Sunday, October 22, 2017

Digital Conference Barcelona: short list of ecommerce solution vendors

Last week I visited Club Ecommerce it's Digital 1 to 1 conference in Barcelona. I had a great time! Very well organised (compliments to the organisation) and it gave me many new insights in tooling, solutions and the ecommerce in southern Europe.

On the lookout for new digital tooling at Digital 1 to 1 in Barcelona



















The event consists of more or less 2.5 day in a conference/hotel in Barcelona.
During the days there are generic sessions and presentations but also 1 to 1 sessions with potential vendors or other webshops that are open for collaboration.
The 1 to 1 sessions take 25 minutes each and it looks like this:

















In the evening they organise a big party including a casino, DJ and quiz! I even learned some new dancing moves at this party! :)


Source


















I did not plan to write a blogpost about the event but I do mention a few vendors in this post that I met with very interesting solutions, for easy reference in the future and since I did not write something for a long time.

Last year's startup winner in Spain "TheMotion"". Based at a product feed and a template they can generate product video's (that convert) for dynamic facebook advertising.

SevenSenders is one of the companies that help to give customers a seamless experience with delivery updates and also help to give webshops more data and insights to improve the customer experience  by adding an integrated NPS delivery survey (directly after arrival of the parcel).

For years I am brainstorming (mostly with myself) about an integrated service that uses user generated content of the products that are bought, combines them and integrates this in a webshop. But after that also use these customers content as some kind of affiliate construction, a non technical way for everybody to earn loyalty points, money or whatsoever by sharing products that are bought from a webshop. Now at this event, I found Photoslurp who is able to do so!

With the increasing demand of consumers asking questions 24/7 in more and more detail, it is almost impossible for customer service agents to answer everything in great detail (think for example specific techincal questions about cell phones or detailed questions about a travel destinations). Iadvize has a service called ibbu that finds experts at a certain topic. Depending at the question/time you can route the question to a normal service agent or to an ibbu expert to get it answered (from your brand name). It's like using a community to help your customers without having the community yourself.


Case study from Ibbu from iAdvize used by TUI






























Content and UX are extremely important in ecommerce. However analysing this in an easy way is something else. ContentSquare  provides a solution to easy analyse content and ux performance.
I got a personal demo during the 1to1 sessions and this tool really helps contentprofessionals to get the most out of their content. See in the slide below how verychick uses contentsquare in their contentstrategy:

UX strategy including ContentSquare

















Source

Qubit was also present at the event. Qubit can be used to personalise content (show different content to different segments) and therefore making the web experience much better. It is not in particular about product personalisation but can be used broader. The tool itself also identifies segments automatically and gives recommendations.

We all know payment providers (especially the big ones) are not the most customer friendly and flexible organisations. HiPay can be a friendly alternative that really works together with clients to get the most out of your payment strategy.

Also I got some really professional SEO advice and had an interesting SEO discussion with improove.

Machine learning is taking a flight as well, there where a lot of companies providing services that use machine learning to serve customers better. Loop54 in terms of product recommendation and Ahwy is focused at webchat and chatbots. Very interesting to dicuss with them their roadmap to understand the way things go in the near future.

Of course there were more very interesting vendors but these ones I wanted to share.

Now time to go into Barcelona again. The sun is out!

Current view at Barcelona (Tibidabo)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Customer Journey and Experience Mapping: a collection of templates and examples

Recently, I followed a great 4 months course about customer journey and experience mapping.
Although I cannot share these slide decks, I will write down a few take aways and I decided to just browse the internet, collect templates about customer journey management and share them here.

Customer journey and experience managenent, will get increasingly more important for brands to attract and to keep customers. There is a declining trend in transactions for ordering at all those "mini" brandend webshops. People more and more directly at marketplaces and platforms like Alibaba, Amazon (in depth video), WeChat, FB messenger, Instagram, Google Shopping. Most brands will have less and less control on their purchasing channels. In this video for example the impact of voice search at Amazon is demonstrated. Amazon will decide which products it will offer to it's customers, even more so then is the case at this moment.

So how to create an excellent customer journey and experience? 

In order to know how to map your customer journey, you need to know a few things:
  • What is your brand purpose? Why are you here? What are your brand values?
  • What is the persona (or persona's) you are targeting? I don't mean a traditional marketing persona, where you can discuss hours about in meeting rooms with traditional marketing people, what you need is a persona you can use in a more agile way, since working a more agile way is often the only way to really add value for both the user and the company. A great tutorial about how to write these persona's can be found here.
  • Get some creativity and knowledge of all the latest ecommerce and digital marketing trends (you can start here if you like :) as you need this to create an outstanding customer experience.
  • Get some information, user feedback, analysis about your current customer journey. Think about research that you already have, direct feedback from customer service, analyse user behavior or data from your webanalytics software. Just don't forget not always to do what the custoner asks, and also don't assume that you now best and ignore the user. The truth is somewhere in the middle.


Now for some templates/examples to get started with customer journey mapping.

1)


An example of a customer experience map, this one is from Rail Europe. The idea is that you look at the journey against criterea, persona's, value propositions. Click here to download a HiRes PDF file. It includes "Think, See, Do Feel" often also used in writing user stories.

2)


This template can be used to start a cross channel touchpoint inventory.

3)










A great slidedeck with a customer journey including emotional mapping. Direct download here.

4)



Another powerpoint file (i.c.w. excel) you can use to map your customer journey.
Direct download here.

5) 

There are also online services where you can map your journey, like https://realtimeboard.com/examples/customer-journey-map/ or https://www.blankcanvas.io/ are providing.

6) 


A template for customer journey mapping from the DesignThinkers.

Then just a few takeaways of customer journey and experience management:
  • Make sure you add branded peaks in your customer journey.
  • Look beyond your direct competitors, compare also outside your branch, they might set the trend that your customers or prospects also expect from you.
  • Some companies make mini projects of parts of the customer journey, for example a "stop the churn" customer journey project.
  • Bring empathy and emotion in your customer journey (welcome back, or congratiulations with your purchase etc).
  • Once you mapped your customer journey and connected it with customer emotions, the natural reflex is always to start improving the most negative one, but do realise that this is not always correct. Optimize the touchpoints that add value for the company and the user. Which touchpoints contribute most to an effictive customer experience? 
  • Use Google Analytics or other software to measure direct performance but also don't forget to listen to the "soft"feedback and new sources of data like the IoT. It is really important to listen to your customers when they call your call centre, to see how they behave after usage of a touchpoint via a tool like hotjar. Bottom line, there are many ways to get customer feedback. Don't focus at only one the success of single touchpoints in your journey but analyze the complete journey as well.
  • If you are working internationally do take care of cultural differences and process them in your customer journey's and touchpoints. They do matter and can really help you moving forward faster.
Cheers,

Alex

PS Can't wait to experience the customer experience in this shop, I passed by this morning here in Seminyak, Bali. Unfortunately it was still closed. They must have a big family :)


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Review "Simply Brilliant" and more about customer experience, businessmodels and employee satisfaction

First of all I wish everybody a great, creative and customer oriented 2017!
I started the year great, in St Anton, where there is lot's of sun (but not so much snow). I traveled here by train this time, so I had time to read again. I do like to share again some of these reads.

Me in the new flexenbahn in St Anton am /A


This time I did not read a direct ecommerce or digital marketing related book but a book about doing business in a new way, about examples of traditional companies that have changed the way they do business. The book is called "simply brilliant" and the subtitle of the book is: How great Organizations do ordinary things in extraordinary ways and it is explicitly not a book about the sillicon valley type of businesses, but how traditional organisations are also able to change and succeed.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: The Xiaomi Way: Customer engagement strategies that built one of the largest smartphone companies in the world

What motivates me in work are a lot of things, but currently especially the following aspects are very motivating for me:

  • Using user feedback into digital media (websites/devices), to really get this interaction with users. To find out what is working but also what to improve, and to understand why users do not buy! (and to change that of course).
  • Optimizing the user experience (user engagement, touchpoints, data collection)
  • Constantly innovating to improve the user experience
  • Crossborder e-commerce
  • Startup mentality, doing things together in a great team with the same focus.

I really think that ecommerce (and marketing) has evolved from a functional model (direct selling) to a brand model and is now moving to an experience model. Things might overlap a little bit between these models, but this is the greater picture. 
It is not only me who thinks so of course, more and more is written about this subject recently and it fits perfectly in line with another book I have read.

I bought the book “The Xiaomi Way – Customer engagement strategies that built one of the largest smartphone companies in the world”. So I could learn more about their techniques in terms of user experience and how to deal with user feedback, and of course to learn more from the Chinese (ecommerce) market, which also interests me a lot. 

I will highlight a few things from this book, a book that really made me enthusiastic again, just same so, when I read this book. So many possibilities still, if you just think from the customer's perspective and if you aim for the long term, instead of the short term! 
Besides that it is always nice if you read about people and companies that have the same vision as I have.
.
Most of the bullets below, can also be used in a situation where you do not develop products yourself, but  also if you just sell products you can use these idea’s and best practices to offer your customers a better experience. Use this bulletlist to think creatively in how to connect with your customers and how to provide them a better experience.

A few highlights from the book: The Xiaomi Way

(click the "continue reading button)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

An international videomarketing strategy: tips, tricks, takeaways

Ah holiday again, finally time again for reading a lot about ecommerce, digital experience marketing and videomarketing!
This time a blog post from Bangkok Don Muang airport where I am awaiting my for my AirAsia flight to Kunming, China.

Waiting for my flight
Yes, video's! I already liked making video's when I was age 6 or something, I can even remember making and editing video's with our Sony Handicam Video, one of the first videocamera's made for home usage.

Nowadays video is very important in your (content) marketing strategy.
Video is growing rapidly and there are many reasons why videos can be useful for your brand.






A few reasons why video is so important:
  • Video can boost your conversion and sales, directly but also indirectly.
  • Video builds trust, and trust is only getting more important. Advertising alone will not give you the succes you need. In fact advertising is changing rapidly to less and higher quality.
  • Video will help you rank better in SEO.
  • With the rise of smart tv's with online video channels easily accesible video's will only increase more in popularity!
  • Video and mobile usage go hand in hand. Mobile usage is still growing rapidly so take advantage of this.

So what type of video's are there?

I usually make a difference between these type of video's:

  • Branding video's 
  • Promotional video's 
  • Product demo video's
  • Viral videos
  • User generated video's
  • Interactive video's
  • Expert interview video's
  • Live video's
  • Review / Unbox video's

Every videotype has it's own triggers and it's own goals (KPI's) and prefered channels.
I do not go into depth in this now, but I think differentation between video types can be a way to setup your video marketing strategy.

Videomarketing: important takeaways and tips to use in an international videmarketing strategy:

Below a summary of what I think are important takeaways and tips to use in your videomarketing strategy. As there are so many video types and especially videoplatforms, I wrote down some general tips of which some are useful for an international videostrategy.
  • Youtube = Google, and think of Youtube in a SEO way. If you have very low performing video's in your youtube channel, try deleting those, it can improve your overall rating of your videochannel, make sure you fill as many meta data as possible after you uploaded the video and make sure people don't stop watching your video after 10%. Take this into account when writing the script, keep your viewers attention!
  • If you are operating internationally think about youtube recently added translation tool that will boost international video marketing, so use it! Now it is even possible to localise the (important) title of your video.
  • Youtube allows you, to have your "community", to make closed captions for you! Some kind of crowdsource subtitles! Read more here!
  • Use the close caption function within youtube to provide your content in different languages.
  • Often ignored, but very important. Every channel needs it's own content, youtube, snapchat, facebook etc. They require their own video. There are many differences between these platforms and when creating a video you should take this into account. Often only small adjustments are necessary. Take for example facebook, video's are played without sound at first, the user has actively to switch on sound. This means your video should have subtitles, or at least a very attractive start! And youtube video viewers generally accept longer video's than at Facebook. 
  • If you are a marketer, you know that retargeting exists. This is also possible in videomarketing, everybody who watched (a part) of your video, who commented or liked, can be retargeted with ads or other video's. 
  • Depending at what you sell, and depending at your customer group, you can seek cooperation with those active youtubers, who often have millions of fans and views.
  • If you write your script and you are not sure what variant works best, don't be scared to test this. Upload your video for example to youtube, switch it to non listed and set some paid advertisement to target those video's.
  • For SEO purposes, it is important to first upload the video to your own site, or your owned media, only after that, upload it to youtube. So you can benefit from two worlds.
  • When creating a (landing) page at your website, which includes the video, either if it is embedded or if you host it yourself, don't just embed the video there with some short lines, but really take effort to make an attractive page. It has all to do with providing your visitors a perfect user experience and a low bounce rate at this page. Lower bouncerates, are positive for your SEO ranking and increases your video ranking as well. When creating this page you can think about for example to add those easy to use share buttons, to make the page fully responsive, maybe add a transcript of the video, make it possible to download the video etc. Write content around the video about the video, this help search engines and visitors a like!
  • Before you create a video, think who you are creating it for. A promotional video has different KPI's then a branding video for example! Set specific KPI's beforehand including those specific video KPI's. 

  • Especially if you use youtube, use this engagement in and around your video. I have this screenshot below from a book from Joris Merks called "Online Brand Identity", a must read for everybody busy with online branding. It tells about the important of engagement with youtube marketing. Hardwell really engages with his audience and makes his subscribers feel the channel is really specially made for them!
  • Don't forget that altough youtube is very popular, it is not the most popular site in every country. China for example blocks youtube!
  • Youtube cards, make it possible to link to your own website from within the video. This means you can sent people directly to a page at your own website. Read more information here. Use this feature in your video's.
  • Just be very, very creative, create two teams who brainstorm about a script for a video with the same subject for example. When writing a script, think about connecting to an existing internet subculture. Write your script with the online user in mind and you will be allright! 
  • Don't forget to generate videositemaps for your website!
A topic about video marketing can't just end without a few good video's. So let's get started with a few great videomarketing examples.

I think this one is really good as a promotional video. It is maybe a little bit too long, but the idea and call to action are really good.



And then there is the dollar shave club of course, a brand entirely build online...you keep on watching untill the video is finished, it is fun to watch!



This one is also a great "keep on watching and buy"video! Just try it, I am sure you will also watch it to the end, just like I did. It includes (very strong) social reputation as a call to action.



Just because it is fun, a video from myself (Dutch only) where I was interviewed when I was still a small Alex :)


That's it for today!

Greetings,

Alex -videoman- Baar :)


Friday, September 16, 2016

About the future of ecommerce, contentmarketing strategy and personalisation by force

It is september, and I do not know why, but in september there is alway's lot's of interesting ecommerce news. I do like to share a few interesting articles with you today.
Take for example Ryanair. Ryanair is going to introduce "personalisation by force". You do not have a choice but to get personalised offers and information, Read more about it here and here.  I think a really good move. Make loyalty easy. It always annoys me if I fly with an airline and I can only benefit from their loyalty programme if I sign up. Why not just match my email adress, and see my booking history. For example I flew many times with Cathay Pacific, but I never took the effort to sign up for their loyalty programme, same goes for KLM. But they do have my fly history and flight pattern, so they can personalise offers! However they do not do so  leaving me chosing often other airlines. Curious how this works out countries where privacy is an important issue in online marketing, countries like Germany for example.

Then there is the growing importance of call centres in e-commerce and marketing. Every call is becoming a data collector! Interesting. By using data acquired by call centre agents, the website experience, or more broad the digital touchpoints experience can be improved. This aspect of ecommerce is often forgotten, but call centres already were of great importance for ecommerce but their importance is only growing!

Econsultancy, from the UK released a nice infographic about contentmarketing. Often companies think that contentmarketing is just writing an article or publishing a generic video. But that is not the case. Contentmarketing requires a true strategy. This infographic (on click for large) describes various types of contentmarketing.


As you see there is a lot to take into consideration and now imagine these content types in an international environment.
Meanwhile others (and I think there is truth in it) say that generic content is no longer king. But write content (and give tooling), so others can write content for you and about you. Of course it depends in which industry you are at, but when thinking out of the box , there are always some idea's to think try.


Another interesting opinion about the future of ecommerce, I found at this website. This guy, Brent Bellm, signalises a trend: Seemless buying, buying via social platforms, or any platform where there is interaction between friends or consumers. 
The trend he sees is that we move away from ecommerce platforms (bring the store to me), and even that we might move away from marketplaces as Amazon. 
Interesting, as how will digital branding look like, when there are far less ecommerce websites? Customer Experience will be even more important as it is far easier for consumers to share idea's or products (maybe even for a commission), at the same time digital experiences related to the products you sell, or digital problem solving tools, will help in creating your brand.
At this moment, by the way, marketplaces are still growing strong. 92% of users use online marketplaces in a lot of parts of the world.
However we also know from China, that seemless buying in chat applications like wechat is very popular and easy to do. It is also very easy for companies to integrate their shops and services in wechat.
A very interesting trend to follow closely the next few months.







Saturday, August 20, 2016

Entanglement Marketing

Today, August 20th,  I am in Zermatt, Switzerland. Hoping to do some summerskiing. It is summer in the village, but winter is still present up in the mountains here, 3883 meters high there is lot's of snow. However today is cloudy and windy and lifts are closed. So I grabbed a book and started reading about “Entangled Marketing” and watching the people go by in their electric mini cars, with the Matterhorn at the background. Tomorrow I will go to enjoy summerskiing, tomorrow the weather will be great! This post is a combination of items from the book, some personal opinions and some examples I found at the web. Enjoy reading!

I gave the book a view at the Matterhorn,
during my stay here..(but the Matterhorn is
sometimes "entangled" with clouds as today :).
I bought this book since I believe, that the way of marketing brands or building brands, is changing rapidly. It’s no more just some display advertisements or an always on PPC strategy, there are many other possibilities. In fact more sustainable possibilities as well.
I never could find a word for it, but now I have read this book, I know what it is called: “Entangled Marketing”, moving beyond engagement. Engagement is no longer enough. As a brand you have to go beyond engagement. And that you do with "Entangled Marketing"!.

The authors describe the word entanglement as "the quintessential quantum effect". In the sub atomic world, a pair of entangled particles never let go of one another.
It’s a perfect metaphor for what business management would like to see happen in our digital environment. What if the brand entity and the customer entity could be entangled in an enduring, supportive relationship? One to one is yesterday’s news, it is time to take the “to” out of one to one. 

The book describes a few examples, for example about John Hancock insurances, who entangles the insured person by giving the customer a fitbit and rewarding him for his healthy lifestyle, or the company“Chick-fil-A” who organises special entanglement for the animal toy’s children often take with them to a restaurant. They even let those toys of the children sleep over in the restaurant and share all kind of pictures of the adventures the child’s animal toy had during its sleepover! Great for the kids, and thus great for parents, who keep on returning to the restaurant. I found a video about this sleepover and experience:




Back in the old days, in the analog era, the direct marketing business model, selling directly to the consumer or a business consumer, represented about 10% of the economy. The vast majority of the companies did not know much about the behaviour of people buying their product or getting their service.
Now in the online era, marketers have so much data, they know what the customer wants before the customer knows he or she needs it.
Think about Spotify, Netflix or Dollar shave club and all those subscription services from nowadays. This is the way forward. The still rapidly growing world of connecting services and products (IoT), will only speed things up. It makes sure you can entangle consumers with your brand.


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