In the next 12 months, global eCommerce sales are expected to hit $1.4 trillion as more and more consumers increasingly use mobile and tablet devices to shop. But the future is not just about online shopping. Shoppers are demanding, smoother, more personal integrated shopping experiences, hence the ever growing trend of Omni-Channel.
Omni-Channel is an evolution of multi-channel retailing that provides the consumer a seamless shopping experience across shopping channels, online or off and its not just about mobile or responsive design. Omni-Channel should include the online to offline experience; consumers finding a product online as well as shopping in store. what does refocusing on omni-channel mean for online shoppers? What does the mean for retailers, what does this mean for affiliates?
Starbucks is a perfect example of how an omni-channel approach to marketing improves the customer experience. The Starbucks app makes coffee buying a smooth experience. All the information about the product is in the app as well as the ability to purchase. That commerce functionality is given a bit of omni-channel goodness making the reloading of one's Starbuck's card balance an agnostic one. It can be done from the app, from the Starbuck's website or in person at a Starbucks. Everything's updated no matter where the transaction takes place and awards accumulate without any action on the user's part.
Taking things a step further, a true omnichannel experience would seamlessly connect a merchant's online shopping cart (filled via mobile or web) with an in-store shopping cart that's at the ready when the customer walks into their chosen physical store and calls it up on a kiosk or at the register using NFC, Bluetooth or even a passcode.
The gist of the perfect omni-channel experience from the customer perspective is that the shopper should never have to do anything more than once or backtrack in any way during the shopping process no matter where or on what device the shopping occurs. And they should be served the right information at the right time based on the context of the situation.
In a way, the benefits of omni-channel to the retailer and similar to the benefits the shopper experiences; everything is seamless and smooth and moves in one, uninterrupted direction from initial contact to final checkout. Specifically for the retailer, this results in fewer abandoned shopping carts and increased sales because if something's not available in-store, it can easily be accessed while in the store via a kiosk or via the shopper's device. This increases the likelihood the retailer will not lose the sale and potentially make sales they wouldn't otherwise have made.
Because omni-channel ties together the entire chain of shopping events (through closely knit, all-in-one-channel data collection), a clearer picture is painted for the retailer allowing them to better serve the individual needs of shoppers as well as notice trends sooner and adapt more quickly to changing shopping patterns.
And by collecting this personalized information, the retailer can deliver a more personal shopping experience by delivering (via web, mobile or in-store kiosk) items that might be of interest to the shopper based on their search and shopping histories.
Recent Forrester research (http://info.linkshare.com/download-our-new-affiliate-marketing-whitepaper) found that deal-driven consumers turn to affiliate sites first and they often start and end their shopping experiences at an affiliate site. This, Forrester says, is because of the prevalence of affiliate deal sites, coupon sites and comparison-shopping sites. People are simply conditioned to look in these places during their omni-channel excursion. This is very good news for affiliates and brands working with affiliates.
In fact, according to the study, three times as many shoppers believe the promotional deals they find on affiliate sites are better than the ones they see on a retailer's website. In addition, affiliate channel shoppers are 4x more likely to try a new brand after receiving an offer and usually spend more than the average online shopper.
Because of these findings and because merchants are recognizing the benefits of omni-channel, the affiliate channel is ripe and well-positioned to experience rapid growth as long as everyone in the affiliate channel plays nice with one another. Merchants have to craft affiliate programs for their affiliates that are easily implemented and follow brand compliance. Networks have to facilitate transactions that are seamless and invisible to the consumer. Affiliates need to insure their selling efforts play nice with the brand's omni-channel practices. Basically, everyone needs to make the shopping process as easy as slipping a dollar bill into a dancer's g-string.
This guest post was written by Greg Shepard, CEO of AffiliateTraction.
Brilliantly taking advantage of the First World Problem of waiting in line to get the new iPhone, this video for the National Coalition of the Homeless both pokes fun and sends a strong message about sleeping on the streets.
Some people waiting for the new iPhone have slept on the streets for days. They will all go home September 19th. But 600,000 homeless American's will not.
The video urges people to text "NCH" to 85944 to donate $10 to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Make sure that's the first thing you do right after you unbox your new iPhone in the comfort of your own home.
While parts of the video seem staged and contrived, the message is solid. Our FIrts WOrld Problems pale in comparison to real problem.
In, perhaps, the most baffling case of well, we're not quite sure, an ad for the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team was pulled because some felt the ad was sexist. We're always up for a good controversy so we watched the 18 second ad waiting for some crazy, egregiously sexist moment.
After 18 seconds passed and the Whitecaps logo appeared, we scratched our head and thought, "Um...what?" The video is a candid capture of three women cheering on their team earlier in the season. It wasn't staged. No actors where hired. Just three women enjoying the game.
Some say the video, produced in slow motion, is reminiscent of Pamela Anderson n the opening scene of Baywatch. And that was sexist how?
Emily Guedes, the woman on the left in the ad, has no idea either. But she is offended for another reason saying,"I am not offended by the video but I am adamantly offended by their removal of it."
As to why the video, one of eight in a series highlighting fans, was pulled, Whitecaps President Bobby Lenarduzzi said,"It was never our intention to offend anybody. It was just one of a series of eight videos we are using to promote our upcoming season-ticket campaign. The fact that because there were people offended, we just thought the right thing to do was to pull it."
A poll on VanCityBuzz finds 91.7% believe the ad is not sexist. Who the hell those other 8.3% are we have no idea.
Guedes added, "People need to lighten up. The only people who have a right to be offended by the video are me and my friends -- and none of us are offended. I'm thinking about wearing an oversized turtleneck to the next game."
Yea, maybe a potato sack. Afterall, WTF? It's not like her boobs were falling out of a skimpy top. And, newsflash: WOMAN HAVE BREASTS! And in this case, it would seem some people would like us to believe that simply possessing a pair of breasts is somehow sexist.
Take a chill pill, people.