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72% of Sites Fail Ecommerce Site Search Expectations: 3 Steps + a Checklist to Ensure Yours Isn’t One of Them

It’s official: mobile ecommerce on-site search experiences are abysmal.

You probably didn’t need a study to prove that out.

We’ve all been there, after all – typing on a mobile screen into a tiny box that serves us little to no accurate results.

In fact, according to a recent Baymard Institute Mobile Ecommerce Usability study, most of us use on-site search when on mobile (and over other mobile search experiences).

Here’s exactly what they found:

On-site search was found to be the preferred product finding strategy of the test subjects, as they perceived it to be faster than category navigation.

And yet, despite most of us using on-site searches on mobile, the mobile search experience on ecommerce sites is almost entirely broken.

Even on desktop – where consumers using on-site search spend 3-4x more with a given brand – most online stores fall short.

“[This data] comes as little surprise, as we’ve already documented how severely desktop ecommerce search misaligns with users’ search behavior,” points out the author of the Baymard study.

“For example, 70% of (desktop) ecommerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results for product-type synonyms (requiring users to search using the exact same jargon as the site) and 34% don’t return useful results when users search for a model number or misspell a word with just a single character in the product title.”

That’s a big deal – because if a consumer is taking the time to type in what exactly they are looking for from your brand, then they are further down the funnel than any other potential consumer on your site.

And yet, most ecommerce brands treat on-site search as an afterthought.

But you shouldn’t, because ignoring on-site search results in:

  • Lower desktop average order value
  • Decreased mobile conversion
  • Reduced SEO – and thus, less organic traffic

With so many brands ignoring this issue, it’s important to break this down to the basics. After all, consumers are using site search bars (despite all the odds against them – hard to see, difficult to use, etc.) and brands still aren’t paying any attention to them.

Meet the Consumers Who Use On-Site Search

Broadly speaking, online shoppers can be split up into two predominant types:

  1. Browsers.
  2. Searchers.

The first type – Browsers – goes through a string of behaviors that is the online equivalent to window-shopping.

They are shoppers who really don’t know precisely what they are looking for, or perhaps are not sure exactly how to verbally express what they want.

Browsers can navigate through multiple merchandise collections, often using the site menu and view many products in one session, without ultimately buying a thing.

Searchers, on the other hand, are shoppers who exhibit a clear intent.

When navigating a website, particularly an ecommerce website, they are looking for a category of products, a specific product, color, or even a SKU.  

The above example is from a nationally recognized online store, where their best performing on-site search keywords are SKUs.

This focused behavior leads to a exponentially higher likelihood of conversion. This is why search can be characterized as the most important conversion vehicle on on your website.

3 Ways to Optimize Mobile Search for Increased Sales

Think of on-site search as a handy assistant to your most important shoppers – those who exhibit a clear intent.

This is especially true on mobile, where on-site search experiences across 50 of the top online brands (in the study conducted by Baymard) shows the brands average mobile on-site search experience is way below customer expectation par.

This makes sense. Here are the 2 biggest issues confronting searching mobile consumers.  

  1. When it comes to mobile, the smaller screen and touch functionality affects browsing experience.
  2. Viewing is more limited than on desktop. On mobile, a consumer typically sees only one or two products per screen, while on a laptop or desktop it’s likely that dozens of products are visible at once.

These cause mobile browsing to be a more tedious experience –– causing shoppers to abandon the funnel and lose you the sale.

Is it possible this variance in mobile behavior and lack of UX is partly responsible for the lower mobile conversion rate when compared to desktop?

It’s only a correlation, but it’s enough so to light a fire under any brand not focusing on optimizing for it.

Here are 3 tips to power-up mobile site search for your store.

1. Make your mobile search box visible and open.

Designers and UX professionals know the importance of search, and typically assign it prime real estate in a custom theme.

However, in many default store themes, the search box is missing or hidden on the mobile screen.

As a result, search becomes a small magnifying glass icon that is hardly noticeable to the eye, or worse, buried among many other menu items.

Recognize this?

Keep in mind, that shoppers of the ‘Searchers’ variety are your most important customers, and they already know what they want to buy.

Make your search box visible, open and easily accessible, so that people can engage with it intuitively.

What follows is common sense: if your mobile shoppers can type what they are looking for and find it quickly, conversion is not only more likely, it is accelerated.

When shoppers see a clear, open search box front and center, they are encouraged to start their journey by telling you what they are looking for.

Let’s look at 3 examples:

1. BB Crafts.

Bbcrafts.com’s visible search box helps shoppers find what they want on mobile, with the search bar clearly visible and ready for text just below the logo.

2. So Good to Buy.

So Good to Buy has a similar design, putting the search bar open and clearly visible just above the logo and below the sales banners.

3. Sam’s Furniture.

Sam’s Furniture’s mobile search bar blends more into the theme, but remains open and visible. It also allows for a photo search option as well.

Sam’s Furniture One of the Most Innovative Brands of 2017

Selling furniture online is hard. Not because its expensive. Not because there are a ton of competitors.

Those things matter, sure, but it is the difficulty in shipping that is the real issue.

Here’s how Sam’s Furniture figured it out.

2. Use rich autocomplete with error-correction to engage shoppers.

Google has cornered nearly 80% of the web search market. It’s safe to assume your online shoppers are familiar with it.

We are all therefore conditioned by Google to expect an autocomplete function.

This means that the search engine predicts a search query as it is typed.

When the autocomplete mechanism works well, it:

  • Helps users save time
  • Iterates their search queries better
  • Finds the results they’re looking for, faster.

In ecommerce, these benefits extend not only to suggesting the search query, but also suggesting the most relevant products.

If the user selects a popular query, he or she would get to a results page, without the need to type the entire product name or search query.

In addition to saving time, this implicitly also assures the shopper that they’re in the right place, since they are not the only one searching for this particular term, phrase or item.

If, alternatively, a shopper selects a recommended product, they would proceed to land on the product page.

From there, they can conveniently click the “Buy” button and begin the checkout process, without first going through a search results page.

Here’s how that process works.

  1. Go to search
  2. Type in search – it auto-populates
  3. Go to product pages instead of search category page

This quick shift from search to product page, in turn, accelerates the purchase cycle and speeds up conversion.

What’s more is that on mobile, autocomplete holds even greater importance, since screen real-estate is scarce, and smartphone typing is error-prone and somewhat harder to execute, compared to desktop.

This is precisely why rich autocomplete is infinitely crucial to mobile conversion.

Shoppers should be able to find products even if they misspell all or part of their query, and this is more likely to happen if visitors are engaged from the very first character they type.

Let’s look at another example by Group Vertical, which uses rich autocomplete to engage shoppers and minimize the typing requirement.

3. Use merchandising to promote products where it matters.

Search is all about anticipating shoppers’ intent.

And with AI on the horizon and machine learning getting faster and much, much smarter –– on-site search may be the first arena to employ these new technologies.

After all, AI algorithms predict with high accuracy which products a shopper will select at a given moment for a specific search query.

For instance, when a shopper searches for “running shoes” – what are the products he or she are most likely products to click on?

AI and machine learning can get us closer to the results.

Search apps and search engines are self-learning. This means that those engines analyze, learn and improve the relevance of search results over time.

It’s why every so often, Google has a major update to their algorithm. As the algorithm evolves, so does the code and thus engineers must get involved.

Of course, machine learning and AI are only half of the equation.

The other half relates to the online merchant’s strategic choices, which can vary according to a number of business related considerations, including:

  • Item profitability
  • Ongoing or ad-hoc promotions
  • Stock shortage and surplus

These merchandising decisions dictate a variety of decisions:

  • Which products are promoted ahead of others
  • Which products are hidden or buried according to season, promotion or keyword
  • Which products appear in searches initiated from specific geographic locations.
  • Which products appear for specific customer groups and segments

Advanced merchandising capabilities are doubly crucial when it comes to mobile shopping.

Once again, this is due to the small screen size, and the fact that shoppers who browse search results will typically only look at only the first few to see if that’s what they are looking for before moving on.

You can’t count on shoppers giving you a second chance – not when competition may be out-UXing you.

By ensuring that the search algorithm takes into account not only the verbiage used, but also other factors such as user behavior, location and promotions, merchants can better match shoppers’ intent and display the most relevant results possible.

Then, the path to conversion is quicker.

rcplanet.com is merchandising search results to optimize conversion with over 50,000 products. This is key for parts and whole product vendors. They need to promote whole products ahead of their parts. In the example above, you see that when you search for drone, you first get the whole drone product rather than drone engine replacement part.

Your On-Site Search Optimization Checklist

If you’ve been struggling to improve mobile conversion rate in on your site, dive in to your on-site search report and see what shows up.

  • Are folks searching for items that get no results?

Don’t be like HP. Ensure your search results always show something relevant – or at least moves them to another idea.

  • What are your most popular search terms?

Can you use those to inform your SEO strategy, too? The above keywords get people to click on the product page. That would probably be the case on Google, too. Try it out!

  • Are consumers using site search at all?

BigCommerce’s in-store search analytics report breaks down in-store search queries to help you better investigate needs. Learn more about the report here.

Additional apps you can use like Instant Search+ also provide in-depth search analytics for better decision making and optimization prioritization.

  • Can you install a heat map tool (Lucky Orange, for instance) to see if users hover or click on the bar?

The above questions are how you determine if your on-site search functionality needs a facelift.

And in all likelihood – it does.

Not even the biggest brands out there get this right even 50% of the time. But you can.

And that’s how you win over the competitors.

Recommended Site Search Functionality & Best Practices
  • Make sure your search bar in visible on all devices.
  • Use autocomplete for quicker searches.
  • Ensure misspellings still have results.
  • Merchandise on-site search results for relevance.
  • Turn your frequently searched for items into FAQs for SEO.
  • Use images rather than only text.

Additional Store Search Best Practices

Learn how to set up your BigCommerce site for an exceptional on-site search experience now.

Want more insights like this?

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Ecommerce News admin 10 Jan 2018 Comments Off on 72% of Sites Fail Ecommerce Site Search Expectations: 3 Steps + a Checklist to Ensure Yours Isn’t One of Them

January Sales Tax Deadlines: What, When, Why and How to File in 5 Steps

The information in this article applies to U.S. sellers and sellers who remit sales tax in the U.S. only.

If you’re an online retailer, chances are you have to deal with sales tax.

And by “deal with sales tax” we mean register for sales tax permits, figure out when and how much sales tax to collect, and make sure you file your sales tax returns on time, every time.

It’s enough to make your income tax requirements seem like an April breeze.

To add to the stress, January is an especially taxing time for online stores – pun intended.

No matter if the state(s) in which you are required to file a sales tax return asks you to file monthly, quarterly or annually, the first month of the year is traditionally a sales tax due date for just about everyone. And here you thought you were going to get to enjoy a respite after the holiday avalanche – not so fast.

Sales tax can be tricky – especially for sellers who only deal with it once a year. So to put your mind at ease, we developed a step-by-step guide to handling sales tax this January and beyond.

Step 1:  Figure out where you have sales tax nexus

Sales tax nexus is just a fancy way of saying a “significant presence” in a state.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia require merchants to collect a sales tax, and that means you, as an online seller, must collect sales tax in states where you have nexus.

Figuring out your nexus is one of the first steps a new online seller must take. It’s pretty easy to see that if you operate out of a state, you have a significant presence there and thus have nexus.

But, you may also have nexus in a state if you have an office or employee there, if you store goods in a warehouse there or perhaps if you travel across state lines for a craft fair or tradeshow.

The line here can blur, making it hard to figure out where you have nexus.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have sales tax nexus in a specific state:

In which states do I have…

  1. An office?
  2. A store or other physical location?
  3. An employee or employees?
  4. Products stored in a warehouse or other venue?
  5. Sales at a trade show, craft fair or other physical location?

After asking yourself these questions, you’ll have a list of one or more states in which you will more than likely have sales tax nexus. Check here for a list of what creates sales tax nexus in every state. If you have any questions about nexus, you should contact your state’s Department of Revenue.

Step 2: Register for a sales tax permit

If you have nexus in a state, that state requires you to register for a sales tax permit before you begin collecting sales tax.

Head back over to your state’s Department of Revenue (or equivalent state agency) and register for your permit to collect sales tax.

States use sales tax collected from all retailers with nexus to pay for public utilities including education, transit and more. When you register, the state will tell you when they want you to file sales tax returns and pay what you’ve collected back to their coffers. Most of the time they’ll ask you to file either monthly, quarterly or annually.

Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to a state’s filing cadence. One state may ask you to file annually, while another wants to see a sales tax return from you monthly. Either way, filing appropriately for your state isn’t something you want to forget. Most states consider it unlawful for you to collect sales tax without a permit.

Step 3: Collect sales tax

Once you’ve determined where you have nexus and are signed up for your sales tax permit, it’s time to begin collecting sales tax from customers. Remember, you only have to collect sales tax from customers in states where you have sales tax nexus.

  • Nexus in Texas + Buyer in Texas = Yes! Collect sales tax
  • No Nexus in Texas + Buyer in Texas = No need to collect sales tax

You’ll need to set up your sales tax collection through the individual channels on which you sell.

Step 4: Report how much you’ve collected

Up until this point, sales tax has been pretty straightforward, but this is where things start to get more complex.

First, you need to figure out how much sales tax you’ve collected from your buyers. If you only sell on BigCommerce, pulling a report detailing all the sales tax you’ve collected is pretty cut and dry.

Things get more complicated, however, if you sell through multiple channels – i.e. on Etsy, Amazon, eBay – or accept payments in-person or via brick-and-mortar.

Beyond pulling together your omnichannel sales information, there’s still the matter of arranging the information in a way states want to see it. More than half of U.S. states are destination-based sales tax states, meaning they require sellers to charge sales tax based on the buyer’s ship to address.

Then, when it comes time to file a sales tax return, they require you, the merchant, to break down how much sales tax you collected by locality, such as by county, by city or by special taxing district – or all of the above.

If you choose to do this manually, it may involve looking up the zip codes of individual sales and comparing them to a tax table for your state to determine how to code each sales tax transaction. This can be a time consuming mess.

Fortunately, technology now exists to rescue you from spreadsheets and tax tables. There are solutions out there that allow you to integrate all of your sales channels quickly and easily calculate how much sales tax you collected from customers.

These solutions will even prepare a return-ready report or file your sales tax returns for you.

sales-tax-platform-social-proof

Full disclosure: TaxJar is a version of such technology. BigCommerce customers can install the app here. 

Step 5: File your sales tax returns

The next step is to file your sales tax returns with the state or states where you have nexus. Remember, if you have to deal with sales tax, you’ll most likely have to file at least one sales tax return in January.

Make sure you file on time, too.

You’ll receive a penalty if you’re late.

Plus, some states offer a sales tax discount if you’re timely.

These states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Step 6: Know your deadlines!

Here’s a breakdown by state for when sales tax is due.

An (A) symbol means that state has an Amazon Fulfillment Center.

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

Alabama

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Arizona (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Arkansas

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

California (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 16, 2017

Colorado

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Connecticut (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

District of Columbia

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Florida (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

*(Florida considers sales tax returns due the 1st day of the month after the taxable period, and late by the 20th of the month. ACH payments must be initiated 3 days in advance of the due date.)

Georgia (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Hawaii

  • Monthly general excise tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Idaho

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Illinois (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Indiana (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017 for sales totals in excess of $1,000. For sales totals of less than $1,000, the monthly sales tax due date is January 30, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017 for sales totals in excess of $1,000. For sales totals of less than $1,000, the quarterly sales tax due date is January 30, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017 for sales totals in excess of $1,000. For sales totals of less than $1,000, the annual sales tax due date is January 30, 2017

Iowa

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

Kansas (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 25, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 25, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 25, 2017

Kentucky (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Louisiana

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Maine

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 16, 2017*
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 16, 2017*
  • Annual sales tax due on January 16, 2017*

Maryland (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Massachusetts (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Michigan

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on February 28, 2017

Minnesota (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on February 6, 2017*

Mississippi

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Missouri

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

Nebraska

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Nevada (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

New Jersey (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

New Mexico

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 25, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 25, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 25, 2017

New York

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on March 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on March 21, 2017

North Carolina

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017

North Dakota

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

Ohio (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 23, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 23, 2017
  • Semi-annual sales tax due on January 23, 2017

Oklahoma

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Pennsylvania (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on February 22, 2017

Rhode Island

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017

South Carolina (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

South Dakota

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017 (if filing on paper) & January 25, 2017 if filing and paying online
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017 (if filing on paper) & January 25, 2017 if filing and paying online
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017 (if filing on paper) & January 25, 2017 if filing and paying online

Tennessee (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Texas (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Utah

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

Vermont

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 25, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 25, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 25, 2017

Virginia (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Washington (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 25, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

West Virginia

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 20, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 20, 2017

Wisconsin (A)

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

Wyoming

  • Monthly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Quarterly sales tax due on January 31, 2017
  • Annual sales tax due on January 31, 2017

It’s true: sales tax is complex. But if you can run an online store and turn a profit, then you can master this nitpicky administrative task. Do you have questions or comments about sales tax? Let us know in the comments.

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Ecommerce News admin 04 Jan 2018 Comments Off on January Sales Tax Deadlines: What, When, Why and How to File in 5 Steps

Ecommerce Return Policy: How to Write a Returns and Refunds Policy [Examples Below]

A solid ecommerce return policy can make or break a sale or turn a visitor into a customer for life. One of the biggest contributors to a sale is how you deal with a potential buyer’s common questions, especially regarding what you’ll do if they don’t like what they purchased.

In a survey by comScore and UPS, 63% of American consumers check the return policy before making a purchase and 48% would shop more with retailers that offer hassle-free returns. These policies can have an even greater impact on international consumers, most notably in Germany where 72% of consumers would give more business to stores with hassle-free returns.

Consumers have been trained to be more cautious when it comes to buying online. Not only are they incurring the additional shipping costs, but they also are not able to interact with their purchase in person as they would in a physical store.

A clear returns, refunds, and exchanges policy shows that you, the ecommerce business owner, stand by your product, and pride yourself on a stellar customer service experience. It is one of the many “wow” factors you can provide shoppers who may be a little concerned about buying online rather than in person. Plus, looking out for your customers is just good business.

Refund & Return Policy Template

Discover how to create your shipping and returns policy, including:

  • General guidelines
  • Items to address
  • How to roll out your policy
  • How to remain competitive as a small business

Providing a comprehensive policy for returns and exchanges instills confidence in you, your business and your products. And trust has a huge impact on your bottom line. One study featured in the Journal of Marketing found that customers who received free shipping on returns increased their purchases over the next two years by 58 to 357%.

Developing a comprehensive plan can actually reduce the resources you spend on returns and keep your customers coming back. Even though the customer may not be satisfied with their original purchase, handling the return professionally will ensure their continued patronage.

Loyalty is earned by providing an awesome experience even when your product or service wasn’t a perfect fit.

How to Write a Great Returns Policy

When it comes to updating or even adding a returns policy to your site, there are a few best practices to abide by. We’ll outline these below, but we’ve also included some additional tips and tactics on what to include.

This is a potential differentiation factor between you and your competitors. Be sure you offer the better customer service experience from beginning to end, starting with ensuring they know your  policy and ending by living up to your customer’s expectations of your promise.

  1. Don’t hide your policy. You customers should never have to go on a scavenger hunt to find information on your store. Keep this in broad daylight on your main menu. Or, if you’re comfortable, shout it from the rooftops by placing it in places like your carousel and banners throughout your store. But, the best place to put an ecommerce return policy is in your confirmation emails on purchases. Let those who have already bought know that you are dedicated to them liking their product, and that if they don’t –– they can always return it. Being your customers biggest advocate is a great way to foster lifetime loyalty.
  2. Never (ever, ever, ever) copy and paste. This goes for nearly anything on your site (especially product descriptions), but a returns and exchange policy is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Personalize it to your specific business and target audience. Make this a fun page to read and reiterate your commitment to your customers. Include, if possible, customer reviews of the experience as well. Use this page as a testimonial spot on your site –– one that you can use to prove to potential customers that not only do people love your products, but that even when they don’t, you still treat everyone with respect, dignity and fairness.
  3. Use plain English. Yes, you want to talk to your target audience, but avoid using words that send people running for a dictionary. You don’t want to confuse anyone –– especially those Google bots that can help boost your SEO. Use keywords. Reiterate your promise. Incorporate real customer feedback. Rinse. Repeat.
  4. Avoid the scary stuff. Try not to use phrases like “you must” and “you are required” or, one of the worst, “we are not responsible for.” Long story short, make your returns process easy. In fact, your returns process should be just as easy as it was to buy the item in the first place. Don’t offload the issue on the customer.
  5. Outline what they can expect from you. Do you exchange, offer store credit or return their money? Every merchant has their own preference, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to offer only a full refund. Determine what works best for your unique business. You can even A/B test here to see which offerings your customers prefer.
  6. Set expectations for your customer. What’s the procedure for a return or exchange? Does the customer need to use your packaging or can they use their own? Do they need to include the order slip? Is there a limited time in which a return or exchange can be completed? Who pays for shipping? You or your customer? Outline the specific process and guidelines. Make your ecommerce shipping policy and returns understandable and straight-forward.
  7. Educate your staff. Make sure all employees are up to date with your return policy and procedures so they can assist customers quickly and effectively.
  8. Be prepared to eat the cost of your mistakes. If you messed up, be honest and make it right. If you shipped the wrong item, or packaged it poorly, you should be willing to make it right no matter what the official policy is. We all make mistakes, it’s how you handle those mistakes that matters.

Finally, don’t forget to play fair. If you make a change to your policy, be sure to honor the old policy if an order was placed before the change took place.

What Great Returns Policy Looks Like [10+ Examples]

Returns happen.

And if customers are hesitant about a purchase, they want to know that your brand won’t make returning something difficult.

Great refund policies encourage customers to commit to a purchase, and allow them to shop without fear of consequence.

Zappos is a great example of a return policy gone well. Their willingness to accept refunds and excellence in communicating that policy means they make fans for life.

“Our best customers have the highest returns rates, but they are also the ones that spend the most money with us and are our most profitable customers,” says CEO Craig Adkins.

A good return policy doesn’t just reassure your customers. Writing and displaying a clear policy also reduces the time spent processing returns, meaning it’s great for your staff too!

If customers know what to do and where to go, you’ll spend less time dealing with returns, and more time making them happy.

Here are 10 tips to help you create a return policy that builds trust and make customers for life.

1. Embrace the bigger picture

“As a business practice, it’s expensive. As advertising, it’s cheap.” – L.L. Bean

The first step of writing a great refund policy is to stop thinking about returns solely as money lost. The return in investment is much more than just the lost value of products returned.

L.L. Bean has fully committed to their return policy as a value added service. Their unlimited, no questions asked policy attracts shoppers looking for high quality clothing because customers know that they will always end up satisfied.

It’s a very forward thinking policy – if their executives simply added up the cost of all the returned stock, it would likely seem a very expensive practice. However, the real benefit of an extensive return policy is the additional sales brought in by the publicity and brand perception.

example-1-ll-bean

Not only will a killer return policy bring in sales, interacting with customers returning products is a great opportunity to further engage your customer and earn their repeat business.

Of the 60% of online shoppers that make at least one return or exchange per year, 95% will make another purchase if the return experience was positive.

This is referred to as the “service recovery paradox.”

Surprisingly, customers that have a poor experience that’s handled well end up more loyal than they were in the first place. Giving customers hassle when they are trying to return something is more likely to deter them from shopping with you again, than deter them from the return.

Start thinking about returns in terms of the bigger picture, and you’re already halfway to a great return policy.

2. Keep it easy to understand

Why do even the friendliest brands somehow resort to legal speak when talking about refunds?

Phrases like Adhering to Policy, Under Any Circumstance, and Sole Discretion aren’t adding any legal validity to your return policy, but they are making customer’s heads spin.

For example, a Return Authorization Request (RMA) is a common term in ecommerce, but your customer shouldn’t need to know what one is to return an item.

When writing a return policy:

  • Keep it simple
  • Don’t use complicated legal jargon
  • Maintain your brand voice

Hyphen Mattress, a trendy online mattress seller, sticks to their friendly brand voice throughout their return policy. Note their avoidance of complicated wording or limitations on the return.

I love the first point they make: if your customer is requesting a return, it means they bought something from you in the first place. And that’s something to be celebrated!

example-2-hyphen-mattress

A High Five Guarantee? Man Crates keeps it simple and on brand with their refund policy. It’s not about shipping costs, RMAs or exclusions. Just call them and they will “make it right,” which is all your customers care about.

example-3-man-crate

Sweet Stamp Shop’s return policy is so sweet, it’s easy to understand why their customers love them.

Embracing the same pastel colors, hearts and happiness that the rest of their online shop exudes, they walk customers through the simple process to get a refund. When you purchase from them, you’re confident that if anything isn’t perfect, it’s going to be simple to get your money back.

example-4-sweet-stamp-shop

3. Shout about your great policy

63% of online shoppers check your refund policy before purchasing. To make the shopping experience for these customers as easy as possible, don’t make your policies difficult to find.

A good refund policy influences purchase decisions, especially if customers aren’t 100% sure at the checkout. At the very least, a return policy should be included in the main menu of your site. If you have a particularly awesome return policy, advertise it proudly on your home page.

Some might be concerned that advertising a refund policy might encourage more returns. Would you rather your customers keep a product they didn’t love, or would you rather have a happy customer with an exchange?

Communicating your refund policy, both before and after a sale ensures that you don’t have those silent, unhappy customers lurking in your reviews section. Instead you get to proactively make their day.

Shopping for shoes online always includes a bit of uncertainty, especially around fit. Lems Shoes knows that customers might be concerned about being stuck with a poor fitting pair of shoes, and makes them feel comfortable about returns immediately upon landing on their home page.

example-5-lems-shoes

Toy Fiesta’s return policy is so good, they devote a section of their home page to it. If there’s any doubt about the purchase, customers know they’ve got options to return it with no hassle.

example-6-toy-fiesta

4. Be upfront about all of the conditions and set expectations

No one likes surprises. If there’s something your customer needs to know about returning products, make sure it’s included in the policy upfront.

It’s also important to set expectations for how quickly money will be returned or replacements sent out.

MEE Audio sets clear timelines for when the refund occurs, and even breaks down why a customer might see a delay in getting their money back. It’s much better to under promise and over deliver. If they beat their four week refund timeline, customers would be much happier than if they originally expected to get a refund in a week, and ended up waiting three.

example-7-mee-audio

5. Give them enough time

It’s common to limit return and exchange periods following a purchase in order to prevent old merchandise from being returned late.

It’s not always the most customer centric move though.

If you’re buying gifts, or having a busy week when your order arrives, 14 days might not be enough to time to make a decision on a return. By not rushing the return, customers will feel more at ease making the purchase.

For example, a mattress is an extremely personal decision to make. A good night’s sleep can have a big effect on your life. So imagine the concerns with ordering a mattress online without even trying it once.

That concern is why Hyphen offers such a comprehensive return policy. Not only are returns free, you can also return it after you’ve slept on it for 100 nights. They are so sure you’ll love their product, they’ve made a big gesture to build customer trust and encourage sales.

example-8-hyphen

Return periods are particularly troublesome during the holidays. Take this story about a woman who bought her father a train set for Christmas. It needed to be exchanged due to a defective power switch, but because she had purchased it early in December, the refund period had passed. It’s not practical to expect gift buyers to open and test their presents prior to giving them.

To combat holiday returns, Cases.com offers an extended return period through January 15th. It’s the headline on every single one of their pages. Gift givers can shop with abandon, knowing that any gifts that don’t quite hit the mark can be returned even in the new year.

example-8a-cases

6. Reduce costs as much as possible

Returning a recent purchase isn’t a fun experience. You were excited about your new toy, and now it has to go back to the store.

When your customers are already sad, it’s not a good time to hit them with unexpected shipping and restocking fees. Customers are also wary about return fees before they even purchase.

Two out of three online shoppers say they would buy more if returns were free. If at all possible, eliminate restocking fees and be upfront about shipping charges on returns.

Austin Bazaar makes it clear that returns are totally free for customers, and if there was a mistake or accident with the order, they will even pay for the shipping costs both ways.

example-9-austin-bazaar

7. Help customers help themselves

81% of customers try to help themselves before contacting you.

Providing options for customers to arrange their own return or exchange saves them time, and it’s cheaper than staffing front line representatives to process the refund. It also reassures customers that they won’t need to jump through hoops, or argue with agents to get their money back.

Kap7, a water polo supply company, knows that their customers are too busy playing to pick up the phone and call to arrange a return. They make it easy by providing a simple form for customers to fill out and send back to them.

example-10-kap7

Using an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce allows your customers to request and submit their own returns through their account page. Keeping it simple for you and them saves everyone time and money.

8. Think “effortless”

The biggest cause of customer disloyalty is a high effort experience. A remarkable 96% of customers reporting high-effort experiences do not become repeat purchasers, compared with only 9% of those with low-effort experiences.

This applies across their entire lifecycle, from browsing to checkout, shipping to returns. Keeping returns a low effort experience keeps customers coming back in the future.

RedsBaby sells strollers and other baby accessories online, something that could be very bulky and difficult to return. That’s why they offer a concierge return service for a small price. Simply email their support team and you’ll never need to think about the return again.

example-11-redsbaby

Erdem offers a similar low-effort return experience suited to their target market of busy business women.

If you look at the process, it’s just two steps and they take care of the shipping. First, let them know about the return, then arrange a time for the pickup. With exchanges that easy, why not buy and try-on the whole store?

example-12-erdem

Keeping customers informed on the status of their return is also important to an effortless experience. Let them know (or provide tracking numbers) when their item has made it back to you, when the refund has been processed, or the replacement sent out.

9. Offer alternatives

A return doesn’t always need to mean a full refund. Offering alternatives is a great way to be cost efficient and make sure your customers stay happy.

An exchange is better than store credit, because your customers will have what they need. A store credit is better than a refund, because it keeps the money locked to your store.

If you are offering alternatives other than a full refund, train your front line staff on when (and how) to offer each alternative. They’ll need to be proactive about reducing refund costs while still ensuring the customer is happy.

Di Bruno Bros takes a creative approach to refunds, offering a refund, a replacement or “other arrangements,” whatever creates a win-win situation for customer and company.

example-14-dinovite

10. Make sure it makes sense for you

Once you’re created your trust-building return policy, with simple language, you’ll need to gut check that it makes sense for you.

Not all companies will be able to offer a 100% guarantee right off the bat. It just wouldn’t be financially feasible to do so. Only you can crunch the numbers and see at what point the additional sales from a strong refund policy balances the lost revenue from refunds.

Dinovite offers a return policy very unique to their product. They encourage customers not to take advantage of their guarantee until a full 90 days after purchase, because it takes that long for pet owners to see the full benefits of the product. A 14 day return policy just wouldn’t be prudent for them.

[photo]

Remember, your policy isn’t set in stone. You could offer a one month promotion with free returns and see how it goes. Just remember that if the policy does change, you’ll need to honor whatever was promised when the customer made their purchase.

Go forth and write.

Hopefully we’ve provided you with enough examples and tips to get your brain juice flowing on how you can build and improve your own refund policy to drive sales. You know your business best.

If there’s anything we missed, or if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Ecommerce News David Venne 03 Jan 2018 Comments Off on Ecommerce Return Policy: How to Write a Returns and Refunds Policy [Examples Below]

Ecommerce Trends: 147 Stats Revealing How Modern Customers Shop in 2017

Conducting high-level research into who buys what, when and why, with regards to Americans shopping online, can be costly and time-consuming — which is why we’ve done it for you.

BigCommerce has teamed up with retail and payment experts Square to dive deep into the shopping habits, behavior and preferences of thousands of American buyers across multiple generations.

Free Download

Get this entire report in a PDF version for further reading, research and action. It’s free and a quick download away.

Get your free comprehensive omnichannel report now.

Are you an omni-channel seller?

It’s easier than ever for businesses to have a digital presence across a variety of channels. A 2017 point-of-sale solutions survey of 1,164 U.S. business owners conducted by Square and Mercury Analytics found that:

  • 56% have a physical store
  • 21% have a pop-up store, or pop-up at events
  • 34% sell through their own website (using a website building platform)
  • 25% sell through Facebook (40% on social media as a whole)
  • 16% sell through Amazon (more should, considering almost half of purchases begin here)
  • 22% sell through other marketplaces (including Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.)

However, despite how easy it is to launch a webstore, scaling an online business remains extremely difficult even for the most seasoned ecommerce expert. Ecommerce sales are growing, but many retailers are struggling to capitalize on their digital sales channels.

The secret to success in 2017 is no longer just get it out there and see how it performs. The most successful retailers are strategic and targeted in their efforts, both offline and on.

It’s called omni-channel selling, and it’s something BigCommerce and Square have been exploring over the past year, in an attempt to help connect the dots between your business and the those who want to buy from your business.

It’s not just about broadcasting on all channels, though. Effectively targeting a ready-to-buy audience requires solid data and statistics on your customers.

Below, you’ll find ecommerce trends, data and statistics reporting on exactly how Americans shop online, why customers convert, why they don’t and who your business should be targeting on the various online channels in order to optimize for ROI.

This data gives you a window into what consumers look for in an online shopping experience, showcasing the potential to adapt your ecommerce business to fit the modern shopper. These findings can percolate through every aspect of your business: product pages, emails, content marketing and much more.

Online shopping

  • 51% of Americans prefer to shop online
  • 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone
  • Ecommerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website
  • Online orders increase 8.9% in Q3 2016, but average order value (AOV) increased only 0.2% — indicating that transactional growth is outpacing total revenue

Ecommerce trends by generation

  • 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop on online rather than in-store.
  • 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of Seniors will click to purchase.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend nearly 50% as much time shopping online each week (six hours) than their older counterparts (four hours).
  • 48% of millennials have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 46% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 29% at category-specific online stores.
  • 56% of Gen Xers have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 49% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 37% at category-specific online stores.
  • 59% of Baby Boomers have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 42% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 39% at category-specific online stores.
  • 51% of Seniors have shopped on marketplaces, 66% at large retailer sites, 30% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 44% at category-specific online stores.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend 6 hours per week shopping online
  • Baby Boomers spend 4 per week shopping online.
  • Seniors spend 2.5 hours per week shopping online.

Ecommerce trends by parental status

  • Parents spend more of their budget online in comparison to non-parents (40% vs. 34%) and spend 75% more time online shopping each week (7 hours vs. 4 hours for non-parents).
  • Parents spend 61% more online than non-parents ($1,071 vs. $664).
  • Nearly half (49%) of parents stated that they cannot live without online shopping.
  • 53% of U.S. parents have shopped on marketplaces, 78% at large retailer sites, 53% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 34% at category-specific online stores.
  • 54% of non-parents have shopped on marketplaces, 72% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 37% at category-specific online stores.

Ecommerce trends by gender

  • Men reported spending 28% more online than women during the past year.
  • 52% of men have shopped on marketplaces, 75% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 31% at category-specific online stores.
  • 56% of women have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 48% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 40% at category-specific online stores.
  • Men and women both report spending 5 hours per week shopping online.

Ecommerce trends by city-size

  • Although they have greater proximity to physical stores, customers in large or mid-size metropolitan areas spend more online annually ($853) than suburban shoppers ($768) or those in rural areas ($684).
  • Americans in metropolitan areas are spending the most online.
  • 63% of suburban shoppers share that shipping costs are their least favorite part of online shopping.
  • 38% of rural shoppers cite strong concerns about online privacy.
  • 49% of Americans in metropolitan areas have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 45% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 30% at category-specific online stores.
  • 60% of Americans in suburban areas have shopped on marketplaces, 73% at large retailer sites, 44% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 42% at category-specific online stores.
  • 58% of Americans in rural areas have shopped on marketplaces, 71% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 40% at category-specific online stores.
  • Americans in metropolitan areas report spending 4.5 hours per week shopping online.
  • Americans in suburban and rural areas both spend 5 hours per week shopping online.

Spending and conversion rates

  • 51% of Americans think shopping online is the best way to shop, with 49% preferring shopping in-store.
  • Americans spend 64% of their shopping budget in-store, and 36% online.
  • In the last year, shoppers have spent the most with ecommerce marketplaces ($488), closely followed by major online/offline brands ($409) such as Nordstrom or Best Buy.
  • 74% of Americans have shopped at large online/offline brand name retailers, 54% on ecommerce marketplaces, 44% at small and specially online brands and 36% at category-specific online retailers.
  • When shopping online, nearly half (48%) of online purchasers first turn to a mass commerce marketplace.
  • 31% first shop at a large online/offline brand name retailer, 12% first shop at a category specific online retailer, 7% first turn to a small/speciality online retail brand (more on conversion rates here).
  • 52% of smartphone owners use online banking (or e-banking), indicative of a further trend towards mobile shopping

Buying frequency

  • 95% of Americans shop online at least yearly.
  • 80% of Americans shop online at least monthly.
  • 30% of Americans shop online at least weekly.
  • 5% of Americans shop online daily.

Customer location at time of purchase

  • A quarter of online shoppers (25%) have made an online purchase from a brick-and-mortar store.
  • 43% of online shoppers have made a purchase while in bed.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers are nearly 3x as likely as Baby Boomers and Seniors to have made an online purchase from bed (59% v 21%).
  • 23% of online shoppers have made an online purchase at the office.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) of Millennials and Gen Xers have made a purchase from the office.
  • More than 15% of Baby Boomers and Seniors have made a purchase from the office.
  • 20% of American online shoppers have purchased from the bathroom or while in the car (a +1 for mobile commerce).
  • Millennials and Gen Xers are 5x more likely to have made an online purchase from the bathroom (31% v. 6%) than Baby Boomers and Seniors.
  • One in ten customers admitted to buying something online after drinking alcohol.
  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to have made a purchase after consuming alcohol (14% to 6%).
  • Younger generations are 5x more likely to drink and shop than their older counterparts (15% to 3%).
  • Parents are twice as likely as non-parents to have made an online purchase after drinking (15% v 7%).

Types of online goods purchased

  • 60% of shoppers have purchased clothing, shoes and accessories items from large retailers, 54% at marketplaces, 44% from category-specific and 45% from webstores.
  • 43% of online shoppers have purchased computers or electronics from marketplaces, 41% from large retailers, 29% at category-specific online stores and 17% at webstores.
  • 34% of shoppers have purchased beauty items at marketplaces, 31% at large retailers, 29% at webstores and 25% at category-specific online stores.
  • 55% of shoppers have purchased books, movies and music shop at a marketplaces, 36% at large retailers, 24% at webstores and 21% at category-specific online stores.
  • 18% of shoppers have purchased flowers and gifts on marketplaces, 18% at large retailers, 24% at webstores and 28% category-specific online stores.

Influencing factors on conversion rates

  • The top three factors that are very or extremely influential in determining where Americans shop are price (87%), shipping cost and speed (80%) and discount offers (71%).
  • Seniors are less influenced by discount offers than other generations: 47% to 74%.
  • Almost a quarter of online shoppers (23%) are influenced by social media recommendations.
  • 42% online customers find recommendations from friends and family influential, twice the number who cite advertisements as influential when determining where to shop.
  • Younger generations more receptive to advertising: Millennials and Gen X are twice as likely as older generations (27% vs. 14%) to be influenced by advertising.
  • 23% of shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations/reviews.
  • Online shoppers want products to be brought to life with images (78%) and product reviews (69%).
  • Female respondents cited that they enjoy online shopping (51% vs. 37% of male respondents), invest more time (60% vs. 46% for male counterparts) to find the best deals and often search for coupon codes to get discounts (48% vs. 29% for males).
  • 66% of online shoppers have decided not to buy an item because of shipping costs.
  • 72% of females and 59% of males have decided to abandon their purchase because of shipping costs.
  • 49% of cite not being able to touch, feel or try a product as one of their least favorite aspects of online shopping.
  • 34% said difficult to return items and long delivery estimates were also a pain (indicating a desire for same-day delivery).
  • 21% of Americans state that unattractive or hard-to-navigate websites is frustrating when buying online.
  • 78% of online shoppers want more images from ecommerce sites.
  • 69% of online shoppers want more reviews from ecommerce sites.
  • 46% of online shoppers want more product comparisons from ecommerce sites.
  • 42% of online shoppers want more testimonials from ecommerce sites.
  • 30% of online shoppers want more video from ecommerce sites.
  • 42% of online shoppers have made a purchase they later regret.
  • Millennials are more likely to experience purchaser’s regret than any other generation (51% v 37%).
  • 21% of Americans have accidentally bought something they didn’t want.
  • More than half of Millennial and Gen Xers (55%) have overspent when shopping online, while just under two in five (38%) of baby boomers and seniors have done the same.
  • 48% of online shoppers have bought or spent more than planned when shopping online.

Social media as an influencing factor on conversion rates

As social commerce continues to grow, these trends are indicative of the massive potential for retailers to connect with shoppers on their favorite platforms.

  • 30% of online shoppers say they would be likely to make a purchase from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.
  • 20% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Facebook.
  • 17% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Pinterest.
  • 14% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Instagram.
  • 12% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Twitter.
  • 10% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Snapchat.
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Facebook (23% vs. 17%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Instagram (18% vs. 11%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Twitter (17% vs. 7%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Snapchat (15% vs. 6%).
  • 29% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Facebook.
  • 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Pinterest.
  • 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Instagram.
  • 18% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Twitter.
  • 13% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Snapchat.
  • 20% of online shoppers would purchase an item a friend has included on their Pinterest board.
  • 18% of shoppers would purchase an item a friend liked on Facebook.
  • 21% of online shoppers would purchase an item featured in a brand’s Facebook post.
  • 18% of online shoppers would purchase an item from a brand’s Pinterest board.
  • 51% of Millennials would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 36% of Gen Xers would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 14% of Baby Boomers would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 3% of Seniors would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 29% of Millennials and Gen Xers would likely make a purchase through Facebook if given the option.
  • 26% of Millennials and Gen Xers would likely make a purchase through Pinterest if given the option.

Online shopping in society

  • 2 in 5 (40%) online shoppers say they couldn’t live without online shopping.
  • Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers are more than twice as likely as seniors to say they couldn’t live without online shopping (43% to 20%).
  • Online shoppers are nearly twice as likely to say they could not live without online shopping as they are to say they could not live without streaming music (40% to 21%).
  • Online shoppers are 8x as likely to say they could not live without online shopping as they are to say they could not live without dating apps (40% to 8%).

Shopper characteristics by channel

Marketplace shopper characteristics and trends

  • 55% of all ecommerce sales are done through branded stores, vs. 45% via marketplaces.
  • Of the 45% of all sales through marketplaces, the most common destinations are:
    • Amazon – 36%
    • eBay – 8%
    • Etsy and others – 1%
  • Shoppers on marketplaces search for product online more often and spend more online, too.
  • The marketplace shoppers is more likely than the average shopper to enjoy taking their time to find the right deal (62% v. 54%).
  • More likely to research brands before making a purchase (61% v. 48%).
  • Average amount spent per year on marketplaces: $488.
  • What marketplace shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (44%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (43%), Computers and electronics (34%), Health and beauty products (29%).
  • 70% of shoppers plan to check out Amazon Prime on Prime Day, per DigitalCommerce360

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Large retailer shopper characteristics and trends

Shoppers on large retailer sites are high spends and are less likely to shop elsewhere.

  • Those who have ever shopping at a large online/offline retailer are less likely to research brands before making a purchase (53%) than those who shop at small/speciality (58%), marketplaces (61%) or category-specific (61) online retailers.
  • Average amount spent per year: $409.
  • What larger retailer shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (28%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (47%), Computers and electronics (32%), Health and beauty products (24%).

Online store shopper characteristics and trends

Shoppers on webstores enjoy shopping and visit a variety of retailers.

  • Small/speciality online shoppers spend the majority of their budget elsewhere — a yearly average of $501 on marketplaces, $404 at omni-channel retailers and $233 at category specific online retailers.
  • Those who have ever shopped at a small/speciality online retailer are more likely than the average shopper to say they enjoy shopping (55% to 45%).
  • Average amount spent per year: $182.
  • What webstore shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (15%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (27%), flowers and gifts (15%), Health and beauty products (19%).

Category-specific shopper characteristics and trends

Shoppers on category-specific sites are loyal to brands, not to the retailer type.

  • Category-specific shoppers are more likely than the average shoppers to tend to stick to certain brands or retailers (52% v. 42%).
  • And they’re more hesitant than the average shopper to make large purchases (49% to 41%).
  • Average amount spent per year: $259.
  • What marketplace shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (21%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (30%), flowers and gifts (19%), Health and beauty products (19%).

For more information, see the full data analysis on omni-channel selling here.

Want more insights like this?

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Ecommerce News admin 02 Jan 2018 Comments Off on Ecommerce Trends: 147 Stats Revealing How Modern Customers Shop in 2017

Automotive Ecommerce Site Design

Designing a car ecommerce website is hard for plenty of reasons. Let’s list them:

  • Large product catalogs
  • Large number of product options per SKU (average for online retailers is under 3. Automotive typically goes greater than 10)
  • Requirement for super technical information whatsoever stages in the purchasing funnel
  • Highly competitive when it comes to prices
  • Requirement for both individual in addition to bulk ordering abilities (frequently via a PO)

Whew –– that’s a great deal to consider when making a website. Most online retailers don’t need to get so technical so rapidly.

However if you simply are launching a car site, you’ll need the suggestions above, after which likely much more for your own personel unique use situation.

How will you get this to work? Well, we’ve found 6 automotive online retailers which have nailed the down sides of the vertical.

They’ll provide you with understanding of the best way to design a website that scales, sells and appears efficient at all the way.

Dozens More Automotive Site Designs

Have more inspiration for your forthcoming automotive site redesign here.

1. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

As told to BigCommerce by Neal Freeman, Director of Digital Commerce at IMS.

Shop.IMS.com may be the official online shop from the Indiana Motor Speedway and INDYCAR. This website is a mix of two separate brands which have different products, but share exactly the same group of followers for any effective marketing chance.

We start having a website landing page to permit fans the chance to possess a customer journey of either shopping the IMS or INDYCAR product choices. Because they are shopping, we merchandise the website to permit people to see both choices being an upsell chance.

Our marketing strategy incorporated online promotions and occasions centered on INDYCAR tour stops. We developed exclusive online driver merchandise, and apply drivers’ social networking supporters to take advantage of the strong bond that fans have with motorists. We created a consistent marketing message across all digital platforms to tell fans of the items new and not far off for that online shop. Together with the PR team, we’ve incorporated links to online shop in team related press announcements.

The IMS merchandise involves probably the most historic raceways within the U . s . States. With more than 800k visitors annually, we make use of the website within the mortar and bricks locations to assist having a omni-funnel shopping chance. Fans have chance to purchase historic manufactured goods they can’t get in-store.

In May 2016, both brands celebrated the 100th running from the INDY500. For that month, there have been 190k visits having a rate of conversion of threePercent. Exclusive merchandise was created for in-stadium an internet-based.

We started promoting the Centennial event in May 2015 soon after the 99th running from the race. A proper weekly unveil of recent “100th merchandise” happening prior to the race. The frequent discharge of cool product produced consistent traffic and extra sales.


2. West Finish Motorsports

As told to BigCommerce by Mike DeLuca, West Finish Motorsports.

We’re recent converts to BigCommerce. We operated on OSCommerce from 2004 so we were greater than past due for something new. I was consistently losing business for a long time and located it tough to stay current, let alone obtain a mind from the curve.

BigCommerce provided us an chance to trap as much as as well as in many areas pass our competition affordably.

We checked out every platform option available and BC made it feasible for all of us to help make the upgrades essential to stay relevant and eventually save our business.

Our new website is still a piece happening, however with BigCommerce we could make our 30k product catalog as basic and clean as you possibly can. Revenue, conversions, and AOV are up so we&#8217re only three several weeks in.


 3. Xprite

As told to BigCommerce by Ryan Colbert, Xprite.

We’re pretty a new comer to the and believe there exists a beautiful site that is very simple to navigate. It’s certainly a person friendly experience.

Require an Out-of-the-Box Theme?

We’ve got your back. Take a look at a large number of styles designed for the automotive industry.


4. Wheel Covers

As told to BigCommerce by Ron Dynek, Owner at Wheel Covers.

In my opinion our store has both design and usefulness to go together with it. Unlike many, this isn’t only a standard template that’s dolled up.

I’ve come across some neat searching sites around the platform that finish there. They’re slow after page one you understand it’s really a nice website landing page using the default template throughout the website without any actual design or functions addressed.

From the look towards the flow of really while using site shows just how much continues to be put in it. I challenge you to employ the website from landing to checkout and you’ll not find any that appear to be better and act as efficiently as WheelCovers.com.


5. Toyota

Sell Automotive Product Online Now

Get began selling online at this time.


6. MetalTech 4&#2154

As told to BigCommerce by Mark Hawley, Founder, Metal Tech 4&#2154.

The aim of our web site is to really make it simpler for purchasers to use us, which&#8217s precisely what we&#8217ve had the ability to do.


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Ecommerce News admin 29 Jun 2017 Comments Off on Automotive Ecommerce Site Design

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