I’m excited to speak with you - so first of all, I’m Amos Shacham, CEO of BOA Ideas. For those who don’t know, BOA Ideas is an agency for developing web projects of all types with a focus on e-commerce. We’re the largest and oldest Shopify agency in Israel. We work with clients of all shapes and sizes, as you can see here. And we help them will all e-commerce systems that they use, whether they are moving to e-commerce now or want to expand their e-commerce.
That means things like marketing, which we’re going to talk a little about now. But also logistics, operations, finance, customer service, etc.
Today I want to talk with you about Q4, the season of sales and the special holidays that we are all waiting for. In Israel, we call it Q4. Abroad, they call it the holiday season. And I want to analyze how this year’s Q4 is going to be different from what we’re used to in past years, and how to take advantage of it.
So first of all, of course, in every year Q4 is a crazy period for buyers and sellers. And there is a significant increase in surfing traffic on e-commerce websites. People who enter who don’t even know what they want to buy but they know they want to enter and look for something to buy.
And in parallel, we’re all familiar with Corona and the changes it has brought to e-commerce in the last year and a half. It is also responsible for the fact that there was a very very large growth in the last year and a half of the number of surfers.
And when these two things are combined, in the next three months, we’ll be faced with growth, even though every year there is growth, that we haven’t experienced in the past - growth that is much much more significant. And even people who don’t do anything, who don’t change anything in their Q4 strategy, who will do the same thing they did the year before and the year before that, will benefit from this growth. And they will experience a rise, I’ll even say significant, in sales.
But our goal here is to try to understand how to take advantage of the specific characteristics and combine both of these things to take advantage even more advantage of the potential and grow your sales even more.
We’ll try to analyze the characteristics, in the short time we have, of the new surfers that will be around both on the internet in general, and on our websites specifically. And how to fit our strategy to these unique surfers that will experience your store, and you’ll experience them for the first time this year.
In this time, we’ll try to focus on three characteristics. The first characteristic is the fact that they are new. They’re new to the game. Most of these new people that joined, joined in the last year and a half. And we’re expecting that in the three months of Q4, more will join.
But either way, both for those who joined already and those who are joining now, for them the buying experience of Q4, Black Friday, all of the holidays, is going to be their first experience on the internet. Or, maximum, their second if last year they managed.
There is significance to this that you can take advantage of. And I want to give you two tips for this topic. The first tip is, and it’s true always, the language, the user interface of websites will work a lot better for new people if it’s very very simple, clear, and easy to digest.
It combines with the fact that in general, time on site for a surfer is very short and 85% or 90%, in Q4 even more, surf from mobile. What I’m saying to do now, to make the user experience and marketing language on your website more simple and clear, is true all of the time. But in this time period, there is going to be a very large percentage, we’re talking 30% or 40% or more, of people that it’s their first time. Not just on your website, but their first time experiencing Q4. And its all the more so important for them tha the interface is simple. And it’s not just the interface, it’s also the commercial offer that can be more simple - discounts, shipping - and we’ll talk about it later. It needs to be very simple and clear.
Beyond that, another point that’s worth paying attention to - another tip - is that all in all, Corona has been with us for a year and a half, even though it feels like more. And there are not enough insights in the industry of how the purchase experience of these people, how the behavior experience of these people, there are not enough lessons from this. There are a few, and I’ll talk about them now, but there’s not enough.
Therefore, my tip to you is, if you’re not doing it during the year, and even if you are, pay attention very very carefully to analytics. Really on a daily basis. And analyze the behavior of the new visitors. Because you won’t hear a lot, and if you do hear, it’s not guaranteed that it’s based on industry benchmarks. It’s on your shoulders to understand it.
If new visitors are spending more time on the product page or something like that, and it’s reasonable to suppose they will, then try and go deep into the data there. If there is high checkout abandonment for new visitors, segment it based on the new users. Because they are your potential, and soon we’ll see more reasons for this.
So this was all about the fact that they are all new. But before I go to the next point, I want to emphasize something. I’m not speaking at all about what is called “technophobes”. This whole idea of new users coming online is not people who didn’t buy online until now because they don’t know how to work a computer, or don’t know how to add to cart and checkout. We’re talking about people who, in general, didn’t like the experience of buying online, for many different reasons, and they preferred to do it in branches and in stores. It could be because they worried about ordering the wrong product, the wrong size, the wrong color. And something more - they could worry that they would get tricked and they wouldn’t receive the product at all or phishing and things like that. They’re worried about putting in their credit card.
So pay attention to this, because this brings me to the next point. And this is the fact, the characteristic, of the same people, that internally have some kind of hesitation to buy online. And for sure, to put the credit card online. In this topic, that means that your competition for these people is not just against other online stores, in Q4 and in general, but also against their internal issues. Abd, against the alternative, which is available for them in this time period, and we call it post-corona, because it’s still seeing the effects of Corona, but the stores are already open. They have the alternative to close the computer and go to the store. So you also have to deal with this.
My recommendation for dealing with these customer doubts is first of all, to take advantage of the technology and e-commerce advantages over offline and reduce the doubts. It can be things like, we spoke about it earlier, fast shipping. An order from today to tomorrow is something that can reduce doubts.
Return policy is something important. People are skeptical of buying because the wrong item will arrive, or the wrong size or something like that, or it just won’t look good. The return policy is very very important to them and needs to be easy and simple to understand and use. And it needs to be in a clear and prominent place on the website. It will really reduce doubts.
There are also technological tools that gives onlines surfers an offline experience - things that are relatively new. Like augmented reality - customers can use their phone, since most surfing is on mobile, to see the product in 360 degrees and play with it. And you can put it in the kitchen if its a product for the kitchen, or in the living room, and see how it would really look. This really really reduces the gap between online and offline.
There are also other really new things like online shopper assistants via video. You and your staff can show the surfer video and show them - take products off the shelf and show them, and make recommendations to them, and ask them questions, and ask what speaks to them more. And in the end, send them a link and when they click on the link, they can buy it on the website. So look into these things because they are very important.
Of course, customer service is always important. Sometimes people call customer service before they’re even customers or before they bought in order to ask questions. Its worthwhile that you have good tools to help them.
So that was about the technological tools that can close the gaps. In addition, you need to remember that these people who are new and have these doubts, will be more skeptical online than of the big marketplaces in Israel and abroad like Amazon, Etsy, you name it. And it’s very important that you take advantage of this - it’s a tip. First of all, if you’re not in these places, be there and have a presence there because people search there and can come to you. But also make sure that your presence is clear and strengthens your brand so that people will buy from you there also. This is also very important to these specific people. Keep in mind that most of their purchases will be in these places.
And the last thing, we spoke about this already, is for those with a physical store. This time period presents a very big opportunity - to show everything you’ve learned in the last few years. We speak a lot about omnichannel. There will be a lot of people who were either already in your store or will now visit, and they’ve already searched for you online. And the opposite. And this is a trend that you want to strengthen and take advantage of. I won’t go into the significance of omnichannel because I'm sure you’ve heard a lot about it in the last three or four years. But understand that there is a strong significance for these people, and not just in Q4. even after Q4, it will stay with them because there will be a lot of people that buy online and will want to come to the branch to do a return.
And here, we can connect to a very specific part of omnichannel, which is post-purchase, and to take advantage of it so that people buy more and their connection to the brand will be stronger. So that’s all in regards to the gap between online and offline.
Regarding the third characteristic, I want to relate to the fact that buyers today, and not just the new ones, also the old ones, are much more international. This is for two reasons. First of all, the new ones, and as we mentioned earlier, go to places that make them feel more secure, and it’s often the big brands whether it’s a marketplace or an international direct-to-consumer.
But also the older customers, that have already been buying online for years, the start of the Corona era affected not just the buyers but also the sellers. A lot of companies abroad decided to go online if they weren’t before, and those who were already decided to expand their geographical borders and started selling to Israel. So the consumers here are exposed to many more international brands.
And often, they feel more comfortable there and you need to understand this - need to understand why. First of all, it’s worthwhile to look at these websites and get inspiration. In practice, there is a standard. And it’s not a new process, it’s a process that has been going on for many years but it is accelerated now.
This standard is also a standard for how the website looks, its functionality, and its catalog, and even its homepage and product page. Also the commercial offer, the types of sales - in Israel there’s discount craze relative to the rest of the world. And Israeli consumers connect a lot with the international standard. And in the design and the marketing language of the website. So this is something to take inspiration from because it really is becoming the standard and we’re seeing people saying, “okay, I don’t fully understand what’s happening here so I’ll go to the familiar and secure.”
The additional thing is simply to strengthen the brand. As a Shopify and e-commerce agency always remind people who come to us that their main goal is to sell. The truth is that in this time period of Q4 during Corona, there will be people who visit the website just to learn about the brand and not necessarily to buy.
Either because they’re preparing to buy the product on a marketplace, on Amazon and other places if you offer it. And it can be people who, in general, are happy to buy from you but don’t want you to play them or anyone else to play them so they first and foremost want to learn what the brand is.
And to strengthen the brand, I’m not surprising you, that it’s worthwhile to strengthen the brand. It’s also not something you can do today for tomorrow. So I hope you’re already working on it, but give it emphasis in Q4. And highlight things like reviews, which are more relevant at this time. By the way, reviews on your website and user-generated content from social channels - highlight them on the website. The topic of “influencers” is also something that you’re familiar with from before, but it’s important to understand that these elements are not just important in regards to sales. But also for brand strengthening.
Before I finish, I want to remind you of the topic of privacy and the blocking of cookies and pixels, etc. that is happening exactly in parallel with this time period. It’s worthwhile to look at this also and the opportunity of Q4 because naturally, a lot of new customers will come. And the cost of acquisition goes up and up and up so now maybe you can offset it with this - get excited about converting the new customers and then, if you have a retention process, lifetime customers.
And let's summarize. I’ll remind you - even if you do nothing, you’ll likely sell more. But it’s worthwhile to try and fit and specify your strategy for the new customers from the Corona era, to get acquainted with them, and that way to earn much much much more.
So good luck and we’re here for any questions. Thank you!
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