Saturday, May 28, 2011

21st Century Retailing: Demand drives Supply

Social retailing, will grow rapidly. Social network platforms will act as an "agent" on behalf of small groups and large communities, now certain to influence and power the next-evolution in e-commerce..Expansion of social networking platforms will allow 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" on behalf of the group. The number of physical retail stores or "doors" as they are called will lessen as a competitive advantage beginning in 2012. Smart retailers will "crowdsource" the interest of their customers and re-invent "custom" shopping, making products to meet the demand. Demand will drive supply.

6 E-commerce Strategies for Standing out in a Digital World.

1. Think and Act like a Storyteller: Create stories on your products and testimonials on your services.

2. Engage and Encourage Forums and Comments: Invite the customer to sit down at the dinner table. Consider adding customer comments as audio clips. Adding customers audio testimonials can be a simple as taping a phone conversation. Using audio clips is simple, inexpensive and does not require technical expertise or expensive online tools.

3. Spell out the Details: Stay Transparent with Policies. Remember that the main reason people are online is to get information -period. That is the primary goal especially before they buy. Share statistics, create charts, show maps, disclose sources, and keep prospective customers on your site or platform.

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. Video Rules: Share your branding message with short video snapshots. 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.

5. Place an Image on Your Brand - People are incredibly influenced by creative typographic design. Invest and Upgrade. The online space is as sensitive to graphic identity as in printed space. Cultivate your digital image and build consistency.

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. Social Media is the Media: Customers are moving into groups, sub-groups, and communities of shared interests. Hang out there. are hanging out in communities online. 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. Lets get to work.


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