All posts by James Gurd

James is an Ecommerce consultant and owner of Digital Juggler, an E-commerce and Digital Marketing consultancy helping retailers develop, execute and evolve E-commerce strategies and optimise their digital channel. With a background as a Head of E-commerce and also agency side as Head of Client Development, he has experienced life on both sides of the fence. He has helped companies like A&N Media, Sweaty Betty and Smythson to manage RFP/ITT proposals. and been lead consultant on high profile projects for Econsultancy, Salmon and Greenwich Consulting. He is a guest blogger for Econsultancy, for whom he also writes best practice guides, regularly contributes to industry events and co-hosts #ecomchat, a weekly Twitter chat for e-commerce knowledge sharing. For e-commerce advice and support, connect with James on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Social media strategy and planning essentials series

This is part 5 of my Smart Insights 12 part social media series. In the last part we looked at the role of organic and paid social media and touched on the importance of content. In this blog, I discuss a sensible way to approach content planning for your social media channels. Social media networks support multiple content formats and there has been rapid growth in the use of interactive formats, for example carousel ads on Facebook. This flexibility of format (text, image, multi-image, video, carousel etc.) gives marketers the ability to experiment with different types of content to gauge how best to attract and engage social users. If people are the heartbeat of social media, content is the blood. It’s your content that people see and respond to, and that communicates your values and messages. But what content works? How do you plan what to talk…

Social media strategy and planning essentials series

The social media landscape is constantly evolving. New networks rise to prominence (e.g. Snapchat), new technology increases user participation and real-time content (e.g. Periscope) and existing networks enhance their platform and product (e.g. Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram launching ‘buy’ buttons). Organic reach is also shrinking as the leading networks ramp up their paid channels to monetise platform investment. If the first era of social was engagement, the new era is acquisition and conversion. Social commerce is growing much faster than retail ecommerce, although it’s early days. The top 500 retailers earned $3.3bn from social commerce in 2014, up 26%. Many retailers I work with are seeing social driving bigger % increases in retail traffic than any other channel. Social is no longer just about conversation and content; it’s now an established channel for customer acquisition,…

Creating your social media strategy and tactical plan

1 - Building the strategy

noun Strategy / A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. First you need to understand what a strategy is, and isn’t it. A strategy should define the main aim of your social media presence and set the parameters for what it will deliver and how it will be delivered. It will be supported by a tactical plan that defines how the strategy will be delivered, including the channels, resource and budgets to achieve it. Tip – ensure your strategy is no more than 3-4 pages long. A strategy has to be concise and provide the governing principles that guide the plan. Below is a summary of key content to include in your strategy document.

1.1 - Strategy statement

A short, concise summary of what the strategy is aiming to achieve, broken down into bullet points. Below is an example…

Social media strategy and planning essentials

It’s important to know what other organisations in your market are doing on social media, to give you context for the current role social plays in customer communication. The aim of competitor analysis is to learn from the state of play and identify strategic opportunities. Please note that I also advocate researching the wider market to learn what works from brands that have a respected social presence. They may not be directly relevant to you in terms of content or product, but the techniques and social platform tools they use to engage customers should provide useful insight. This article looks at the types of competitor analysis you can and should be doing to help inform your social media strategy.

1. Audit scope of competitor activity

Your goal is to build a clear picture of how other organisations are currently using social media. This needs someone to spend time on…

Social media strategy and planning essentials

First let’s answer the question, “What is a social media strategy?” A social media strategy defines how your organisation will use social media to achieve its communications aims and the supporting platform and tools it will use to achieve this. At a basic level it’s a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives for using social media, and the target outcomes you want to achieve. It does this in the context of the overall business and comms plan, so that social media isn’t in a silo but working in parallel with other channels. It isn’t a detailed plan of action – you’ll also need a plan but without a clear strategy, how do you prioritise the activities for a plan? Think strategy first, plan second. Even if you’re not actively involved in social…

Recommended design patterns and best practices for your Checkout Funnel

Checkout design is the last in our series of posts covering design best practices for different parts of the Ecommerce customer journey. Previous posts include discussion and examples and potential design elements to test for: Home page Product listing or category page Product page Site search pages Shopping Basket design

Design issues for the checkout pages?

Checkout is the most critical part of the conversion path in some ways since it throws many challenges, due to the multiple stages, with each step influenced by the previous one. It is further complicated since it's not necessarily linear; so there is no standard path from start to finish and so this depends on the user's profile, where some steps can be skipped. In the Smart Insights Ecommerce design guide, I focus on 3 stages: 1. Sign-In /Register 2. Personal Details and Addresses. and 3. Payment. One size doesn't fit all for the checkout flow,…

Recommended design patterns and best practices for your Basket/Shopping Bag

Here is the 6th in my series of posts on recommended Ecommerce page layouts. We've been working our way down the funnel, so now we move from product pages to improving your Basket or Shopping Bag Page. Given it's the launchpad to checkout, it plays a vital driver in pushing the buyer down the conversion path. As with checkout, the basket page has to serve two user types: 1. New users: Reduce barriers to purchase and persuade them to trust your brand and website, with their payment. 2. Returning users: Provide a quick transition to check-out, summarising key information which commit buyers to purchase. If you work in an ecommerce team at a retailer, or are involved in design for your client’s accounts, then I hope these templates and tips will guide you along the design/re-evaluation process to maximise results for your pages.

Key Ecommerce Basket Page Wireframe requirements


Recommended design patterns and best practices for retail Search Results Page

This is the 5th in the series looking at key Ecommerce pages, we hope it gives you some ideas for testing and improving your on-site search page. It's a key page on retail sites, since a high proportion of sessions can involve a search and typically average order is higher when a search takes place. In the context of different types of user journeys, this page can sit in different places in the conversion path. It may support early stage research to help visitors learn more about your different product categories or services or it can be an end-stage conversion driver to match people to specific products as they search for specific product names, types and product labels/SKUs.

Key Ecommerce Search Results Page Wireframe requirements

This template provides an outline of the core elements, with colour coding definitions referenced in the Guide. UX and UI designs can vary across…

A recommended wireframe and best practice examples for retail Product Details Pages

In part four of our review of best practices for different types of retail site pages we will cover the Product Details Page (PDP).  Of course, the product page template is an essential page in the conversion path and when visits are aggregated across all product pages, this often represents the largest chunk of total views or 'footfall' when viewed in analytics. Product details pages are accessed both as part of a wider online purchasing journey, for example browsing a category page and then navigating through to specific product, such as campaign or landing pages. It’s therefore important to understand the different user needs as not everyone who visits a Product page will be ready to buy, so the page also needs to provide as much relevant and useful information as possible. Sometimes large catalogue retailers use more than one template design because optimisation teams…

Recommended best practices for Product Listing Pages

This is the third in my series of posts to share best practices on design and user experience for retail sites. My post aims to give you some tips to consider for testing improvements and designing your Product Listing Page (PLP).  For each site page template type I have created a wireframe summary of a typical responsive site layout for desktop or tablet rendering showing key design elements, to give you a toolkit to review and optimize your pages. If you work in design or merchandising for a retailer, or are involved in design at an agency for retail client’s accounts, then I hope these templates and tips will help you along the design/re-evaluation process to maximise results from your pages. For retail sites, PLP pages sit within the category hierarchy and provide a list of all products available within a chosen category. For large catalogue retailers, these are usually…

Free Social media marketing strategies template

Solve your Social media marketing strategies challenges with our FREE Social media marketing strategies template

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Free Social media marketing strategies template

Solve your Social media marketing strategies challenges with our FREE Social media marketing strategies template