Vital (Digital) Signs

Retail is a highly competitive area and there are multiple retailers offering similar products. As a result, it is extremely important for retailers to attract customer traffic. Once way to do this is by using digital signage.

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Image Credit: Pixabay

Mark McPherson, Vice President of digital signage and audio video integrator company, Advanced says that the audio-visual aspect of digital signage can “significantly contribute to the look and feel that a store conveys in any given area” and therefore, incorporating this in a retail space can help customers engage with the brand better. And this trend is being implemented by many retailers, although the scale varies. Many food retailers, for example, McDonald’s has used digital signage to show menus to customers. The menus are more visually appealing, for example, the coffees on the menu visually shows stream coming out of the coffee cups which could make customers want the product more. Furthermore, for food retailers like McDonald’s whose menu varies during the day, change of menu display becomes easier with digital signage.

Apart from food retailers, many luxury retail brands have implemented digital signage in their stores, for example, designers like Burberry and Christian Dior have giant video walls in their stores which are used to play runway shows. Not only does this help grab customer’s attention while they are in stores, but also helps them look at products in motion.

Digital signage can also be interactive, for example, customers may be allowed to scan a QR code that will provide them information regarding the location of the product within the store. This can be extremely beneficial in supermarkets and warehouse retail spaces, such as, Woolworths and Costco, respectively.

Brad Grimes of Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) says that audio-visual experiences can help energise a retail space by proving the customers with an immersive experience.

Although my experience with digital signage is limited to my trips to Mecca’s, so far all I can say is that “I’m lovin’ it”.

How about your experiences? Tell me all about them in the comments section.

The world of SOCIAL

Adweek, reported that 142 million Instagram users managed to share 709 million content during the Spring Summer 2018 fashion weeks hosted in the fashion capitals of the world (New York, London, Milan and Paris). This number is three-times the number of content that was generated earlier this year during the fashion weeks held to showcase the fall collections in the cities.

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Image Credit: SponsoredLinx

Social media an important part of our daily lives. Chances are high that the second thing a person with a smartphone does, after waking up, is open one of their social media apps (the first thing would be to turn the alarm off). In an article, Brenna Vallar declares it essential for brands to establish a cohesive and authentic voice across all their social media platforms in order to get the “millennial stamp of approval” as authenticity and reliability is what the generation demands from brands.

But how does a brand create a ‘voice’? Stephanie Purinton in another Adweek article provides some guidelines. She says, finding a brand voice involves thinking about the brand as a real person and then imagining what that person would speak about; this is what would form the basis on which the brand will revolve its social content around.

I completely agree with what Purinton has to say. A brand today needs to be as interactive and vocal as possible to be able to communicate with its customers. The reason why this is extremely important in social media, is because that’s how people are using social media: sharing themselves and sharing their voice. A personal voice allows brands to make itself feel alive in the minds of their customers, rather than just being an intangible product.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

Mobile vs Desktop

 

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Image Credit: Churchmag

From a survey conducted by Entrepreneur, it was found that of the 252 big-company and big-agency marketers, 27% believed mobile marketing to be the next big thing. However, the article stresses about those 27% marketers as the author believes that mobile marketing has “already arrived”.

Interestingly, in another article, Clark Boyd says that while many marketers have a ‘mobile first’ mindset, they should first think about how what and when customers are using their mobile devices before declaring that the desktop is dead. Clarke reports that the usage of desktop or laptop computers was the same between 2016 and 2008, despite the growth of mobile usage. This statistic implies that people are still using desktop as much as they were using in the past. Therefore, while marketing communications in the mobile sector should be increased it is important not to ignore other devices. In addition, it was reported that the time spent browsing a site on a desktop was found to be 1.9 times longer that the time a person spent browsing the sites on mobile devices.

While the views in the two articles are not contradictory, it is important for marketers to sit back and think about the devices their customers are using in their purchase journeys. For example, if mobile is being used more for searching and desktops are being used for purchasing, then digital marketing promotions should be coordinated in a way that facilitates the search aspect of a mobile space while enhancing the retail space of desktop sites for a business.

Should marketers shift focus to mobile marketing? Please share your thought.

Who do you think you’re talking to?

When was the last time you were on a website and decided to give it’s chat feature a try, and within seconds “David” appeared to solve your problems? The chances are high that “David” was a bot.

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Image credit: Cristos

AI based chatbots are likely to be a greater part of future customer service. Kemal El Moujahid, lead product manager for Messenger Platform and M, at Facebook in a Business Insider article, described the potential of chatbots as “personalisation in scale” meaning the AI chatbots are equipped to address customers’ concern with tailored data of the customers available to them, in a fraction of time a human would take. However, chatbots are as powerful as the data they are analysing and this is where human capital comes into the picture for businesses organisations that have incorporated chatbots in their customer service operations. Beerud Sheth, co-founder CEO of Gupshup, a bot-building company, says that bots facilitate to abolish a human’s limited attention span, which acts as a key shortage in modern advertising and marketing.

Although I do like the interaction that human customer service representatives offer, I do feel that they fail to address problems efficiently and effectively in a timely manner. Apart from short attention span, the service quality is inconsistent with humans and that too varies from one person to another. The reason, I find the chatbots most appealing is because, it’s interaction with customers can be better controlled by businesses.

How have your experiences with AI chatbots been? Please share in the comments.

matchesfashion.com’s excellent user experience

Browsing online shops has become part of my daily life. And no, I am not a shopaholic! The reason I spend so much time on online shopping websites is mostly not because I’m shopping with them. But because of the experience that such sites provide me with. Apart from the product themselves, the sites provide much more which keeps the site visitor engaged. Matches Fashion is one site I can spend hours on and my shopping experience with them is always a fulfilling one. Here are four reasons why:

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While the added features of the site do not always extract a purchase off me, what they do is imprint their brand in my mind. After all if I have to shop for a product I will be more loyal to the retailer that has provided me with hours of good experience.

WHAT’S THAT ONE SITE THAT YOU REPEATEDLY VISITED JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE IT PROVIDES? Let me know in your comments.

Dove’s Homemade Issues

Any business that is selling a product wants its customers to like their product and review it positively or spread a positive word of mouth, to get more customers.

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Image Credit: Google Images (permitted for non-commercial reuse)

In the digital age, when a word of mouth spreads like wildfire in social media, we say the marketing message (video, picture, product information, etc.) has “gone viral”. A message from businesses can go viral for many possible reasons, but going viral is not always beneficial to businesses.

A recent example, of a marketing message that went viral and damaged the company’s reputation was a Dove body wash advertisement. I saw the commercial through a Facebook post from NowThis. The post title read: ‘WTF was Dove thinking with this ad?. The ad had gone viral when a popular social media influencer found it racially discriminative and shared it.

The three-second video that went viral showed a black woman taking her top off and becoming a white woman followed by her taking her top off and becoming a woman of another colour. The promotion and the resulting perceptions that followed is known as ‘Homemade Issues’ (Kaplan & Haenlein (2011) in their article “Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance”), meaning a negative outcome of a marketing campaign that went viral and was created by the company.

This outcome implies that is that marketers now have to put a greater emphasis on the possible negative reaction that their forthcoming promotions can garner in the digital space. After all, people in the current world have very low tolerance and only see what they want to see. For example, the portion of the ad where the white woman’s top change was followed by the appearance of a woman of darker colour was overseen; in addition to the fact that the extended thirty-second ad celebrated racial diversity and that the product promoted by Dove does not claim to whiten the users’ complexion.

I believe some wording with the video could or the sequence in which the women appear on the commercial could have prevented the negative publicity Dove received.

Please share in the comments section, any idea that you think could, if implemented by Dove, could have resulted in a better outcome.

Do your emails leave you feeling wanting more?

Most social media platforms can serve as a communication medium, despite emails remain an important part of our daily lives. While businesses do send emails, not all of them can ignite a high level of interest in their readers that successfully takes them to the businesses’ websites.

As per Adobe Campaign’s third annual consumer email survey, 61% of consumers prefer to hear about brands via email. The campaign also reported that 40% of the respondents would like the emails received to be more informative and less promotional. And I couldn’t agree more. Off late I have received emails that have left me wanting more information. I myself check emails on the commute to work and there isn’t always time to click on links provided on emails, and thus I find promotional emails that are not informative, extremely annoying.

To illustrate my point, look at the two emails I have received from two different retailers for the same products.

 

Both emails relate to a promotion of the Alexander Wang’s collaboration with Adidas. The Alexander Wang email (image on the right) left me wanting more! All I see here is the brand’s logo and the release date with no product information. In contrast, Sneakerboy’s email was more informative. Along with the logo, they have provided pictures from the collection in addition to information of locations where the collection will be available. Therefore, if the two email promotions are compared, Sneakerboy’s one is more appealing and effective in my opinion as a consumer, because its providing me a wider range of information rather than just reinforcing its existence, which is what Alexander Wang has done here.

While it is understandable that the brands are wanting to direct email recipients to their online stores, for that to happen it is important that they provide sufficient information in those emails. At the end of the day, I believe that it is safer for brands to provide more information, as then their visitors will be people who are informed and are visiting their stores with a pre-existing interest, rather than accumulating site traffic that would unlikely contribute any sales revenue.

Please share your thoughts.