Author: May Arevalo

Marketing Specialist

The Definitive Guide to Creating a Solid Product Page

Woman looking at desktop

The Definitive Guide to Creating a Solid Product Page

The product page is where consumers land after a Google search, or clicking on an ad or a link on social media. In a typical customer journey map or marketing funnel, consumers who visit your product page are usually in the final leg of their purchase journey or decision-making stage. This makes the product page your most valuable conversion tool. As Marketing Land’s Andrew Waber puts it, “Product pages are the new packaging.”

The question now is what kind of welcome did you prepare consumers for after their long journey? Have you done enough to persuade them to perform your desired task (e.g. contact, purchase, subscribe, renew, etc.)?

If your marketing and sales goal is to eventually convert visitors into customers and then turn existing ones into advocates, what types of information should your product page have?

Elements of a high-converting product page

Although a universal template for product pages doesn’t exist, you could get an idea from e-marketer as to what elements resonate well with consumers. According to their findings, images, descriptions/specs and reviews are the top three elements consumers are looking for in a product page:

Product Detail Page Features

Let’s look at these elements in detail:

Images/photos

The socialmediatoday compilation “14 Visual Content Marketing Statistics to Know for 2019” reveals that out of all visual materials, marketers use original graphics (37%) and stock photography (40%) the most:

Most Frequently Used Visuals

The same study shows that original graphics (40%) draw the most engagement:

Best Performing Visuals Format

It’s clear that consumers prefer custom and well-thought-out images over stock photography. Content Marketing Institute’s Buddy  Scalera advices, “Don’t use stock images on your branded website. Stock photos are cheap and easy, hence tempting. Do not be tempted by cheap and easy.” This is especially true for product pages that are expected to feature original products.  In order to make your images work harder for you, follow these best practices:

  • Present products from a variety of angles. Recreate the experience of picking up a product in-store and twirling it around for inspection. If you’re selling shoes, for example, remember that your consumers rely on your presentation to help them get a feel for a product. If possible, get a shot of all angles (or five to eight images as per a 2019 Marketing Land survey) and give consumers the feeling of not leaving any stone unturned. Observe how Lacoste did it:  

White LaCoste Sneaker

⦁ Provide a sense of scale. Help consumers gauge the size of the product by displaying it against another or placing it in actual situations. This is especially important if you’re in the furniture business. A first-time bed shopper, for example, might not know the difference between queen and king size beds without illustrations. In terms of giving a sense of scale, take a page out of Casper’s mattress size comparison guide:

How Mattresses measure up

⦁ Transmit scent and taste. Activate the consumers’ memory of what something smells and tastes like using creativity with color psychology (although a digital scent player is in existence). Help consumers smell and taste your product just by using their eyes. In Colors that Influence Food Sales, the color white connotes clean, while green denotes healthy and brown signifies natural. This Campina goat cheese page used all three of those colors to successfully communicate what their goat cheese is all about, which is probably why it’s nominated on awwwards.

Goat Cheese

⦁  Capture texture. Convey more information about your product using texture. Show consumers what it’s like to touch and feel your product using zoom and 360-degree view. In this Amazon bath towel page, the image zooms into the details of the product as users mouse over it – effectively communicating its degree of softness.

As an added value, you can also support your product page with videos. Consumers simply love watching videos and they demand brands to produce more.

  • 54% of customers want more videos from brands they support
  • 72% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product or service
  • 74% of consumers who watched an explainer video subsequently bought the product

Vat19 is an example of a brand that relies heavily on video on their product pages to sell. Their goal is to have consumers experience the product on the page – and it’s working!

Mystery Box Video

Descriptions/Specs

With 85% of consumers conducting online research before making a purchase, ensure that they get what they’re looking for – and more – once they land on your product page. What are they looking for? Consumers are looking for accurate information. According to Neustar’s research “What Erodes Trust in Digital Brands”, the top reason why consumers distrust a website is inaccuracy.

Perceptions about trustworthy websites

Consumers are also looking for complete information. According to Episerver’s “Why 92% of shoppers abandon online purchases”, 98% of shoppers don’t transact on a purchase because of incomplete and incorrect content.

Beyond the standard title, description, specs, price and call to action requirement, what should your product page have to get consumers to buy?

According to Meaningful Brands® 2019 study, 77% of brands could disappear today and consumers wouldn’t care. On the flipside, brands (such as Google, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, etc.) who convey meaning and are perceived as making the world a better place:

  •  Outperform the stock market by 134%
  • Multiply their share of wallet by nine
  • Experience greater returns on KPIs

This means that consumers are expecting brands to deliver content with personal and collective benefits. How does this translate into the product page’s description/spec section? Let’s take a look at how Method does it on their page:

The product name “Dryer Sheets” immediately conveys the benefit. Followed by “Are your clothes getting too clingy?”, the copy goes directly to the consumers’ exact pain point. “We hate when that happens, too” is a statement of empathy. Then it goes on to provide the solution to the problem, inform consumers that they’re eco-friendly and then make a play to the imagination by writing, “We tamed the zing of ginger…
If you scroll down, you’ll find that they also provide the ingredients and what those chemicals do.
Ingredient List

For transparency, they also provided information where consumers could go or who to contact should they have more questions – effectively conveying accountability.

Product reviews (from customers)

According to the white paper “The Growing Power of Reviews“, 97% of consumers read product reviews with 85% looking out for negative reviews before making a purchase. Today’s consumers are brand-wary preferring to hear from fellow consumers as to their experience with a product or service.
Depending on your branding and strategy, you can make the review section of your product page fun just like Old Spice:

The brand didn’t need to entice customers with gimmicks and contests to make them leave ratings and comments. It’s the creative and branding concept that carried the page. Not only did Old Spice make it easier for customers to give ratings by using stars (with numeric equivalent), they also made customers feel good by using amusing made-up terms such as “Awesomabilities” and “Smellgoodedness”. On top of that, they actively responded to comments with comical lines such as, “It’s like we were meant to be! From one Oldspicer to another, thanks for being manly with us.

Where to start in creating a solid product page?

It all starts with managing your product data. Putting all the above-mentioned elements together in a page is no small feat especially if you are dealing with volumes of product data and teams scattered across the globe working with disparate systems. If the number one pet peeve of consumers on product pages is inaccuracy, address it by leveraging the right technology, such as a Product Information Management (PIM) solution, to consolidate all your product content, giving people access to it anytime, anywhere. It’s only then that you can start cleansing, enriching and sharing product information that is accurate, complete, consistent and relevant across all channels.

Omnichannel Isn’t Dead, It’s Evolved

Online purchase

When people say “omnichannel is dead”, they could be referring to its earlier form in which the concept of having a seamless physical and digital shop was still somewhat abstract. Meaning, back then businesses went ahead and bombarded consumers with a variety of engagement and shopping options for ubiquity — a.k.a app creation social media strategy — without substantial consumer insight. 

But as data, which has captured consumer behavior, accumulate and technologies such as AR and AI progress, omnichannel is transforming from a channel-centric into a truly customer-centric activity, where technologies are employed strategically or according to the revealed and expressed consumer behaviors and expectations across channels.

Why filter out the noise and pursue omnichannel maturity? Because as revealed by a study of 46,000 shoppers, today’s as well as tomorrow’s consumers are omnichannel shoppers:

  • 7% Online-only 
  • 20% Store-only
  • 73% Multiple channel or omnichannel 

When consumers are married to their screens

… it’s an invitation for you to treat them to great content and a remarkable shopping experience.

As consumer screen time increases (79% report an increase in the past five years), so do your communication and engagement opportunities. You can even talk to consumers (and vice versa) the moment they wake up, as according to TechTimes, 46% check their phones before getting out of bed.

What’s more, you can communicate with them not just through one device, not just two, but several, because  switching between at least three devices is the daily batting average of 90% of consumers. 

Because of this trend, 84% of marketers believe that having a comprehensive cross-device strategy is now a must in order to successfully convert these consumers into customers.

Here are other notable screen time (particularly smartphone and shopping-related) numbers:

  • 71% of shoppers believe that smartphone usage in-store is an important part of the experience
  • 56% of consumers use their mobile device for product research at home
  • 38% perform inventory availability check on their way to a store  
  • 58% continue their product research in-store

One actionable insight from these numbers for store owners is Wi-Fi provision. Why? For today’s smartphone addicted generation it should be a basic provision, plus with great content, you could actually leverage your visitors’ phones as your savviest sales associate. Also, according to a Displaydata/Planet Retail RNG report, nearly half of consumers (42%) tag lack of in-store Wi-Fi as poor experience. 

When consumers are showing you where the money is

… they’re willing to give it to you in exchange for something.

What’s great about today’s consumers is how proactive they are in letting brands know — and the rest of the world, too — how upset or pleased they are with an experience. 

And it’s usually companies with omnichannel strategies that please consumers. According to V12, these companies enjoy:

  • Retention – 89% of customers are retained by companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies
  • Loyalty – 51% will be loyal to retailers with consistent service and experience

The survey also asked consumers, 

Do you notice when you get a different experience from the same retailer when you shop with them through different ways, for example, either between online and in-store, between stores or between a call center and store?” 

And 61% said that they do.

So, aside from consistency, what are consumers asking for? As per BRP some of the most common items in the omnichannel shopper wish list include:

  • 62% availability of product reviews and ratings
  • 64% recognition and personalization based on saved purchase history and personal preferences
  • 73% ability to track orders across touch points 
  • 68% automated returns process

Delivery and pickup options are also popular:

  • 50% free delivery 
  • 73% in-store pickup

A preview of the omnichannel of the future with AR and AI-voice

Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that omnichannel is “evolving” rather than it’s “evolved”, because new and innovative ways to shop will be introduced to the market as technology progresses. 

A recent example is Honda’s Dream Drive program, in which drivers are encouraged to use the car’s connected dashboard not just to navigate, get entertained, but also make purchases. To pull this off, Honda is partnering with various retailers and content providers. 

[Source: Honda]

AR

Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) is an emerging trillion dollar industry. Leading the way in the furniture industry is IKEA with its Place AR app:

[Source: IKEA]

Never before in history has furniture shopping been this fun, educational and convenient!

Mastercard is also getting in the AR shopping scene with physical trait recognition, instant information, personalized recommendations and secure and seamless payments offerings in-store using ODG’s R-9 smartglasses. 

[Source: Mastercard]

The medical/education industry is also in on the game powered by Microsoft HoloLens. Learning anatomy will never be as engaging, safe, ethical and effective as with interactive holograms.

[Source: Case]

AI-Powered Voice Technology

This year, 2019, the voice recognition market is pegged at $601 million, but by 2022 it’s projected to reach $40 billion. Still in their young days, Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod are presently sitting, listening and learning in 32% of American homes. Pretty soon voice assistant technologies such as Amazon Alexa for Business, Microsoft Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise, Google Assistant and IBM Watson Assistant would be a fixture in call centers, self-service systems and brick-and-mortar stores. 

[Source: Amazon]

[Source: Microsoft]

Omnichannel customer experience is the future of retail and commerce. Perhaps it’s time to kill off the idea that omnichannel will ever die, as evidenced by emerging technologies and their power to bring even the craziest ideas to life, and just focus on providing consumers with consistent A-grade offerings across all channels. 

 

5 Practical Tips to Improve Your Data Quality

People looking at mountains

5 Practical Tips to Improve Your Data Quality

Data quality describes how well your data is able to serve its defined purpose, generally measured in terms of validity, accuracy, consistency, completeness and relevance. In other words, businesses know they have high-quality data when they are able to use it effectively to determine key business decisions. Data is considered “bad” or of “poor quality” when it’s inaccurate, which, unfortunately, is the norm rather than the exception in various industries.

The state of data quality report reveals:

  • 33% of organizations believe they have a lot of bad data
  • 49% point to human error as the main cause of data inaccuracies
  • 89% of the C-suite admit bad data hurt their ability to provide excellent CX

In the United States, bad data cost the economy a whopping $3.1 trillion a year, while organizations’ annual loss on average is at $15 million.

If you’re also experiencing losses due to bad data, here are five tried-and-true tips to help you improve it:

Streamline your approach

Look at how data is collected, processed, stored, consumed and distributed to come up with a streamlined approach. You can choose to work with your existing setups, get completely new ones or create a hybrid solution. The idea is to come up with one that provides visibility into your data, the level of quality, its processes and ownership of said data.

Break down data silos

Having different and separate data silos discourages collaboration between internal and external stakeholders. This can be solved by having a central data repository where users and workflows are defined, and processes and progress are visible. This ensures you’re working with a single source of truth and not multiple sets of the same data.

Automate data onboarding

Building on the previous point, having vast amounts of data in different silos can lead to inaccuracy of published content, which leads to a poor customer experience. To bridge the gap among these silos, companies need to automatically onboard product information from legacy systems, data pools, suppliers, third-party content aggregators and other sources quickly and efficiently. This eliminates errors caused by manual entry and maintenance.

Enforce product data quality checks

Manual quality checks and maintenance is not efficient for large volumes of data. You need to set up data cleansing, standardization, normalization, classification and categorization rules to transform your data so that it is accurate, complete, consistent and up-to-date.

Utilize a version control system

Track and manage all versions of a dataset to create a seamless audit trail for full traceability. With this, you can get rid of redundancies and duplicates to ensure up-to-date, audit-compliant information at all times.

5 Ways PIM Ensures Faster Time-to-Market

woman at the finish line

5 Ways PIM Ensures Faster Time-to-Market

It’s common knowledge that the later you launch your new product, the more opportunities, revenue and profits you squander to your competitors. If you’re struggling to get your product to market, you’re not alone. Approximately 79% of new products fail to make it to market on time.

Time-to-market (TTM), typically in commerce, refers to the length of time it takes a product — from inception to sale — to be available for market consumption.

With more than 25% of total revenue and profits across industries coming from successful new product launches, it is not enough that you launch on time. To remain competitive, you must do so faster and more frequently.

So, where does the problem lie? Why does it take so long to launch a new product?

A major stumbling block to launching products on time is inefficiency, due to:

  • Decentralized processes and systems
  • Siloed product information and digital assets
  • Incapacity to curate or receive consumer-facing information
  • Inability to collaborate between business teams and partners

When your business operates in silos and takes a manual approach to onboarding, validating, managing and publishing product information; lengthy, redundant and error-prone processes, as well as file duplication, are bound to happen. Not only that, collaboration between business units is stunted, causing frustration on all fronts.

Satisfying the Need for Speed

“The early bird catches the worm,” so the adage says. To avoid being late to market and handing competitors the opportunity to command premium prices and capture the lion’s share of the market, you can utilize a product information management (PIM) solution.

Ensure faster time-to-market with PIM

  1. Quickly onboard products from multiple suppliers and systems
  2. Remove process and system inefficiency with automated workflows and tasks
  3. Gain insight on completeness and quality level of data
  4. View which stages your products are in your go-to-market process (i.e., incomplete, in review, ready for publishing)
  5. Publish/Syndicate to all online and offline sales channels with a click of a button

The results are real

Numerous businesses have touted one of the main benefits received after implementing a PIM solution is a faster time-to-market, going from months to weeks or weeks to days.  One of our clients – a very well-known fashion brand from France that has a strong global presence reduced their TTM from 4 weeks to 1 week.  Also, another client – a leading importer and distributor of fine spirits reduced time spent by 1,100 hrs./month.

Nevertheless, buyers should beware that not all PIM solutions are the same. With the right one, you can launch products faster, increase assortments, improve the quality of your data and even personalize consumer experiences.

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

How to Meet Consumer Expectations

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

What consumers want [and don’t want] and how prepared are you to meet their demands?

Contrary to reports of retail’s eventual death, the National Retail Federation’s “The State of Retailing Online 2018” study reveals that:

  • More and more stores open than close
  • Investments in omnichannel optimization remains high
  • Mobile retail success continues to climb

In terms of value chain innovation, Deloitte’s “2018 Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Industry Trends Outlook” gives retailers ideas on which technology trends to invest on:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) to provide consumers with online access to their store inventories and reserve orders for purchase or pickup.
  • Digital supply and demand networks for time frame reduction and cost-efficient deliveries.
  • Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities (AR, VR, and MR) for the creation and provision of highly immersive and engaging experiences.

A lot of doors are opening in the retail industry and it could only mean more new products in the market and a much tougher competition ahead for businesses. But no one is complaining; not even the consumers. In fact, with eCommerce sales projected to reach $4 trillion USD by 2020, it’s as if consumers are telling businesses that they’re willing to spend… on one condition: give them what they want.

But before giving them what they want, it’s best to first identify their pain points.

What Consumers Don’t Want

Branding expert, Helen Edwards, shares that there are seven distinct emotions visible in the human face and five of those are negative: anger, fear, sadness, disgust and contempt. And you definitely don’t want any of those to be associated with your brand when they visit your site.

According to Corra, consumers’ biggest pet peeves on ecommerce sites are:

  • 41.2% Poorly designed menu; lack of subcategories for key merchandise
  • 29.8% Too-basic search; no filters for advanced searches
  • 26.4% Products are buried behind too much branding

So, if you can eliminate these pain points, you’re on track to excellent customer experience provision.

What Consumers Want

According to MineWhat, consumers today perform the following online before making a purchase:

  • 81% research
  • 61% read product reviews
  • Check at least three ecommerce sites

What are they looking for? Information, information, information!

But of what sort? A National Retail Federation (NRF) study reveals that consumers don’t just aimlessly browse online; they actually look for something specific to buy and they want to find it quickly. That means before they type anything on the search bar, they already have an item in mind.

The same study also found out that 79% of consumers also factor in overall experience in determining whether or not they’ll buy from a brand or retailer – and how often. Central to that desired or expected experience are painless return policy, free shipping and credit card security.

So, how to cater to today’s consumers? The Nielsen Norman Group recommends to design for 5 types of e-commerce shoppers:

  • Product-focused.This group know what they want and are ready to buy once they locate the product. Speed is this group’s primary focus.
  • Browsers.They have time to kill and they’re spending it on your site. The key to this group is to be presented with what’s hot and what’s new.
  • Researchers. These guys have been to at least two sites before yours or even if you’re their first visit, they will definitely go elsewhere to gather more information. The key to this group is trust.
  • Bargain hunters. Definitely price conscious, this group are on the lookout for sale, promos and best buys. So, if you have such offerings, display them prominently on your site.
  • One-time shoppers. More often holding gift cards, these guys have no intention of coming back to your site after the purchase. Ensure a good experience by not requiring account creation before purchase.

Quiz: How ready are you to give your consumers what they want?

Giving consumers what they want starts from within. The following are some questions you can ask yourself to determine your readiness in providing your consumers with information they need:

  1. Do you struggle with maintaining your products when your product data requirements increase (e.g. rapid and constant product description updates, price and document version edits, etc.)?
  2. Is it difficult to localize your product information for different markets?
  3. Do people in and out of your organization have a tough time sharing or accessing up-to-date product information?
  4. Are you using multiple spreadsheets to manage your product information?

Do you nod at many questions? Then it’s high time for your to consider using a product information management solution (PIM). A PIM is foundational to building great product experiences.

4 Essentials For The Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Woman smiling because of great product experience

4 Essentials for the Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Excellent product experience delivery goes beyond ensuring core product satisfaction. Imagine buying one of the popular smartphones out there only to discover later on that it has poor customer support and an even worse return policy. The product itself may be good, as it’s popular after all, but if its ancillary services are a hit or a miss, what’s stopping you from switching to the better brand and leaving a bad review?

Product experience, then, is the customer’s emotional response to the product at every touch point. To excel in product experience, brands must elicit a positive emotional response from consumers each time they interact with a product at every touch point.

How to Get Started:

1. Identify your target’s pain points. To manage experiences, you must first manage expectations. And what consumers expect from ecommerce sites boils down to:

  • UI/UX optimized
  • Accurate and complete product information
  • Unlimited selections or assortment of products
  • Personalized offerings
  • Availability of reviews and ratings
  • Shopping convenience, including flexible payment schemes
  • Discounts and promos with loyalty reward offers
  • Free delivery and pick up options
  • Painless return policy

2. Build a technology infrastructure that can support your content creation and distribution strategy. Top brands implement the concept of product experience management (PXM) to distribute relevant and targeted content at the best times and to the precise targets in order to: deliver the desired experiences and elicit positive emotions, build a relationship with customers and eventually inspire loyalty and expand market share.

According to Gartner, a PXM adds the following capabilities to a product information management solution (PIM):

  • Product content analytics
  • Personalization
  • Contextualization
  • Automation and optimization using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)

3. Create Compelling Content. As with customer experience, the great differentiator for brands in ecommerce is content. Top brands not only address shopper pain points, but work to exceed their expectations. So, through rich and contextual content, you could communicate, engage and build a relationship with consumers, hoping it eventually leads to not just sales, but even endorsement and loyalty. Note, though, that what’s compelling for one may not be the same for another, hence the rise of personalization. By doing a demographics and psychographics deep dive, you could create content that anticipates and addresses a consumer’s particular need, and then position yourself as the credible solution provider.

For more inspired content, you can checkout Warby Parker’s and Airbnb’s websites.

4. Use Analytics for Insights. Brands need insights into their product content performance to come up with tweaks and improvements that could drive consumers deeper into the sales funnel. With analytics, you could also see associations and affinities between your products and customers.

Not only that, by leveraging your operational and transactional data, you could make better business decisions, such as how to:

  • Best respond to rapid changes in market conditions
  • Adjust pricing
  • Improve market segmentation
  • Address seasonal demands

Now You Know the Essentials, Do You Have the Tools to Start?

By using a combination of features and advanced technologies that facilitate not only the on-boarding, enrichment and management of data, but one that can also help you create targeted, contextual and emotionally-engaging product communication.

  • PIM – It’s the foundational piece to a PXP. With a PIM, you can collect, maintain and distribute accurate, complete and consistent product information across all channels. This is important because when it comes to e-commerce sites, consumers expect accurate and in-depth product information.
  • Master Data Management (MDM) – This solution allows you to accelerate business processes by connecting all data in your product information supply chain. An MDM also helps you ensure data quality and security, create golden records, and control versions.
  • Marketing Experience Management (MxM) – The perfect complement to your PIM and MDM, an MxM enables you to exceed consumer expectations through timely delivery of personalized product experiences across channels. With an MxM, you can offer dynamic promotions and adjust them in real-time based on insights gathered from analytics.

5 Customer Experience Trends to Watch Out For in 2019

People are people. Meaning, they live and breathe emotions, and no matter which environment or age they find themselves in, feelings will be involved in their decision-making. This is an undeniable reality across industries, hence, the dominance of customer experience on trend lists in the past five years. It’s a top trend that doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon, as evidenced by 81% of marketers saying they’re expecting to compete solely on the battlefields of customer experience in the next couple of years.

So, as 2018 draws to a close, what are the customer experience-related trends to watch out for in 2019?

Rise of Insights-Driven Organizations

With all the available technology to capture and process data, only 10% of organizations are insight-driven. But that’s about to change, as insights-driven businesses are posed to steal $1.2 trillion worth of revenue in 2020. According to Forrester, these disruptors of disruptors have a clear set of goals, which are to win, serve and retain customers. Pioneers of which are Google, Baidu and Netflix.

Key capabilities of an insight-driven organization:

  • Democratize insights or the ability to not just make insights available across the enterprise via an insight database, but also disseminate and transmit them fast.  
  • Experiment or continuous and iterative learning mindset. It’s a culture of testing and development that is essential for growing and future-proofing the business.
  • Close the loop or ability to hear and rapidly act on customers’ feedback.

Steady Climb of Automation and AI/ML in Industry Transformation

The groundwork for automation and artificial intelligence/machine (AI/ML) have been set and early adopters are already seeing positive results in terms of revenue and profit. May it be at home or in the workplace, IDC said that 75% of workers have interacted with at least one AI/ML built-in application in 2018 (e.g. Siri, Alexa and Slack/Skype chatbots). In 2019, these AI/ML interactions are expected to level-up to intelligent digital assistants. IDC also predicts that it’s about to move to mainstream industry-wide use to the tune of $77.6 billion worth of spending in 2022.

3 uses of AI/ML across industries:

  • Robots in retail/hospitality. Softbank’s humanoid-robot Pepper has been test-deployed all over the world to see how businesses can use this AI-powered assistant to serve customers. During its test-runs, Pepper had been a concierge for dealership customers, a hotel check-in assistant, and more. A store in Palo Alto tech shop reported a 70% increase in foot traffic in the week that Pepper was there. In 2019, Amazon is launching its own version, “Vesta”, which might be an evolution of Alexa.
  • Predictive analytics in manufacturing/supply chain, medicine/healthcare and fashion/beauty. Google attempted to predict the likelihood of a patient’s death using 200 thousand patients and more than 46 billion data points, and came away with an astonishing 95% accuracy. Top makeup brand, Shiseido, used ML to find out what customers might want next and offer truly personalized recommendations. In manufacturing and supply chain, the potential of predictive analytics is enormous. It’s a landscape projected to be worth $9 billion by 2020, as it opens up opportunities in the areas of demand forecasting, pricing, maintenance and after-sales optimization services.
  • Cognitive intelligence in energy/mining. To ensure seamless autonomous operation and minimize guesswork in port scheduling, transportation, drilling and planning, these industries use cognitive computing. Using an airplane cockpit-like platform, a machine operator gets cues from a system that learns actions and gives real-time feedback.

Not Cloud Overhead, but Everywhere

The projected global public cloud spending for 2019 will reach $200 billion, as enterprises race to upgrade their processes and mine insights out of their piles of accumulated data. According to Forrester, cloud computing will be the foundation of future enterprise applications, as businesses strive to deliver compelling product and customer experiences.

Top cloud trends:

  • Hybrid/multi-cloud solutions. Businesses are learning that the best cloud solution is a blend of public and private, or as 85% of enterprises prefer nowadays, a mix of at least eight clouds.
  • Integrated IaaS and PaaS. The growth of the infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas), which is expected to reach $39.5 billion in 2019 is a direct result of enterprise digital transformation undertakings. But according to Gartner, the days of Iaas-only are numbered, as 90% of organizations that will be buying Iaas will expect providers to have it integrated with their platform-as-a-service (PaaS) by 2022.
  • Quantum computing. The race is on to come up with the best quantum platform to outdo the world’s fastest supercomputers. Industries such as financial, automotive, pharmaceutical, gaming and even government agencies are very interested in the potentials of this technology. Top players so far are IBM, Google and Microsoft.

Welcome Voice Search/Commerce

By 2020, at least 50% of all searches are going to be through speech, according to Andrew Ng, formerly of Baidu and Google. He also mentioned images, but voice search is fast gaining traction on mobile, especially among the 16-44 year olds. On top of that, the GlobalWebIndex Voice Search Report also revealed that 34% of Internet users are keen on buying a voice-controlled smart assistants.

Implications of voice commerce in marketing:

  • SEO. Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update uses context and intent/semantic and natural language in delivering results. It’s the perfect foundation for the inevitable rise of voice search. It’s, therefore, important for marketers to survey what their target is using voice search for, so they can adapt their voice ad strategy and content accordingly.
  • Hyper-local content. Voice searchers are mostly done on mobile, meaning searchers are on the go and intend to go somewhere close when they search. This is the perfect opening for local businesses to increase visibility according to proximity.
  • Customer experience. Smart speakers are expected to be in nearly 50% of American households by 2019. And as these AI-powered solution learns (it continuously listens), consumers’ experiences with it will be more refined, convenient and enjoyable. For now, 70% of consumers use it mainly to play music, 64% to listen to weather forecast and 53% to get random answers to random questions.

Crown “Video” King of Content

There’s no other content that businesses and consumers, alike, enthusiastically consume more than video, and by 2019, it will comprise 80% of worldwide Internet traffic. This is one of the most controversial trends in the last couple of years, when organizations, mostly publications, made a “pivot to video” influenced by Facebook metrics. But scandal aside, video has proven to be that special vehicle that brings brands closer to consumers through storytelling, evidenced by 93% of marketers using video to boost their campaigns.

Video effectivity by the numbers:

So, there you have it. Just five of the most noteworthy customer experience-related trends worth exploring in 2019. And as it’s a new year, it’s always an open door for your business to turn over a new leaf. With all the opportunities presented by new technology, it’s perhaps time for your business to try out something new. As Albert Einstein famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

Customer Experience

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/specials/people-at-work/6m2qd/article24697967.ece

The Product Experience Game: Gen Y and Z Edition

What makes these two priced digital consumer groups tick and what are they after?

Businesses have spent so many resources on studying Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials, those born in the early ‘80s to 2000) due to their retail and economic impact. But just as they’re gaining ground in understanding this $600 billion demographic, they now must also keep their eyes peeled for its younger siblings, Generation Z (post-millennials, born 1996 and 2010), for their projected additional spending power presently at $44 billion annually.

While it’s tempting to lump Generations Y and Z together, as there’s not much generation gap between them, various researches reveal that their tendencies and motivations are actually quite different.

Where Gen Y and Z Part Ways

How these two generations turned out to be can be traced back to two major factors: the environment and the generations that nurtured them.

Generation Y were raised by baby boomer parents, while Generation Z are being raised by Generation X parents. Baby boomers are a hard-working and goal-oriented group, which placed so much value on their career that they’ve inadvertently raised optimistic-minded children in Generation Y.

Having achievers as predecessors (Boomers and Generation X) and growing up in a fast digitizing world, Generation Y is the most educated group in American history and so tend to want and demand more. Not only that, they also have a bargaining chip in their projected spending power possibly reaching $1.4 trillion by 2020.

Generation Z, on the other hand, were born in a world experiencing political (post 9/11) and economic (recession) turmoil. They were raised by Generation X parents, which according to Inc. make up the bulk of startup founders. For these reasons, Generation Z is more practical and pragmatic to the point of foregoing college in favor of entrepreneurship.

Presently, their spending money mostly still comes from their parents, but a study revealed that it doesn’t matter because they influence 93% of all household purchases. Not only that, come 2020, they will comprise 40% of American consumers, the biggest to date, hence, the need to get to know them up close and personal.

In terms of habits, as the true digital and mobile-native generation, Geny Y are far more attached to screens and have an even shorter attention span than millennials. They’re also aware of their older siblings’ “entitled” reputation and wants nothing to do with it.

In the workplace, Generation Y prefer a team and collaborative atmosphere, but Generation Z lean towards competition and individuality. Moreover, Generation Z prefer face-to-face contact rather than digital, unlike Generation Y.

Quick Insights into Gen Y and Z shopping habits:

References: CouponFollow, DanaCommunications, VisionCritical, Contently

References: CouponFollow, DanaCommunications, VisionCritical, Contently

Where They Come Together

These young demographics make up majority of the connected and “always on” generation, and so gravitate towards online entertainment.

Quick Insights into Gen Y and Z entertainment habits:

References: Lab42, VisionCritical

They’re both well-informed and they love interacting and sharing experiences through various social platforms. They also champion social activism, uniqueness and authenticity and so tend to rally around real people “influencers” more than celebrity endorsers. In terms of shopping, both surprisingly prefer to shop offline or in-store and are price-conscious.

 How to Effectively Market to Gen Y and Z

 With a combined spending power of $350 billion presently to 2020, it’s imperative for businesses to meet these groups where they live, work and play. And since they’re glued to their mobile devices wherever they may be physically, the marketers’ focus should be on the creation of engaging, worthwhile and platform-specific mobile experiences. Luckily, they don’t have to dig far and deep, because, according to a recent research, they basically lay themselves open, so businesses can create and build the experiences they want.

Gen Y and Z want a mobile experience that:

  • Surprises and challenges
  • Is consensual and contextual
  • Reflects and aligns with their taste, activities and/or location
  • Gives them a sense of self-determination
  • Has content they can act on now and save for later

How to lure them in-store?

Retailers must shift from a product to an experience-centric approach. They must recognize that the future of shopping lies in the individual and collective experiences of these consumers throughout their journey. To lure Gens Y and Z into the store and engage them, businesses can leverage video technology trends such as AR/VR and 360-degree — which are great vehicles for gamification. They can also employ value-adding strategies such as diversified payment methods, engaging rewards programs, convenient delivery and/or pick-up options and painless return policy, to build a relationship with these demographics.