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  • eCommerce, Abandonment, Cart Recovery, Re-engagement
    As eCommerce has grown-up over the past few years, so too has the standard online shopper. No longer the impressionable youth in awe of the wonders of the internet, your modern day customer has blossomed into a perceptive, discerning, and tech-savvy teen who’s all too ready to roll their eyes at any aspect of the user experience deemed as ‘meh’.

    While it’s true that trust in eCommerce has grown over this time, so too have competition and customer expectations, making abandonment a constant obstacle to be navigated by all in the space. So it’s unsurprising to see average abandonment rates actually rising across the board.

    It’s true that people will abandon for a whole bunch of reasons, but listed here are some of the more bullet-proof, sure-fire ways to lose sales…accompanied by the ways you can get them back.

    1. Surprising shoppers with hidden costs
    This is the mortal sin for eCommerce companies. Normally taking the form of shipping costs, handling charges or the shadowy administration fee, tacking on these additional costs at the last second is a devastatingly effective way to aggravate your customers.

    The reasoning behind it is clear enough – introducing these fees later in the process will get more people further along the buying cycle…etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But similar to a diner who’s been stumped with a cutlery rental fee at the end of their meal, your customer will leave with a sour taste in their mouth.

    Informing the visitor of any additional costs from the off is best practice here, and there are ways to do it without sending your visitors scampering for the hills too. Among the best of these is to put an incentive in place to earn free shipping – “spend $50 to waive delivery costs” for example. This way you're being transparent and honest, while still incentivising them to buy.

    2. Complicated check-out forms
    The checkout process should be as comfortable as possible for the user. Restrict information fields to the absolutely necessary and eliminate all complicated or repetitive actions, otherwise the impatient customer will abandon the cart and leave.

    Our research shows that roughly 1% of your customers drop off for each field you ask for. So while this info can be great for marketing purposes, demonstrate careful consideration before asking for fax, nationality, star sign, or anything else that could be filed under “useful, but non-essential”.  

    People are busier than ever before, but by keeping your checkout as lean as possible the chances of customers running out of time, or being distracted mid-way through the process are dramatically decreased.

    3. Leaving Security Concerns Unaddressed
    While most people feel comfortable entering credit card details with bigger brands, lesser known eCommerce sites can often still be viewed with some hesitation. And it’s this fear of phishing or other fraudulent activities that’s to blame in many cases of abandonment. The most straight-forward way to inspire more trust is to get certified by a recognised authority and display their security badge as a seal of approval.

    Highlighting alternative contact details at the checkout stage is also a great way of adding that additional element of reassurance. While for eRetailers, offering product tracking can have the same effect - if financially viable of course.

    4. Failing to re-engage
    When a shopper in the high street changes their mind on a product it’s usually final - the customer journey ends and the sale is lost. Yet in eCommerce it’s not quite that simple. Just because a user has abandoned their cart, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the lead has gone cold.

    The reality is that people use shopping carts in a variety of different ways. Sure for some they’re used in for their more traditional function (i.e. to buy things!), but much the time shoppers will use them as wish-lists, test runs, or simply entertainment. And in many of those cases visitors still have some degree of intent to purchase, they’re merely earlier on in the buying process.

    This is where email re-engagement is your greatest ally. Online merchants making the proactive decision to re-market to these customers will gently nudge customers along the purchasing path, turning a lot of those almost wins into recovered sales.

    I hope this article helps boost your conversion rate, and I’d love to hear your thoughts/tips on closing any other abandonment man-holes in your website.
     
     


  •  
    In April 2014, the Runet – the Russian language sector of the internet – celebrated its 20th anniversary. Although initially slow to take off, the Web has become an important driving force for the country since the turn of the century – both as the fastest paced communication space or a driving force for the economy.

    Over the past few years Russia’s e-commerce market became one of the fastest growing in the world –now ranking among the top 5 biggest in Europe. This claim is supported by the latest data: the Russian Association of Online Commerce (AKIT) just released 2013 overview statistics for the e-commerce industry in Russia. According to AKIT’s stats, about 50% of Russia’s internet users (30 million people) now make purchases online.

    While the number of internet users making online purchases grew by 13% in total in 2013 (thus, adding about 4 million new e-shoppers – or two cities the size of Birmingham!), it was growing at the quickest rate in locations outside Moscow and St Petersburg – by 50% year on year. Online purchases are growing particularly fast among Russian consumers living in smaller cities and in towns, as well as among consumers with incomes below average.

    In 2013 Russia’s e-commerce turned over a total of $17.1 billion. Almost a third of this market ($5.7 billion) was represented by sales of non-physical goods and services (airline and railway tickets, digital content, cinema and entertainment tickets, vouchers, etc). The remaining $11.4 billion e-commerce sales was accounted for physical goods. In 2013 Russia’s e-commerce market was 34.3% bigger than in 2012 calculated in Russian roubles (or 31.5% in US dollars).
     
    Russia, eCommerce, Economy
     
    The e-commerce segment of physical goods in 2013 was dominated by just three sectors – consumer electronics and white goods (42%), clothing and footwear (13%), and car parts (10%). Online sales of clothing and footwear are now growing rapidly, as consumers are getting used to using free return option offered by e-retailers.
     
    Russia, eCommerce, Economy
     
    There were over 30,000 online stores in Russia serving the local e-commerce market last year. Ozon.ru, one of the pioneers of e-commerce in the country, remains the most popular Russian website. In October-December 2013 the website registered, on average, over 4.6 million unique visitors a week. As of late 2013 there were 13 Russian e-commerce websites with over 1 million unique visitors a week.
     
    Russia, eCommerce, Economy
     
    While embracing e-commerce, Russian online consumers still prefer to pay in cash for their online purchases. At the same time the share of cashless transactions is growing albeit slowly. Bank cards and e-wallets are steadily spreading among Russia’s online consumers.
     
    Russia, eCommerce, Economy
     
    Just under a half of all e-commerce deliveries in Russia last year were carried by courier service. The government-owned Pochta Rossii, Russia’s national postal service, which carried 37 million parcels in 2013, controls about a third of the delivery market. Almost every tenth online consumer in Russia prefers the option of collecting their online purchases in store.
     
    Russia, eCommerce, Economy
     
    One of the fast growing segments of Russia’s e-commerce in 2013 was cross-border online retail. Last year the total amount of purchases made by Russian consumers at foreign websites was about $3.4 billion (or 20% of Russia’s total e-commerce market), with an average order value between $45 and $100 – thus, well below a recently decreased threshold for tax-free imports. Among most popular international websites frequented by Russian consumers in 2013 were Ebay.ru, Aliexpress.com, Alibaba.com, Amazon.com and Tabao.com. According to Alexa, Aliexpress.com registered the highest share of visitors from Russia – 11%.
     
    Russian online consumers are keen to shop not only domestically but internationally for a variety of reasons. First, the choice of goods and services at foreign e-retailers is often wider in scale and scope. Second, in the past few years many international websites have been localised for the Russian market place, offering communication and customer support in Russian. These factors easily outweigh the delivery charges and (often, but not always) lengthy delivery times in the eyes of the Russian consumer.

    In particular, within the last year, there was also a marked uplift in interest of Russian online shoppers in British web retailers. According to estimates by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google, by the end of 2013 the number of visits to British retailers’ websites by Russian consumers was 145% higher than year before. Visits via smartphones have been very numerous.

    The General Director of the British Retail Council, Helen Dickinson, underlines that "the United Kingdom is the second largest exporter of online retail in the world, surpassed only by the United States. These new BRC-Google figures show that retailers are massively investing in international online experiences, localised websites and delivery times dedicated to export."

    Julia Richards, Ve’s Territory Manager for Russia, goes further; “the Russian online market offers amazing opportunities not just for foreign online retailers, but also for international companies offering IT solutions and services for online stores in Russia.

    As Russia’s market is growing, competition is intensifying, and therefore domestic online retailers are keen to embrace new technologies and ideas (cart recovery solutions, bounce rate reduction) – everything which would differentiate them from their peers and competitors and makes their revenue and customer base grow. Fashion retailers are more responsive to the new technologies, as there are more players on the market, relatively all the same size, so differentiation and excellence in online customer service are crucial in this market segment”.
     
     



  • Ve Interactive, the multinational e-commerce conversion specialist, has today announced that it has opened a South East Asia HQ in Hong Kong and appointed Charles Allard as regional CEO.
     
    The new office forms part of a continuing £Multi-Million investment program by Ve into the ASIAPAC region and is Ve's third in the region, following the opening of its Shanghai office in 2013 and Tokyo ASIAPAC HQ, established earlier this year. Shanghai will now report into Hong Kong, from where Allard will shortly establish operations in Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia to serve the South East Asia region. Allard will be working on this initiative in partnership with the Tokyo office, which will next be overseeing the opening of an office in South Korea.
     
    Charles Allard, CEO - Ve Hong Kong

    According to Forrester Research, ASIAPAC e-retail sales will soon outstrip North America and Europe combined. By 2018 online sales will exceed three-quarters of a Trillion Dollars across the five regions. Mobile commerce has been a big driver and significant players like Alibaba, Jingdong and Rakuten have dominated the online market place.
     
    “Establishing international operations requires significant investment and the creation of a domestic infrastructure in order to able to service those markets professionally, as well as to ensure responsible and locally compliant data handling,” explained Ve’s co Founder & CEO, David J. Brown. “With Tomas Olsson in Tokyo and now Charles Allard in Hong Kong, Ve has two highly successful and seasoned executives building out its ASIAPAC operations and replicating the drive, ambition, capability and passion that runs through the veins of the company around the rest of the world.”
     
    Charles Allard spent 25 years in Asian finance and whilst working for one of the world's largest hedge funds, Winton Capital, launched the first foreign CTA fund in China.‎  An American graduate from Tulane University, he is also a philanthropist, receiving a special award for philanthropy from the City of Kyoto as well as being an author.
     
    Allard said: “Our first key staff are already on board in Hong Kong and about to graduate from the Ve Interactive training program. The search for a further 30+ staff for each of the Tokyo and Hong Kong offices is now a key focus, in order to deliver the full Ve proposition across the ASIAPAC region. We expect the ASIAPAC offices to have over 100 staff by the end of the year which is very exciting.”
     
    About Ve
    Ve is a multi award-winning technology company offering a suite of proprietary apps across one platform, which help online businesses successfully reduce bounce rate, increase customer engagement and minimise website abandonment by remarketing to abandoned customers via data captured.
     
    Winner of a recent Data Strategy Award 2014 for Real-Time Marketing and a Gold International Business Stevie® Award for Computer Software Company of the Year 2013, Ve works across 19 languages and now has 12 offices worldwide. Founded in November 2009, the company supports over 3,500 domestic and multi-national online businesses and retailers in the delivery of real-time marketing communications at key points within their customers’ journeys. With a highly supportive performance-only model, Ve has increased revenues for thousands of online businesses without increasing their capital expenditure.
     
    Tracking £billions of transactions daily, Ve’s comprehensive data set provides unparalleled insights into customer activity, whilst driving each app to deliver highly-targeted content to customers based on their purchasing activity and profile.



  • AdGenie, Ve Interactive, eCommerce

    London 3rd April 2014: Ve Interactive, the leading provider of conversion solutions for the e-commerce industry, today announced that it has completed a £multi-million acquisition of adGENIE, Europe’s first dynamic prospecting and retargeting advertising solution provider.

    Integration of the adGENIE solutions into the VePlatform will now augment Ve’s cross channel capabilities to include ad delivery, dynamic prospecting and retargeting. The VePlatform already houses a portfolio of award-winning re-engagement apps that drive incremental growth by reducing bounce rate, increasing customer engagement and minimising website abandonment.
     
    Said David J. Brown Co Founder & CEO of Ve: “This landmark integration will provide our clients with a consolidated dashboard view of these complementary disciplines. The resulting insight into customer journeys will be unparalleled, enabling digital marketers to do their job far more effectively and efficiently.”
     
    “Like Ve, adGENIE is built on the philosophy that driving incremental revenue is of paramount importance,” explained Guy Sneesby, Co Founder and Managing Director. “This acquisition will ensure that the powerful Ve criteria-filtering can now be applied to adGENIE’s solutions, generating even greater ROI. Our clients will also benefit from Ve’s international infrastructure, in-house design team, VeLabs development division, dedicated R&D department and account management team.”
     
    The expanded Ve offering will now be extended across Ve’s 3,500 global client base and the new, unique view of amalgamated purchase-intent data generated is anticipated to transform the digital marketing industry. Said Brown: “Going forward, e-commerce sites will, for the first time, have access to valuable insight on a single platform, that will help them identify new strategic areas of opportunity within both disciplines of advertising and optimisation.”
     
    The adGENIE Solution
    adGENIE has developed two complementary dynamic advertising solutions: adGENIE Retargeting and adGENIE Pre-targeting. Both systems deliver precisely targeted adverts to prospective customers based on a range of behavioural, contextual and demographic data. Click rates are up to 10x greater than normal banner ads or Google AdWords. The dynamic nature of the technology ensures that consumers are not exposed to irrelevant ads, ensuring maximum ROI for website owners.

     
    About Ve
    Ve is a multi award-winning technology company offering a suite of proprietary apps across one platform, which help online businesses successfully reduce bounce rate, increase customer engagement and minimise website abandonment by remarketing to abandoned customers via data captured.
     
    Winner of a recent Data Strategy Award 2014 for Real-Time Marketing and a Gold International Business Stevie® Award for Computer Software Company of the Year 2013, Ve works across 19 languages and now has 11 offices worldwide. Founded in November 2009, the company supports over 3,500 domestic and multi-national online businesses and retailers in the delivery of real-time marketing communications at key points within their customers’ journeys. With a highly supportive performance-only model, Ve has increased revenues for thousands of online businesses without increasing their capital expenditure.
     
    Tracking £billions of transaction daily, Ve’s comprehensive data set provides unparalleled insights into customer activity, whilst driving each app to deliver highly-targeted content to customers based on their purchasing activity and profile.




  • Hotel, Booking, Travel, Online, Website

    Comparison shopping is a hallmark of the travel sector. And as people tend to take a more concerted approach to deciding where they’ll spend their precious time off over where they’ll pick up their next pair of shoes, it comes as no surprise that the standard abandonment rate in the hotel industry is higher than most.

    Abandonment can get overlooked by marketing managers in the industry, seen only as a ‘failure metric’ dictated purely by the immovable obstacles of room price and availability. Sure they play their part, yet in our experience there are other more actionable reasons why people drop-off, that if confronted properly can increase bookings significantly.

    To do this your booking process must be viewed through the customer’s eyes, with any potential problems highlighted along the way. Here are 3 of the most common user questions that lead to abandonment…with the answers to match.

    Do I trust this site?
    Confidence has always been massively influential for people when booking accommodation. And given the increased amount of personal information required in digital transactions, inspiring a level of trust and reassurance at the booking stage has become doubly important. 

    Hotel, Booking, Travel, Online, Website, Security

    Familiarity breeds confidence, and the impact of displaying recognised security and payment icons at the point of transaction, such as McAfee and MasterCard, cannot be overstated. Also surprising customers with additional costs at this stage is not only a great way to annoy your guests, it undermines trust as well.  

    Do they really need to know that?
    Whether onsite or external, distractions kill conversions. And although there’s precious little you can do about external distractions, making sure your booking process is refined to the essentials will help get more bookings over the line.

    Our research shows that abandonment increases by roughly 1% for every field in the booking process, with that number rising in the case of irrelevant requests such as phone number, nationality, and fax…yes even fax. Although this additional guest information could come in handy for marketing purposes, booking forms should be kept as lean as possible with mandatory fields cut back to the strictly necessary. Leave data collection for marketing purposes till after they have become a customer!  

    Also in the interest of mobile functionality, field titles should be placed above the field, and not in front. Otherwise you end up with a situation like below where users are forced to scroll back and forth at every field.

    Hotel, Booking, Travel, Online, Website, Functionality 

    How much longer will this take?
    Online booking can take time, and sometimes there’s just no way around it - especially if there’s registration involved. Most people accept that. But even still going from stage to stage without a clear roadmap or end in sight can be frustrating causing some users to abandon their booking. 

    A progress bar is a great way of bringing more clarity to the booking process. Showing users how far they’ve come will make them feel more invested and give further impetus to complete their reservation.

    Hotel, Booking, Travel, Online, Website, Progress Bar

    On similar lines to the previous point, ensure there are as few steps as possible (3-5 is best advised) and always start visitors off on step two – with selecting room or the equivalent being the first.
     
    As online booking has become the industry standard in hospitality, a website that converts effectively has shot up the value chain to rank among every hotel’s top priorities. We hope these tips help you optimise your booking process and welcome even more guests.
     
    Ve’s platform of apps help you re-engage those customers that still continue to abandon the booking process. If you want your website to work harder for your hotel, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


  • Tech City, Silicon Roundabout

    A week ago Boris Johnson announced his vision for the future of London’s Tech City, the cluster of technology industries centred around Old Street’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’. The mayor’s plans to select a new group of ambassadors for Tech City - including Gerard Grech (CEO of Tech City UK), Michael Acton Smith (Mind Candy), and Kathryn Parsons (CEO of Decoded) - to promote the growth of London’s tech industries.

    Gerard Grech said “the time is now” for Britain to cement its status as a global player in the digital technology and entrepreneurial industries. When Tech City UK launched to support the growth of the technology start-ups in November 2010 the number of digital companies around the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ was 200. Now it’s over 1,300, making London world’s third most important tech hub behind only San Francisco and New York.

    Mr Grech said the Tech City UK intends to focus on the “four Ps”, policy, partnerships, promotion and programmes. Part of which involves talking directly to London’s tech entrepreneurs and asking them what their concerns are; to be relayed directly to the Government for policy-making.

    This resonates well with Ve. While initially founded in Soho, Ve Interactive moved to Clerkenwell area on the fringes of the Tech City in 2012. Ve has a strong sense of belonging to the technology cluster in the area. “We are benefiting from the brand name of London’s Tech City. There is a lot of creative talent pool, and the business cycle here is quite quick, quicker than in the US.

    There is a lot of debate here about digital devices, attribution, mobile industry, location based services, etc. Tech City in London has a lot of vibrancy and Ve fits very well into this culture. On the one hand, we are a creative digital agency, on the other hand we are a software as a service (SaaS) provider, thus we touch various industries that are represented in the Tech City”, - says David J. Brown, Ve Interactive’s CEO and Co-Founder.

    The appeal of the area to tech companies cannot be underestimated. London is Britain’s pre-eminent hub for financial services, entertainment, advertising, marketing, fashion and the arts. For Tech City’s entrepreneurs that means potential customers are there on the doorstep in abundance. Meanwhile, London’s universities are a rich source of skills – six universities in the capital made it into the top 100 in The Times Higher Education rankings. And with the City of London and Canary Wharf financial districts in close proximity, there’s a pool of capital potentially available to support start-ups.

    However, this proximity does not necessarily mean that Tech City start-ups find it easy to access this capital. “We are not benefiting from growing here than anywhere else, as the policies are not designed to support tech businesses in the growth phase, when they are struggling. There is a great allure for many tech businesses to be based elsewhere and treat the UK simply as a sales market”, -says David J. Brown.
    The recent decision of Candy Crush Saga makers to move from the Tech City to Ireland ahead of the firm’s IPO illustrates the tough reality for many tech firms. The company was initially rumoured to be one of the new tech firms to float on the London Stock Exchange through the newly created High Growth Segment, but it decided to float in New York instead, expecting to raise up to $500 million.

    This should make the government to rethink the policy on the Tech City. “There is a lot of capital available in London, and we are so close to the European capital markets. But what we need is money to move into the tech sector. The focus on bringing in foreign capital to London’s tech cluster – from Silicon Valley or elsewhere – is not right. The right policy would be to give the UK businesses better access to UK capital, to the capital which is already here in the country. First, there should be access for tech start-ups to funding through the banks against the independently audited business-plans. This would create a massive boost to the economy, making many more start-ups viable. Second, business rates are at the moment too high and need to go down to make it possible for start-ups to function. Third, R&D claims are of no use to start-ups. If tech companies could get R&D credit to hire developers that would significantly reduce the cost”, - continues David J. Brown.
     
    “The government need to realise that start-up companies operate differently than long-established businesses, with much better access to funding. At the moment Tech City in London is more of a “dream factory”, but dreams alone don’t build business. There has to be a serious rethink of policy to make technology firms in London a real success story”.



  • Off the back of recently winning a Data Strategy Award 2014 for Real Time Marketing, Ve is delighted to announce today that the company is now in the running for a Performance Marketing Award 2014 for Best Email Marketing Campaign and also for 3rd Party Performance Marketing Innovation. Ve has made it to the shortlist of Industry Choice Awards too, which called upon stakeholders from across the performance marketing industry to nominate the publisher, advertiser, network or technology provider, integral to the success of their campaigns in 2013. More than 150 nominations were scrutinised and whittled down in a final shortlist of 24 and Ve is delighted to be nominated for Industry Choice of Publisher.
     
    A 16-strong judging panel, featuring prominent figures from the likes of Google, LOVEFiLM, Facebook, BT, PwC and the Guardian, dissected entries based on a strict criteria including clear objectives, feasibility, execution, ROI, innovation and success over a three-week period, before coming together for a final judging day earlier this month.
     
    Richie Jones, Sales and Marketing Director at Park Resorts was impressed by the continued industry evolution demonstrated in entries, "For me judging this year’s entries has ratified the performance marketing discipline as continuing to be as innovative as ever. In a maturing digital marketplace performance marketers are still finding lucrative, creative and on brand methods of driving value for both consumers and publishers.”
     
    PerformanceIn MD, Sarah Parsonage is equally enthused by the quality of entries: “A momentary glance at this year's awards shortlist is all you need to see how integral performance marketing is to the modern advertising campaign. “Every single entry on there is overflowing with evidence of engagement and return on investment. The diversity and competition on display has me particularly excited as I eagerly await the main event on April 29.”
     
    On behalf of Ve Interactive – a thrilled thank you to the industry experts on the judging panel and to PerformanceIN for the opportunity to now showcase our work to the wider Performance Marketing audience, we are absoutely delighted by today's news!


  • 1. Tomorrow’s eCommerce users share their media habits of today.

    Childwise has conducted a survey among UK children aged 5 to 16 and their daily media habits. This has shown some interesting statistics. At first the internet appears to be the poorer relative compared to TV, with children watching 2.3hrs of television per day versus 1.7hrs per day spent on the internet. . However, when you look at the interconnectivity that now exists between media, you quickly spot that the internet is actually dominating children’s media habits in every other area. While children spend most time watching TV shows, 51% of children will also go onto Youtube to watch the same TV shows  and 23% will use a mobile phone to watch TV also.
    Children are also mimicking adult trends with more owning tablets (36%) and less owning a laptop (46%) then in previous years, whilst smartphone ownership has risen up to 65%. Just like the current econsumers the next generation are taking more and more to mobile.

    2. Travel mCommerce growth stunted by poorly optimized mobile sites

    Despite the sales of smartphones exceeding 1 billion units last year, many sites are still not optimised for mobile traffic. A  recent study found that 9 in 10 holiday shoppers used their mobile phone to research and plan their holidays. Despite the value mobile provides to consumers when researching their travel plans most bookings are still made on a PC. When questioned why, half of travelers said they did not book through their phone due to the site not being optimised.  Similar pools conducted by TNS and Google found that 7 in 10 people used smartphones to research but only 17% of those ended up using the smartphone for the final purchase.


    3. Mobile banking adoption jumps


    Business insider has taken a look at the latest figures for mobile bank use, last December 16% of US households paid the household bills on mobile phones. This is a large jump from the 6% in 2011, among smartphone users the percentage is even higher at 30%. With mobile and smartphone use on a continual rise, more and more expect to have access to their banking services through apps and responsive sites. Today it is not just about adapting to consumer wants but also about attracting new customers. For more information on the changing landscape of online banking have a look at our blog about peer-to-peer lending.

    4. Mobile optimisation top of the agenda for not-for-profits

    Kristen Gramigna at Bluepay recently wrote an excellent blog about what emerging technologies and trends charities should keep an eye out for. Unsurprisingly, mobile tops the list here as well. Making sure people wishing to donate with you can easily access your donation checkout on mobile, and that they are offered the possibility of text-to-donate are a must in 2014. Making the donation as seamless and painless a process as possible will also positively impact campaign results. A little while back we wrote a piece about making the most of the online channel for charities as well.

    5. Gmail’s new unsubscribe button.

    Many marketers have expressed concern about Gmail’s introduction of the unsubscribe button being added to promotional emails. Combine this with the recent change in image caching that corrupted email open rate tracking, some feel like Gmail is out to get marketers. Truth is this can just as easily be seen as something positive, as people have a tendency to mark emails as spam when they do not see an unsubscribe button. As a higher spam rating damages companies deliverability, the new change can help prevent your emails being registered as spam and improve your overall deliverability rate.
     
    Now Gmail please make me a unsubscribe button for those distant family members….





  • What did you study that started you on this path?
     
    I studied law at Bristol University back in 2000 and went onto study a Masters in E-Commerce and Computer Law.  I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer of some sort, although at university I was interested in becoming a criminal barrister – how things change!  I trained in a large law firm in London and qualified into the IP and IT department before going on to work on Google’s commercial legal team.  It was this experience which taught me I wanted to work inhouse rather than in private practice and which led me eventually to Ve.
     
    Why Ve Interactive?
     
    Ve was a client of the law firm I was working in so I worked for the company as outside counsel for about a year. David Brown then asked me to come and be his General Counsel at the beginning of 2013.  I was interested in Ve as a dynamic and forward thinking company that rewards hard work and lets people grow in their own way. Having previously worked at large firms I wanted to be involved in a younger company, but one that was growing fast.  I’d always dreamed of being my own boss, so to speak, and David offered me that opportunity, as the first (and to date only) lawyer in the company.  I was impressed by what Ve had to offer both to its clients but also to its employees.
     
    What is the best part to your job?

     
    The variety.  I deal with everyone’s legal issues which means that I have to keep up to date with the legal landscape in general.  I’ve always enjoyed research and the academic aspect of my job so it suits me.  There are constantly new challenges and it keeps me on my toes.
     
    What is the most satisfying part to your job?
     
    I have exposure to big deals and strategic management decisions which I didn’t have in previous jobs.  I’m given the freedom to work as I wish, be creative and make decisions without having to authorize them which is very satisfying as lawyers normally have to leap through lots of hoops to get anywhere.  In some companies the hierarchy of decision making can be quite limiting and frustrating.
     
    What has been the biggest highlight since joining Ve?

     
    The people.  And the way the company is run.  I get to work with some really excellent minds at the top of their game and there’s a great mix of professional and personal relationships here.  Ve recruits people it sees potential in and personality is really important which makes for a great working environment.
     
    What are your long-term goals?

     
    Eventually I hope to lead a team of lawyers working for Ve – we are getting close to needing more hands on deck given my current workload.  I can’t imagine working for any other company now so my long term goal is to continue to grow with it.


  • 1. Less than 7% complete MOOC studies
    Friday Five, Education, MOOC
    It’s not just the regular students that can find a course a bit too much for them. Katy Jordan, a MOOC student with a Ph.D. in online academic social networks, has done a study on 29 MOOC’s and their completion rate.  She found that on average courses enrol 43,000 however only 6.5% actually complete the course.

    One thing that will surprise no one is that the completion rate fell as the length of the course increased. Now if I could only find a MOOC in underwater basket weaving.
     
    2. UK retailers ignore online shoppers or spam them with irrelevant offers

    KPMG analysed how 170 retailers interacted with their customers, and found that the majority are failing to even keep in basic contact with them. 62% of the people in the study received only a confirmation message saying they had been registered, of those contacted 96% only got generic emails even though they had provided personal details.

    Furthermore, KPMG found that a third of those who received emails after abandoning on a website did get a personalised email, often referring to the items left behind. Check out our blog to see how tailored marketing messaging results in better conversions.
     
    3. Email deliverability and data hygiene

    Experian have conducted research on email marketing and deliverability and uncovered that though 83% of the companies collected email for marketing purposes through an average of 3 different channels, 63% of these had experienced deliverability issues in the last 12 months.

    Human error was found to be main culprit, with the most common types being mailbox errors, domain errors, syntax errors and illegitimate emails. As these blunders can affect email deliverability in the long run by affecting the reputation of the IP sending out the emails it is advisable to adopt best practices for list hygiene.
     
     
    4. UK and AU online sellers face higher postage

    Recently The Royal Mail and Australian post announced price changes for their parcel services, this annual announcement invariably brings with it choices for online retailers. Should you offer free shipping and if so at what price range?
    In a recent survey of online shoppers 27% said they would not consider shopping from an online store that did not offer free shipping, while 90% said that they considered free shipping  important when shopping online. Ve recently did a study on this topic, where we found that the behaviour of shoppers change dramatically at different cart value levels.
     
    5. Pizza hut is testing a interactive table for ordering

    Now this is just in concept mode at the moment, but the guys at Pizza hut have made a table that functions as a huge tablet app, letting you easily choose and order your pizza with your table. A few simple swipes and clicks and you can have your pizza just the way you want it, it even allows for half and half orders for when the kids can’t decide what they want.

    Only problem I foresee is that you can no longer blame that extra garlic you love on the waiter.
     


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