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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
Online Shopping

Online Shopping: Are You Addicted Yet?

The power of “add to basket” button

Generally when people browse retailers, or web pages that sell certain products or services want to have a buying option. Not having an e-commerce solution it’s a huge mistake. It’s 2017, a period where annoying shoppers by reminding them to visit a physical store is not considered cool, especially when shoppers love the online experience. How much ever sparkle and fun it adds to your pexels-photo-230544Saturday visiting a mall for shopping fares lower than online shopping where experience is concerned, the latter is far better, and doesn’t require leaving the house, office or the place of being at the moment!

Unless selling goods for old people, most retailers consider their customers as digital and contemporary. They like to have their options open and not waste too much time. They want to be able to quickly and easily look for what they want, find it and buy it. Online shopping not only is faster, better and much, much easier for them, it quickly becomes their only shopping option.

E-commerce will become a ‘traditional’ business, says Alibaba’s Chairman and former CEO, Jack Ma “We anticipate the birth of a re-imagined retail industry driven by the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.”

It’s in your phone, so you shop on the go
The “everywhere convenience” can easily create the first online shopping addiction. Shop wherever you are, whether in the office, at home, while waiting in the car for the lights to turn green, Online shoppingwhile lying on the beach or before going to bed at night. The Online shopping platforms are open 24×7. And for no-timers, this might be on the top of the why-shop-online list.

Addiction grows bigger knowing that a shopper, in online shopping model, has the power to compare prices from different sellers just in a matter of clicks. The freedom of choosing the best and most affordable product online, while saving time and energy is a blast!

It’s you and you only

Let’s say you are a tech freak or you really, really want to be the first to get the hands on some new or discounted item. Well, new arrivals or big discounts pull crowds in stores. This possibility makes online shopping a paradise if you hate crowds. Plus, nowadays online sales tend to have more significant discounts than offline ones. Take Black Friday and Cyber Monday for instance. So, no spending your precious time, no waiting in lines and no driving (so no traffic jams). It will only take a simple browsing and just a few clicks, whilst wearing your favorite pajamas. Maybe this crowd avoidance is the most obvious benefit to get you hooked on online shopping. Well, if not…

There’s everything online!

Were you thinking about green sunglasses? Bam! OEMFD40You found them online. You would even find better red ones. When shopping online, there are much more products and many more options. A thousand styles, color combinations and price ranges. Are you shopping for the whole family? No problem, it’s done in few tabs only. Instead of wandering around multiple stores you can choose from the variety of online products. You can easily shop at multiple stores at the same time. And even more important, online stores never close up! Payment is always available via your credit card, or yet more, there is pay-on-delivery option to pamper you even further.

No more Out-of-stock freak outs

How many times have you gone to the mall to buy some new clothes and your number or color was out of stock? Almost always in offline sales, all good products are gone in no time. But not online! If out of stock, you can still order it and receive it as soon as it becomes available again. Email subscription to your favorite online stores makes things even easier. You get notified of new arrivals, sales or products coming back in stock again. In short, there is a slight or no chance at all that you miss buying your favorite products online.

The addiction has grown bigger, right?

You have developed an everyday habit of revisiting several retailers to see if they have promotions, sales or new arrivals. There is always an opened tab of an online store or you have a full shopping cart in your browser, waiting for the “buy now” click. Your mailman has your cell phone number. And he’s calling on the weekly basis. You get carried away and shop from work. Almost all the websites you online shoppingvisit have ads and banners from your online stores. Your inbox is full of promotional emails, codes and discount newsletters. Discount or sale emails give you heebie-jeebies. You’ve learned your way and shop only from free shipping and free return stores. You’ve started receiving packages you forgot to order or something you ordered twice since you forgot to order it the first time. You get a bit depressed every time an item you want is “sold out” or hasn’t arrived on time and you “needed just that”. When your friends invite you to the mall, you quickly respond with “I can order that online.” You have more than one shopping mobile apps. And finally, you are stressed out every time an item that arrives is not as you’ve expected.

Well, face it; you might be addicted to online shopping. Congratulations.

 

Marija Stardelova                                                                                                                                              Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology

Travel planning

Sites and apps a traveler should use, like, NOW!

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Moving past January, it is time to start planning your next big travel. So many places, so little time, right. Well, let’s help you take the hassle out of your next travel with a few tech solutions. Choosing an app or a good travel website can be time-consuming, and we hope to be of help by providing you some of the best free travel apps and most useful travel related websites for 2017. Let’s make the where-to-go and where-to-stay a bit easier and maybe even flawless! From finding interesting and rarely explored routes, to finding the cheapest flights and accommodation, to helping you experience the cities like a local, these apps and websites we’ve chosen for you will ease out the planning and make your travel more enjoyable.

Flights, Planning and Travel routes

Planning can be a nightmare, but at the same time it’s challenging and fun; getting to know all those places, routes and flight combinations. Here are a few websites/apps to give you some ideas, insights and to ease your travel planning and costs.

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eDreams.net – is a flight generator, helping you to book your next vacation at lowest prices. Actually, it might be one of the best flight generators out there. How? The fast and really efficient website (and app as well) is getting the best deals and discounts from over 450 airlines showing you the cheapest, shortest and smartest option for flight tickets. You can easily choose flight options, companies and other services like great deals for hotels, cars or combo deals at best prices. The mobile app is fast and free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

rome2rio – this is one of the best online trip planning platforms out there, helping you discover how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, car and ferry. The website (and app ) calculates all the possible routes for your desired destination (or an entire trip), giving you options for different transportation combinations together with pricing and approximate time of arrival. Rome2Rio’s travel search engine contains route information from over 4,800 transport operators in over 158 countries. The website even provides accommodation, car hire and suggests things to do in the selected destination. The mobile app is easy-to-use, free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

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utrip – is a free and easy to use travel-planning platform providing travelers the greatest planning and traveling experience. The platform makes it easy for travelers to create their perfect trip quickly and in a matter of clicks, combining the best of both worlds-artificial intelligence and human experience. Having a vast travel database curated by local area experts the traveler can not only choose their destination but also their interest, budgets and traveling preferences. The powerful AI algorithm on the platform creates millions of potential combinations and possibilities for the travelers’ profile. This may include hotels, sites, activities and restaurants, creating a personalized day-by-day journey with maps. Unfortunately, this AWESOME platform still has limited places inboard. The mobile app is free, and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

Holiday pirates – pirates indeed, this platform offers amazing and unimaginable last minute offers. You can browse through the offered deals or start searching your own. It generates the cheapest accommodation and travel options and gives you last minute deals for the desired places. Its only fault is that the service is not enabled worldwide. You can only choose the deals originating in 11 countries. So, if you search deals from the UK, you’ll have to plan the trip to the UK first. The mobile app is also free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

Flightstats – as the name says, Flightstats is a global flight tracking platform. It provides flight status, tracker and sends flight alerts. You need to know the airline company and the flight number in order to get tracking. The platform also provides airport overview, shows the departures, arrivals, maps and tracking of airports. It’s a great tool for busy schedules, connection flights or if you have to wait for your friends arrival. Their app is also free of charge and you can download it for iPhone or Android.


Booking and Accommodation

If you decide not to use trip generator and go manually and book everything, after managing your transport, you’ll need to start planning your accommodation. From our experience, we have selected some of the best lodging apps and websites so that you get the most from your trip.

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Airbnb – In an era of aggregators, Airbnb became one of the best platforms for accommodation. Making you feel at home, staying at people’s homes or even with them can be a truly enriching cultural experience. Both the website and the mobile app are well organized, helping you find the perfect accommodation for your trip, based on your budget, preferences, and interests. You can browse through hosts’ feedback and you can also chat with them for any questions. From our experience, Airbnb is a great and quite affordable service for group travelers. Hosts are almost always very polite and helpful and if you’re up to it, they can make your trip local-like. The mobile app is free and you can download it for iPhone and Android.

Booking.com – unlike airbnb where you choose to stay in people’s homes, Booking.com offers you deals for hotels, hostels and rental apartments. The website (and mobile app as well) offers you great-value travel deals and place suggestion. But most importantly it has 1,138,034 properties worldwide. Most bookings are made with credit cards, but some venues do no mandate a credit card at the time of reservation – instead you can pay upon arrival. The Destination inspiration is also a cool option, which helps you find monthly destinations based on your preferences such as accommodation price, weather, and popularity. Unfortunately, hosts are not always responsive, since the emails do not go straight to them but through booking’s service, which might be a setback sometimes. The mobile apps are, however, free and you can download them by scanning their code on the website or on the following links: iPhone and Android.

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Kayak – is another well-organized travel generator, providing you with accommodation options concerning hotels and private rentals. The search is generated among hundreds of hotels at once, providing the best price. You can also choose to compare the Kayak offerings with other services like booking.com, hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline to make sure you receive the cheapest or best option. Moreover, Kayak includes a car rental generator engine, so that you don’t lose time in searching mobility options through separate car rental portals.The Kayak app is also free and can be downloaded for iPhone and Android.

Hotel Tonight – you just got notified you need to travel? No problem, because with the Hotel Tonight travel app you can book at the last moment since the site offers fantastic last-minute deals on great hotels. With downloading the app, which is, of course, free for both iPhone and Android, it’s easy for you to find a hotel at no time, even in the case of missed or canceled flights.


Getting around

Once you’ve booked everything and finally arrived at your destination, it is time to get around, experience the most out of the place you’ll stay in and more importantly not get lost. If you thought we would recommend Google maps now wait till we tell you it’s our second best app for the purpose.

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Maps.me – is the best choice of maps for your travel. It is the fastest, the most detailed completely offline search mobile app. Maps.me include the maps for the entire world (yes, even the smallest villages and islands) and not only maps – museums, restaurants, shopping malls – everything, literally everything!. The maps never freeze, you operate them smoothly zooming in and out, and with the GPS Positioning and compass, you can locate exactly where you are. The app also suggests features and points of interest. As soon as you download the app, for free for iPhone and Android, you download the maps of the places you’re about to visit, using your Wi-Fi connection and you start exploring completely Offline, saving money on roaming charges.

Google Maps – Everyone is already familiar with Google Maps, and the mobile app is considered one of the best navigation apps out there. It is another solution that also works great especially if you have saved places which are then easier to access with the suggested local transportation options. It works best when online, but you can also download some areas for offline use as well. If you don’t have it, get it here for iPhone and Android.

Uber – If you are not a fan of the public transportation and you don’t like spending time walking, there is another solution, usually cheaper than the local taxi. Again, on the platform of shared-economy apps, Uber is a ride-sharing app currently active in around 77 countries and 527 cities, making it the biggest car-sharing platform. The app enables you to easily request a ride giving you a choice of vehicle rates and fare quotes to choose. Even more convenient, you can connect with the selected driver, track the car’s location, and securely pay using a credit card. It is easier than looking for a taxi when abroad but more expensive than the public transport. Also, you can sign up for a ride, or you can become a driver yourself. The app is free for both iPhone and Android.

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Citymapper – called the Ultimate Transport app is specially designed for confusing cities! The app makes A to B trip planning easier with estimated time of arrival and including all transport types (subway, bus, rail, ferry, bike and car sharing). It is the best way to find and utilize public transportation. Citymapper is a great solution if you are a first-timer in a city and using the public transport. The app displays the arrival and departure schedules of all available transport means and what’s even better, you can add and subscribe to particular train or bus lines, and the app will send notifications when you need to get off.The app is available on the web and also free to download for iPhone and Android as well.


Where to go next

We’ve got you covered with the transport and getting out and about at your destination, now we get to the fun part! Want to try the local specialties, the best cuisine or just need a cup of extra tasty coffee? Or maybe you would like to go to a museum or an art gallery? Here is a selection of apps that will help you find the best places during your stay.

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Stay.com – The best way to experience a city is by taking suggestions from locals. And Stay.com has recommendations from locals neatly organized in custom tailored guides. Every traveler picks the city to travel and browses the previously created guides, exploring the best places to eat, drink, and have fun. It is the app for urban travelers, and its only flaw is that not all cities from the world are yet available, but the list grows daily. Download the iPhone and Android app for free.

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Trip advisor – is the biggest site for travel insights, reviews, and suggestions. It includes hotels, holiday rentals, things to do, restaurants and flights, but most important of all; it includes local picks, customer opinions and user rated experience. It will help you decide where you wanna grab something to eat based on the client reviews. It includes a wide range of guides, whether you want to choose a budget eats or a luxury one or you want to experience the local cuisine, culture and landmarks. Trip advisor is the largest and most popular web platform also serving all mobile platforms, so you can easily download it for free for iPhone, Android, Microsoft.

Google Trips – Well, it’s Google’s relatively new travel tool, helping travelers plan and organize their travels in all-in-one platform. From having all your reservation and confirmation numbers pulled from your Gmail or other inbox, to suggesting you must-visit places, to automatically discovering new sights, and tracking your travel info at all time. Google Trips also stores all the data offline, so you can access them at any time. So you don’t have much to do, the app does almost everything for you. You can download it for free, for iPhone and Android and enjoy your travel.

Guides by Lonely planet – the newest addition to the Lonely planet family, the Guides – is helping the ultimate travelers to get to know the destinations to the core directly from their mobile device. Whether you want to explore the best destinations or you want to know more about your next travel destination, Guides offers you useful tips and advice from on-the-ground experts making the Guides the ultimate travel resource. Get the iPhone and Android apps now for free and start exploring for your next trip!

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All photos via pexels.com

Foursquare – ultimately, but still imminent Foursquare is widely popular and most commonly used application for finding the best places in the area. Working online, you’re able to locate the coolest places the best food, nightlife, and entertainment in your area. And how do you know the places are good? Well from user check-ins and reviews. For years now users have been checking into places, posting photos of their food, drink or favorite places first via Foursquare itself and later via Swarm, making the app the best tool for discovering hidden places. It’s a must, and you better try not to forget using it on your next trip. Explore via your iPhone, Android or Windows for free.


There are of course many other apps and websites you can use for travel assistance, but this is our little selection. We’ve used them, and we’re quite happy with the provided experience. Don’t forget to snap everything from your trip, check in on Facebook and post the photos on Instagram as well, since no travel is ever complete without these two apps, right?

Feel free to tell us how you found our suggestions; if you liked us, we’d send you newer and better apps as they arrive.

 

Marija Stardelova                                                                                                                                   Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology