You wouldn’t plant a garden and expect anything to grow without water. The same is true on the web. Too many brands invest their entire digital budget on a brand new design, only to find the new site is just as ineffective as the last.Read More
Successful e-commerce requires a change in organizational thinking and structure. This webinar provides a comprehensive approach to increasing sales and customer satisfaction online.
Find out what Athletic and Outdoor brands are up to when it comes to digital installations in their retail stores.
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WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1169 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2013-03-17 14:48:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-03-17 21:48:44 [post_content] => After surveying, interviewing, and testing effective site design with thousands of our client’s customers, we’ve put together a compilation of e-commerce best practices for Athletic and Outdoor brands. This exclusive report includes research-backed principles of:
- Goal-based navigation structures
- The perfect product detail page
- Effective shopping cart flows
- Conversion-driven responsive design
After surveying, interviewing, and testing effective site design with thousands of our client’s customers, we’ve put together a compilation of e-commerce best practices for Athletic and Outdoor brands.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1065 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2013-03-11 17:09:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-03-12 00:09:03 [post_content] => Imagine going into a local coffee shop for the first time and ordering a favorite drink, leaving and enjoying the beverage. On the next visit, the barista remembers and confirms the drink ordered yesterday; you’re not just another face in the crowd. The next visit, the barista starts making your drink and it is ready by the time you get through the line to pay for it. How do you feel about coming back tomorrow? Would you feel differently if you had to tell them your order on each visit? A Customized Experience Just as a coffee shop barista can have a profound effect on how welcomed a customer feels by simply remembering preferences and prior purchasing habits, a website can be a place that builds context with customers to remember their preferences and build a relationship with them. The technology and data exists to provide a customized customer experience. But unfortunately, it is extremely rare for e-commerce sites to utilize the data available to them, such as past purchases, sizing and color preferences, to tailor a customer’s experience. Keys to Tailored Shopping The key to providing a tailored experience is to display products and recommendations within a context relevant to the current customer. Tailor your site to pay attention and adjust accordingly in four key areas: Previous Purchases: If the customer already bought a jacket on a previous visit, the website shouldn’t try to sell them another jacket. Instead, the website should offer complementary products such as a hat or gloves that go great with the jacket they already own. This applies to items currently in the shopping cart as well. Colorways: When a customer is browsing products, the website should default to displaying items matching the colorway preferences set during a site visit, other products already purchased or those currently in the shopping cart.The key to providing a tailored experience is to display products and recommendations within a context relevant to the current customer.Customer Paths: Understand the paths customers take that lead to revenue, then focus on improving those, providing relevant recommendations along the way. Search: Pay attention to the products searched for and viewed during the current site visit, and tailor site content around those products. On an aggregate level, apply Zipf’s Law to focus on the top 20% of all searches. Doing so will help brands identify which products and product categories should be promoted, discounted and recommended to other customers. Then adjust the site to automatically surface these top 20% of searched products and content to the key landing pages. Ditch the Required Login Through conducting research and interviews with thousands of consumers on behalf of Athletic and Outdoor brands, we’ve found that customers don't want another account to manage. Reduce the resistance to purchase by assuming a guest checkout but offer the choice of login or registration. There are other ways to remember customers, the products they view, and their key paths through the site. Browser cookies are the most common, but sites can also maintain session data to keep preference data for future visits and only require passwords for sensitive data usage such as contact or credit card information. Facebook is a good example of using these technologies to tailor consumer experience. By implementing these technologies, Facebook better understands what types of ads should be displayed as users navigate around the Internet based on the way they use facebook.com. Buying is Telling When a customer makes a purchase, they are telling the brand with their money what they like. This is the loudest that a customer can speak to a brand - it is clear feedback on the products the customer wants. Buying is telling, and by listening to that valuable information, brands can significantly improve the customer’s experience on future website visits. By simply having an e-commerce site pay attention to when, where and how people interact with your products, the site will become as welcoming as the barista who has your coffee ready every morning. [post_title] => Brand Websites Have No Memory [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => brand-websites-have-no-memory [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:44:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:44:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1065 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
E-commerce websites collect info and have the data to tailor websites for their customers, but brands don’t utilize that data effectively.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1055 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2013-02-14 18:48:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-15 02:48:08 [post_content] => This is the first in a series of Insights aimed at improving the experience of shopping online. We’ll begin by proposing new ways to think about and position your products online, then discuss some of the more tactical aspects of increasing sales and conversions. The ability to shop online is one of the great conveniences of our time but the experience itself varies widely, and typically not for the better. This is particularly true when shopping for athletic and outdoor gear. Most brands don't provide content that helps customers distinguish between competing products. Save People Time or Lose Their Money When a visitor arrives at your site they have a goal in mind, something they want to accomplish. If the content and organization of your site doesn't naturally support their goal, they'll leave right away. This means that unless your site is actively designed to save people time accomplishing the things that are important to them, it is losing sales and frustrating your customers. We've surveyed and interviewed thousands of our client's customers to understand what is important to them on brand websites. We found that there are two primary tasks Athletic and Outdoor customers want to do online: research and buy products. Unfortunately most brands see their website as the perfect platform to cover all phases of the sales cycle when their customers expect it to handle two: evaluation and action. These are simple to accomplish, but are not well supported on most brand sites. Customers are frustrated by the experience. Sites are difficult to navigate. Search results are unhelpful. Irrelevant content gets in the way of what customers are trying to do.We found that there are two primary tasks Athletic and Outdoor customers want to do online: research and buy products.Think of Your Site Like a Store One helpful analogy for delivering an excellent online experience is to think of your site as a physical store, a well-considered retail experience. The web provides a self-service experience. Rather than customers walking in and asking an employee for help, your site acts as both a product display and a sales rep. Thankfully, it can effectively serve both roles with the right supporting content. The top business goals we hear for e-commerce sites are to increase conversions and sales. The top two goals of Athletic and Outdoor customers are to research and purchase products. If you deliver a site that helps customers easily find and buy the right products for their needs, your site will deliver on your need for higher sales numbers. Build a Digital Showroom Customers depend on web content to make purchase decisions. The importance of useful product content can not be overstated. If the quality or the delivery of your content is poor, customers will let you know by not buying your products. Great content acts as a stand-in for a knowledgeable salesperson — a way for customers to guide themselves through your products, to compare benefits across product lines and between brands, and to confidently choose the right product for them.Great content acts as a stand-in for a knowledgeable salesperson.Since nobody can actually touch or try on products digitally (yet), the site should make it easy to see the details that make them unique. Customers want a sense of quality and durability, to easily choose the right size / fit, and the reassurance that other customers like the product. If this all sounds like common sense, take a look through a few brand sites (including your own), and really try to understand what makes a product unique. Most digital content is carried over from print campaigns and catalogs, leaving customers to wade through marketing jargon to figure out if a product is the right fit for their needs. Most content found in a catalog is not very helpful online. It requires editing for the web, taking the perspective of a customer comparing multiple brands and products with no desire or energy to decipher marketing copy. Customers want to see details, quality photos and video content. They want to buy without being required to join your club. They want to know that you will support them if they need help. Help Your Customers Buy The gap between what customers expect and what they experience is wide. Ambitious editorial calendars drive content managers to share the brand message often, leaving the most important site content ignored and aging. Take the time to make sure you’re supporting your products with excellent content: detailed product photos and videos, clear benefit descriptions, easy sizing guides, and helpful user reviews. Your online sales will reflect the effort, and your customers will thank you for it. Continue on to Effective E-Commerce Part 2: Playing the Numbers [post_title] => Effective E-Commerce Part 1 of 4: Content That Sells [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => better-e-commerce-part-1-content-that-sells [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 16:54:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-17 23:54:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1055 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Better e-commerce starts with better content. Most brands don’t provide the kind of content their customers are looking for to help them decide between competing products.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1060 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2013-02-13 21:57:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-14 05:57:15 [post_content] => This is the second in a series of Insights aimed at improving the experience of shopping online. The series delves into new ways to think about and position your products online, as well as the more tactical aspects of increasing sales and conversions. Part 1: Content That Sells can be found here. “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.” - Peter Brand Moneyball Some of you may recognize that quote from the 2011 film, Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. In the film Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics. After losing to the NY Yankees in the 2001 postseason and losing several key players, Beane must rebuild a team that can compete with the Yankees but on a third of the Yankee’s $125 million payroll. Jonah Hill plays Peter Brand, a young Yale economics graduate. Brand convinces Beane to take an evidenced based approach to scouting and analyzing players. But before they can become successful in their efforts, Beane and Brand must convince the rest of the organization to adopt a new way of thinking. The organization, like the rest of baseball is steeped in traditional and highly subjective methods of player assessment. Eventually, Beane and Brand overcome these obstacles and are successful in helping the Athletics become one of the most cost-effective teams in baseball. The film is based on actual events and in 2006 the A’s had the fifth best regular season record despite being ranked 24th of 30 in player salaries. Seeing the effectiveness of Beane’s model, the Boston Red Sox used the same approach to win the 2004 World Series. Boston’s last World Series win was in 1918. Collective Wisdom Is Wrong At first glance baseball doesn’t seem to have much in common with digital marketing and web design. However, beneath the surface both share a culture of entrenched and ineffective practices. Through his approach Beane uncovers that the collective wisdom of baseball insiders (players, managers, coaches, scouts, and the front office) is highly subjective and often flawed. Digital Brand Managers and marketing professionals are also quickly discovering that the collective wisdom of industry insiders (agencies, big-name brands, developers, designers, etc) is also highly subjective and often flawed. In many cases the websites look like the wireframes and design comps that both parties agreed on, but lack the revenue generation and conversion that brands expected to come with it. If Beane and Brand were in the web and digital space, the quote above would look something more like, “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy features. Your goal should be to buy customers. And in order to buy customers you need to buy conversions.” In essence, to compete with big name brands that have seemingly endless resources, smaller brands will have to spend their money more effectively. To do so requires a change in thinking. Once enough people understand and support this new way of thinking, the appropriate action can be taken. Smaller brands can be more nimble in this regard. Big brands, like the Titanic, change direction slowly. Identifying Flawed Thinking and Action Collective wisdom in digital marketing and web design is flawed for two reasons:
There are so many people involved in the creation of a website that it leaves little room for the customer. Everyone insists on their individual preferences: agencies, developers, designers, senior managers, accounting, procurement, etc. By the time all of these suggestions are negotiated and incorporated into the site, there just isn’t room for input from customers.
- It’s easy to ignore what customers want
- Changes to the website are not based on evidenceThere are so many people involved in the creation of a website that it leaves little room for the customer.Some contributors claim to represent customer needs. However, evidence suggests otherwise, in which case they are likely still speaking to personal preferences. In the end the result is the same. Ignoring customers and lack of follow-up testing lead to sites that don’t live up to expectation. Designing for Conversions and Customers To exit the endless cycle of redesign, brands must recognize two truths:
No one visits a website just to visit a website. Customers have goals. Those goals don’t include seeing what the latest marketing campaign is. Our research has shown that they have two primary goals: to research a potential purchase and to make a purchase. The content and features on the site should be chosen and designed to support these two goals. If the content or feature does not support these two goals, then they should not be included on the website.
- Customers have goals that should be supported above all else
- Any design can failNo one visits a website just to visit a website. Customers have goals. Those goals don’t include seeing what the latest marketing campaign is.Amazon provides an interesting case study. Wanting to make it easier for customers to enter their coupon codes, Amazon designers included a simple coupon code field early in the checkout process. Immediately, sales plummeted 90%. Researchers found that upon seeing the coupon code field, customers would leave the site. They would scour the Internet looking for a coupon code but never find one and, subsequently, never return. It turns out customers need to feel like they are getting the best deal. Any design can fail. The key is following up and testing the effects of a design change. In this case the evidence made the decision an easy one. Moneyball = Moneyweb Most Athletic and Outdoor brands lack the ability to test an idea or feature and improve it. A data-driven approach removes much of the uncertainty in making design decisions. As a result brands are better able to articulate which marketing initiatives are effective, and thus worthy of additional marketing dollars. Getting on base doesn’t win you the game, but it does lead to runs, and runs lead to wins. Similarly, supporting customer goals doesn’t win you the purchase, but it does lead to conversions, and conversions lead to customers. And for Athletic and Outdoor brands, getting more customers wins you the game. Continue on to Effective E-Commerce Part 3: Design Content for Action [post_title] => Effective E-Commerce Part 2 of 4: Playing the Numbers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => better-e-commerce-part-2-playing-the-numbers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 16:00:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-17 23:00:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1060 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Effective e-commerce requires an evidence-based approach to design. Design decisions that respect customers as the ultimate decision makers produce the best results.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1045 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2013-02-12 10:32:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-02-12 18:32:40 [post_content] => This is the third in a series of Insights aimed at improving the experience of shopping online. You may also enjoy Parts 1 (Content That Sells) and 2 (Playing the Numbers). In part 1 of this series we discussed thinking of your site like a store, building a digital showroom by creating content that supports product research and purchase. Part 2 covered the necessary shift in management thinking to create valuable websites. In this segment we’ll focus on giving each section of your site a job description, and using that to judge its performance. Because we want to make a site that helps customers accomplish things, we don’t ask our clients which features they want us to include in their site. Unless of course the site is being designed exclusively for their use. This shift in perspective means most preconceived features get dropped immediately in favor of things customers will actually use. There Are Jobs to be Done Before arriving at a single site feature, we ask a lot of people a lot of questions. The people we speak to, survey and test our ideas with are unique. They don’t work for us, or for our clients. They have all kinds of different needs. What they share is a desire to easily shop online for athletic and outdoor gear from the web, mobile, and in-store displays. In order to create a site that provides value to a client, start by providing value to their customers. This can be accomplished easily by understanding the jobs to be done, then creating a site that is held to a standard of performance. Customers need help finding the right product and completing their purchase. Each page should reflect this and work to fulfill these needs. In this regard, each feature, graphic, and piece of content serves a specific job function. Most brands fail to assign an appropriate job description to each site feature, and track how well it is performing its job.Most brands fail to assign an appropriate job description to each site feature and track how well it is performing its job.Do the Least You Can Resources are limited so it is important to invest them where they’ll have the most impact. Don’t create content for content’s sake. Look at the few things that will make the most difference for your customers and improve those. Apply Zipf’s law to your analytics to find your best selling products, highest viewed pages, top search terms, and the few paths that lead to conversions. That will give you a place to begin making improvements. In order to get anywhere useful, you’ll need to create channel for useful and timely suggestions: feedback loops. Establishing a feedback loop with Customer Service is an excellent way to immediately get the kind of feedback you can use to improve features and site content. To be effective in the long run you’ll need to test content and features directly with your customers, but start by involving Customer Service in your process.To be effective in the long run you’ll need to test content and features directly with your customers.If the top reasons people call Customer Service are to ask about product features, stock availability, or warranty information, then the site is not helping customers research and complete a purchase. The site is failing at the job your customers need it to perform. Feedback helps to reallocate resources and attention to where they are most needed. Immediately, the content or feature that is failing can be improved. Running content experiments will also help identify the best solutions. There isn’t a one-size fits all content strategy; make changes and follow up to see what is working best. Help People Do Things Because the most important customer needs are understood, the site's most important job functions are easy to identify. When the most important job functions are identified, the most effective features, content and graphics can be employed. With the top paths, products, search terms and pages identified, the next step is to optimize for effectiveness. It’s very tempting to add elements to the site, especially now that you’re armed with customer service data. Resist temptation. Begin by reducing. Remove what is not necessary; discard those elements that are marginally improving effectiveness.Anything that isn’t supporting a customer goal is just getting in the way.Nature provides an excellent example for designers to emulate. In multiple studies, scientists found that common slime mold was able to identify key resources and efficiently connect them — all without a brain or nervous system. In fact, when resources were placed on a map in relative position to major cities, the mold created paths that resembled the country’s transportation networks. It took decades for teams of human engineers to complete the same exercise. Using analytics data, brands are able to identify site resources important to customers and optimize for effectiveness. This method of relying on customers to determine important resources allows brands to remove poorly performing features and maximize sales in the process. Anything that isn’t supporting a customer goal is just getting in the way. It makes the site harder to navigate, search, and manage. Focus on creating useful content along the most used paths by removing all the content that doesn’t help your customers find the right product. Rather than constantly rebuilding your site in hopes of getting better results, focus on creating content that helps your customers. The results will tell you how to spend your digital budget intelligently. Part 4 of this series will take a look at some of the ways to effectively invest in digital platforms. [post_title] => Effective E-Commerce Part 3 of 4: Design Content for Action [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => better-e-commerce-part-3-design-content-for-action [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:45:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:45:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1045 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Understand the jobs your site needs to do. Give it the content and features to do those jobs. Stop.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1014 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2013-01-15 17:02:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-16 01:02:12 [post_content] => When the iPhone arrived in the summer of 2007, it wasn’t immediately clear that it would revolutionize the mobile industry. The device cost $600, significantly more expensive than the prevailing feature phones and Blackberrys. The PDAs that came before it were not wildly successful, and nor were the first smart phones. Therefore, it is not surprising that the iPhone release did not inspire brands to adapt their websites for mobile access. However, six years after the release of the iPhone, most Athletic and Outdoor brands still do not gracefully handle mobile visitors to their websites. Smartphone and Tablet Growth Many Athletic and Outdoor brands have been slow to respond to the mobile market, but over the past six years no one anticipated how quickly customers would adopt the smartphone or how necessary it would be to build mobile friendly e-commerce sites. Now consumers rejoice at being continually connected to the web. They no longer wait to get home or to the office to research and complete a purchase. As mobile data connection speeds continue to improve, suddenly customers are able to purchase instantly, at exactly the moment they want to do so. Purchasing decisions can be made at any time, such as waiting in line at the grocery store or commuting to work. And the trend only appears to be accelerating. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, global mobile data traffic has more than doubled every year from 2007-2011.Cisco expects mobile data traffic in 2012 to have doubled once again and forecasts growth from 2011 to 2016 to be more than 8-fold.“Global mobile data traffic in 2011 (597 petabytes per month) was eight times greater than the total global internet traffic in 2000 (75 petabytes per month).” (source) Cisco expects mobile data traffic in 2012 to have doubled once again and forecasts growth from 2011 to 2016 to be more than 8-fold. These numbers do not include traffic offload from mobile networks to fixed networks - home and office Wi-Fi connections. Doing so would add another 6% growth to overall data traffic (source: Cisco Visual Networking Index, 2012). Mobile Customers Use the Web Differently With the proliferation of mobile data traffic, it is easy to forget that the iPhone is only about six years old and the iPad less than 3 years old. The mass market adoption of web enabled mobile devices is a relatively new phenomenon. Customers are only just beginning to explore what they can do on smartphones and tablets. They are also only just beginning to understand how they prefer to use them. Consumer behavior is evolving and mobile devices are a main driver of that change. You can see it in the way text fields are being optimized. They are becoming more friendly, requiring fewer inputs and fewer touches to complete a purchase. Athletic and Outdoor brands haven’t spent much time responding to this trend. They’ve been preoccupied trying to launch e-commerce initiatives on desktop. Regardless, it is clear mobile devices are not going away and brands must provide a viable mobile solution. Customers are on their mobile devices and they are using the web as it suits them. Mobile Use is Situation Specific During our research for a major boating company’s website, many current boat owners expressed a desire to access maintenance and care information when out on the water or working on their boat. This type of situation specific need is a logical reason to visit the site but the current website isn’t designed to serve customers in this way. Looking up product information at dealer showrooms and at boat trade shows is another situation specific need well suited to mobile devices.Sites that offer mobile friendly content will offer the best customer experiences.Additionally, customers are also using mobile devices to supplement in-store visits. According to a Google study, 26% of sporting goods purchases from mobile happen in store versus 6% of customers who never view the product at all (source: Carabetta and Marchant, 2013). It shouldn’t be surprising that mobile customers access brand sites while shopping at local sporting goods retailers. Knowledgeable staff are not always available and accessing the brand website for official product details, features and benefits is seemingly quick and easy. As situation specific needs increase, mobile device use will increase. Sites that offer mobile friendly content will offer the best customer experiences. Making Mobile a Priority Athletic and Outdoor brands are also seeing increases in the amount of time and dollars a mobile customer spends on the site. In our research and experience building Athletic and Outdoor brand websites, we have found that improving the mobile experience significantly increases the amount of dollars spent and the amount of traffic. One particular client made mobile a priority and saw a 240% increase in mobile customer spending per visit from 2011 to 2012. Mobile traffic increased 190% during that same period. According to Google’s research team, 16% of all Google searches were performed on smart phones and tablets in 2012. Additionally, 60% of mobile customers spend $100 more than desktop customers (source: Carabetta and Marchant, 2013). Mobile Apps as a Solution Some Athletic and Outdoor brands have used native mobile apps to appeal to the mobile audience. For the most part mobile apps do not address the issue. Customers want to be able to research and complete purchases using their mobile devices. They will use the method that is easiest for them, so customers will only use them if the apps easily assist in achieving their goals. The challenge is that the additional tasks of searching through hundreds of thousands of apps in an app store, downloading, and then managing yet another app is proving to be a significant deterrent. Adding to that, apps have limited functionality versus websites, can be expensive and need to be updated continuously by a programmer.There are few times when an app is truly necessary.There are few times when an app is truly necessary. Apps are necessary when brands needs access to the sensors or data on the device to perform its function, such as those used by the gaming industry. Few Athletic and Outdoor brands require the use of a customer’s contacts or photos to help the customer complete a purchase. As such, making the brand’s website render properly on mobile devices with varying screen sizes is the most efficient and effective manner for taking advantage of the boom in the customer’s mobile purchasing habits. Responsive Design as a Solution When web access was dominated by desktop, brands only needed to consider a handful of screen sizes for their website. The use of fixed desktop browser breakpoints is less expensive to implement and easier to test. Designers could feel confident that the experience of the vast majority of web visitors would be consistent. But as the number of screen sizes have increased with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, designers had an increasingly difficult time ensuring a quality web experience. Quality of experience is important. 57% of customers won't recommend businesses with poorly designed mobile sites to their friends. 40% will simply visit a competitor site when a site is difficult to navigate (source: Carabetta and Marchant, 2013).Responsive layouts are fluid and visible at all sizes.Responsive Design has provided a solution: responsive layouts are fluid and visible at all sizes. It is an effective solution to providing a consistent user experience across an increasing number of devices, without the need to design specifically for each one. Mobile can no longer be ignored. For Athletic and Outdoor brands to do so would be at their peril. Google analysts, Carabetta and Marchant suggests that digital budgets should represent 25% of a company’s overall marketing budget. For most brands that number is currently much closer to 15%. Smartphone and tablet adoption rates are soaring, as is the corresponding data traffic. Neither show signs of abating. Customers are spending both more time and money while on mobile devices, and they are doing so while engaged in situations that encourage research and immediate purchase. Brands wishing to capitalize on these trends will need to think deeply about customer needs and how to serve them on more and more web connected mobile devices. Sources: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011–2016 (February 14, 2012). Alison Carabetta and Natalie Marchant, "The Digital Journey of Outdoor Sports Enthusiasts presented by Google," Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 (Salt Lake City, UT), January 24, 2013. [post_title] => The Importance of Mobile [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-importance-of-mobile [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-20 10:44:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-20 17:44:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1014 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Improving the mobile experience on your e-commerce website significantly increases the amount of dollars spent, often by over 200%.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1011 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2013-01-14 17:59:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-15 01:59:29 [post_content] => Customer Service departments are an underutilized resource in improving e-commerce for most Athletic and Outdoor brands. As a department, they are tasked with understanding customer frustrations before and after a purchase. And as more and more purchases are happening online, Customer Service has the most readily available data of where the website and content is preventing customers from accomplishing tasks. Seizing the Opportunity Specifically, when customers are frustrated with the site their only options are to abandon the site or to call Customer Service. The site has failed them but it represents an opportunity for brands to listen to the customer and make an improvement. For brands to maximize the value from this exchange, it is important that systems and processes exist to communicate this knowledge to content managers. Equally important is the capability to track the effectiveness of changes. Digital tools, such as dashboards, display critical metrics that allow brand managers to have a better pulse of website interactions. This type of centralized view also helps make it easier for brand managers to track and compare key performance indicators as they pursue business goals.When customers are frustrated with the site their only options are to abandon the site or to call Customer Service.Customer Feedback Customer Service feedback and digital dashboards complement each other and serve to improve initiatives that help customers make purchases quickly and easily. They also make it easier for Brand Managers to identify initiatives that are negatively impacting customer experience. As a result, assessing return on investment and allocating marketing dollars becomes more straightforward. By asking, “How often is feedback from Customer Service being incorporated into the content changes on the website?” one can begin to understand how Customer Service feedback is being utilized, if at all. 5 Most Common Deflections Marketing departments often point to the FAQ page as a way to address customer feedback. Unfortunately, this serves more as a deflection tool than as a customer resource. It is an admission to the customer that the brand knows a problem exists but has yet to provide a solution. The FAQ page offers an opportunity to address the most pressing concerns for customers. More importantly, it serves as a guide to Brand Managers as to what updates need to happen first.The FAQ page offers an opportunity to address the most pressing concerns for customers. More importantly, it serves as a guide to Brand Managers as to what updates need to happen first.The five most common digital failures that Customer Service departments continually address, and are most often deflected with a FAQ page, include:
New Opportunities Brands must evolve to address these issues. Doing so allows brand managers to uncover new opportunities to serve the customer. Customers want specialized products at specific times. Athletes want to know what products will enhance their individual performance needs. Coaches want to buy team gear in bulk (and at a discount). Customers welcome timely and personalized recommendations.
- Technical jargon disguised as marketing copy
- Dysfunctional compare tools
- Lack of useful sizing and fitting tools
- Complicated account registration or login requirements
- Poor warranty, returns and shipment tracking notificationUntil a feedback loop is created, brands may fall further and further behind the competition.If brands fail to pay attention to the data, opportunities to incorporate this knowledge into marketing campaigns disappear. Fortunately, many of these opportunities are available seasonally, but to capitalize on the information still requires a feedback loop. Until a feedback loop is created, brands may fall further and further behind the competition. A Feedback Loop: The Call Log One way to take advantage of the information gold mine would be to initiate dialogue between departments (Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, etc). A call log would be a good starting point for facilitating discussions. Ideally, these discussions would lead to changes on the website and thus, creating a feedback loop between customers and brands. The call log should capture the following information from each caller to Customer Service:
- Identify customer segment
- Identify action caller took before calling (e.g,. visiting the website; what specific pages?, order of pages?)
- Product categories discussed
- Key issues prompting customer to call for help (e.g., purchasing, product info, sizing, warranty, return, shipment tracking, account log in, team purchase, etc).
- Text box to summarize key issues and any related notes
- Apply Zipf’s Law and focus on the top 20% of most common complaints and suggestions.
- Continually ask the following two questions:
- What problem is the customer trying to resolve?
- What is the customer trying to do?
- After each round of call logging, ask the following questions:
- Were the solutions to address the the complaints and suggestions from the first call log effective?
- What worked and why?
Customer Service is a great resource for building more effective websites.Continue to improve the ones that produced results. For the ones that didn’t, try a different approach. Regular call logs throughout the year will serve to remind brands of the support customers require in making a purchase and in enjoying a purchase. Customer Service is a great resource for building more effective websites. Call logs help to get different departments on the same page. Once on the same page, departments can have meaningful discussions on what problems customers are having, what needs to be done to address those problems and what solutions will best serve business goals. This process will lead to fewer Customer Service calls, to higher sales, and to greater customer retention. [post_title] => Integrate Customer Service into Website Revisions [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => integrate-customer-service-into-website-revisions [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:45:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:45:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1011 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Customer Service can drastically improve website experience. Don’t miss an opportunity to capitalize on their knowledge.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1008 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2013-01-09 21:32:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-10 05:32:51 [post_content] => As Athletic & Outdoor brands seek higher revenues and improved profitability, e-commerce is becoming an increasingly important revenue stream. As it should be; brands will be able to ensure a more consistent customer experience, develop a better relationship with customers, and let’s not forget: brands will retain a higher margin from each product sold. As ideal as this sounds, Athletic & Outdoor brands can’t leave brick and mortar stores entirely. Aside from the fact that brands still need a way to launch products and display seasonal product lines, customers still want to experience first hand the latest and greatest. They need the reassurance of seeing a product in person, especially when trying to find the right fit. Competing Revenue Streams Brands are continuously launching new products each season. As they better understand which of these new products are gaining traction with customers, brands innately want to capture as much of the profitability as possible, especially as volume increases. This approach conflicts directly with retailers, dealer networks and distributors, who also want to maximize profits from these same high volume products. In this respect brands have an advantage. They are not limited to physical locations to interact with customers. Retailers, dealer networks and distributors are very much dependent on a physical presence as a point of sale. They could create e-commerce sites to compete with brands but the challenge in getting customers to see them as both a physical destination and digital destination will likely overwhelm its resources. In contrast, brand e-commerce websites are natural places for customers to go looking for a specific item. For example, customers don’t have to spend much mental energy on figuring out where to go online to buy size 8 black Nike Softball Cleats - at the very least, they know they will be able to find them at nike.com.Eventually, some brands will move entirely online. Naturally, retailers, distributors and dealer networks see this as a direct threat to their livelihood.Resisting Change Brands can avoid the headaches of high overhead costs, limited selection and staff education required by a retail location. Such cost savings allow brands to offer better pricing to customers while retaining the same margin. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many brands are racing to invest in their e-commerce platforms. Eventually, some brands will move entirely online. Naturally, retailers, distributors and dealer networks see this as a direct threat to their livelihood. Retailers are keenly aware of this trend and it concerns them deeply, so they have made attempts to combat this change. They threaten and even refuse to carry certain product lines unless brands agree to enforce consistent pricing and/or provide friendly financing terms. If these distribution channels represent a meaningful portion of revenues, then brands really have few options. To complicate matters further, stores have the added advantage of understanding customers better than the brands do. Customer feedback is easier to get in a retail environment, and stores have better mechanisms for assessing customer needs, preferences and aspirations. Finding a fit online will never be as natural as just trying something on, but it will get easier to communicate as the web evolves. Perhaps, the new athlete-endorsed basketball shoes are a bit too narrow and cause an athlete to roll their ankle. Perhaps, the sleeves on the new down-hill ski jacket are a little too tight in the shoulder and restrict movement. Perhaps, the orange shoe laces are the wrong shade of orange to match their college team colors. These are some of the hurdles that knowledgeable staff can answer and help customers to navigate. This type of customer understanding and trust is invaluable and will be difficult for brands to acquire overnight. Digital Solutions Despite these challenges, brands must be innovative to build an e-commerce base that isn’t antagonistic to its existing retail partner relationships. Digital tools offer a host of possible solutions.The first solution is obvious. Sell what the physical stores can’t and don’t.The first solution is obvious. Sell what the physical stores can’t and don’t. Stores are constrained by space and must sell products that produce the highest revenues per square foot. Cash flow is also a concern. So, items with lower inventory turn are a lower priority. This often means that specific brand product parts and accessories don’t end up in physical stores, allowing for brand e-commerce stores to capitalize on this gap in the market. Other products that stores don’t normally carry include: bundled packages based on position or athlete type, special or anniversary editions, and non-standard items such as hard to find sizes. All of these items can be sold online with ease and little disruption to retail channels.Through e-commerce fulfilling customized requests like these is possible, and does not upset retailers while providing a unique experience for customers.A second solution is similar to a strategy employed by Nike with their NikeID initiative. Physical locations tend to sell only the most popular colors and configurations depending on the sport, yet customers want unique items that are tailored to them. Online product configurators offer customers a way to personalize their own equipment. A great example is a coach who would like to special order their unique combination of team colors. By allowing customers to design their own version of a product online, brands are providing a service that retailers cannot. For instance, obtaining equipment in the customer’s team colors and engraved with their jersey number or name is a common request we’ve found through our consumer research in working with Athletic and Outdoor brands. Through e-commerce fulfilling customized requests like these is possible, and does not upset retailers while providing a unique experience for customers.According to a 2013 Google study, 40% of sporting goods customers who used a store locator to find a retailer went into the store to make a purchase.A third solution is offering a “Buy Local Now” button on the site. While this may seem to contradict a brand’s desire to capture more margin, it reflects a segment of the market that can’t wait 2-14 days for a product to arrive. Parents may need to buy cleats for their child’s first soccer practice that starts in two hours. Brands build loyalty by helping customers meet their needs regardless of if that need is online or in stores. According to a 2013 Google study, 40% of sporting goods customers who used a store locator to find a retailer went into the store to make a purchase (source: Carabetta and Marchant, 2013). Armed with that information, what retailer wouldn’t want more product information and accessibility available to customers. Partnering with Brick and Mortar Yet another solution offers a way for brands and their retail partners to work together and share in the rewards. Digital catalogs allow stores to leverage their physical space and brands to increase point of sale displays. These catalogs can include entire brand inventories. If customers can’t find what they are looking for in the store, the retail kiosk offers a way to complete a purchase and have an informed staff member guide them through the process. For stores, they don’t miss the opportunity to sell to a customer that is ready to buy and could receive a commission on the sale. They also don’t have the headaches of managing inventory, processing payment, managing cash flow and fulfilling orders. Brands with an e-commerce infrastructure can take care of those pain points for the stores. And the brands should, because the brands capture a sale they wouldn’t have gotten, obtain meaningful feedback that is normally retained at the retail store level, and develop another means to engage the customer. These retail kiosks represent a way for brands to share information with the customer and obtain information to refine its own e-commerce sales. E-commerce is an important revenue stream for brands. Its importance will only continue to grow as customers feel more and more comfortable conducting purchases through the internet. Balancing the needs of retail partners and the desire for growth will be challenging, especially as customer buying habits evolve. Digital tools offer innovative solutions that can manage both. It’s more important than ever to have a digital strategy that combines the interests of physical stores and your e-commerce website. [post_title] => Driving E-Commerce Without Upsetting Retail Partners [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => driving-e-commerce-without-upsetting-retail-partners [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-20 10:33:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-20 17:33:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1008 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
The threat of e-commerce to retail stores will only increase. Brands must manage revenue growth while maintaining good relationships with retail partners.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1005 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2013-01-07 10:49:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-07 18:49:47 [post_content] => Until recently, creating interactions between sponsored athletes and customers was not scalable. Traditional media forms, such as print, TV and radio limit conversation. Brands and their athletes can communicate with customers and fans, but that is it. There isn’t a medium for customers and fans to communicate back. Brands and athletes do all the talking and customers do all the listening. To make it worse, customers and fans don’t get to choose what they were listening to. That is not much of a relationship. It should be no surprise that brands are finding it more and more difficult to maintain customer loyalty. Digital tools change this dynamic. Brands, sponsored athletes and customers can now engage in a genuine conversation. Updating Your Sponsored Athlete Strategy Most Athletic and Outdoor brands use the same sponsored athlete strategy: find an athlete that appeals to a target demographic and have the athlete endorse products. This strategy usually includes developing a library of photos and videos where the athletes wears the brand. Some brands may be lucky enough to have media of their athlete winning while wearing the brand. The unlucky ones settle for bios, action shots, highlight reels, and non-podium finishes.It’s the same content as traditional marketing; it’s just applied to the website, mobile app or in-store display.The digital strategies for these brands do not fare much better. It’s the same content as traditional marketing; it’s just applied to the website, mobile app or in-store display. Customers ignore it, as they’ve always done. But the brands keep producing it. The majority of brands just can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that customers expect content to be both digital and interactive. Customers want to interact, not be talked at. They want to direct the engagement themselves. Television commercials, radio endorsements, and in-store print signage have become noise to consumers. In order to become a digital destination brands must move away from how they are currently using the digital tools at their disposal and towards how customers want to use digital tools to engage the brand and their favorite athletes. Athletes as Trusted Advisor Athletes have a special place in the hearts of fans. Fans see athletes and the brands they represent as two different entities. And as much as brands would like its customers to see both as one and the same, it is actually better that customers don’t. It’s this separation that gives credibility to their endorsements. Athletes are far more effective communicators than brands will ever be. They enjoy a higher level of regard and trust with customers.Whereas traditional media only allows intrusive and random sound bytes from athletes, digital tools encourage thoughtful and coordinated messages.Whereas traditional media only allows intrusive and random sound bytes from athletes, digital tools encourage thoughtful and coordinated messages. Customers who see their favorite athletes as idols do not need much communication beyond, “These are the shoes that I wear.” These customers are easy to engage. But customers who like to research a product before purchase need a bit more attention. An explanation of technical features, benefits, care instructions, fit, etc are things things customers want to know before a purchase. Sponsored athletes are in the position to be a trusted advisor, providing much needed knowledge to customers. And if it makes sense, they can even make recommendations to other complementary products that customers would like. Athletes can even provide reassurance post-purchase, discussing the ways a particular product has enhanced their performance over time.Sponsored athletes are in the position to be a trusted advisor, providing much needed knowledge to customersMaking Athletes More Accessible It is easy to put athletes on pedestals and make them inaccessible. Traditional media has been doing it for years. But customers don’t want hero worship. They want an athlete that they can connect with and engage. Some brands have found ways to use digital tools to innovate traditional marketing. Adidas is one such example. During the 2012 NBA playoffs, Chicago Bulls player and Adidas sponsored athlete, Derrick Rose tore his left ACL. This injury left the Bulls without their star player and Adidas without their star NBA spokesperson. Without Rose the Bulls were unable to advance to the NBA championship and Adidas was unable to leverage his playoff success to generate sales for the new D-Rose basketball shoes. At this point Adidas made an interesting decision. Instead of lamenting its bad luck, it decided to use Rose’s recovery as a way to generate interest and fervor for the 2012-13 NBA season. During the second half of 2012 Adidas produced “The Return of D Rose.” The YouTube series invites fans and supporters to be a part of his very personal and emotional journey to recovery.Instead of lamenting its bad luck, Adidas decided to use Rose’s recovery as a way to generate interest and fervor for the 2012-13 NBA season.The series generated more than 6.5 million views, 68,000 subscribers, 7,500 comments, 12,000 favorites and 39,000 likes for the adidasbasketball channel. Far more impressive is that among the commenters is Rose himself. After watching the series it is hard not to be a supporter of Rose and Adidas. Leveraging Digital Tools Adidas’ campaign has plenty of potential. Each one of those subscribes, comments, favorites and likes represent an opportunity to engage fans in the future. A name and an email address are all that would be needed to offer select fans a chance to win Bulls tickets, D-Rose shoes, Adidas NBA apparel, a meeting with Rose, an online Q&A, and more importantly a chance to become even bigger Rose and Adidas fan. The point here is not for brands to create push marketing channels, but for brands to become a platform that connects fans with their favorite athlete. Fans love nothing more than to tout and share their fervent passion for both athlete and the brands that helped to connect them. Leveraging digital tools to resonate with customers does not require an injured athlete or a YouTube campaign. One simple way brands can begin to be more effective is to incorporate athletes into the website and into digital retail displays. When customers want to know more about the technical features or performance benefits, the sponsored athlete can provide an explanation in his own words through a short video.When customers want to know more about the technical features or performance benefits, the sponsored athlete can provide an explanation in his own words through a short video.Maximizing the Relationship When maximizing the effectiveness of sponsored athletes, the three most important questions are:
Customers are digitally savvy and expect tools and interactions that are fluid. Traditionally, sponsored athletes have been “icons”, inaccessible and placed upon pedestals. These interactions are one dimensional: the brand marketing at customers with athletes as a mouthpiece. While this strategy still works, digital tools are allowing other types of interactions to happen, encouraging the conversation to no longer just be one dimensional. Any campaign that improves the relationship between athletes and fans is an opportunity to improve the brand’s standing with fans. Where possible, create digital avenues for fans to access their favorite athletes directly and engage with them through your site. Even if it is only practical to do so once a year with a live digital Q&A, take advantage of the opportunity to get conversations going that will provide valuable feedback and lasting impact. [post_title] => Sponsored Athlete As a Digital Tool [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => sponsored-athlete-as-a-digital-tool [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:45:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:45:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=1005 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
- How are athletes helping brands create a stronger connection with customers?
- How are brands helping athletes create a stronger connection with customers?
- How can digital tools improve the experience for brand, athlete and customer?
Digital tools help sponsored athletes become more effective brand ambassadors. Brands that do not re-envision the sponsored athlete role are missing an opportunity to create deeper connections.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 835 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2012-11-14 15:57:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-11-14 23:57:43 [post_content] => If you're in charge of managing your company's digital presence, the process of redesigning your website every few years is probably getting old. Well, we've got some great news: there are much more intelligent and effective ways to spend your time and budgets than constantly putting your site out for RFP. Normally when a site gets too frustrating for customers or content editors to use, the system gets blamed and the redesign process begins. Fortunately, because of a statistical concept called "Zipf's Law", you can improve 90% of your site performance, usability, and content-related issues by understanding just the top 10% of its problems. Our Discovery and User Research process is designed to uncover your most important business, customer, and content-related needs; providing the strategy and guidance to constantly improve your site with a measurable return on spending. So next time the site overhaul chatter starts, give us a call instead. For more quick tips on how to make your website more effective, visit thegood.com/insights. [post_title] => A Better Way to Redesign Your Site [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => a-better-way-to-redesign-your-site [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 16:21:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-17 23:21:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=835 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Use Zipf’s law to design intelligently. It’s an effective use of marketing dollars and it ends the RFP madness.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 801 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2012-09-18 08:40:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-09-18 15:40:29 [post_content] => It seems like everyone's integrating social media into their websites these days, most commonly with share buttons. "Like this", "tweet that", buttons everywhere. But for what these buttons add in ease, they take away in impact. Smashing Magazine recently found that by removing Facebook Like buttons from their posts, incoming Facebook traffic actually increased because more people were posting links directly on their timelines. If your content is worth sharing, it will be shared. If you want people to follow you on a social network, give them a reason why they should. Anyone using social media knows how to share a link, so why not get more impact with less clutter? Try removing your share buttons and see how it affects your referral traffic. For more quick tips on how to make your website more effective, visit http://thegood.com/insights [post_title] => Social Share Buttons [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => social-share-buttons [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 22:37:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-18 05:37:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=801 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
If your content is worth reposting, it will be shared. Facebook like buttons prevent friends from visiting your company’s site.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 959 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2012-05-16 18:09:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-05-17 01:09:17 [post_content] => "If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong." —Richard Feynman More than a year ago, we set out to create a new approach to digital work that would solve as many of the pain points as we could for both our clients and ourselves. We recently came across this short clip from a 1964 lecture in which Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman distills the essence of the scientific method, and were immediately struck by how closely it describes the way we work. We didn't set out to replicate the scientific method, and there's certainly quite a bit of art to our science, but the approach is pleasingly similar: make an educated guess, test it relentlessly, and adapt as needed until you arrive at the right solution. Effective solutions on the web may be moving targets, but so long as we're paying attention we can move with them. [post_title] => An Analog Method for Digital Results [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => an-analog-method-for-digital-results [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:45:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:45:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=959 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Richard Feynman agrees with us. Make an educated guess. Test it relentlessly. And repeat until you arrive at the solution.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 789 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2012-05-14 14:26:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-05-14 21:26:45 [post_content] => Just because a feature looks great in Photoshop doesn't mean it will be a good addition to your website. According to Amazon.com’s research team, the simple addition of a coupon code field to the checkout page of an online retailer had the unfortunate effect of reducing sales revenue by 90%. It turned out the field made customers feel like they might not be getting the best deal, so they went off in search of a discount code, never to return to complete their purchase. A design that looks good in Photoshop can fail horribly in the browser, specifically when it comes to e-commerce. Fortunately there's an easy answer: save time (and money) by testing new designs with users before you launch them. For more quick tips on how to make your website more effective, visit http://thegood.com/insights [post_title] => The Hidden Cost of Untested Design [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-hidden-cost-of-untested-design [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 22:35:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-18 05:35:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=789 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
What’s the value of using user-testing to make decisions? Amazon optimized promo code placement to uncover 90% increase in revenues.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 960 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2012-03-27 18:50:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-03-28 01:50:49 [post_content] => Just the other day, my family's go-to digital camera finally gave up the ghost. I didn't want to drive to a big box retailer and hope my luck outmatched my patience, so I hired a personal assistant help me pick out a new one instead. I asked them to show me some options in my price range, then had them point out some models that other camera buyers recommended. I narrowed it down to two candidates and asked my assistant to tell me what owners of each model had to say about them, then picked one and had my assistant ship it to me. A couple days later we were a happy, photo-shooting family again. Of course, I didn't have a human assistant doing these things for me - I'd hired a website, instead. In this case, Amazon.com was a great help in what could have otherwise been a drawn-out and dissatisfying experience. All of us are faced with situations throughout the day that we look to the internet to resolve for us. Want to know if that breakfast place is open yet? Hire their website to find out. Need to see what the score of the big game is? Hire ESPN.com to tell you in realtime. In the mood for some amusement? Hire FunnyOrDie.com to show you some entertaining videos. If you think of every online interaction you have as a "hey assistant - do something for me" type situation you will begin to see that that dynamic constitutes roughly 100% of your internet experiences - you rarely go to websites for no reason. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and say you NEVER go to websites for no reason. Let's call that reason your "intent". As web designers, we would do good to remember that discovering and supporting the users' set of intents is the first order of business - if we can't deliver on that, we're not really going to get much of anywhere. The user recognized they had a need, thought you could serve it and pulled up your site: you can either be helpful... or be irrelevant.Now with more and more opportunities for engagement moving into the interactive sphere, the chief marketing strategy is "serve" - marketing by being helpful.Unlike marketing efforts that impose themselves on our attention space like billboards or TV commercials or the (regrettable) use of human beings as street advertisements, websites must quite literally be requested into existence - they're just ones and zeroes sitting on a server somewhere, waiting to be called up and displayed. And it is that act of requesting - of a user recognizing a need and acting on it by calling up your site - that constitutes the essence of an online interaction. Failing to support that intention undermines all other brand strategies you could hope to achieve. In the world of advertising, first it was "push" - marketing by interruption. Then the stranglehold on our attention dispersed and it became "pull" - marketing by attraction. Now with more and more opportunities for engagement moving into the interactive sphere, the chief marketing strategy is "serve" - marketing by being helpful. For websites, you're only lucky enough to exist if the audience intends to make use of you. It's up to us as designers to understand & serve that intent as best we can. We should happily accept our contribution's role as the "assistant" - there are a lot of openings in that sector these days. [post_title] => Happiness in Servitude [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => happiness-in-servitude [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 16:08:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-17 23:08:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=960 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Marketing by interruption is dead. Marketing by attraction is dying. Building loyalty through service is thriving. What’s your website strategy?
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 961 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2012-02-08 09:44:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-02-08 17:44:40 [post_content] => "The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer." — Henry David Thoreau Getting user feedback is hard. It's so hard that companies pay war chests of hard-earned revenue to consulting agencies who wheedle it from their audience. They drag Average Joes into two-way mirror testing chambers, invade their most private social networks and inject popup surveys between them and their content at every permissible opportunity, all in the name of finding out what is meaningful to them. So, you'd think if there were an abundance of voluntarily-provided feedback, they'd treat it like some kind of godsend and react to it with equal parts compassion and excitement. Instead, we get the modern FAQ page. I'm just going to come right out and say it - 99% of FAQ pages are built on two kinds of bullshit: lies or laziness. Let's set aside the mind-bogglingly inane practice of inventing your own "frequently-asked" questions (the "lies" part) and assume your clientele truly is persistently barraging you with the same set of inquiries, day in and day out. If people are constantly asking you the same questions, it means two things:
Your website's users don't want to contact you to get the information they need — that's why they're on your website to begin with. For them, reaching out is a last resort. And for each that does, many others won't even bother.
- These questions are important to your audience, and...
- Your website is doing a crap job in answering themIt's what you do with your post-launch findings that matters, and putting them to applicable use is a golden opportunity for improvement.Of course, we can't predict every single aspect of an interaction ahead of time and users are bound to surprise us with things we hadn't planned for. It's what you do with your post-launch findings that matters, and putting them to applicable use is a golden opportunity for improvement. Shelving them away in a dark corner of your website is not a particularly great way to seize the opportunity, to say the least. Like your customers' resistance to reach out, it should also be a last resort for you to create an FAQ page. In most cases it's a cop-out, a white flag of surrender. Most FAQ pages are basically saying "We give up. There's no way to design this site to accommodate user needs X, Y and Z — let's just toss 'em in a catch-all bin." So what can you do instead? Treat user feedback as what it is: a valuable list of potential improvements you need to investigate and, usually, adapt your site around.Treat user feedback as what it is: a valuable list of potential improvements you need to investigate and, usually, adapt your site around.Sick of people asking you how much your product costs? Find a way for the website to better answer that question ahead of time. Getting pestered with tedious requests for info already available on the site? Could be time to find ways to surface it using a more resonant language or content structure. Annoyed with all of the questions about how to recover lost passwords? Sounds like the current sign-in component isn't doing its job. Your website exists to serve the overlapping needs of the business and its customers. It exists in a continually changing social environment, and that change needs to be met with equally continuous internal calibration. Let's take every opportunity we can to genuinely attend to the feedback we value, stop guessing at what people might want to know, and start paying attention instead. [post_title] => Your FAQ Page Is B.S. [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => your-faq-page-is-bs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:45:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:45:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=961 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
FAQs are your customers telling you what you do poorly. It’s what you should fix first, not what you should show the rest of the world.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 788 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2012-02-07 14:20:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-02-07 22:20:25 [post_content] => If you've ever booked a hotel room online, you know how helpful user reviews can be. But if you happen to own a hotel, you might find the idea of unmoderated reviews on sites like TripAdvisor a bit terrifying. "What if they say something horrible about us?" Well, what if it didn't matter if the review was good as long as the grammar and spelling were? That's exactly what a recent study of hotel bookings found: if reviews were well written with proper grammar, whether positive or negative, room bookings went up. User reviews are a critical part of the online ecosystem, so instead of worrying about whether or not you're getting positive ones, just make sure the grammar and spelling are correct, and your business will be just fine. For more quick tips on how to make your website more effective, visit http://thegood.com/insights [post_title] => User Reviews - Spelling vs Star Count [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => user-reviews-spelling-vs-star-count [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 22:33:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-18 05:33:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=788 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Consumers are smart. They value reviews from other educated and thoughtful consumers. Spelling matters, stars don’t.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 962 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2012-01-13 14:11:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-01-13 22:11:14 [post_content] => "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin I have always thought baby mobiles are designed backwards. Let's say, for example, we have a very cute and pleasant one with colorful wooden cutouts of bunnies. To the adult who installed it, this looks perfect as it hangs over the crib: but to the baby (the party this product is supposed to be designed for) it projects a much less interesting visual:The parent feels they're providing something enjoyable to the baby, but objective observation indicates otherwise.There seems to be a tension here: its purpose is to entertain babies, but it's positioned to appeal to adults. While having the bunnies face the cognizant, wallet-wielding side of the equation may be the more marketable decision, the baby's experience is no doubt the poorer for it. In fact, in this particular case their enjoyment of looking at the bunnies is at the direct expense of their child's ability to do so. The parent feels they're providing something enjoyable to the baby, but objective observation indicates otherwise. This tension is no different in the web world than it is in the product world - clients (those with the money) want to receive a website that they like, assuming that that feeling will be mutual amongst their customers (those experiencing it). If we turn the dial too far towards the client, though, we risk providing a spectacular but irrelevant product - a virtual "yes man" of a website, comforting them but not serving their best interests. In my mind, this is the essential crux of user-centered design: identifying the tradeoffs of catering to either the client or the user, and presenting suggestions for how both parties may best be served.When in doubt, it seems like the best option is to side with the people actually using it.When in doubt, it seems like the best option is to side with the people actually using it - not only are they the ones it's presumably supposed to be designed for, but their perspective is also likely to be the least-represented throughout the design phase. Moreover, by serving the users we in fact serve both parties simultaneously: the website is only valuable to the client if it's creating a real-world effect in behavior, and that can't happen if it doesn't resonate with its audience. You would be hard-pressed to find a parent who would sign off on an instruction like "make this baby toy less interesting to my daughter and more interesting to me", and yet examples abound, particularly online. The hope of user-centered design is to remind us of our higher ambitions, and remember which way the bunnies should be facing. [post_title] => Keeping their Perspective in Perspective [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => user-centered-design-about-facing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:46:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:46:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=962 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Looking good and going nowhere. That’s most websites. Be different. Design for your customers. It pays.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 963 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2012-01-05 15:03:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-01-05 23:03:32 [post_content] => We’re working hard to change how digital projects are created, not only in terms of helping our clients to reach their goals efficiently and sustainably, but also in reaching the goals we have set for ourselves as an agency. Most clients, especially those working with traditional design & marketing agencies, are accustomed to a “waterfall” process, in which their project is handed to a large team and divided into a series of discrete phases such as discovery, design, development, testing, launch, and (with any luck) maintenance. The waterfall process offers several perceived advantages for both agency and client, however many times those benefits are outweighed by the inherent inflexibility of the system. For instance, once a client has provided sign off on a design layout, any change no matter how small or logical typically triggers a change order and schedule adjustment. This is just one example of the back and forth that naturally occurs with any digital project where the waterfall method is not well poised to respond naturally. Clients and other project stakeholders may not be able to fully understand how a certain feature will work — or even if that feature is necessary — simply by looking at a wireframe or a design comp. Features can be added in a few minutes of design that can result in days or weeks worth of programming. A seemingly simple content change can have a ripple effect throughout the structure of a site. All of these result in costly changes to the project and timeline.Just because things have been done a certain way for years doesn’t mean they can’t change, and change quickly.We believe in a “lean” process in which we work to eliminate wasted time and effort by delivering work for review as quickly as possible, and gathering feedback to incorporate new knowledge into the next iteration of the project. The leaner we are, the easier it is for us to respond to change. Using smaller, more focused project teams gives us something special: agility. The ability to be nimble and respond quickly and appropriately to change is one thing that small teams have by default that large teams don’t. A change that might take a larger team in a large agency a week to implement might only take a day for a smaller, leaner team to deliver — especially if that team is planning to work that way in the first place. Iterate quickly. Iterate often. Unlike the waterfall process that requires agencies to “get it right the first time”, an iterative process allows us to get a working piece of functionality in front of actual users as quickly as possible, even if it’s not perfect, and adjust from there. We can quickly gather feedback, determine if we need to make changes to the design or functionality, and create solutions to address any concerns for the next iteration. A great example of a successful iterative process at work is this Nordstrom Innovation Lab case study. Though this is a challenge to how most agencies approach their work, we believe it is one worth taking on. Just because things have been done a certain way for years doesn’t mean they can’t change, and change quickly. We believe that starting from a goal and working toward a feature, expecting and embracing change along the way, will lead to better outcomes for our clients and ourselves. [post_title] => No More Chasing Waterfalls [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => no-more-chasing-waterfalls [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:46:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:46:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=963 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. It is flexible and works better than the waterfall process.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 784 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2012-01-03 15:23:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-01-03 23:23:23 [post_content] => When a fast food chain wanted to improve their milkshake, instead of hiring a focus group, they brought in a team of expert researchers. The research method? Sit in the restaurant and observe who was buying the shakes, then ask them what job they were "hiring" them to do. Instead of competing with other milkshakes, it turned out they were competing with bagels, bananas, and trail mix. Most people were "hiring" the shake as a delicious, cup-holder friendly way to improve their morning commute, while keeping them full until lunch. Websites aren't milkshakes, but they can certainly be improved by understanding the jobs they are being hired to do by your customers. For more quick tips on how to make your website more effective, visit http://thegood.com/insights [post_title] => Hiring Your Website [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => hiring-your-website [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-17 22:31:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-18 05:31:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=784 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
The website isn’t a digital billboard. It’s a tool for customers to buy and learn from you. Make better tools for your customers, not ads.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 964 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2012-01-03 01:08:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-01-03 09:08:02 [post_content] => "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." -- Elvis Costello When the art of cinema was young, it was defined in terms of other preexisting art forms – “music of light”, “painting in movement”, “architecture in motion”, and so on. This was reasonable, considering it was in its infancy and its true identity was still emerging. Like any new medium (early television was called “radio with pictures”), the internet has gone through a similar process of self-discovery. Much like cinema initially referenced the traditional form of theatre before coming into its own, web design has always borrowed heavily from the more established print design world, replicating its values and limitations alike – essentially considering websites to be “documents with clicking”. However, interactive experiences are terrifically complex and richly nuanced, and crafting the means for such an experience is a tall task. Outside of some documentation remnants of a UX/planning stage, nearly every step of the average site design process (wireframes, roughs, comps, revisions, etc.) concentrates primarily on documenting how the website is presented under a number of different conditions. Relying on the visual design to do the heavy lifting of the creation process is a problem because most of the non-visual thinking is lost as soon as the layout is handed to a collaborator, leaving them to guess at the intent behind the decisions made. It shows, but often doesn't tell. As in the quote at the top, "dancing about architecture" is not the most natural endeavor, and it’s time we questioned whether “compositioning about websites” is either. Just as cinema went on to attain its unique identity after its basis in replicating theatre, if we peer beyond the graphical aspects of websites that are most readily familiar to us we can see the emerging identity of web design: interaction. If instead of focusing the project around its layout we all focus on defining and facilitating the behaviors we want that layout to elicit, the project's conceptual integrity is shared rather than left to interpretation. With a blueprint of behaviors directing not only the visual but also structural and interactive elements, every discipline involved can do their best work without any loss of information along the way, including after launch. This opens up the opportunity to better collaborate across roles, teams and even time. Websites exist to solve problems - to spread information, to forge relationships, to help people do things they could never have imagined before. As such, the essence of web design lies less in the pixels and content on the screen and more in the real-world human behaviors it facilitates. Shifting our focus from the design of documents to the design of interactions frees us from our commitment to defining a website by its material form and gives us the ability to define a website by what it can and should be: experiences with purpose. Design the interaction, and the rest will follow. After all, websites don't even really exist unless they're used: it isn't just what it looks like, it's what it does. We are rich with theories and hard at work in finding what’s possible in this approach, and we welcome you to join us. [post_title] => It Isn't What It Looks Like [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => it-isnt-what-it-looks-like [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:46:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:46:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=964 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
The web isn’t what most people think it is. It’s better. Much better.
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 965 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2012-01-02 23:05:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-01-03 07:05:22 [post_content] => Most people are pretty good at communicating their opinions, sharing why they do or don't like an abstract painting or the design of a website for instance, but multiple studies have shown that those explanations are almost completely fictional. Gut feelings are locked away in a part of the brain that doesn't have access to language and most attempts to justify or explain them only result in a story spun for ourselves or others to believe. This presents an obvious problem for us as makers when creating a digital project: guidance and feedback can be difficult to provide or receive without resorting to opinion, making it very difficult not only to determine the success of a project, but also to plot a course for success in the first place. By outlining a series of goals to build on rather than a list of things to build, it's much easier to determine whether or not an idea will contribute to a project's success. How many times have you scheduled a visit to the doctor armed with a well intentioned list of suggestions to solve your problem based on a bit of googling? That's not much different than hiring an agency to build your website and coming in the door with a list of features; in both cases the expert is being asked to fill a prescription without a full understanding of the problem. Unfortunately, most projects that begin with this foundation don't end with a sustainable, measurable outcome that justifies the investment required to create them. After years of experiencing various sides of this arrangement, we've shifted our approach from planning the "what" to understanding the "why", from the features of a project to the goals behind it.We've found that by first outlining a series of goals to build on rather than a list of things to build it is much easier to determine whether or not an idea will contribute to a project's success.We've found that by first outlining a series of goals to build on rather than a list of things to build it is much easier to determine whether or not an idea will contribute to a project's success. When a feature has to support a business or behavioral goal in order to make the cut, the inevitably varying opinions guiding a project are also forced to align behind a common standard of qualification. This makes actively seeking the simplest and most intuitive solutions to the problems we're being hired to solve a much clearer process, and though it eventually results in a list of components to build, both we and our client can be confident that we're on the right track. Another strength offered by shifting from features to goals is the ability to intelligently correct course after launch. While many projects end with a "post mortem" phase where everyone considers what went well or could have gone better, the last thing we'd call the launch of any digital project would be its death. Unlike a magazine or poster, digital work can be measured and adapted for the better after it's launched based on real data. Even after establishing goals and building only the features that support them, the launch of a project is still essentially a best guess at what will succeed. If proper care is taken to set the right goals and build around them, the launch of a project is the first opportunity to take actual usage data and further align the features behind the goals. For instance, if users are frequently searching for a certain type of content, that's an opportunity to address the site's content structure. If a certain product or workflow isn't converting to sales, there's an opportunity to run some A/B tests to increase conversions. Figuring any of that out and making the necessary changes requires a solid foundation of clear goals at the outset and follow through after launch. This may seem like common sense, but it's not so common in our industry and it's time for that to change. [post_title] => Build Goals, Not Features [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => build-goals-not-features [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-04-08 15:46:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-04-08 22:46:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thegood.com/?post_type=insights&p=965 [menu_order] => 20 [post_type] => insights [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
Doctors diagnose then prescribe. Most companies write prescriptions/feature lists without ever diagnosing. Are you writing your own feature lists?