When within the world of eCommerce, it is important to make sure all corners are covered when catering to customers. However, in retail as many problems are resolved relating to responsive web design, page loading time and fast checkouts in efforts to keep consumer satisfaction a priority, one area that tends to go unobserved or overlooked is the importance of colour perception; this may be due to retailers not completely understanding the scale of the condition which therefore results in minimal solutions to resolve. Colour blindness is more common than people may think it affects 4.5% of the world’s population with 1 in 12 men living with this condition, it is an issue that should be regarded as pressing to resolve as a sizing hindrance would be. Most retailers have a clear gender bias in their target market so this percentage rises to as much as 9% for those that solely target men- this is a demographic that simply cannot be ignored by retailers.

It is the moral duty of your web designers to ensure that designs are colour-accessible and user-friendly for a wider audience. If your website has problematic colour usage or contrast issues, it can easily affect how customers use your website. If the issues are severe, they may not use your site at all and decide to purchase from your competitor instead.

So, what is colour blindness?

Colour blindness doesn’t mean that the individual cannot see colour at all in fact that is the rarest form the condition, There are many types of colour blindness but it boils down to not seeing colour clearly, getting colours mixed up, or not being able to differentiate between certain colours.

If your website has problematic colour usage or contrast issues, it can easily affect how customers use your website. If the issues are severe, they may not use your site at all and decide to purchase from your competitor instead.

Relying solely on colour for readability and affordance makes a website difficult to use, which ultimately affects readership and sales. There are some straightforward options that stand out to facilitate and if not tackle this hurdle for your site.

So, what are the options that provide solutions?

Descriptions on eCommerce websites

People with colour blindness need to rely upon written product information to decide whether or not the product is for them, so the ‘at a glance’ element of this kind of product marking is useless for about 4.5% of the people looking at the product (assuming 50% of the customers are male and 50% female). In depth colour descriptions and clear colour names can make all the difference. Simply posting a picture of the product without a clear and concise colour may render impossible to know which colour the product is to an individual with vision deficiency. Similarly, simply naming a product with general colours such as ‘Blue’ and ‘Red’ is not enough to harness in consumers that have a specific need but cannot view the colours as true to life in images “A pale blue” or “a dark red” shirt is a much better way of describing the colour of the product. Additionally, completely vague names such as ‘mist’ ‘night’ or ‘breeze’ makes shopping more of a game of gambling due to the ambiguity; A section for in-depth colour descriptions is a straightforward solution describing the tone of colour of the product. Going a step further to describe blue as royal blue/baby blue/navy blue or red as deep burgundy/scarlet/crimson- is impactful as most people who colour blindness are unable to fully ‘see’ red, green or blue hues.

By giving due consideration to the needs of the colour blind, especially in areas of the retail sector where products are heavily targeted towards males, can improve retailer’s sales when paired with colour blind-friendly marketing advice.

Not communicating errors based on colour

A common practise while designing forms is to mark a mandatory input field in a different colour. Or maybe if the user tries to submit without filling in the mandatory field, the border of the input field changes to red, indicating error. But, we must understand that not all our users experience the colours in the same way and red is one of the most used colours for this. it is important to show an error symbol as in this case or have a label supporting the error flag. Without this simple addition, frustration can occur as the colour blind user is not seeing what and where the problem is. When considering abandoned baskets, a clear error symbol in the ‘checkout’ form can lead to higher conversion of sales.

This solution isn’t limited to forms alone it is also relevant for alert messages as success and failure messages are traditionally displayed as green and red respectively.

Software

Customising your site to provide a ‘colour deficiency mode’ can be costly and time consuming. The good news is that there are some simplistic options available that are dedicated to ensuring consumers get the best possible view of sites by offering plug-ins, extensions and algorithms that provide automated and versatile web solutions to help improve website colours for users.

This algorithm allows users to click through to a page that can be saved as a bookmarklet so it on any webpage they need it on. Similarly this extension is a customizable colour filter applied to webpages to improve colour perception. Options like these are particularly useful as they allow the consumer the freedom to use on sites outside of eCommerce.

Making it known that aforesaid resolutions are available to users via a pop up or message at the side or bottom of your eCommerce site can result in a significant positive impact on sales and brand loyalty; per those with the deficiency feeling a sense of inclusion.

Examine your website as a ‘colour blind’ visitor

The issue of having a colour deficiency friendly site might have never been considered prior to this blog and therefore may be difficult to imagine what the experience is currently like as a user of your website. That is why it is great that tools such as CanvasFlip colourblind simulator exist. The idea of such tools is to bridge this gap between designers and the experiences of a colour blind user. It can pinpoint where low contrast designs have been used or not picked up on which will help ensure the site is an all-around colour deficiency friendly site.

T.M. Lewin, a leading men’s shirt retailer for over 100 years, has signed a significant agreement with Tryzens to enhance its online customer experience and deliver a website that can support its significant domestic and international growth plans.

Founded on the now world famous Jermyn Street in London back in 1898, T. M. Lewin has been making and selling quality dress shirts through its expanding network of stores as well as online. Popularity of the retailer’s products with their great brand heritage, quality and value has seen huge demand worldwide such that T. M. Lewin is now opening new stores and enhancing its online capabilities to better serve international clients.

The retailer wanted to enhance its eCommerce platform to better serve its growing global customer base and more effectively adapt to the changing way its customers shop in the digital age. The previous site was restricted by proprietary code which made it complex to manage, slow to adapt and costly to add new capabilities. Given the fast-moving nature of eCommerce, this was a major constraint on T.M. Lewin’s ability to deliver a first-class customer experience and became the primary basis for change for the search for a new ecommerce delivery partner.

Increasing demand meant that the old platform and its costs of operation had become a limitation to the retailer’s growth plans, so T.M. Lewin made the decision to move to Salesforce® Commerce Cloud to leverage the platform’s rich capabilities, agility and scalability, and to implement many of its latest features and functionality to coincide with international growth. T.M. Lewin ran a thorough review of potential Delivery Partners and selected Tryzens’ based on their extensive experience of both the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform and the fashion retail sector, as well as excellent customer references. In addition to building the new sites across the UK, Europe, and APAC Tryzens, will provide day-to-day support and on-going consultancy and enhancements through a DevOps arrangement that will focus on the delivery of T.M. Lewin’s business goals.

“We have been very impressed with Tryzens and the work they have done for us as well as the success that they have had with other apparel retailers, and look forward to building on the success to date in the years ahead.” Tim Patten, Customer Director for T.M. Lewin Group

Tim Patten, Customer Director for T.M. Lewin Group said: “Providing a first-class customer experience has been a priority focus for us for over 100 years. Our excellent products, reputation and brand have driven a continuous increase in demand, not only in the UK but around the world. To maintain this experience, we needed an ecommerce partner and platform that could understand and meet our needs, was scalable, and, easily adaptable to market changes for new requirements. We have been very impressed with Tryzens and the work they have done for us as well as the success that they have had with other apparel retailers, and look forward to building on the success to date in the years ahead.” Tim added.

“Our aim is to be able to help T. M. Lewin provide their customers a more personal, richer shopping experience and deliver the products that they are looking for efficiently. We are extremely proud to have been selected to support the next major phase of their story.”

Andy Burton, CEO, Tryzens, added: “For generations, T.M. Lewin has been at the forefront of the men’s formal fashion, which is testament both to the quality of their products and their attention to customer experience through forward thinking strategies. The Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform will not only help them launch in to new territories more efficiently but is a tremendous platform though which to scale whilst remaining operationally agile in what is a fast paced market. The new sites can handle surges in traffic and are more easily adaptable to add new capabilities as and when required. We are delighted to have been awarded this agreement to support T.M. Lewin in their online growth plans and will continue to help T.M. Lewin understand the opportunity for growth from its customer behaviours and general technological advances in the market.  Our aim is to be able to help T. M. Lewin provide their customers a more personal, richer shopping experience and deliver the products that they are looking for efficiently. We are extremely proud to have been selected to support the next major phase of their story.”

Social commerce, video marketing and community-based social shopping are the three trends to watch in 2016

The proliferation of social media and the advance of ‘shopable’ content has been underexploited by the retail sector in Europe as an area of revenue growth according to Tryzens, leaders in digital commerce platforms. Retailers must be doing more, not only to engage with consumers via social media sites, but also to develop experiences that enable a consumer to buy from their social channel engagement, taking them seamlessly through to checkout.

With the maturing feature sets of ecommerce platforms, the tools largely exist to enable a retailer to develop the capability to optimise customer experience on the site and drive up conversion rates, average order values and attach rates. However, to truly succeed, hearts and minds need to be won out in the market before ever hitting the ecommerce site and this can best be done by driving interaction from social media, real-world experience, print advertising and more.

With an estimated 2.3 billion social media users at the start of 2016, the market potential for retailers to capitalise on this ‘new norm’ is huge. Social media platforms are already used to great effect by retailers in the form of communicating with customers and engagement on a more personal level. This untapped source of revenue could provide an important lifeline to retailers looking to diversify themselves in the market and appeal to consumers who are increasingly short on time to spend browsing retailers web pages.

“Social media is a fantastic resource for retailers, it has already shaped the market in a whole new way, giving retailers a more personal approach to their customers and allowing engagement on a whole new level,” says Andy Burton, CEO, Tryzens.

“More must be done however to broaden the market reach of new functionality from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Snapchat and others in order to give consumers a new way of shopping, wherever they are in the world. By working with social media platforms, retailers can unlock this new potential, made even easier on the smartphone (social media platform of choice) with the advances in simplified payments from Apple Pay, Pay with Amazon and Klarna that all offer unique value and simplified purchasing.

“Many new ways of engaging clients exist through leveraging social media, for example, utilising software that can track the number of likes over certain product ranges, retailers can provide exclusive discounts and tailor-made rewards to frequent social media users, helping to cultivate customers’ social media use and also enhance their overall customer experience,” continued Burton.

Tryzens has identified three core social media themes that should be reviewed by retailers here and now:

    1. 1. Social commerce is a must for growing businesses

      There has been notable excitement around the concept of ‘shopable’ content from social media that will lead to greater adoption and implementation of not only social platforms, but also social selling tools. When the battle for conversion has been largely achieved, the key is to grow the right traffic, which means engaging the consumer pre visiting the site.

      Making the social commerce experience as easy and seamless as possible is critical to increasing conversions. Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter all currently offer varying levels of in-channel purchasing options and shopping carts. These solutions are not available worldwide yet, but this is only a matter of time if early signs of success are anything to go by.

    2. 2. Video marketing comes to the fore

      Video is fast becoming around half of all mobile content this year and you will not be able to ignore it. So retailers need to start small with quick videos on  Instagram maybe looking at new arrivals. But from here the door is wide open to live Q&As to event coverage. Already Periscope and Facebook are making it easier than ever to bring retail businesses into the hands of consumers.

    3. 3. Social shopping is the new local shopping

      Retailers need to be aware it’s not just about being active on social media for the sake of it, it’s about the online community created which is accomplished by talking directly to consumers. It will mean rethinking your attitude to encouraging hashtag usage, and leveraging images and videos to increase visual conversions.

Andy Burton concluded: “Social media platforms must increasingly respond to customers in real-time. Many customers take to their retailers’ Facebook or Twitter page to ask questions, comment about a new product, or post concerns instead of calling or emailing customer support centres. With that in mind, retailers must continually engage with their customers and maintain a relationship that truly connects and communicates, as well as actively seek out new customers through intelligent and engaging outreach on social media that makes finding and buying a product an easy and positive experience.”