shopping

Black Friday – A Worldwide Phenomenon

Black Friday is a quite new sales and marketing institution for Europeans, which has gained huge success in Europe during the last couple of years. Especially in the e-commerce area it gained resounding success.

Originally imported from the USA, Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is always the fourth Thursday in November.

MichaelBlack Friday – A Worldwide Phenomenon
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Why are online shops still so static like websites in the 90s?

Let’s be honest: there really should be more innovation here. Besides some popular positive examples like ABOUT YOU (http://www.aboutyou.de) or Amazon the vast majority of online shops look more or less identical like yesterday, last week, last month: boring product lists wherever you look, static CMS pages where the only dynamic thing is the annoying newsletter box that pops up.
From my consulting experience in the last years I’ve learned, that in most cases shop design relaunches are only done every few years. Due to costs or low priority the online shop is not seen as a continuous optimization process but rather a one-time investment.

ChrisWhy are online shops still so static like websites in the 90s?
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Comparing offline and online product recommendations

Many Magento shops offer product recommendations like the well-known “Customers who bought this also bought”. Everyone knows these recommendations from various global e-commerce players. The product recommendations are generated by several sources like e.g. the clicks and sales of a customer compared to the masses – which means to other customers in a shop.

Let’s adapt this special kind of product recommendations to the offline world and use a clothing shop as an example. Think of a visit in an offline shoe store. You enter the shop and look around for finding the right shoe. Eventually you don’t even want to buy something but just poke around for some inspiration.

How do you get your recommendations in an offline store?
You’re looking around and you will mostly find a standard categorization for different kinds of shoes: sport shoes, high heels, loafers etc. – on the right side for ladies and on the left for men. Eventually you find some marketing banners hanging from the ceiling and making special offers. This classical way of finding the right product is very well known to all of us and is approved for many decades. This phisically quite exhausting offline shopping experience is also supported by not overexerting us with thousands of different shoes.
Compared to the online world this seems to be a very complicated way of finding the right shoes. But the huge difference is that you normally don’t have this immense mass of different shoes compared to most online shops. This mass of products makes the big difference why you need to get products recommended which are matching your personal profile. If you don’t know what you want you can get lost and overstrained very quickly. In the offline world it is much easier to get along with the offered product range.

Personal contact is very important
The main advantage of the offline shopping experience is the personal advices you get by the more or less self confident customer consultants. If you like her or him and the advices are matching and presented nicely, the chance of buying is much higher.
In the online world automatic product recommendations can do some of the jobs of an offline shop customer consultant. And they can even learn more about the customer and improve their advices. Also the huge bunch of different products can be an advantage because every kind of customer type can be catched. And the poking customers are also still known when they visit your online shop the next time to really buy something.

A possible conclusion
Both worlds have their advantages. Of course. But more and more customers around the globe appreciate the online experience with a much bigger product range and a comfortable way of comparing products. Great personalized product recommendations like “Customers who bought this also bought” can be a very helpful way for customers browsing through large product catalogues and also for shop owners to offer the right and matching products. Or even upsell other products compared to a selected product.

MichaelComparing offline and online product recommendations
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January until March – the worst months for e-commerce?

January, February and March are really hard months. After the Christmas holidays we all have to get back to work. The weather is cold and wet and the days are short and dark.
But the months January until March are not only hard months for us but also for e-commerce companies, aren’t they?

MichaelJanuary until March – the worst months for e-commerce?
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Once bought, forever haunted

Not long ago someone told me: “Once, at Christmas 2009, I bought the movie Austin Powers for a friend of mine in the probably most known online shop out there. Since then, this shop recommends Mike Myer films via email and online to me – every single year during Christmas time. What’s up with them? I don’t even like Mike Myers!”.
Yes, this is probably an issue that everyone of us knows quite well. We regularly buy birthday presents for our family and friends. And afterwards online shops “think” that we bought this stuff for ourselves.

MichaelOnce bought, forever haunted
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