The Internet has grown enormously since the turn of the century and is now used by the vast majority of US citizens. Let’s look at usage stats and five other figures that could be game-changers for your ecommerce perspective. Then let’s review one case study on a fast-growing Internet startup success story.
- 35% more Americans using the Internet since 2000
- Five other game-changing ecommerce stats
- Ecommerce success case study: Beardbrand
- Priority: Solid and secure ecommerce hosting
35% more Americans using the Internet since 2000
The Internet is practically ubiquitous. One way to get a better picture of the incredibly broad use of the Web is to look at the relatively small population that is NOT online and, in turn, is not buying anything through digital channels. Today, 13% of people don’t use the Web, according to Pew Research.
“Over time, the offline population has been shrinking, and for some groups that change has been especially dramatic,” explains Pew research associate Monica Anderson. “For example, 86% of adults 65 and older did not go online in 2000; today that figure has been cut in half.”
Here are fuller statistics on the percentage of US citizens who are not online, broken down into various demographic categories, so we can better understand the people who don’t engage in ecommerce:
- 13% of adults, including 12% of men and 15% of women
- 13% of those identifying as white, 16% black, and 16% Hispanic
- 1% of 18-29-year-olds, 4% of 30-49-year-olds, 16% of 50-64-year-olds, and 41% of those who are 65 and older
- 23% of those who make less than $30K; 12% making $30K-$49,999; 6% making $50K-$74,999; and 3% making $75K or more
- 34% of those with less than a high school education, 23% of those with just a high school diploma, 6% of those who completed some college, and 3% of those with a college degree or more
- 12% of people living in urban areas, 11% of those in suburbs, and 22% in rural ZIP codes.
Interestingly, the 13% of people who are not using the Internet has held steady since 2014. Keep in mind, though, the statistic is far lower than it was just a few years ago. The population not using the Internet in 2000 was nearly half, 48%. In other words, 35% more Americans are using the Web than at the turn of the century, which roughly represents about 80 million additional adult users.
When we look at this population of people who don’t go online, we realize the truth is that nearly nine out of every ten adults are potential ecommerce customers.
Five other game-changing ecommerce stats
Neil Patel’s Kissmetrics discussed a few other eye-opening stats back in 2014, sourced from the eCommerce Survey 2014 by Visual Web Optimizer.
Here are the particularly game-changing stats highlighted by Patel:
#1. Shipping fees are often deal-breakers.
One of the most important analytics to ecommerce is shopping cart abandonment, and shipping charges rank as the #1 reason why people leave their shopping carts behind. 28% of users will leave based on a shipping fee they didn’t expect. Here are the other top reasons that people might leave before paying:
- 23% – because they’re asked to create an account
- 16% – because they’re just looking or collecting information
- 13% – because of concerns with security
- 12% – because checkout was convoluted.
The good news is you can plug the shipping hole. “Be explicit and upfront about your shipping charges,” advises Patel. “If you are going to charge for shipping, inform users about this before they get farther down the funnel.”
#2. Many run for the hills when asked to create an account.
Everyone wants people to set up accounts so they can get that incredibly valuable contact information and build customer relationships. However, as seen above, the #2 reason why people ditch their carts in an ecommerce setting – representing 23% of users – is that they have to create an account to continue.
Sites are often very aggressive at getting memberships, disallowing guest checkout. As Patel notes, Zulily doesn’t even allow you to browse its site without giving them an email address. On the other hand, Nike offers three options: Member, Guest, and PayPal checkouts. Patel recommends the latter model.
#3. If you build a discount, they will come.
Incredibly, more than half of shopping cart abandonments could be reversed – 54% – by discounting the price of the product. That’s especially true of younger shoppers: 61% of 18-24-year-olds and 72% of 25-34-year-olds say they will return for a lower price. Boost your ecommerce by providing discounted prices and by setting up automated retargeting. (Note that this discount advice disagrees with the perspective of Beardbrand founder Eric Bandholz, as described below; essentially, you could go either way on providing discounts, depending on your brand and growth model.)
#4. Millennials want to be retargeted.
As seen above with that interest in discounts, younger shoppers like to be retargeted; 72% of millennials respond well to the strategy. It’s really one of the most powerful tools at an ecommerce company’s disposal.
“Retargeting provides a highly focused method of gaining new customers, or converting old ones again,” says Patel. He adds that a remarketing/retargeting plan has proven effective for him, suggesting that others should market using the same tactic.
#5. Your customers can do the selling for you.
It’s easy to forget how powerful reviews and testimonials can be. 55% of online users say that they make their shopping choices, in part, based off of reviews.
Testimonials can be powerful, says Patel, but they typically won’t work as well as user-generated reviews – since people know the former are crafted.
Amazon made reviews an essential part of ecommerce by weaving them into their product pages, Patel explains.
“In today’s search world, ‘review’ related queries are high in volume and very high in CTR and conversion potential,” he says, adding that you can capture this traffic with product reviews and user-generated content (UGC).
Ecommerce success case study: Beardbrand
Let’s take a look at one company that is largely doing things correctly: Beardbrand. Beardbrand really has gone from zero to hero, a startup that hit $120K of revenue per month in under twelve months. Their ecommerce success is detailed in a case study presented by Receiptful founder Adii Pienaar.
Beardbrand is an ecommerce site that features beard oil and other products for beard care; their target is what they call “urban beardsmen.”
Eric Bandholz, who founded the company, wrote extensively on his site about the steps they took to build the brand and grow so absurdly fast over their first year.
Here are the two main lessons Eric learned during this period:
- Invest the money and time. “Eric recognizes that building a reputable brand for your store takes more time and more money because you’ll be investing for the long-term,” notes Pienaar. “It’s not an overnight success.”
- Just be the brand, consistently. The angle Beardbrand takes is not to display ads or to discount items in favor of a clean and recognizable user experience.
The three steps Eric took to brand Beardbrand are very straightforward:
- He and his team delineated their target demographic, city-based men with beards, and carefully considered the needs of that group.
- They focused on strong content, both video and text. They developed narratives. They wrote and visually showed stories. They branded with their logo, ads, business cards, merchandise, and – of course – the website’s design.
- They set aside price and concerned themselves instead with a great customer experience. Eric spent a lot of money upfront on the quality of the ingredients and packaging, in addition to his technological and marketing investments.
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