Sunday, July 18, 2021

Why I believe in the lightning network as future of global payments

Why I am so enthousiastic on this user centric payment and monetary system

When I lived and worked in Shanghai a few years ago, one of the things I missed a lot when returning home was the ease of payments. Everything could be done via my mobile phone in such an easy way that it soon became fun to pay something. 

It made me realize this payment innovation that China had is something that boosted their economy and made it very easy for those without a bank, people who for example sell on a market stall or even homeless people to get a digital wallet to sent and receive money instantly. This all for a fraction of the costs in the Netherlands alone to get a payment infrastructure in your shop or market stall. It was made to be convenient, user-friendly and to make it easy to do business. 

I like UX, I like apps, I like it when it is really made for the user, and it helps the user solving a problem or making something fun. Alipay and Wechat pay the payment providers in China, did exactly that.

Besides that the network is so robust that it never failed me. Compared to the old fashioned PIN network in Netherlands that every year more or less fails during peak season.

I could pay the street food stall where I always bought Jianbing every morning by simply scanning a card on her stall filling in the amount of RMB, press pay show her the confirmation (sometimes) and that's it. The payment is done. 

I could pay by letting the shop clerk in the shop scan my QR code and confirm the amount.

I could even operate a vending machine by scanning it's qr code, select the coconut juice I needed, pay and receive the fresh coconut witout ever touching the machine itself. 

The payment apps in China are so user friendly, even for foreigners it made it fun to pay!

It always made me dream of having such a payment system in the west. Unfortunately it is still nowhere near that if we look at the regular banks and initiatives.

How I discovered the lightning network

Having seen closed systems and their disadvantages from close by, I was always a big fan of open network systems. It simply improves the quality for everyone. 
Bitcoin is such an open system, just as the internet is (in most countries).I wanted to support with my share and for Bitcoin one can do this by starting a bitcoin node. Simply a small computer that downloads the blockchain and helps validate transactions. You don't earn anything with it, just helping to make the network more robust.

Nowadays it not so difficult to setup such a node. I setup my node with Umbrel. The Umbrel node also adds the lightning network to it. So I got to play with the lightning network on my node, opening channels making payments and try different wallets.

The lightning network, really something special

I found this lightning network is really something special. It makes (near) instant global payments possible for literaly no fees (or very very very low fees). 

This network has a huge potential and can grow out to a much improved version of wechat and alipay but then globally. Much improved because it is decentralized and open.

  • The network is open and is getting improved year on year.  It always gets better.
  • Everyone can create a digital wallet on this network. If you want to create a very private wallet or a wallet with the best UX or a wallet where you enhance the experience by for example sending back information to the shop where you just bought (thank you great service), anything is possible as it is an open network.
  • You can send instantly money to for example an ice cream seller in El Salvador to support him (or to tell him to give ice cream to the local kids).
  • You do no longer need a bank everyone poor or rich , everyone with a phone can profit. Just like in the example with the market stall or homeless guy in China, just this time more private and more global.
  • With (almost) free transfer of micropayment it is very easy to support any content creator in the world with a click, support podcasters (like already happing with podcast 2.0), or for example tip a customer service representative in India because he or she helped solve your problem.
  • It is already possible with for example the "strike" app do use the lightning network without having your own node and to receive local fiat currency (soon across the globe). This is truly amazing. A user story that soon will work as Strike will soon start in Europe is this example:

As a user, I would like to make a payment to a friend in another country/jurisdiction and make sure the my friend receives the money in local fiat currency at the lowest possible costs, so that we both have the most benefit of this money transfer.

How this will work is:

  • Person 1 (US) wants to send 100USD from US to Person 2 (UK)
  • Person 1 (US) has his bank account linked to the strike app and sends 100 USD to Person2.
  • Strike takes 100 USD out of bank Person 1, live convert this to BTC (Bitcoin) in the most efficient way possible.
  • Strike sent the BTC across borders to the UK in less then a second and at no cost via the LN. No intermediates.
  • Strike converts the transfer to GBP.
  • Person 2 (UK) receives GBP.
All of this Instantly and at no costs.

Amazing, isn't it? And imagine this happens on a global level. No more ridiculous fees, even not if you only transfer micropayments! It is possible to support someone in a poorer country by sending micropayments directly to him or her without the need of a large organization. It is possible to make a purchase to a small website owner in a country far, far away, who can then send you the product or open the service instantly without a middle man like a bank or a platform.

I get very enthousiastic from cross border (e-)commerce and this development makes me so happy, this is truly something that can improve the world and enhance global commerce. We can all benefit. It is the china payment feeling on steroids. More private, open, more global.

Finally a payment system that sets the users in the center. Wether it is the merchant or the buyer.

If you want to know more watch this lightning video below where a lot more is explained and start with setting up a wallet on your phone. 

This QR code is a QR code I created and is connected to the lightning network. Feel free to drop a few sats  to give it a try and I will confirm it worked, or just try to drop the ice cream man a few sats. QRcode is via LNBits (still in Beta)

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Ultimate Subway Ticket Vending Machine

I haven’t written for a while, it is simply because I am busy with both working and traveling.
Still working in Shanghai and traveling around Asia.
This weekend I was visiting Hangzhou and while waiting for the train I was brainstorming with myself for improvements at "ticket vending machines".
Those ticket machines you see often in subway stations.

The past weekend, I had to wait in so many lines to buy a “single journey” ticket at the subway ticketing machines, it made me realize that these machines probably have never been user tested and that there is not any analytics used to test and optimize them.

For here I use an example of a ticket machine in Hangzhou, China as here is the headquarters of Alibaba , so they should be able and eager to develop solutions for the users of these machines in this city, but it is not limited to here, the UX of subway ticketing machines is dramatic all over the world. I always surprise myself about how horrible these systems are.

But if there is one country where they can make this better it is for sure coming from China.

Here in China there are so many people always lines for these machines.
As of course in the future facial recognition or a universal mobile phone payment system, can be a big problem solver for now I just focus on solutions on the UX of the “ticket machines”.

There are a few types of people who use these machines:

Foreign Tourists or temporary visitors
Chinese Tourists or temporary visitors
Inhabitants of the city

Foreign Tourists

Let’s start with a few improvements for foreign tourists I thought of. How can technology make these machines better, make sure there are less lines and make city traveling more smooth for everybody.

Voice recognition:

It should be possible to make voice recognition work in a busy, noisy environment. Why not let tourists (at least in English) mention their station or their point of interest by voice? If a user mention a point of interest, show an image of the POI and the user can buy a ticket to the nearest station. If a user mentions a station name in English, just show the station name and let the user confirm.

Facial recognition:

When a person approaches the machine, facial recognition must be able to recognize at least for example, Caucasian, Indian, Asian, African etc. Based upon that the interface can be adjusted (f.e. start with English instead of the standard Chinese. This again saves some time because the user does not have to search for the "English" button).


Payments are always an issue, but machines should be able to handle multiple types of payments. Coins, notes, Alipay, Wechat pay and credit cards. Number one frustration is when you pay by banknote and you get many coins back, number 2 frustration you want to pay with coins but the machine only accepts notes (or vise versa). I have seen machines (at least in China, Kunming) who return banknotes. Why not make this a standard approach? Why not offer more payment methods?


If you follow a user journey, users always (after they purchased a ticket) look again on their mobile phone or subway map, to see which subway to catch. Why not make “re printable” tickets. Tickets that just print the just purchased itinerary on the backside. .
Single journey ticket Hangzhou metro


Here in China often you can choose Chinese (standard) or English (mostly). But with current memory capacity and machine translations it should be very much doable to offer at least the top 10 languages in the world in the interface. I mean even most web shops have it, so for an interface that does not change a lot it should be doable. It will speed up the ticketing process a lot.


Now here in Hangzhou at least, you have to choose a “station” (or a line). But it means you need to know the location of the station in order to find it quickly. Suppose you know your station’s name. It is not possible in the current interface to search for a station name, you only can have an overview on a visual map. Not convenient for most users. So make it possible to have a station list at alphabetical order.

If the city is bigger (like in Shanghai) you have to select a line first in order to find a station. Also here a station list on alphabet i.c.w. with a line number can help a lot.
In a tourist city like Shanghai, give the user an option to select major tourists sights. Just pictures of the famous most frequently used tourist sights, just with one or two clicks they can order one or multiple tickets to a tourist site instead of a station. At the screen the station name is confirmed and at the ticket the route is printed.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Book review: kloteklanten 3.0 --> Damn those Customers 3.0 --> how do you become the most customer friendly organisation?

Usually I post screenshots and short summary's of books I read here at this blog, just for my own convenience, if I need to review something I can quickly find the things I need. Of course if I like these reads, others might also find it useful so that's also why I share it.

Sometimes I make extensive summary's and sometimes just some "picture screenshots".

Currently I am reading the book "Kloteklanten 3.0" roughly translated as 'Damn those customers 3.0" written by Egbert Jan van Bel, the author also lectures at Beeckestijn Business School and he has inspired me a lot when I attended his classes a few years ago.

Don't be fooled by the title of the book. It is a real inspirational book about customer centricity.
The subtitle of the book is: how to become the most customer friendly business of the Netherlands.

The book is in Dutch, and as I usually write in English at this blog, I will roughly translate some pages since this is a good book for everybody who believes in customer centricity, customer experience and a new way of marketing.

Did you already make a strategic description of your customer?

The customer definiton framework:

Roughly translated:
  1. Is someone buying regularly with you? If someone just buys one time, it is not a customer but someone just passing by. 
  2. does the customer pay you, and does he/she pays in time? If not it is a bad debt customer and it cannot be an active customer.
  3. Do you make the desired profit margin per customer? If you want to achieve 10 % margin but a customer that regularly buys with you, only gives you 5%, also then it is not a customer, but a prospect and your effort should be to grow this customer from 5 to 10 %.
  4. Is a customer recommending you? What are you doing to help your customers to recommend you? And who is doing this actively?

Short term or long term?

    Roughly translated:

    Most organisations in the Netherlands are market oriented. The most important question at sales meetings is :
    How many customer did you get today? These models used, are from the 70's, 80's and 90's at the very best. Communication is mainly "push" focused.
    The question should be: how much engagement did you realize today, is never asked.

    The long term commercial strategy is under pressure due to the short term focus.
    Marketing must do again what it started with back in the old days: creating a difference.
    Only this time not at product level, but at the level of satisfaction/need.
    Because with that, you create value for a customer.

    Saturday, May 26, 2018

    Technology in daily life in China : a view from an expat

    Since january 2018, I live and work now in Shanghai, China. Of course I had traveled to China a lot before, but now living here, makes you really experience life in China. I am really happy I got the opportunity to work here for a great company.
    I am learning so many new things, enjoying China and I let myself be amazed everyday by the technology and transportation advantage they have here.
    It is so impressive, they are way ahead of Europe and even the US.

    Here in China, I really experience how technology and design thinking can make life much more easier.


    Take a look at Alipay, an app, I use almost every day and this app makes life so much more easy for me.I will explain some functions I use regularly.

    Screenshot of my Alipay app

    In the Netherlands (or Europe) we are used paying with "debit cards'' or sometimes a credit card. Here in China, I also have a debit bank card. But I used it only once and that was for connecting my bank account to Alipay. After that I never used it again. 99% of my payment transaction I do with Alipay.

    If I want to pay in a physical shop with Alipay, I have two options:

    I press the "pay" button at the Alipay app, a QR code appears at my phone and the cashier just scans this QR code. That's it, I have paid now. A confirmation will appear at my phone.

    Or alternatively, if the cashier does not have a QR code scanner, I press the "scan" button in Alipay, and I scan a printed QR code. Usually every vendor has one. Alipay then asks me for the amount I want to pay, I type in the amount, press confirm and the payment is done. I show the vendor the confimation and I can walk away with my purchased goods.

    After payment usually a screen pops up where you can "rate" the vendor. Good ratings help the vendor ranking higher in Alipay's promotional overview. A great idea, both good for vendor and buyer.

    Alipay "are you satisfied" icons shown after payment

    I think paying with Alipay is much easier and safer then paying with a debit card. It is so convenient.

    I do not need extra cards in my pocket, that often get damaged in my pockets. Just my phone that I always have with me anyway.

    RFID copying, a scam that often happens with debit cards, is not possible with this way of payment.
    The QR code itself changes every 2 minutes or so, so it is also no use try to copy a QR code.

    Often when my bankcard is broken, I have to wait 5 days before I receive a new one and if I want to sent a new one from Netherlands to China it never arrives (believe me I tried). Here with Alipay, all you need is a working phone. As long as I have a working phone I can pay with Alipay.

    Yes, your phone battery can get empty, but in China you can charge your phone really everywhere.
    Take this "Energy Monster" a device that you can find in many restaurants. Just scan the QR code (with Alipay) a menu pops up at your phone and you can choose to charge it for 1 hour for 1 RMB, pay connect your phone and charge! You can just put this device at your table and charge it.

    Energy Monster

    A fresh orange juice a day, paid with Alipay, keeps the doctor away!

    But there are also in shopping malls special machines where you can just "borrow" a powerbank. All digitally.
    Talking about machines.
    As we all know, an orange juice a day, keeps the doctor away.
    Here in China I always say: "a fresh orange juice a day, paid with Alipay, keeps the doctor away"

    I regularly buy some fresh orange juice, at one of the many "fresh orange juice machines" that you have here in China. Also this I pay with Alipay. The machine generates a QR code, I scan this QR code, my Alipay app shows me the amount (15RMB) I press confirm and the machine get's a signal that I have paid and it starts making orange juice. No physical money needed, no bankcard needed. That's nice drinking :)

    At the office we have a shelf where products are stalled. If I scan the QR code with Alipay a menu opens within Alipay with all products on the shelf. I simply select the product, buy it with 2 clicks and I have some food or drinks. Very convenient all from within the same interface.

    Scan a QR code and buy the product.

    Monday, January 1, 2018

    Understanding Amazon, a linkdump of Amazon related article's video's and pdf's

    A few months ago, I did some research about marketplaces (in specific Amazon). I did a lot of reading, asked friends and collegues and watched a lot of webinars.

    This blog post has no intention to be complete, it is just my personal linkdump for video's, PDF's and some other info that I might need again in the future and that I like to share with others.

    If you want to be succesful at marketplaces you have to understand marketplaces. This blog post helps you in that. Also it helps (at least it helped me) in gerating idea's to make your own webshop(s) better in terms of customer experience.

    First of all I like to share this presentation (it is in Dutch) about marketplaces in cross border ecommerce. Highly interesting presentation about marketplace metric's, the choice between a marketplace or a webshop in a country and more. I saved this presenation at my dropbox and not youtube so it is not embedded. Just click here.

    This article (PDF) explains how Amazon works and it specifically explains Amazon prime, the customer experience and Amazon's vision.

    Amazon's vicious circle of destruction, read the complete article on click.

    Recently Amazon started in Australia, altough I live far from Australia, some very interesting articles have been written about Amazon starting there. This is one of them.
    Read about Amazon's customer first policy and how local businesses need to adapt. The idea is pretty simple but most online retailers that I know, unfortunately still do not place the customer as first as Amazon making them vulnarable to lose customers to Amazon.

    Amazon's customer first policy. Amazon sets the standard.

    This screenshot is from another magazine in Australia where they again explain the importance of service for local businesses to adapt to the standards Amazon sets.

    This retailer is active at many marketplaces throughout the world and I have learned a lot from them. Best is to download the article instead of using the dropbox internal PDF viewer as I see it misses a page if you use this viewer. This article explains the importance of technology when you use marketplaces:

    The importance of technology when using marketplaces , on click for complete article

    One of the most strategic interesting video's I watched in 2017 is one:

    Just be ready for those Alexa Ads in 2018

    Now my experience is, talking to a lot of people the past 2 years, you have two ways of ding business with marketplaces. They do not exclude each other but they are different:

    One is to do business via a "marketplace pipeline" system like channeladvisor, or tradebite or channable. I suggest to keep an eye at these companies as they usually publish interesting information about marketplaces and technology.

    2 ways of selling at marketplaces

    Using their marketplace pipleline you can easily connect to many marketplaces, you have a stronger negotiation position with the marketplaces and your local IT department does not need to develop to the API of the marketplaces themselves, meaning more ease of working. If the marketplaces change anything technical the "marketplace pipeline" company takes care of it. Usually this is faster then to do it yourself. The problem with these pipeline companies is that they partly serve different marketplaces. So at the end you might need multiple of those agency's (but they do not come cheap). Their way of working is often the same so you do not need to adjust your processes.

    The second way of doing business via and with marketplaces is to do it yourself. This way you (partly) manually optmize your products at the marketplace.
    There are many toolings available both on and offline that help you rank higher at a marketplace.
    For Amazon this German tool, JTL Wawi can be helpful. It can even help you with the customer experience as this tool allows you to automate sending emails to people who bought your products at a Amazon, which normally spoken is not possible.
    If you work (partly) manually you can improve your ranking (at least with Amazon) by for example:

    • Store at least one product via FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon)
    • Use a tool to insert more keywords then standard possible.
    • Use "Amazon" vouchers to increase your sales (f.e. think about these vouchers when a product is temporarily out of stock)
    • Amazon has a "parent-child" structure, use it to keep your Amazon ranking
    • Find partners where you can insert your flyer in their Amazon sold parcel's (that include a voucher for a purchase with you)
    • Don't forget about Amazon advertising (usually cheaper then Adwords).
    • Create landingpages that let visitors do the purchase at your Amazon webshop

    Of course there are much more ranking factors, read about them and implement them with creativity to stay ahead of the competition. Click here for an e-book about selling at Amazon. (direct download via my dropbox).

    To be succesful at marketplaces think like a marketplace. Think customer first. Make sure your processes (customer centric processses, see below for examples),logistics and technology (f.e. PIM system, content in PIM, EAN, auto enter orders in CRM, use of Amazon vouchers in your backoffice etc)  is ready,  because marketplaces will penalize you very easily if you do not do what you promise to the customer. Once get panalized it can be very difficult to get back online.
    Marketplaces do everything for their customers and their success depends at their customer experience. So if you care about your marketplaces customers, you will be rewarded.

    What marketplaces lack

    What marketplaces at this moment lack and what are opportunities for other ways of selling, to my opinion are these aspects:

    • It is very difficult to really "brand" your marketplaces webshop, to really give users the brandfeeling you want to give them.
    • The after sales customer journey is often impossible to set up , because you cannot use the contact details from the buyers from marketplaces for these purposes and they do not offer journey possibilities themselves. (altough you see they try to improve this)
    • And if you are a seller it is often very difficult to get the right contact at a large marketplace.

    Amazon's working culture and customer centricity

    To conclude and to understand more about how Amazon works a few screenshots from the book "The Amazon Way". When I read this book for the first time a few years ago I became totally enthousiastic. That kind of culture that is described in this book, really fits me.
    I publish it here below also for other companies as I encourage them to create such a culture. It makes working more nice and it is better for the end user :)

    Great, solving problems for customers before they know they have a problem!

    I always hated when you try to solve customer issues and someone says "that is not my job so I cannot help you with that now ask a manager. Good to read at Amazon this does not happen.

    Customer centricity is to prevent bureaucracy!

    Sharing is caring! 

    Generate your fulfilment KPI's and metrics from a customer point of view instead of an internal point of view:

    Set your (internal) SLA's extremely high to keep customers!

    And more on that:

    Short term vs long term

    Leadership principle: how to gain trust with the "open your kimono principle"

    The two way pizza team, to get things done!

    Sunday, December 24, 2017

    Consumer and digital marketing trends for 2018

    Hello!! It is almost 2018 and as the new year approaches, many websites publish trends for 2018.
    I have collected a couple of links to the most valuable consumer and marketing trends in 2018, so once you are done reading this blog post you are completely up to date and you can continue your party preparations for new year's eve!

    The first one I would like to share is a trendwatching video from trendwatching.com.

    Trendwatching describes consumer trends as "a new manifestation among people in behavior, attitude, or expectation of a fundamental human need, want or desire." meaning that this video goes beyond short term (product) trends. To work with trends it is important to uderstand what trends are and how they are created. This video explains this as well. Besides this explanation, 5 trends are described and altough the words below might seem familiar I still encourage you to watch the video as the trends themselves are explained differently then you might think, when reading these 5 trends topics below.

    Watch the video below where these 5 trends are explained, I think the complete video is well worth watching.

    Trend #1  A-Commerce
    Trend #2  Assisted development
    Trend #3  Virtual companions
    Trend #4  Forgiving by design
    Trend #5  Transparency

    This linkedin post is also a good read in how customer trends are created. Good to read before moving on to the rest of this post.

    How consumer trends are created
    How consumer trends are created

    Key Digital trends for 2018

    A 90 slide presentation with key digital trendsd from Ogilvy. If the slideshareview does not work, I have also uploaded the file at my dropbox (direct download here)
    They actually look back to last year's predections and tell you if they were right or not. 

    Email Marketing Trends 2018

    Then we move on to the world of email marketing. Email marketing is still rocking, especially in the western world. The people of E-consultancy always release very well written insights and reports and this one about email marketing is no exception.
    There is direct access to the report here via my dropbox account. No hassle with login's or registrations. Use this report to gather some idea's for email marketing within your business. The trends are written by 14 email marketing experts and they write about the following trends:

    • Increased regulation (GDPR, data protection, Canadian anti spam law, but also very important consumer expectations. They will expect more then the legal minimum)
    • Email rendering (about the usage of JSON, interactive emails, and emails interpretation of HTML and CSS and some best practices including screenshots)
    • Device friendly (short chapter about mobile friendly emails)
    • Intelligent personalisation (building persona's and connecting behavior triggers)
    • Sophisticated segmentation (about subscriber fatigue and the relation to an increasing spam score)
    • Subjectline effectiveness (subjectline and preheader, emoji's, conversational language, self optimizing subjectline tools, subjectline attribution etc)
    • Writing for emails (email writing is so different from website or book writing and related to the customer experience, read about the customer centric calculator and more)
    • Deliverability (already important but even more important in 2018)
    • Code like it is 2018 (stand out of the crowd with email coding and css, vs animated gif's etc.)
    • Marketing automation (predictive intelligence in relation to GDPR and marketing automation)
    Email marketing trends 2018

    SEO trends in 2018

    As for SEO trends of course, one of the leading search engine sites, searchenginejournal has a nice blog post.
    For short they see these important trends in 2018 

    • Mobile-first
    • Voice search
    • Schema
    • Featured snippets
    • Content
    • Machine learning and AI
    • Speed
    • Technical SEO
    • Links

    Go click here for in depth information and more SEO trends written by various leading SEO experts. Watch this focus at UX, Voice and branding trends!
    E-consultancy also has an article with SEO trends in 2018

    And if you just want to click a bit around and learn about SEO trends, you can click no less then 29 times at this slideshare presentation below or direct download here.

    Still not tired of clicking around? My favorite source of SEO information, MOZ, also has provided a slide deck with SEO trends in 2018, an additional 66 clicks! Downloadable version here.


    Altough it is not a specific 2018 trend video, I would like to share this video about how brand building and product selling is changing due to Google and Amazon and this will continue in 2018. It includees a section about voice search that really explains the direction.

    Selling at Amazon , requires special techniques and one of them are the Amzon ranking factors. Here Amazon listing optimization techniques to use in 2018.
    Talking about branding, purpose is a subject that is strongly connected to this. Marketingweek informs us about the changing purpose trend in 2018.


    The chatbot industry will enter a new phase in 2018 and will become more mature. It's time to test with chatbots, to learn, to see what it can do for you. But think beyond just chatting, think about getting customer's insights, data, or use chatbots as a landingpage for your campaigns such as email marketing. Chatbots are for sure something to experiment with in 2018. I have become very enthousiastic about chatbots en their future after visiting some marketing workshops in 2017 like this one:
    More about chatbot trends here:

    Customer Experience

    We all know by now the experience is the brand. A few links to websites informing you about customer experience trends 

    Experience Matters writes about going beyond the NPS metrix.Reconfigure your CX measurement programs. To my opinion very important, think for example about an emotionmap per touchpoint. 
    But they also write about changing customer feedback pulls and 14 other trends. Click here to go to their list.
    Ameyo writes about the IoT and blockchain where of course complete books are written about. They will both impact the customer experience directly and indirectly more and more in 2018.
    The Drum writes about trends in customer experience and the so called "unconsumption' strategy. Trends where the end goal still is a sale and a returning customer, but not at the same day or in the same physical space. 


    Besides hypertargeting relevant video's something that already takes place now, there are more trends in videomarketing for 2018. I could not really find many well written posts about it, but this one is nice to read. I would also recommend to keep on reading this website in 2018 as they have always good videomarketing insights.

    Voice controlled AI and facial recognition payments in 2018 in China

    The (digital) future comes from the east. Baidu, released this video a few weeks ago at their Twitter account about voice powered AI and facial recognition payments:

    Make the Forbes webmarketers happy

    Now let's make the forbes webmarketers happy in the last section of this post. Forbes writes a lot about consumer and retail trends and with every search I did, i found new pages about trends at the forbes.com domain. They have a lot of quick to read pages so click this link and quickly read their preview of next year's trends. I guess Forbes like to create many pages, as they also have another they have another page where they write about app trends in 2018. You might want to read this as well. So make their webmarketers extra happy by giving them aonther final click to read this article about ecommerce trends in 2018 from them as well.

    For me, one final thing to say to you all:

    I wish you a great , healthy and digital 2018! 

    Alex his happy digital 2018 fireworks

    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! :)


    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


    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)

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