Who Needs a Retail App?

Who Needs a Retail App_

E-Commerce Evolution

The internet has changed the way we work, the way we socialize, and the explosion of eCommerce has most definitely changed the way we shop.

Over the past decade, the evolution of both tech hardware and data networks has had a direct correlation with eCommerce. 

Powered by tech giants like Amazon, who joined the space in 1995, and later Google and Paypal who launched their eCommerce initiatives in 1998, the overall journey of online shopping is far from finished, and is undoubtably accelerating. 

Mobile Madness

If you’ve gone…well…anywhere, you’ve seen people’s eyeballs glued to their mobile devices. We have a mind-blowing amount of functionality, literally at our fingertips. You can stream digital content, order just about anything, navigate to places near and far, and of course, take selfies. 

The point is, humans are seemingly as connected physically to their devices, as the devices themselves are connected to data. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, is certainly debatable. 

Data-driven E-commerce

In 2019, e-commerce sales are expected to account for 13.7 percent of retail sales worldwide.

Digital commerce is rich with customer data that provides valuable insight into the successes and shortcomings of your e-commerce business. Capturing and analyzing this data is key to your ability to be strategically agile. Even a minor change in your tactics can sometimes yield significant positive results. 

Here are just a few of numerous key metrics that e-commerce professionals should track:

  • Revenue by traffic source
  • Average order value
  • Shopping cart abandonment rate
  • Sales conversion rate
  • Percentage of mobile visits
  • Social media engagement metrics

Analyzing such key data points empowers you to create buyer personas, understand where to increase/decrease marketing spend, identify which campaigns are impactful, and much more.

Engagement-driven E-commerce

The number one reason people shop online is that they’re able to shop at all hours of the day. (KPMG report)

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As customers, We’re more likely to spend our money on something we want, but most of us will also pay more if better service comes with it.

This isn’t a small distinction, either. You ignore it at your business’ risk.

86% of consumers will spend more if it involves a better customer experience. By 2020, customer experience is expected to become a bigger brand differentiator than price and even the products themselves.

If you want better retention and more conversions, you want to invest in engaging your customers.

  • Enable Customer Feedback and Allow for Reviews

One easy way to improve your customer engagement in e-commerce is to let your customers give feedback. Provide them with a comments section or let them leave your company ratings.

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  • Provide Easy Access to Information

Across every industry, 81% of consumers will try to help themselves before asking a live representative to do so. 90% of them will go to your site first.

You can use these facts to improve your customer engagement in e-commerce by providing your visitors with a self-service portal that offers as many resources as possible. This could include everything from buyer’s guides to an FAQ.

  • Immediately Engage Unhappy Customers

Customer churn is a serious problem. Lowering this number for your company could increase your profitability by as much as 125%.

Unfortunately, unhappy customers don’t always let you know before deciding to take their business elsewhere. For every 1 customer that complains to you, 26 don’t say a thing.

  • Increase Account Creations

Most people would rather make purchases without opening accounts. So while they give you profits, they don’t help you improve your customer engagement on your e-commerce platform.

The key here is not to look for that account creation right away.

Wait until they make that initial purchase and then offer them the opportunity to start that account. At that point, you’ve earned a bit of trust, and they’ve proven they like what you have to offer.

  • Leverage Technology 

Ikea is using augmented reality to let customers preview how furniture looks on their smartphones before they buy. 

In Ikea Place, customers can view 3-D renderings from different angles of over 2,000 products before reserving the ones they want in the app, which directs to the Ikea site to complete purchases. Currently, large furniture for living rooms such as sofas, armchairs and storage units are available to preview in the app, with more products in the pipeline.

Aside from the ‘cool factor’, empowering customers with the latest retail technology is an impactful way to engage and most importantly, retain them. 

Whether data, engagement, or both, are your focus for leveraging e-commerce and mobile commerce, you need the tools to do it

Take Shoppable Instagram Outside of Instagram

Take Shoppable Instagram Outside of Instagram

What on Earth is Shoppable Instagram?

Before I talk about taking shoppable Instagram outside of Instagram, let’s take a step back to talk about what shoppable Instagram IS, to establish a foundation.

If you’ve never heard of shoppable Instagram, there is enough of a context clue in the name itself that you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it enables your customers to shop directly from your Instagram feed. 

Why is This Important? 

Omni-channel shopping is an increasingly-important strategy for retailers and brands.

Omni-channel is built on multiple methods of promoting and distributing products, such as physical stores, websites and mobile apps, and allowing customers to reach out with problems or concerns by phone, email, web chat and social media, for example.

With mobile commerce overtaking e-commerce, it makes sense to be able to put your products in front of your customers in the easiest way possible.

Shopping on Instagram enables you to tag up to five products per image or up to twenty products per carousel and allow your followers with a simple tap to buy these products from your online shop.

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Taking it a Step Further

The NEW Sandbox Commerce Social tier empowers you take your shoppable Instagram posts and use them on your e-commerce page, in a blog, or wherever you create content. The look and feel of shopping direct from your Instagram page, will be extended to more customers, which ultimately leads to, more revenue

Social Selling Tips

Social Selling Tips

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.

Social selling is not just about gaining access to contacts but about building relationships and listening for the right moment to join the conversation so you can present yourself as a solution to a problem. 

Who is Using Social Selling?

These days? Just about everyone, INCLUDING YOUR COMPETITORS.

You would be mistaken to think of social selling as a ‘trend’ that’s likely to disappear anytime soon. It won’t. In fact, given that it’s largely free to use, and extremely simple to reach far and wide, it’s arguable that social selling could be THE best way to reach potential customers.

A Few Social Selling Tips

Helpful Tips
  • BE PERSONABLE – Just because social selling is done online, does not mean there’s no personal touch. Don’t just ‘like’, but also reply to your customer’s comments, Do so, with language that reflects you actually hear them. Avoid using cookie-cutter responses or chat bots. 
  • LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING – Pay attention to what gets posted and what people are conversing about on your social media pages. This is a valuable opportunity to learn not only about likes/dislikes, but gain an understanding about customer needs/wants, as well as potential problems you may be able to solve with your goods/services.
  • PROVIDE VALUE – As tempting as it may be, Social Selling is not about pitching product. This doesn’t mean you can never mention your goods/services, but if you come across too “sales-y’, it can be a quick way to run people off. Your goal should be to contribute valuable information that can help establish you as an expert in your field. Write posts that share important knowledge, but don’t be afraid to share relevant posts from others as well. 

As a final tip, use multiple social media platforms. You may find that a large segment of your customers gravitates towards a particular platform, but don’t get too narrowly-focused that you miss out on potential new customers. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram (to name a few) can and should be leveraged to engage your customers.

Sandbox Commerce One-on-one Launch Support

Launch Support

We view our customers as strategic partners. We’re mutually connected to your success. This is why we want to make sure you hit the ground running, so to speak, when you’re ready to launch your awesome new app!

Although our drag-and-drop functionality is designed to be very user-friendly, we’re aware that some guidance may be necessary. This is why you have a dedicated Customer Success Manager aligned with you.

Your CSM will build the first version of your app for review, and provide continuous support and guidance along the way. 

  • App Design Assistance
  • App Marketing Strategies
    • Social Media Campaign Ideas
    • Newsletters
    • Promotions and Special Offers
  • Rapid Issue Resolution
  • Dedicated Point of Contact
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Whether you’re a small business, or large enterprise, we offer solutions to fit your mobile commerce business strategy. Let us show you what we can do for you! 

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                                               Schedule a Demo

NEW Sandbox Commerce Social Tier!

NEW Sandbox Commerce Social Tier! (1)

Sandbox Commerce empowers you to leverage omni-channel shopping thru shoppable Instagram content.

Turn your Instagram and user-generated content (UGC) into shoppable galleries for your online store and other channels

Integrate fully customized shoppable Instagram & UGC galleries into any location within you online store. Choose between different gallery styles that can live on your homepage, as dedicated content pages, within product pages, on collections pages, or anywhere else you’d like.

Why use UGC?

Consumers trust online content created by their peers above all other forms of advertising. Your most loyal customers routinely post photos and videos that feature your products. Our platform will help you put that content at the forefront of their shopping experience.

Rest assured, this is not a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ trend. This is an integral part of the future of digital commerce. By leveraging this powerful form of social shopping, you create a powerful new revenue stream with minimal effort. 

*** Sandbox Social is currently only available for users of Shopify ***

REGISTER TO WIN ‘SANDBOX SOCIAL’ FREE FOR SIX MONTHS!

Simple But Effective Ways to Promote Your Retail App

Simple But Effective Ways to Promote Your Retail App

You’ve launched a cool new app, and now the money starts rolling in! Right?

Not if no one knows about it!

Here are 6 things you can do to let people know about your app:

  • Host a giveaway. With a service like Rafflecopter.com you can create special prizes and raffle them away to those who download your app, and share a post about the raffle on social media.
  • Promote in all your communications. Include links to your app website, blog, and social media channels in your email signature. 
  • Link in your business cards. Add a short code or a scanable code to your business cards so that people can download your app faster.
  • Delivery Inserts. You could include a small card or slip of paper with a customer’s order that gives a discount code for their next purchase if they use the app. 
  • Offer Exclusive Content. Make certain items available ‘In App Only’. 
  • Run an ad campaign on Facebook. Get installs off of people’s newsfeeds.

Remember, an app isn’t a ‘magic wand’ to create new business. It’s merely a value-added extension of your business. The most likely people to download your app will be your most loyal customers. With that in mind, focus on delivering great products, at a fair price, with great customer service, and you’ll build an army of evangelists.

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Push Notification Tips for Mobile Commerce

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One of the key advantages of a mobile app for your e-commerce store, is the ability to connect with your customers on a more personal, direct level. Push notifications are a powerful tool to get customers’ attention, but there’s a limit. By this I mean that you have to be strategic with the content and frequency of them, so as not to annoy customers, and drive them away.

WHAT ARE PUSH NOTIFICATIONS?

If you use apps on your mobile device, you’ve certainly seen them. Amazon Prime uses them very effectively. 

Push notifications do not require a particular application to be open on a device for the message to be received by the end user, so a smartphone user can see notifications even when their phone is locked, or an app is not running.

The end user must opt-in to receive push notifications from a given application. An application usually makes the opt-in request on its initial installation, and the user may always grant or revoke consent for notifications at any time.

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Because people can disable push notifications, it is crucial to offer benefits for keeping them enabled. For example, ride sharing apps have high opt-in rates because users want to receive notifications about driver locations, special deals, and more. Social media apps as well as apps that provide news content have lower opt-in rates.

Here are some ways to increase sales on your mobile commerce app.

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Step 1 : Your Customers Need to ‘Opt-In’. 

The most effective way is to show them the value in allowing you to send them notifications. Let them know that as soon as they opt-in, they will be receiving offers and discounts directly to them that no one else gets. No one likes to pass up “free money”. Once you have them opted in, deliver.

Notify Customers About Limited Time Sales

As you promised, send subscribers push notifications for sales and discounts. To inspire more immediate action, make them time sensitive. You can create “flash sales” that last a day and send your subscribers a code and a link directly back to your site so they can use it right away. Include a countdown in your push notification to add a sense of urgency. If you can, make them visual with a little graphic or photos of items as they are more likely to get higher engagement rates. Remind potential customers what’s waiting for them at your site and make sure your notifications are like “gifts” and not annoying updates with little value.

Announce new products with push notifications:

Even your most loyal customers may not actively visit the app often enough to keep up with every new product that is released. This is another way that push notifications add value, without coming across as overly-intrusive. As a “thank you” to your customers who download your app, you can even announce new products to them, before anyone else. It’s another way to add a touch of exclusivity to app users, thus creating the incentive to not only download and use your app, but also keep it on their phone. 

Mobile devices are a huge part of our everyday lives, and you should think of screen space as real estate. People download apps that offer entertainment, valuable information, and value. Make sure you provide compelling reasons for your customers to download your app, and make them glad they did!

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Increasing Mobile Conversions

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Nearly 2 billion people will make purchases from a mobile device in 2019, with about 95% of those conducting research from their device prior to completing a checkout. About $1 of every $4 generated in ecommerce comes from mobile, with annual spending exceeding $35 billion.

While mobile’s average conversion rate is just 0.55%, as compared to desktop’s 2.06%, average order value exceeds $100 across all devices (tablets and smartphones). Around 59% of smartphone and tablet users conduct research on their devices, with 59% of them planning to make the final purchase from the same device.

Interestingly, mobile users spend 59% of their time shopping versus closing the sale only 15% of the time, as compared to desktop users, who spend 41% of their time shopping versus closing the sale 85% of the time.

What explains the difference?  

One likelihood is the nature of mobile use itself. It’s quick and convenient enough to browse an online retailer, but users may be in the middle of a workday, or some other distraction causes them to abandon their visit before completing a purchase. 

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Mobile shopping also has a limited amount of real estate (screen size) to work with, so it’s vital that the experience be as simple, yet detailed enough to not only pique interest, but encourage order submission. 

Here are a few things mobile retailers can do, to increase conversions:

Personalize: This is the age of personalization.

Use data you have gleaned about the consumer to suggest items they are likely to be interested in purchasing. (Ex: Amazon recommendations)

Create a sense of urgency: If an item is on sale for a short period of time, a countdown clock can be very powerful

Reminding consumers of shipping deadlines is also effective, especially during the holiday season.

Make registration easy: Offer guest or social media-based log-ins.

The less information a shopper has to manually enter, the better. Also, if they do forget a required field, make sure they’re not forced to start from scratch to re-enter all the info again. Speaking of information…by enabling social media log-ins, you access a treasure chest of information that can help you with personalization for future visits.

No nasty surprises: One of the biggest causes for cart abandonment is the discovery of hidden charges such as postal fees and taxes. Such charges can make your deal seem like not much of a bargain.

A cart recovery message, however, can be a good opportunity to remind shoppers of any click–and-collect or alternative delivery options you offer.

Reassure: Before the buyer commits to the sale, there is usually a moment of hesitation. You can ease those fears by giving reassurance with a recovery message that points out your returns policy, any money-back guarantees you offer and if you ship for free.

Mobile will inevitably surpass desktop buying, but it’s imperative that retailers continuously find ways to optimize the experience. Not only for potential new customers, but especially, your most loyal customers. 

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You Don’t Need a 6-figure Budget for an Awesome Mobile App

You Dont Need a 6-figure Budget for an Awesome Mobile App! (1)

Mobile, mobile, mobile. Everywhere you go, people are glued to their mobile devices. You’re probably reading this on a mobile device.

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If you run an e-commerce business, you know the appeal of convenience for your customers to buy their favorite products online. Technology has revolutionized the buying experience. Laps up and down store aisles are replaced by scrolls and swipes, and let’s not forget the tantalizing appeal of ‘instant checkout’. 

So, what’s holding you back from launching your own app?

It’s expensive! Right? Well…sometimes.

If you spent a ton, you’d expect high quality, but do you HAVE to spend a ton to get it?

Let’s first talk a bit about some key features that make great mobile commerce apps.

1) Ease of use:

No-brainer here. In the digital age, people have little patience for fumbling around with a clunky app. 

2) Personalization:

The ability to capture user data (‘Sign in with your Facebook account’) enables targeted, meaningful connections with your customers.

Mobile customers don’t have the time or desire to enter tons of data.

3) Flash Sales & Discounts:

This is typically the main incentive for a customer to download a dedicated app for your store.

4) Fast & Secure Checkout:

Customers want the peace of mind that their data is safe

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These of course, are only a few examples. You are missing out on the opportunity to engage with your most loyal customers, and make more money by leveraging mobile commerce.

So, where does Sandbox Commerce come into play? 

We connect with your existing Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or 3d Cart store, and create an engaging, intuitive, powerful, mobile commerce app.

WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK!  < Sandbox Commerce Pricing > 

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Build Your App!

The Power of Customer Loyalty Programs for E-Commerce

The Power of Customer Loyalty Programs for E-Commerce

Did you know it costs a business about 5-25X more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one?

Not only that, but existing customers spend 67% more than new customers. In short, customer loyalty really pays off — and customer loyalty programs end up paying for themselves.

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If your main focus is getting more new customers, but you neglect the one’s who support you most, how do you think that’s going to impact your business?

You’ve probably seen real-life examples of this. Maybe you’ve been a long-time cable/internet customer who spends $150/month on services, only to find out that Mr/Mrs. New Customer can get the SAME thing for $99/month. Doesn’t make a very good impression, does it?

So, now you’re thinking, “I get it, but HOW can I build customer loyalty into my e-commerce store”

I’m glad you asked!

One great way, is with Yotpo

With Yotpo’s Loyalty and Referral tools, you’ll reward your customers for the actions that have the most impact on your business with a variety of customizable campaign programs.

Now that you have a starting point, go show some love to the customers who love you!

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”- Sam Walton