Article | May 12, 2021
It has been over a year since retailers were forced to temporarily shut their doors or put in place restrictions to limit the in-store experience. Now, as we return to some semblance of normality, it’s essential that trust and brand value are retained for those operating a digital-only presence.
In this article, Nate Burke, CEO at Diginius, discusses how brands have effectively kept customers engaged, consequently building trust and brand value in the process, and what techniques to use while navigating the next steps of the pandemic.
As I write this, physical retail and outdoor hospitality are feeling a little more rejuvenated after welcoming customers back. My inbox and notification centre are full of alerts from brands offering high street discounts and incentives for scanning an app in-store. This is a prime example of how fast and timely brands need to be in order to capture their customers’ attention when trends and circumstances change.
It’s also a great example of how essential communication and marketing techniques are in building trust and creating brand value. While I might not be one to rush back to high street stores so soon, I do feel reassured and excited by these messages. And nothing could be more important at a time like this.
It’s a reminder that these shops are still there and are prepared to welcome customers back in. After all, if they’ve had time to plan and create a whole marketing campaign around the event, I can only hope their efforts towards a safe reopening have been given just as much thought and attention.
Digital tactics like those mentioned above have only ramped up during the course of the pandemic, where remote communication and at-distance offerings have been the only touch points between brands and consumers. And of course, this hasn’t been without challenge.
It’s human nature for us to trust and find greater value in something we can see for ourselves in person. Traditionally, brands have been able to create this through in-store experiences where customers know they can see products and services in action and are able to interact with staff and experts should there be any concerns. While digital channels do offer their own set of benefits, meeting these innate human needs is not one of them.
So, in a bid to retain consumer trust amid the uncertainty of forced closures, measures and constantly changing restrictions, we’ve seen a number of effective strategies from brands. Regular push notifications and email communications just scratch the surface. These tactics are a great way to generate instant response, whether it’s a brand reminder, an update on important changes or simply an alert of a new deal in an attempt to drive website traffic.
By now, it’s a known fact that personalised messages generate better results. And these forms of digital communication can certainly be personalised with little effort on the brand’s part. Whether it's a mass email with a tailored first name field, or an app alert that is sent as a restriction lifts - both feel personal and as though they have been sent by a real individual who knows who you are and understands the context of a situation.
But today’s customers need and expect more. These tactics have been used for years, and the sensitivity of the pandemic has called for a more human approach in terms of marketing and customer service. And that’s exactly what many successful brands have been doing.
While driving traffic to a website is important, it’s the service on offer once a customer lands on a page that makes the difference when it comes to building trust and brand value, and ultimately, converting. It’s all about translating the human in-store experience online.
For example, we’ve seen greater focus and uptake in live chat features on websites, with this now being an expected function for over half of consumers. Through such features, customers expect to be able to talk to a real person on the side of the screen who is able to understand their queries and responsively provide a solution.
Companies such as Currys PC World have taken this one step further, and now offer a ‘Shop Live’ feature that enables customers to video call a real sales representative who can help them with their purchase. In this way, brands are able to bridge the gap between themselves and their consumers, even in a time of social distancing. And as a result, are able to retain trust, while also adding value to their brand through the out of the box and supportive offering.
Other tactics have included offering incentives that encourage repeat purchases. For example, many online retailers offer unlimited next day delivery subscription services, whereby a one off higher yearly fee provides access to a year's worth of free delivery. With the delay between placing an order and it then arriving, as well as delivery fees being some of the biggest deterring factors from online purchases, the incentive has been incredibly effective in increasing loyalty. That feeling of the brand also offering you a better deal is also a great way to build trust, so even though a brand might be increasing the cost it incurs for delivery, the value of a repeating customer and their advocacy hold much more weight.
In this sense, it’s all about how a brand and its offerings are perceived by customers. And another sure fire way of improving brand perceptions is through PPC tactics. Anyone operating in ecommerce knows how competitive the market is. Ensuring your brand is seen above competitors is key in driving awareness and trust, as ultimately, a higher ranking and greater visibility reflect positively on a brand’s trustworthiness.
Clearly, there are a number of ways in which businesses can adapt and improve their offerings in order to encourage trust and add value. Of course, implementing all of these changes will be wasteful for budgets and not necessarily effective for every brand. Therefore, it’s important that you understand your market and customers, which can prove a challenge as things continue to constantly change as they have been.
But a solution may not be too hard to find. Insight software has advanced just as fast as these markets and customer behaviours. Therefore, with the right tools on your side, you can monitor shifts in the market in real time and adjust your offerings in response.
For example, if data shows you receive more website traffic at certain times, it may be an option to increase the number of customer service staff operating the live chat function during those periods in order to minimise waiting times and improve customer experience.
These tools can also help you decide which channels to focus PPC efforts on depending on those your customers visit most often. Using this data, you can then allocate budget accordingly, ensuring wasted spend is minimised while results are maximised. For example, during the pandemic, the figures were showing a greater uptake in use of marketplaces such as Amazon, as well as social commerce channels, including Instagram. If businesses understood this in real time, aided by collaborative commerce software such as VTEX, they may have been able to optimise their performance by increasing their PPC activity and consequently, visibility and status on such platforms.
Ultimately, commerce is facing a period of significant uncertainty that is having an effect on both customers and businesses alike. Regardless of whether stores are open or closed, customer behaviours and needs are constantly changing to keep up. And brands need to understand that how they communicate their messages and offerings is vital in retaining trust and brand value.
It’s evident that a humanistic approach is prevailing, as that is one thing that will never change. But as digital channels take centre stage, it all comes down to how a brand is able to translate its personable approach online. While there are a number of innovative methods brands are using to appear more human on online channels, using the tools and data available is key to ensuring activities help rather than hinder a business.
And in this way, not only will brands be able to retain trust and brand value, but they will be building on it too.
Article | May 12, 2021
As most businesses are reopen and America crosses an uneasy threshold, consumers are moving from anxiety and worry to boredom and anxiousness—many are eager to get back to a new normal. Still, some will wait for a vaccine before fully entering the world outside their homes: the latest research from McKinsey suggests 61% of consumers will remain isolated when restrictions are lifted. This means consumers will be in a state of flux as the country navigates its way to reopen.
Article | May 12, 2021
Google has now shared examples of what COVID-19 special announcement structured data will look like when used in search results. A brand new set of structured data markup for special announcements related to COVID-19 was introduced last month. Google officially stated last week it will support the new structured data, but didn’t say when it will be used in search results. At the time, it was also not known what the markup would look like when Google uses it to render search snippets.
Article | May 12, 2021
We have always been familiar with various video conferencing platforms but the current situation of COVID-19 has put them at the top of everyone’s routine. Never before have video calling platforms been in so much demand. The current lockdown imposition in the world has forced all possible industries to give their employees work from home by default not by choice, and asked to contribute to stopping the spread of the Coronavirus disease.
A rare situation like this has caused the world to go online for important meetings, conferences, learning activities, and every other important work. During this time many companies have seen a spurt in growth and Silicon valley-based communication technology company—Zoom is one of them. The video communication software company has seen a growth in its user base from 10 million to 200 million daily visitors and has been recognized as the top choice from satisfied customer reviews on TrustRadius, Gartner, and G2.
With big customers in the pocket like Uber, Delta, HubSpot, Zapier, etc. the company has earned power when other companies started their businesses based on Zoom which is running quite successfully. Many businesses started building their services or products on Facebook, Slack, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and now Zoom is the latest hotspot around which new businesses are popping up. Let’s have a look at the newly started businesses based on the web conferencing software and how they have made use of Zoom features.
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Founded in 2018, San Francisco based Grain might be the first business to build entirely around Zoom, at least as a starting point. Let’s understand the core idea of the business.
According to co-founder and CEO, Mike Adams, the key idea is to extract and save the important content in Zoom calls. Further, the best part of the conversation can be shared across various platforms like Slack, Notion, Discord, Twitter, or even iMessages.
Suppose a student is attending a Zoom class and wants to take the notes for later use. This has been made simple using Grain. Without needing to watch the full lecture again a student can save or record the important part of what a teacher is teaching in the virtual class that he or she can share with other students.
There are many ways to save an important part of the video using Grain. You can convert the whole video call into the transcript and then pick up the part you want to share. This will automatically create a unique URL for the separate part of the video that you can share across various platforms.
You can save and share the highlighted notes that you can create alongside the call. Here you are given a facility to take notes during the call in a column that is provided by Grain and save or share it later on.
Similarly, Grain can be used for the office purpose where you can flag the most important bit of information from the meeting and share those clips with your colleagues to understand the complex or prime things in the call.
The limit is given to save and share the video clips ranges from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. You can also create sections of the best parts of the video to create a summary highlight and this has no time limit. You are also given control over who can edit the video later to avoid the illegal activity and stop manipulating the snippet.
Founded by two young and talented minds from MIT, Fireflies.ai is doing an excellent work of helping people manage their tasks using AI-based technology.
While there are so many things to do on the list, one can simply not waste time going through the past calls or chats to note down an important part of work. That’s where Fireflies.ai comes to help you.
It helps you save critical information that is being said and you won’t miss anything even after leaving the meeting room. And to do so, all you have to do is integrate Fireflies’ AI assistant by inviting it to the Zoom meeting. As soon as the meeting starts, it captures every moment by recording the call and sends you the transcript over your email once the meeting is over. It makes use of NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithms to transcribe the audio call into the text format. Along with these features, it can integrate with dozens of apps like Salesforce, Slack, Zoho, Zapier, etc. They also have a Chrome extension for Google calendar that makes it easy to invite the AI assistant to the scheduled meeting.
This is how Fireflies.ai helps improve and accelerate the productivity gained from the Zoom meetings and unlock the hidden value in the voice data. It makes it easy to take quick notes with the help of high-quality recording while you pay attention to the live meeting.
The San Francisco based business is running quite smoothly and raised a fund of $5M in December 2019 from Canaan Partners.
Stream is a privately held, San Francisco based small company which started its business based on Zoom. It helps people host online events quickly especially the paid ones. It is not restricted to be used by office working professionals but can also be used by musicians, fitness instructors, content creators, private tutors, etc. and allows turning every physical event into a virtual event.
We use Zoom because it's what my 65-year-old aunt is familiar with. It's the tool of the moment. It is helpful to build a powerful, easy-to-use API. I'm surprised a lot of other developers haven't used it yet you can do a whole bunch of different things that you probably wouldn't think of.
Lan Paje, Co-founder and CEO, Stream
According to Stream, you can create a website to promote your virtual event and make money with tip donations or by charging people for entry to the event. This is the easiest way for event organizers to live-stream the event with just one click. The company is still taking baby steps and growing quite well.
The issue that Stream facing right now is uninvited guest appearances to the live events. According to the company, Zoom is lacking a security solution and preventing Zoombombers.
Otter is again a silicon valley based startup by a team of industry veterans who have working experience of development and technology in mobile, search, speech, and data analytics in leading technology companies.
Otter.ai offers a real-time voice transcript of conversations in a meeting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has seen growth in its customer base and launched some new features. Earlier users would get the transcription after an hour or two after the meeting is wrapped. But with the recent partnership with Zoom, it offers real-time transcription and recording of a live video conference. The feature is available on the Zoom app and can be used on desktop or mobiles.
Once the meeting is wrapped, you can refer back to the transcript and highlight the important part of the long conversation. Additionally, you can also add comments and photos to meeting notes.
It offers security to group conversations giving each user a separate user ID and then group members can also highlight edit, and share notes with others. The software is usable for work, schools, and daily life.
With Otter.ai, transcription as long as 600 minutes is offered for free. It also offers paid plans with additional features that help to make your meetings more reliable.
Otter usage has been increased 5X with Zoom meeting over a few weeks of April and the company has observed new more sign-ups of students and employees working from home. Addressing increased use of generating rich notes with Otter’s AI-powered assistant, Sam Liang conveys the importance of Otter where everyone can search, play, edit, and share conversations on all devices.
Virtual meetings have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 outbreak as organizations recognize that high-quality voice meeting notes are a critical tool for employee productivity when collaborating within an office or in any virtual meeting.
Sam Liang, CEO, Otter.ai
By April 2020, Otter has transcribed more than 25 million meetings and has raised $23 million in funding from NTT DOCOMO, GGV Capital, Slow Ventures, Horizon Ventures, and others.
It seems Zoom is changing how remote working employees communicate and in the future, it might become a strong business tool. Growth of the video conferencing application pointing to more businesses built based on it. Isn’t that a way to go?