RevLifter’s RevUp webinars review eCommerce's current state of play and give some ideas and actionable advice to help improve results.
For our August RevUp webinar Leigha Beynsberger, Customer Success Director at RevLifter, took us through some interesting data, intelligent concepts, and offer and campaign ideas.
You can watch the full session recording, or if you prefer to read it, read the summary.
What’s the current state of play in eCommerce?
We see a relatively consistent uplift from 2018 - 2020, after which there was a marked increase, which, as we all know, is the positive uplift in online purchases during the pandemic.
From 2020 to 2023 the uplift returns to pre-pandemic levels, and we’ll probably see an ongoing increase as we progress through the next few years.
Let’s look more at the trends we’ve seen across the market. COVID saw the start of a revenue increase for retailers as more people steered away from brick-and-mortar stores and were impacted by restrictions.
That spike continued through 2021 until the rollout of vaccination programs which saw a revenue decline as people moved back to some sense of normality and could shop according to their previous patterns - a mix of online and in-store.
Despite 2022 seeing pandemic restrictions lifted in the UK, the invasion of Ukraine meant further economic turbulence and a downward trend in spending.
While there is no hiding from broader socio and economic pressures, we can see consistent behavior across the year. We’re in August, and if trends maintain, we should look at a positive purchase spike throughout the end of the year.
The amazing IMRG (we’re members! Go check them out!) look at a sample of data from around 200 retailers and aggregates their results to give us insight into the overall funnel averages we see here.
As we’d expect, the add-to-bag portion here is the lowest, and this begs the question of what we should do to encourage action and, further, how we move this to a commitment from the customer.
As a side note, this action doesn’t always have to be revenue driven - that will depend on your success criteria and brand focus.
How do retailers measure their performance?
You’re all already familiar with your usual tags, such as Google Analytics. Still, I want to dig into how you can use tags to better your understanding of the funnel and where you should concentrate your efforts for the peak period.
Here at RevLifter, we’re all about using data to inform decisions, and using tags on your website allows you to build a great view of who people are and how they are engaging with you.
So, for example, where have they come from? Do we already know them? And how are they engaging with our product or info pages?
The critical thing to think about here is how different your customer’s behaviors are, not only from each other but compared to other retailers; too, of course, we can draw overarching trends, but I’d urge you to consider what you know about your funnel and your customers specifically.
Track your eCommerce funnel
Let’s get back to basics and think about our funnels and customer journeys.
Much of what we do here at RevLifter is to work with our customers to understand what this looks like to shape our recommendations.
We use tags to collect this information on-site and allow it to inform our decisions and recommend what pages we should focus on for optimization.
Key things to consider here are differences in the conversion rate of your products and pages, so you can start to think about how to use prompts that engage and drive action.
Segmentation and incrementality
Two critical concepts for retailers.
Segments are a great way of grouping your audiences to ensure that you serve content and offers intelligently based on their browsing and buying behaviors.
An easy win here is to split out new vs. returning customers. If we know someone is likely to purchase based on their previous behaviors, then let’s think about what offers/promos we show them so we’re not giving away unnecessary margins.
How is your segment hugely led by your brand, and what do you know about your audience anyway - why would we treat High Spending Harrys and Low Spending Lindas the same? It just doesn’t make sense!
Most of these examples are pre-built in our intelligent offers platform. Still, the critical point is using our available data to inform more compelling customer experiences for our audiences.
At RevLifter, we use the principles of incrementality to understand what is and isn’t working for our customers.
Now, incrementality is not always revenue-based (although it can be); we’re talking about positive incremental outcomes here.
For example, you may be super focused on driving additional sign-ups to your loyalty program and revenue from your top product pages.
A thing to consider as marketers is ensuring that you have senior stakeholder buy-in and that these measures of success are defined enough so that reporting upwards is easy. You get to retain that budget for next year!
One way to think about building this business case is by looking at a control vs. treatment methodology - we do this by comparing those who are eligible for offers with those who are also eligible but do not see them - this allows us to compare apples with apples and to ensure that we’re confident in a statistically robust methodology.
Critical takeaways for peak? Test, test, and then use those learnings to inform your next steps.
How to improve eCommerce performance
So, when you know the current state and your performance, how can you improve it?
What we’re talking about here is guiding our audiences through a series of prompts that drive action - again, this isn’t always an offer or discount; blasting people with un-intelligent pop-ups is very much a thing of the past, and frankly, doesn’t drive the behavior we want!
For example, we can push people towards new products or signpost them to sign up for increased benefits; this is a proactive approach.
The more passive approach here might be to pull people into your brand by improving the UX and removing any friction from purchase.
In this case, using things like the offers wallet can be extremely helpful, as all those fabulous offers are stored in one place for the user as they navigate your site. Easy!
The right experience and offer based on context
And speaking of UX, how do we ensure that our whole user journey is cohesive and representative of our brand voice and success criteria? This one’s easy!
At RevLifter, we’re focusing on onsite optimizations that we can support, but what’s important is where we fit within the rest of your tech stack and user experience.
The customers who see the best performance with us have an in-depth overview of their other channels and how onsite fits into this.
SUPER crucial in supporting an easy and well-thought-out customer journey that isn’t repetitive or, worse still, conflicting in the actions that you’d like to encourage the customer to take.
How do you choose the right intervention for your audience?
Discounts and offers often have a negative connotation to them. Still, our whole ethos is that what you present or OFFER to your Customers does not need to damage your bottom line or create a discount-led audience - you can achieve greater engagement and conversion by being more intelligent and thinking about what you are offering and why.
Would an increase in sign-ups by 1% mean something positive for your business? Then great, let's make that happen with smart signposting and using the tools we have available across our channels - operating in silos does not make for a cohesive brand experience, and a spray-and-pray attitude isn't going to work either!
Using propensity and intent to avoid giving away unnecessary value
RevLifter uses a score to show how likely someone is to take an action. We can see behavioral signs of purchase or intention and use this to determine what to show.
We’re not giving away discounts to those who were going to purchase anyway, and we’re encouraging those who are indecisive - win-win!
Responding to trends
Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami has seen a massive increase in sales of all the shirts Messi has worn - not just Inter Miami but also Newell Old Boys and Argentina - for a world-leading sports retailer.
How can you take a talking point like this and make it your own?
Building awareness of key dates in the calendar and using these to highlight specific products and incentives onsite can drive increased engagement from your audiences. They need to be relevant to you as a business, so keep your brand in mind and decide whether this is right for your brand identity.
- Laithwaites Christmas offers page captured deal seekers
- Splits59 exit campaign reduced abandonment
- Wet n Wild presented active discount codes to people trying to use invalid ones to improve their experience
- NAVY Hair Care’s Stretch and Save campaign increased the spend on their site
Peak Season Playbook 2023
For more on how you can improve performance in Peak, download our Peak Season Playbook - updated for 2023.