Article | January 4, 2021
It’s that time of year again where we reflect upon the prior year and make informative predictions for the months ahead in order to adjust our business activities and refocus our strategies.
Unsurprisingly, due to the nature of 2020’s events, just about every industry and business will be looking to 2021 with hope and optimism, as well as a strong sense of caution.
And while the physical retail sector has been one of the hardest hit, ecommerce has experienced the opposite effect, but that’s not to say it has been without its challenges. Consequently, businesses need to respond to shifts in the market for the chance of a successful future.
Nate Burke, CEO of Diginius, a UK provider of proprietary software for digital marketing and ecommerce solutions, shares his predictions for the industry for 2021 and beyond.
Physical retail outlets have been facing uncertainty long before the term became widely used. This is due to multiple factors, including high commercial rents, a shift towards digital-first consumer shopping habits and online competitors’ ability to undercut prices. These influences have resulted in the gradual digital transformation of retailers, whereby online offerings have become a primary focus for business efficiency.
Proof of this is the year on year increase in online sales. But the spike experienced in early 2020 is the basis of the first prediction, which is high levels of online shopping will continue into the next twelve months, with no going back to pre-COVID ways. But many organisations are already in a position to accommodate this trend, particularly as 85,000 new businesses enabled ecommerce functionality or joined an online marketplace during the first national lockdown.
And now these businesses have made the digital switch, they will want to continue maximising sales through online channels as the pandemic has created a permanent digital shift in consumer shopping behaviours with more predicted to shop online post-pandemic than before it.
Alternative sales channels
The next prediction is fuelled by both digital innovation and the rise in ecommerce. As more and more businesses enable ecommerce functionality, there will inevitably be greater competition and an increase in options for consumers to choose from.
Therefore, the channels through which businesses sell their products will widen and become more accessible in order to generate the greatest chance of items or services being seen and ultimately, chosen over competitors’.
Fortunately, the rising popularity of online marketplaces and the developments in social media shopping functions, means businesses now have the opportunity to distribute products through more channels than ever before. And this will only continue to increase in the year ahead.
When it comes to marketplaces, Amazon is leading the way with a year on year rise in net revenue. Not only is the business’s performance evidence of this, but so is the consumer shopping behaviour shift which is seeing more consumers go directly to Amazon first (40%) when searching for a product, as opposed to Google (30%) or a brand’s owned channel (19%).
Facebook and Instagram are also notable channels for ecommerce businesses, with YouTube also growing in popularity and prominence. Although by nature, these platforms are designed for social interaction and content consumption, in recent times, they have placed greater focus on shopping with Facebook’s marketplace, Instagram’s shopping tab and YouTube shopping ad functions, for example.
One of the biggest benefits of utilising social media as a shopping channel is the streamlined customer experience that can be created. Fundamentally, shoppers can see a product on their feed, click through to view it and then place an order without even having to leave the app.
But as well as convenience, social media is an effective shopping channel as platforms are key influences on consumer consumption decisions anyway. In fact, 80% of Instagram users and 68% of YouTube users say content on the respective platforms helps them decide whether to buy a product or service.
Therefore, as more businesses realise the impact of these platforms, we’ll see social media being added to an increasing number of online sales strategies.
Many are hopeful for a return to some form of normality in 2021. And with the potential reopening of physical retail, businesses will be faced with the opportunity to maximise their presence and in turn, sales through both online and offline channels, creating an omnichannel brand offering.
This way, brands will appeal to a larger customer base. And no matter which channel a customer chooses to use to interact with the brand, they can expect a consistent quality of service and overall experience.
But in 2021, what many will realise is the challenging nature of upkeeping both channels. Of course, there will be a greater financial burden due to property costs and employee wages, which will only be felt deeper due to the volatile, COVID-struck economic climate.
So instead, a true omnichannel experience will be created through integration and innovation whereby each channel is used to support and supplement the other.
For example, we’ll see retailers using their physical locations to relieve some of the pain points of the online service, such as delivery and returns processes. Some retailers are already excelling in this, including the likes of supermarkets, Next, John Lewis and Argos who have all integrated click and collect services and other smart shopping options firmly into their primary offering.
As technology and creativity moves on, we’ll also begin to see an increasing number of concept stores that make shop visits an unmissable experience that is personal to each customer and adds value to their purchase, rather than simply a distribution channel.
With all these additional sales channels, retailers will see the benefit of digital management systems that relieve some of the administrative burden and enable greater efficiency.
The VTEX solution, for example, provides a single comprehensive commerce platform for brands and retailers. Combining activity across every sales and logistics channel, these platforms allow for a unified customer experience, lower cost of ownership, and increased business capabilities across physical stores, websites (B2B and B2C), third party and company owned marketplaces.
With all this information in one place, businesses can provide better customer experiences as order information can be retrieved faster and response times reduced. Customer updates can also be automated to ensure any important information about an order process is timely communicated, with no additional workload for employees.
And as well as customer-facing benefits, these systems enable better collaboration between points in a supply chain, which can streamline a business’s processes, and in turn reduce waste and increase efficiency.
For example, orders for items that are low in stock can be placed automatically and only when they are needed. This way, businesses won’t have cash tied up in unused products and materials, and resources can be reallocated to other critical activities.
And as these systems collect and analyse data, they can also provide meaningful insight into market trends, that can inform accurate future predictions and business decisions.
These trends are evidence that the ecommerce landscape is ever-changing. While digital transformation is set to continue, the speed at which it has occurred for retailers this year means the ecommerce market will inevitably undergo further significant change in the months to come.
Businesses that are prepared to adapt now will experience better growth and success than those that remain static or stuck in their ways.
Article | March 11, 2021
Want to brush up on your business skillset? Mastering these 10 basic marketing skills can pay off with better brand awareness and a boost in leads and sales.
The 10 basic marketing skills everyone needs to master
Imagine you’re on a first date. You’ve heard a lot about him from your friend who set you up. He’s sharply dressed, has a smile that could light up the night and smells good (I hug people – that’s how I know he smells good). Expectations are high for an amazing date.
Fifteen minutes into the date, you are mapping out a swift exit. What happened? He won’t stop talking about himself. You are being sidelined by a monologue. Any chance for an engaging conversation has faded.
You could switch the above scenario out for a business lunch meeting. Why on earth would I want to work with you if you seem to only care about yourself rather than me or my needs? (I don’t care how good you smell. Also, I’m married, so this date is pure imagination.)
Marketing is like dating. The goal of your first interaction (date) is not to close a sale (get married). It’s to get to know each other. If you both like what you see/hear/learn, your relationship will progress.
Creating client-centric messages
Anytime you sit down to write, whether it’s a social media post or an article, make sure you are talking to your audience, not at them. Your main messaging and copy should not be about you. Don’t lead the conversation with “I am an expert at …” and “We offer …”.
No one cares.
It needs to be about what you can do for them. Your messages should lead with “You need …” or “You deserve …”. Once you talk to them, you can slip in, “That’s exactly what we provide!”
Writing an email subject line
So many people get this completely wrong. Luckily, the fix is easy.
You want to write email subject lines that are interesting, creative, focused on the reader, and provide a sneak peek at what is in the email. Here at Jansen Communications, questions work really well.
Please do not every use “ABC Company June Newsletter” or “What’s new at ABC Company” as your email subject line. I have no idea if the email is relevant or not, and I’m not going to bother opening it to find out. Delete.
Segmenting your email list allows you to send out the most relevant information to each subset of your audience. It’s totally worth doing, because when you segment your lists, you will see a significant improvement in your open and click-through rates. On average, segmenting a list results in a 14% higher open rate and a 100% higher click-through rate.
You can segment your list by any number of criteria: gender, location, industry, purchase behavior, monthly spend, age, lifestyle, interests, job title, etc.
Setting up an automated email campaign
An automated email campaign is also known as a drip campaign. It’s simply a series of emails that start sending once they are triggered by an event, like downloading a free ebook.
They are super easy to create and set up. Every email marketing platform offers this service, and they walk you through the process.
Once you write the email subject lines, compelling copy and the call-to-action, watch the results. The open and click-through rates will let you know immediately if the campaign is working or not.
Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter, Instagram or celebrity influencers. They are relevant on LinkedIn as well. In fact, LinkedIn suggests hashtags to use when you publish an article or update.
Why bother adding them? Hashtags make it easy for people to find content they are interested in. Use them if you want to be more findable online.
Creating custom graphics in Canva
Canva is a free online graphic design tool for non-graphic designers. It’s easy to use, and it comes pre-populated with numerous templates you can quickly customize.
A word of warning: it can be easy to go down a rabbit hole on Canva, so I suggest customizing (or creating from scratch) one template to use consistently. This is a time-saver AND it ensures your “look” on social media stays the same.
Once you have a template, start creating bite-size content to share on social media:
Favorite quotes (your own are OK, too)
Questions (people LOVE to share)
Spying on competitors
Seriously – get good at spying on competitors. Don’t you want to know what they are doing – and what is working for them?
This isn’t as awful as it sounds. Just look up their websites and social media feeds. Take a look at their offerings, the topics they are writing about and any trends that appear to be taking off. Better to be in the know than be left wondering.
Optimizing blog posts for search
Want your blog post to get found in the sea of content out there? You need to optimize your blog post so search engines can “read” and index it. That way, when someone is looking for content on that topic, you are more likely to appear in search results.
I highly recommend installing Yoast for SEO on your WordPress website. You can also optimize blog posts on a DIY platform, like Squarespace or Shopify.
Choose one keyword for each blog post and make sure it appears in:
Your blog post title (preferably at the beginning)
First paragraph of your copy
A couple of more times in your post (but not too often, or you’ll get penalized!)
In your meta description
In the alt text of your image
Using categories and tags
Categories and tags organize content (blog posts) on your website. Categories are the main topics you write about; you shouldn’t have more than five for your blog. Tags allow you to get more specific about the main topic.
Think of these in terms of a grocery store: categories are grocery departments: produce, dairy, meats, bakery, and so on. Tags are subcategories. In the produce department, you’ll find bananas, kumquats, Romaine lettuce and tomatoes.
Understanding Google Analytics
Google Analytics was created by engineers for technical people. I am neither, but I can still glean a lot of useful information from the main dashboard (home) and various reports.
Let’s just stick with what you can find on the home page. You can learn a lot just by looking at:
Number of users and sessions – is traffic to your website increasing or decreasing?
User acquisition by source – where are website visitors coming from?
Pages users visit – what are people reading/interacting with once they get on the website?
If you don’t know whether or not you have Google Analytics connected to your website, ask your website developer.
Did I miss anything? What basic marketing skills do you think are most important to master?
Article | July 20, 2020
With SAFe 5.0, we extended SAFe guidance from the realm of pure tech teams to other teams critical to the building and support of innovative businesses solutions. Real business agility demands this. To that end, we’ve been working with a number of enterprises to better understand how to integrate marketing with their SAFe implementations. In addition, as I think that we’ve noted previously, we run our entire business on SAFe and marketing has been integral to our business agility since about day one. This gives us our own experience as well.
Article | January 18, 2021
As the New Year unfolds, the digital marketing trends for 2021 are expanding with it. And as the years go by, online marketing techniques are dominating the Internet.
The pandemic’s recent surge has indeed brought more people closer to their virtual screens than ever before. This phenomenal change caters to a groundbreaking opportunity for businesses to shift their marketing strategies online.
This encourages them to develop and advance a digital tactic for their business’s web adaptation. Luckily, the newest tools and methods also adapt to the convenience of the netizens.
The Advent of Online Change
In a world where progressive advancement is taking place, being conventionally inclined has never been enough. This is why marketers need to go beyond their limits and operate with the world’s movement by knowing the digital marketing trends for 2021. This will ensure the expansion of the customer base and, at the same time, heighten their marketing experiences.
AI-motorized digital promotion
For the past few years, online business has started utilizing artificial intelligence to power up conversational marketing. This tactic generates a customized, user-friendly product experience for the customers. Generally, it also provides a smoother transaction and familiarity with the help of Facebook messenger, LinkedIn broadcasts, and on-screen chatbots.
This marketing trend’s main advantage doesn’t only enhance effortless communication between the marketer and the customers. It also conveniently keeps track of the sales by analysing the user’s behavioural patterns displayed in the client’s data. Conversational marketing also decreases the employees’ load with its user-centric feature and is expected to develop further in 2021.
Shifting to the alternatives with advertising
For most folks, advertisements are quite an eyesore to look at on the screen. Most people don’t know, though, that these spontaneous, annoying ads bring most businesses’ great profit. They also give the business a chance to influence in the marketing arena. In the year 2021, programmed advertisements will be one of the crucial marketing trends that allow businesses to gather a giant mass of specific audiences.
The constant alteration of search engine results will result in a much higher need for consumers to search for traffic. With the heightened increase of competition in the digital space, advertising methods will safeguard an elevated level of trust from the target consumers. In utilizing this marketing strategy, businesses are always encouraged to find a suitable advertising platform.
Boosting customer-friendly experiences with voice optimization
The online medium is a much more competitive market than conventional ones. Crafting exclusive deals, spot-on markdowns, and low rate expenses are never enough for attracting online purchases. In the world of digital evolution, customers will always crave first-rate shopping experiences to tend to their needs. That being said, businesses must develop more hassle-free counter experiences to ensure customer satisfaction.
As most businesses started to invest heavily in mobile marketing, producers need to ramp up their capitalization efforts. One prime example is optimizing the voice searching feature to provide a smoother customer experience. As predicted by online marketing analysts, 55% of the Internet search queries utilized voice searching optimization. Therefore, the search-friendly feature will only grow in 2021.
Optimising the Augmented Trends
For starters, it is never enough for a business to be complacent in formulating what the digital marketing trends for 2021 are. Experienced and qualified consultants in the virtual platform should help enterprises to work out the designed strategies.
Doing so will allow the marketing specialists to analyse the operation until effective marketing segments are chosen at the endpoint.
Refining the traditional approach
With the high-end development of technology swinging in most netizens’ sights, the classical method will not help businesses expand. So going with a specific marketing channel would no longer be relevant. Companies must be aware of developing all accessible spheres, such as native promotion, advertisement, and engaging content.
Rising above the limits with neuromarketing
One of the most futuristic trends in the year 2021 would be neuromarketing. This type of marketing trend involves scrutinizing and studying how that influences a customer’s behaviour. Doing this process, one would analyse the human brain’s scientific bustle. This would allow owners to modify their existing strategies to trigger the audience’s liking.
The central core of Internet marketing to expand a profit doesn’t only rely on digital marketing trends for 2021. For a company to achieve a tremendous feat in the digital and competitive space, crafting a positive image in the limelight is essential. Moreover, businesses are always encouraged to think outside the box to connect with their ever-changing consumers in the most convenient, relevant, and adaptable approach.