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March 14 2012

Find and Promote Your Added Value

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A recent article by eMarketer stated “one-third of shoppers have either already used or would be interested in using Siri to compare prices at the shelf…” This means that shoppers will be doing their homework and the field will get more competitive for businesses. At the touch of a button, consumers will know the best price and if there is an available coupon that can be used with their purchase. Businesses need to determine their added value and capitalize on it.

What makes your business stand out among the competition? Does your company have good customer service or a no hassle return policy? Does your company stand behind your products and services? Does your company appreciate and reward loyal customers?   These are questions that every business needs to answer. Consumers aren’t just looking for the price point. Think about it, there are many shoe stores online, but people like to shop at Zappos because of their selection, atmosphere and return policy. If a consumer doesn’t like the shoes, they can pack them up and send them back with free return shipping. A consumer may be more willing to buy shoes from Zappos, even if they aren’t the cheapest price, because they know they won’t get hassled if they want to return the shoes later on. Loyalty is also import to consumers. If a consumer knows they will be rewarding themselves to get points or credits for future purchases, they may be more likely to buy now.   Nine West has a rewards program that gives customers a rewards pass coupon every time they spend a certain amount of money. But what if your business offers a service?

If your business offers a service, be competitive in price, but also make sure that the service is customer friendly from start to finish.   It may be a surprise to some companies, but people don’t mind paying a little more if they know they will get good results and be treated civilly. For example, dry cleaning company A may be cheaper than dry cleaning company B. However dry cleaning company B may get more business because they offer same day cleaning.

Businesses should know their added value and promote it via advertising. Too many times businesses look at the competition and want to mirror what they are doing, but it’s better to find the unique element that sets your company apart from others and market it

February 29 2012

Having a Mobile Website is Not Enough

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There’s a lot of buzz in the media about mobile devices and many businesses have made an effort to create a mobile website. However, just having a single version of your mobile website isn’t enough. A company’s mobile website should be functional and user friendly across multiple mobile devices and their platforms.

Let’s talk about functionality first. It’s safe to say that not all smartphones are created equal. When creating a mobile website, it’s good to keep in mind that your website isn’t being built for one particular mobile device, as iPhones, blackberrys, and android phones will be all accessing your website. In order for your website to appear correctly on various mobile device screens it’s important to make the necessary adjustments in the interworkings of the website. It is also imperative that simulated tests be done with various mobile devices to confirm that it appears the correct way. For example: ask a few employees at your place of business to pull up your website on their phone and give their feedback on how it appears.

Mobile websites should be easy to navigate and allow users to get to the information they want quickly. No one wants to scroll forever to find a link or read an encyclopedia to find a simple answer. On mobile websites, the motto to follow is short and sweet. Another tidbit is to make sure the phone number is readily accessible on all pages. After all, they are on their cell phone.

Mobile devices aren’t going anywhere and their usage is increasing. If your company doesn’t want to get left behind, now’s the time to make the change.   Consider creating a mobile website or improving the functionality and user friendliness of your current one.

January 23 2012

Reaching Tablet Users

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Businesses should always be looking to gain new customers and keep the ones they have happy. One way of doing this is adapting to the way your customers like to shop. E-commerce companies should be aware of consumers increased spending on mobile devices, especially tablets, and changes should be made to reach them.

According to an article on Direct Marketing News, “Tablet users who visited e-commerce websites in 2011 spent 54% more per purchase than smartphone visitors and 21% more than desktop or laptop visitors, according to a Jan. 19 report by Adobe Systems.” Tablets are a viable way to reach your target audience and businesses should be willing to make website adjustments to reach returning and potential customers.   What type of adjustments? Make sure they can easily navigate and purchase on your site.

When a visitor comes to your website via a tablet, what do they see? Does your website adjust to fit their screen or will the user have to play with their display settings just to get a clear picture of the item they want? It may sound silly to ask such a question, but businesses can frequently lose out on sales due to visitor frustration.

The other night my mom went online to buy some books using a tablet. However, unlike a computer, she could only see one book per page. (The website wasn’t optimized to fit a tablet.) She spent some time attempting to find the books she wanted, but eventually ended up ordering over the phone. Instead of buying multiple books, she only bought one. This particular company lost business because their site wasn’t user friendly on a tablet. How can a company fix this? Easy, use a sniffer. A sniffer can detect what type of device a visitor is using and serve them a landing page that is configured for their device. It would behoove this bookstore to add a sniffer to their site. Who knows how many other tablet users have passed up on buying, due to the lack of a good user experience on a particular site?

When it’s all said and done businesses have to make changes to reach their consumers. If a decent amount of your target audience is using tablets to access your site, consider getting a sniffer. How can a company determine how many visitors are coming from mobile devices and tablets? Read the following article on obtaining this data through analytics.

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