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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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September 10, 2014

The Game Changer for Mobile Commerce – Thinks Out Loud Episode 89

September 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile commerce game changer

The Game Changer for Mobile Commerce Headlines and Show Notes

As a reminder, you can participate in my next webinar, called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year, on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here. And you can view the slides from my most recent talk here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

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 43s

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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February 24, 2014

Is Responsive Web Design Right for Your Brand?

February 24, 2014 | By | One Comment

Man using smartphoneSomeone asked me the other day whether they should build a standalone mobile site for their brand or whether they ought to use responsive development (i.e., a site that responds and works across a range of devices, including desktop, tablet, and mobile).

There’s no one perfect answer. I usually recommend going with a responsive design (Google does too), but they’re not perfect for every situation.

The pros are generally straightforward:

  • Responsive sites generally rank better for SEO. Responsive designs usually have more content and more pages, which Google tends to like. And they’re easier to update since they’re not managed separately, which increases the likelihood you will update the content. Google likes that, too.
  • Responsive sites generally cost less in the longer term. Every time you update content on your main site, you also need to update it on the standalone site (unless of course, it was something no mobile user would ever care about). Maintaining two separate sets of content: Ugh. It’s inefficient, time-consuming, costly, and not terribly SEO-friendly. Again, ugh. That said, standalone sites can often be had relatively cheaply, so think about how long your site will live before deciding (FYI… it’s almost always longer than you think/want).
  • Responsive sites generally work across devices more readily. This one’s not a lock, but many development shops handle different devices/screen sizes more effectively with responsive designs than on standalone sites (the very nature of responsive requires it). Again, this one’s a little more sketchy, so make sure you know how your web development team, whether in-house or outsourced, handles varying devices and screen sizes for both options.

So, how can you decide? Here’s what I consider:

  • How often do you update your content? Maintaining content on two separate sites sucks (sorry, it’s a technical term). The more often you update your content, the better responsive looks.
  • Do you have a specific goal for mobile users that’s different from your regular website? Few companies offer goals targeted only at mobile users, but give it some thought. If you’re one of those companies, a standalone site could be an acceptable option.
  • How long do you plan to keep your current site? If you’re planning to redesign or relaunch in 6-12 months, go ahead and put up a quick standalone site for now. But if expect your site to stick around for a while, responsive probably makes more sense.
  • Finally, compare prices. While responsive sites can be a fair bit more upfront, the difference is often manageable enough to make them a good choice.

For me, the evidence is pretty clear. Responsive is usually the right choice. In fact, I’d recommend you assume you’re going to use responsive design, then only choose standalone when its benefits far outweigh the benefits of a responsive site for you and for your customers.

And, if you’re interested in learning 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

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December 11, 2013

2014 Internet Marketing Trends Worth Watching – Thinks Out Loud Episode 54

December 11, 2013 | By | No Comments

Road to improvement

2014 Internet Marketing Trends Worth Watching Headlines and Show Notes

It’s All E-commerce, Revisited

Cognitive Computing, Deep Learning, Machine Learning

Putting it All Together

And, as promised, here are the slides I presented yesterday:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

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.

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using a Shure SM57 microphone
through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 18s

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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December 6, 2013

It's All E-commerce Goes to the Mall

December 6, 2013 | By | No Comments

Mobile shopping coupleApple announced today that it’s enabling “location-aware” iBeacons in all its stores today. The big idea here is that these beacons can guide you — or better yet, your customers — and provide alerts in-store based on your precisely where you are.

In theory, this is a pretty big deal.

Most smartphones today are pretty capable, but don’t know much about the world immediately around you. Sure, you’ve got maps and Foursquare and Yelp and all that, which give you a rough idea of where you are and what’s around you. But, they don’t show you which aisle you’re in or which floor you’re on when you’re standing in a store. And now that’s changing.

iBeacon, and competing technologies like NFC, can locate precisely where you are. Can’t find a sales associate? That’s OK. These beacons can point you in the right direction to find what you’re looking for.

Even better, both technologies make it easy for you to pay with your mobile phone. For instance, check out PayPal’s coming PayPal Beacon payment system:

Apple’s already embraced these types of friction-free transactions with its EasyPay system and I’d expect them to move further down the road here using iBeacon, too.

Now, I don’t know which technology (iBeacon or NFC) will win. But one potential advantage for retailers is that iBeacon has a range of 50 meters (roughly 164 feet), while NFC has a range of only 8 inches according to Pocket-lint. Obviously, that allows retailers to provide greater in-store coverage with fewer sensors — and lower cost.

In any case, your customers’ phone has just gotten a lot smarter and a lot more capable when in-store. So, remind me again where retail ends and e-commerce begins? As I like to say, it’s all e-commerce.

If you’re interested in learning 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

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September 23, 2013

Mobile Makes E-commerce Even More "Frictionless"

September 23, 2013 | By | No Comments

E-commerce on smartphones is frictionlessI’ve been playing with Apple’s new iOS 7 the last few days and it got me thinking about how frictionless e-commerce already is on mobile. Consider these customer experiences:

  • Apple’s new iTunes Radio allows for song purchases directly from within the player, as have Pandora and others.
  • Apple’s flagship iPhone 5s can use its TouchID fingerprint reader to authorize purchases in iTunes for music, apps, and movies.
  • Amazon’s Kindle line enables consumers simple access to buy both digital and physical inventory.
  • UK retail giant Tesco has introduced a new device, the Hudl, largely to achieve benefits similar to the Kindle’s.
  • Google offers its Wallet payment platform on both Android devices and, as of last week, iOS, streamlining purchases and money transfers.
  • eBay offers a variety of apps providing instant access to commerce activities for its users across mobile platforms.

And, of course, all of these ignore the myriad in-app purchase capabilities among numerous games and productivity apps, whether offered as add-on’s to an existing paid product or as part of a “free-mium” business model (providing a free basic version and selling premium features for power users).

The Value of “Frictionless” E-commerce

Now, streamlining purchase activity has long been a central tenet of e-commerce. Amazon and eBay have built their businesses primarily on moving the barriers between consumers and commerce (for example with tools like this, this, this, and this).

But mobile destroys those barriers.

While many mobile e-commerce applications have lots of room to improve, the integration available across mobile platforms, including shopping/browsing history and payment information, combine to produce the “slickest” (in terms of friction) commerce capabilities we’ve ever seen. Facebook already has gotten in the game, partnering with a number of payment providers and e-commerce shops to facilitate streamlined payment.

AGFAM and Frictionless E-commerce

Among the AGFAM players, Facebook and Google may face a slight disadvantage here (and, really, I can’t emphasize slight enough — after all, check out what Facebook’s doing with payment integration as mentioned earlier). But with their long-term focus on growing advertising revenue, they’re simply less accustomed to monetizing the transaction, typically preferring to monetize the traffic, visit, visitor, or “eyeball” instead. That’s not necessarily a weakness; it could well be a strength. It’s simply that their (relative) inexperience facilitating transactions may provide Amazon, Apple, eBay, and even Yahoo openings to dominate the space over time.

Mobile Drives “Big Data,” Improves Context and Conversions

And, of course, none of this takes into account the consumer data available from the mobile experience itself, including location, motion, and more advanced data coming in next generation devices. The trend is clear: “content + context” data will continue to drive conversions, both in 2013 and beyond.

Conclusion

Mobile brings e-commerce into the retail environment to the point where “it’s just shopping.”

The key is how quickly you embrace that reality to decrease friction for your customers—and conversions for yourself.

If you’re interested in learning 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: