Saturday, January 28, 2012

Building trust in European Ecommerce: what to do?



As everybody knows, there is by far not a single ecommerce market in Europe. There are so many differences between countries that online shopping between EU countries is still not done much.
It is shocking if you know that about 57 % of the EU consumers buy something online, but only 9 % of the people has ever bought something online across his country of living.

The EU also noticed that and wrote a framework to build more trust. The document is called:
A coherent framework for building trust in the Digital Single Market for e-commerce 
and online service

According to the EU commission there are five main obstacles to the digital single market, below I shortly describe them, with my own comments.

1) The supply of legal, cross border online services is still inadequate.

This of course is very true. There are lot's of differences between EU countries on very simple things like the return policy, cookies, profiling and for example the mentioning of the director of a company at the website and all outgoing email (as is mandatory in Germany but does not matter in most other countries).

2) There is not enough information for online service operators or protection for internet users.

In some countries in Europe there is a lot to do about profiling and privacy. (for example Germany) It is important to take away these barriers and as the EU states in it's reports, some Airline companies are difficult to get into contact with via the web (although you ordered via the web). I think especially social media and the so called web 3.0 can help build trust in this field. Social media for contacting companies and combined with the social web (like reviews and ratings) for building trust. Social Media is already revolutionizing business communications. Big or small, private or public, B2B and B2C. Social media will transform them and force them to be more open and transparent and more succesfull.

3) Payment and delivery systems are still inadequate.

Still many people are afraid by using their credit card online. In multiple countries financial institutions started to develop their own payment methods. Like Ideal in the Netherlands or Dankort in Denmark. They build trust locally and are often used. But there is no international connection. Both Ideal and Dankort are only local players. In France the payment method "cheque" is still often used, even in online transactions! In this case you order and after that you sent over a cheque for payment by regular post!  I think there should be a new cross border initiative.






Cross border initiative :European solution to only transfer the payment, after the goods have arrived.

In my opinion, to build even more trust, a pan European payment method should be developed where the payment is only transferred if the goods arrived and arrived in good quality. These kind of payment methods already exists in China where people use alipay for example. It is time to develop something like this in Europe as well. A payment service that holds money in escrow untill the goods have arrived. This would build trust in cross border e-commerce! Of course there are exceptions for example for living goods, but for most of the goods this will be a perfect solution.

4) There are too many cases of abuse and disputes that are often difficult to settle.

So true. If you buy something in another country and it breaks down after a few weeks, what are your rights? What can you do? If you bought your goods from Poland, but you live in Luxembourg, what are your options? I can imagine people hesitate by cross border because of this. A nice and big task for the European homeshopping organisations to work together to make guidelines and to develop Europe wide guidelines and frameworks.
If you look now, even between the European homeshopping certificates (like the thuiswinkel trustmark or the German BVH for example, there are so many differences, that I think, there should at least be a basic certificate that can be applied for by companies and that is valid across Europe. This basic certificate covers the most important aspects like: where to go with complaints, legal aspects, cross border guarantee etc.
Extra guidelines and rules can then be added per country in a 'plus' certificate.

5) Insufficient use is made of high-speed communication networks and high tech solutions.

Also true, there are many differences between internet access and usage in Europe, but also Asia is really leading the high speed internet access. Especially Japan and South Korea.  Europe is getting behind. In Holland telco's removed the unlimited usage of bandwidth at most mobile phone contracts. Not a good sign for e-commerce. What if it is at the end of the month and you exceeded your bandwidth, and you are disconnected for the rest of the month but you are hungry and you want to use the takeaway.com app to order a pizza via your cellphone. Probably you will not do it. Or what if I live in Holland and I bought some goods via the web in Italy. I have some urgent additional questions and I can contact them by skype. But again I exceeded my data limit for the month.

Of course there are more difficulties, like languages, delivery (track and trace and the possibility to select a delivery carrier, different legislation for promotions (etc in Belgium there are government selected sales preiods outside these periods you cannot put articles in "sale") etc. but all of these problems can be solved and there are workarounds if you are creative. To solve these 5 main obstacles is a very good start. I hope the EU speeds up in solving these things.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Norwegian Newsletter Signup Profiling

This is how you add profiles to your prospects for better targeting email marketing. A good example from Norwegian.

Make signing up for the newsletter very easy (just an email address) and ask additional questions at the confirmation page.

Just pressing save updated my preferences.

I accidently closed the browser window, but then I could not update my profile by signing in again.


This can be improved by for example by adding the possibility to update profile data by sending an e-mail with this possibility.
Also I would suggest to make it possible to update profile data from within the confirmation email (that I still have not received).
Especially with these travel related subscriptions, sent a follow up e-mail immediately with a small incentive with for traveling from these preferred airports.



Example Booking Confrimation Air Asia

Example from an email booking confirmation from AirAsia.

Quite empty visually, layout not optimized for mobile, no social sharing possibilities, no cross and or upsell no follow up campaign etc.



And there is a PDF attached, multiple pages, but almost all pages are partly filled.



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Digital Advertising part 1





I browsed the web, in search of information for the future of (display) advertising. Some ineresting links below.  


Trends (and I am very enthousiastic about that) are that creativity and content will get even more important then it already is and the user's will have much more influence at the ad's he or she see's or  even more important, shares.


But altough internet advertising, still seems fragmented with: email marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, retargeting, affiliatemarketing etc. All these channels will integrate and will have influence at each other. 


The article below is not complete, there are many other forms of online advertising. But these are just some links and opinions that I found interesting.

Video advertising


It's obvious that with the rise of mobile devices and the increasing popularity of online video, advertising will go "cross channel". It's not only a banner that is displayed via an ad network it is much more integrated. And Interactive video is one of the rising stars.

In the near future google TV, Apple TV and new TV set's will be connected to the internet. This means it will be very easy to stream video content from your mobile device to your TV. Including youtube.

Now already there are many possibilities to do a youtube takeover like this example for a promotion for sochi's olympic games in 2014. It even has a (webcam) game build inside. I'll bet you don't forget after playing this game that the next olympic's are in sochi.

One of the first succesful viral's of youtube takeovers is this one: the Hunter Shoots a bear, from Tipp-Ex.
This re-branding experience (branded filtered content) while watching video is one of the solutions shelby.tv is making money with. They can personalize this kind of advertisement depending on users profile data, since everybody using shelby.tv is either connected via facebook or twitter.

Ninja's unboxing a cell phone in a youtube takeover for the Nexus S cell phone. Vimeo now has also video takeovers, like this Honda Commercial. Or take a look at this "Snickers" youtube takeover.

I think and hope in the near future, these youtube interactive movies and takeovers will increase in amount and quality. I hope they get even more interactive then just somebody who is walking out of a frame, but to make the user experience even more nice and at the same time to be able to collect data.

Also I hope that in the near future there are more possibilties for integrating real time prices in video's. Wouldn't it be great that if I watch an video from an airline about a city, I want to visit, I'll get real time prices (even maybe based on my profile) in the video? Or 3rd party sales in the same video? Would be great if I could not only book this ticket to Hong Kong via a video from Cathay Pacific, but at the same time I can also buy an octopus card from a third party seller, for example a local vendor in Hong Kong for example.
Youtube is now shifting more to advertisers, so I guess a lot of great possibilities will show up this year.

Interactive advetisements with a facebook or google + connection will increase in quality and popularity. Just because they are fun and encourage to share. Examples enough from the past year. Read more about social video watching here.

Permission based advertising


We will get into permission based marketing. This isn't a bad thing, this gives many possibilities. Already now at Google you can influence the ad's you see in Google's ad preferences. Profiling and the connection of profiling with personal data is high on the EU's list as well. I expect some changes in this field within the next few years.  Already we see the first signs of it by changing the cookie law's but also the council of europe is really active on this, they even produced a video which is available here (only in WMV download, probably because of privacy :). Interesting to follow and to keep an eye at.

Also at facebook that we can influence the ad's we see by clicking on the "x" at the right side of the advertisement. Altough not always visible the "x" is actually there when you hover over it.








In my view, if you think about it more, why don't google or facebook start with comments and ratings in advertisements. I haven't seen that so much online, but I think a great possibility. The more relevant you are, the more likes and the better position you get with your ad. I'll bet something like this will show up this year.

I photoshopped this search results page below. Now Google searches the web for reviews and ratings and sometimes integrates them in their organic search results, but why not also use it in the paid results? It will give feedback to the advertiser about his quality (and urges him to do a better job) and gives the user more trust.

Something like this:

The +1 button to easily like an advertisement.
The review possibility to comment on the ad or the service of the company.
Fictive comments and photoshopped image. 

Much more attractive then the original screenshot I think.



This is also very promising. Google is testing ad's with a pre-filled e-mail adress. No need to go to the website for subscribing to the email newsletter. I guess it's better if they have links in this advertisement to recent newsletters to maintain the quality of your e-mail list, or to have e very good confirmation e-mail with some explanation about the newsletters you are sending out. But the idea is really interesting, making ad's more easy and fun when logged in at gmail.

Source: emailblog.eu



Cross channel advertising, I personally like very much. It is fun to make sure everything fits together and also to think of the non digital world, like printed ad's etc. Here an article with some nice cross channel campaigns examples.
Louis Vuiton's case in Japan, is also a perfectly integrated campaign including local mobile advertising.
KLM did a great job with it's repudo's campaign. by using new technology and a cross platform campaign.


Some video's and links about online advertising:

Some information about digital advertising in India. A presentation by Gurbaksh Chahal :



Steelhouse's CEO about profiling and online advertising:

 

Bluefin Labs connects TV advertisements with the web.


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