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Study: Amazon on top, most other online retailers fail to incentivise shoppers post-purchase

Study: Amazon on top, most other online retailers fail to incentivise shoppers post-purchase
Tuesday June 4 2013

Owned it’s study reveals that only 7% encourage social sharing, 13% display social media elements prominently and 30% offered immediate incentives.

Owned it has announced the results of its study “Leaving Money on the Table – how order confirmation pages are used to increase sales” on the efforts of 30 leading UK online retailers, including Amazon, Argos and Marks & Spencer, to identify which brands endeavour to increase conversions via social media, incentives and product referrals on the final stage of the checkout process – the order confirmation page. 

The study confirms that while some major retail brands are using the order confirmation page to increase reach, and conversions, the vast majority ignore the opportunities on this page to encourage shoppers to: join social communities, purchase another product or promote products through their own social networks.

The 28 page study analysed various aspects of the order confirmation page such as presence of social media elements, long and short-term incentives, ability to refer products and length of the order confirmation page. In addition, Owned it also studied the social media following of each retailer. These figures were gathered to demonstrate the potential opportunities missed via the lack of social media campaigns or engagement from the order confirmation page.

The results include:
Top performing retailers were Amazon, Marks & Spencer, New Look and House of Fraser.

Compared to others, these retailers have optimised order confirmation pages to offer a combination of prominent social media elements, incentives and/or the ability for customers to refer their purchases via various channels such as social networks and emails.

Amazon ranked top in the research. It offered the ability to share purchases through social networks and emails. Amazon also offered a clear incentive to return to the store through a money off voucher and has a one-screen (or one page) order confirmation page.

Marks & Spencer also made good use of the opportunities an order confirmation page presents, with clear signals for customers to follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. It also incentivised customers via a £100 gift card.

New Look's one screen page offered clear signals to engage with the brand and encouraged repeat purchases.
House of Fraser packed its order confirmation page with offers to incentivise repeat buys, with money off, reward points and encouragement to follow on social networks.

Social media elements
Owned it studied the presence, prominence and type of social media elements found on the order confirmation page to determine whether retailers encouraged followers or social actions via established social media channels.

Owned it expected to find prominent Facebook buttons in the majority of retailer’s order confirmation pages. While 53% of the retailers included a Facebook button, only 13% displayed Facebook and other social media buttons prominently. By prominent, Owned it means in colour, above the fold and large enough to see easily. Often these buttons were in the top right of the page. Further, only 3% of retailers asked their customers to take a specific action, such as House of Fraser asking customers to “Like us on Facebook.”

Facebook and Twitter were the most popular social media channels, while 20% pointed their customers towards the latest social media community Pinterest. Only 17% asked their customers to follow a blog.

Incentives – long and short term
Incentives to continue shopping varied, with 7% of retailers offering money off or cash back vouchers, ranging from £10 cash back to 15% off next purchases; while other incentives included 30% off for new customers shopping in store to free business cards.

Manoj Krishnapillai, co-founder of Owned it: “While most retailers focus on converting customers up to the point of purchase, they are obviously failing to make effective use of the order confirmation page to increase sales further. With the UK e-commerce market predicted to reach £87 billion in 2013, retailers have a greater opportunity to take a larger slice of this sector by increasing referrals, revenue, conversions and followers/fans through an optimised order confirmation page.”

Lost opportunities – some interesting predictions
The potential opportunity being missed by retailers that are not optimising their order confirmation pages is staggering: taking Argos (number two in the IMRG/Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List top 100) as an example, online sales account for £1.6 billion of turnover. Taking a conservative view, even if 1% revenue is increased by encouraging  customers to take a social action, such as referring their purchase via social media or email, Argos could conceivably see an increase in sales of £16 million – all for the cost of adding a referral feature at the point of sale. Owned it’s industry data shows that a much higher follow-on sale rate of 5-15% is being achieved by retailers - if Argos could replicate these figures, the potential increase in revenue through social sharing at the point of sale ranges from £80 million to £240 million.

If some of the top retailers in the country are leaving money on the table, what is the size opportunity being missed across the ecommerce world? The total size of the e-commerce sector in the UK in 2012 was £78 billion which means that even with a conservative estimate of increasing revenue by 1%, the total uplift in the revenue would be £780 million. However if revenue increases by 5-15%, the average rise as per industry data, the missing opportunity across the UK ecommerce sector would be a staggering £3.9 - £11.7 billion per annum.

Top tips
Using the information contained within the study, Owned it’s co-founder Sonu Bubna sets out some top tips for retailers looking to optimise their order confirmation page:
•   Proactively ask your customers to engage in social actions such as like/ follow your brand and share the purchases products
•   Track product sharing or social media follows
•   Offer a combination of immediate and longer term incentives
•   Identify key brand advocates also understand how and why your customers are engaging on social media
•   Optimise campaigns for different products/customers
•   Consolidate information into one page