Even the most hopelessly outdated, old-fashioned, old-hat and old-school person (like anyone above the age of 19) knows that his or her business needs a presence on the Internet in this age. But few e-commerce players realize the importance of going fully mobile.
They don’t get the importance of having superb mobile solutions on your site, of having superb mobile content. Super quick servers. Light applications. Focused content. In short, few people realize the importance of taking the consequences of the mobile shift that is happening on the Internet and the importance of pushing the envelope; jump over that gap that is getting bigger and bigger. The gap between an old-school e-commerce approach, and the approach that you should be taking.
A Different Approach
According to research, people still prefer to buy things online using desktop devices, but this could be because they have a fear of security issues with mobile devices, or simply that they do not like the mobile site of the retailer that they are buying from. You need to have a great desktop version of your site, but in 2017 this is a given. What you need to focus more and more on, is going mobile. Which means producing different content, and displaying this content in a completely different way on your main site – and, as we shall see, on other sites that you control (do you only have one site, come on!).
Need for speed
The net’s going mobile, and it affects many details of your web efforts. You need a different type of web design, either a responsive design that caters for all devices, or particularly crafted mobile pages on different, super fast servers optimized for mobile traffic.
Speed is important because users are impatient. So if a link from a Facebook feed post takes more than 5 seconds to load, most people will abort the mission and head back to the feed. Guess what? You just lost a potential customer. Why? Your site was too slow, not optimized for mobile. Don’t forget that the whole issue of mobile also involves download speeds, coverage, and mobile data allowances. More reasons for you to try to speed things up server side.
Make Video Reviews
Product reviews are an important way consumers choose their products, or at least tear down that last part of the wall of resistance to buy. And if you’re in retail. This is a very important category of content to have. And this type of content will all be video based in the future. In a few years’ time, fewer people will be reading textually based reviews.
Take the hint already, and set up instructional videos of your products on your own site. Potential customers love to see the product in action, and you could place verbal comments over the images. Even try to make it sound like a review.
But more than this type of “official” content, review-style, you need to think alternative. Go black hat, and set up a handful of other sites optimized for the main keywords in your product category. On these unofficial sites, you should pretend to be an unbiased reviewer, even though you’re really just trying to get the word out there about your products. Again, think video for at least 90% of the content, and you will be way ahead in your niche.
New Market Categories and Niches
The main online marketers these days are for consumer electronic products. But this market is already saturated, and this means that it will have very little place to grow. If you want to be successful in e-commerce from 2017 and forward, you should start to position yourself in other markets.
Choose markets that have a huge ceiling to grow into, and that other marketers are avoiding since they haven’t kicked off, yet. Health and personal care is one example, as is food and beverage, auto and parts, and office equipment. The e-commerce world is evolving into new markets, so evolve with it.
Videos In Other Languages
Again, if you want to be ahead of everybody else, you should start to focus away from the US and the European markets, only, and include other, more quickly growing markets like India, Brazil and Latin America, China and Asia. The majority of the world population are in these colossal markets, and they are developing at an incredible rate. And even if most of these countries are getting more and more developed, and entry is not easy, there are still huge gaps in the marketplace, gaps that could be filled by you and your product.
This could definitely be a good time to learn another language! Big retailers should realize this shift, and make adjustments. Why not simply offer all your videos in different languages? If you start thinking about this now, you’ll have an advantage going forward. Get in touch with media companies in the country you are looking to get a presence in. Or simply start offering your own market’s video content in more than one language. An American retailer could simply start making that shift by offering more and more Spanish content for exposure to Mexican, Argentinian, and Chilean markets, or Portuguese for the enormous Brazilian market. It is a very small step for an online retailer to be producing content in different languages, much easier than going full on and trying to actively penetrate a new market forcefully. And perhaps by offering customer friendly service to other language groups your company will be discovered organically, and that desired entrance into a new market will take the place of itself!
You should definitely be producing own videos, but you could try to get a nice head start by simply curating video content that’s already there. This is an important job, as the Internet has too much information. Someone needs to process it all; help them find what they’re looking for. Picking out and sorting video content that falls into your category of retail, and your keywords are something that you could get into right away. You could get the benefits of someone who starts early and enjoy a nice position in the niches you want to dominate.
This is a great idea for those dynamic people in e-commerce that want to get started right away without a too large investment. The first step is to start surfing the web for video content that your customer would find useful. And the old sales and marketing rules apply.
Remember the acronym USP which stands for unique selling proposition? Well, think more in terms of UBP, or “unique buying proposition.” What’s in it for me? Why should the buyer choose you? In online terms, the trends are showing that the buyer will choose you only if you give them the information that they want. And in retail in 2017 this will have everything to do with relevant video content. Curating lists of great videos will take off completely. You could lead the field in your niche.
Stimulate User Generated Video Content
Again, as with video curation, you do not necessarily need to produce it all. You could ask your very own customers to do that for you. USC, or user generated content, could completely revolutionize e-commerce, and shift the focus of most companies.
Are you ready for that shift?
Ask your own customers for video documentation of all the different phases of using the new product, like unboxing, set-up, first impressions, reviews, etc. Shoppers will be looking for more video content, and regular people are much more authoritative than most reviewers who are biased. Will you be that e-commerce genius that will stimulate the masses to produce fresh and engaging content for your site?
The rise of UGC will be a tough one for many e-commerce sites, as they are afraid of letting the customer have a voice. They are afraid of honest reviews. This is a mindset that needs to change, and many retailers will lose market shares if they do not embrace the unknown quantity that is their buyers and their real opinions. People will start doing this anyway, as cameras on phones are getting better.
Successful retailers will be the ones that understand this shift, and the result will be that customer service is improved by leaps and bounds. USC can open up this can of worms, close down a few old-fashioned e-commerce sites that are afraid of change, and place your business on top…if you dare to jump over that gap that is forming between the old style of doing things, and new, customer friendly, opinion based e-commerce.
Video Shopping Cart
You already know that a picture says a thousand words, and this is why you got someone to take a lot of snapshot of all of your products. You have nice looking photos, of all your products, in all angles. Well, did you think that was it? You already splashed out on a professional still photographer, well now you need video! Start digging in those pockets, or set up a micro studio in your own offices if you prefer a more hands-on approach. Customers want to see video clips of your product, and this will (for the most part) replace your product galleries. But you should offer instructional videos, as well. People love to see products in action, so give them this possibility.
Most sites will need to completely redesign their shopping carts. Video should be all-present. You need to offer not just one, main video, but small videos for all the different aspects of that product. The theory here is that as people are getting less patient, more easily distracted, and more eager to click away from a slow or unengaging site, you need to pour more differentiated video content into all parts of your site. Even pre-checkout, checkout and thank-you pages.
More Professionalism in Videos
There’s a huge need for more video content, and this means that you will need more professional content. You cannot simply treat your approach to video content haphazardly by giving a camera to your sales guy and hope that he or she will deliver the goods. You need to sit down with new media experts and plan your video content strategy. In other words, you need to start taking video seriously.
Begin by researching. The last thing you want is for you, or someone in your company, to start guessing what is going on. Analyze trends carefully. Trends are symptoms of underlying mechanisms. But it takes a trained eye to see these trends. Do your best to get more informed, but consider hiring third party consultants, as well.
This does not mean that your videos should look like broadcast videos. In fact, in most cases, you should avoid assimilating the style of established video content providers of the old media, like TV channels. People are looking for content that looks more “real,” just like it was made by a consumer. As mentioned above, the best and cheapest way of doing this may be to encourage your consumers to produce these videos. But you need to make your own content, too. And carefully consider how these videos should look and “feel.”
Video Over The Fold
Don’t hide your video content. 2017 will be the year that shows us that e-commerce sites and companies, need to produce more video content, and display this content more prominently. Video should be the first thing someone who clicks his way into your site sees. So place videos over the fold.
This also shows you that since most people are using their mobile devices for research purposes, a typical website needs less textual information. Fewer options, really. Yes, you can have links to other pages with more text, etc., but strip more noise away. Less is more. The more information you try to cram into one page, the longer it takes to load and the more difficult and uncomfortable it will be to navigate. If you don’t change, people will shy away from this and simply move on. So change!
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