Why One-Click Buy Buttons Failed And How They Can Be Fixed

Why One-Click Buy Buttons Failed And How They Can Be Fixed

When a man takes a woman out, he can’t simply go straight for the goods. She needs time. She needs to be romanced, she wants to learn more about him, she wants some proof points that he’s a good guy. There’s not really a shortcut. He has to seduce her to seal the deal.

So knowing this about women, why in the world so many social networks thought one-click buy buttons would be the next big ecommerce revolution, I’ll never know. Making checkout easy is one thing, but you can’t simply jump over so many steps in the consideration process and expect to make a sale.

There’s whole businesses built around ratings and reviews, user generated content reviews, and sizing information – all of these incrementally pushing customers toward a sale. Yet sites including Twitter, Wanelo, Instagram, and Pinterest all poured resources into the technology hoping that easing the path to purchase would result in big sales. Unfortunately for them, easy checkout is only part of the shopping equation.

First of all, understand that scaling one-click buy buttons isn’t easy. There’s the challenge of integrating with retailers’ ecommerce platforms, which can range from major providers like Demandware to hacked together legacy systems or custom built solutions. Then, retailers have to be on top of creating robust, up-to-date product feeds in order for their listings to be any good, and some still struggle with the technology. It’s a resources intensive mission for a social network to take on, and it opens a lot of new opportunities for security risks and customer service issues.

imgres-4Make no mistake, there are certainly products for which one-click purchase can work, but for the most part people don’t just fall in love with products at first sight. Customers want to read reviews, see more photos, zoom in for details, find out about shipping, and comparison shop. Today’s consumer isn’t an idiot, and has realized that one-click impulse buys can result in some pretty crap purchases. In a study, only 35 percent of millennials said they were likely to use buy buttons on Facebook, and only 24 percent would use buy buttons on Twitter.

Finally, retailers shouldn’t cheat themselves with a channel that’s going to give them no opportunity to up-sell, will lower their cart size, and drag down their average order value. Because the customer is only buying one item, they’re likely paying full shipping and not even being pushed to hit a free ship threshold. Some of these one-click systems even cut out the exchange of the customer’s email or the ability to opt them into marketing. So not only have you lowered the amount of your sale, you’ve missed the opportunity to ever sell to them again.

The idea of the one-click checkout is good in spirit. Yes, social networks should definitely try to get users credit cards and make it seamless for them to purchase – but they need to also start to fill in other gaps in the sales process. At Wanelo, they’re starting to allow users to review product so they can have a database of  reviews, but social networks could also potentially find a way to integrate in with systems like Bazaarvoice to track a retailer’s reviews directly into the social app.

Buy-Button-Social-Media-FINALThese social networks actually even have some added advantages when it comes to the sales process. If a shopper is under a free shipping threshold, they could show them other items they’ve pinned and saved that would help them hit it, or suggest other frequently purchased items from the retailer.

Buy buttons aren’t a total flop, but social networks need to realize there’s no way to fast track the sales process, and their next innovations need to happen in the middle of the funnel.



The Unexpected Return of The QR Code and What it Means For Marketers

The Unexpected Return of The QR Code and What it Means For Marketers

At Facebook’s F8 2016 conference one of the quieter announcements was the addition of scannable codes in the Messenger app that let you easily follow new friends. This isn’t a new thing, Snapchat’s been doing it for a while now - and so successfully I regularly see brands using the mark for their social avatars. For me personally, when I see these scannable codes, a deep down part of myself feels validated.

I was QR champion before it finally got relegated to crackpot status (the blog “people scanning QR codes” was peak humiliation.) The concept of real world hyperlinks that could be cheaply and easily reproduced and were for the most part free and open source got me juiced. I presented a NerdNite speech on the topic and incorporated the codes into a SXSW promo for my site, Austin Style Watch.

It was at Forever 21 that I got to really experience the sad state of QR when even promos in huge malls were only receiving a hand full of scans. I can’t say we always had then posted at the best size, in the best locations, but we tried.

So why now? Why suddenly has this dusty old technology found its way into the trendiest apps of the moment? Here’s why you’re going to see these codes coming back:

Wide distribution in apps
One of the biggest challenges facing QR in America was that none of the phones came pre-loaded with any sort of scanner – something that’s common practice in most other countries. There was also so much fragmentation with proprietary codes and the introduction of augmented reality, poor consumers were just confused. 900 million people are using Facebook messenger, 200 million are on Snapchat so you finally have scanners on the phones of tons of consumers (even if they’re under the guise of chat apps.) Shazaam, an app traditionally used for identifying music, is also getting in on this area working with TV commercials and doing visual billboard scanning. We finally have a lot of Westerners with “scanners” on their phones, and they could be easily opting into messaging at brick and mortar locations or scanning to get some stylist info on a product.

Snapchat for marketing

Snapchat for ecommerce marketing

Fear of location
SoLoMo has been a term for at least three SXSWs by now, but consumers are still creeped out with too easily being mapped by strangers. We love mapping and tracking, but we want it for our Ubers and our Yelps, not with our messaging or marketing apps. Facebook has tried using GPS location in the past and been burned, so it’s interesting to see them take a step back in technology to achieve this goal. Apple gave retailers big ideas with Bluetooth beacons, but even Apple itself has been slow to adopt the technology in its own stores.

If you’re a marketer who has completely written off codes, or an injured soul like me who walked out of meeting with egg on their face, it’s time to let codes back into your life. Keep an eye on this space and how these social platforms are extending abilities.

What Ecomm Companies Need To Know About Facebook Chat Bots

What Ecomm Companies Need To Know About Facebook Chat Bots

The robots are coming for our jobs. No, seriously. They’re replacing cashiers at McDonalds, putting stockbrokers out of work, and now –  as though outsourcing to India wasn’t bad enough – the robots are coming for customer service and sales.

This week at their F8 conference Facebook announced a new chat bot tool, Agents on Messenger, which will allow companies to create chat flows within messenger that can communicate to customers. They launched with a few clunky partnerships with media and retail companies like 1800 Flowers and Poncho, and these early examples definitely betray the potential of what’s before us.

For ecommerce professionals there are a few things you should be taking note of here:

Your CS teams should be worried

The internet has been evolving faster than CS teams can keep up with and they’re often left with a  patchwork collection of tools for managing chat, social networks, emails, and calls. Content teams and data scientists have been laboring over ways to better help customers self serve and get them to the right support material…but perhaps a more conversational tool is the trick. Chat could potentially put a quick and direct route to CS on the phones of 900 million people, and deliver them an almost personal experience.

Your email and mobile teams should be learning

In Asia, chat platforms have been a marketing channel for ages with retailers hopping on apps like Line. In the US, however, companies have been slow to adopt, even as the number of users on apps like Kik and Messenger grow. The advantage is huge, first of al the ridiculous regulations of SMS make it costly and will have you living in fear of class action lawsuits ( I think I’ve gotten paid from Abercrombie and Steve Madden so far.) Your teams should be staying on top of these, brainstorming ways to drive opt ins, think through product suggestion flows, or thinking of what a drip messaging campaign might look like in this channel.

Mobile is personal

If you hadn’t gathered already, communicating on mobile is extremely personal. We can’t communicate to users on this device in the same way, and companies need to do more to bend to the types of tools, copy, and technology that work best for today’s customer. Mobile is a place where you use their first name, you anticipate what they want, and you speak like a friend.