Tagged in: virtual reality

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E-commerce Marketing trends for 2017

Online shoppers are here to stay

It is already the fourth month of 2017. By now, the total number of internet users worldwide has reached 3.5 billion from which 40% have bought at least one thing online. Or in plain imagesnumbers, that means that at this moment there are more than 1.4 billion customers worldwide available to be attracted by the e-commerce players in the market. And those numbers are about to rise as marketers everywhere are doing everything they can to get the piece of the online shopping pie. As e-Commerce itself is rapidly growing, marketers are using all possible forms of marketing channels and techniques to stand up against the already large competition and get more customers to shop their brands. But this refining of the e-Commerce marketing is constantly making customers even harder to win.

It’s all about the user experience

As it grows, the market becomes more innovative increasingly technology friendly. With all those new means, like VR for example, not only that attract new customers, but they boost their engagement, creating an extraordinary user experiences. And customers really care about that.  Companies and brands working in line with behavioral trends and following the consumers instead the otherwise will easily succeed in their e-Commerce marketing planning. Knowing the customers, not only current but potential ones as well and integrating their behaviors into the planning will be beneficial for both sides. For example, knowing that nowadays 51% of Americans prefer online shopping rather than in-store — number that rises to 67% for Millennials and 56% for Gen Xers will help you in your further positioning if you’re delivering in the US market.

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The megatrends in e-Commerce

Looking at the numbers, one can easily conclude that brands without online stores are doomed to disappear. Starting from the fact that 2017’s customers owns at least 3 devices – smartphone, tablet, and computer, they expect quick, easy, and, above all, user friendly online shopping experience. So make this your starting point in the planning. Brands will need to be both aware of and benefit from the latest trends in ecommerce. To make it easier, we’ve identified several e-Commerce trends for 2017 to be taken into consideration in order brands to ensure both online and in-store sales growth.

  1. Be mobile friendly and advertise on Mobile: If you own a site that is not responsible for mobile devices, you’re wrong on so many levels. They are convenient and accessible making the customers addicted to them. So, if your customer is constantly holding a device, the chances they indexwill shop from it are really high. Some researchers show that 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. So, if you don’t own a responsive web site, you’ll be losing at least 70% of the visitors. True that mobile site doesn’t sound like a marketing tool, but if you think about advertising your products or services on Google or Social Medias, more than 0% of the traffic will be mobile device generated. PewInternet.org has researched the US population, concluding that two thirds have a mobile device and using it for the majority of their online searcher. 40% of the Americans abandon a slow loading website. While 74% of them return to mobile friendly websites, 67% were more likely to buy from a mobile friendly website. So, to conclude, making your website responsive, thus mobile friendly, will ultimately lead to more visits and necessarily to maximization of sales.

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  1. Content Marketing: It’s 2017, customers already hate advertisements and over 200 million of them have installed an ad blocker. No one wants to be spammed anymore. So now what? You pull out that king card and win those customers with content. There are many companies that already sell thanks to content marketing. Communication with audience in all possible ways will both cost you lower and generate you 3x as many leads. It is simple – people love to be consuming content and creating interesting, relevant and catchy content will definitely increase your traffic and help you in sales growth.
  1. Listening to the customers and understanding their journey: Let’s face it: if one user has a bad experience on your website, he might never come back. Or even worse, a word-of-mouth campaign those customers bring can mean a big failure for a brand. This makes the user experience (UX) of your website now more important than ever. Following and understanding the customer journey by using Google analytics or any other analytics tool available should become top priority for any brand. No one should afford loopholes in their websites since they will lead to sales drops. As Brian Solls in his new book X: The experience when business meets design says: “Experiences are more important than products now. In fact, experiences are products.” So a smart thing to do would be to surf your website as if you were a customer. Shop like you would do on any other site. See what works well and what doesn’t and figure out a way to make the annoying stuff easier.
  1. Consume the technology, engage with VR and AR: From day to day harder it gets to become a market leader. The competition is fierce and overwhelming. So earlier you vrstart investing in the futuristic marketing, the sooner you’ll stand out from the competition. And by futuristic marketing, we mean investing in the “next big thing” which right now is the Virtual and Augmented reality. Take PokemonGo for example. It became a massive viral hit last year. And the total amount of active VR users is forecasted to reach 171 million by next year. So the time is now, take this advantage and improve the eCommerce experience with VR. Make your product virtually presented so the online shopper experiences them as he is in your physical store. Yes it is an expensive cutting-edge of technology. And yes, if you can afford it, go for it and immerse your customers with and VR experience.

 

  1. Take what your customers give you with User generated content: The idea of motivating your customers to generate content for you has been ongoing for a while now. users-social-media-contentBut is not as easy as it sounds. A brand should really stand out to have its customers speak instead. Being relevant, unique or even funny are among the attributes a brand should have to trigger conversation from its customers. And believed or not, user generated content id 20% more influential than any other media but much harder to have. Increasing the conversation should be among top of the planning list for eCommerce strategy for this year. Especially when 70% of consumers consider product and brand recommendations from their social circles trustworthy and 46% trust online reviews posted by other customers. In comparison, only 10% trust banner ads on websites. So, ask your customer to post images from your products, give them a hash tag, give them coupon or small rewards and increase the conversation for better sales.
  1. Invest in Review Marketing and Social feedback: And by invest, we mean try really, really hard about this. Today you’ll win a customer based on the reviews. It’s pure psychology. People like to be a part of the pact. They believe s recommendation they receive from a close member or someone they trust. So, the right thing to do now is to have a small incentive investment in your current customers in order to gain new ones. It will ultimately pay off. Numbers say that almost 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews from other customers. So if we haven’t convinced you yet, these numbers should.
  1. Hire a professional Influencer: Influencer Marketing can really help you increase your reach and ultimately your sales, if you do it right. And the right way to do it is by knowing and finding the right influencers. Whichever platform you choose (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat or Instagram) they each have different influencers. And it is still human recommendation. Consider influencers as brand ambassadors. Have them say what you have to say instead of you and have them interact with a community that will eventually become your community. And if knowing that almost 74% of consumers use social media channels to make purchase decisions and the previously stated facts that they believe user recommendations over brand ones should motivate you enough. As soon as customers relate to your brand it will be much easier.

 

  1. Make your customers feel special with a Loyalty program: It is quite easy. Reward your current customers for their loyalty. Coupons or points for discounts on every purchase will make them really happy. At the same time it is quite a good trigger for other customers to become yours as well. Attract the “onetime shoppers”, intrigue the “browsing shoppers” and reward the “loyals” and you will definitely rise your online sales.

 

  1. Be everywhere. Use an Omni-Channel selling. You have an banner-building-b2b-omni-channel-commerce-platform2eCommerce site. Your online shop is seamless. But why restrict? Put your products everywhere, on all selling platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Jet, etc. This may seem like a contrary-marketing for you but you are wrong again. Multichannel shoppers do shop more often and they do spend over 3 times more than single-channel shoppers.

 

Other important marketing channels to focus your eCommerce in 2017:

  • Wallet payments
  • Triggered emails
  • Better & Free Return Shipping
  • On-Site Personalization
  • Social Media And Google Search Buy Buttons
  • Marketing automation
  • Non-robo response
  • Video marketing
  • Data driven from SEO
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Virtual Reality: You can’t help but say “WOW!”

Familiarity with VR

By now, you don’t have to be a tech geek to be familiar with Virtual Reality and its influence to modern living. But just in case, probably the shortest and simplest explanation about VR you’ll ever get is that Virtual Reality is a computer generated environment that enables you to experience a different reality.

How VR works

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By using several software technologies that generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations, combined with hardware devices (display screens, goggles and headsets), VR replicates a real environment, creating a certain imaginary setting. Through simulating a user’s physical presence in a given environment by looking around and moving around in it and enabling him to interact with the space, creating artificial sensory experiences like sight, touch, hearing it opens up a new, never before explored dimension of user experience.

By now, VR comes in several different forms to choose from – the cheap headsets that work with your phone or the much more expensive options that require a powerful PC or gaming console and some space to move around. Whichever you choose, the VR set will visually separate you from the space you are physically in and take you to the places you’ve always wanted to visit; it will engage you in a video game without moving from your couch or let you experience a movie as if you are part of it.

How can VR help in easier living?

Having all things in mind, the big question inevitably pops up: So, with such power, how can the VR help people in making their lives easier. Well…. It kinda does…

Architecture: Trends come to a time where architecture becomes virtual before it comes real. Nowadays, users can step inside a virtual building, look around in all directions, walk into rooms, climb stairs or even walk along the edges of an under-construction building. In design process, architects also use VR to visualize or choose the finishing options like wood, stone, marble, and bronze… In one word, users can explore any building around the world, inside or out, including the ones that don’t yet exist… This is both terrifying and extremely useful and practical at the same time, making it easier for the user to understand and have a clear image very quickly.

Health care and Medicine: Medical VR is an area with fascinating possibilities and its benefits are truly versatile. VR simulations can be an effective treatment for everything from intense pain to Alzheimer’s disease to arachnophobia to depression. How it works: basically, the worst pain can be eased by manipulating the human mind: the less you focus on pain, the easier it feels. Hence, swamping the brain with an overload of sensory inputs and distracting the patients from reality helps them with their pain.

Whoever has gone through a hospital experience, surely knows that it can be really stressful. Moreover, this can also be a mental burden, especially for small children who miss their parents, their friends or their home. Thus, VR can make hospitalized children feel like they’re at home.

There many other useful practices of VR such as watching or performing operations, relaxing chronic patients, meditation, rehabilitation and speeding up recovery for patients who survived a stroke or a traumatic brain injury, treatment for PTSD, etc. More recently, hospitals are using VR simulations to help war veterans reviving the traumatic events they’ve experienced, in order to understand their traumas and hopefully figure out a way to deal with it.

Art and History: Believe it or not, the Louvre is one of many museums providing a unique Virtual Experience tour. Becoming an enormously high-rising trend, more and more galleries and museums are using it and creating engaging and one-of-a-kind experience tours for their visitors. Whether being high resolution artworks, 360 degrees of panoramic painting views and full exhibits, journeys through ancient temples, reconstructed versions of archaeological sites, or imagery explanation of history and heritage – the VR can bring something to people that no longer exists, even reconstruct in its original form. This is making it possible for them to experience a favorite place over and over again, in an entirely different way.

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Gaming: Obviously, today video games are one of the main interests for VR. Especially that VR will give game designers the freedom to take gamers to previously unexperienced levels. Now that players can reach out and touch things or turn their head to look, instead of mastering a complex controller, a unique gaming experience and feeling as being inside of the game is possible for the first time in history.

Tourism and Lifestyle: Virtual tourism can be the next big thing. Thanks to VR now everybody could travel and visit Paris, Barcelona, New York… But why stop there? The possibilities are endless, we can conquer Mars, or even planets outside of our solar system. We can swim along whales at the bottom of the ocean, experience stampedes in the savannas, and climb the Himalayas, everything from the comfort of your home.  Whether watching a 360-degree video someone took, or experiencing a 3D generated simulation, you can now replace the real world with your dream place or destination of choice.

Education: Another great and very important advantage of VR is of course in education. berlin-1429878_1920Now, thanks to Virtual Reality students could take a class trip to ancient Rome, visit Verona to look at the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or try an open-heart surgery without any risks. This global distribution of VR content and access will undoubtedly influence a pedagogical shift as these new technologies spread out and become more available. Some forward-thinking educators are even using 3D printers to print their own customized HMDs with their technology students.

Are there any Social aspects of VR?

But, here comes the psychological question: How being “virtually present in an artificial environment” can improve social relations? At this point, the future of virtual reality is often publicized as a dystopian view of millions of people spending hours alone each day, with huge gadgets stuck to their face, enraptured by fantastical, imaginary worlds.

If we look the other way around, it is going to be millions of people spending time together with friends, family, colleagues, and new acquaintances, experiencing moments together no matter the physical distance between them. Or in other words, no matter where on the globe, you’ll be able to be in the same room as your friends or family.

As we speek, the social platforms are implementing the VR into their content management. Just yesterday Facebook launched the 360 degree video for Facebook Live, which will sooner or later enable all users of the social platform to create even more immersive real-time content, and is the the next step towards social in virtual reality.

So, what we’ve learned so far:

Having recently experienced an amazing HTC Vive in-person, VR is definitely integrating the physical and digital. It brings people into the same environment to hang out, while enjoying different activities. It is giving participants superpowers or putting them into even more fantastical, immersive environments, unable to experience IRL. While you’re in VR, you are completely separated from reality, which only confirms with the seeing is believing philosophy.

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We at Orange Interactive, are extremely proud to be part of the VR development, helping industries, social researches and bringing closer the new innovative technologies to people every day.

 

Marija Stardelova

Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology