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It is safe to say that the technological leaps over the past few years are indisputable. These advancements in tech are omnipresently evident on the physical front — but the an area that is less prevalent in our day-to-day has to do with eCommerce. More specifically, what we are now calling mCommerce.

For the most part, the two are almost identical. mCommerce is a natural evolution of the eCommerce ecosystem and is generally seen as any monetary transaction that is completed using a mobile device.

 

mCommerce allows people to buy/sell goods or services anywhere, anytime. And the strength & empowerment that comes with that is the biggest strength that this ecosystem now provides.

The rise of mobile commerce is unprecedented. To give you a better image, it has surpassed previous forecasts for 2021 not once, but two times, this year alone.

At the start of the year mCommerce was expected to make up 54% of total eCommerce sales. Now, in a report published around a month ago, it is expected that by the end of 2021, 72.9% of eCommerce sales will be attributed to mCommerce use.

Strictly speaking, mCommerce use falls under 3 general categories:

  1. Mobile Shopping
  2. Mobile Banking
  3. Mobile Payments

To add further specificity, this use (& mCommerce use in general) is related to these types of transactions. Not only that, it has also helped usher in new industries and services as well as allow existing ones to develop further:

  • Mobile money transfers
  • Mobile marketing / services
  • Location based (Geo-location) services
  • Contactless payments & in-app purchases
  • Microtransactions
  • Digital content purchases & delivery
  • Electronic tickets & travel cards/passes

Think of the effect that services like Apple Pay and Google Pay for example, have had on your everyday life. Half of us are now using our phones for something as trivial as our daily commute.

The mCommerce boom comes as no surprise when you consider that 67% of the global population owns a mobile phone or tablet in 2021.

To give you a little more insight, it is expected that mCommerce sales will reach $3.56 trillion by the end of 2021, with mobile activity accounting for 67.2% of all eCommerce. The mobile wallet market alone is expected to reach $3.5 trillion in 2023 and judging from this year’s forecasts, we predict that number will be much higher in reality.

The numbers don’t lie and are a key factor in the rapid adoption of mCommerce as the de facto ‘E-Transaction’ solution. Though, growth potential aside, lies the fact that this transition has a large number of advantages with very few, very trivial barriers to implement.

Augmented reality, for example, is quickly becoming more widespread in its implementation towards consumers. Companies like IKEA allow you to set up and view their catalogue in your own space, simply by using your phone’s camera.

Chatbots & messenger apps are now being adopted by a number of different sectors, which, engagement aside, are mostly linked to the concept of, ‘now’.

Everything has now become ‘instant-ised’, and these methods sort of act as a pseudo-solution to the consumer/user attention span problem. Though frankly, this looks to be a stepping stone. We suspect that this system will evolve into something much more effective and meaningful in the coming years, possibly with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Because of this novelty, the mCommerce ecosystem comes with its own set of challenges, which, I feel are for the most part simply related to optimisation. Rather, the constant need for optimisation., which brings challenges to an already established way of thinking – and even now, we still have a lot to figure out.

We find that one of the largest factors attributed to the growth of mCommerce stems from the omnipresence of the eCommerce ecosystem. The fact that more and more users are flocking towards mobile is because of the unparalleled ease-of-use, or rather, ease of information.

Because of this, mCommerce offers a true omni-channel experience.

What this refers to is the all-around presence of both online and offline channels. Being everywhere and allowing your users to access information about your company, your products, your discounts, everything.

It’s important to list your products and be active wherever customers are already spending their time, which is what we call, contextual commerce.

 

Omni-channel means zero doubt. By being everywhere – especially where your customers are – and making it possible to buy what they want. Now.

Setting up a true omni-channel solution can be incredibly taxing however, but luckily, services such as EshopswithIQ, allow you to streamline this process & become even more effective in your marketing strategy.

Date: Friday, 03 December 2021

The way we sell products online has drastically changed over the years. Single-store online storefronts are increasingly dismissed in favour of platforms & aggregate storefronts or as you may better know them, marketplaces. Some examples include, Ebay, Amazon, Facebook & Etsy to name a few.

Considering that 90% of shoppers begin their product searches on digital channels, this is hardly surprising. What’s even less surprising, is the year-on-year increase of these numbers.


As it currently stands, around 40-50% of shoppers now start out on marketplaces such as Amazon or Ebay. At the current pace, practically everyone has or will have shifted to the marketplace ecosystem over the next few years – if not sooner.

Marketplaces have the innate ability to benefit both the users / sellers / online shops as well as the marketplace itself. By listing your store or products, and depending on your desired goals, marketplaces can help with a plethora of desired objectives such as brand awareness, product visibility, or customer outreach.

Speaking strictly of marketplaces, there are various goals which can apply to different situations, depending on where you are in your seller journey. As such, setting your goals and objectives should be the first thing to work out and consider. For example:

  • Increase distribution – By offering a wider range of products on the marketplace front and focusing on getting those products more exposure & to a larger bracket of users, you may be able to increase distribution exponentially.
  • Increase Brand Awareness – By using the marketplace to focus on a specific item – or subset of items – you can largely tailor the experience to complement your brand, rather than focus on sales and distribution specifically. Think of it as a way to guide customers further down your conversion funnel by offering another point of entry.
  • Access New Customer Segments – By pushing a specific product category that was otherwise restricted to you with brand limitations, etc., you can run experiments and test these products that could allow access to entirely new customer segments.

Ultimately, the goals and objectives you set are entirely up to you and what exactly you want to get out of the marketplace paradigm.

Goals, objectives & set-up only make up one side of the marketplace coin. On the other, lie a different set of elements that should be considered prior to launching on your desired platform. For example, how will you deal with:

  • Customer questions.
  • Negative Feedback.
  • Finance
  • Legal Issues
  • Ad Campaigns

These are all the constantly moving parts that make up the core marketplace experience – and like any machine, it will only run as well as the sum of its parts.

Before moving on to the Do’s, it’s worth touching on the Dont’s, which include:

  • Setting unclear objectives.
    We touched on this briefly. Think about your marketplace approach & plan ahead, don’t go rushing into things.
  • Pushing the Wrong products.

Consider your marketplace audience. Some items may simply be unsuitable for the way the marketplace is structured (or may simply be unsustainable altogether, based on competition, price, or market saturation).

  • Inconsistency between different channels.

This is arguably the most important factor to be aware of as it pertains directly to your brand image as a whole.

If different marketplaces / platforms (Facebook, Amazon, etc.) are managed by different people, it could lead to discrepancies such as brand image inconsistencies, or more importantly, fluctuations in pricing.

This is particularly important as the customer journey is now more fluid than ever, often moving from one channel to the next for more ideas and an enhanced experience.

Now, what about the Do’s?

Choosing the right marketplace

We’ve mentioned this a few times already but that’s how important it is. Choosing the right marketplace is integral to your success.

Pay close attention to the entry requirements for each marketplace. Each has varying criteria that you’ll need to follow to avoid possible account suspension.

Next you should very carefully select your products. They should be fewer in number to begin with, easily identifiable to consumers, and should sell well (in a general consumer sens). Ideally these should also be products with low return rates and high ROI.

Creating Your Account

When creating your account, look into all the settings and tools that could help you in any way or give you an edge over your competition. For example, if you are an already-established brand, you can let the marketplace know and they could give you more control or access over your account.

Listing Your Products & Optimising your content

When listing your products, make sure you do everything by the book. Make sure they are in the right category, have appropriate tags and stand out compared to the competition. As you will now be constantly directly competing with other brands & suppliers, you’ll need to establish yourself clearly & as early as possible.

You want to tailor these optimisations (images, titles, keywords, descriptions & tags) to your customers. Specifically towards the audience you’re targeting on the specific platform you are on.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!

Reviews are one of, if not the most, integral parts of selling online, especially within a marketplace. You could say that reviews are the currency of online marketplaces.

This means that as soon as you start making sales, it is important to start gathering reviews immediately. This includes finding ways to engage your customers and guide them to various ways to engage and review your products.

Ad Campaigns and You

Once you have reached a comfortable stage in your current marketplace, it’s time to run some ads. No matter how well you are doing, you could always be doing better (especially if your sales are going well to begin with).

By running these ad campaigns and reviewing the overall results, you can then further optimise both your listings and your ad campaigns based on the data you collect. This data is invaluable as it will not only allow you to better your image, but also allow you to bolster your sales, reach a wider demographic / audience and more importantly, allow you to expand beyond your normal/current customer segments.

Reaching this stage is a wonderful thing as it allows you to start experimenting. Maybe you have a new product you’re not quite sure of and want to see how well it engages with a segment of your current audience. Most marketplaces have analytics and tools that allow you to run any test you like & be the judge of what works and what doesn’t.

More is more

There are limits in what you can achieve per marketplace. As each marketplace targets different aspects or may be more focused on certain objectives over others, it’s worth expanding beyond the single marketplace. Do not limit yourself or your products to one marketplace only.

Now that you’ve set everything up, run tests, seen what works and what doesn’t, and optimised your content & products, it will be much easier to take what you have learned – and apply it to other marketplaces that are compatible your objectives.

Date: Monday, 29 November 2021

WILL YOU MARRY ME?

It never fails to amaze me how the tiniest phrase can have such incredible effects. How what some may see as something insignificant, others may take to Twitter with pitchforks flying high.

At the end of the day, it largely depends on what resonates with who — and at the heart of that thought, one simple word. Engagement.

Did the title above manage to garner your interest and engage you, as an audience? Were you inclined to scroll down just that tiny bit further to see what the heck this guy is talking about?

If that is the case, I have been successful in my endeavor to pique your curiosity, to bring you in a little closer to my thoughts and by extension the point or image I’m trying to get across.

In that case I have understood my audience well enough to form this amalgam of both topic interest & genuine interest, and at this point may have even managed to sneak in some carefully crafted product placements now that we’ve moved closer to establishing rapport with one another.

And hey, maybe I didn’t. That’s fine too. Marketing is all about trial and error. You see what works – you see what doesn’t. You won’t get anywhere by always playing it too safe, or conversely, being overly risky. I chose to take that risk, as I choose to look at the results of that action.


Create, Target, Risk, Examine.

 

This is a key stepping stone to finding your voice within the audience you’re building. Your products & content are an extension of you. Of your brand.

This can be applied to everything from website content to your products — and in terms of products, a little rapport with your audience can go a long way, allowing you to start creating specific customer personas tailored to different sub-categories of your target audience.

This meticulousness in your research phase will net you information such as:

- Location
- Gender
- Age

- Interests

...and a lot more based on your acquisition strategy.

Most importantly, it’s integral to find your audience before you can start tailoring your website content or product descriptions to match their personas and maximise interest, engagement, and I guess you could call it a ‘personal connection’.

 

A MENTAL IMAGE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS



Finding your target audience and subsequently building you customer personas is arguably the most important part of this whole process. However, nurturing this newly developed foundation is a different story entirely.

Learn to treat all of your content in the same way you would any blog post, or twitter blurb. Insert yourself – your brand – into all the nooks and crannies of your blogs, product descriptions, bios, and start building the image you would like to exude.

Block-by-block, post-by-post, all of this starts to add up, eventually coming together to form this image of your product, brand, of you, that your audience can resonate with.

This content strategy is always a long-term prospect.

The initial content creation push is always the most common roadblock people face when it comes to the consistency that is required in order to brand themselves successfully. However, if you push through that initial slump and get your second wind, you’ll look back and understand how necessary it was to be consistent with both tone and frequency.

Speaking of tone, when building your customer personas, it’s important to look at their buying motivations and issues. By using this ‘flavour text’, you can appeal to the right subcategory of your audience.

Let’s take a pair of black, leather gloves for example. Rather than listing them as ‘black leather gloves’, you could list them as ‘Noir Deerskin, Thick-Leather gloves’. Of course, you should base these titles & descriptions on your prior research. Overall, using a combination of ‘intrigue’ & buyer ‘motivations’ or ‘concerns’ to paint a product image can be a very appealing proposition to the end-user.

Imagine your brand is this massive mosaic you’re building. Bit-by-bit, you’re slowly adding to the whole of something yet unfinished. You can kind of make out bits and pieces and the general image is faintly visible — but it’s still in the making.

Technically, this specific type of mosaic will never be finished as brands are constantly evolving beings of social metadata but once the foundation has been established, that’s it. Everything that comes after that is simply an addition to that which you have built.


NO SHORTCUTS

I cannot fathom a marketing-related article without a mention of our dearest friend, the conversion funnel, which in our case holds a very important role in the research phase.

Your content plays a very large role in funneling these customers-to-be through the… well… funnel. However, In order to fully appreciate your audience’s whims and nuances, you have to research what works and what doesn’t. This is where the funnel comes in.

Rather than focusing on a sales conversion viewpoint, shifting that focus to an audience-retention strategy will help you figure out the five W’s. Who. What. When. Where. Why.


Too much, and you risk losing their focus. Too little, and issues of trust and authenticity crop up. You have to keep in mind that the online audience you’re targeting is different to others in so many ways, including focus/engagement retention.

Use that research to understand your limits and always be careful with certain dubious aspects that could have an adverse effect towards your brand.

For example, do not mistake omission for Intrigue. Test out ways to interact and intrigue your audience. See if it works or not. There is a very important difference between leaving stuff out on purpose & leaving stuff out on purpose.

For lack of better phrasing; Leaving stuff out without leaving stuff out can (if done correctly) not only enhance your content – but can even be used as a brand calling card, if you will.

 

 STICK TO YOUR BRAND

The importance of branding cannot be overstated. For example:

When you think ‘Godfather’, you think GODFATHER.

When you think ‘Starbucks’, you think Starbucks.

 

A brand is not just an image, it’s a feeling.

 

They say that seeing is believing. Well, if that’s the case then, feeling is knowing.

Building a successful & compelling brand is the culmination of everything we have discussed thus far. Approach your content in a way that sells your brand.

So, you tell me.

Is it simply Compelling Branding…

 

 

…Or Does it Become An Offer You Can’t Refuse.

Date: Tuesday, 23 November 2021