Study: Trust is king – How, when and where consumers buy online

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Fair enough, it is only a US-based insight among some 2,000 online and mobile shoppers in July 2015. However, the message could be taken to any other market I guess these days…

The main factor for consumers to make a purchase decision, is trust. This is the finding from Amazon which conducted a study with Pymnts.com in order to understand, where consumers start their buying journey, why consumers buy from one site and leave the other one without making any purchase. Furthermore, the study states that price or ease of delivery are not the main features driving purchase decisions.

The US consumer needs trust in a site (23%) so that they purchase from some retailer. Oterh features that came in th next places were tailored promotions or rewards (16%), a good experience in the past (14%) or products being available in an acceptable time frame (13%).

Interestingly enough, other tactics like good shipping considerations (11%), preferred method of payment (8%), ease of use (6%), a site that recognizes me (4%), being a preferred customer (3%), being able to check out as a guest (1%) and store billing and shipping info (1%) came in much later in the ranking.

Pymnts 2015 - Why they buy

„You need a strategy that is about more than being present,“ he said. „You need a strategy that is about being present where your customers are because if you are not, then you are not being customer centric. There’s no such thing as a relationship without trust.“ (Patrick Gauthier, VP, Amazon Payments)

So, where does the consumer journey start? The study also found that almost every second out of three respondents (64%) start by searching for a product on a marketplace, followed by their favourite brand websites (48%), search engines (40%) and social media (29%).

Pymnts 2015 - Where they buy

„The ultimate digital destinations are driven by trust – trust that the sites have what they want to buy, trust that they will be given a fair price, trust that their goods will be delivered to them in a time frame that is relevant.“ Karen Webster, CEO, MPD

Just check your own habits and experience. What would you say makes you buy something from an online shop? We look forward to your comments…

Websites that teens love (Infographic)

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Are teens real trendsetters when it comes to using the latest online gig or social networks? Well, Niche gives some insights into the websites that 7.000 high school graduates in the U.S. were using lately.

Although many of us would have thought that Facebook is not the biggest hype for them any longer, the interactive infographic provided by Niche proves that 87% of the graduates are still happy with reading their news and being active on Facebook. Instagram makes up 66% and Twitter is used by 55%.

In terms of quick chat platforms, 72% use Facebook Messenger and 65% are active on Snapchat. Those platforms that are said to be the latest trend like YikYak and Whisper are not really getting big activity rates – 97% and 95% don’t use these platforms.

From a broadcasting point of view, it is interesting to see that YouTube, Netflix, and Pandora are the leading edge platforms whereas Hulu, Spotify and Beats like Amazon Prime are not yet their main interest spot.

PS: The interactive infographic with further info can be seen at Business Insider.

Websites Teens Niche 2014

Ratings, Retweets, Repins & Likes: Automated response creators = killers of insight creation?

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twitterview-2Some years ago, I have written about the Retweet button being the „killer of positive blog comments“. Over the years in many seminars and speeches, I have stressed the point that the ROI of the social web is not about generating high quantity in „thumbs up“ on Facebook or Retweets on Twitter, or anything automated that comes along with similar meaning.

Retweets, Repins & Co. are only of value for your business, if…
– you accept those automated response generators as the pillars of your ROI system.
– you are a marketer who builds their business on proving the capability of accelerating reach rather than relevance.
– you are a brand that struggles to understood the value of building a community-centric business.
Still: Are ratings as insightful as a written comment – be it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other community platform out there in the social web?

Yesterday, it became public through a post on TechCrunch that Facebook is testing out a system of openly displaying star-ratings on Pages. Will this be another killer of value creation?

I definitely agree that the Facebook „Like“ has become confusing, and in some way worthless. Many users just click on the Like button out of a pure and immediate emotion, nothing sustainable, lasting or resilient. Some are expressing their solidarity with it. Some are missing the dislike button, and click the Like button.

Do those automated responses tell us what they really feel? Do they tell us what people really think? Do they help us to evaluate our position? Fair enough, these automated response creators are some word-of-mouth catalysts. Well, I admit by adding these five star ratings, there is at least some specification in the differentiation of generating feedback.

Obviously, the new rating system puts Facebook in a different position and moves it more to the likes of Foursquare, Yelp and traditional trend shop systems. Furthermore, it allows users to be more concrete in defining their opinions. Users might get better orientation in why a coffee shop or a business or restaurant deserves to be tested.

Spotted by TechCrunch

Spotted by TechCrunch

But does it really help us? What is a 4.2 with twelve votes compared to a 4.9 what two people have build up? Do we know who gave the votings, and if these people have the same interest and preferences that we have got? Doesn’t orientation get even more confusing? What will we book on travel websites when there are less and less reviews and recommendations?

Spot On!
The 3 Rs of the social customer (ratings, reviews and recommendations) might make our lives interesting and exciting for new stuff. But maybe there is too much new trends and products out there to get our heads around. Maybe a real review or recommendation will sometimes help (one positive and one negative like Amazon does it already). Still, automated feedbacks -be it stars, RTs, Likes, etc.- are the least valuable insight creation generators on a relevance scale that helps defining internal and external social web ROI.

PS: If your managers are still happy when your numbers of Likes go up, be happy and tell them nothing about this post. If not, let’s discuss further how social networks should constitute in order to deliver deeper insights in the mindset of our customers.

Six Common Ecommerce SEO Mistakes

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Search PlayerIncorporating a strong SEO strategy into the design of an ecommerce website can greatly improve its chances of success. For an online shop to succeed, customers must be able to easily find it using a search engine. Whether you’re using an expensive SEO consultant or simply relying on a subscription ecommerce platform, you’ll want to take heed of the following common mistakes made by ecommerce websites.

1. Not Including Product Descriptions
High quality photos are essential for ecommerce websites, but if there is no accompanying description the product stands a low chance of being picked up by search engines. Be sure to add descriptions to each product in order to help give each product page an SEO boost. In addition to the description itself, the navigation, text, sidebar, and footer all count towards the final word count. With unique, descriptive content you can help market your wares while becoming more visible by the search engines.

2. Duplicating Product Descriptions
One common mistake that ecommerce sites make is copying the manufacturer’s product description word-for-word, usually in an attempt to avoid making mistake #1. While this will give you an accurate product description, it can work against you in the end. If your site uses the same manufacturer description, there’s a high chance that other rivals are doing the same. This creates the problem of duplicate content. Either rewrite the description, or add your own editorial underneath it. The same rule goes for listing your products on 3rd party sites such as Amazon or eBay. If you use the same content that appears on your website, you’ll run into the problem of duplicate content.

3. Lack of Related Content
Product descriptions are a mainstay of any ecommerce website, but they are not the only facet of ecommerce SEO to pay attention to. Many buyers are interested in finding out more about your products and company. Include information about your business’s history, along with shipping and return policies. Keeping a business blog is an easy way to rejuvenate your site with fresh content, as is opening up the site to customer reviews.

4. Using Non-Targeted URLs
You may have beautifully written unique content on your ecommerce site, but what about your URLs? If these are a jumble of letters and numbers it can not only be confusing for visitors, but it misses out on a chance to incorporate keywords into a clean, descriptive URL.

5. Not Targeting Content to Keywords
As you work on revising your content, it’s helpful to keep the keywords that your customers are typing into search engines in mind. These can be easily followed using analytics tools and are important for promoting the right terms for your audience. Keywords and search terms can also be incorporated into your off page SEO strategy. When you create content that links back to your main website, if it includes these same keywords it will draw in the type of readers who would be interested in your shop.

6. Not Using Robots.txt
Using the robots.txt file gives ecommerce website owners a way to give instructions to search engine spiders. This helps you make sure that you have control over which pages you wish to be indexed and which you don’t. For example, you can use robots.txt to block areas of the website with duplicate content, such as tags or archives. Not using this can hinder your SEO presence.

By avoiding these six common mistakes, you can improve your ecommerce website’s chances of standing out from the crowd online.

What kind of (big) data big web companies collect (Infographic)

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Data and online privacy is a big topic, especially in Germany where the National Security Agency (NSA) did their research without anyone knowing of it. While some people might be handling this issue from a legal perspective, many people use social networking without paying attention to what kind of data they might share with friends and foreigners. The latest Universal McCann Wave 6 study makes clear that people are quite superficial in handling their privacy on the Web. The question remains whether people have any idea of to what extent data might be collected.

The team from Baynote has published a great infographic which illustrates the privacy issues of the different platforms. Somehow, this might result in some scared faces, for some it might be just what they expected.

How about you? Does this scare you of? Is it impressive? Do you see challenges that social networking might cause for you in the future? Looking forward to getting your views on how and what kind of data Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Yahoo collect from you.

Infographic_Big_Brother

Study: Web economy expected to double in G20 by 2016

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We all know that the web economy is exploding at the moment in terms of activity and users. In the next four years the value of the web is expected to achieve a valuation sum growing from 2.7 to 4,2 trillion pounds. This means that the value of the web economy in the G20 countries is nearly going to double in the next four years.

The global web user base is expected to increase foe 1,9 to 3 million users by 2016 – almost half the world’s current population. All these findings are based on a new report commissioned by the Boston Consulting Group. Still, the report also states that there is at present no standard way of measuring the parts of web economy that is ‚digital‘.

Boston sees the growth in the evolution of the mobile web access as 80% are assumed to access the web via smart mobile phones. Thinking back to 2010, which is just about two years back, mobile internet access accounted for just over 4% of the G20 economies. The study makers claim that each household has an approximate valuation of 2,000 pounds worth of purchases online before buying.

Some more key conclusions from the study…



– Digital transformation is key for companies. Companies have to build their digital assets and reduce the digital liabilities that limit their ability to tap rich opportunities. People, processes, and organizational structures need to change and adapt them to the digital world.

– IBM forecasts 1 trillion devices to be connected to the Internet by 2015. This has an effect on the ways companies interact with customers and run their supply chains but also how traditional industries have to build their business.



- Companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google shape the Internet, in China this might be Baidu and Tencent or in Russia Yandex.

– The power of digital experience goes far more local in terms of impact on everyday life, reflecting economic, political, national characteristics and social influences specific to individual countries.

– The “Millennials” have different expectations as employees, consumers, and citizens. TheArab Spring protests and grass-roots “occupy” movements in the West are the most visible manifestations of the power of the Millennials to shape society and commerce.

Spot On!
Seeing the rapid economical and market changes, the intensity of competition will improve and increase. Companies and brands will need to plan more flexible in terms of their strategic approaches how to reach clients than in earlier years when long-term planning cycles were the common status. Today, it will be important to create an adaptive strategy planing and restructuring process.

PS. A challenge might be if evangelist entrepreneuers like this guy spread market distraction and confusion….

The 3 R’s of Social Consumers

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In the last weeks, I came across the same issue in many meetings with clients. Social consumers increase their use of Social Media and social networks to state their opinion about a company, brand or service. Sometimes to rate the way companies make use of Social Media, or how they engage with them in campaigns or branded social hubs. Sometimes to complain about incredible customer service, or the quality of products. Sometimes just to link or share some content piece that attracted their attention.

The input described above by consumers can be summarized under the 3R’s: ratings, reviews and recommendations. These 3 R’s will challenge companies and brands in the future. Companies know that they have to find a way to deal with all the content published, as well as to establish ways to make use of it in the context of their business.

Ratings
Years ago, we would have seen ratings on Amazon, eBay or rating platforms Ciao. Today, there are external and internal rating opportunities for customers. Most modern content management systems have implemented rating systems. Content and shopping pages have their 5-star systems, percentage scales or „thumbs-up-and-down“ to evaluate the quality of the content or product provided. Facebook, Twitter and other social sharing buttons act in the same way, reach out and distribute ratings to a wider audience to name just some options the social consumer has here.

Reviews
While the chance to find yourself as a brand in a Twitterstorm was low in the past, the tables have turned. Companies like H&M, Motrin or BMW have become victims of reviews in the last years. Whether through crowdsourcing or blogging, reviews could leverage or damage your business success in a day’s time. The question remains the same for brands. Most consumers don’t differentiate between the trusted and personal reviews. In which reviews can they trust, what not, and what could end in a brand nightmare? The list of review sites is long, the one of personal blogs, social networking accounts, etc. even longer, and getting intense the more people review their personal views. And then, organizations have to bear in mind that 97% of purchase decisions are based on digital experiences.

Recommendations
Probably, the most dynamic part of the 3R’s is the recommendations part. In social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn) people hint, share and forward quick opinions about a film, a hotel or a show in minutes – and forget about it. Companies and brands need to take a position on these recommendations, or clear up the damage as best as they can. Well, if they find them and have the processes, people and resources in place to react. Some recommendations are still in the stealth mode as of semantic detection issues, or as they are only shared within the social graph of a person. And some recommendations are not even recommendations. They get catalyzed through social banner opportunities with Googe Plus buttons inside Google ads or via recommended people of the personal social graph in Facebook ads. And some will stay invisible for brands – most offline spoken words.

Spot On!
The challenge for companies in the future will be to educate social consumers on their way to social purchase. Social consumers often don’t pay attention to who said what, their gender, habits, age and preferences. Customers tend to be affected by a negative scale although it may be positive. 97% is not 100%, 4 start is not 5 star, the last opinion that was the only one negative, and so on. Most consumers don’t check who or how many people have rated the hotel on tripadvisor or booking.com. So, what is better? One rating in the 100% range, or 5 ratings getting 95%? A review where companies can react and improve the quality of their service? Or a recommendation that they could use as a statement to their blog? In my eyes, we will need to have seal of quality buttons that tell people to be aware of the fact that the 3 R’s are a good orientation for quality but not the final truth. And marketers should think about the best alternative to straigthen and strengthen their brands whatever effective the 3 R’s might be for their business.

Would you agree…?

Web or App? Nielsen study knows usage time of Android smartphone users

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According to the latest findings of research firm Nielsen that tracks and analyses iOS and Android data, smartphone users spend twice as much time on applications than on mobile version of these websites. The study reveals also that –although there are millions of apps in the world- only „a very small proportion of apps make up the vast majority of time spent“.

The average Android smartphone user spends 56 minutes a day using apps and browsing the internet. Two-thirds of that time is usage of apps, the rest goes to mobile websites and 39% acccount for consumer app consumption. The study illustration below shows that mobile device owners spent almost half of their usage time on their top 10 favorite apps and 51% on their favorite 20 apps.

Let’s give it a guess… Probably most of the app usage of mobile device owners accounts for the following usage time: Checking email apps, Facebook, Foursquare or Gowalla, Twitter, and some of their favorite and coolest news or geeky gaming apps (very often used by their kids). And if you look at the top (free) list of apps you find Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook Mobile, Skype, Tiny Flashlight, Viber and Drag Racing amoungst others.

The study supports my own feeling that although we continue to download apps and spend (2010 per user: Android 1,97 USD, iPhone 21,22 USD), we only use most of them them periodically, and only a few continously if the give us permanent benefit in networking or staying up-to-date on news.

Well, the time will come when HTML5 might change the market situation and developers will have an easy time working with apps. Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader gives insights in what is possible with HTML5 for the mobile web.

Spot On!
The study does not really give an answer to the question yet, or can give a recommendation to management. Still, Seeing these numbers, just imagine the chances companies and brands have when launching a new app to get under the hiflyer apps in the smartphone user market. Ideally, think about the five strategic reason that could make your app successful and be aware of the fact that most brand apps fail.

Social Media Monitoring is becoming mature, SocialCRM it’s future…

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It seems to be the right time of the year. At the end of a quarter, companies are buying companies. Just look at how ebay grabed GSI Commerce yesterday. Suddenly the former number two in the retail industry is becoming a competitor for Amazon.

However, even more interesting for me was how quick the Social Media Monitoring (SMM) industry is becoming mature these days. The evolution started last year when the Attensity Group acquired Biz360

At a time when marketers realized the importance of social media monitoring but still have their internal issues with the listening and analysis technology, Social Media Monitoring will become a boost of awareness by the deals that happened this week. In one week we have two mergers… Meltwater, a social media monitoring provider, buys the Social CRM company named JitterJam. And today Salesforce, one of the leading CRM technology companies acquires Radian6, one of the top Social Media Monitoring providers which will give the „new“ companies the opportunity to become a leading supplier of SocialCRM in the future.

Alterian‚s James Eiloart, SVP Sales and Marketing Europe, gave me their feeback on the merger of their main competitor in the Social Media Monitoring arena…

„The purchase of Radian6 by Salesforce.com endorses the importance of the Social Media Monitoring market which we invested in 2 years ago when we acquired SM2/Techrigy, bringing this capability to mainstream marketers and highlighting these tools as something which all organisations need to embrace. However we also recognise it’s not just about the tools or access to tools, it is about having the skills to use them at the micro level, and also being able to use social media data at a macro level, in context of the broader marketing picture. This is why we acquired Intrepid last year who bring the Social Media Monitoring insight services and also consulting to help our partners and clients really use Social Media Monitoring to generate real value across the organisation.“

The micro and macro level will probably become the next challenge for marketers and business leaders. Identifying important communities and social influencers, or analyzing Social Media does only make sense if marketers understand how to answer the Social Media ROI question. And this is a question of understanding the value of conversations. Businesses are build upon these pillars and their ground will be the evolution and execution of SocialCRM which will speed up as a business topic now that these mergers are done.

Spot On!
Social Media Monitoring has become mature… and goes out to get married. Just some weeks ago, Gartner VP Michael Maoz predicted SocialCRM is taking holidays, the social media industry makes an interesting move towards aligning the best of breed from social media and CRM technology. The importance of the social media monitoring tools for the SocialCRM development becomes clear when listening to Forrester analyst William Bandt. He shows some real interesting examples of companies already making use of SocialCRM by showing the value for sales and marketing teams on targeting, acquisition, retention, insight and collaboration with customers.

Personal Scoring Index = The future of digital identity?

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Credits: Peter Kirchhoff / Pixelio.de

Three years ago, I was sitting together with a colleague in a coffee shop. It was snowing. We were watching the snowflakes falling down. We were talking some philosophy on how the future of individuality will look like ten years ahead, refering to the snow flakes and how their „individual dna“ changes the world around us into a new one we have never seen before.

Sure, we were not sure what the future will bring. However, that day we were realizing some critical development that people define themselves through blog posts (like our fathers did with books), reviews (Amazon and the likes), ratings (in communities and networks, not only social ones…), and comments on articles and posts on websites all over the world. We saw that CV’s might loose their relevance for job search as there was an option to recommend a person’s capabillities and intelligence just by checking their digital engagement, output – their digital DNA. The feeling that humanity and ethic values will have a massive effect on how people might be defined from the outside world was obvious to us. Just like „perfect“ snow flakes have somehow perfect formats than others. They have scored and thus indexed themselves as superior to the others.

Today, I know, see and read that scoring and indexing becomes a crucial part of our lives, our individuality, and our identity. Although it might just affect those who are really active social web users… for now. Still, the trend is alive. Platforms are tracking our digital footprints, our shopping behaviour like Blippy, our deepest desires, and try to predict our future purchase decision. The question is not whether we will continue to score value to our index, and/or if others will follow. It is more like… Will social pofiles, writing status updates, and sharing brain value enhance our individuality, and thus how will this influence our credibility? And who or which organization or association will be judging upon it? Or even more important, who will secure the validity of such an index process?

Just imagine we had some kind of trusted source or association that knows our scoring index on the personal likelihood of sharing some piece of information, the potential of reach and relevance? Ideas, news, rumors, and visions around brands, products and services would be addressed to that person via a newly-created trust agency. Agencies and brands would be much more interested in the long-tail ad market, in bloggers or in social medians in general. Artifical user reach would be shifting to real personal relevance. Brand intensity could be enlarged by user credibility. If the users voluntarily share their believe in brands, products and companies. But is this realistic? It must be, or how could Facebook pages have become so important for some of us? We love to score, define and index ourselves via the social web. And personal search engines like 123people or yasni are just two examples of possible scoring index platforms that undermine our aasumptions.

Obviously the social web will be changing into a pervasive web which people need to be aware of (and understand). Semantic impact needs to evolve, become a trustworty basis for credible metric which people could rely upon. And how does the amout of time invested in web engagement pay into the credit of our professional individuality? Is less more, or more less? How will Google change it’s algorithm and thereby the impact on our personal scoring index? Should we invest in Facebook, Diaspora or on Path (which by its definition may become the real base for our personal brandvangelism). And just think about the possibilities if you can match the personal index in a room via mobile and augmented reality tools? There will be no way around a personal web manager controling, checking and optimizing your personal branding in the future. Don’t you think?

“Like Larry Page and Sergey Brin changed the way websites are measured with their Pagerank, reputation scores will change the way people will be treated in the future. Reputation scores will change the classical customer relationship management as it was done bei companies in the past and will enable them to identify opinion leaders within their customers and attract them with special offers and treatment in order to use them as evangelists for their products. Knowing who the most valuable peers are provides marketing experts a complete new angle of doing campaigns – offline and online,” says Marcel Hollerbach, CEO of SiRANK (…a company that is working on a business model on indexing people’s reputation).

I am just waiting that there will be a platform that aggregates all the data that we leave as score data on the web, and that this platform then indexes us. Or is that a threat? Already becoming reality when we look at Klout, the first personal scoring index? Or is it just an assessment of social media influence?

Today, the snow flakes keep falling down…. Many of us have built an intense relationship on the basis of sharing and matching our most inner brain credentials. We work on our personal scoring index and hope whenever we need to differentiate ourselves from others, our social graph can enrich our digital identity.

Definition „Personal Scoring Index“: Unique individual selling proposition based on scores humans achieve during their lifetime via i.e. school, university, business, hard knowledge skills & qualification, soft personal identification skills & personal network.

Do you still wonder if and in which way some format of Personal Scoring Index (PSI) could become alive…?

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