Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Top 5 eCommerce Trends for 2018 You Need to Know

eCommerce as an industry has plenty of room to grow, evolve, and become an even more powerful tool for driving all types of markets forward. Technology and the Internet have advanced to where the possibilities of achieving success as an online business are seemingly endless.

We know many valuable learnings through online shopping data, including that more than 50% of adults today are purchasing items from clothes to sporting goods to household items. As we near the end of 2017, it’s important to reflect on all of the studies that can help us improve. Here are some of the other more important eCommerce findings over the past year:

Now that we can apply these trends (and many, many more) from the past year, experts can better identify what’ll be next. Here are 5 eCommerce trends to keep a close watch on in 2018:

1. Streamlining the Online Experience

Making your eCommerce site as streamlined, user-friendly and simple to use is hands down the best way to improve both sales and conversion rates. Jessica Thiele of VL, Inc. says that “At minimum, [a streamlined retail experience] must be error-free and smooth, otherwise your customers will notice. And most of the time, they won’t say anything about it — they’ll just shop somewhere else next time around.” This couldn’t be truer in the coming years. eCommerce businesses in 2018 should be looking to make their websites easier and more interactive, products more simple to find and purchase, and support easier to get to.

2. Optimizing for Voice Search

It’s been projected that up to 50% of all search will be done through voice by the year 2020. For those in the eCommerce industry, every percentage point that goes up will greatly affect the performance of online retail stores. With advancements in speech and voice technology on smartphones, consumers are trending toward speaking into their devices to locate things rather than putting in the manual effort – another nod to the need for streamlining experiences.

To make the most of the rise in voice search, experts have recommended that eCommerce stores optimize their Google My Business listings to ensure that local pages have unique URLs and are indexed properly to include your name, address, phone numbers, and other relevant content.

3. Providing Frictionless Customer Support

Customer support can either be a great experience or a terrible one for consumers; promoting a positive support experience will always leave the customer satisfied, informed, and better connected to your brand.

Self-service support options are becoming widespread in the age of eCommerce and digital consumption, and are a favorite among millennials and online buyers of all ages. Interactive decision trees can transform any lengthy FAQ, tutorial, or troubleshooting article into an easy click-click-click experience, allowing customers to more easily self-solve and stay happy. eCommerce businesses using Zendesk or other CRM tools can also integrate them easily within their current support workflow.

4. Using Augmented Reality

While Augmented Reality (AR) hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet, it’s well on its way. Brands are already finding ways to use AR to engage with their customers and reach new audiences, as it’s an incredibly easy way to interact. Social media platforms are making moves into introducing AR experiences to allow users to project themselves virtually through an app, which are leading the way for eCommerce to make its steps as an industry.

Prominent eCommerce giants like IKEA have already begun, using AR to project their home furnishings and other products directly into the homes of consumers using their “Place” app. This “try before you buy” mentality will certainly pick up, making it critical for online retailers to consider their own options.

5. Humanizing the Brand

It’s long been understood that the more a customer trusts your brand, the more loyal they will be in the long-term. What many eCommerce businesses are finally picking up is that truly personalizing and humanizing a brand is a wholly differentiating factor with incredible potential impact.

Operating online, “humanizing” a brand involves making some very important changes. For some, this could mean interacting in social media real-time with customers and audiences, for others, it could mean imagining your brand as a fictional character with some personified qualities, or sharing photos from the behind-the-scenes at the office. Technology today is amazing and it’ll only continue to get better in 2018 – use it to your advantage and work some more personalization into your eCommerce journeys and post-purchase follow-ups.


2018 promises to be an incredible year for eCommerce business, and these trends are sure to help you on your way. For more information about conquering eCommerce in 2018 or how to get started with better self-service customer support, please feel free to reach out to our team.

What in the World Do You Bring to a Holiday Party?

The holidays are a particularly stressful time of the year without the added pressure of all of the holiday parties there are to attend. Between your friend, family, and office celebrations, there’s a lot of planning involved even when you’re not the host.

Lost on what to contribute to your holiday party roster this year? We thought we’d share this fun decision tree aimed to help you think a little less this season.

Fall/Winter 2017 Updates: New Improvements, Fixes, and More

Lots of small but helpful things have been added to Zingtree since our last updates post.

New Goodies

Everybody loves new features. Think of these items as an early holiday gift.

  • Option to enable Single Sign-on (SSO) for authors.
  • MailChimp App and integration.
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide variables using a new Math webhook.
  • Added a Script Code option to Settings. Makes it easy to insert JavaScript code into your trees.
  • &keep_vars_on_back=1 parameter. (for Shawn, Raj)
  • New author timeout after inactivity option.
  • Admins can set strong password requirement for invitees.
  • Can upload and play videos via a private Zingtree server. (Customer requests for private videos.)
  • New setting for right-to-left languages for easier editing.
  • Logic/Document nodes now offer a “contains” string operation. (for Austin)
  • New Search and Replace tool. Makes it even easier to edit text in your trees.
  • &merge_vars_not_fixed parameter: Merge variables can now set data entry field defaults. (Pascal)
  • Settings / Themes picker now has an option to place question area on top or bottom.
  • Added Linked tree search to search through all trees and any linked trees via tree nodes. (Nick W.)
  • Added auth_token parameter for webhook authorization – returns X-Auth-Token in Header. (Vivek)
  • Temporary File Upload type – expires in 3 days. (Jim)

Updates to Existing Features

Some of our existing features we have made even more useful with some tweaks.

  • New Text editor. Big Improvement for editing content.
  • Single Sign-on now enabled for viewing session details.
  • Reconfigured Single Sign-on setup interface.
  • Now includes time zone UTC offset in location info variables as zt_tz and zt_tz_encoded. (Raj)
  • Duplicate (Copy) Webhook option (Raj)
  • App manager (Webhooks) now has more details, shows usage and which trees use each app.
  • Uploaded images can now be viewed in the tree. (Karen D.)
  • Added session info button to History in agent view, Zendesk Agent Scripting App. (Katie)
  • Webhooks now get a variable node_id sent by default. (Raj)
  • Added Tree Title: Show option to Publishing Links, Hosted, Advanced Options.
  • Added disable_scroll option to embedded Advanced Options in Publishing Links tool.
  • Create Tree now lets authors choose the tree’s language.
  • Zendesk Agent scripting app now passing zendesk_tags as a variable.
  • Session History stock webhook can now return plaintext data instead of HTML formatted data. (Gabe)
  • Button click variables can now be assigned text.

And Bug Fixes:

Yes, sometimes even we make mistakes or discover edge cases nobody ever thought of! We do our best to fix these as quickly as possible.

  • Ensures pop-ups always appear on top. (DT)
  • API calls with a large amount of data no longer give an error 500. (Jay)
  • Phone number validation now returns invalid if any characters or unusual punctuation is found in the number. (Jay)
  • First button with zero value no longer resets the running total score to zero. (Steve H.)
  • Now properly tracks form data from “back” buttons over logic nodes. (Mari)
  • Going “back” properly refreshes nodes that contain form data variables.
  • Email nodes now stay inside of containing iFrame after a message is sent. (Pinkesh)
  • Going back over logic nodes keeps previous scores intact.
  • Moved resources to new CDN due to them being blocked in China.
  • Tab characters in data entry fields should no longer break webhook or Zapier calls. (Alok)
  • Back button no longer removes form data items from the session. (Raj, others)
  • Doesn’t use Chinese as default language if non-Chinese is used.
  • Instant Preview in Edit Node now shows custom button styles properly.
  • Mobile pop-overs now work properly.
  • Allows special characters in merge variables. (Miguel)
  • Missing scrollbar in Agent portal for IE 11 now shows. (Mark D.)
  • Server auto-scaling tweaks to alleviate morning traffic spike congestion.
  • Transfers account status to new organizations linked to original. (Arnel)
  • Link colors in answer nodes using Default, Classic theme templates now show properly.


A majority of these enhancements were initiated from customer requests.

Got any suggestions for the rest of 2017, or to start 2018? Please share!

An Interactive Guide for How to Deal With Angry Customers

The hectic holiday season means a stressful time for customers, business, and support representatives at all levels. While we have our own great tips for how to improve the functionality and flow of support during the holiday season, we thought we’d round up some high-level communications to help navigate some of the trickier situations.

Before the thick of the holidays are upon us, take a quick interactive course on how to deal with some of the most common scenarios where a customer could become upset, angry, or frustrated. Good luck!



Want to see more amazing user-generated decision trees? Check out the Zingtree Gallery!

How to Use Process Flows to Build Mailchimp Lists

As end-users are using your Zingtree decision trees, you can add any information collected during the session into a MailChimp mailing list. Zingtree has a handy MailChimp App for just this purpose.

Here’s how to add data from Zingtree to a MailChimp list.

  1. In Zingtree, go to Account, My Apps, and click add Add MailChimp. The MailChimp configuration screen appears:

  2. Enter a name for this App. For example: “Add to Mailing List”.
  3. Enter the MailChimp API Key. To find your API Key, log into MailChimp, and select Account, Extra, API Keys. Generate an API key if you haven’t done so already.
  4. Enter your MailChimp List ID into the configuration. In MailChimp, click Lists, then select Settings from the drop-down next to your list. The List ID will be at the bottom of the page.
  5. Click Add MailChimp App when finished.
  6. Edit the node where you want to add to a MailChimp list. Look under Show Advanced Options, Send Message To App. Pick the name of the app you just created: “MailChimp: Add to Mailing List”.

  7. Important: The field names you are using in Zingtree must match the merge tag names in MailChimp. So if you have merge tags NAME and ADDRESS in MailChimp, you would use variables named NAME and ADDRESS in Zingtree. You can find the merge tags for each field in MailChimp from List, Settings under List fields and *|MERGE|* tags. They will appear like this:

  8. In Zingtree, the email address of the end user should be a variable named either EMAIL or email.

Once the end-user reaches the node you built in step 6, MailChimp will receive the information collected by Zingtree and add all matching fields to the list for email.

Do you have a cool application for this feature? Let us know on our Feedback page.