Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
This fall, we’ve been proud to see two of our site redesigns launch, Nautica.com and Kipling-usa.com. You’ll notice the sites’ dramatically different looks- a seafaring spirit that carries through Nautica.com, and a whimsical experience that celebrates the fun, stylish Kipling brand and consumer. But as you explore the sites, you’ll see that both have hit on the sweet spot of commerce, content, and social to strike a chord with their target audiences.
A few key features and integrations that led our designs:
Product is center stage. Product tools, rich stories, and imagery let the user experience the details and value of the product.
Cross and up-sells. Complementary and like-minded products, along with relevant, compelling content, introduce new areas of exploration.
Compelling stories at key points of the experience. Engaging content in appropriate locations enhances the experience, deepens the connection and incentivizes purchase.
Seamless product discovery and finding. The experience caters to both the shopper who knows exactly what she is looking for and one who is looking to discover something new.
Rich conversation around product. 8th Bridge integration enables social log-in and creates a community where consumers can share their opinions and favorite products with others. Social proofing exposes other users’ wish lists and most liked products. And the most social voices are recognized and rewarded for their interactions.
Global shipping. Pitney Bowse integration makes the site shippable for countries around the globe.
Personalization. Monetate integration enables the brands to provide personalized communications based on users’ site interactions.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
It’s no joke that the internet is powered by pets. Searching #catsofinstagram returns 3,567,421 pictures (#dogsofinstagram, 3,307,625. It’s a close race). The celebritydom of Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat, and Maru shows no sign of stopping. But between skimming the latest cat gifs on BuzzFeed or Instagramming Fido, pet owners are looking for a little more than just their animal LOLz. Here’s a few ways brands are attempting to strike a deeper connection.
Tugging the heartstrings
Petco recently invested $15 million on a new ad campaign, “The Power of Together,” which moves away from the in-store services & deals that typically drive its marketing. The focus on emotional connection between owner & pet is part of a larger initiative to differentiate Petco from competitor PetSmart. Whether or not the campaign will accomplish that goal is to be seen, but it’s pretty hard not to get warm fuzzies at the site of a dog towing his wheelchair-bound owner in the newest commercial.
Broadening the focus on the holistic pet
A May 2012 study found that one third of US pet owners spend at least 30 minutes researching pet wellness or nutrition each week. Iams, Pedigree, and Purina are a few of the many pet food brands hoping to reach these owners with wellness content on their sites. Petco has also emphasized the larger holistic message with WholePets, a content microsite aimed to provide pet owners with wellness articles.
Aligning with a cause
Social media has proved an effective tool for animal causes, and many brands are piggybacking onto these efforts. While most of the pet care brands we’ve observed have partnered with animal adoption organizations, Purina has championed a “Pets at Work” message to promote pets in the office setting. It’s a message we at Fluid are certainly on board with!
Offering a larger digital solution
We can surely get behind a feel-good message or cause as pet owners, but the real digital successes will be those who offer something more to the online pet parent.
In redesigning PetCareRx, Fluid utilized personalization and reordering for an experience that becomes catered to a user’s pet over time. Interactive resources, such as a localized tick tracker and vet finder, round out content and product recommendations personalized to the pet’s needs. All serve to help automate and simplify pet health.
BarkBox offers a different kind of automation- a monthly subscription sampling of dog treats & toys (think Birchbox for pups). Chances are, you’ve seen one of their ads pop up on your Facebook newsfeed, as the service invests heavily in Facebook ads to drive customer acquisition. After hitting 50,000 paying customers and $1 million in revenue per month, BarkBox has set the bar high with a goal of 100,000 subscribers by the year’s end.
BarkBox has expanded its service to a content site, BarkPost, and healthcare service, BarkCare, which offers 24/7 vet video chat for health questions. The site’s founders say BarkPost has been successful, and time will tell whether BarkCare’s untraditional method of vet care will catch on. But given BarkBox’s success in the past year, it seems that there is an audience for innovative digital pet products.
Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Fluid recently launched World Kitchen’s new site that better positions the overall brand while letting the sub brands shine. The site is responsive so get a taste of it on any screen.
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
We know the basics of what’s needed for a functional experience on the second screen. But what about an experience that can actually offer something more than the desktop experience? We evaluated the retail space to determine which retailers were truly innovating on mobile and tablet, no app download required.
Think search, then filter
Retailers have just a short window of time to seal or at least start sealing the deal on mobile. Hence the importance of search that is prominent, easily available throughout the experience, and intuitive enough to help the less dextrous of us find the accurate spelling or terms. If search works great, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be a universal starting point, and some retailers are doing just that by removing extraneous content and collapsing or removing category navigation altogether on the mobile homepage. It’s then up to the user whether or not categories come into play to filter the results.
While tablet’s not as constrained by screen size or time, this approach is still worth considering, especially because category dropdowns often pose hover state and selection issues. Amazon and Target alter their homepage just slightly to facilitate the behavior of starting with search and narrowing by category next. Amazon collapses category navigation on tablet that’s vertically expanded by default on desktop. Target moves category navigation to a collapsed vertical dropdown on tablet.
There’s a ton of things you can do on mobile, but stick with what makes sense for your brand
A small screen + short attention span + on-the-go environment necessitates a streamlined experience. What that experience is should be unique, compelling, and simple enough to grasp in one glance at the homepage.
Here are four retailers that offer completely different yet equally compelling reasons to use and return to their mobile sites.
Target is particularly innovative in connecting mobile to in-store, leveraging geolocation for in-store availability and offering daily online deals, weekly regional specials, and mobile coupons that work smoothly across channels. Their latest couponing application, Cartwheel, connects shoppers to a set number of specials they can select and scan at checkout.
Sephora gives its beauty-hungry community plenty to salivate over on mobile. Mobile-specific offers and changing daily content and features are a pretty compelling to return again- and often.
On the other end of the spectrum, Zappos and Amazon stick to the basics: ensuring the mobile shopper can easily narrow down an expansive set of products to those of interest. Given that neither have brick-and-mortar stores, on-the-go mobile usage is likely apt to happen while in other stores, where convenience and price take precedence other content.
Let your tablet users get tap-happy
While most retailers understand the importance of optimizing desktop site functionality on tablet, few sites are tapping into tablet’s unique interactive capabilities. It’s truly a missed opportunity to engage a shopper’s inner 5 year old when carousels, product thumbnails, and other actions are not gesture-optimized.
Tapping and swiping is fun when there’s an immediate and of course non-intrusive response. Sephora does a great job of translating their very hands-on in-store shopping experience to digital by incorporating small interactions into their site. Tablet users can swipe through product carousels or tap an icon to add products as favorites without leaving the grid page.
Target’s new couponing experience builds similar interactions into the grid page. Users can flip tiles for more information as they scroll for a temporary bookmark of sorts.
Design brand content with tablet top of mind
Tablet users are more apt to seek entertainment, often from home. This more leisurely browsing mindset combined with the aforementioned insight that touching stuff is fun, makes tablet an ideal channel for new content. Zappos’ recent editorial and social offering, Glance, utilizes large images, easy to use icons, and a tablet- and mobile-friendly layout that’s a natural fit for tablet browsing.
Ensure checkout is continuous
If there’s one key insight about tablet and mobile users, it’s that they’re switching between devices at every point in the shopping experience. According to a recent Google study, of the 65% that start on a smartphone, 61% continue on desktop. Reversely, of the 25% that start on desktop, 19% continue on their smartphone. Given this behavior, it’s essential that online shopping experiences are continuous across devices- all the way through checkout. Yet only 1 in 3 brands are providing cart continuity. In ensuring that checkout be as easy as possible, cart continuity should be top of the list.
Monday, March 5th, 2012
Last week, Facebook announced that brand pages will be switching over to the Timeline layout on March 30. We at Fluid think that corporate pages may actually be better suited to this format than profile pages. For starters, it’s significantly less creepy to find out what Coca Cola was up to in 2001 than a casual acquaintance. It also makes the experience on brand pages much more interesting and personable for visitors.
With that said, remember the most valuable company exposure isn’t on brand pages. According to a May 2011 Comscore report, 27% of a user’s time spent on Facebook occurs in News Feed. Comscore also reported that three top brand pages saw 40 to 150 times more impressions in News Feed on their pages.
Timeline won’t affect the way these stories are shared in News Feed, but the posts that resonate on Timeline will likewise drive engagement in News Feed. That’s because the Edgerank algorithm that determines News Feed placement rewards highly engaged posts and Friend activity. Additionally, posts with images- the kind of posts you’ll want to be using regularly on your Timeline- generate twice the engagement of other posts types, according to Facebook’s internal studies.
Fluid has taken a look at the first Timeline pages to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what we can work around.
Hence our first recommendation: convert to Timeline as soon as possible.
You’ll be required to make the switch on March 30, so why not leverage some early adopter swag? While you’re at it, use this opportunity to re-evaluate your social media strategy. A few points to consider:
Is your page easy to find? An additional feature added on Wednesday allows admin to easily change page names. Many brands have multiple pages, some unofficial fan pages, some company-run. Makes sure it’s clear that yours is the correct page.
Pick a cover photo that complements your profile picture. You can use this background to creatively interact with your profile picture. Swap it out seasonally as you would a landing page, but take note: Facebook has prohibited the following:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
- Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section
- References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features
- Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”