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Tim Peter

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April 23, 2014

Social and Mobile Make E-commerce… Mo-cial? – Thinks Out Loud Episode 70

April 23, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile commerce grows up

Social and Mobile Make E-commerce… Mo-cial? Headlines and Show Notes

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

And the tips in my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results, may help you out as well:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 16s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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April 21, 2014

Why You Should Care Where Google’s Search Volume Comes From

April 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

Shopping on mobileMarketing Charts offers some fascinating data that shows mobile is now one-third of Google’s organic search volume, up roughly 22% year-on-year.

Um… damn.

Clearly, we shouldn’t be surprised by this growth. I talk about how big mobile’s getting fairly often. Most of my clients see mobile contributing between 12% to about 35% of their traffic these days, up 20% or more from a year ago.

I don’t see these numbers shifting anytime soon. It’s possible we’ll see some movement towards wearables in the coming months, but for right now, mobile’s where it’s at.

What’s more important than the numbers, of course, is how you respond to this trend. Last week I challenged the notion that retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile, noting,

“Customers choose strong brands — Apple, Google, Pepsi, Coke, Harley-Davidson, Fischer Travel, and countless others — because those brands tell an effective story that connects with their customers. Full stop.”

eMarketer offers data that supports that position, showing consumers often choose “…small businesses because of the personalized experiences they provide compared with larger businesses.” These customers also like supporting the local economy, the ease with which they can conduct business, and the sense of accountability they enjoy when interacting with business owners.

Sure, customers can and will shop around for the best price on many items. The ease with which customers can check prices guarantees that behavior (they do, after all, carry the Internet in their pocket). And if your prices don’t align with common sense pricing, yes, you probably will lose the sale. But those same customers define value based on a variety of factors, price being only one of them. You don’t have to be the cheapest game in town (or on the Internet), if your total brand value proposition makes you worth the additional cost.

The Internet has long created and reinforced price transparency. Increasingly, user-generated content like ratings and review sites, creates transparency around product and service quality. And all of those items put together helps your customers define value.

Don’t assume the big boys hold all the cards in this new world. You have the ability to tell a convincing, credible brand story. You have the ability to differentiate yourself from larger competition, using your size as a strength, not a liability. You have the ability to offer your customers personal service and individual attention. And, most importantly, in an age when brands may be struggling to deliver consistently on their promise due to ratings and reviews, you have the ability to win.

Interested in more info about how it’s all e-commerce? Then you might want to check out these slides from a recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results”. Check them out here:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 15, 2014

This Week’s Sign That Mobile Rules (Travel Tuesday)

April 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman traveler mobile phoneI wrote a post a couple weeks ago looking at on-property mobile experiences that seemed to strike a chord with many of you. So, you’ll probably want to check out Mobile Marketer’s roundup of how the 5 biggest online travel agencies are using mobile to expand beyond bookings.

This quote from Giorgos Zacharia, Kayak’s chief technology officer, struck me in particular:

“We see heavy usage at home, suggesting mobile devices are replacing desktops and laptops roles in booking and planning travel.”

Most of my clients see the same behavior, with Safari on iOS replacing IE or Chrome on Windows as the most common browser/OS combination. I know I’ve talked about this for a while, but you should check your numbers, too, to see where your guests come from — and start planning your response.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results:

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 14, 2014

Retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile use. Or do they?

April 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman shopping phoneInteresting article over on Mobile Commerce Daily today, which outlines a study suggesting retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile use. The key quote:

“Tradedoubler research reveals that when smartphones are used in-store for product research, consumer shopping habits sway by 61 percent.”

Um… how to say this politely? I got it: Bullcrap.

Retailers don’t lose 32% of shoppers because of mobile. That’s simply untrue.

They lose 32% of shoppers because their customers found a product that better met their needs. Or found a retailer that addressed an outstanding concern. Or, yes, the customer found the product someplace else that saved them money.

In fact, the less sensational part of the study suggests the exact same thing:

“The research found that after viewing a product on mobile, 20 percent of people decide to buy elsewhere, 20 percent decide against purchase and 22 percent decide to buy online.”

For the most part, customers don’t care about you. They care about their needs. When you meet your customers needs, they’ll buy from you. When you don’t, they won’t. Sure, mobile may be facilitating the process, but suggesting that, somehow, that process is mobile’s fault is patently absurd.

Look at it this way: If your customers are bailing just because they found a better offering, were they really your customers in the first place? Or were they always looking for a better offering, but had fewer ways to find one?

I suspect it’s the latter.

Customers choose strong brands — Apple, Google, Pepsi, Coke, Harley-Davidson, Fischer Travel, and countless others — because those brands tell an effective story that connects with their customers. Full stop.

I have an iPhone. I very much like my iPhone. Would I trade it for an Android phone, say the Galaxy S5? Nope. I would not. This, despite that fact that an Android phone is undoubtedly less expensive (at least upfront), and probably every bit as effective a smartphone.

Why wouldn’t I switch? Because, for whatever reason, the iPhone is the right phone for me. Just like I prefer Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi (and, using “prefer” in that context is like saying “I prefer breathing oxygen to not breathing oxygen.”)

Mobile may make it easier for your customers to learn you’re not the right choice for them. The question is, what can you do to make sure you are the right choice?

On a related note, you may enjoy these slides from a recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results”. Check them out here:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 10, 2014

Should Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Focus on Apps or the Mobile Web? Thinks Out Loud Episode 69

April 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

Should Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Focus on Apps or the Mobile Web?

Man using smartphone

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

If you’re looking for more e-commerce tips, check out my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results as well:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 12s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

By

April 8, 2014

Search? Metasearch? What’s the Difference? (Travel Tuesday)

April 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Google buys Room 77's metasearch technologyWell, this is something. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Google (essentially) bought Room 77′s metasearch and booking technology. Key quote:

“With Room 77, Google can cater to travelers looking to quickly book hotels, the most lucrative part of online travel, while on the move.”

Very, very interesting.

I’ve been telling clients and investors for the past few years that the biggest competitor to Expedia, Priceline, and TripAdvisor is none other than our good friend Google. The search giant’s entry into metasearch with maps was its opening shot in an increasingly less cold war.

You see, metasearch isn’t a product or category or business. It’s a feature. Google can include metasearch results into its search engine results pages without blinking an eye and undermine all the work done by Kayak, Trivago, and TripAdvisor on building differentiated metasearch offerings (To be fair, though, Priceline, Expedia, and TripAdvsior can do the same by incorporating metasearch into their regular search results, too).

More important from a distribution strategy perspective is that search results are only one click away from booking. Google — or its vertical search/metasearch competition — could easily add booking capabilities to tie search and reservations together. In Google’s case, though, its other, major revenue stream might prevent that. As the Bloomberg article notes:

“The deal also steps up [Google's] competition with Priceline Group Inc., which is one of Google’s biggest customers in buying search ads.” [Emphasis mine]

The key question for me, and for hospitality executives, is how Google plans to use its new toys. If Google wants to go toe-to-toe with those who buy its ads, we might witness a new “Cold War” between OTA’s and Big G — and I’d expect that cold war to get even hotter if Google routed reservations directly to hotels, instead of to the OTA’s.

Definitely interesting times for hotel marketers and distribution execs. Stay tuned to see where this leads.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results:

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

April 3, 2014

For Millennials and Gen X, There’s No Such Thing as Offline

April 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

Fascinating chart from Deloitte and Marketing Charts today, showing that fully half of all millennials own a laptop, smartphone, and tablet. The graying Gen X demographic lags only slightly, at 46%. Here’s the full chart (and link to the data) for you to look at.

I know I say it again and again, but this data underscores the point that your customers no longer go online, they are online. They’re carrying the Internet with them all day, every day, no matter where they go.

One of the real keys to responsive design is reacting appropriately not to your customers’ screen, but to their context. A potential customer who’s browsing the web or an app while sitting on her couch has very different needs than one checking for information while hustling through an airport, riding in a taxi, or waiting to pick up her kids from school. Your digital strategy needs to start with an understanding of where your customers are, what they need, and how to help them address those needs in each context.

For more thoughts on helping your customers via social, mobile and search, check out “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results,” a talk I recently gave:

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

April 2, 2014

Why Your Customers’ Privacy Matters to Your Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 68

April 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

Why Your Customers’ Privacy Matters to Your Marketing Headlines and Show Notes

IStock 000008378947XSmall

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

If you’re looking for more e-commerce tips, check out my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results as well:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 52s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

By

April 1, 2014

How Mobile Will Shape Guests’ On-Property Experience

April 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

Couple by pool mobile phoneTnooz has a look at 6 mobile trends to boost sales of travel products. And, one item in particular caught my eye. It builds on my thoughts last week about a balanced approach to direct and OTA business, but highlights an important distinction: OTA and direct business may increasingly be the same thing. Here’s the money quote:

The year of the in-trip experience: watch out for OTAs upping their game

Nick Longman, distribution and online director for mainstream tour operations at TUI Travel, expects to see more people booking via mobile, but also that it will be used more as an engagement tool [during their trip]…

Bob Rogers, co-founder of DealAngel, a firm acquired by the Russian online travel agent (OTA) OneTwoTrip, says they are currently working hard to build a lot more in-trip services. ‘This is an area that has been neglected by all OTAs,’ says Rogers, adding that, ‘once a person is travelling, there is virtually nothing going on’.

Citing an area for improvement, Rogers argues that with the amount of information OTAs have, customers could — and should — be pushed information about a flight at the right time. In fact, he even goes as far as to say OTAs could check a customer in (something that can be automated), find them the best seat and so on. They shouldn’t even have to ask for it.
‘You can offer so much value just by anticipating the inevitable,’ he says.”

One of the reasons that mobile really is a game-changer is that it removes the distinction we have long made between a guest booking a reservation and a guest consuming one. “Booking” may be an ongoing process, with offers and deals and discounts and value-adds presented throughout the stay to guests based on their location, interests, and preferences (both explicit and implied). While I continue to recommend hotel marketers evaluate OTA relationships based on the value they provide, it’s also worth paying attention to:

  1. OTA moves on the on-property front. The guest experience on-property remains a stronghold for hotels — for now. Obviously, OTA’s have the opportunity to invest heavily in the on-site experience through mobile for your guests. That’s a big deal, and a potential game-changer for ongoing relationships with your OTA partners.
  2. Your technology providers’ investments in on-property, mobile-enabled experiences. Much as the Tnooz article suggests, this area has been neglected, by intermediaries and hotels alike. It’s worth looking at providers offering tools and services to help you improve your guests’ experiences on-property. Otherwise, you risk ceding ground to the OTA’s here, too.

We’re still only in the first inning on this one; there’s a ways to go before we’re going to declare any winners or losers here. But, it’s clear that OTA’s have both the capital to invest in this area and the incentive to do so. The real question is what you’re prepared to do to serve your guests here as well.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results:

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

March 31, 2014

Key Trends You Must Know: The 10 Top E-commerce and Digital Strategy Posts (March 2014)

March 31, 2014 | By | No Comments

Key trends for March 2014Can you believe the first quarter is behind us? Seriously, we’re already one-fourth of the way through the year and, while these Spring days are getting longer, they seem to go faster too. Seems like a good time to step back and see how you’re doing — and what you might have missed so far, don’t you think?

To help you catch up, here are the top 10 posts this past month as determined by your fellow Big Thinkers. Check ‘em out when you get a chance.

  1. The clear winner this past month was “How to Use Emotion and Storytelling in Digital Marketing” from my Travel Tuesday series. But, don’t let the series throw you. Emotion and storytelling matter to customers across all verticals, not just travel. Your digital marketing can only improve if you incorporate appropriate emotions and effective storytelling into your campaigns. Don’t believe me? Well, the popularity of this post — it’s the 5th most popular post on the blog this year — suggests your fellow readers (and competitors) agree.
  2. It’s no secret that most Thinks readers pay close attention to e-commerce and digital strategy trends. Which explains why these 5 E-commerce Trends Worth Watching This Week and the collection of the 10 Things You Need to Know: 10 Top E-commerce and Marketing Strategy Posts for February tied for the #2 spot.
  3. Another Travel Tuesday post snuck into the top 5, this one looking at the 4 rules of social marketing for hotel marketers. As is usually the case, most of the examples listed actually work across verticals, so are wroth reviewing regardless of your industry.
  4. My review of “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee came in at number 4. I cannot stress enough how important this book is, not just for marketers, but for anyone wondering about the future of work, learning, and commerce in the 21st century. Excellent stuff.
  5. Guest editor Megan Totka brought everyone this great look at 6 Simple Subject Line Tips for Boosting Email Open Rates, which makes the list at #5.
  6. I call my weekly podcast Thinks Out Loud, and its episodes tend to be very popular. That’s certainly true for Episode 65, which explored Internet Marketing to Millennials (Gen X and Boomers Too).
  7. Another trends post, 6 Key E-commerce Stories Worth Reading this Weekend, attracted lots of attention.
  8. And Thinks Out Loud scores another entry on the most popular posts, with Episode 66, The Future of Social and Mobile Marketing is Happening Right Now.
  9. A collection of The 7 Fastest Ways to Improve Your E-commerce Effectiveness was among the most popular and shared posts this past month.
  10. And last, but not least, was a list of my Tools of the Trade: A Process (and 6 Blogging Tools) I Can’t Live Without, which detailed, as you might guess, both the tools I use to produce this blog every day and the way in which I actually do it. A pretty healthy number of you seemed to enjoy it.

There you have it, Big Thinkers, the 10 top e-commerce and digital strategy posts from March. If you like this list and want to see more like it in the future, or posts that drill down on any of these topics in more detail, be sure to leave a comment below.

You may also enjoy these slides from a recent speaking engagement, “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results”, here. The talk was my most popular presentation on Slideshare this past month (as well as very well received by its audience):

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including: