tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/commerce Latest Commerce content from Econsultancy 2016-07-26T14:26:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68088 2016-07-26T14:26:00+01:00 2016-07-26T14:26:00+01:00 How can digital brands adapt content strategy for high growth markets? Marco Veremis <p>With three billion content-hungry consumers, high growth markets offer exactly this. In fact, according to Upstream’s <a href="http://www.developingtelecoms.com/tech/apps-content-ott/6483-amazon-eyes-up-emerging-markets-for-next-growth-opportunity.html">2016 Developing Markets Mobile Commerce report</a>, there is an estimated $70bn revenue opportunity on offer.</p> <p>Not only is there a desire for digital services and a willingness to pay, but with the purchasing power of consumers also increasing, emerging markets are a truly viable option for brands.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/netflix-expands-to-190-countries-1452106429">The expansion of Netflix</a> to a further 130 countries earlier this year suggests these markets are beginning to be identified for their revenue potential, but digital content brands still have a long way to go before they are truly maximising the opportunity available.</p> <p>Whilst Netflix recorded <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/18/11454362/netflix-q1-2016-earnings-81-million-subscribers">double the number of subscribers in Q1</a> this year compared to 12 months earlier, it has also projected a slowdown in new subscribers for Q2, suggesting more needs to be done to engage consumers.</p> <p>Understanding the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-quest-for-mobile-excellence/">mobile-first markets</a> and the habits and preferences of those within them is critical. For the likes of Netflix, it’s clear that taking a one-size-fits-all approach based on the practices followed in Western markets is not going to deliver long-term success.</p> <p>Whilst there is an appetite for digital content services, this is simply not enough to drive revenue growth. Recognising the environmental and cultural limitations and adapting accordingly is going to be key for any brand looking to extend its reach.</p> <p>So, how can brands such as Amazon Prime and Netflix ensure they approach high growth markets fully prepared, to maximise the viable revenue opportunities on offer?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0005/9222/Screen_Shot_2015-02-06_at_11.13.14.png" alt="netflix" width="615"></p> <h3>Make digital services affordable</h3> <p>The economic intricacies of each emerging market means digital providers will need to adopt <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67699-how-online-retailers-can-improve-price-optimization-strategies/">pricing strategies</a> that take into consideration the huge gaps in GDP, compared to developed markets in the West.</p> <p>The total cost of services needs to be affordable, taking into account both the initial cost of purchasing the service and the ensuing on-going cost of using it.</p> <p>In terms of the initial cost for purchasing its service, for example, while Netflix introduced pricing in Brazil that is 39% lower than that in the US, it is worth bearing in mind that the income differential in other emerging markets can be as much as 94% lower compared to the US.</p> <p>It is therefore necessary for brands to set pricing in line with purchasing power, adjusted to the local currency.</p> <p>In addition to the initial cost of purchasing a digital service, streaming and mobile data charges are also costs consumers need to bear. For the average consumer in an emerging market, streaming costs use five times more of their monthly income, compared with the corresponding percentage of the average US consumer’s monthly income.</p> <p>Therefore it should come as no surprise that the majority (87%) of consumers accessing digital services on mobile devices in high growth markets, demand lower data charges.</p> <p><a href="https://media.netflix.com/en/company-blog/netflix-introduces-new-cellular-data-controls-globally">Netflix just released a new tool</a> to help people avoid costly bills for high data use when viewing streamed television shows on mobile devices, which indicates that it is taking steps to overcome this.</p> <p>Another approach brands can take is to create an affiliation with local mobile operators to offer bundles that reduce charges for consumers. Brands may also need to reconsider monthly subscription offers in emerging markets as pay cycles can be much shorter, often weekly.</p> <p>Understanding the specifics of the market will enable brands to develop a proposition that suits the behaviour of the consumers they are trying to engage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7461/cellular_data_usage_netflix.png" alt="netflix data usage feature" width="450"></p> <p><em>Netflix's new cellular data usage tool</em></p> <h3>Keep content ‘Lite’ to make it accessible</h3> <p>Digital brands that make their content as accessible as possible on mobile devices can perform better in developing markets.</p> <p>In high growth markets, 61% of consumers report internet connectivity as still being slow and unreliable, with intermittent Wi-Fi, which means accessing digital content is reliant on mobile data. One option for brands to consider is to provide ‘lite’ versions of services, which use less data.</p> <p>Additionally, it’s important to remember that digital commerce isn’t solely focused on apps. Research shows that consumers are accessing content via mobile web browsers more than apps (43% vs 40%).</p> <p>SMS and MMS messages <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67108-is-sms-the-most-underrated-and-overlooked-dark-social-channel/">also still play a role</a> for some services, so shouldn’t be discounted.</p> <p>With this is mind, brands should not be too reliant or restricted to apps but instead deliver content through multiple delivery channels where possible to ensure they reach 100% of the population.</p> <h3>Deliver localised content</h3> <p>Before launching digital offerings in emerging markets, brands must first do their due diligence to understand what type of services are missing and develop content that truly meets consumers wants and needs.</p> <p>Providing content and services that are compelling, have a local feel and are available in native languages will be important for brands.</p> <p>Whilst there is a demand for international content in emerging markets, 76% of consumers have a strong preference for content and services to have a sufficient local feel, in terms of language and cultural nuances.</p> <p>Netflix recently announced a move towards <a href="http://www.businessfinancenews.com/25950-netflix-inc-to-cater-to-indian-market-with-original-bollywood-content/">producing exclusive Bollywood content</a> for the Indian market and also added <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/03/26/inside-netflix-how-reed-hastings-is-building-the-first-global-tv/">Arabic, Korean and Chinese</a> to the 17 other languages it already supports.</p> <p>This willingness to adapt to the local market and deliver content that appeals to the consumers is something digital brands such as Amazon Prime will have to prioritise if they hope to truly take advantage of the $70 billion digital opportunity on offer.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67809 2016-05-04T14:27:00+01:00 2016-05-04T14:27:00+01:00 Five digital trends for retail in the next five years Nikki Gilliland <p>Try sticking that in your supermarket trolley.</p> <p>Ovum and Criteo’s <a href="http://www.criteo.com/resources/ovum-future-ecommerce/" target="_blank">Future of Ecommerce</a> report recently predicted the biggest trends to impact retail in the next five to ten years.</p> <p>Brace yourselves as we take a look at some of the biggest:</p> <h3><strong>1. Shopping as an immersive experience</strong></h3> <p>From virtual changing rooms to in-store selfie competitions, brands are becoming more intent on creating a shopping ‘experience’ to remember.</p> <p>With the rise of virtual and augmented reality, this looks set to explode on a whole other level. </p> <p>In future, technology will allow us to build on the likes of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63574-augmented-reality-the-ikea-catalogue-and-beyond/" target="_blank">Ikea’s AR app</a> and <a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/dior-eyes-vr-fashion-show-headset-news/" target="_blank">Dior Eyes VR</a>, creating experiences both at home and in-store that blur the lines between the digital and physical world.</p> <p>Of course it is important for brands to ensure an intrinsic benefit for the consumer, otherwise there is the risk of this technology being used as merely a sales gimmick.</p> <p>Advantages also lie in resolving practical issues, such as reducing the likelihood of returns by allowing us to ‘try before we buy’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4607/dior_eyes.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="403"></p> <h3><strong>2. Brands know where you live</strong></h3> <p>Thanks to the likes of Uber and Deliveroo, we’re used to giving away our location on a regular basis.</p> <p>In future, the world of ecommerce looks set to utilise this behaviour to build on the ultimate curated shopping experience.</p> <p>As well as using algorithms to monitor what we’re browsing, brands will be able to find out where we are doing it, meaning timely and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67418-what-is-location-based-advertising-why-is-it-the-next-big-thing" target="_blank">ultra-targeted marketing</a> being sent direct to our mobiles.</p> <p>So, if you regret not buying that shirt you saw on sale, don’t worry, Bluetooth Low Energy technology (BLE) means that the brand will know exactly how long you spent debating it.</p> <p>In turn, this means you will probably receive a reminder or even an offer tempting you to make the purchase long after you’ve left the shop.</p> <h3><strong>3. Pop-ups are here to stay</strong></h3> <p>Pop-up shops have been popular for a while, however until now they have been seen as the hallmark of the new or independent boutique brand.</p> <p>In future, both online retailers and established brands will utilise physical space to maximise resources and build awareness around a particular product or release.</p> <p>A great example of this is Lidl’s ‘Duluxe’ restaurant – a pop up designed <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65423-four-reasons-to-admire-the-lidlsurprises-campaign/">to promote the supermarket’s Christmas range</a>.</p> <p>During its short run, diners were invited to sample the food without prior knowledge of where it was sourced from.</p> <p>With both surprise and interactive elements, the pop up succeeded in attracting new audiences as well as creating hype.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4600/pop_up_shops.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="560"></p> <h3><strong>4. Mobile-first for advertising</strong></h3> <p>Further to brands marketing directly to mobiles, it is predicted that by 2019 global mobile advertising revenues will increase from $22.64bn dollars to an impressive $63.94bn.</p> <p>Why the big leap? Up until now, most of this revenue has stemmed from basic mobile web advertising, however in future it will continue to be integrated into messaging platforms.</p> <p>With this type of in-app advertising, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67767-will-conversational-marketing-become-a-reality-in-2016/">direct conversations between the brand and the consumer</a> will become the norm.</p> <p>And the good news is that it won’t only benefit the retailer – it could also help improve service, delivery and general levels of customer satisfaction.</p> <p>On another note, the use of mobile for payments is also predicted to sky rocket, increasing from an estimated $452.78m to $2.07bn global users by 2019.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4610/Mobile_Advertising.PNG" alt="" width="784" height="405"></p> <h3><strong>5. The rise of digital assistants</strong></h3> <p>If your feelings towards Siri or Cortana are neither here nor there, you might grow to appreciate the digital assistants of the future.</p> <p>In an ever-expanding world of online retail, it can often be hard to find exactly what we’re looking for. Do we even know ourselves? </p> <p>By filtering out wrong sizes or products we’re unlikely to purchase, digital assistants will be able to help us hone our shopping activity in a more streamlined and ultimately successful fashion.</p> <p>Of course, with concerns over privacy, initiatives like <a href="http://www.gsma.com/personaldata/mobile-connect" target="_blank">GSMA’s Mobile Connect</a> – a tool that allows users to control how much data they share – are likely to also gain in popularity.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4606/digital_assistants.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="532"></p> <p>For more information on the future of ecommerce, check out our report on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-transformation-in-the-retail-sector" target="_blank">Digital Transformation in the Retail Sector</a>.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67768 2016-04-22T09:41:33+01:00 2016-04-22T09:41:33+01:00 How to gear towards mobile commerce success Georges Berzgal <p>While the US tech giant had already launched Apple Pay for in-app purchases on iOS mobile apps and physical stores last year, this move will make mobile shopping even easier.</p> <p>It enables consumers who shop online using an iPhone or iPad Safari browser to make a purchase at the push of a button with Apple Pay and TouchID.</p> <p>It points to a world where consumers can shop from wherever they are without the frustration of filling out fiddly forms on a phone or having to wait for lengthy security checks processed over slow network connections.</p> <p>Ovum predicts that <a href="http://www.shopsafe.co.uk/news/significant-mcommerce-growth-predicted/11552">2bn m-commerce transactions will take place globally</a> in 2019, 452m more than in 2014.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4219/mobile_commerce.jpg" alt="" width="848" height="566"></p> <p>Closer to home, a major tipping point was recently reached.</p> <p>For the first time ever, UK online retail sales made through smartphones and tablets <a href="http://internetretailing.net/2016/03/tipping-point-more-than-half-of-online-sales-made-on-mobile-says-imrg/">exceeded those made over desktop and laptops in Q4 2015</a>, according to IMRG.</p> <p>Figures like this mean that retailers cannot afford to merely ‘experiment’ in mobile or ignore it entirely.</p> <p>And we must be aware that consumers expect us to cater to whatever device they’re using or even the accessories they’re wearing while on the move.</p> <p>In addition, when referring to mobile, we can no longer limit the conversation to phones or tablets.</p> <p>We have to include smartwatches and even the latest car models, featuring screens with access to the internet (e.g. <a href="http://www.apple.com/uk/ios/carplay/">Apple CarPlay</a> or <a href="https://www.android.com/auto/">Android Auto</a>).</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ht8yzpIV9M0?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>So what does being mobile-ready entail and require of a retailer? Commerce marketers might want to consider the following:</p> <h3>1. Be mobile responsive</h3> <p>It wasn’t so long ago that all web content was designed with a laptop screen in mind.</p> <p>Today, one of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is not being mobile responsive.</p> <p>Many retailers are now catering to mobile, so if your website and emails aren’t mobile-ready and easy to navigate, customers aren’t going to persevere and will go to a competitor.</p> <p>Research found that if your email doesn’t look good on a mobile device, <a href="https://litmus.com/blog/the-how-to-guide-to-responsive-email-design-infographic">80% of customers will simply delete it and 30% will actually unsubscribe</a> from future correspondence with you.</p> <p>By optimising the look of mobile websites and emails, you will enhance the overall user experience, drive more click-throughs, improve conversion rates, and reduce unsubscribes and spam complaints.</p> <h3>2. Be inclusive</h3> <p>With such a diverse range of mobile devices now available, it’s important to cater to every consumer, whether they’re using the most basic feature phone, smartphone or tablet.</p> <p>Retailers should recognise these preferences and run a multi-part campaign, which sends emails in a text and an HTML version.</p> <p>Many brands also drive substantial value from transaction-based services over SMS, or push notifications in apps.</p> <p>For example, a customer receives an order confirmation via email, followed by an SMS with the expected arrival time or dispatch information.</p> <p>Some brands like to go one step further, using both SMS and email simultaneously to ensure the optimal <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics/">customer experience</a>, no matter which device the consumer is using.</p> <h3>3. Adopt a ‘mobile first’ approach to the customer experience &amp; integrate it with the wider business</h3> <p>It’s crucial that mobile is connected to the consumer’s full experience with a retailer.</p> <p>For example, if a consumer responds to an in-store promotion and sends a text in order to receive a discount, the brand needs to acknowledge this and personalise the communication that follows.</p> <p>Initially, this means referencing the shop that the text was sent from in future emails.</p> <p>As more data is collected about the individual, the communications should become more targeted, reflecting device usage, personal preferences and shopping behaviour. </p> <p>Linkages between device usage (mobile, laptop, desktop) should be seamless for the customer. Connect online and offline activities and merchandising.</p> <p>For example, ensure that your high-street stores are aware of any promotions you launch for mobile users.</p> <p>If your stores are unaware of a current campaign and refuse to accept a promotion code, it will result in a very negative experience for the customer.</p> <p>Retailers that are geared up for mobile customers are the ones that are best placed to secure sales.</p> <p>If you are going to invest in mobile, don’t do it half-heartedly.</p> <p>Be mindful that consumers are still using a range of devices and channels to make purchases and continue to cater to the shopping preferences of all customers.</p> <p>Interestingly, we have just polled 2,000 UK consumers about their multi-device shopping habits and found some exciting results which I will share in my next blog post. So stay tuned!</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67730 2016-04-12T09:52:00+01:00 2016-04-12T09:52:00+01:00 Fintech startup Mondo provides slick, impressive UX: Review Martin Jordan <p>Just 136 days after its initial alpha launch, the public beta for the <a href="https://getmondo.co.uk/">Mondo banking app</a> launched on 17 March.</p> <p>It launched with an iOS-only app – I’ve been informed the Android version is on its way.</p> <p>Having registered for the app I was immediately put in a queue to wait for my card.</p> <p>Mondo has cleverly incentivised this process by giving each applicant a unique referral link. Every person that subsequently signed up to Mondo off the back of my link enabled me to jump up the queue a few places.</p> <p>My 170 Equator colleagues did me proud and thanks to them I went from position 23,000 to one in under half an hour!</p> <p>Once I reached the top it took 12 hours for the app to activate itself and that’s when I was allowed to add funds.</p> <p>However, rather than using scanning technology for ID, such as passports, driver’s licence , etc. as I thought it might, the app took my details in a traditional fashion. The flash of innovation came in the final stage of setup. </p> <p>In order to open a Mondo account, I would have to transfer a minimum of £100.</p> <p>Though I could have done the transfer manually using my Santander app, instead Apple Pay enabled a seamless bank transfer using only my fingerprint.</p> <p>Well, 10 seconds later, and I had opened a Mondo account.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3856/mondo_1.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="444">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3857/mondo_2.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="444">  </p> <p>After 48-hours, the screen changed to let me register the fact that my card had arrived...</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3858/mondo_3.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="445"></p> <p>I liked the thick blue envelope and the orangey colour of the card; the sleeve reminded me to protect my number if I did decide to share my adventures in Future Banking.</p> <p>Which of course I did. (#geek)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3859/mondo_4.jpg" alt="" width="299" height="400"></p> <p>And I was in! The simple transaction screen details current balance, the day’s spend and recent transactions.</p> <p>I have to give it to Mondo. Its app is clever, it’s lean, there’s no messing about, it’s fully functional and needs no further authentication layer to get in.</p> <p>Once I open the app I can see all my transactions without tapping in another password.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3860/mondo_5.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="445"></p> <p>When I buy something with my new Mondo card it’s like any other normal transaction, though at this moment in time it makes use of a Prepay Mastercard debit card.</p> <p>This means that it does not come with a sort code or account code on the card, but it does have a Pin (which was texted to me) and contactless.</p> <p>I was most impressed with my purchase history with Mondo – on one occasion when making an online purchase, the Mondo app registered five seconds faster than the confirmation from the online retailer’s site!</p> <p>And every other transaction has appeared on my phone screen within two to three seconds. Speedy or what?</p> <p>Also, if Mondo recognises a store it will brand the icon next to the payment, and if it can’t it will categorise the item (e.g. ‘Eating Out’ or  ‘Groceries’).</p> <p>It also lets me add notes and photos to purchases, which give me a fuller picture of my spending activities.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3861/mondo_6.png" alt="" width="225" height="400"></p> <p>What’s more, I can categorise expenditure. For example, if I classify items as expenses, Mondo can collate these making it easy for me to hand into my boss.</p> <p>Dig a little deeper and I can see all purchases made over a certain amount, by ‘Merchant’ or by ‘Category’.</p> <p>And there’s even a handy graph that lets me track spend and income habits as an easy line graph.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3862/mondo_7.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="444">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3863/mondo_8.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="444"></p> <h3>Other bits…</h3> <p>Like with other banking apps, you can now send money by text. Nothing too novel there but this bit is all secured by Touch ID.</p> <p>You can chat to customer service staff at any time through a conversation window, sending images if necessary. They’re pretty fast at getting back too.</p> <p>They’ll respond through the chat window and through your email.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Ok, so it’s not a full banking app yet but the platform shows incredible promise.</p> <p>Mondo has thought long and hard about the user experience, maximising the phone’s power where it can, cutting out paper almost completely (you still need the card) and making the interface incredibly intuitive.</p> <p>There are still some simple things Mondo could have done to make it even slicker but it may be working on this or may be stymied by financial regulation.</p> <p>I hope that, in time, it becomes a learning app – learning not just from your own behaviour, but from all users.</p> <p>I enjoy the wit and humour injected into the app and did not feel that it was inappropriate for a serious banking app.</p> <p>In terms of performance, the app is very fast, never stalls and purchases come through incredibly quickly.</p> <p>I think there’s a bright future here. The big banks need to watch this one intently!</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67202-what-s-the-future-for-big-banks-in-a-fintech-world/"><em>What's the future for big banks in a FinTech world?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66246-are-banking-websites-in-need-of-an-update/"><em>Are banking websites in need of an update?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-transformation-in-the-financial-services-sector/"><em>Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Sector Report</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67339 2016-01-22T15:18:09+00:00 2016-01-22T15:18:09+00:00 Three marketing trends to watch in 2016 Georges Berzgal <p>All three have come a long way since they first emerged. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10301-to-use-or-not-to-use-personalisation-in-email-marketing">When personalisation was in its infancy</a>, it stretched only as far as automating the use of the recipient’s name in a marketing email.</p> <p>In a similar vein, the shift <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/6415-smartphone-users-are-more-active-shoppers-survey">from marketing mechanics for ‘basic’ mobile phones to those for smartphones</a> offered new opportunities.</p> <p>Lastly, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/2715-will-facebook-s-engagement-advertisements-engage">the arrival of Facebook advertising</a> brought an innovative way to reach consumers. Each of these areas will continue to present new and interesting opportunities in 2016.</p> <h3>Personalisation</h3> <p>Batch and blast is finally falling by the wayside. It’s time to employ real personalisation and the automation that goes along with it to ultimately optimise customer interactions. </p> <p>Is your email welcome series a unique journey for each customer? With messages tailored to the actions the recipient has taken previously?</p> <p>Do you send a message to customers who have just bought to encourage them to review the product? Match their purchase with complementary items and send a 'thank you' and a suggestion? Or ask about their experience?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0750/Screen_Shot_2016-01-15_at_10.50.49.png" alt="" width="462" height="376"></p> <p>Shoppers tell you online what they are interested in, both explicitly in email preference information they’ve provided but also directly through their behaviour including purchase history and visited product pages.</p> <p>Be sure to use that information when communicating with them, be it about product ranges, price levels, or offers, in a relevant and engaging way.</p> <p>By continually testing the key aspects of your communication strategy – tone and content, level of communication, frequency – you’ll find the sweet spot for boosting your revenues while adding value to your customers.</p> <h3>Mobile</h3> <p>2016 is the year for getting mobile right, and it is no longer a matter of choice – your customers are there already.</p> <p>Recently, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66141-six-thoughts-on-google-s-mobile-friendly-search-announcement">Google announced</a> its decision to give a boost to mobile-friendly sites.</p> <p>And we all know that customers are increasingly using their phones to window shop, check prices from a store, or park items in a shopping basket for later.</p> <p>Mobile shopping experiences must be inviting, engaging and easy to transact through.</p> <p>Perhaps the biggest lesson for the new year: if you don’t sell a product people order daily or weekly (think pizza, coffee or groceries), don’t waste money developing an app.</p> <p>Your budget would be better spent optimising your website for mobile and mastering the latest in responsive design best practice to improve your customers’ overall user experience.</p> <h3>Social</h3> <p>Every year, we hear something new about social. So what will it be this year?</p> <p>With Facebook selling fewer ads at higher prices, a big advertising spend with the social network <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66346-is-there-a-facebook-ad-bubble">buys only a fraction of what it did a year ago</a>.</p> <p>That’s not to say social shouldn’t be part of your marketing strategy; just be sure it adds value. Your social media investment should build interest in your brand, attract shoppers to your site, and most importantly, retain them as customers. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0751/Screen_Shot_2016-01-15_at_11.01.39.png" alt="" width="363" height="357"></p> <p>Use your email subscription lists to better understand where and how to advertise on social media.</p> <p>Many social networks offer very powerful segmentation. If you see that a particular demographic is responding to a particular offer, target your social spend on that group of consumers.</p> <p>Then use that information to help refine your ecommerce messaging and segmentation. This will help you stretch your social media advertising budget much further.</p> <p>In 2016, we will see how well <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66989-twitter-s-buy-now-button-will-it-work/">social media buy buttons</a> on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram perform.</p> <p>Recent research indicates that <a href="http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/social-media-marketing/is-the-social-buy-button-poised-to-take-off/2766">one-third of UK shoppers (32%) are ready to make a purchase via social media</a>, so retailers should start to think about if and how to use it as part of a broader commerce strategy.</p> <p><em>There are many reasons to be excited and many strategies to consider for 2016, but the common thread should be consistency. </em></p> <p><em>Above all, deliver a great, consistent marketing experience that shows you really know your customers and what they want.</em> </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67225 2015-11-23T10:45:29+00:00 2015-11-23T10:45:29+00:00 International ecommerce: Four things to consider when venturing into foreign markets Ian Harris <p>One of the recession’s ‘silver linings’ was that it changed the ‘tunnel vision’ attitude many businesses can develop. </p> <p>The difficulties that arose as a result of this economic stagnation forced business to explore other opportunities – namely those abroad.</p> <p><img src="https://www.searchlaboratory.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web_1-2.jpg" alt="International e-commerce" width="324" height="279"></p> <p>Now that the economic situation looks a bit brighter at home, we wanted to revisit the research. We surveyed 500 senior decision-makers within large organisations to understand how they now prioritise their expansion budgets, and what they consider to be the main barriers for successful market entry. </p> <p>The overriding theme of the results was a sense of missed opportunity. The survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they are currently missing out on key global ecommerce opportunities.</p> <p>This statistic alone highlights that many UK businesses are still yet to fully explore the global opportunities an online presence can provide.</p> <p>It also highlights a potential dearth of information about how and why a business should engage in such markets. </p> <p>With the country looking forward to developing better, more profitable business offerings, a lack of information in such a key area may highlight the need for a more protracted, government-led emphasis on globalising UK ecommerce.</p> <p>The problem may, however, not be as dire as the figures suggest. 83% of respondents considered overseas expansion to be a new revenue stream. </p> <p>This means that although they might currently be engaged in ecommerce in overseas markets, they simply aren't getting the most out of their endeavours.</p> <p>So, how can businesses that have identified the potential in these markets then go on to take the next steps and ensure they're not missing out?</p> <p><em>Read on to find out, or for more on this topic read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65718-international-seo-a-beginner-s-skills-guide/"><em>International SEO: A beginner's skills guide</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66817-five-international-social-media-myths-debunked/"><em>Five international social media myths debunked</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66575-five-golden-rules-when-localising-for-international-ecommerce/"><em>Five golden rules when localising for international ecommerce</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66929-how-to-overcome-the-difficulties-of-copywriting-for-the-chinese-market/"><em>How to overcome the difficulties of copywriting for the Chinese market</em></a></li> </ul> <h3>Speak the same language as your customers</h3> <p>The study revealed that a large majority of UK businesses felt that they were failing to properly embrace digital business opportunities.</p> <p>While many businesses have certainly woken up to the digital opportunities available to them, many are still not adapting their marketing strategies country to country. </p> <p>Worryingly, 40% of the businesses we surveyed don’t think that communicating with customers in their native languages is important.</p> <p>This is despite the fact that three out of five of these businesses rely on up to 50% of their revenue from global markets. </p> <p>Studies have shown that failing to communicate in native languages can have a serious effect upon the trust consumers place with brands.</p> <p>However, translation doesn't just pertain to the direct translation of written content on your site. The content on your site should always be implemented with technical SEO best practice in mind.</p> <p>This could range from meta-tags and titles to more advanced technical recommendations. This should help you to develop fully optimised content on local domains, which will help increase rankings on your targeted keywords, but also give a better user experience.</p> <p>A native speaker’s cultural insight is also invaluable when moving into a new market. The nuances of a language and culture may not be immediately available to a second language translator but it is these small insights that will keep you ahead of the competition.</p> <p>For example, a native speaking French content consultant could reject content with sub-titles such as “Did You Know…?” for the French market.</p> <p>While acceptable in the UK, this could be perceived as condescending to French audiences, who would prefer something neutral such as “Additional Information” as a title.</p> <p><img src="https://www.searchlaboratory.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web_4.jpg" alt="International e-commerce" width="345" height="297"></p> <h3>Localise your site</h3> <p>It’s not just issues around translating content that can influence customer sentiment either, there are many other big factors to consider too, including your domain structure.</p> <p>87% of businesses stressed the importance of using a local website domain. </p> <p>Yet, many are still not implementing vital changes like this. In a country where 20% of the ecommerce market is through exports, with the majority in Europe, the need for specialised and tailored ecommerce presences in these markets is vital.</p> <p><img src="https://www.searchlaboratory.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web_5.jpg" alt="International e-commerce" width="291" height="251"></p> <p>You should also spend some time on specialising <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/seo-backlink-masterclass">your backlink profile</a> for each country, as this can have a big effect on the trust signals that Google places on your localised site.</p> <p>Your online marketing plan should include local PR, such as PR campaigns and events that will help build natural links to your site.</p> <p>Businesses should also implement a proactive quality link building campaign (brand mentions can be an effective tactic if your brand is already well known in the region) to get links from local sites.</p> <p>This two-pronged strategy should help indicate to both Google, and your customers, that you’re a trusted brand in the market.</p> <h3>Get your brand noticed</h3> <p>The usability and relevance of your website are vital to ensuring your audience's journey ends in a conversion – but you need to get them there first.</p> <p>In markets where you’re a new brand, you're competing with established businesses who know the market inside out. Often you may have to build yourself up from the bottom.</p> <p>To get noticed you have to get your name out there, which involves lots of relationship building with industry influencers.</p> <p>Communicating with these influencers (often journalists and bloggers) is easier if you use native speaking employees. Native speakers understand the market and can save you valuable time lost in research. </p> <p>Content promotion methods differ from country to country too.</p> <p>For example, while forums are generally considered bad practice in the UK, in China they are still hugely influential.</p> <p>Social media is becoming ever more important to brand recognition. In Europe and America, Facebook still dominates the social landscape.</p> <p>When looking at other large markets though, don’t be mistaken for thinking that it’s the be all and end all.</p> <p>In China, the platform's website is blocked, so usage is very low. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64625-weibos-wechat-renren-how-to-approach-social-marketing-in-china/">QZone and Weibo are the market leaders</a>, with the former boasting a profile for 99% of Chinese internet users. (For more on this topic, download Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/state-of-ecommerce-in-china/">State of Ecommerce in China Report</a>).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3607/starbucks_screenshot-blog-full.jpg" alt="" width="615" height="457"></p> <p>In Russia, VK (Vkontakte) has over five times as many daily users as Facebook. </p> <p>These platforms work in different ways, with users interacting differently on each site. You should research the habits and trends on these different platforms before <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66774-social-media-marketing-in-china-which-platforms-should-you-invest-in/">forming a social media strategy</a>.</p> <h3>Use paid platforms effectively</h3> <p>You may also choose to run paid campaigns along with your organic ones. As with organic channels, you will need to translate each campaign for each market.</p> <p>One of the mistakes that marketers often make is rolling out a successful campaign from one market across many others. </p> <p>Just because <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/ppc-training/">a PPC campaign</a> was successful in one country doesn't mean it will be in another.</p> <p>The structure and content of your ads in different markets should be based upon comprehensive research and testing in each market. Successful campaigns will have relevant messages and a tone that is in keeping with your market. </p> <p>Programmatic has also become much more important to many digital marketing strategies. 90% of stakeholders in Europe have said they plan to increase their visibility on the platform over the next 12 months.</p> <p>Effective use of programmatic is heavily reliant on the ability to analyse audience habits. It’s important, therefore, that you have good insight into the markets you’re entering.</p> <p>This insight covers a wide range of ideas, such as how your brand is perceived in a particular country and how programmatic campaigns in your industry have worked in the past. </p> <p>Looking at this, as well as the cultural attitudes and habits of your audience, should help you localise each campaign. </p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>The UK has the third biggest ecommerce market in the world. Considering the size of country and population, that’s quite an achievement.</p> <p>This indicates a market and consumers who are progressive, and global, in their thinking.</p> <p>Today, there are countless opportunities for businesses to expand overseas. UK business leaders should focus their efforts on tailoring their strategies to each market.</p> <p>If they present an accessible and relevant online presence to users, brands can reap all the rewards that globalisation offers.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67098 2015-10-30T13:58:39+00:00 2015-10-30T13:58:39+00:00 Boosting online revenue during Black Friday & Cyber Monday Georges Berzgal <p>For commerce marketers, the four-day sales weekend is a critical one to capitalise on.</p> <p>So to help you design a smart and efficient communication strategy for some of the busiest shopping days of the year, here are key tips to drive customer engagement and boost sales:</p> <h3>Create convenience </h3> <p>Consumers crave convenience. Remind them of any services you are offering during the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66890-how-to-make-black-friday-stand-out-in-the-longer-holiday-season">Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period</a> that will ease the stresses and strains of shopping.</p> <p>Anything from free gift-wrapping to delayed shipping options can be an additional reason to buy from you.</p> <p>Don’t forget to highlight basic information, such as return and exchange information and any in-store pickup or drop-off, to make the shopping experience as transparent as possible.</p> <h3>Implement an abandoned shopping basket strategy</h3> <p>If you don’t have an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63466-nine-case-studies-and-infographics-on-cart-abandonment-and-email-retargeting/">abandoned shopping cart email strategy</a> in place already, now is the time to implement a campaign to rescue revenue when shoppers stray.</p> <p>Basket abandonment rates are on the rise, so it is critical to successfully re-engage customers who have abandoned the order process.</p> <h3>Stand out with animation</h3> <p>If you want to stand out in a busy customer’s inbox, consider using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66303-where-to-find-and-create-your-own-brilliant-gifs/">animated GIFs</a>.</p> <p>Used effectively, they can make a shopper stop in their tracks and check out your email, and are a great substitute for videos that can bring a brand to life.</p> <h3>Offer customer-friendly promo codes </h3> <p>If your promo codes are within an image, your customers will either have to commit it to memory, or write it down to enter later on.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8447/best_practice3.png" alt="" width="337" height="204"></p> <p>That’s forcing the customer to do more work, unnecessarily. Make promo codes plain text – allowing for copying and pasting – and simple, so they’re easily remembered and easily shared.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic read: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66984-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-online-coupon-campaigns/">How to get the most out of your online coupon campaigns</a>.</em></p> <h3>Remail throughout the day, but change it up</h3> <p>Remailing to non-openeres can be an excellent way to drive sales and keep you front-of-mind for shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t send the same content or use identical subject lines, as this will only frustrate consumers.</p> <p>If you don’t have the resources to modify the email design, limit the repetition by changing the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63206-six-case-studies-and-an-infographic-on-how-to-write-effective-email-subject-lines/">subject line</a> and altering the pre-header copy. </p> <h3>Target first-time buyers</h3> <p>By effectively segmenting your audience according to previous shopping habits, you can tailor email content for each segment, maximising the likelihood of engagement from recipients.</p> <p>Build a segment of subscribers who have not purchased from you yet, and send them communication that is personalised and speaks to their needs.</p> <p>Consider offering first-time-buyer discounts as offers could be the push needed to get potential buyers to stop procrastinating and convert. </p> <p>Consumers will be receiving dozens of promotional emails about Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but only a few will cut through the noise: Those that are not sent with the ‘spray and pray’ method but are part of a shrewd and data-driven email marketing campaign.</p> <p>Commerce marketers must apply a more personal approach to email marketing, particularly during the frenzied shopping period when consumers are bombarded with promotional content.</p> <p>Emails that understand the shopper’s needs and are relevant and engaging will be the key to success. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67057 2015-10-26T15:25:00+00:00 2015-10-26T15:25:00+00:00 Three tips for improving mobile conversion rates Vebeka Guess <p>With more traffic shifting to mobile it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to work cross-functionally across creative and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/usability-user-experience/">user experience</a> design teams, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/content-marketing-web-mobile-social-media/">content marketing</a> teams, digital merchandizers, and optimization experts, as well as IT and commerce, to plan ways to improve mobile conversion rates.</p> <p>To see the significance of this, consider the following scenario.</p> <p>Suppose your average monthly traffic is 100m visitors per month and monthly revenue is $100m.</p> <p>If your average monthly mobile traffic is 40% of desktop, but your conversion rate on mobile is only 25% of the conversion rate on desktop (for instance 2% on desktop, 0.5% on mobile), and your average order value on mobile is only half that of desktop, you are missing a big growth opportunity.</p> <p>By increasing your mobile conversion conservatively from 0.5% to 0.75%, holding all other factors steady, you could increase your monthly revenue by almost 4% - close to $4m per month, or a $46m annual lift.</p> <p>So, how do you get this mobile conversion boost in your organization?</p> <h3> <strong>1.</strong> <strong>Customer experience matters</strong> </h3> <p>One of the biggest barriers to conversion on mobile is the same as on desktop: Confidence in the products or services you are offering.</p> <p>Since customers can’t physically touch or feel the product online or discuss options with a salesperson in the way they could in the store, it is important to provide as much visual detail as possible by allowing the customer to intuitively touch to zoom in on product details, view alternate angles, or watch a short video describing more about the product or services being offered.</p> <p>From data we've collected from retail customers we work with, we find there is a correlation between customers who zoom in on product details and increases in conversion for those customers, by 300% on average.</p> <p>There is a similar correlation in data between those who <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65071-online-video-for-ecommerce-what-type-of-content-should-you-create/">watch all or part of video</a> and increases in conversion for those customers by as much as 200% on average.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/8386/product_page_video-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>Yet, during an informal survey of mobile sites we found that many brands are not handling this challenge well.</p> <p>Typically, we would find high-quality product zoom and videos on desktop-optimized sites.</p> <p>However, on a brand’s mobile site we might instead find a “fake” zoom experience where the same product image simply takes up more of the mobile screen, presenting a low-quality, pixelated rendition of the product details, and no video at all.</p> <p>By experimenting with offering richer visual experiences on mobile, using dynamic rich media that is optimized for mobile devices, you may find a way to boost mobile conversion.</p> <h3> <strong>2.</strong> <strong>Identify areas of improvement</strong> </h3> <p>Let's look at how a few leading online businesses are solving this. The rich visual aspects of Vera Bradley’s mobile shopping experience is on par with desktop – offering multiple angles and views of each handbag, as well as high quality, touch-optimized, in-line zoom to view even the smallest details in fabric color and stitching.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8385/Screen_Shot_2015-10-26_at_15.18.12.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <p>You can watch the bags spin around in a 3D effect and even watch short video clips of happy people wearing them.</p> <p>On a mobile screen the image is not just downsized. It is re-cropped to keep the product as a prominent center of interest, and the image quality and performance is superb.</p> <p>Other e-retailers have similar features. Mothercare.com and chainreactioncycles.com both offer rich media viewing experiences with multiple images of their products shot from various angles with full photo-realistic, touch-optimized zoom on their <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63462-ecommerce-product-pages-where-to-place-30-elements-and-why/">product detail pages</a> viewed on mobile screens.</p> <p>Mobile optimized image rendering is done dynamically on the server and then cached, so mobile page load time remains fast.</p> <h3><strong>3. Evolve your experience and watch for improved results</strong></h3> <p>Modern content delivery systems are integrated with analytics, so it is easy to identify areas where you may be able to improve your mobile experience to drive improved conversion results.</p> <p>From there you can run a test to see whether mobile conversion does indeed rise with each improvement you make.</p> <p>For example, if you notice that your data shows a correlation to higher conversion rates when customers watch a video on your desktop-optimized site, but don’t yet have video on mobile, add video for a portion of your mobile site traffic and watch for improved results.</p> <p>You don't have to sacrifice mobile performance or budget to get this level of visual experience.</p> <p>Dynamic media technology enables device-optimized rich media delivery at scale – allowing user experience and ecommerce teams to design and deliver consistent viewing experiences to any screen.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66909 2015-09-10T09:29:00+01:00 2015-09-10T09:29:00+01:00 Hotels, beacons and the race to the bottom Martin Jordan <p>If you have been following Econsultancy recently, you will have borne witness to an increasing amount of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65361-ibeacons-the-hunt-for-stats">articles about beacons</a>.</p> <p>For those of you that may have missed it, beacons are a simple, elegant technology that uses the new Bluetooth low-energy protocol to transmit a unique identifier.</p> <p>Alongside a smartphone or similar, these can be used to determine your location, track your movements, or trigger an action based upon said location.</p> <h3>Uses in retail</h3> <p>Beacons originated as a technology designed by Apple to electronically welcome you into their ubiquitous stores through their Apple Store app.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/GCwMKln.jpg" alt="" width="615"></p> <p>By having these devices implanted in their stores, Apple was able to streamline the payment processes, push offers and track store usage with anyone who had the app enabled on their phone.</p> <p>The retail world is beginning to really herald the future of beacons, with many proclaiming that the number of deployed beacons will grow to more than 4bn worldwide by just 2018.</p> <p>In many ways I see this as a chance to make bricks and mortar stores relevant again, and not just click and collect operations for their online presences.</p> <p>Having the technology to promote to customers in a hyper-relevant way about the products they’re looking at, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66856-cross-selling-online-why-it-s-important-how-to-do-it">cross-sell</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66879-10-powerful-examples-of-upselling-online">upsell</a> at every point means that stores can begin to behave like a contemporary website and ‘relate’ to the customer.</p> <h3>Uses in hospitality</h3> <p>Beacons are becoming increasingly deployed in other sectors too, especially in hospitality where I believe it can be less about selling and more about providing a step-change in service.</p> <p>Beacons offer hoteliers an unparalleled opportunity to take their product, augment it with technology and automatically add a star to their current rating.</p> <p>The hotel General Manager can deliver a more meaningful, more personalised service to their guests, without adding layers of extra staff and administration.</p> <p>When you think about it, the hotel is still quite a dumb operation.</p> <p>Unless you’re an incredibly regular customer, the hotel likely knows very little about you other than your name, address and, if they’re lucky, your email address. Many hotel GMs will openly admit even this data can be ropey, with multiple duplicate entries in their CRM with Mickey Mouse email addresses akimbo.</p> <p>They don’t know your preferences, your allergies, your predilections or even what you look like. When you walk up to that reception, you’re as good as an alien. And if you came via an Online Travel Agent like Hotels.com, your loyalty likely lies with the OTA than the hotel brand.</p> <p>What chance does that hotel ever have of making you feel truly welcome and valued when the odds are stacked against them?</p> <p>It’s in solving this challenge that beacons come into their own.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6901/640px-MarinaBaySandsHotel-reception-20100730.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="428"></p> <p>Right now, if you’re a hotel brand, you’re probably contemplating an app (if you don’t already have one) but for all the reasons above, coupled with consumer apathy, there’s likely not going to be much take-up of it if you get one.</p> <p>Why? Well typically all you can offer the consumer is some nice promotions, quick booking of your hotels (only yours!) and potentially the ability to open their room with their phone, if you’re willing to shell out thousands on replacing all your door locks.</p> <p>Imagine if you could give the consumer a genuine reason to own your app. Something like a much better and more personalised service!</p> <p>Beacons can make this objective become a reality. With a modest and inexpensive beacon network deployed in your hotel, the potential is almost limitless in what you can offer the consumer.</p> <p>With an app and beacons deployed, you will know your guest has arrived as soon as they enter the car park. You will know what they look like, what their preferences are, where they’re from, what language they speak and so much more.</p> <p>As soon as they enter the hotel and commence using your facilities you learn so much more, all without either you or the customer lifting a finger.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/6902/front_desk-hotel-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="353"></p> <p>This sounds like a powerful proposition to the GM, however Beacons offer so much more potential.</p> <p>When you’re a resort property, beacons allow you to observe your guest’s movements in real time. You learn the facilities they consume, when they come and go from your property and the time and money they spend in your bars and restaurants.</p> <p>More specifically, you can learn the things they consume so you can better learn their preferences. Heck, with enough beacons deployed, you can map out their favourite table in the restaurant.</p> <p>With these two layers of data you have an unparalleled view of your customer and you can use advanced CRM and data tools to build up a picture of your customer base in a way not previously possible. Imagine the possibilities:</p> <ul> <li>Greet loyal or important guests seamlessly and personally with info from the app and beacons</li> <li>Manage guest feedback and prompt for reviews at appropriate junctures</li> <li>Advise your kitchen to stock up appropriately as an inbound guest group are Kosher only </li> </ul> <p>And for the guest, deliver them a seamless product offering driven by the app:</p> <ul> <li>No need to check in at a desk, with your required details in the app, it does it for you and “drops” the room key on your phone</li> <li>Your room is selected based on your expressed preferences and/or based on your previous stays</li> <li>Get loyalty perks without a loyalty scheme, handed to you as you need them. Walking past our coffee shop? Get a free coffee for booking direct…</li> <li>Sitting at Table 12 and running low on wine? Hit reorder on your app and a top up will be along shortly</li> <li>Allow them to grow loyalty, redeem benefits or even just purchase goods or services just by being there. No need for a card, a number or even to get your phone out your pocket, it’s all handled seamlessly.</li> <li>For high-service brands, you have an instant feedback loop to the hotel, ensuring your issues are dealt with promptly </li> </ul> <p>And the list goes on.</p> <h3>Better service</h3> <p>In short, what this technology allows more than anything is better service. Hoteliers can actually subtract front-of-house staff from the equation and deliver better services with less overheads.</p> <p>Luxury brands can give their concierge team a sixth-sense, a way to truly be at one with their guests and be at their beck and call, without having one staff member to each guest</p> <p>Taking this approach ensures that the consumer learns to embrace this technology. They will trust it and welcome it in their lives.</p> <p>However, what we as marketers have to resist is the rush to the bottom, the temptation to use beacons to just sell more services rather than actually make our guests feel more welcome.</p> <p>It is becoming all too easy to say “Welcome to our Hotel, have you tried our new Summer Menu?” or “I see you’re walking past our bar, it’s 3 for 2 on Budweiser.” Of course, channelling <em>relevant</em> offers is a great opportunity and not something that should be straight-out avoided.</p> <p>However, one must first give before one can take. And the big take from these devices is the apparent loss in privacy they bring. Once the consumer realises this, you could lose them quickly. And then you’re no further forward.</p> <p>If hotel marketing is to benefit from Beacons, then we need to be good with them and find the balance of improving experience, rather than over spamming with offers and promotions. When things just work to benefit the guest without them needing to act, then it will be embraced.</p> <p>Your guests want to feel at home, not preyed upon. They want to trust you, they want to be known. But on their terms. Let’s use technology for good and then everyone wins.</p> <p><em>If you are responsible for a terrific innovation in tech, then enter it into the Technology category at <a href="http://ecly.co/1L5KkCk">The Masters of Marketing</a> awards, brought to you by Econsultancy and Marketing Week (closing date September 23).</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66847 2015-08-24T09:25:00+01:00 2015-08-24T09:25:00+01:00 10 steps to email success at Christmas: part one Georges Berzgal <p>One of the most effective marketing tactics to turn Christmas shoppers into buyers is email because it enables brands to send a very focused, personalised message.</p> <p>Below are the key steps that commerce marketing teams should take with their email strategy to get organised for the most wonderful (and profitable) time of the year. </p> <h3><strong>Step 1: Looking back helps us look forward</strong></h3> <p>A great starting point is to review your performance and sales trends from last year.</p> <p>Keeping in mind that the Christmas season starts long before Christmas Day, a recommended starting point would be to look at activities between Black Friday and New Year’s (from 1 November to 4 January).</p> <p>Map out the messages that didn’t connect with customers and think about what could be changed to rectify that. The analysis should then be used to establish open, click and conversion benchmarks for this year’s campaigns. </p> <h3><strong>Step 2: Make a top line impression</strong></h3> <p>Having looked back at successful messages from last year, review the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66328-211-awesome-phrases-for-email-subject-lines-that-sell">email subject headers</a> that were used. What was their length? What was the type of tone; playful, promotional, elusive or a mix of these? Did the use of a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66043-email-subject-lines-the-best-words-emojis-to-boost-open-rates">special character</a> (from a snow flake to a heart) help performance?</p> <p>On the back of this, get together a small team to come up with at least five subject headers for each mailing planned for Christmas. All options can then be tested on a small scale to assess which one has the most potential.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0005/9002/Screen_Shot_2015-02-03_at_10.31.45.png" alt="" width="731" height="197"></p> <h3><strong>Step 3: Meet with partners in good time</strong></h3> <p>Meet with tech partners such as your Email Service Provider (ESP) in the summer/early autumn to discuss development schedules for the Christmas season. This will make sure that any new integrations, modifications to existing data transfers and other backend processes are resourced and sorted out in good time. </p> <p>Your ESP will be able to help streamline email production, deployment and data exchanges within the platform to ensure that you can get the best from your email programme.</p> <p>If you don’t have an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64167-basket-abandonment-emails-why-you-should-be-sending-them">abandoned shopping cart email</a> strategy in place already, now is the time to implement a campaign to rescue revenue when Christmas shoppers stray. </p> <h3><strong>Step 4: Audit forms to boost list growth</strong></h3> <p>The Christmas season will increase your in-store traffic, so making sure to encourage email sign-ups is vital.</p> <p>Create a centralised list of every form that collects email subscriptions to speed up potential troubleshooting during the most important time of the year. All these forms should be audited.</p> <p>In addition to checking the preference centre, opt-in form and unsubscribe form functionality, try to objectively consider whether the forms encourage customers to sign up. For example, if there are forms for mobile devices, do they render properly on screens and are they optimised so that data entry is straightforward for the consumer?</p> <p>It is worth featuring a pop-up email sign-up form on the website and using Facebook and Twitter to call out exclusive email offers that might tempt new subscribers. </p> <h3><strong>Step 5: Build the 2015 Christmas communication plan</strong></h3> <p>With these steps completed and lessons learnt from last year, a roadmap for holiday success can now be created.</p> <p>An example of a 2015 Holiday Communication Plan can be found in this <a href="http://mkto.bronto.com/rs/797-YXJ-932/images/2015-Holiday-Communication-Plan-Template_jd.xlsx">downloadable spreadsheet</a> and should include the following information: </p> <ul> <li>Send date</li> <li>Mailing name</li> <li>Day of week</li> <li>Subject line options</li> <li>Promotion information</li> <li>Segment to be mailed</li> <li>Goal, actual and difference for open, click and conversion rate</li> <li>Goal, actual and difference for revenue </li> </ul> <p>As part of the planning process, it is also worthwhile to prepare contingency approaches in case the Christmas campaign doesn’t yield expected results. This might include small alternatives like changing promotions from percentage off to pound discounts, or bigger alternatives such as different email creative. </p> <p>Want to discover steps six to 10 for Christmas email merriment? These will follow shortly, so watch this space...</p>