Uber’s Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps, Revisited

uber's marketing

We’ve all heard about the bad press that Uber has gotten over the past year or so. Class action lawsuits, gross driver misconduct, surge pricing shocks, legal fights with governments, the list goes on… Despite that, the ride-hailing-and-so-much-more service continues to grow. Why is that? For one, they offer a compelling and in-demand product. Secondly, … Read more

Uber’s Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps, Without the Bad Press

Uber's marketing strategy

We’ve all heard about the bad press that Uber has gotten over the past year or so. Class action lawsuits, gross driver misconduct, surge pricing shocks, legal fights with governments, the list goes on… Despite that, the ride-hailing-and-so-much-more service continues to grow. Why is that? For one, they offer a compelling and in-demand product. Secondly, … Read more

Push Your eCommerce Company Into Rapid Growth

Whether you’re a mid size retailer or manufacturer just starting out in the world of eCommerce, your goal is to grow your business rapidly and get new customers before your competitors do.  Traditional marketing is no longer effective with today’s social and mobile customer base. Augmenting your eCommerce business with Social Commerce is the surefire way to acquire new customers, engage and convert them quickly, and keep them coming back. Online commerce empowers owners of mids

ecommerceize and startup companies in ways that simply wasn’t possible in the foot traffic days of brick-n-mortar business. As Internet virtually eliminated the constraints of location, the physical foot traffic gave way to the digital foot traffic. One such powerful source of digital foot traffic is Social Media.

Following are some ways Social Commerce can push your eCommerce business into rapid growth.

Level the Competitive Playing Field

As your company grows you are competing with enterprise companies for customer’s attention and only half the advertising budget. Social Commerce helps level this playing field when it comes to traffic, engagement, compelling content, and loyalty. In the digital and social media space, midsize and new businesses can compete on a more equal basis with well-crafted Social Media campaigns, contests, and other social marketing programs. Creating a national television commercial is incredibly expensive, but creating a compelling, visually stunning social media campaign is well within the means of even a small ad budget. And should a social post go viral, your company gets the opportunity to experience the same level of attention their enterprise competitors receive at a much lower cost.

Expand Your Business Faster

Sure, the people in your region love your clothing boutique. The people in other states and countries probably would too, if they knew about it and had a convenient way to shop. When you add eCommerce to your bricks and mortar business, you open the door to a potentially worldwide audience. Setting up an online storefront is remarkably easy these days, including setting up “shopping cart” technology and secure online checkout. You’ll need to invest in high quality images of the products you sell, but these can be used as part of your local traditional advertising strategy as well. Augmenting that with a solid set of social commerce tools opens the door to a vast wealth of User Generated Content including ratings and reviews, image galleries and social conversations. You can utilize this to improve your customer service, expand your marketing content, and reach a wider range of customers.

Mobility Empowers More Customers

In the last quarter of 2014, more traffic arrived at online stores from mobile devices than desktop computers. The lines between mobile and social started blurring when over 80% of off-line shopping experiences began on a mobile device.

eCommerce capitalizes on this mobile revolution, particularly when businesses make the mobile shopping experience  as simple, aesthetically pleasing, and frictionless as possible. If you are just starting your business’s eCommerce strategy, then “mobile first” should be your guiding principle. Website architecture needs to be suited to the mobile experience, and fortunately, more web developers than ever are cognizant of this and are making it a priority to create websites that are visually appealing, responsive, and functional for both desktops views and mobile use.

Another promising trend in mobile eCommerce is the convergence of people who use mobile to strictly browse and people who actually complete purchases on their mobile devices. People are  becoming more and more comfortable shopping from mobile devices, and technology is allowing businesses to make the mobile checkout process fast, seamless, and intuitive.

This quickly developing shift towards mobile shopping offers new companies an opportunity to disrupt the space and get ahead of their enterprise counterparts. As they are just beginning their eCommerce efforts they can build mobile functionality and friendliness into their strategy for seamless marketing and customer experience right from the get go.

Social Media Can Build Your Brand Faster and more Efficiently

Social media and eCommerce can work together terrifically, and the investment in social media is more of a time investment rather than a capital investment. The social media landscape includes giant corporations that use social platforms to burnish their reputations as well as smaller businesses that use the platforms to build their brand. The great thing about social media is that when it’s done well, a small or mid size company can appear just as impressive and dynamic as their larger enterprise competitors. One especially effective technique is to employ user-generated content, especially photos and videos. A picture taken by a real customer with the product in real life situation can be remarkably inspiring and helps consumers make better purchasing decisions.

Successful social media strategies revolve around engaging with customers and providing them with information that is entertaining, fresh, original, and relevant to their interests and preferences. Companies can run contests on social media websites, and can, on occasion, use these platforms to announce new products, offer promotions, and even collect feedback. You have to be careful, however, to avoid using social media simply to pitch products. People are quick to unfollow brands that they believe are constantly trying to sell to them. Social media should be mostly informative, entertaining, and engaging.

A huge range of businesses can add eCommerce to their operations at a relatively low cost, and expand to serve consumers in a much broader geographic territory – worldwide in some instances. Social Commerce gives businesses the ability to capture user profile information with a click of a button, take and fulfil online orders easily and boost revenues significantly without a huge capital investment.

Mobility is revolutionizing people’s browsing and shopping habits, and with a mobile first strategy, businesses can reach people around the world, around the clock. Social media platforms give new companies a worldwide stage on which they can educate, entertain, and inform their customers, and ultimately monetize their social media following.

 

Brands Need to Embrace Changing Technology or Wither Away

brands

The primary challenge every commerce business faces, whether online or offline, is acquiring, converting and retaining customers. This challenge persists through the evolution of technology. However, the changing nature of technology is altering how retailers approach the challenge. Today the biggest technological shift in commerce is coming from the growing use of social media and mobile devices. The average user spends about 28% of their time online using social media networks, 2014 saw the first case of mobile internet consumption surpassing that of desktop, and 60% of social media use is done through mobile devices. Brands need to embrace this changing technology or risk withering away.
This shift in the way customers consume information is forcing retailers and brands to alter how they reach their target market. They can no longer rely on traditional methods of advertising because consumers, especially millennials are not paying attention and are not as easily persuaded by traditional methods.

Before this shift in technology a typical purchase cycle came down to a consumer deciding they needed a product, going to a store that most likely carried that product and purchasing it. Now the process is much more complex. Because of the large consumer market, buyers don’t usually have a specific product or brand in mind. Instead, they are thinking about a category such as: a vacuum cleaner, a laptop, or a car. The purchase cycle then starts with research; 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. This not only gives consumers better information about the product category they intend to buy into; it helps them narrow down the brand they want, the specific product they intend to buy, and where they plan to buy it, whether online or in a brick and mortar store.

Although the purchase cycle typically starts online, brick and mortar takes home the biggest chunk of sales (about 94%). However, even in brick and mortar digital use still plays a role in the shopping cycle as a consumer takes steps to purchase. Consumers use their phones to find the address of the store, comparison shop, and utilize digital coupons. With the prevalence of mobile usage, these actions are happening while the customer is standing in your store; online and offline are converging in your dressing room.

Consumers are going to continue this trend and if you don’t meet them in the mediums (online, social media, mobile) they frequent, your competitor will.

So how can you meet your customers online, on social media and on mobile devices to effectively acquire, convert, and retain them?

Utilize social login to give consumers an easier way to create an account on your website, while you collect more demographic insights about them. Use user generated content to engage your customers and give them compelling information and insights about your products as shared by their fellow shoppers. Finally use mobile responsive loyalty programs to cultivate repeat purchasers and convert them into loyal customers.

The lesson of changing technology is always the same; if you don’t adapt, you don’t survive. This holds true for commerce. Your customers’ shopping behaviors are changing and you have to adapt quickly to ensure they still see your brand, engage with it, and come back to become loyal customers.

Where Does Snapchat Fit in The World of eCommerce?

snapchat

Earlier this week, Snapchat announced it is seeking a new round of funding that would value the company at $19 billion. This is a huge increase from it’s 2014 round of funding that valued the company at $10 billion. To put this new potential value in perspective, if the deal goes through it would make Snapchat the third most valuable venture-backed company in the world.
With only 12% of snaps being shared with more than one person, Snapchat maintains it is not a social networking service, instead emphasizing it is a messaging app. 100 million monthly active users, 400 million snaps per day, and 29.4 percent of Apple iPhone users engaging with the  messaging app, demonstrates Snapchat’s massive growth. And this growth begs the question, how can retailers use Snapchat to engage and advertise with their customers? And is it worth it?

Organic reach is still an option on Snapchat, possibly giving it some traction with marketers above other networks like Facebook. However, the nature of its organic advertising is very different. It is a 1:1 messaging service so there is no room for growth in terms of utilizing a consumers network. It also requires active engagement because in order to watch the content, a customer has to hold a button down.

This presents both challenges and benefits for advertisers. It forces retailers who utilize Snapchat to work harder on their content because to make it successful they have to make their customers want to see their advertisements. However, for the consumers they do manage to engage it is reasonable to assume they are more valuable because they are demonstrating an interest by opting in instead of just scrolling past it on their newsfeed.

Snapchat has also started to offer paid advertising, but the jury is still out on its success. It offers little in the way of analytics and ROI and in some instances seems ridiculously overpriced. However, the release of the “Discover” feature in January may bring some traction. By introducing content from reputable sources like National Geographic, Yahoo News, Comedy Central and CNN, Snapchat seems to be moving away from its messaging app branding. This might give it more flexibility in working with retailers and companies and displaying advertising.

Snapchat is a new and strange player in the world of mobile apps and social media. It gained a lot of popularity very quickly and is looking to monetize on that. But it still has some work left to do if it really wants to become more than a fad. It needs to figure out what it wants to be; a messaging app, a news curation source, a social network? And in order to make retailers and brands stick around it needs to find a way to bring in more user data and analytics.

How to Optimize Your Commerce Website

Commerce Website

If you’re in the eCommerce business, you know that optimizing your website is not a choice, but a necessity. The pages of your site are your revenue generators, and optimizing them can improve sales regardless of other measures like social media commerce strategies and marketing. Pages that ignore search engine optimization (SEO) or that present your products in less than a flattering light can cause you to miss out on sales unnecessarily.

Commerce Website

The content of the pages that make up your eCommerce website can build or damage your brand. Optimizing these pages can make your brand stand out from the competition and directly affect your company’s bottom line. Put the extra effort into your site’s pages and you increase interest from shoppers while boosting your brand. Get to work on optimizing your pages and you should see your pages turning browsers into shoppers more efficiently. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Optimize Product Descriptions

How you word your product descriptions is important to SEO. The keywords relevant to your product should go in the page’s title tags and META description. If you can include keywords in product URL strings, that’s better still. Avoid the temptation to reuse product descriptions from manufacturers, because Google considers this duplicate content, which it penalizes in terms of search engine ranking. Improve content descriptions by appealing to shoppers’ feelings and emotions, bringing your products to life through narratives that avoid being technical or dull.
If you can’t redo all your product descriptions, add unique content in the form of reviews or user comments.

Use Clear Product Images

happy online shopper

Large, clear, high quality product images sell more products, and can increase sales conversions by up to 9%. If possible, you should have multiple images of products, showing it from different angles and highlighting different features. Product images should be consistent throughout your eCommerce store. Using similar image backgrounds, photo sizes, and angles creates a consistent browsing experience and give your site a more professional, polished look.

Make Your FAQs and Policies Easy to Navigate To

Another key to making your site more user friendly and boosting your social commerce stature is making your site easy to navigate. This is an important principle for SEO as well. Users should find it easy to reach your FAQ page and to find out things like your shipping and return policies. The idea is to find a happy balance between cluttered pages with links to everything and too-spare pages where it’s difficult to find your way around. Your web designer or SEO strategist can help you optimize navigation to please customers while boosting SEO.

Make Social Sharing Easy

social media sharing signs

If you’re going to succeed at social commerce, you can’t shy away from content generated by your customers. User-generated content can bring higher conversion rates and increased sales, and the regular addition of unique content keeps your site fresh, which is another property that search engines tend to award with higher rankings. Make sure you put social sharing buttons beside your product images or descriptions so shoppers can easily share what they’re looking at on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Meanwhile, your social commerce strategy should include interacting with customers and potential customers on social media sites. Inviting readers to submit photos of themselves using your products can also be great for your social commerce strategy. The ultimate goal is to build a community of happy customers. You never know when a brief customer video of his dog enjoying a toy purchased from your site will catch on and go viral.

Conclusion

Optimizing your eCommerce site isn’t just a good idea, it’s absolutely essential to success. Built upon a solid SEO strategy with high quality imagery, great product descriptions, and user-generated content, your eCommerce site can serve to strengthen your brand and build a loyal community of shoppers. Though these principles require effort, none is particularly difficult or expensive, so there’s no reason to be left behind while competitors are busy improving their social commerce practices.

8 Essentials Your Ecommerce Site Should Have

Store front

With the start of 2015 a new shopping year begins for both consumers and online businesses and with it brings the opportunity to focus on fresh, innovative and engaging ideas. Retailers should review their websites and makes the changes necessary to stay relevant and compelling, because that’s what shoppers expect.

Here are 8 basic tips that you can implement to stay ahead of the ecommerce game.

Promotions

Online shoppers are savvy and always looking for the best deal. Promotions no matter the type are an instant eyes catcher – especially free shipping, since high shipping costs are one of the biggest turn-offs for online shoppers. By incentivizing your customers with promotions, you increase your conversion rate, leading to reduced cart abandonment and a boost in your average order value. To make them truly effective, promotions must be highly visible on your homepage and strategically placed on specific product pages.

Clear logo and branding

First impressions are everything and your logo and branding are no exception. Part of the challenge is capturing a first-time customer within the first few seconds of them entering your site. Your logo and site branding should be easily visible and a customer should be able to quickly identify if your online store sells the products they are interested in. Below are some examples of stores with great branding and logos.

Product reviews

Curating customer reviews and offering shoppers the opportunity, to share their experiences is vital in building your online reputation as a retailer. It proves you are dedicated to providing customers with outstanding value and ensuring you offer products to suit their needs and interests. Consumers are much more apt to purchase your products when they are supplemented with reviews.

Popular products

Do not make it challenging for your customers to find your best products, new products or exclusive sales. Online shoppers have short attention spans and if they have to hunt for something, they may just turn to your competitor. Whenever you have news, are planning an upcoming event, offering sales or have any other information customers care about, it is important that these things are displayed prominently on your home page. Furthermore, return customers are more interested in several new sale items rather than searching through your inventory for something new.

Mobile friendly

With leaps made every year in smartphone and tablet technologies more and more consumers are turning to their mobile devices to shop online. It’s convenient in the palm of their hands so to speak. It is now 2015 and a surprising number of online merchants that are still relying on old platforms and losing out on the added sales revenue from mobile shoppers. As the market share for mobile phones increases it is imperative to your stores future to stay up to date with these technologies.

Socialize it

Your customers know you best, and it is important to immerse yourself in the conversations they are having about you and your products. Being “social” is not just about asking someone to like your page, its about joining a community of people that have interacted with your brand. There are many tools out there that make it possible to leverage your customers as product experts, join discussion groups, promote certain products to a segment of customers and discuss it all via social media. Work to integrate your customers shopping experience into the social channels they use on a daily basis.

Product comparisons

No matter what kind of products you sell, you always need to give the customer the option to do their own comparison shopping. Consumers should have the option of creating side-by-side comparisons of the products features, specifications, benefits, and reviews. By making it easy for your customers to make comparisons you keep them engaged with your store, rather than losing them to your competitor. It is also a great way to up-sell them on related products or accessories.

Omni Channel

The Omni-Channel approach to business has changed the way ecommerce stores do business. The Omni-Channel model gives your customers real-time visibility into your online inventory levels as well as in store. It indicates how many units are available and what is the quickest way to obtain them. It provides alerts for items that are arriving in stock, in stock and out of stock. If your product is anywhere at all your customers will know how and where to make the purchase.
While there are many more things an ecommerce store can do to enhance the shopping experience these few items listed can help retailers start adapting to the high expectations of the online consumer. Some of these are quick fixes while others present a longer term project, but identifying solutions could help make a difference for your online success.

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