2017 is here and the ecommerce sector is looking towards a bright future this year as well according to predictions. In the US alone total average spend on ecommerce per customer is expected to be $1804 which means that the industry is in for huge strides. The rise of mCommerce as covered in one of our previous blogs is another hot area for innovation and investments as far as ecommerce companies are concerned. But we decided to focus on something that is even more important for ecommerce companies in 2017 – Security Threats.
For long cyber threats have plagued enterprises with digitally enabled platforms and ecommerce is no exception. Newer technology deployments have added more convenience for the end shopper but at the same time opened up new avenues to exploit for security threats. We throw light into 4 areas in ecommerce companies that will witness cyber exploits in full throttle for 2017:
Internet of Things (IoT)
Today a good majority of ecommerce companies utilize IoT enabled frameworks to handle their warehouse management and logistics operations. With superfast connectivity and razor sharp sensors, businesses trust such systems to carry out critical tasks and reduce human intervention. However such automated systems can be vulnerable as sensors are not yet equipped to thwart unidentified intrusions into their control hardware. To bring down costs, organizations often rely on cheaper connectivity options and this increases vulnerability of sensors exponentially.
Deliberate brand devaluation
In the era of digital marketing and social media, brands are finding it hard to appease their social savvy customers. On top of that, cyber fraudsters are now busy tarnishing brand images on social media with fake reviews, sentiments and comments. Brands that do not monitor their social media sentiments are easily prone to such schemes and even competitors hire agencies to bring down reputation of established brands with fake sentiment creation. 2017 will witness more of such attacks that focus on core brand values such as trust and customer relations and ecommerce companies need to be well aware of this threat.
Compliances and Regulatory Pressure
Governments across the globe have been cracking down on internet enabled businesses such as ecommerce and asking them to abide with local compliance rules and regulatory policies with their data assets. In order to achieve this compliance, many a times, organizations are forced to offer transparent data exchanges for authorities to monitor their transactions and these windows can easily be exploited by cyber fraudsters.
Cyber-attacks as a service
The heading might sound funny, but there exists a good number of criminal syndicates who break into technology ecosystems with large daily transactions such as ecommerce if they are paid to do so. Their attack modes range from Denial of Service to hijacking of enterprise networks to stealing customer data to name a few. In 2017 it is forecasted that such syndicated would form new partnerships globally and create even stronger cyber-attack frameworks to target digital transactions on the internet.
2017 will undoubtedly witness greater investments in cyber security by ecommerce companies globally and if you are an ecommerce organization looking to strengthen your security our 4 picks are the right areas for you to start.
2016 was an exciting year of growth for ecommerce just like it has been in the past couple of years. Consumer spends were favourably in line with expectations for much of the year and broke expectations with the onset of the Holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday together accounted for close to $7 billion in sales revenue. Let’s keep the stats aside as you might have already been accustomed to quite a few by now. There is no doubt in the fact that 2017 will witness even bigger sales events and online sales will eat away a good majority of physical store sales all across the globe. On this note, the biggest challenge facing ecommerce companies is to prepare their website for sales in 2017. In terms of traffic management, shopping frequencies, user sessions, etc. 2017 is poised to be of far greater magnitude than 2016.
We have gathered info about some of the best practices you can adopt for your ecommerce website to stay competent in the boom and ensure your consumers are happy every time they visit your online store. Here are our top picks:
Robust technology platform
If your ecommerce site is running on legacy systems, then you need to definitely draw up an action plan to get it replaced with a scalable and robust modern day ecommerce platform. Hiring in an expert ecommerce consulting company to rephrase your entire technology architecture without altering your business models is the best option if you are unable to make the digital transformation in-house. An industry standard ecommerce platform will ensure that all your marketing and business logic would flawlessly be implemented to provide the best shopping experience for your visitors.
In one of our previous blog posts, we had detailed down on essentials of a great ecommerce checkout process. Cart abandonment rate is one parameter that you should focus to decrease and gradually eliminate from your business model. 2016 saw several ecommerce websites report that in cases 90% of their shoppers left their site on the checkout stage simply because it wasn’t optimized to provide them a hassle free purchase. The solution would be to design multiple checkout workflows and conduct A/B Testing and other proven quality analysis to determine the best checkout process for your ecommerce store.
If you think you have enough personalization based on user preferences, we have bad news for you. Consumer choices change in a matter of seconds. The more data an ecommerce system is able to collect and analyse, more is the personalization options they can offer to consumers. This is to be treated as a continuous process that always evolves based on feedbacks. Personalizing consumer interactions with easier navigation, better targeted promotions and smart marketing will greatly influence purchase decisions.
Managing feedback content
Today almost all ecommerce sites offer customers a choice to leave reviews and comments on their purchases. But most of the sites do not attempt to engage customers further after they have submitted their reviews and ratings. With smart marketing tools, your marketers can gain deep insights into how consumers are generating positive or negative sentiments for their purchases and helps them engage in better conversations which ultimately leads to new sales requests.
Delivery is the area where the customer actually comes in contact with his purchase for the first time. As such there is a tremendous opportunity for ecommerce companies to improve brand loyalty at this stage. Making the fastest delivery alone isn’t enough to gain confidence from shoppers but providing a wholesome delivery/pick-up experience is the key to winning hearts. Allowing consumers to select favourable delivery time slots, offering them choices to change delivery addresses after despatch, etc. are just some of the ways you can help consumers feel happy about the overall delivery experience.
So there you have it folks, our top 5 picks in best practices to help your ecommerce site win big in the New Year. Stay tuned to our blogs for more such exciting tips.
Black Friday 2016 witnessed more than $1 Billion of single day sales happening from mobile devices alone. So now marketers know that mobile is no longer a second priority channel for their campaigns and tweaking the campaigns with a mobile first approach can seriously land them with better ROI. So the question now is how do you plan your marketing strategy to capitalize on traffic generated from mobile phones? Or in simple terms, how do you convince mobile shoppers to spend more on your site during the holidays? We have handpicked some strategies that will help you connect well with your mobile shoppers and here they are:
Emails are still rated as one of the best ways to draw in an audience or potential buyers for an ecommerce website be it both app or mobile based shoppers or PC based shoppers. If you have purchased online from multiple sites, then check your inbox and you will see campaign mails from at least one site every day. The emails are primarily intended to convey a sales message for you to check out some latest offers or a promo sale or some shopping promos that may be of interest to you. You only need to ensure that your campaign emails are mobile friendly as a good majority of them are now opened from mobile phones. Keep an eye out on opening rates, sales leads generated and other marketing trackers to evaluate your strategy and bring improvements or major changes if necessary.
Be gentle with your push notifications
Push notifications are the best way to lure in buyers form their smartphones to your shopping site or app but very often marketers make the mistake of aggressively sending out push notifications to users all the time. As it is said, too many cooks spoil the broth, shoppers would get annoyed if you constantly send notifications on their mobile phones. This could turn worse if you send out notifications about events or promotions from which the customer might have already made a good purchase. The same happens when they constantly receive notifications about sale of items they never want to buy. To avoid situations like these, customize your push notifications as much as possible and send them out on calculated frequencies. Find out from the customer about the notifications he or she would love to hear about and target them with only those. The more subtle and personalized you become with your push notifications, greater will be the conversion into actual sales.
Be creative with your campaigns
Marketing is ultimately dependent on creativity to freshen up consumer minds. With technology embedded marketing tools, modern market analysts are able to receive a huge chunk of info about buyers both existing and potential. To further monetize this knowledge, you need to come up with creative ways of expressing your brand’s products or services. The occasional refresh in your creativity should extent to both the content you push out to your customers as well as in the selection of channels for pushing out the content.
Feedback analysis and refinement
As with any marketing mechanisms, you need to collect feedback about your mobile marketing campaigns. This could be automated data collection using state of the art marketing software or through app ratings surveys or feedback emails and many more mediums. You also need to track metrics such as conversion rates, open sessions, share frequencies and much more.
When you are redirecting user’s courtesy an email campaign or a landing page, then try linking them to a specific landing page on your mobile website or mobile app. This way you can better organize content on mobile specific screens and entice users when they visit the page.
Mobile commerce is here to stay and as stated in one of our previous blogs, it is going to reshape digital commerce in more ways than what retailers can imagine. So with smart marketing, ecommerce companies can capitalize on this tremendous opportunity and monetize customer visits as much as possible.
It’s reaching midway into December and online retail is witnessing an explosive sales cycle. Black Friday 2016 alone accounted for $3.34 Billion in single day sales across the US and Cyber Monday witnessed $3.4 Billion in single day sales. Experts have opined that the last quarter of every year is fit to be called the equivalent of child birth for retailers especially online retailers, because most of them arguably witness more than 30% of their annual sales happen in just under a month during the holiday season. It is also the time when they acquire tons of first time buyers with attractive holiday promotions. But many often ecommerce players fail to capitalize on these new leads generated during the holiday season and subsequently a good majority of first time buyers never return again to shop from them.
We believe this is because marketers at such online retailers fail to create an effective sales framework where the intention of the holiday campaign is to create loyal customers rather than bring in a slew of one time shoppers. Considering the huge advantage of technology inspired automated marketing channels available today, it is nearly a fatal mistake to target both new buyers and existing buyers with the same set of campaigns in the form of email, print, social media and other marketing channels. Engaging first time buyers is crucial to convert their first time impression into marks of loyalty. Here are some tips for marketing folks at ecommerce companies to drive repeat sales from first time buyers after the holiday season:
A great user experience
So your email and social media campaigns have borne fruit and leads start to pour into your online store. The biggest factor that determines how well leads are converted into actual buyers is the ease with which they can navigate on your website and how fast they can finish the checkout process to buy an item they loved. Keeping this experience hassle free involves a great User Interface on both computer screens and mobile screens, seamless information access, secure and easy checkout processes with popular payment facilities and above all, a scalable technology architecture that is able to handle huge spikes in traffic.
New customers arrive from different sources and as far as online retailers are concerned, it is quite easy to track the source of each sale through analytics. It is essential to collect vital customer info causing minimal or no inconvenience to first time buyers. Through registration process and geo tagging, it is easier to determine geographical location and thereby understand demographics of shoppers.
So now that you have decided to collect data in as many ways as possible, the next question is what do you do with this data? It’s simple -This data should be utilized for further connecting with those buyers after they have made their first purchase on your website. It’s similar to the cross selling and up selling practices that retailers follow but here the suggestions should be as precise and focused on the customer as possible. With analytics, you can determine their shopping patterns, their most searched items, their preferential price ranges for products, etc. This will help you guide them to new purchases with better offers thereby improving their brand loyalty on your site.
Once first time buyer lists are available, marketers should prepare a separate set of campaigns to inform them about how great your website the rest of the year. Educate them about how long term shoppers have rated you as the best and direct them to sign up for exclusive benefits such as cashbacks, premium membership packages and much more.
Online retailers should thrive to be as customer-centric as possible. On that note, it is essential to know how shopper’s especially first time shoppers felt about their experience. A simple survey or a dialog box asking shoppers to rate their buying experience right after the transaction step is over would be the basic feedback survey that you could use. And don’t just ask users to take the survey without giving back something in return. Say offer an X% discount for their next purchase if they complete your survey and you have the double benefit of getting closer to customer hearts and guaranteeing a second sale with the discount coupon.
So there you go folks, our 5 step guide to help marketer’s convert 1st time buyers into loyal shoppers. However it is important to keep in mind that your biggest asset is your existing list of loyal buyers and you should never drop your focus on them. Their word of mouth and social media signals promoting your brand is the biggest drawer of new shoppers to your website. Feel free to connect with us to learn more about how your digital strategies can be aligned to meet the expectations of today’s consumers.
Consumer Experience or CX is now the new norm of business growth. Be it offline or online business, the experience offered by a brand or a store at all their points of sale decides the future of their business model. And for creating the best CX, you need tons of data to analyze. Forbes has pointed out in a recent study that in nearly 3 out of 10 organizations, data driven CX has taken customer satisfaction to new heights thanks to well informed decisions. Forbes arrived at the results after surveying over 350 executives across the globe engaged in different levels of organizations in multiple industry domains.
There is no scarcity for data today as consumers generate data in truckloads every minute. Here is an interesting snapshot of what happens in an internet minute or 60 seconds of internet time:
2.4 million search queries on Google, $200K plus sales on Amazon and other such facts from the above infographic sheds light into the huge pile of data that organizations can drill into to derive insights about consumer behavior, their shopping preferences, frequencies, average spends, etc. to name a few. Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 just went by and their analysis sheds light into tons of consumer data as well.
The consumer has willingly released such volumes of data into the internet and they know that you as a brand can easily access the data. So they would expect a good amount of personalization in the experiences they come across. As an organization, you should be able to capitalize on this data and utilize it to meet customer expectations at all touch points. Any delay would help competitors to pounce on your market share and attract buyers with better shopping experiences.
Data Driven CX is not something that is managed and accounted for by the CMO or his team at an organization. It is a collective effort. Marketers struggle with outdated or unorganized data streams where customer data flows in randomly from different systems such as Website, Email, CRM, Social media, etc. On top of these, there are platform and device information silos like visits from desktops and mobile devices out of which mobile devices have further classifications in terms of OS, screen size, etc.
The biggest challenge that many organizations face in implementing a data driven CX strategy is the lack of integration between teams. A smooth CX requires data systems, technology infrastructure and smart people who can complement each other and deliver a single and consistent experience. Ideally businesses need to keep track of whose doing what and the ultimate goal of an integrated consumer experience. There is no point in blaming each other within an organization for a failed consumer experience as the consumer is least bothered about what happens inside your office.
For businesses, it is time to transform their customer experience to stay relevant in the highly competitive market. Seeking expert advisory to transform digital touch points is the best option available for business today to enable a data driven CX ecosystem. With over 2 decades of unparalleled service in the digital transformation space, McFadyen Solutions is rightly positioned to help your business to deliver its full potential. Drop us a message and we will be glad to assist you.
“Target will open its doors at 6 PM on Thanksgiving Day. Best Buy stores will open an hour earlier at 5 PM and Walmart will start a Black Friday event at 6 PM on Thanksgiving and most stores are open 24 hours.” This was a CNN News feed in Facebook on the eve of Thanksgiving. It indicates only one thing – Welcome to the holiday season folks. 2016 is coming to an end but the grand shopping season is just beginning.
It’s that time of the year when people head out to their old folks, meet up with their buddies, watch their favorite movies, travel like never before and most importantly spend on shopping like crazy. The National Retail Federation expects American consumers to spend an average of $935.58 during the holiday season. That’s like $650 Billion worth of sales opportunity for retailers in just a time span of 50 days or so.
Now comes the big question to retailers! How do you capture the most of this opportunity?
A single marketing or promo video embedded in your email campaign for the holidays holds the key to winning consumer hearts this holiday season. Video is the best way to bring out your marketing messages to consumers in all forms of digital media be it mobile phones, computers, television screens or even on city billboards and movie screens. Need some confidence boosters? Check out some interesting statistics about video marketing below
- And Adobe study pointed out in 2015 that 51.9 % of marketing professionals worldwide selected Video as the form of content that had the best ROI.
- Revenue growth rate of video equipped marketing strategies outran non-video strategies by nearly 50%
- Nearly half of internet users search for videos about a product or service before making a buying decision
- Consumers who view videos are 1.81 times more inclined to spend on a purchase when compared to non-viewers
Using these stats as a base, we clearly believe that email campaigns for the holiday season from retailers should definitely carry a video message embedded in it. Today there is enough tech available in the market that offers the best video experience in each medium after identifying the email client you consumer is using. Sometimes all you need to do is include a static image in your email with a play button on top of it which directs the user to a YouTube or Vimeo channel where the video is uploaded.
And you don’t have to shoot a professional ad of your offering to embed in a promo email. Even a smartphone with a pretty good camera would do the job for you. The video may be a tip on how to use your offering in a better way or hidden benefits or comparisons or anything that users are required to know about your product or service.
Videos in emails have created some fantastic results for marketers globally. Some have reported as high as 65 percent increase in click-through rates and lowered unsubscribes by as much as 26 percent. Your Thanksgiving emails may be already out but the holiday shopping season has just begun. So there is enough time to shoot some fabulous videos and use them in your email campaigns. Do share your success stories as well to inspire more marketers to follow this trend.
2016 witnessed yet another sensational Black Friday and Cyber Monday saga as shoppers splurged record sums of money across retail channels both offline and online. Let’s keep our focus to the eCommerce side where 2016 saw some records being rewritten. Primarily those records were for eCommerce transactions via mobile phones or to be more specific mCommerce. There were reports suggesting that many online stores were ill equipped to handle the huge peak in mobile traffic and consumers were frustrated with low grade mobile sites but when you look at sales percentage, Adobe reports that nearly 36% of all online sales revenue for Black Friday 2016 came through mobile phones.
Though PC’s drove more sales, the traffic volume was higher from mobile screens 55 percent of traffic to retail sites were from mobile screens. Tablet PC’s occupied only a fraction of the mobile traffic and the competition was predominantly between iPhones and Android powered mobile phones. Black Friday 2016 also witnessed for the first time that mobile sales revenue alone surpassed $1 billion on a single day.
For retailers, this is a wake-up call as their reluctance to offer crispier mobile experiences to shoppers will cost them dearly in market share. If you were to ask us for the exact areas to focus on, in order to deliver a seamless cross channel experience for your shoppers, the below would be our picks:
- Responsive websites
- Light weight mobile sites
- Shopping Apps across all popular platforms
- Mobile centric marketing campaigns via emails
As days pass by the shopping season is only going to get hotter and online retailers who haven’t drawn up elaborate plans for mCommerce need to catch up with their app engineers or software vendors to put some great mobile experiences in place.
Buyer Personas are an essential part of both digital and conventional forms of marketing. As a marketer, creating a buyer persona is the first major task that needs to be on your to-do list when you are entrusted with marketing products and or services for the brand or company that employs you. If you take the case of any successful organization in any business domain, they would have executed at least one strategy based on buyer personas. If you are still not convinced, then have a look at the following statistics about buyer personas.
- Targeted persona strategy increases sales leads by 124%
- Email campaigns using buyer persona targeting has witnessed twice the open rate and 5 times more click through rate
- 55% growth in organic search traffic
We can publish even more statistics but assume that you are already convinced with these. The bottom line is that buyer personas enable you to think from a customer’s mind and identify what is the best way to connect with them. No more guesswork and assumptions but a solid set of 3 or 4 buyer personas that will define more than 90% of your consumer base. So far we have been speaking about getting more leads or closing more sales with perfect buyer personas. The question now is how do you select the perfect buyer persona for your business? The answer lies in another marketing arsenal – A/B Testing.
If you thought A/B testing was just used for deciding on the perfect landing pages or email campaigns for promotions, then you are mistaken. A/B testing allows you to take data supported decisions on how incremental changes can improve performance of an entire system be it landing pages or email campaigns or in this case even the selection of your buyer personas.
With A/B testing you can steadily improve the quality of your buyer personas. In simpler terms it will help you to fill areas of your buyer persona where you experienced uncertainty. Let us take an example to point out the real benefit of using A/B testing for your buying persona.
Consider yourself to be in charge of marketing for a new digital product launch for a commercial bank. The product is a new insurance package for which the bank wishes to see a good number of subscribers in a short month. You start with building the ideal buyer persona for the product. Assuming that all studies point out to fear as the number one motivation of your potential customers to buy the product. Fear for their lives or for their loved ones who might be affected due to lack of insurance facilities, etc. Your buyer persona is created with fear as the central theme and you decide upon a marketing campaign centred on this single reason. If it clicks then you will receive a tremendous amount of positive response and lead generation becomes a piece of cake. However if your perception of customer’s priority is wrong, then your efforts have a big chance of ending up in vain.
Here is where A/B testing comes into picture. Take the above scenario or persona as A and consider another scenario where buyers are willing to spend on insurance products for another cause say for tax savings as B. Now you have 2 valid cases to test. A proper A/B testing can give you tons of info to arrive at a decision. The information includes but not limited to
- A or B, Which is their main motive?
- Positive language or negative language! Which clicks best with your customers?
- Does promo schemes such as discounts or coupons or limited deals draw their attention?
- Do they react more to the benefits of A or to the benefits of B?
The list will go on but the ultimate result is that you will get quantifiable information on whether Plan A or Plan B is the perfect marketing campaign for the product. The one that witnesses more sign-ups or subscriptions will answer each of the above questionnaire and you can quickly summarize your results to arrive at an informed decision.
So there you have it folks, the perfect way to build your buyer persona. A/B testing can surely create drastic changes in your efforts and prevent marketing budgets from skyrocketing as it helps to avoid wrong decisions at the right time.
For more than a decade, marketers have exploited the World Wide Web to bring out the best of brands. Their biggest challenge or should we say the biggest focus area was visibility in search results. Hence Search Engine Optimization or SEO became a household name and every website owner starts to think about it the moment they are live on the internet. But then comes the question! How do smaller websites or newer entrants compete with established websites for search engine rankings for similar business interests?
Before we go into the tips, let’s check out three main parameters that make established brands so attractive for search engines:
With years of providing quality services to their customers, established brands have their own fan clubs and also have folks who regularly search for products or services with their brand name along with it to get results from only them. This rakes up a huge advantage in search rankings.
Big ticket marketing
With their size and bank balances, biggies can afford to spread word about them in a multitude of channels be it print, TV, web ads, search engine ads, social media advertisements and several other mediums. It is easier for customers to notice at least one of their popular ads in any of the different communication mediums. Marketing draws up user searches and that too with a huge proportion of organic search traffic. This translates into higher SEO rankings.
When established sites post content, there would be several sites that would backlink to them including sites that have higher rank authority like for example famous media portals or news portals. This increases contextual importance of the content and these pages would hence be a darling of search engines.
Now moving onto the advantages of small sites, well you have a pretty long list. Let’s just break it into a few points here. The advantages of smaller sites or newer sites in terms of SEO are:
- Ability to experiment with ideas
- Easier to integrate more tech since business starts from scratch
- Able to focus on niches
- More personalized consumer interactions due to smaller user base
Now let’s answer the question we discussed in the beginning. How do smaller websites compete with bigger ones for SEO?
Choose keywords that bigger brands do not often care to target
When a bigger brand does its SEO it takes into factors such as generalised domain of operation, the associations they have with partner brands or selling channels, audience demographics, globalization of products/services and much more. But as a newcomer, you have all the luxury you need in terms of keyword focusing. Choose long-tail or editorial or comparison or any other type of keywords you may wish. Since bigger brands need to strict to generalization and global or national operational areas, you can focus on localized keywords to grab more attention. You are free to target neighbourhoods or localities, create content that may or may not create conflicts between associated brands( because you will not probably have them) and can easily draw attention from search engine users.
Be as specific in your niche as possible
For example if you are competing against TripAdvisor for travel or accommodation arrangements, then you could focus on niches such as City specific packages, or localized travel options, local attractions, etc. to gain more unique site visits. These would add up to organic traffic which would further boost your rankings.
Educate your customers more than showcasing your ability
For users to navigate to your new site, there needs to be some take away or value addition they would get. The bigger brand names will already be registered in their minds and the best way for you to garner some interest would be to educate them with tips and tricks or how to articles for your domain of operations. Write great content that educates users on how to make the best selections in your business domain and in the end you could put up direct sales or contact links to specific pages.
While you create great content on your social media channels, make sure you respond more actively to engagements you receive. People may share your content, comment on updates and link back to your pages. In all cases, try to keep up the conversation so that search engines are able to trace active engagements. This will automatically translate into higher rankings. As a smaller brand, it will be easier for you to interact with responders as they would be limited in number. But it is a great way to start building trust with your customers. You stand a greater chance to convert them into brand advocates in the long run.
That sums up our tips for small website owners to grab some serious share in search rankings. Size is never a constraint and the smarter you work, greater will be the results you will gain.
The E-Commerce industry is going through rapid innovations and retailers now have to face challenges on multiple frontiers. They cannot just sit back on the sales and revenues that have been generated so far. The game has just begun. As Cersei of House Lannister says: “When you play the game of thrones (E-Commerce), you win or die. There is no middle ground.” Some of the key challenges ahead for the e-commerce are:
Understanding the Customer beyond Personalization
In order to cut through the intense competition, building the right customer experience is primary and to do so, you need to understand how your customers interact with your products, services and brands. It is not just about the numbers. By looking at the customer’s buying behaviours, social media engagement and digital footprint we can learn their individual needs and preferences. But personalization is not the all-encompassing cure. Personalization is limited to few elements of an e-commerce site. It is just one of the spokes in the wheel of building the right customer experience. To deliver a shopping experience that is relevant to each individual customer, we need to look at the bigger picture. For instance, your Customer Service, Merchandising and Marketing teams have different approaches to interacting with the customers. Customer experience is about the entire context, every customer touch-point. Data is the key to building great experiences and only by a unified approach to disparate systems such as search, recommendations, merchandising, banners and navigations can we drive a fully optimized customer journey. Also, the customer experience is not just for special occasions like thanksgiving or Diwali. It is for Life.
Increasing relevance of AR, VR and Wearables
The latest technology trends such as wearables, virtual reality and augmented reality are finding use in the e-commerce industry faster than you would imagine. This is truly the era of Virtual, Augmented reality. Sports retailers, for instance, could track user activity on a fit-bit and push relevant recommendations. Lego Digital Box is another interesting case, which can greatly enhance the in-store customer experience. These technologies are increasingly helping the retailers by driving the sales, enhancing the in-store experiences and creating a niche for themselves among the competition. Facebook buying Oculus Rift, Google Ingress and Samsung GearVR are just examples of the fact that the industry is moving towards the technology of the future. Such measures will definitely revitalize the brands and provide competitive edge over the rivals.
Over the last few years, Customer social engagement has drastically changed. From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, the customer has increasing number of channels to communicate and share their experiences. Social Media has become a valuable resource for information. Each day, millions and millions of users post their opinions and reviews on various channels. Identifying and categorizing these vital data points can help the retailers to understand emotions around their products and brands and provide productive insights that can be invaluable. This is where the gold (read as data) is. It also acts as a useful market research tool. Through customer emotional analytics, retailers can track digital marketing performance and align their personalization campaigns appropriately. By analysing what is being said in the social media, the personalization strategy can be tailored to help customer make that last jump to conversion. This again ties back to understanding the customer and increases the relevance of their shopping context. The challenge is to correctly comprehend all the nuances of human communication through a machine. But increasing levels of accuracy only points to the fact that we are getting close.
Smart Home wars
The idea of a smart home is no longer alien but futuristic, practical and accessible. But the market is still struggling to move from the early-adopter phase to a mass-market phase. Google, with the recent announcement of the launch of Google Home, has made its intentions clear that it would not let Amazon take the lead. The competition is getting hotter. Just like Amazon Echo, which lets the customer place an order through a voice-activated smart home, Google Home is a voice-activated assistant. The conversational voice command paradigm of Google Home is expected to be a sure hit with the tech-savvy audience. Through the prevalence of smart homes, retailers will be encouraged to set up online stores and users can use their smart devices to place orders. This is where the future battles will be fought. Initially the conversions might be little too less, but once the smart home becomes a mass-market, retailers can expect huge traffic from these devices.
These are some of the key challenges we feel will require the attention of online retailers in the coming years.
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