e-commerce and retail – the next big thing?

Got to discussing the Next Big Thing in e-commerce with a friend yesterday.
Personally, I think the single user view is the next big ‘to do’, collating online and offline customer data could be a dealbreaker when it comes to targeting and personalisation. Online buying patterns might differ greatly from the offline brick and mortar shop purchases and the retailers need to find a way to collate those data sets, using the ‘digital passport’ or any other means.
To be effective, the marketing message needs to be consistent and carefully targeted across ALL channels. You might be missing huge opportunities, if your print marketing is different to your online, because you’re going on store purchases. Or if you’re segmenting, and marketing to, your online customers based on their online purchases (while they would only buy silver under £500 on your site, the same person might happily buy precious jewellery over £1,000 in your store).

My friend, a digital marketer herself, thinks that an even bigger shift to mobile devices, mainly tablets, is the one to look for. Any company adapted and prepared for that is going to win big (much scope for creative segmenting here as well). Recent data trends (via dotRising) seem to support that…

time will tell..

Fast pace of digital

Couple of talks at recent digital marketing events made me realise that we’re all scrambling hard to keep the pace. We were all happy to deploy our shiny new responsive sites, only to see bootstrap release v3, now it’s the mobile-first approach. Adaptive is the new responsive, twitter cards are already old hat, Facebook business pages go through yet another update. Not to mention all the new APIs for e-commerce and fulfillment. You’ve deployed the universal analytics but that’s not quite enough. Segmentation is the new black, and it all takes time to implement and adjust your digital offering to new approach, personalization and all. And why are you not on Vime??

It was refreshing to hear others admit honestly that they are also finding the pace challenging. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, that’s why we’re all in digital, right? Because it offers so much variety and adapts quickly to new times. But it does all make your head swirl. Just a bit :)

digital marketing trends

Strongly recommend Econsultancy and dotRising, two brilliant resources on digital marketing and the upcoming trends. They carry a wide selection of topics, with very good in-depth data driven analysis, as well as superb walk-throughs and examples from real campaigns.

Another regular read is TrendWatching, focused on new marketing approaches and strategy in general, not just digital. Their briefings give real insight into changing consumer trends, with very good implementation examples.

web apps and pinterest

A curious thing.. We are introducing probably an all-time-high of web apps onto the market these days, beautiful new apps, streamlining workflows, enabling collaboration, optimising processes and just about doing everything. At the same time we’re advising clients on how to effectively market through social media. In interwebs timescales, Pinterest has been around forever now.
So, why, when I want to pin a new great tool onto my ‘Tools/Apps’ Pinterest board, there are ‘no pinnable things on the page’? It would be so simple to include a little banner with logo or screen a short description? Campaign Monitor, PourOver, Marvel AppPeak, Solo, Buffer.. the list is endless.. Or do we not consider it priority?

meltdown and crisis management

Now and again there comes a day, when everything than can, just breaks. The bugs and errors pile up, or the whole data centre goes down, one frantic phone call follows another, getting to the bottom of issues among a circle of suppliers takes FOREVER, and nothing seems to be getting fixed. It’s called a ‘s**t day’, and it just comes from time to time, we work with computers, it just can’t be helped. Murphy’s law kicks in and one disaster attracts another, and there it goes.

Just hold on. Don’t panic. Keep your nerves in check, it WILL pass. Don’t have another coffee! Prioritize the problems, resolve what you can, beg with suppliers and trust that they’re doing everything to remedy the situation. Shout if they aren’t :) And slowly slowly it will all start falling into place. Talk to clients, pick up the phone and keep them informed, they will appreciate it. If they get impatient, remind them that none of it happened on purpose, and that you’re working hard to fix things. Hopefully they’ll understand, and if not, you’ve done your best. You will also learn a lot from this. A meltdown will show you all the holes you need to plug, the bugs and setup issues. You will fix all these things and everything will work better. Until next time ;)

product tank october (2)

At the October London Product Tank, one member of the audience asked the panelist ‘how do you know, if to improve the product, keep optimising, or just to scrap the whole project?’

I thought it was a good question, in terms of experience. I think, but it would be good to hear other people’s opinions, that it all boils down to gut feeling. If the product is underperforming, Jo Binding said, you can go back to initial stages, and re-assess the approach, evaluations, see where you’ve gone wrong and that might give you a hint of where to look to improve/fix. However, the decision to keep improving or scrap will at some point be down to your instincts. You will know if the product has enough potential, or you will know deep down that the chance has passed.

(And I’m not talking here about products that you knew from the beginning were wrong, and you were producing them as demanded by stakeholders)


product tank october

Interesting talk by Lee from @whatusersdo at London Product Tank, aptly titled: ‘data driven nonsense’.
Main point: focus on customer insight, rather than data insight, as data is incomplete, incremental and open to interpretation. Use any tool to find the REAL ‘why’: live chat, guerrilla usability tests, speak to customer service staff and to ‘real’ people.

Example given was of a park, with nice paved alleyways and one trodden path. Big data will tell you, that if you make an alleyway wider, then 2% more people will walk on it. But it will not tell you why people are ignoring your alleyways and going across on the beaten path. For that you need ‘real’ insight’.

Also, interesting stat, according to Lee: 67% of users who start a purchase journey on a smartphone, finish it on a desktop.

Estimote Beacons

Came across these today: estimote.com beacons (Real world context for your apps)

I think it’s one of these things that sneaks into the market, looking all cute, but has power to change the game in a major way. I am trying to see the practical application of these, but I think the potential is huge. Google analytics in real life. Indoor navigation. Targeted content in retail shops. It could just be the thing that will bridge the online and brick and mortar retail experiences. Rock on.