In this episode, Kevin takes us on a tour of a number of online retail sites to share his insights into what each of them are doing to provide a good shopper experience. And what they’re not doing so well. He also explains the importance of understanding the role that the marketplaces can play in helping you grow your online retail business.
Kevin also takes us on a tour of a couple of sites that he’s been closely involved with for a number of years: Toys R Us Australia and Hobby Warehouse. It’s through these two sites that he shares with us the elements that he believes help these businesses stand out as great shopper experiences.
And to inspire you with what can be done as a small online retailer, he also introduces us to a small business he found around the corner to where he lives on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia that stands out from the crowd through the quality of the shopper experience it encapsulates the second you arrive on the site. And what’s more, this is a Shopify site. It can be done!
This episode was also captured on video so you can see exactly what Kevin is talking about during the tour. Just click on the video below to watch it.
EPISODE 4 TRANSCRIPTION
12th June, 2020
TRTOR Podcast 4 – Case Studies
Nigel Miller: In this second age of online retail, it’s even more vital than ever before to stand out from the crowd. In physical retail, there are thousands of tried and tested techniques that have been implemented by the best retailers for centuries, such as sidewalk interrupters, decompression zones, window displays, et cetera.
But what works in online retail and how do you create the best shopper experience in the online retail world? In this episode, international retail and sales marketing expert, Kevin Moore, is going to take us on a tour of a variety of retail websites to uncover some of the things he believes, help improve the online shopper experience.
Welcome to this episode of The Road to Online Retail. I’m Nigel Miller and Mr. Moore, welcome back…
Kevin Moore: Thank you Nige.
Nigel Miller: Kevin. We’re getting deep and dirty this week. Is that right?!
Kevin Moore: No, we’re not getting deep and dirty. We’re going shopping. But we are going shopping online, so nothing deep and dirty, and they’re all good websites Nige, they’re all good, healthy wholesome websites, even though I don’t have you noticed, but the statistics for, shall we say, toys, adult toys – how’s that? – around the world, cause we’ve all been a lockdown has grown by about 300%. There’s a massive increase around the world of people saying, “well, we’re at home now, so we should play more!” and they are!
Nigel Miller: Okay. Now, before we dive in, I just want to let everyone know that we’re also recording this session as a video. So if you’d like to take a look at some of the sites Kevin’s going through today, go to our website, theroadtoretail.com to find the link to the video.
And Kevin, for anyone that hasn’t listened to our previous podcast, could you just quickly explain what you mean by The Second Age of Online Retail and also what you believe the top five criteria are for success as an online retailer?
Kevin Moore: Yeah. The second age of online retail is the fact that everything that we could ever need, a product or service, is going to be available online. Products we’ve had for ages now services are coming up from companies, services from government, everything will be available in some shape or form online. And because we’ve got Covid-19, we’ve actually seen acceleration.
We were going to get to 45% of toy sales online by 2023 but we’re going to get there by 2021. We’ve got some amazing stats coming out of the UK as a major market where 22% of all retail sales are online. Now, that’s not 22% of a category, 22 pennies of every pound spent in the United Kingdom at the moment is online.
That’s huge. We’ve got reports coming out of the US that talk about the vast shuttering of thousands and thousands of stores across the US that just aren’t going to open again. And people aren’t stopping shopping. They’re just going online. And we’ve touched on this and said, this is the systemic change.
This is, if you like, the, the accelerated process of change that’s been going on for some time. A large number of physical retailers have struggled to get their head round online now we’ve been forced to shutter shops around the world, anybody who’s truly online is booming. Now, I’ll say, as I said on a number of these podcasts, it breaks my heart to see what’s happening in retail.
A lot of friends, thousands of friends, people I’ve met in retail, who are not gonna get the jobs back. But there is a chance for them to take their skills and go into online. And that’s what this, this is about, these podcasts and these courses build on the work you and I have done for five years training retail store staff, online video courses all around the world, and to make them better retailers, this course is about harnessing all of that and making sure that people can have a job, feed their families in the new online age.
So the top five things online shoppers look for: a widest range possible in stock; convenience; great service; number four is payment facilities, including part payments – and we’re going to look at some of those today; and pricing and promotions, and we’re gonna look at some of those today.
So what I want to do is take us for, a walk round my screen and rather than go around the world, cause I keep making the point that if you do it right in your own town, then you probably can do it right in your own state and your own country. And the rest of it will just fall, just naturally happen.
So I’m going to take us on a journey , you’re gonna have to help me because we have listeners listening in cars and at homes on trains, and if I’m talking about something I can see, and I’m not painting a picture, you got to help me Nige, stop me and say, Kevin, they can’t see the screen. The listeners can’t see the screen Kev, explain that. Can you do that for me?
Nigel Miller: I can do that.
Kevin Moore: Good as gold!
Nigel Miller: However, before we do that, you’ve gone through the top five, is that all people need to focus on in order to ensure they provide a great online shopper experience?
Kevin Moore: No. Beyond that. What we’re looking for is something that comes from those things and things that actually done within your home or when you receive the products that take you to a whole new level. So an outstanding shopper experience. We’ve talked about phygital. This is where it becomes phygital and then an excellent social media and community. And we’re going to do that in the next podcast. Look really into detail about X and social media. community building and maintenance. So we’ve got the rational ones, we’re looking for the first five, they generate outstanding shopper experience, phygital, so physical and digital mixing, and also excellent social media and connectivity.
Nigel Miller: Okay. So for people who aren’t driving and who are listening in front of a screen, what sites are we going to be visiting today?
Kevin Moore: We’re going to start at the top with a big monster. We’re going to, we’re going to start with Amazon. We’re going to move our way through eBay, and, and I say Amazon is the monster because globally it’s the monster. It isn’t the biggest online business in every country in the world, not by a long way.
Alibaba is mind-blowingly big in China alone. Ebay has done a phenomenal job in certain markets, but they’re the marketplaces, if you will, that we are gonna focus on and start with because they’re the biggest and they’re the best in many ways, but not in all ways. And that’s something I want people to try and understand.
A lot of people say, I’m not going to this online lark, it’s been done. It’s too hard. The big players have got it nailed. They haven’t, and I’m gonna take you through. things that, the best of people can do. So can I go through those two that I’m gonna take you through a couple of national, quite big retailers in other sectors , they tend to be what we call category-killers back in the day. So a category-killer was a, a store that just did one thing really, really well. So we had video stores back in the day. We had massive telephone and accessory stores back in the day. Back in the day.
Nigel Miller: It’s one of your favorite expressions.
Kevin Moore: I know, but it’s only six or seven years ago! That’s what’s so sad. You know, we think about it is this, this change has being years down the line. I remember walking the US less than five, six years ago and, and watching the video stores Blockbuster going under. I mean. Boy, this has happened fast. And we going to go through the online category killers.
So guys who just do one or two things well, obviously we’re going to fashion cause it’s a huge part of it. We’re going to go into giftware and homeware, we’re going to go into toys cause it would be remiss of me not to go into great detail on what Toys R Us and Hobby Warehouse does…
Nigel Miller: Just for anyone who hasn’t listened to the previous podcast, just to let you know that Kevin is quite heavily involved with Toys R Us in Australia, New Zealand. Tell us quickly about that Kevin?
Kevin Moore: Yes. So, yes, I was involved in, Phoenixing, in a good way, that brand from a physical retailer into a pure online retailer. So it had closed all its stores, two years ago. It’s now trading, trading phenomenally well. And was a pure online offering. And the key thing about, as Nigel saying, is bringing all the traditional physical retail attributes, experience and emotions and entertainment, from a physical world into the online world, which is what we’ve done. So we’re going to go into that in, in quite some detail. we’re going to go into a home delivery, food service, just because people talk about grocery or the grocery sector’s going online, but there’s an interim part of this which has going been going on around the world where prepared meals arriving at home. So I just want to touch on why they’re doing so well and what they’re doing in the physical/digital blend. And then we’re going to go real local. We’re going to go into a tiny little company that I have a huge respect for, I’ve touched on before, and we’re going to look at what they’re doing really, really well, because that may be the, the case study, Nige, that a lot of listeners go, “Ah, finally, I could do that. I don’t need all the capital all these bigger players have got, but Kevin’s just talked about something that I think I could do because I understand a specific industry quite well, and I just want to feed my family. I just want…”
Nigel Miller: Yes. So basically what you’re saying is we can look at the Amazons and the big boys to see what has been done and how online has changed, but actually the entry level is nearer the last one.
Kevin Moore: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Nigel Miller: Okay. Well, let’s get going. Let’s start with Amazon.
Kevin Moore: So I’ve just jumped onto Amazon’s landing page, their home page in Australia. So amazon.com.au, this is not the place we usually come to Amazon. Generally speaking, we do not go into the marketplaces at the homepage. We go into the marketplaces cause we clicked on a link because the algorithm already knows what we’re looking for or we’ve been explicit on what we’re looking for and when we hit that link, we go straight to that product within the site. So we don’t usually arrive on the homepage of the marketplaces. We arrive right in the marketplaces. Why is that important? The marketplaces are vast, massively confusing, hugely difficult to navigate mega stores. So take the biggest Walmart, the biggest Bass Pro, the biggest whatever store you’ve ever been to in your life and multiply it by 10,000. The number of skews is so huge and often resellers on the marketplaces and sellers on the marketplace list their products and think “that’s it, they’re going to find me”.
It’s tough to find your product in amongst 999,999 other products. When there’s a million products to shop, when there’s an endless aisle, it’s difficult. So what I want to do is take us to the landing page. So the thing about the landing page here is a lot of links and a lot of things that are departments, they’re taking you into categories, we’re highlighting a lot of Amazon’s own products with Prime Video. On the landing page, we’ve got our first, discount. Our first talk about pricing promotion. There’s only one on the page, 25% off on select audio items. So we’re coming down, we’ve got the major categories, electronics and books…
Nigel Miller: Toilet roll!
Kevin Moore: Toilet roll. So best sellers. So, so the marketplace is do a very good job of helping us continue with the theme of what’s going well, what’s selling a lot of, because FOMO is a big part of it. I don’t want to miss out. These are things that are selling well, so I’d like to look at them. So, best sellers in health, household and personal care, massive category, right up against the drugstores and the grocery stores around the world, best-sellers in electronics. again, a couple of Amazon items in there, not surprisingly, into video games…
Nigel Miller: Just a quick question here. So because algorithms drive all these sites, are we seeing things on your page because of what you’ve searched previously? Or is this literally a home page? I mean, there’s a lot of electronic stuff that I know you’ve been in a market for headsets recently. I’m seeing headsets instantly.
Are we seeing a lot of the algorithm working here or not?
Kevin Moore: That’s why it’s important to land on the landing page. This is what the retailer believes are the most important things, and it’s what its algorithm for throwing up as being the most important things. And it’s what it’s buyers and curators, the people that manage these categories are looking to sell , looking to highlight to us. So the fact that the best seller electronics has Prime Video, it does have YouTube and others, but then Spotify, Amazon Music, Prime Video’s there. The next item is a Kindle. The fourth item is a Kindle.
Nigel Miller: Okay.
Kevin Moore: So there’s a mixture of what’s selling.
This is classic merchandising. This, we’ve been doing this for 500 years. So we’re putting things up there that everybody wants, but we’re also blending into them things that we want people to look at. Then we’re onto Cozy Basics select Activewear. We’re coming down to the best sellers in sports and fitness.
Nigel Miller: So strange to say things like cables there though.
Kevin Moore: Oh, no, massive, huge remember. We’re at home. So at the moment where we’re at home, so there are so many people who are rigging up, my office at home now has two 32 inch curved Phillips monitor screens. It’s got its own, phenomenal router straight into broadband, not through a wifi cause I need to be ultra quick.
I’ve got two keyboards. You know, I’ve got a Rode microphone. It’s a workplace. I mean, I’m, I’m on zoom calls all day to different, different parts of the world, so you’ll see those things. Importantly, I want to touch on Fulfillment by Amazon. So this is Amazon helping.
This is important for the small businesses. Fulfillment by Amazon allows you to be able to ship product to Amazon, they’ll take the pallets for you. They’ll take the pallet and they’ll store it for you. They will put your product up on their site. People find it, they’ll buy it. The order will go to their own warehouse. It’ll be picked from that pallet, and it will be sent in cardboard boxes, off to the, the shopper at home. You don’t have to do anything gotta to pay for the space, but it really is a very, very powerful, big step change for Amazon when they did it. So Fulfillment by Amazon, you’ll hear FBA talks about Fulfillment by Amazon is a really important part for people who want to play, who want to retail on the marketplaces as small businesses. Very important, and to connect with them, they will help you, help you get there.
Nigel Miller: I know, I see quite a lot of adverts for people who want to help you become an Amazon seller. If you’ve got an idea they sort of, you know, train you how to negotiate and find manufacturers that can build your idea and then you chuck it into Amazon and everyone becomes really rich.
Kevin Moore: No!
I might just touch on that now on the marketplaces. So you put your product up there, there’s a million others. People have to find it. Sadly, what people do, and I worked with a company and I worked very hard for several years to try and get a company to, to embrace this. And they did it half heartedly.
They put up six skews. They probably sell about 500. They put up six skews. They have no direct to shopper offering at all, put up six skews, Fulfillment by Amazon, and they sold two products a week. Once you’re in there, you have to work hard to create the connection to get people to go and find that item.
To do the Facebook marketing, Instagram, YouTube, build your community around your product to allow them to easily find it. In that way, Amazon is just your fulfillment structure. They’re not your marketing structure. You still have to market.
That’s what our courses are about. It’s about the shopper experience is not about the warehousing logistics about how you’d have the cut through to be able to get people to buy your products. All the infrastructure exists, and I’m going to take you onto the next site and I’m going to again highlight and it’s not set up, highlight, you know, a way of doing that.
I do want to take you now though, because it’s important, and I’ve talked about it, I’m going to take you down to a product here. It’s a Lego product. It’s Harry Potter. It’s Hogwarts Great Hall. The reason this screen is important, I’ve talked several times about the importance of key things that the, the wording around the product, descriptions of the product is crucial that you can see all the details.
I drag my cursor over here. You can see the detail come up, and that’s the way that Amazon are doing it. And a lot of people do. To give the detail of it. Of the product. But then over on the left hand side, we’ve got one, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five, six. So I’ve actually got six product shots, detailed product shots of the product, and then horray, cause this item is $149 we have a video as well.
Now it’s only a 42 second video, but we have a video.
Nigel Miller: Okay. And that you think is partly to do with price point or…
Kevin Moore: Absolutely.
Once you get over about $50, $60, videos are important part of it that the product can be being seen. Now the only thing we haven’t got on this one, is what we call lifestyle shots. So what we haven’t got is somebody engaging with the product. So we, we’ve, we’ve got the product all the way up here, but we haven’t got children playing with products, adults and children playing with the products.
But that’s the only thing that’s missing. So if you look at your own products, you have to say on my own site, if I’ve got my own site, do I have five product shots? One, which should be lifestyle, I’d suggest. And if it costs over $50 do I have some form of video of the product ? In the best of cases, that video that you, you have shot is also sitting on YouTube and there’s a link straight through to your site so you’re not duplicating work.
Don’t duplicate work. So I just wanted to make that point. I don’t want to labour it, but it’s an important part of it. So we’ve had to sort of play…
Nigel Miller: Sorry on that one. Just a very quick thing though. So the video there and the images there would have all been provided by Lego, is that right?
Kevin Moore: Yep, yep. And if you, it’s…
Nigel Miller: and with many manufacturers, is that the case that they have products you can actually access?
Kevin Moore: So the best of the manufacturers who’ve understood retail for the longest time have their own dedicated product development teams that develop all the imagery, all the descriptors for product online. And they also have frustration-free packaging. So that packaging isn’t designed to stop people stealing parts in retail stores, which means you have to use a chainsaw to get into them, which we’ve all experienced, but they’re easy and they’re designed for you at home.
So there’s a whole load of expertise that goes on designing the product for online retailers. Now, for your own product, if it’s your own product, or you’re securing that product, selling other people’s products, you can probably find the imagery. If it’s your own product, you have to do it on your own. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s crucial that you do it because you start to spend your energies in the places where you’re going to get the the most awareness, engagement from shoppers because it’s highlighting your product. It’s the marketing part of it. You’re not tied up with the logistics part of the the business.
Nigel Miller: Okay. Makes sense.
Kevin Moore: So if we leave Amazon, in theory, go down to baby-brother eBay, but actually in Australia, we don’t, we go up to eBay because eBay’s a much, much bigger, retailer in this marketplace. It did some clever things by splitting its brands with eBay and a brand called Gumtree.
It is now, a significant brand. So we land on that landing page 20% off on Dell. Now as we come down here, you’ll see an awful lot more in terms of price and promotion. So eBay does a lot of promotion. So 20% off on Dell, 20% on cameras. Now, I’ve been on these sites before. I was doing some work with somebody around, if you look up here, Assa Abloy’s product. I was doing some work with some, physical and online hardware companies.
I was actually searching skews and looking at how well they were represented and how well they’d done the five images and a video. For $264 pack, you need them there. These are just other things that are on the site. Quilton has been, so toilet rolls have been served up, alcohol has been served up, but as we get on this, what we’re seeing is we’re seeing on the top part…
Nigel Miller: So you are saying here that there is a bias to what we’re seeing because of where you’ve been before.
Kevin Moore: Yeah.
I was doing some work with a hardware company, so that’s what we see.
Nigel Miller: I’m seeing the guitars and all the other bits that would be your hobbies too. There’s no Harleys on this page though!
Kevin Moore: No Harleys but there are two bass guitars, so we’re all right. So and alcohol for some reason. I don’t know why!
But then I want to come down here, cause this is important, I’m going to hold on this page, two distinct things. I’ve talked about the importance of payment terms, it’s the fourth most important thing.
This is AfterPay, AfterPay, SplitIt, doesn’t matter what. This is a massive part of your business. If you want to be online, you have to accept that this is really important. It’s going to cost you, it’s going to cost you between 2 and 6% of your revenue to have AfterPay installed, they will provide leads for you, it will increase your volume significantly – it will! In some cases, retailers, 20% of their online volumes are coming through AfterPay – 20%!
Nigel Miller: Quickly is AfterPay an Australian-only service?
Kevin Moore: No, AfterPay is global, it’s… the Kardashians have been using it for some time in the US and it’s a global payment and they all overlap AfterPay, SplitIt, Trig, Hum. There are many, many different ones, but it’s really important it’s there.
Now here’s a thing. This is why I talk about “the Second Age of Online Retail”. So I said that we can buy anything. So here we look at some products. We can buy some, some whiskys and some beers. We can buy some Bose headphones. Done a brilliant job. Just a call-out on Bose, they’ve done a brilliant job of understanding what was coming in retail, shutting their own stores, going online, selling by the marketplaces. They appear to be completely agnostic when it comes to the channel to get to you, the shopper. They don’t mind where you buy it. And they’ve stopped being coy saying, “Oh, we can’t sell ourselves on our Bose sites to you. We can only sell through our resellers” to now saying, “Our resellers are in decline. We’re doing it ourselves.”
So here we go. We’ve got, you know, great items here. We’ve got mixers, food-mixers, alcohol, Bose, and here we are up here, this is Shopify. So we’re selling a service online. So you can buy your own website online.
Nigel Miller: So is this connected to eBay?
Kevin Moore: Nope! So Shopify is the largest seller of easy to use websites, so you can set up a Shopify site very quickly. It’s a Canadian company. The backstory is he set up his own website many years ago to sell skiing equipment and snowboards. His mate said he did a great job with that. Can you build me a site? So he’d built them another site based on his site, and somebody came and said to him can you build me sites? So, he replicated the site, then 10 other people take up the site. So he just copied the code and then he was making more money from selling websites than selling on websites.
Nigel Miller: So interesting then is that a banner ad we’re looking at?
Kevin Moore: Yeah. So let’s click on it.
Nigel Miller: Okay.
Kevin Moore: So we’re now taken from Amazon into Shopify. Sell online with Shopify, trusted by over a million businesses worldwide. Start your free trial. Now we are not paid and we’ve said this a number of times, we are not paid by Shopify. I think the product is, is great.
It’s like online accounting software Xero is a famous one. Xero is really good. It’s not perfect by a long way, but it’s really good and easy to use. Shopify is not perfect by a long way, but you’ll be up and selling good enough for people to do what they need to do. Pricing as low as US $29 a month.
Themes that are responsive and customisable. I mean, it just does the thing that it’s supposed to do. But the point about that is, there you are, and there in “the second age of retail”, we’re buying a service, we’re buying a website on a website!
Nigel Miller: Yeah. Okay.
Kevin Moore: Kind of messes with your head!
I didn’t want any more on eBay. I want to take us now to The Iconic (theiconic.com.au) , so as we look on this, we’re seeing a lot of imagery listeners.
Nigel Miller: So the first thing that’s come up here is the homepage. Now I’m seeing, which would put me off instantly, but I’m assuming it’s because you’ve had this open for a while, I’m seeing one of those popups, it says, “$20 off your next order sign up. Don’t sign up”, whatever. That would have come up after a period of time once you’d first comes to the page.
Is that right?
Kevin Moore: No some of the guys have advised, in the early days of some of the online sites, you stopped here. So I’m, I’m hot to trot, two train stops from home. I want to buy this on my phone. I’ve found it. Your social media’s done great. I’ve got to you. I want to buy it. I’m at my next to last stop now, and this thing comes up and says, “give me all your details” and you say, I don’t want to, I just want to buy now. We’re not gonna let you buy it to give you the details.
And I work with guys who say, “Take that off!” Either take it off completely or give them the option to say no thanks, and just get on with shopping. I want to shop now, because this became a massive barrier. And a lot of people were having a hundred people visiting the site and one buying, that’s the wrong number.
A hundred people visit your site, four to five buy, three to four buy .
Nigel Miller: I would be grateful to see that if I decided I was going to buy something and it’s going to give me $20 off my next order. Don’t mind seeing it when I’m further down the thing, but I don’t want to see it now.
Kevin Moore: So this is why I’m going through these things because these are big players. We’ve been to one of the biggest in the world, another one of the biggest in the world, and now to a very big player and successful player in the Australian market.
But again, for listeners, what we’re, what we’re seeing is a lot of stationary imagery. Well, I’ll just keep it moving along…
Nigel Miller: Indeed. That’s what I would say. I’m also seeing the AfterPay banner there as well. But you’ve come to this page, it’s got well, it would be three images sitting above the line. Donate your clothes. Giving made easy. You know, a few little things. It’s simple, it’s nice and simple and it’s nice and clean, but it’s static.
Kevin Moore: Yep . And we come down. So I’m going to get rid of the, my details, I’m not going to give you my details now, I’m going to keep on shopping. Shop brands. So they say that companies are judged by the company they keep. Great brands here. This is a brand house.
So they’re an agglomerater. They bring together, they curate brands from all around the world, and they sell them online. They’re a giant department store. So the brands are important. But yeah, I like The Iconic, I think the service is great, their packaging when it arrives in, in your home and there are some examples of that on, on the course. And that’s important that the phygital it’s good.
The way they do their returns because the biggest issues you have with clothing is that you’re unsure about what it’s going to fit. I want ease of return. Their ease of return policy is really good. The process is really good. How they do it in, in their own warehouses, I’m not going to go into, it doesn’t matter, but the process for you and the shopper is really good. So I called out The Iconic as being good because it’s phygital. Its outstanding shopper experience is because it has a really good returns process that people use and they enjoy.
Nigel Miller: But from my point of view, just watching this page come up, you know, I don’t shop at The Iconic, I don’t shop for many clothes at all, but, because I’m that age! I’d have to do a lot of digging around to find stuff in here. So that little denim theme at the top, and that is it. So you’re coming here because you’ve clicked from somewhere else?
Kevin Moore: So that’s what I’m saying. I’m showing you the landing site that the homepage is, because this is not where people usually come to. Usually the social media is so good. I’ve actually landed because I’m looking for a toddler’s denim jacket and the image on the right with the shop kids with a toddler wearing a denim hat, denim cap and a denim jacket is where I’d land, I’d know the price and I could order it.
So I’m just showing you what the landing pages are. That’s why it’s important in the next podcast that we go through, clearly you have the awareness and the engagement, digital communities, importance of social media, but I’m trying to get you to do is that sometimes people stumble on sites, I’m just as, as your first landing, I’m just trying to stack them up to let people understand that the biggest don’t always do it well.
Nigel Miller: Okay. So I’m seeing clean, simple, but not very, not very entertaining.
Kevin Moore: Nope, the shopper experience at this point, it’s like, okay.
Now another big category. So another big box. This is a company called Temple and Webster, so they are homeware, giftware officeware products, the whole range of stuff. Great, we’ve got some movement in there, 150,000 products, so it’s ticking my box of a wide range of availability. So in the search box, beautiful search over 150,000 products. Great.
Nigel Miller: They’re very good at curating. I have actually bought from this site, and I do think, you know, you talk about curation as being an important part of retail. They are very good at curating their products.
Kevin Moore: They are very good. And they’re also very good at their shipment terms, they’re shipping large, bulky items that tend to arrive on time. And there’s a lot of good to be said about this company, don’t get me wrong, but once again, these are, well, let’s just look on the home page we’ve got…
Nigel Miller: I’m seeing attractive photography, but that little bit you went through, it looks like I’m looking at a sort of home magazine that, you know, there’s pretty quick navigation, office chairs, office desks, office storage, cause obviously a lot of people are wanting that at this point in time. But then the next bit down there, you know, you’ve got these tiles that look like they’re covers of magazines.
Kevin Moore: Yeah. And again, they’re good, don’t get me wrong. What I’m trying to get is this feeling that I’m in a retail store where there’s theatre, there’s buzz, it’s beautifully laid out. I am, right now at the screen I’m looking at, I’m in a retail store and I’m the only person there.
Nigel Miller: Yeah.
Kevin Moore: There’s nobody else in the store. It’s just me.
Nigel Miller: You feel lonely?
Kevin Moore: God don’t I just. Just look at that.
Nigel Miller: So what we’re not looking at is any people.
Kevin Moore: People. I mean, the one thing we’re craving to go back to work for at the moment is to be with people. People, people, people, faces, faces, faces. So we don’t see it there. And I’m not going to go in and say, “Oh, we found one”. We’re landing on the page, you know, we’re promiscuous, our thumb’s sliding over, our cursor is sliding over things we will or won’t stay.
Now I think they are great because their curation is amazing. I think the way they ship things is, is good. The range is amazing. They tick a lot of boxes, but you know, here’s something that as we move through it, I’m not excited yet.
Nigel Miller: No. And I’d say again, clean, but static.
Kevin Moore: Yeah. So I’ve now arrived on, on Toys R Us, I’ve landed here. All the work we’ve done for years is here. So I’ve got people straight away interacting with the product in video, closeups, children, grandparents, people together. I’m in a store. I’m in a store now. I’m outside, I’m a grandparent and… I’ve got this movement. I’ve got something happening there, which continues on. Now, great, I’m offering free shipping and you know, we did free shipping for grandparents over $50, because grandparents can’t be with their grandchildren.
We’ve then got key items that are here, so we’re using Lego Creator. We’ve got for some free offers. So free Lego bunny. We’re not doing a lot of discounting, by the way, when you look at this. We’ve got Geoffrey’s Giant Treasure Trove, which has been running online, Instagram and Facebook, and the likes for about 10 days now.
And against that seeding social media. So not many people will come to this site, they’ll go, they’ll go straight into, on this landing page, they’ll go straight in. And then look at all the movements, all the colour, huge amounts.
I want to do something, so Zip and AfterPay, absolutely. Play Now Pay Later. You know, harness what’s there. It’s costing you 6%. You better be using it. Then all the brands look at all the colours. What I want to take you to though is we’re looking around here, I’m going to jump onto Barbie. Boom.
Nigel Miller: What’s interesting is it looks like something kids can navigate too though.
Kevin Moore: It does indeed. And it is, is meant to be that way too. So this is something that if you shop for Barbie on Amazon and eBay, you won’t see this. So we land on a store within a store, all the colour fields, 60 year old Barbie, all the products. This is Barbie. So actually inside a store, we not in Toys R Us now, we’re in a Barbie shop.
Nigel Miller: Oh.
Kevin Moore: And there is Barbie. So we’re going to go back from Barbie because we’re actually going to go and look at Lego. As we go into Lego, oh, we’re in a Lego shop, a Lego store. Here’s the Lego store. And we’ve got the bricks cascading and these, these are, we call them end aisles in grocery and in major retailers that either side the left and right. So in grocery stores and department stores and in hardware stores, these end aisles are sold to suppliers to advertise their product, to create displays.
So it is important as we are online retailers, we build up an amazing following and eyeballs that these have value that we, we can sell to manufacturers who wants to communicate to people on these pages.
Nigel Miller: Sorry, just clarify that for me. So are you saying that Lego Paw Patrol, Barbie, those manufacturers are buying…
Kevin Moore: No, they’re not. No. But as you get, as you end up, those manufacturers are working with Toys R Us to supply them with imagery and graphics to make sure that their brands are the best they can possibly be in the store. It happens to an online store.
You’ve in effect built the department within your website and that’s how you’re curating the products.
Absolutely. So here we’re in Paw Patrol and we’re on a Paw Patrol site. So it isn’t just the tiles…
Nigel Miller: For me, I’m the father of a seven year old. It is nice to just come to somewhere and know that all you’re going to see is Paw Patrol so you don’t get distracted by the other 10,000 products they’re trying to flog to you because you know you want to buy Paw Patrol.
Kevin Moore: Not trying to flog to you. We’re trying to help you with the process, and
Nigel Miller: No, no, no. I’m not talking about Toys R Us, I’m talking about the average website, when you try and find THE product that your daughter has suddenly said she wants and you get 17,000 other things before you can find the one you want. It is nice to see a neatly curated department where it is just Paw Patrol or Bluey or whatever it might be.
Kevin Moore: So that’s shopper experience. So this didn’t just isn’t happenstance, we didn’t stumble on this. This was by walking stores around the world, photographing the stores, videoing the stores, talking to shop assistants, talking to suppliers, talking to shoppers and saying, what do you want? And trying to recreate that as much as we could in the digital world.
It isn’t happenstance. It’s not good luck. We didn’t stumble on this. It’s all the work to say, how do we make the shopper experience great? What you described in the four frustrated sentences that came out of you before you said “and I like to find one place with Paw Patrol” is bad shopper experience. That’s what it is.
It’s bad shop. It’s poor shopper experience. I want to tell people how bad it is. I’m not going to go back there. So you do everything in your power to do that. So if I then rather than keep going forward, I’m going to go backwards. So if we look at the marketplaces, the marketplaces do a very good job of stocking massive amounts, millions of products, and displaying them okay.
The guys who are in the categories where they bring together lots of other people’s products, the category killers, whether it be fashion or they’d be home hardware, or they’d be, giftware or they’d be whatever it may be, or toys, need to be clear that they are there to provide a great shopper experience.
It’s great navigation. It’s easy. It’s entertaining. I want to stay there. The less movement, the more static it is, the less colour, the less that’s going on, the less likely that people are going to dwell longer. Their dwell time will be lower and they’ll likely not spend as much money as they could. Now, I haven’t gone into the great things we do with impulse zones and the way we offer products and help you build baskets. I’m not doing that. I just want to get you used to the feeling of movements. The first time we got to movement, we got faces and people are moving and importantly, it isn’t good luck. We’d done this because we set out to do this.
So I’m going to take you to HelloFresh. So again, it’s a new concept. The idea that our food can be delivered to us in boxes, that we then prepare. All the right ingredients are there, the interface is beautiful. It’s easy, it’s great. Save your discount, discounting save for later. That’s good. Continue with that shopping. There we go. So I’m now on the site. So again. Beautiful, tasty food. Easy to order down here. $40, 1st box, second box.
Nigel Miller: Clean, and bright, lots of space.
Kevin Moore: Now we’ve got some people, we’ve got people, and Eliza said, and Belinda said, and they’re with their families, and they’re happy to be photographed and they’ve given the reviews through Trustpilot, which we’re seeing people interacting with food.
Nigel Miller: Trustpilot. How important is that sort of thing?
Kevin Moore: Huge. So that goes back to the service. So don’t let me tell you how good I am, let people who shop me tell you how good I am. That’s what Trustpilot does. And if you’ve got high ratings on Trustpilot, or whatever the review, there are many review tools, but if they’re high, basically people who’ve engaged with the product, who’ve engage with the whole of the service end to end, love it and they’re telling you so.
So we’ve got people and we’ve got closeup shots of appetising product, fresh product. Coming down, we’ve now onto the packaging. For me, packaging is one of the great things that HelloFresh does. We’ve seen Amazon, any time that you walk around the United States or you know, any major city in the, in the world, you’ll see Amazon boxes and cartons arriving in office, you did see them off arriving in office lobbies at people’s homes.
The more design you put into the packaging, the more connectivity, communication, connection you have with your shoppers. So that product packaging is going inside somebody’s home. It’s the most tangible thing, other than the thing that’s inside it, they’re going to get.
It’s great for messaging. It tells you your values. Now this doesn’t do justice to HelloFresh’s current packaging. Their new packaging explains their values in three colours, and explains how recyclable the packaging is. It’s just a beautiful way of connecting. So packaging is crucial. And here’s a classic one , these are the favourite recipes for a particular town or particular place.
So we’re then moving on and we’re going, well, now we’re going to, what I think is a, is a cool one. So we land on this site and I just, I don’t know, listeners, I don’t know where you are.
Nigel Miller: Okay, so what we’re seeing here, we’ve gone to a little site called OB Five Skateboards, and we’ve got skateboarders skateboarding as the first thing we see, and pretty only thing we see other than another pop-up for 10% off your next order. Just get rid of the popup Kevin.
Kevin Moore: No, I’m not going to Nige. This is a site that I love because it’s so simple, so simple and it’s, it punches way, way, way above its weight. So listeners, what we’re looking at is we’re looking at surfers, skaters that I know for a fact this video has been shot with teenagers who are friends of the family and part of the family on Queensland’s Gold Coast. So beautiful crystal clear water, sunny days, skateboard bowls, skate parks, you know, great young people enjoying the outdoors.
And this is where I land. Already I’m happy. I’m not in a store. It’s even better than a store. I’m out in the open using the product. This is lifestyle. This is everything together. And the great thing about this, this guy, the background of Chris, Chris was a, a sales director in a major retail business selling skateboards and surf gear and the business closed up. They let him go. He knew skateboards, he knew surf boards. So he set up this site in a warehouse, first of all with his own site and then a Shopify site. So the reason I said, Nige, I’m not going to take that down, was originally when this came up, you couldn’t get, get rid of it. Now you can. So I saw Chris, I walked in and said, Chris, we gotta let that go.
And he goes, “who are you?” I, I said “my name is Kevin Moore. I do this for a living and I’m buying a skateboard from my grandson”, which was a beautiful skateboard. I know they’re very quick. I know that! I’ve never broken a bone in my body but on one of Chris’s OB Five boards, I managed to to fracture my elbow. I now have OB Five elbow pads!
But this is great. So curbside pick up, click and collect, skateboard accessories, AfterPay available. He’s getting this right. This guy was not an online retailer until a couple years ago. He’s done it because he’s got to feed his family and he’s doing a fantastic job of it. So this is for anybody who, who goes on the website, have a look at this.
This is what you can do. This is how easy it is. What can be achieved by normal people just working hard, understanding retail, setting up their online businesses.
Nigel Miller: So it’s really interesting because, as you say that, you know, there is no product in what I can see above the line there. There is no product at all. I’ve got to go and hunt the product, but I’m already engaged with them because they’ve made it look great.
Kevin Moore: I’ve just jumped on on skateboards, cruisers, longboard, surf skates, girls gift guide, guys gift guide. So the thoughts got into it to say, “we know that some of these items are given, like example for grandchildren, are bought for for other people, not for your use. We’re going to help them through it.”
By the way, the products stunning. I mean, the designs are outstanding. They sell out all the time and they tell you its sold out, and it does sell out because it’s so damn good. Beautiful product and what’s happened is the range has widened and expanded, so vertical skateboard storage racks, Chris doesn’t make them, he sources them. OB Five branded protective pack for your knees, elbows and hands, just a really clean and beautifully done site. And the product is cool. We can go through the product, plasma drop through 38 inch, Canadian maple veneers. This for me is curation. You know, he’s gone out and he’s, some of these are designed by them. Some of them are sourced and they’re designed by factories and sold under different brands and the colour-ways are different.
But this is beautiful. And the detail of it! So I think this is a great one. So having been through that journey, we’ve been from the, some of the biggest in the world to a tiny one, and it’s doing well. The business just keeps on growing. It’s easy to use. I’ve bought from it a number of times. I stumbled on it. I just think it’s a brilliant business. This is the type of thing that a normal person who understands retail, you don’t have to be a Jeff Bezos, you’re not trying to be the biggest online retail on the planet, all you’re trying to do is feed your family in retail.
Back in the day you’d get yourself a retail lease, you’d get a shop from a landlord. Now you don’t. Go and rent yourself a warehouse , because you’re going to pick, pack and dispatch. You need to bring in the, in the containers, break them down into pallets. Break them down into outers, then pick from the outers into singles to send to people’s homes, and you can have a great business doing this.
So this for me is what I come back to time and time again. This is doable. It gives people confidence that this can be done.
Nigel Miller: So just to clarify, is this purely an online play or do they have a little retail outlet as well?
Kevin Moore: No, they’ve got no retail outlet. You can curbside pickup, so you can actually pick up from the, from the warehouse. but this business started wholesaling into retailers and the retailers were declining, Chris accelerated his online business. The social media work that’s been done on this brand, the Facebook stuff is cool, it’s just good is just wholesome. You know, surf/skate culture, wholesome surf skate culture stuff. So it’s clean beaches, sunny skies. It’s done so well that we now have physical retailers advertising the brand for their stores and they don’t stock it. So they’re using it as bait advertising to bring people into their stores and they don’t stock it!
Nigel Miller: And is this still a Shopify site or has it moved on?
Kevin Moore: Yep, a Shopify site.
Nigel Miller: Wow, okay.
So this is all doable for anybody today. Again, we’re not plugging Shopify particularly, but just the fact that you can create a nice looking website yourself without being technically competent.
Kevin Moore: The infrastructure’s there. That’s the point there. So the payment facility, your merchant facilities, they’re easy to connect. The catalogue pages are easy to put together. The navigation is acceptable. It’s, it’s good navigation.
It’s not rockstar navigation. It’s just good. It’s functional. This is the first store you’re opening. When you get the point where you’re doing, you know, you’ve got a great problem cause you’re moving a million bucks a month worth of product. Cool. You know, if you want some AI to serve up and have voice interaction with your shoppers, great.
But as I say, most people don’t do that. What they do is they’re forced to go into online retail because it’s hard to get a job or nobody wants to buy their product. So they go direct to the shopper.
Nigel Miller: So there are sites I go to for, you know, buying computer gear or hard drives or whatever that are purely a catalogue. They have no personality, no presence. It is all about price and product. Is that a problem?
Kevin Moore: Yeah. Yeah. Because, yeah, that makes you an average retailer. What it means is that you are not thinking about your shoppers. You’re not trying to give them a great shopper experience. You are literally just a catalogue. There’s no emotion. You can do things, but you tend not to be able to grow your volumes. You tend not to be able to engage. You tend not to get people coming back to you as often as they can. If they can get a better, better experience somewhere they’ll have that experience, they’ll enjoy that experience and go back there. Over the next few years, shopping in a retail store isn’t going to be a huge pleasure. We’re going to be talking to shop assistants behind plexiglass and plastic. We’re going to be queuing up outside before we can get in. They’ll be only a certain number of us allowed in each aisle.
It’s not going to be fun.
So if you’ve got an online store, make it fun. Make it entertaining, show video, show feedback. Get people to upload shots of them using your product in different places, out in the open, out in sunshine, out in the parks, out in wherever it is, a mountain in the snow, wherever it is but, you know, bring it alive. Make it a place that people want to come to.
Nigel Miller: Excellent, so Kevin, can you just quickly sum up what your main points have been today?
Kevin Moore: Yeah, in its simplest and largest form, we have just been able to look at 2 million items across seven websites, in one country. In there, we’ve had massive sites with a million products down to some that have only got a couple of hundred, and they’re all at the same place.
They’re at the end of a cursor, they’re at the end of my thumb on my phone. They’re all doing a pretty good job because they’re all trading well. Some are doing bits better than others. But it was to show this the broadest range of the biggest to the smallest and how you can be the smallest and still have a great site.
You can provide a better shopper experience than the biggest players, you may not have as much volume as they have, but you have a better shopper experience. If you think about it, it’s doable. I want to give you the confidence to be able to do this. Now, people can listen to this and some people are going to say, I’ve got to get a job.
I’m not getting a job. I’m going to do this. I’m going to borrow some money. I’ve got some money left in the house. I’m going to do this. I’m going to set myself up.
Nigel Miller: So the only other thing I’d say here though is on your list of things that you regularly say, a lot of online shopping is about awareness and engagement. And I can see from OB Five the engagement is great, but how does a small business like that create awareness?
Kevin Moore: So we haven’t done that. I’ve come to these sites because I know about these sites. I was made aware of them and I’ve engaged with them. Don’t confuse a beautiful landing page with awareness and engagement. It’s the last part of the engagement before you get them into the site and start to give them a great shopper experience.
The awareness and engagement out in social land, YouTube, Insta, Facebook, everything that we’re going to go through later on is about the awareness and engagement. This isn’t the awareness and engagement. They’ve become aware and they’ve engaged before they get this point.
Nigel Miller: Okay. Well, in fact, that then takes us on to next week.
Kevin Moore: That’s a bit of luck. That’s a bit of luck, Nige!
Nigel Miller: Now, the next two episodes coming up, are all about raising awareness as we were just discussing, it’s all well and good having a great looking and functional website, but that’s only part of the online retail jigsaw puzzle.
One of the most vital aspects to master is raising awareness of your offering. And to help us with that, we’re calling on a digital marketing friend of mine, Miranda Bond.
Miranda is a serial entrepreneur who helps a number of her clients with their digital marketing strategies, and also applies those strategies to her own online retail business, Pumayana.com.
Over the next two episodes, you’ll learn about five critical components that Miranda believes you have to have working in harmony in order to optimize awareness of your online retail business.
Don’t miss these episodes. The content is absolute gold!
And talking of golden content, you might also be interested in our new online retail course where Kevin shares his real world experiences and insights and provides practical tips to help you improve the experience of your online shoppers.
Go to our website, theroadtoretail.com. That’s theroadtoretail.com.
On the website, you can find out more about the course and how you can tap into Kevin’s expertise to help you build your business. And just to remind you, there is a video version of this episode on theroadtoretail.com.
As well as allowing you to see the websites we’ve been reviewing today, the video version also includes closed captions to help anyone who’s hard of hearing or just struggling with our accents. Well, Kevin’s at least!
On the same page you’ll also find a full transcription so you can remind yourselves of the key points we’ve covered.
Until next time, thank you for listening.
But, as always, before we go, Kevin, what musical treat do you and the band have or us this week?
Kevin Moore: Well, this is a very different song. This is a beautiful song to take you away from your homes and out into the wild oceans. This is a song called Cutty Sark, which is about the famous three-mast sailing ship that used to sail the oceans.
It was written by Bob. Bob actually sailed on a three mass ship. He’s done some amazing things in his life, and some beautiful work here with lyrics by Bob, melody by John, bass by Kevin with the help from some seagulls.
Nigel Miller: Ah, looking forward to it. Off you go.
Kevin Moore: Off you go guys…
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