Before the infographic, a few words from our sponsor:-)
Before the infographic, a few words from our sponsor:-)
Interesting new development to help turn Facebook fans into customers:
Facebook is taking steps to boost ad spending directly through brand pages, while also giving marketers new tools for managing their presence on the social network. The social network has rolled out promoted posts to extend the reach of page content, as well as providing companies different access levels to their Facebook pages internally.
Promoted posts allow Facebook page administrators to boost exposure for their posts beyond the normal reach they get in fans’ news feeds — and without having to go through a separate ad dashboard. Facebook, however, doesn’t specify how much larger a percentage of a brand’s fans will see a post that’s promoted.
Well one already practiced method used to good effect by online betting provider Paddy Power is to use Sponsored Stories, which also artificially raise the number of people who will see the post, while still retaining the benefits of social content. The basic on a brief slideshare taken from the Adobe Summit 2012 for Sony EU:
[Hmm, this looks interesting, don't you think? See the Related Posts link below to get the full Amazon web services presentation given at the BCS..]
Dear Amazon Web Services Customer,
Amazon Web Services is pleased to announce AWS Marketplace, an online store where customers can find, buy, and quickly deploy software that runs on AWS.
You can select software from well-known vendors including CA, Canonical, Couchbase, Check Point, IBM, Microsoft,SUSE, Red Hat, SAP, and Zend as well as many widely used open source offerings, including WordPress, Drupal, and MediaWiki.
AWS Marketplace includes pay-as-you-go products, free software (AWS infrastructure fees still apply), and hosted software with varied pricing models.
When you find the software you’d like to purchase, you can use AWS Marketplace’s 1-Click deployment to quickly launch pre-configured server images, or deploy with familiar tools like the AWS Console. You’ll be charged for what you use, by the hour or month, and software charges will appear on the same bill as your other AWS services.
Here’s how to get started:
The AWS Marketplace Team
I’ve picked up on a few articles recently in the likes of WSJ and TechCrunch in particular, suggesting that the rise of mobile price comparison apps has finally come of age:
“How brick and mortar stores are going to be able to personalize and make the in-store shopping experience unique is through data, in my opinion. It’s no longer about creating a mobile web site or offering coupons; the experience centralizes around making customers feel as if they are being treated like a VIP just by walking into a store. And how brick and mortar stores are going to do that is the same way Amazon was able to create a business out of personalized e-commerce.
“Some retailers are attempting to use video and heatmaps to try to see how people shop, what they are buying and more. But this data is limiting because while stores can figure out what is working when it comes to placement, advertising, and marketing of products in-store, retailers still don’t know who is buying and how to get them to return.
“Personalization really gets interesting with transaction data. Shopkick recently teamed up with Visa to allow consumers a way to receive rewards points for retailers at the point of sale when they use their Visa credit cards. This is part of closing the redemption loop...Thus far start-ups, tech companies and credit card companies have started to use transaction data as a way to close the redemption loop and drive future purchases but this is relatively new to brick and mortar retailers.”
And of course Bay’s PayPal are getting in on the act by teaming up with high street retailers “to create a suite of tools and technologies that help use technologies to level the playing field when it comes to data” according to PayPal’s Anuj Nayar.
So much for the TechCrunch view of the subject. To add value to their answer I asked the question ‘Is the threat from mobile price comparison apps over-hyped?’ on the G+ community. Here are a few edited responses to date that have come in which underline that this trend is certainly something to watch out for in 2012, hyped or not:
I picked up on Hunch in August last year when working on eBay Inc’s Shopping.com so it’s great to see my former employer has bought Hunch today. Apparently former-Flickr founder Caterina Fake left last summer to start a new company, but remains an advisor. Also worth reading are the some of the comments on the ‘Uncrunched’ report. Specifically (..& from my limited experience, which I passed on through an ‘EVP’ session..) I agree eBay may need to consider how to hang on to entrepreneurial talent but I’m sure they have it in hand.
Indeed on a general point about nurturing creativity within the enterprise take a look at the recent research on how creativity can be nurtured using a combination of training and financial incentives.
Photo by Rain Rabbit
Hunch is led by Chris Dixon, the prominent New York angel investor.
Hunch had raised $20 million in funding. About a year ago Hunch turned down an offer from Google for $60 million.
EBay will use the technology for its own e-commerce recommendations, says Arrington. He also reports Dixon will lead a recommendations team of 50 people for eBay in New York. That team will grow to 200 over time.
Next live stream due to start today at 11.40 on live stream – see below:
And works well with the Twitterfall tool to follow discussion offsite..
OK, or to put it another way, why is a beer festival like an e-commerce site? Because working behind the counter as a volunteer at Leicester Beer Festival at The Charotar Patidar Samaj on Saturday was a great reminder of some of the essentials of a community-based e-commerce site where the needs of the customer come first. Firstly, despite the obvious differences between this one-off offline marketplace of a beer festival and a social commerce site – the similarities start from the simple fact that there is a range of products for the customer to choose from in both cases who doesn’t always know which one best suits their needs or tastes.
But moving on from the general to the specific – what for me was great about serving beer to customers was the degree to which so many festival attendees asked our (see the row of volunteers, above) opinion of which beer to try. Yes this was social commerce distilled into one small space on one day, like an huge offline e-commerce experiment! Indeed the power of recommendation which we strive for in social commerce was clear to see at the beer festival where people asked for a pale ale or tasty stout, and reinforced by the exchange of recommendations between the festival volunteers. Reinforced by the fact that plenty of people knew what they wanted, just wanted us to get one with it, and weren’t impressed if you carelessly filled less than a full half or pint glass.
Thus it was from a volunteer’s recommendation by which I came away with the Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby beer as a prime choice; which I cross-checked with my colleague Ian, and which I in turn recommended to customers keen to try something new.
So next time you’re thinking of an off-the-wall idea for an ‘away-day’ for your e-commerce team you could do a lot worse than get them to stand behind the bar at a beer festival and think on their feet.
Lifted this from e.consultancy.com — useful tips for improving product pages for Xmas — see below. Of course what I’d say is simpler and shorter that the ‘trick’ is establishing not just trust, that narrower legalistic term (you trust your energy supplier but you don’t respect them) with your customers but RESPECT. Respect is key. Especially in the ‘long-tail’ niche markets with knowledgable customers who may know way more about the products than you do. So how do you establish ‘respect’?
Well one thing is to show that you know the details matter. For example you may sell software. But does it work on all workstations? Conversely in your user manuals do they really explain each and every step or are there the usual jumped steps where the author has assumed things about the customer, just because ‘they should know’. Respect is a complex thing. I could go on about it but I respect the fact that if you are reading this and wanted to know more you’d make a comment, like the Dell support guy who commented on my posts about problems with my DELL machine. He got my respect, and I’ve never met the guy!
Product page design is vitally important to the success of an e-commerce operation, and with the Christmas season imminent we thought we’d take a deeper look at how retailers can improve their performance by finessing their product pages (thanks to e-consultancy.com).
It doesn’t really matter how consumers find your website – if your product pages suck then they’ll be unlikely to buy from you. These pages play a huge role in determining whether visitors convert into customers.
Yet a surprising number of product pages lack relevant information and do a poor job of selling the product in question.
So we’ll list ten tips for product pages after the jump, to help you convert more people more of the time….
Consider what happens when you fail to display shipping costs. The customer will enter the checkout to find out how much they need to pay. If it is an unacceptable amount then they’ll drop out, leaving you to wonder what’s wrong with your checkout process. Well, it might be working perfectly. It’s not the forms but the shipping costs they don’t like, only you won’t be aware of this.
Ideally, this kind of information should be clearly visible and positioned above the fold on the product page. John Lewis provides a good example of this, with price and delivery options clearly visible, as well as providing a product page free of unnecessary distractions.
TIP #2: Display quality product photos
Ok, so this might not be so important for items such as DVDs and books, but with other products good photography is essential.
This is especially important for clothes and shoes as people cannot try items on as they would in a store. To get around this, quality product photos are a must.
Consumers should be able to see these kinds of products from every angle, so tools that allow users to zoom in and out, and to spin the product around, are a good idea.
Shoe retailer Office demonstrates a clear knowledge of best practice, using Flash to let customers see shoes from every angle and zoom in and out. It isn’t necessary to use Flash though - a range of quality photos from different angles would do the job just as well.
TIP #3: Use video, dammit!
With some products, video is much more useful than photography as it displays a product in motion, from a variety of angles, with sound and – if user-generated – user comments / background noise: “Woooo, I love it!”
Online gadget retailer Firebox uses videos for many of its products, especially those that move, such as remote controlled helicopters. It must work since we’ve just bought one…
Firebox MD Christian Robinson says: “Video has been an incredibly effective tool in helping customers see a product in action, giving a perspective of size and usability – this helps the customer to get closer to the product putting us on a par with high street stores where you can touch and feel’ products, an area that traditional retailers have always scored highest.”
Online retailers are increasingly making use of user reviews - in our recent Social Commerce Report, more than half of all online sellers (51%) said they considered UGC as important to their online strategy, so we should see more of this in the coming years.
Product reviews can increase consumer trust in a website, as well as providing useful content for search engines. A no brainer.
Whatever you do, make sure customers have all the information they need to decide on a product, with links to other relevant parts of your website. These links should include pointers to customer service / contact details, though a good FAQ page will help keep enquiries to a minimum.
The other big win is a ‘customers who bought this item also bought…’ feature, as provided by Amazon. It is an excellent way of cross-selling, and encourages customers to continue searching through your site for more things to buy.
We also believe that if you are shopping for golf clubs, then it makes sense to make the navigation and promotional content units golf-related.
TIP #7: Reinforce customer trust
Kitemarks, third part verification logos, and visible customer support options all convey trust and respectability. They ease the mind of the prospective buyer, who might not know your brand.
And as we have already mentioned, user reviews are great at engendering trust.
TIP #8: Provide breadcrumb trails
This allows customers to see the steps they have taken so far to reach the product page, and provides them with a shortcut back to a previous point in their search.
Comet provides an example of this:
Breadcrumb trails also deliver the added benefit of allowing customers to refine their product searches by removing or revising certain product features, and saves them the hassle of beginning the search all over again.
It is of course completely acceptable to remove breadcrumb trails from the checkout process…
TIP #9: Don’t let customers begin to purchase out of stock items
If a product is out of stock, don’t allow customers to add the item to their basket, as this will only annoy and frustrate them once they reach the checkout. You will have wasted their time. Some people won’t forgive you for such a crime…
Laura Ashley has made this mistake in the past – I know this from personal experience:
All buttons which lead the customer further along the purchase process should be the most prominent on view.
Also, make the meaning clear – avoid vague phrases such as ‘submit’ or ‘next step’, and give instructions like ‘buy it now’ or ‘place your order’.
Agree? Disagree? Any findings to share? Do let us know…