The nights are drawing in and as we enter the last few months of the year, we’ve taken a look at what we learned in ecommerce this summer. Earlier in the year, we what the end of Q2 had to tell us, now we’ve rounded up the best in ecommerce insights from Q3.

Ecommerce Expo 2016 - what we learned

This year’s Ecommerce Expo, held at at Olympia London at the end of September, revealed a wealth of useful statistics and insights. Our attendees from Rippleffect have picked out their three favourites from the two days:

  • The six pillars of customer experience excellence: Personalisation (using individualised attention), Integrity (being authentic and reliable), Time and Effort (to create friction free experiences, Expectations (and exceeding them), Resolution (turning around a poor experience), and Empathy (understanding customers.
  • Test your users’ in-site search experience: users who are given a grid view rather than a list-view spend on average £4.47 more, offering users an infinite scroll increases conversions from 1.27% to 1.32%, and anticipating keyword searches even when they’re not relevant is rewarding - retail site Jigsaw returns a search for ‘maternity’ with suitable clothing, despite not having a specific maternity range.
  • Conversational shopping and commerce messaging:  Mobile shopping lacks the user experience of desktop and the conversational nature of real-life shops. Connecting digital shoppers to in-store associates could be the answer.

It’s all about programmatic

Programmatic advertising is when software, rather than a person, manages a digital advertising campaign automatically, purchasing ad space and optimising budget spend. Our digital advertising executive explains all here. The advantages are that advertisers have more time to focus on defining the right strategy and creative approach in encouraging customers to shop. Quarter 3 brought the news that programmatic advertising would account for three-quarters of the UK digital display market next year, with £2.67bn spent.

Meanwhile, the retail world is looking towards Programmatic Commerce, which is where machines would act on behalf of customers, reordering and replenishing items on behalf of their owners, made possible by connected devices, the Internet of Things, and a growing demographic comfortable with sharing its personal data. According to a survey of over 2000 UK consumers, 57% would be ready within two years to use a system that orders items automatically, with 13% ready now.

The consumers pointed to the advantages of automatic reordering being time saved (37%), convenience (25%), and money saved through automatic selection of the cheapest products (37%). This comes off the back of Amazon announcing the UK launch of Amazon Dash and Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service, which “allows connected devices to leverage Amazon’s retail platform to build automatic reordering experiences for your customers.”

Mobile and app shopping behaviour

UK consumers are more likely than ever to shop in-app, via their smartphones. eMarketer have forecast that UK retail ecommerce sales will exceed £67 billion this year. The UK remains hold the highest percentage in Europe for smartphone Mcommerce buyer penetration. According to the eMarketer, 59.3% of smartphone owners in the UK made purchases via apps - mobile and app experience for users undoubtedly needs to be the focus for retailers moving into Q4.

Mastercard, meanwhile, have rolled out ‘selfie payments’ across Europe, whereby cardholders can ditch passwords in favour of biometrics. When checking out on a retailer’s site or app, Mastercard customers can authorise payment through a finger scan or selfie recognition.

Jampp’s new Consumer Behaviour on E-commerce Mobile Apps has unveiled data about transactional apps and how users behave. It deduces that if users don’t purchase in the first few days of install, they are unlikely to - 70% of conversions for ecommerce apps occur within the first 14 days. Engaging with users during that time yields the best results.The report also highlights dramatic differences across sectors, with taxi apps having the shortest latency periods with just 4 days to drive 80% of conversions, and fashion apps having a lot longer, with 31 days to drive 90% of conversions.

Best practice - the UK storms ahead

Econsultancy have looked into six iconic retailers and the journey they have made into digital. Looking at Macy’s, Walmart and Walgreen’s from the US and John Lewis, M&S and Boots from here in the UK.

In the UK, John Lewis remains on top of their game, with online sales up 21.4%, with a 31% growth in tablet and mobile, and click-and-collect accounting for around half of online orders. Overall, Christmas sales were up 5.1%, despite a lack of footfall. John Lewis’s online product director pointed to the impact of mobile on sales: “56% of orders for fashion are now on mobile, and mobile is the first point of interest.” John Lewis has responded by investing in its mobile web and mobile app experience, and regularly tops polls of mobile-friendly online retailers.

Boots, meanwhile, is investing in digital sales and in-store tech to improve order-and-collect servies and ensure in-store IT is fully integrated with online technologies. Boots has worked with IBM to launch the SalesAssist app in every store across the UK. The app improves customer service, letting staff help customers and drive sales through a slick interface providing product and stock details.