has helped us provide a very user-friendly site to our customers,” explains Pat McGowan, President of University Book Stores at University of Wisconsin–Madison. “MBS inSite is very flexible allowing us to promote the items we want so our customers see the most relevant items first. Whenever we have questions, we know we can call the MBS support team to help us solve our business challenges.”
Contact your inSite or Systems Sales Representative today to get started enhancing your store’s site!