Saturday, April 24, 2010

I-Pad is A Game-Changer for Retailers:

One of the over-looked consequences of the I-Pad will be the impact on retail and e-commerce. I-Pad's digital dashboard, and mobility will enable retailers to make their dreams come true: Driving entertaining and informative content about their products in direct "engagement" with viewers - Viewers who may be existing customers, or potential new prospects. The merchandising of the I-Pad will motivate merchants to tap into digital technology in new and innovative ways.

Here are just a few ways that the I-Pad will be used at retail:

Catalogs: - Online version of print catalogs with embedded video and "browsing" incentives.

Personalization: - Product customization where customers will access and easily view an archive of fabrics, colors, and finishes, which will generate an increase in "special orders" helping retailers to manage inventory, without compromise to customer service.

Store Sales Support: Imagine the benefits for a store associate with access to product and customer data, and reviews, enhancing the ability to transact successfully away from the traditional register check-out.

Registries: The I-Pad will enable customers to register across broader categories and depth of inventory.

Testimonial Reviews: Customers will view online catalogs and e-commerce sites while connected to their Facebook community, ask for advice, and receive real-time testimonials from their "friends".

Story Selling: The I-Pad will enable a great number of artisan workshops, third world cooperatives, and makers with limited production to reach their customers and share the stories which make their products compelling. Social commerce will thrive on the I-Pad encouraging the further dis-intermediation of traditional distribution channels.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Free Delivery - Part 1: Social Retailing

Social Retailing will scale rapidly, beginning this year and accelerating in 2011, and 2012. Why? The consequences derived from the increasing influence from the FOUR C - Connectivity. Content, Community and Commerce. Watch as social network platforms enable "trust agents" to emerge representing small groups and large communities, now certain to influence and power the next-evolution in e-commerce..Expansion of social networking platforms will allow Twitter followers to organize quickly around a targeted call to action, linking the purchasing power of one, with many...enabling the group to maximize value from products and services, essentially "buying" products and services at the lowest costs for the most value.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

7 E-commerce Strategies Working Well

1. Use expanded descriptions, multiple product views to convey the real value of your products. You wouldn’t nail down shirts in a clothing store so why would you only offer one view of your products? This doesn’t have to use elaborate or expensive technology, multiple views, close-ups and live use photos can provide a lot of information other stores don’t bother to share.

2. Invite customer opinion with customer product reviews and real life testimonials. Consider adding customer comments as audio clips. Adding customers audio testimonials can be a simple as taping a phone conversation. (With permission of course) Using audio clips is simple, inexpensive and does not require technical expertise or expensive online tools. By itself an audio testimonial may not make the sale but it is a very effective tipping tool, helping to nudge reticent buyers over their hesitation and into a sale.

3. Offer relevant information that doesn’t sell. You heard me right, give people information for free without trying to sell them anything. Remember that the main reason people are online is to get information -period. That is the primary goal especially before they buy. Statistics show that the longer people stay on your website the more likely they are to buy from your store (even if they decide to buy at a brick and mortar store) Use an irresistible giveaway to capture emails of people not yet ready to buy and use your content to keep them engaged until they are ready.

You can write articles, give teleclasses, offer whitepapers, provide downloads, share interviews, recipes or helpful hints. Make sure the information is informative, entertaining and relevant to your customers rather than a veiled attempt to sell. People can smell hype a mile away and this is the kiss of death online. Always remember your competitors are only a click away.

4. Get into video. A brief welcome message that shares your value proposition can give s a call to action can engage visitors and move them down the buying path. Use videos to educate your visitors on product uses or assembly. Create a short comparing product features or demonstrate the product in use. Keep your videos short (under 3 minutes) and clear. Host your videos on public sites like Viddler or Youtube and post them on your website. Here are a few examples talking about connecting with your website visitors.

It might seem that video clips within product descriptions are a luxury but I foresee video product descriptions as being the norm within 5 years. According to Internet tracking firm comScore’s Video Metrix, Americans watched about 14.8 billion videos in January 2009, or roughly 101 videos per U.S. Internet user. Todays online shoppers are using alternate avenues like YouTube to research product. Get a jump on the competition by giving your online shoppers a bigger experience, not by lowering your prices.

5. Put a face on your store - people buy form people not computers. Yes they use the computer to do it but they want to know there are real people who will back up their purchases, especially with higher ticket items, or products they are not sure they need. This will become increasingly important in a slow economy because buyers are not as willing to risk a purchase if they feel their concerns will get lost in cyberspace.

Consider adding human pictures to your about us page. Include staff picks or reviews and encourage your employees to write on the blog, social media sites and to contribute articles. After all these are the people your virtual customers will interact with. Don’t hide behind a virtual storefront - don’t be afraid to let your customers get to know the people they are buying from.

6. Make sure your online store has a clear value proposition that speaks to your target market. This value statement must answer the question that is on your best customers mind; “Why should I buy form you over the other guys?” If your website cannot convey this critical piece of information then your visitors will definitely miss it. Your ideal customer should immediately recognize that they are in the perfect place when they land on your ecommerce site.

Many online stores resist crafting a clear value proposition that targets a particular type of customer for fear of alienating other visitors. Look at your statistics and you might see that you make most of your money from a niche group or groups. A clear value proposition targets these customers and tells them exactly why you are the best solution to their problem.

7. Use social media to establish relationships and get feedback. Believe it or not your customers are hanging out in communities online. No, you may not visit Facebook or Linked in but social media sites are doubling every year. They aren’t just for teenagers anymore. The purpose of social media sites is to share opinions and interests. Connect with target market through blogs, twitter, linked in, Facebook, Stumbleupon or any of the dozens of niche social media sites.

Your customers are having conversations with or without you so schedule in an hour a week to schmooze online. This is a way to make connections, not sales - keep it authentic , informative and reap the benefits of worldwide word of mouth referrals.

The way people buy has changed forever with internet ecommerce. The world is literally your marketplace and customers can live just about anywhere. Using just one of these suggestions could immediately increase your ecommerce store profits. Now imagine what implementing all 7 could do!

These simple ecommerce strategies can help your online store stand out in a digital world.closer to the source" more "directly", Value Up...Prices Down...Win Win....


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