Click Monday and NZ Online Shopping

Today is Click Monday, the latest attempt to transplant the U.S. notion of CyberMonday to New Zealand soil. As Trade Me’s Mike O’Donnell observed in a recent Stuff column:

This year has seen the [CyberMonday] concept reach New Zealand. Several times over. Three different organisations are having a go at creating a Cyber Monday-like event, and there’s even rumour of a fourth.

The first was held [at the beginning of November] by Nzsale, an Australian-owned member-only online shopping club. Held a good three weeks prior to Thanksgiving weekend, Nzsale staged a “Flash Frenzy“, and billed it optimistically as the biggest online event ever.

The next event to be announced [went] live on 12 November … “Click Madness” is backed by The Warehouse Group and involves special deals from The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery, and ilovebeauty.co.nz.

The event closest to actual Thanksgiving in the United States is “Click Monday“, being run by Auckland ecommerce consultant Cate Bryant and Alain Russel of Blackpepper fame.

Click Monday has successfully involved a swathe of big names in the event including Bendon, Icebreaker, Briscoes and Hallensteins. It goes live for 24 hours, starting at 7pm on November 25.

The reason for this flood of Kiwi CyberMonday lookalikes can be summed up in one word: ClickFrenzy. This Australian online shopping event, launched with a bang in 2012, attracted a whole lot of headlines across the ditch last year, not always for the right reasons (the ClickFrenzy website, was down for several hours because of unprecedented traffic volumes, with reportedly 5% of the Australian population, some 2 million users, landing on the Click Frenzy site in the first few minutes):

Perhaps the most serious consumer complaint was simply that the deals on offer didn’t live up to the hype:

  • Following the launch of Click Frenzy, consumers immediately began comparing the ‘deals’ to local and international offers, highlighting the lack of value from some of the ClickFrenzy offers via Facebook. One example is Jamie Olivers 15-minute meals book, on sale for $26.95 via the Click Frenzy site. Customers were quick to respond calling out that the same book is available for less elsewhere (~$15 from the UK and under $25 at BigW and K-mart at a non-sale price). [PWC Digital Pulse]

Despite the negativity, Click Frenzy was repeated in Australia this year (last week), with rather more impressive results reported, including:

  • Online fashion retailer The Iconic smashed previous sales records achieving its first $1m dollar day and doubling sales from last year. It counted more than 200,000 visits during the 24-hour flash sale. (AdNews)
  • [IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark data] showed retail sales were up 16.3 per cent throughout Click Frenzy, which ran for 24 hours from 7pm, Tuesday 19 November 2013, compared to the same period last year. This is despite the fact preliminary figures of 1,061,000 visitors were slightly short of last year’s 1.6 million. (Retailbiz)
  • Traffic spikes during the 24 hour shopathon occurred around 9:30pm and 11:30am as people piled in after dinner, and again during mid-morning breaks. And they were looking for bargains: The average basket spend was down 4% from last year at $131.13. (AdNews)

By all accounts, one of the biggest problems with this year’s ClickFrenzy event was Ambush Marketing, with non-participating retailers attempting to climb on the bandwagon without paying for the privilege:

  • Dick Smith gatecrashes the online sale with Deal Frenzy, JB HiFi has Early Bird Xmas Frenzy, while Kogan is just always in a frenzy. (Channel News)
  • Kogan.com.au has been issued with a cease-and-desist letter after it hosted a Click Frenzy sale despite not being part of the official event. (Smart Company)

We’re already seeing similar ambushing in New Zealand. For example, even though the Warehouse Group‘s Click Madness event is officially over, there are still deals to be had when one searches for Click Monday:

Similarly, PBTech is serving up CyberMonday Sale advertising to accompany stories about online shopping, with its event starting one hour earlier:

Australian commentator Myles Harris offered up these key learnings from last year’s Click Frenzy:

  • That many Australian E-Tailers are under resourced and did not comprehend the amount of traffic a good deal online can bring.
  • That many Australian retailers view online as an avenue of selling surplus stock. There were a lot of complaints last night that selection was limited and that the store treated it as a dumping ground.
  • Many Australian retailers are not on the ball with online communication streams. Many who were part of Click Frenzy were not active on their Facebook pages or on twitter. Customers certainly loved those who were and directed them to the correct site without having to go through the Click Frenzy site.
  • That if the price is right the people will come. For far too long retail and some Aussie e-tail have not offered any incentive to buy online price wise. The deals are often not good enough or it’s the same price that is in the bricks and mortar stores. While this is an understandable tactic, it certainly does not attract the majority of online shoppers who shop on a global level.

As Click Monday prepares to launch in New Zealand, we wish the organisers well and trust that they and their participating retailers have learned these key lessons from our trans-Tasman neighbours.

Scary eCommerce Statistics, Trends & Predictions

Wondering about the latest eCommerce statistics? Planning ahead and need some trends and extrapolations?

Check these out (we call them “scary” if you’re a retailer committed to bricks & mortar):

  • 54% of Kiwis aged over 18 years are now shopping online, an increase from 38 percent of New Zealanders five years ago (Nielsen NZ Online Retail Report June 2013)
  • In key spending demographics, the numbers are much higher. 71% of Kiwis aged 25-34 and 68% of those aged 35-44 now shop online (Statistics NZ, per NZ Retailers Association Online Retail Report 2013)
  • New Zealanders spent $3.7 billion in the last 12 months purchasing via the internet (Nielsen NZ Online Retail Report June 2013)
  • 26% of the total NZ online shopping, representing nearly $1 billion, was spent on international websites (Nielsen NZ Online Retail Report June 2013)
  • These totals are only for physical products purchased online. It’s estimated that a further $1.6-$2 billion is spent on downloadable products or intangible purchases such as airline tickets, rental cars, accommodation, theatre tickets and entertainment (NZ Retailers Association Online Retail Report 2013)
  • 37.8% of Kiwi online shoppers bought Clothing, Shoes or Accessories online in 2012, while 32.1% bought Books or Magazines (Nielsen NZ Online Retail Report June 2013, as reported in NZ Retailers Association Online Retail Report 2013)
  • Smartphones have changed the way that Kiwi consumers shop. Smartphones are critical shopping tools with 74% of NZ users having researched a product or service on their mobile device. (Google/Ipsos Our Mobile Planet NZ May 2013)
  • 33% of Kiwi smartphone users have made a purchase on their phone; of those, six out of ten have purchased within the last month (Google/Ipsos Our Mobile Planet NZ May 2013)
  • U.S. wedding ring retailer My Trio Rings reports that the amount spent in a smartphone transaction tends to be as much as 12% more than sales through other media
  • More than a quarter (27%) of Kiwi online shoppers made 11 or more transactions online in 2012, an increase of 44 percent from 2011 (Nielsen NZ Online Retail Report June 2013)
  • 17% of Google searches on a mobile device result in a purchase (Google/Nielsen Life360 Mobile Search Moments Q4 2012)
  • Over 40 per cent of all visits to Trade Me are now from smartphones and tablets (Trade Me Annual Report 2013)
  • A survey of 2000 UK consumers by ITV’s Tonight news programme found that 49% of UK consumers plan to buy the bulk of their 2013 Christmas gifts online
  • By 2018, the Centre for Retail Research predicts that 61,930 UK shops will close and more than 21% of purchases will be made on the web (Monocle, October 2013)
  • Internet marketing experts at Emarketer estimate that by the end of 2013, eCommerce sales in the U.S. will generate US$262.3 billion worth of sales, 16.4% higher than in 2012
  • Sales from U.S. mobile commerce alone is projected to amount to US$41.68 billion in 2013 (eMarketer September 2013)

New Zealand eCommerce Statistics 2013 [Infographic]

Because infographics are so popular, we’ve put together this collection of New Zealand 2013 eCommerce statistics.

In one handy place, you’ll find:

  • How many NZ web users made at least one purchase online in 2012
  • How many New Zealanders now shop online, by age group
  • How much money will be spent online by Kiwis in 2013 and how much they’re expected to spend by 2016
  • How many Kiwis shop online by mobile and by tablet
  • What NZ Internet shoppers buy online, by category
  • How much NZ Internet shoppers spend in a typical month

The data comes from:

  • Statistics New Zealand Household Use of Information and Communication Technology 2012
  • Julian Prior, PwC interview: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10880279
  • The Nielsen Company, New Zealand 2012 The Year That Was
  • Roy Morgan Research, State Of The Nation, March 2013 [the graphic from this research comes from the NZ Herald story reporting the results]

If you’d like a copy of this infographic in full size (A4 width), email us at info (at) eCommerce (dot) org (dot) nz.

Latest New Zealand eCommerce Statistics

Statistics New Zealand has just released the latest Online Shopping figures from the Household Use of Information and Communication Technology report for 2012 — and they make fascinating reading.

Key points:

nz-ecommerce-statistics

Yes, 54% of New Zealand’s 2.8 million Internet users (those aged 15 plus who went online in the last twelve months) shopped online and made at least one purchase in 2012.

If we look at individual age groups, those numbers go way up:

ecommerce-by-age

Typical online shopping expenditure ranges from twenty to five hundred dollars in a typical month (with a small percentage who spend a lot more):

nz-ecommerce-spend

As Statistics New Zealand notes:

It also seems that what we’re buying is changing. We’re not necessarily buying tangible items; over half of those who shopped online had at least one item delivered electronically. This may include items such as e-books, music, or e-tickets.

Looking at those who had made a purchase in the four weeks before the survey, women outnumbered men in spending a total value of up to $500, while the more expensive purchases predominantly belonged to men.

The number of people spending a total of over $2,000 online has doubled since [the previous survey, i] 2009, to reach 44,000 people in a four-week period.

If you are one of those who aren’t yet offering ecommerce on your website, NOW would be a good time to start. Check out our Mastering eCommerce course.

NZ Post Launches Global Logistics

NZ Post has just launched its Global Logistics offering with a cute story set in the middle of Nowhere:

So what exactly is on offer?

Here’s a rundown of NZ Post’s Global Logistics services:

NZ Post has a worldwide network of locally-based agents to support the logistics process.

Whether you’re importing or exporting, NZ Post says it can ship, airfreight, consolidate and warehouse your goods in all key global markets.

They say that they can arrange:

  • Export/import air freight
  • Wharf and national transport
  • Customs, clearance, customs tariff, and consultancy
  • General warehousing
  • Container unpacking and packing
  • Warehousing 3PL and 4PL customer solutions
  • Full pick and pack operation
  • Full end mile national delivery and returns options
  • Inventory management
  • Sub-assembly kitting and co-packing
  • Full EDI options.

Global Logistics: Think Local

USA and Canada

If you’re trading in the United States and/or Canada, NZ Post’s agent has 36 offices in those markets, extensive transport options and six North American warehousing locations.

China and Asia

Whether you’re manufacturing in Asia and shipping from there or exporting to the region, NZ Post can help:

  • Labelling – Stock from your suppliers can be consolidated and warehoused in China. Labels can be replaced with local language labels to meet local regulations and then shipped to your stockists in each of your markets.
  • Kitting – Stock can be delivered to NZ Post’s warehouse in China from multiple suppliers around the world and then items combined ready for sale. Your stores can place orders directly with the warehouse for what they need, saving time and cost.
  • Effective freight solutions – By consolidating goods from multiple suppliers in China and combining them into one shipment, you can realise significant efficiencies. You can also ship goods directly to destination markets without bringing them into New Zealand first. To safeguard commercially sensitive information, pricing details can be withheld from documentation and costs billed direct in New Zealand dollars.

Europe and UK

By bulk shipping to Europe and the UK, and then using air and sea freight, trucking and state of the art warehousing to distribute within those markets, NZ Post says they could save you significant costs and meet your customers’ expectations for next day delivery within the Eurozone.

Worth Considering?

For more details, call the NZ Post Global Logistics Team today on 0800 501 501 or email a Global Logistics specialist.

How To Market Your Retail Business Online

how-to-market-your-retail-business-online

It’s one of the biggest challenges facing New Zealand retailers today:

94% of Kiwi web users are researching products online, long before they consider stepping inside a retail store.

More than half of those then go on to buy online – even though, if they only knew, the products they wanted just might be available to them locally, easy to pick up or have delivered, often at competitive prices.

But many Kiwi retailers simply aren’t actively marketing online. Some don’t even have a website. Others aren’t sure where they should be spending their time or money.

If that situation sounds familiar, help is at hand. We’ve just developed a new online training course to help you develop an effective online marketing programme.

How To Market Your Retail Business Online

This is a ten-week online training course providing a comprehensive introduction to Online Marketing for Retailers, from the basics to detailed instructions on how to build and run a programme.

This eCourse is conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular eCourse provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.

Course lessons will be provided over ten weeks, for participants to access in accordance with their own timetables.

Course Content

The course covers the following topics:

Lesson One: Establishing Your Web Presence

In this first lesson, we examine the key elements that you need to consider as you set up (or review) your website. We discuss the principles of online marketing (and what we can learn from 100-year old direct marketing principles). And we help you to begin your online planning process, even if you intend to outsource most of the elements. We also tell you where and how to claim your digital identity online, on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Skype, LinkedIn, Trade Me, eBay, gmail and more. We’ll also talk about how you can track the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts through free services such as Google Analytics – and how you can keep watch on both your competitors and your customers in just ten minutes a day.

Lesson Two: Google Places

If you run a local retail business, the next most important territory to stake out (once you’ve claimed your digital identity) is Google Places. It’s free, and for many online visitors it’s the first place they’ll encounter you online. We talk you through the information you simply must provide and the wonderful additional opportunities that Google makes available for smart retailers like you.

Lesson Three: Getting Found In The Search Engines

It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by Search Engine Optimisation and all the scientific mumbo jumbo surrounding search engines. We cut through the orchestrated litany of linkjuice jargon and explain the core principles you need to know to get your business found on Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines.

Lesson Four: Email and the power of the Mailing List

Email is still one of the most powerful weapons in the online marketers’ toolkit. In this lesson we examine what you need to know about email, how to avoid running afoul of the Anti-Spam legislation and how to create emails that your recipients will welcome into their inboxes.

Lesson Five: Mobile Marketing Opportunities

More than half of us now use our smartphones to go online – and that has huge implications for retailers. The statistics are already frightening: 36% of Kiwis have shopped online via a mobile device during the past 12 months (NZ Online Shopping Survey, PwC and Frost & Sullivan, July 2012); 70% of smartphone owners have used their mobiles to check store locations and hours; 43% have used their phones to read customer reviews and 30% have compared prices while in store. If you’re not ready for mobile, you’re putting the future of your business at risk.

Lesson Six: Advertising Online

Once you have your web presence established, how do you attract traffic? We look at Pay Per Click advertising on Google and Facebook and their associated networks, take a look at the Video On Demand possibilities and consider Directories, Classifieds and Display Advertising. It’s possible to waste a lot of money online; in Lesson Six, our aim is to save you from all that.

Lesson Seven: Going Social

In this lesson we examine Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks, share some numbers with you (did you know that there are 1,256 NZ Facebook pages categorised as Shopping/retail, with an average of 790 Likes per page?) and discuss how you can use Social Media effectively to engage with your customers and prospects.

Lesson Eight: Selling Online

In this lesson, we discuss how you can make ecommerce work for you (should you wish to add that option to your web offerings). We talk about the 71 secrets of effective product pages and the 20 classic ecommerce mistakes you should avoid; and how to remarket to visitors who have left your site without buying.

Lesson Nine: The Deal Sites & Services

In Lesson Nine, we take a long hard look at what’s on offer with Daily Deal Sites – and identify the key decisions you absolutely must make before you sign up to offer any daily deal (and how you can lose your shirt if you don’t prepare properly). We also examine some of the newest special offerings on the market, including Google Shopping, Facebook Offers and Facebook Gifts – and what you need to do to make the most of these services.

Lesson Ten: Improving Conversion Rates

Finally, we look at what you need to do to sharpen your sales results (which is what online marketing is all about, at the end of the day). We don’t wish to lapse into jargon at this late stage, but we will have to talk you through Landing Pages, A/B Testing, Conversion Rate Optimisation and other services which have unfriendly labels (but which we’ll make as user-friendly as possible for you).

Course Creation & Tutoring

This course has been created and is tutored by Michael Carney. Michael is a highly-experienced marketer with an insatiable passion for whatever’s new, different, exciting or interesting in the world of communications. Michael has been in the marketing game since 1971, online since 1987 — in a diverse range of roles, including digital marketing trainer, adman, media director, strategist, researcher, copywriter and consultant.

Michael has been an early devotee of ecommerce, providing advice and assistance in that space since the early 1990s. He also conducted an extensive analysis of New Zealand’s leading ecommerce operator, Trade Me, culminating in the top-selling book TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS (now in its second edition).

Who Should Take The Course

Any retailer aiming to improve their online marketing skills.

Timing

This course is not currently available. If you would like to be advised when it is available, please email us at info (AT) ecommerce.org.nz.

Click Wraps, Browse Wraps & Bad Raps

Have just read Mike O’Donnell’s latest column, and wanted to share it with you because it makes essential reading for Kiwi eCommerce operators.

Here are the most relevant points:

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of user agreements or “wraps” on eCommerce websites. One is a “click wrap” where you are presented with the terms and conditions and have to click “I agree” before proceeding.

This other is a “browse wrap” where terms and conditions are viewable on the site but your ongoing use of the site supposedly means you have agreed to them. Browse wraps do not require users to click on an “I agree” button, but assume that simply using the site signifies acceptance.

Late last year the US District Court found that eCommerce giant Zappos’ user agreement did not protect the company (or owner Amazon) from a class action brought by its customers. In fact the US Court went further than that.

First, it found the “browse wrap” style of agreement under which customers buy stuff on Zappos had no ability to bind those customers to its terms and conditions.

Second, it found a provision in Zappos’ user agreement saying it had the right to change the terms and conditions at any time (without bringing those changes to the attention of customers) was likely to be useless. The District Court called such a clause “illusory” and suggested it was unfair and likely voided an underlying arbitration clause.

Mike’s article goes on to point out that New Zealand’s own Consumer Law Reform Bill is trudging its way into the statute books, and amongst the many implications of that impending legislation are that

… the Bill prohibits businesses from having ‘unfair contract terms’ in their standard term contracts with customers … [such as] terms that allow only one party to limit performance of a contract, vary the terms, or change the price without notice.

If your ecommerce business is typical, it may well have boilerplate ‘Terms & Conditions’ that seem to reserve your right to do anything you want (without bothering to notify customers). The cruelly-exposed reality is that such T&Cs already probably mean nothing (and will mean even less in the future).

Your recommended solution? Go read the full column.

The Perils of eCommerce

Even when you think you’ve got a solid handle on eCommerce, the basics can still catch you out.

Here’s a classic example. Alas, it’s not a quaint historical tale — the item was received today, from a New Zealand operator who we’ll allow to remain anonymous.

The item carried this pricetag:

You’ll note the markdown, from $39.98 to $9.99. Nice — except that the discounted price on the website (and the price we were actually charged) was $19.99.

We bought two of this particular item, in different colours. The second item just bore the original pricetag, $39.98, with no Clearance sticker.

Sloppy Logistics

We absolutely champion the right of this online retailer to manage its pricing; it may well be that the price on this item was reduced to $9.99 on the 3rd of January and has since returned to $19.99, still a good price against an RRP of $39.98.

However the product packers should be, ahem, ticketed themselves for sending out a product bearing a clearance sticker. The packing slip bore no pricing; it’s entirely possible that the product could have been ordered at full price, which would have resulted in even more annoyance when the item was received by the purchaser.

The result of this sticky oversight: we thought we were getting a good deal at $19.99 — now we don’t. Now we consider we’ve overpaid by ten dollars an item. (Fortunately, a phone call to the seller has resulted in an equitable solution; unfortunately, it involves a trip to one of their retail stores, an outcome we’d aimed to avoid by ordering online in the first place).

Strike #2

This is the second strike against this particular merchant for this particular order; when we ordered these items (and a couple of others), the total came to around $92, with shipping calculated at a flat $10 more. Regrettably, it was only AFTER we’d confirmed the order and paid that we were reminded that shipping is free for items totalling $100 or more. We’d spent a total of $102, but had paid for shipping — if we’d realised, we’d have happily gone back and purchased something else, probably going above $102 in the process. Likely result: increased basket size, happy customer.

The website shopping cart should have been equipped with appropriate triggering code, to alert us to the fact that, just by spending a few more dollars, we would qualify for free shipping. If that was a technical difficulty, then a Free Shipping link would have been a very useful alternative.

Yes, the front page of the site does talk about free shipping, but visitors need to click through if they want more details:

Since the free shipping offer is really straightforward …

*If you spend $100 or more in a single transaction, we will deliver this to you for FREE. It’s that simple.

… why not just spell it out, with a small box on the front page and on every page of the website (including the shopping cart pages)?

Telling us after the sale is a surefire recipe for Buyer Remorse.

Free Shipping is the single most important offer you can make, to close the sale. If you’re going to make the offer, shout it from the rooftops (or at least from within your shopping cart).

Don’t Waste Your Home Page

As we enter 2013, we begin a series of tips on how to maximise your online sales. Some of these tips will be drawn from our Mastering eCommerce course, others will be inspired by new thoughts and articles that we come across online.

Our first tip, brought to mind by this article on “7 Unlucky Things You Can Do To Your Ecommerce Site in 2013”, is simply:

Don’t Waste Your Home Page Space

There are a number of ways to waste your home page’s potential: hero shots and distracting rotating banners, unclear value propositions (or none at all), irrelevant merchandising or even annoying country-selector splash pages when geolocation tools can do the job.

To put the home page in context: it’s the single most important part of your ecommerce site, the page that draws the most eyeballs. Think of it as the equivalent of the front page of a printed catalogue. In the days when we worked (during our time in ad agencies) with some of New Zealand’s largest retailers, we saw first hand that the front page is solid gold — items featured on the front page were expected to be the biggest sellers of all products in the catalogue. If they didn’t have that potential, they simply weren’t featured on the front page.

Similarly, the home page of your website needs to lead to more sales than anywhere else on your site. If it doesn’t it, change it immediately.

Let’s look at the front pages of some of NZ’s leading online retailers:

Nothing tentative about The Warehouse’s home page — and the top product panel rotates through a number of offers, in case the first three you see don’t attract you.

Another hard-selling front page, this time in the form of one-day-only deals from EziBuy.

Our leading electronics retailer, Dick Smith, similarly devotes its home page to hot product offerings.

And, unsurprisingly, we see a similar sales-centric home page approach from Farmers.

We could go on, but we think you get the idea.

Essential Home Page Components

What else should you include on your home page, apart from your latest offers and promotions?

Econsultancy editor Graham Charlton suggests 27 essential elements of an effective ecommerce homepage. In our view the ten most important are:

  • Search box
  • Store finder
  • Telephone number
  • Contact details
  • Address
  • My account / sign in
  • Shopping basket / checkout link
  • Email sign up
  • Delivery information
  • Accepted payment methods

Why You Should Consider Listing Your Products On Amazon.com

You may have heard about Google’s latest foray into eCommerce, Google Shopping (not currently available in NZ, at least not for New Zealand sellers).

Here, according to the New York Times, is a scary statistic which just might explain why Google is gearing up for eCommerce:

In 2009, nearly a quarter of shoppers started research for an online purchase on a search engine like Google and 18 percent started on Amazon, according to a Forrester Research study. By last year [2011], almost a third started on Amazon and just 13 percent on a search engine.

Product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year while searches on Google Shopping have been flat, according to comScore.

Stats show how Amazon.com outperforms the market

For more about listing your products on Amazon (and what you need to know about the US-centric retailer’s terms and conditions for international sellers), see Lesson Three of our Mastering eCommerce ecourse.