We all like playing games and games are important in our life as they help us to achieve a lot, psychologically. There has been a lot written about why we like to play games but I couldn’t agree more to the reasons Dr. Scott Rigby pointed out based on his research. As per his research the first reason why we play games is competence – our need to feel successful, the desire to know that we are growing in our knowledge and our accomplishments. The second is relatedness – we like to feel that we matter to others and we also like to feel that we are making a significant contribution to the society. The last one is autonomy – our desire to feel independent, a desire to have a control over our actions. Since, in the virtual world these things are easy to achieve, we tend to resort to gaming and more importantly enjoy it. And these games keep us healthy, mentally.
In fact video games are so efficient in fulfilling our psychological needs that it has become one of the most seductive activities for us. A game has clear goals, it shows a player’s progression and rewards the player immediately and consistently, all the more reason for our brain to be hooked up to it. Most of the experiences are crafted in such a way that our engagement levels are very high.
Now, although a bit late, marketers have realized the intensity and importance of this platform and trying to use it for what they are best at; marketing. Welcome to world of gamification. Gamification describes the use of game mechanics, such as challenges, achievements and rewards to redirect consumer behaviors in non-gaming contexts such as retail or education (edutainment) or healthcare. For example; an online newspaper might offer coins/badges as rewards to people who read that newspaper, participate in polls and discussions. The reader with the most coins/badges is given a reward like a free full year subscription of the newspaper. In this way the newspaper is trying modify behaviors of its readers.
TV channels, online retailers, airlines, education providers have all jumped the gun on this. The current games are not only boring, they have trivial challenges and offer low rewards and hence the purpose is not served. But this platform is still in a nascent stage, so there is a lot more to come. As more is done in this field, newer and more interesting games would come, which would reward not only the users but the marketers as well.
Mirk (Sahil Bansal)
Post of the month
Recently we did a market research on ecommerce and other online commerce platforms and solutions. We will provide the full report in some parts. Here is the final one.
A special note on mobile commerce
Morgan Stanley has predicted that, by 2015, more users will connect to the web via mobile devices than desktops and laptops. So you as a company can no longer afford to ignore mobile commerce as part of your multi-channel strategy.Shop.org and Forrester research have found that more than 70% of online retailers are either having or developing a mobile commerce strategy. And for good reason – the opportunities are immense. Smart phones, tablets and hand held devices are driving this explosive growth. (Demandware, ‘Critical Success Factors for Mobile Commerce’, 2011)
People are not just using smartphones for making purchase transactions. It is also influencing the purchase decisions in other channels as well. People do comparison shopping, search for prospective buyers, locate brick and mortar stores and read reviews from their smart phones. According to a recent research by Dell out of all the people who used mobile phones to help them shop only 25% transacted a purchase and the rest used if for other purposes. These trends are only going to accelerate with the increasing adoption rates of smart phones and as vendors optimize the online experience for their users. So an organization should not treat mobile commerce as a separate channel but it should be a part of its overall strategy.
Success in this field relies on a vendor’s ability to deliver a shopping experience that leverages the characteristics of different devices. Typically mobile phones are used by people to shop when they are on the run and don’t have a lot of time. That means a different set of requirements. At minimum, your mobile commerce strategy should address the following:
- Speed and Security – People expect the website to load as quickly as it does on their desktops. They also expect that payment through their smart phones is safe and is that their personal and personal information is not susceptible to theft.
- A website or an application – If you have a powerful brand or a loyal set of customers a native application might not be a bad idea but in other cases, a website might be a better alternative.
- Enriching the mobile experience – Native apps can leverage the functionality of mobile devices like the camera or the GPS and can provide options of offline purchases. Other features like inbuilt search, streamlined checkout process, presence in comparison shopping engines may further enrich the customer experience. A prime example would be combining the real store inventory information, geo-location services and personalized promotional offers to a consumer’s mobile device while he is in the proximity of the store.
HTML5 and 4G networks are already helping vendors to expand their offerings to its users. Capabilities such as barcode scanning, QR codes and NFC, GPS geo-location services, real time content sharing are already feasible from within a mobile website. And the pace with which more capabilities are being added is neck breaking. So retailers need to plan for the future by adapting to this rapid evolution and formulation an agile strategy to match the speed of this change.
Ecommerce is a very exciting space to watch for as of now. Some will succeed, some consolidate and most perish.
Our Market Research
Recently we did a market research on ecommerce and other online commerce platforms and solutions. We will provide the full report in some parts. Here is the fourth one.
Expectations from ecommerce providers
The ecommerce provider should be able to provide these capabilities:
Basic Capabilities that include:
- Creation and management of Web storefronts
- Product visualization
- Shopping cart management
- Transaction management
Middle Level Capabilities
- Interactive Site Presentation
- Order management
- Analytics and reporting
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Multiple browser support
- Site merchandising management
- Site/product search
- Customer/account management
- Customer community management or participation
- Integration with social media
- Warranty/returns management
- Mobile stores
- Lead management
- Integration capabilities
- Product management
- Content management
- Multichannel selling
- Interactive selling
- Campaign management
- Locator and matching
- Personalization/preference profiling
- Entry and management of large orders, ordering from sales contracts, and distributed order management
- Management of certified partners and product entitlement
- Internationalization and multisite management
Our Market Research
Recently we did a market research on ecommerce and other online commerce platforms and solutions. We will provide the full report in some parts. Here is the third part.
Business Intelligence and Business Analytics
Using Business Intelligence and Business Analytics tools a company can determine what category its customers fall into and what category it would like to target. After determining this it can use specific ways to engage its customers using specific solutions. For example:
- Including relevant keywords and manufacturer information may help the seeker find the specific product he is looking for. Search engines may land some of the users directly on the product page but other may land on your homepage. So make sure your internal site search has working keywords too.
- The researcher is a confused person. So helping him clearing his confusion with Guided search, clearly defined categories, site navigation and detailed descriptions may help in a conversion. Providing links to similar or related products may mean additional business
- Having a ‘Deal of the Day’, Coupon codes and discounts, additional services like free shipping might entice Bargain Hunter. As per Freeshipping.org almost 90% of shoppers said that they would be enticed to shop more and spend more money if the shipping is free of cost.
- One of the ways to keep a window shopper engaged is updating your product catalogue with the most popular, interesting or unique products regularly. This will surprise the window shopper and he might want to visit your website again. Making the product more real by adding multiple images, detailed descriptions and customer reviews might make the window shopper interested in the product.
Our Market Research
Now that you have some fan following, the next question is how to make that page a selling point? A lot of people are actually confused as to how an entire transaction can take place on Facebook. The reason of this confusion is simple. A lot of companies that have Facebook pages have features up to adding an item to a card. If somebody wants to pay then they are redirected to a different page and hence the confusion. Well, we will answer this question but we would like to start from the beginning of where we left before.
After you have some fan following on your Facebook fan page you would most probably like to make that page a selling point. Well, that is not very difficult. All of us have seen how items are listed on eBay and Amazon. There are applications on Facebook that can do that for you for free. You can create a similar looking page which will have all the details of your products. Give them offers that aren’t available otherwise. Entice them to buy from this page. Give them the option to view reviews from people who have bought and used the product.
Now, there are applications on Facebook like Payvment which can be used for fcommerce. These applications utilize PayPal’s ‘Adaptive payments’ API and gives the user a complete Facebook shopping experience. More importantly, once you have added the application to your fan page, it gives you options of adding and managing your products within the application. There are other tools like Beeshopy which can be used for the same purpose and which provide some additional features like product listings. All in all, these applications have made Facebook a big market which can be used as a one shop stop for everything! It is a hot new channel for big and small merchants so what are you waiting for? Join the bandwagon.
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Now that we are clear with the basics, we will talk about how to attract more fans on your Facebook page. The first key point is quality content. It is what will keep your fans from leaving the page once they are in.
Advertise a lot. Remember not all advertising is paid. 😀
- There are websites like tribe pro where you can join tribes and advertise about your page. You can search for a tribe that is relevant to your business and market and start advertising there. You will get fans but the key point is that you should want them to be there again and not just this time. The solution to this is simple; Quality content. Nothing can beat it, trust me. It is what will keep them wanting to come back to your page.
- Add a link of your Facebook fan page to your email signature and mail a lot, to your friends, to your family and to all the people you can.
- There are websites like usocial.net which can help you advertise. It will save you the effort of emailing to a lot of people but it might cost you some bit.
- Use you Fan Box. It is a snippet of code that can be inserted in the sidebar of your blog or website. It will make it easy for people who have a Facebook account to join your fan page without even visiting Facebook or your fan page. It is one of the most powerful tools to advertise and it’s free. But you need to know some HTML for that. If you don’t, well, ask a friend who knows or you can learn it easily from the internet.
- Interact with your fans. Give them new information about your products, resolve their queries and answer their questions. Involve them and get them to spend more time on your page. Put up quizzes, competitions and give away some prizes and offers to winners. Talk about them. Talk about your best customers and give them a chance to feel proud to be associated to your brand.
- Circulate your content as much as possible. Apart from some mentioned above, there are numerous other services available on the internet that can help you in spreading your content. Some of them are free and some paid.
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