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Marketing & Sales
Jan 7, 2015

Preparing Your Retail Business For 2015

Sponsored Content provided by Mike Duncan - CEO and Creative Director, Sage Island

Many of us rely on our mobile devices to keep us organized, on time, in the know and connected both personally and professionally by using features such as mobile calendars, notes, reminders, email, social apps, news alerts and more. Our reliance on these devices has had a profound sociological effect on the ways in which we operate, and has resulted in a complete saturation of our lives, including purchase behavior. Marketers and business owners must understand the extent and intricacies of this relationship to remain competitive and profitable in 2015.

Mobile Behaviors
xAd and telmetrics joined forces with Nielsen to bring us the Mobile Path to Purchase study for 2014. This study tracks consumers from initial purchase intent to conversion while exploring ad effectiveness across key industries. In addition to these findings, the study provides a basic delegation in the ways in which males and females interact with their devices. Of these findings, we’ve selected the most important for marketers:

  • Men spend the most time on mobile overall, while women spend a longer amount of time per session. Women are more likely to engage with their mobile at home while men are more likely to use mobile on the go.

    Sage’s take: Cause and effect. Women have a deeper connection to a limited amount of content, while men have less of a connection with a greater amount of content. 
  • There is a great deal of room for influence when it comes to purchase decisions made by men and women, as both engage with their devices at the start of a decision without knowing fully what they are looking for. 

    Sage’s take: Gone are the days of one size-fits-all targeting. You may have similar goals for each audience (sell race registrations, apparel, footwear, increase brand awareness) but a healthy blend of content with tweaked messaging for each audience is the best and most promising way to saturate your market.
  • Influence changes with age. The older the user, the more of an idea they’ll have regarding what they are looking for. The younger the user, the more shopping they’ll do. 

    Sage’s take: Ah, yes. Age is but a number. But if you’re trying to reach an older audience, statistics show that there is less room for influence. Simple and straightforward messaging should do the trick. When it comes to reaching younger audiences? Get creative

At first glance, you may feel that these key findings are not earth-shattering, but keeping them at the forefront of your marketing strategy will play a huge part in your success as you develop content for each audience. 

SOURCE: Mobile Path to Purchase: Mobile Consumer Profile: Age & Gender

Mobile and Purchase Behaviors 

Shopping behaviors evolve as access to and availability of modern technology increases. More than half (62 percent) of U.S. consumers with Internet access are shopping online at least once a month. They’re savvy. They’re researching what’s available to them. According to a study done by Google and Inmar, shoppers referenced 12 sources of information before making a purchase in 2013, up from five sources in 2010. Sales associates used to be the primary authority on a product; now, consumers are using their smartphones to consult various networks to find information.

Despite this trend, a large percentage of shoppers are brand agonistic, tying back to bullet point number three above. Google and Ipsos MediaCT’s post-holiday shopping study shows 57 percent of shoppers didn’t have a specific brand or product in mind. Instead, shoppers were browsing – men more quickly than women. Your goal as an online retailer is to show them what exactly they’re missing out on in a way that is nonobtrusive and relevant.

You’ve surely heard of the approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience, whether online, by phone or in a bricks-and-mortar store. It’s omnichannel, and it’s everywhere. Consumers’ interests and behaviors vary, but convenience continues to be a top priority across the board when it comes to channel choices. And with customer satisfaction at the core of retailing, a keen retailer will make sure each component of the shopping experience is accounted for.

SOURCE: Think With Google 

The Mobile-Friendly E-commerce Website

As a retailer, there’s no denying that omnichannel strategies maximize customer satisfaction and profitability. Ensuring that mobile is a starting point for strategy for online retailers, not an afterthought, will keep your business competitive.

Enter the mobile-friendly e-commerce website.

Like the omnichannel approach, there are a number of things that work together when it comes to creating the ultimate online experience. 
  • Design. E-commerce retailers need to ensure they have responsive websites and optimized advertisements that work across different sized screens and devices. At Sage Island, we expect 2015 to be a huge year for typography that works well within the responsive design format. Large images, especially product images, are also expected to be more prevalent and impactful. Flat design, as demonstrated by MediaTemple below, shifts emphasis on content and products while decreasing bounce rate.
  • Navigation. The problem: E-commerce navigation does not function like other sites. And if you’re shopping online, it can be pretty frustrating if products don’t appear in the logical place in the navigation. 

    The solution: Make sure you have a broad parent category and subcategories. When planning your navigation, think in terms of how users search for your products. Understand that some customers know exactly what they want, while others are buying gifts and are open to “best seller” suggestions. 
  • Functionality. The problem: A website that loads slowly means lost revenue. Recent stats from Radware indicate that 70 percent of online carts are abandoned before checkout, and a two-second delay in load times can increase the abandonment rate to 87 percent.

    The solution: Users are accustomed to fast web pages. You must choose a server that will accommodate your website’s traffic needs, and benchmark your own website’s load times against those of your competitors. If you’re not sure? Ask.
  • Updated Shopping System. The problem: When you’re shopping online, you have limited interaction with the product. If specifics are missing, your customer may search elsewhere. And if you have a convoluted shopping cart? More lost revenue.

    The solution: Don’t just ensure your product descriptions are up to date. Include size charts, buying guides and up to date comments on the brand and designer. Check out what we did at Warehouse Skateboards

Just below the product description is an extensive skateboard buying guide.

And with ample room for purchase influence, as we mentioned earlier, it’s in every retailer’s best interest to make suggestions. For Warehouse Skateboards, this takes form in related products. 
  • Elicit Trust. The problem: According to ByteStart, 62 percent of people are more likely to buy from a company after seeing positive reviews from other users. Conversion rates increase when users see recommendations from other customers, and consumer reviews are significantly more trusted than descriptions that come from manufacturers. Yet many e-commerce websites do not incorporate this feature. 

    The solution: Creatively attract testimonials and reviews by making the process simple. You may want to start by incorporating a star rating system or offering an incentive. Incorporate social media options wherever possible to facilitate conversations. Research from Internet Retailer published by Shopify shows that customer testimonials and product reviews can boost conversion by between 14 percent and 76 percent. Every bit helps!
E-commerce will continue to play an extremely important role for retailers in 2015. Are you ready?

Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997, and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at, and on Twitter at

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