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Author: Ben Davis

Ben Davis

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com or follow at @herrhuld.

baby crawling

24 resources and tools to inspire digital marketing beginners

There are lots of posts on the internet detailing free tools for marketers.

In this one, though, I thought I'd throw in some that aren't necessarily for marketers, but which I use regularly.

I've called this post 'tools for beginners' but in reality the tools aren't for beginners, they're for everyone. It's just that if you're a beginner you might not have found your set ways of working yet, and you might want to pick something up before you've ground your way into the groove.

From meme makers to some in-depth analytics, here's what I find useful.

4 comments
digital retail

The digital talent shortage in retail careers

The simplest question in a changing retail environment remains 'how do companies meet customer expectations?'.

Many customers have digital expectations. Accordingly, companies must be digitally fluent or risk alienating the customer.

Having all of a company's digital knowledge within an ecommerce team is no longer sufficient to keep up. Digital knowledge is needed in marketing, merchandising, the supply chain, customer service, HR, PR and beyond.

With a limited pool of digital talent so quickly snapped up by pureplays and companies willing to attract with high wages, it's hard for retailers to simply employ 'digital staff' to plug these gaps.

Shop.org, the digital side of the National Retail Foundation (NRF) has written an open letter to retail CEOs about perfecting the talent mix, and much of it echoes what we've been writing on Econsultancy.

So what can CEOs do to address this talent shortage?

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van rijn

Give your content away for maximum ROI: a Rijksstudio case study

It doesn’t matter what sector you work in, or what stage of the ‘journey’ you are on (it’s not unlike X Factor), digital entails transforming your products and services in a way that can sometimes feel antithetical.

Whether it’s newspapers increasing their prices, travel companies investing in new technology, or art galleries removing copyright.

That’s exactly what the Rijksmuseum did in 2012, when it put a lot of its collection online and created the Rijksstudio, allowing the public to curate, purchase, download and rework bona fide masterpieces.

Building on this work, Rijksstudio has just announced the winners of its ‘Make Your Own Masterpiece’ competition, with entrants using the collection to design something of their own.

Let’s take a look at this very Dutch and very admirable project.

3 comments
schuh logo

How in-store tech improves customer service for Schuh

There are obvious benefits to endless aisle technology, click and collect and a single view of stock. However, there are other in-store considerations when trying to improve customer service.

How to increase speed of service in-store? How to increase customer and staff satisfaction? Online and offline considerations continue to blur, as ecommerce benefits from bricks and mortar, and vice versa.

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh, is a regular commenter on the Econsultancy blog and kindly showed a few of the Econsultancy team around Schuh's Marble Arch store in London last week. 

With in-store customer experience and flexible fulfillment increasingly on the agenda for retailers, here's a round-up of what I learned from Schuh.

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crystal ball

Predictive analytics, machine learning and the future of personalization

Predictive analytics has been around for a while, as has machine learning, but it's only now with the profusion of cloud-based software in marketing that this form of data analysis has started to take off. 

AgilOne is a US company, launched 2012, now branching into the UK, that provides predictive analytics software. I spoke to CMO Dominique Levin to find out more about this technology.

Is it powerful enough to make one-to-one marketing a possibility and not a fallacy?

3 comments
stars and stripes

10 US digital marketing statistics we've seen this week

More US digital marketing statistics for you this week.

Highlights include a user milestone for LinkedIn, the changing revenues of US newspapers and consumer attitudes towards digital advertising in automotive. And lots more, of course.

Enjoy, and make sure you take a look at the Econsultancy Internet Statistics Compendium for more stats.

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the soda report

The changing relationship between clients and agencies

What do clients want and value in their agency relationships? What level of digital sophistication can be seen client-side? How are clients transforming in the light of increasingly digital customer experiences?

These are the questions asked by the 2014 Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) Report and its Digital Marketing Outlook survey conducted in partnership with Econsultancy.

In this post I've rounded up some highlights from the report, looking at changes in the agency-client landscape.

2 comments
mapmyrun home image

Strava VS MapMyRun: seven lessons in explainer homepage design

Strava and MapMyRun are both GPS-based web and mobile tracking services for runners and cyclists.

At a glance, they have similar homepages, designed to explain the concept and coax visitors to sign up. 

The respective pages are similarly sized, with large imagery, simple text, top and bottom menus and the aim of quickly informing the user of the service proposition.

And yet, Strava is more effective. How does it do it?

6 comments
amazon dash

10 implications of AmazonFresh and Amazon Dash

Amazon Dash allows you to scan items in the home, or speak the name of a product into its microphone, and then find the item seamlessly in your AmazonFresh checkout.

AmazonFresh, currently available in Southern California, San Francisco and Seattle, is the company's same day and early morning service delivering a large range of products that includes groceries.

What does this device mean for the consumer? How might it affect the FMCG and wider markets? Will it catch on?

If you haven't seen these services, let's take a look, and I'll postulate as to the implications of these two services.

2 comments
delorean

Six omnichannel trends in ecommerce

I like writing about trends in digital marketing and ecommerce and the exciting thing about 2014 is I get the feeling we all have a better idea of where it’s headed.

In 2013, retail sales totalled $15.15tn. $1.2tn dollars (<8%) of this was spent online.

If online retail figures continue to rise (the most ‘virtual’ market is the UK, with 13% of sales online in 2013), it will likely be the product of a new generation of consumers and increasingly sophisticated retailers.

But how sophisticated is ecommerce today? What is achievable and will the holy grail of ‘omnichannel’ commerce ever be realised?

Rather than write pieces about smaller parts of ecommerce, such as order management or personalisation, I thought I’d try to cover all of it in one post.

These trends pick up and expand on some points discussed by Demandware COO Jeff Barnett at Xchange 2014.

Obviously, retailers are in varying stages of maturity, so feel free to let me know if I’ve overdone it some areas and not been aggressive enough in others. And practitioners, let me know what I've missed.

2 comments
crocs

Crocs shows in-store technology and assisted selling works

There's a healthy scepticism around in-store technology. Many doubt that all of the examples out there are actually wanted by the consumer.

The challenge is to find technology that can add value for the retailer, without disupting the magic of in-store shopping and customer service that the consumer already loves.

Apple and Audi are perhaps the best examples. Apple provided virtual payment and free WiFi before many others, with product demos a key part of the Apple store. Audi demonstrates product features on a tablet, with dynamic content.

Endless aisle, via a store associate's tablet or a fixed hub in store, is something many are dubious about. The hubs often don't see high engagement rates.

Crocs has proven the relevance of assited selling with its tablet operated endless aisle solution in store. At Demandware's Xchange 2014 I spoke to Harvey Bierman, VP global ecommerce at Crocs. He said Crocs has been using endless aisle technology in store for around two years. "Endless aisle represents a significant part of ecommerce revenue i.e. bigger than single digit."

I thought it was worth discussing what Crocs' success in this area means.

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fit for a little prince - clothing range

Agile newsjacking from Alex and Alexa and baby Prince George

Lots of brands try to newsjack. Rarely do they do it well.

Most often, brands tweet to offer congratulations or join in a relevant holiday or sporting event, with no call to action.

Alex and Alexa, the children's life and style pure play known as the 'the NET-A-PORTER for under 14s', is great at newsjacking. Not just for immediate impact, but to help editorial drive social and search presence.

Here are some examples, including the retailer's recent Prince George inspired range.

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