CRO Insights Series: Spotlight on Simon Bagel, The White Company
The eCommerce world is changing more rapidly than expected, and one of the key reasons behind this is the changing customer behaviour. With audiences looking for unique buying experiences, eCommerce brands are waking up to and embracing the latest trends in the field to align their offerings with rising customer expectations.
In our 13th CRO Insights Series post, we have Simon Bagel, Optimisation Manager at The White Company, sharing his views on eCommerce trends and website optimisation.
Simon started his career managing editorial content for Warner Bros―his first step into online content―that led him to content management and digital marketing at ODEON Cinemas and Virgin Trains. Around that time, he developed an interest in data, which he combined with his passion for design and user experience, to deep-dive into eCommerce.
In his current role, Simon oversees a broad range of optimisation activities covering insights, A/B testing, and personalisation. He also supports the wider business roadmap delivery for the brand.
Let’s look at how he views today’s eCommerce market and associated challenges and opportunities.
A significant shift I’ve observed is in how users are now arriving on our website―with an increasing number of them entering directly through product pages. User behaviour differs not just on the product page but throughout buying journeys, which are typically shorter, lighter, and more fragmented (it’s something we’re continuing to focus on right now).
Despite all that, overall, at site level, users are more engaged and motivated than ever―they’re browsing more pages, viewing multiple items, reaching more products, and searching more!
How do you currently find and diagnose problems on your website?
We lead with data first and use a combination of Adobe Analytics and Contentsquare to get an in-depth view of site performance and user behaviour. Next, we work with our UX team to overlay Qual through usability research to enrich our view. Lastly, we gather feedback from site surveys and observe offline customer data trends in the industry to pull out themes to meet user expectations.
Also, we’ve been working this year on a series of “deep dive” analysis pieces, focusing on core templates and journeys on the site. This allows us to focus on one area at a time, while its outcome (often half a dozen points) can help us troubleshoot further problems and opportunities on the website.
What are some of the biggest challenges you think eCommerce brands are facing right now?
One of the challenges is to keep your eCommerce website unique, especially when many key site features are now common 3rd party integrations. While integrations often deliver great user experiences, they make it slightly difficult for brands to stand out with their unique personalities.
Further, with new eCommerce brands launching and living primarily on social media, getting an authentic brand story across in such a competitive marketplace is difficult―particularly when brands are often selling very similar things (especially within fashion).
Keeping up with ever-changing consumer demands concerning delivery and returns propositions is equally challenging for eCommerce brands. The likes of Amazon set the expectation so high that customers believe “delivery now” (or in the hour) and “free instant returns” are the minimum needs brands should be able to meet.
What do you forecast are going to be key opportunities for eCommerce brands in the next 12 months?
Augmented reality is already seeing brilliant traction with strong use cases online―especially within Home categories―this will continue to grow. And I think this might quickly broaden out into other categories, while the tech behind this will become more accessible too.
Several brands now create more videos to enrich customer journeys and maximise customer engagement with brand content or functional content in an impactful and articulate way. I believe video will soon dominate the content landscape, even replacing static imagery and long-form content.
How is The White Company preparing to stay ahead of the game in the eCommerce landscape?
We’re constantly investing more into Digital―resources and build―which is brilliant to see. Just as importantly, we keep a close watch on data to better understand the needs and search intents of our customers. Doing so, we believe, will allow us to benchmark ourselves against the industry.
This is the thirteenth of a series of posts where we speak to the experts in retail and eCommerce to understand the future of digital growth. Check out our previous conversations with David Kohn of Heal’s, Michael Parker of Frasers Group, our COO Garret Cunningham, and others.