Thursday, December 30, 2010

Facebook To Have More And More Impact On Ecommerce Sales

Facebook is becoming more and more important for online merchant. Some of them are already selling straight from Facebook, like 1800 flowers or Amazon. But even though it is not used as a distribution channel, it may be used to leverage social media to boost sales. This is what is discussed in this interesting blog post.

"Since last holiday season, more than 1/2 of the top 25 retail sites have integrated with Facebook (comScore)," says Carroll. "17 of the 25 fastest growing retail sites are integrated with Facebook."

"On Black Friday, there was more than 6x the number of status updates related to retail purchases as the previous Friday," adds Carroll. "Referral traffic to the most active retailers on Facebook increased 70% over the period from Black Friday through Cyber Monday."

Just between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Levi's saw a 2x increase in the amount of likes and comments on their site, according to Facebook.

Social shopping is starting to show its power.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chinese E commerce Company Innovate With Selling Volvo Cars

China is a fast growing country and is very interesting to follow. Indeed, due to the fact it
has been for several decades a poor country, restrained by communism, it is now growing so
fast they are avoiding some technological steps we took to get where we are right now. For
example, China has never known the boom of television, but is right now experiencing the

Chinese companies are now eager not only to produce for western countries, but are also
seeking for their own innovation, and ability to create added value. This is the reason why
I wanted to speak about this French article I read about Taobao, a Chinese btoC site which
I have never heard of, owned by Internet tycoon Alibaba

Hence, this website is planning on selling on their websites cars. Selling a car on the
Internet is nothing new as most car manufacturers have already set up their merchant sites.
Nevertheless, it is pretty difficult to do: Buying a car is a high risk and high cost investment.
Hence, a buyer has a long decision making process, and seeing the actual car has something
reassuring. But once again, in China, the car market is skyrocketing. If in Europe and the US
the industry is going in limbo as most of the market is equipped, China is right now buying a
lot of cars. And once again, as they have skipped some steps, they are buying them online.

I believe it would be interesting to check what is going on the Chinese web in the next years.
Because even though this industry is still ruled by the government with a lot of censor, I am
convinced the entrepreneurial mindset of Chinese people will bring us some novelties.

What do you think about it?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Relation client et fidélisation: Développer une préférence durable

J'ai lu cet ancien article sur la fidélisation il y a très peu de temps. Il date de 2005. Il est issu d'un des ateliers de la Poste.

Ce qui est intéressant, c'est que les idées développées dans cet article sont toujours d'actualité. Surtout lorsqu'il aborde la préférence durable pour l'enseigne.

Pour Stéphane Marchet et Sylvie Joseph, avant de lancer un programme de fidélisation, il convient de s’interroger sur le contrat de base qui relie le client à l’enseigne. « Et il y a une clause de ce contrat qui n’est pas négociable, insiste le directeur marketing clients de Conforama, c’est l’excellence opérationnelle sur les basiques du métier. » Cette excellence doit bien sûr se traduire en magasin, en évitant les mauvais étiquetages ou encore les ruptures d’approvisionnement, ainsi qu’en périphérie du point de vente à travers le customer convenience (parking, accueil, etc.). « Mais l’excellence forme un tout, qui commence dès le domicile des clients, insiste Stéphane Marchet. Les prospectus qu’ils reçoivent chez eux doivent non seulement être clairs, mais aussi parfaitement en phase avec ce qu’ils vont trouver et vivre en magasin. Cette cohérence fait partie du contrat de base ».
Pour créer une préférence durable, l’enseigne doit aussi parfaitement connaître et comprendre le comportement de ses clients. « Cela passe en premier lieu par l’analyse des tickets de caisse, reliés à un identifiant client, explique Sylvie Joseph. Cet identifiant peut être la carte de fidélité, mais pas nécessairement. » Sans carte de fidélité, mais en faisant appel au géomarketing, Conforama arrive ainsi à rattacher 85 % de ses tickets de caisse à un foyer. Ce qui lui permet de disposer d’une base de 21 millions de clients identifiés.
À partir de cette connaissance clients peut se développer un positionnement et un concept de vente clair, lisible et cohérent avec les attentes des consommateurs, mais aussi bien sûr avec la stratégie de l’entreprise (voir l’encadré sur Ikea). Et c’est en fonction de cette stratégie et de ce positionnement que doit être conçue la stratégie relationnelle. En la matière, plusieurs options sont possibles pour fidéliser activement les clients. Les deux géants du secteur de la distribution aux Etats-Unis et au Royaume-Uni, Walmart et Tesco, ont d’ailleurs opté pour des approches radicalement différentes.

Le but ultime de la relation client, ainsi que de la fidélisation est en effet de retenir le consommateur, de faire en sorte que vous deveniez son magasin de préférence, que le fait de venir vous voir devienne une évidence.

Par contre, ce qui est sûr, c'est que la multiplication des programmes de fidélité ont plus ou moins rendu le concept caduc: Si chacun propose des promotions à ses clients grâce à la carte de fidélisation, alors toutes ses promotions s'annulent, et au contraire encourage le consommateur à la comparaison.

J'aime beaucoup la manière dont Stéphane Marchet aborde le problème, et notamment le concept de préférence durable. En effet, le but ultime serait donc bien de développer cette idée.

Et vous, qu'en pensez vous?

Iphone applications Overload

I am a fervent evangelist while speaking about smartphone usage for businesses in order to improve customer relationship management. Nevertheless, I was christmas shopping the other day, and I had a weird feeling while visiting all these stores. It seems that I was surrounded by Iphone applications.

Every btoc company now seems to own an Iphone application. This is good and bad at the same time. This is good, because the medium is great, and it helps a brand to interract with its customers as never before. But it is also bad, because a lot of those applications have little to none interest. I don't see the reason why someone would download a branded app just to find the nearest store! I'd rather go on Google.

But there is a main problem which is going to show up in my opinion: Iphone application overload. Indeed, even though you may download a large amount of Iphone application, there will be a time when one user will refuse to download one more application.

I believe there will be the same situation than with the loyalty reward programs couple of years ago, when every businesses started launching loyalty reward cards: Customers will pick some applications they will use on a regular basis, and the other one, they would not even download them nor keep them on their phones.

Hence, it will implies certain things:
  • Iphone applications will need to be better: In order to be one of the few applications, you will need to be outstanding, proposing added value to users.
  • There will be room for multibrands application. The same way there are some loyalty reward programs encompassing several companies (like Smiles in France with train company, retail and banks) you will have some applications allowing you to have information of several brands at the same time. Somehow like Cardstar is doing.
Also, I was thinking about something else, especially for luxury brands which wants to get their own applications. In customer relationship management, there is nothing better than the feeling of belonging to an exclusive club of good customers. Hence, why would you not get applications which not anyone could download, but only the few customers of a brand? Hence, if you are Louis Vuitton, when you buy a product, you may access to the application, and not "wannabes". This will probably be further discussed in another post.

What do you think about it? Have you reached the Iphone app overload?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Studies Shows Customers Uses Mobile Devices In Store

This is official. It has been a long time I am writting about it on this blog: Smartphones are the best way to interract with your customers inside your store. It is becoming rare these days for a retailer not to have some kind of Iphone application. And a recent study has shown out this fact:

9 out of 10 mobile Internet users have accessed the mobile web while at a store, according to a new study from Yahoo and Nielsen. Furthermore, 51% of those users indicate that they make a purchase after doing research on their mobile device.

Further more, the same study tells us 50% of in-store mobile web activity is related to shopping.

On average, 16% of consumers use their mobile phones for shopping research, while 57% among mobile internet users and 41% among non-mobile Internet users expressed interest in using mobile phones for shopping research in the next 12 months, the study found.

As the population owning such a device is skyrocketing, this is a trend you should defenitely take seriously. Customer relationship management will go through mobile, and especially mobile usage while shopping. A lot of data and research are needed in order to clearly understand how customers use these tools to help them making their decision. But so far, we can see new case studies which show the interest of mobile marketing.

Geocompare: When Geolocalization Benchmark Prices

Geolocalization and mobile applications will change the way we decide which store to visit and which others not to. I have heard about a new Iphone application which is on the edge to be launched: Geocompare. Geocompare is a French application which allows users to find out of 4 700 products where to buy it in a 10K wide perimeter. Products are grocery products, either from brands or private label.

Now I believe the application is great on a customer point of view. That means you will be able to get the best prices thanks to the application. Now the downside is that retailer pricing strategy is complex, and when you are grocery shopping, you want to do them all in one place. So far, it does not seem that this application will allow you to compare karts, instead of products.

It remains unknown how much interest it will get from customers, but as the real first application being able to go mainstream, you should look after it.

But also, it will impact the way you interact with customers. More than that, it will change the way you conduct your customer relationship management strategy. Indeed, if your customers are only making their decision on who is the cheaper, then there is no way you will be able to keep them loyal. They will change stores whenever they get the chance to.

So how will we able to do? I believe that customers are not only focusing on prices, and are paying also attention to different factors:
  • Services: Do you deliver a good service, is your staff available to respond customer needs.
  • Shopping experience: Does the store look great?
  • Added value: It could either be shopping fast (hard discount), having a wide range of products (hypermarket), having quality products (organic stores)...
  • ....
Also, customer relationship management is also about appreciation, on both sides. If you are able to show your gratitude to cusotmers, and to keep a high emotional relationship, then you will be able to retain customers.

Therefore I believe these kinds of applications, will bring the price comparaison to the brick and mortar businesses, but will complexify the way to manager CRM. What is for sure, is that mobile will be a key customer relationship management in the future, and this kind of tool should also grow your interest for it.

What do you think about it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Online Grocery Websites: Still Lack Of Consistency

Carrefour, 2nd largest retailer in the world, has recently launched its first “Carrefour Drive”.
The concept is simple: You order your grocery shopping online, then you go to the store to
receive it. This typo of retailing is becoming very popular in France. Auchan has trailed blazes and Leclerc has also its own drive ins, with also an Iphone app to order on the go.

The problem is that there is no consistency between the different entities. What hurts very
much is the lack of consistency online. For the longest time, electronics retailers like Fnac or
Best Buy have succeeded in linking both their online and traditional retailing activities.

It may take a while for Carrefour or Tesco to do such a thing.
Also, I believe that those companies forget that customers want some information about
their traditional store activities, and especially the goods they are selling. If a company like
Carrefour spend so much money to build a strong brand for its label products, why wouldn’t it
spend money to promote them online?

I believe you should have one website home page which will propose you either to go to
electronic goods, or to the food section. In the food section, you should be able to shop and
then, at the end of the shopping process, to decide either you want to :
• Print the shopping list to go to your store
• To buy online and go to take your goods at the drive in.
• To buy online and to plan your delivery at home.

Multi channel distribution will become a norm, and this is the reason why it is important to help customers to switch from one channel to another with ease.
Of course, it implies you have the same pricing on all of the three channels, but I believe it
would boost the whole overall business.

What do you think about it?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Groupon: The future of business

Groupon is one of the hottest start up of the moment. Groupon proposes flash sales of
products in limited quantities. The obvious interest of the solution is that they have no stocks
to deal with, but it also allows them to provide strong discounts on products thanks to their
purchase power, but also to generate frequent traffic, as customers come back to check the
latest deals.

Groupon has made a lot of buzz lately as it is growing very fast:
- Google made a bid to buy the company, which has turned it off
- The company which is already in the European market, expands in Asia

What is Groupon’s Magic?

When you analyze Groupon, you wonder what magic they have that their competitors don’t have. But, upon a closer look, you realize that the magic is really a first mover advantage. They clearly have an amazing team and are innovative, but the barrier to entry is low and their competitors do regularly have deals that are just as good or better than Groupon’s. Here’s the real reason Groupon has scaled and others haven’t:

• Get all the PR. Try getting a journalist to write about you when you’re the 47th daily deal site

to launch. Groupon deserves the PR, clearly; but, it does prevent the other sites from getting

those free users

• Bought users cheaply. Being first, allowed Groupon to be the first company to buy Facebook

and display ads with the message “50% to 90% Off Your City’s Best Stuff”. No one had seen that message before and people clicked and signed up. Groupon started advertising everywhere, buying users cheaply. By the time their competitors showed up, people had already seen the message, didn’t want to sign-up for another service, conversion rates dropped, per user acquisition costs went up. Now, competitors can’t buy users the way Groupon did, preventing them from scaling.

• Word of mouth impact is based on scale. Lastly, word of mouth is unfortunately based on

how many mouths there are to talk about your company. Groupon and its competitors may

have the same percentage of their userbase recommending them, but that means a lot more

new users for Groupon than their competitors.

Read more:

Groupon has recently launched a new “Deal Feed” Feature which seems to lure on web 2.0. Hence, you may request to some vendors specific deals, which match your needs.

Somehow, Groupon is using Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) to have a better conversion rate for their offer, by letting users pick which offers they are interested in.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why Big Brands Are So Effective On Social Media

Brands are part of our every day life. They have spent millions of dollars for decades in order to create some relationship with customers. This strong relationship between brands and customers is also important online, and especially on social media. Some of the most popular Facebook’s profile and/or Fan pages are some brand’s ones.

When social media started to boom 2 to 3 years ago, a lot of experts were wondering if larger companies were willing to invest in this media, or would be capable of. Indeed, most of the time, larger companies are “control freak”, and will never accept to lose control over its message.

This is the reason why it has been and is still difficult for them to include customers into the whole picture (no matter what they say). However, I read this very interesting article in the adage: . Big brands are dominating social media.

“The big question is: why aren't more small brands and start-up brands cashing in on mega social sharing? It is not an issue of production costs—TippEx and their clever bear-shooting interactive video are proof of that. Rather, it is a crisis imagination. True, big marketers may have access to more creative talent, but small brands need to demand from themselves a higher level of creativity. Small companies are known for their entrepreneurialism and imagination. In this era of crowdsourcing, it is easier than ever to generate some pretty good ideas.”

It is very interesting. Social media has become a mass media. Facebook is now used by more than 500 million people worlwide, which represents the third country in the world. Twitter is not that far from the 200 million marks and still counting. Therefore, the impact you may get is big. But smaller companies may have problems to understand how to leverage this new medium, which seems to fit both their needs and budgets.

What do you think about it?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Augmented Reality For Real Estate

As you might know I have been working in the real estate industry back in 2007, while I was
in the Silicon Valley. It was very interesting to work on how you may use new technologies
to boost your business. At this time, real estate agents were starting using social networks like
Facebook, blogs and LinkedIn to get in touch with their clientele, but technology has evolved
fast since then. Especially mobile technologies.

has been built by a French company (cocorico!). The goal is to locate commercial real
estate thanks to the Iphone. Once an ad is posted, a detailed message shows up on the actual
building. Once you click on it, you access to the information and pictures of the place.
You may also locate offers nearby your location. The app will be officially released January,
15th 2011.

I believe this is a brilliant idea. The real estate industry is already very competitive with
real agents companies, websites and even peer to peer networks. Therefore, coming with an
added value service into the market, on a new mobile medium which seems to be promising, I
believe it is a great idea. What do you think about it?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Google Improves Its Search results Thanks To Positive Comments

Google remain the master of online search. You may have good search results on Bing or
Yahoo, as a strategy you should focus on Google as it remains the largest web browser. This
is the reason why so many experts are trying to figure out Google’s algorithm, which rules all search results.

I found this very interesting article about Google’s algorithm, and how it somehow biased
the quality of its search results. Indeed, Google is taking into consideration the number of
comments a page may get.
It is important as a matter of fact, because if people comment
on something, that means that the article/product/website matters to them, and trigger some reactions.

But as the article shows, it was not taking into consideration either the comments were good or bad. And hence, it was biasing the results: A website with a large amount of negative comment would show up prior a better one with fewer reviews.

It is pretty difficult for Google to improve its results, as the web is changing fast. From the
beginning, it was difficult to develop such a great algorithm. But I like the fact they are eager to better their service.

What do you think about it?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Street Marketing: Think Ambient

I wanted to write a little bit about a company I appreciate. I met them during the point of sales business fair back at the beginning of the year. Think Ambient is a company specialized in street marketing. They have developped a quite interesting technology of paper called Clings.

Here is what is said about it on their website:
Clings will stick on both sides to most clean surfaces without the need for tape, tacks or adhesive. Clings are easy to install and remove, will last for up to 6 months on most clean surfaces and are repositionable and reusable for their entire lifetime. Clings will not leave an adhesive residue or damage surfaces in any way when removed. You can also write on Clings with a dry or wet erasable marker and they can also be inserted into magazines.

I just love it. I actually have samples sticked everywhere in my office.

But today, I wanted to advertise for them a little bit, as I received one of their case studies, which shows how much impact you may get thanks to Street marketing. Street marketing was very popular couple of years ago when it showed up, but somehow I don't hear a lot about it lately.

Ambient Media has its critics so we like to show off when we get great results!

We often produce clings with website links or phone numbers on them. This gives an accurate portrayal of the cut-through our guerrilla marketing campaigns have. For two years we have been running successful and targeted cling campaigns for our client for Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust. Their objective was to promote Cancer awareness amongst specific consumers in key postcodes within the Wigan area. We identified key venues in these postcode sectors including pubs, bars, hairdressers, cafes, bingo halls and office blocks where we could post Clings and communicate directly with the key target audience. Clings were used in conjunction with various bus formats (inc. tickets, rears and interiors), pharmacy bags, pub washrooms (inc. beermats and mirror stickers), roadside posters (48-sheets and 6-sheets) and some local press.

McCann Erickson’s “Cancer Chancer” campaign for Manchester Versus Cancer Alliance has been setting standards, winning awards, and oh yes, saving lives! Their multi-channel approach resulted in a massive 55% increase in GP referrals and a 69% increase in awareness, which helped early diagnosis of 26 more cases of cancer in 2008. The IPA awarded the campaign their Bronze Award for Best Media, and also cited the campaign as a great use of creative media in their article “Big lessons from small advertisers” (Andy Nairn, the convenor of judges at the IPA Effectiveness Awards, 13/11/2009)

By spreading limited resources over numerous targeted media the chances of reaching those most in need increase. Our client was so happy with the results that the campaign was repeated in Wigan and also rolled out in South Manchester!

I like this case study because data about street marketing efficiency is lacking. I believe this is the reason why a lot of people cut their street marketing budgets during this crisis to focus on more reliable media.

But if used properly, and with a little bit of imagination, a lot can be accomplished thanks to it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Will Twitter Replace Call Centers?

At the early stage of the rise of Twitter, a lot of expert as myself have seen the great potential of Twitter to deal with after sales services. It works somehow like a mix between a FAQ (frequently asked questions) and an email inbox.

Some companies like Best Buy have already adopted the system with success. Also, we have seen how good Air France has used this tool to deal with the Icelandish volcano crisis to propose new flights to its Twitter followers.

During the 90s and the 2000s, the call center industry has skyrocketed. Thanks to new routing technologies, setting up a call center to deal with customer disatisfaction was a very effective way. Also, it was a great way to enhance customer relationship management for direct sales company, and the new coming E commerce actors.

But as every technology, it is challenged when a new one appear. And therefore, I was wondering if it was possible to switch a call center activity to a Twitter feed.

Now let's start with what is sure: in a near future, all companies will need a Twitter account to deal with customers/prospects questions.

The only problem for companies is that it will once again complexify the way to deal CRM, and customer relationship manager will have a lot of questions... In fact, call centers will cost more and more money, and it will certainly lose its competitive advantage upon owning a salesforce or a retail chain. But human voice is one of the most important medium for human interractions. And therefore, if you want to keep a strong customer relationship, it is important not to avoid this very important factor.

Customers are fed up to deal with machines, and human would rather speak to an actual person instead of dealing with a machine.

Here is my conclusion:
  • Call centers will still exist, and it will actually be a strength for businesses which owns some. Nevertheless, their activity will probably slow down.
  • Twitter will for sure take some of the flow of questions of customers. Not only Twitter, probably Facebook will too.
What is for sure, it is that both will be reunite with the arrival of the mobile area: You will use your smartphone either to find on Twitter your response, or to call a call center if you haven't find what you were looking for.
What do you think about it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Foursquare Growing As Fast As Twitter: A Good Sign For Geolocalization?

Foursquare is to me the main trend to watch on the Internet right now. As Twitter is starting to harvest revenues from its fast growing community, Foursquare remains its in early age.

Even though Foursquare and its competitor Gowalla are only used by 4% of the online population, they have a bright future ahead of them. Here are some of the main reasons:
  • People got used to use social media, and Foursquare and Gowalla remains social media, even thought they are geolocalized based.
  • More and more people are adopting smartphones, and mobile Internet. The more people will have those kind of devices, the more they will use them for geolocalization.
  • Businesses will start more and more to use those services to advertise, which will bring more interest, with discounts and vouchers.
It may sound not a lot 4%, but let's think about it: Did Geolocalization exist just a year ago?

Pew also says 7% of adults that go online with their phones used geosocial services and 8% of adults aged 18-29 use these services, more than any other group.

Further, Pew reports that a two years after Twitter launched it only had 6% of the population using it. This suggests Foursquare (and Gowalla, to a lesser extent) are growing just as fast as Twitter did in its early going.

This is the reason why you should as a business or a marketing director pay attention to those services, because we are at the beginning of what is going to be huge. I also believe that for advertizing purposes, geolocalization may provide better results than Twitter, especially for retailers, which can generate traffic in stores, and have a clear return on investment out of their campaign.

Not that many company have tested Foursquare and Gowalla, but I believe all the ones I know have experienced success.

What do you think about it?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Analyse campagne marketing direct: Bouygues et Canal +

Je souhaitais partager avec vous un courrier que j'ai reçu de la part de Bouygues Télécom afin de pouvoir le prendre en bon exemple d'une campagne de marketing direct. Je suis en effet client Bouygues Télécom de l'offre Idéo, et dans ce cadre, j'ai reçu il y a 2 semaines un courrier, me faisant part d'une bonne nouvelle: Bouygues et Canal+ m'offrait une semaine gratuite d'essai de la chaine cryptée, afin de pouvoir me faire une idée sur le produit, tout en me faisant une proposition commerciale d'abonnement sur un an à tarif réduit.

J'ai été enchanté de pouvoir bénéficier de Canal +, surtout que je trouve la chaine plus qu'intéressante. J'ai d'ailleurs déjà été abonné de Canal+, mais depuis je ne regarde plus trop la télévision, et je trouve l'abonnement tout de même un peu onéreux.

Au milieu de la semaine d'essai gratuit, je reçois une nouvelle lettre de Bouygues, me rappellant l'offre commerciale.

Je trouve la démarche très intéressante, en 2 temps, avec une lettre mettant en avant la qualité du produit Canal+, en me montrant des exemples de programmes pouvant m'intéresser, puis dans un 2ème temps une lettre "call to action", pour être sur de l'abonnement.

C'est la première fois que je vois un essai gratuit sans obligation d'engagement de la part de Canal+, aussi je trouve cette offre assez bonne.

Et vous qu'en pensez vous?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Coup de coeur: Plan Biz sur Youtube par le ministère de l'économie

Toute personne s'intéressant de près à l'Internet rêve un jour de fonder son entreprise et d'avoir le même succès qu'un Steve Jobs ou autre Mark Zuckerberg. Mais il est souvent difficile de trouver le financement et l'aide nécessaire pour ce type de projet. Notamment en France, ou les capitaux, même s'ils existent, sont très peu mobile et les investisseurs financent avec peu de moyens les projets... Je dis cela en connaissance de cause car j'ai vu totalement l'inverse lorsque je vivais dans la Silicon Valley, où c'est même totalement le contraire: Des projets de peu d'envergure sont financés sans même de réels business plans.

Bref, j'ai trouvé sur Youtube les vidéos de Plan Biz. Ces vidéos ont été créées par le ministère de l'économie, avec comme but de faire connaître l'aide apportée par l'état aux entrepreneurs. Je trouve les vidéos très bien faites pour 2 raisons:
  • La première car elles montrent bien les différentes étapes importantes lors de la création d'entreprise: La recherche de financement, le recrutement, la publicité, etc...
  • Elles sont très marrantes.
Je vous invite à visiter la page, mais je ne pouvais pas résister de vous montrer mes vidéos favorites.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Google Changes Its AdWords Agency Service

Google is becoming larger and larger, and as a global company, it is now seeking for new ways to scale and to improve their profitability. Therefore, they adopt a new customer relationship management strategy for their agencies clients. Agencies are key partners for Google Adwords service, which provide advertising tools in order to generate leads on websites.
Keyword advertising has become one of the most popular advertising media, even outside the Internet sphere, as return on investment is pretty easy to find out.

Google is changing its structure in order to respond in a more efficient way. Hence, Google strengthens its service for premium clients, while organizing a new phone service for minor ones. Hence, prior to the new structure, all clients had their own representative. But it will soon change.

What is interesting to see is how Google adapts to its new status, and now that keyword advertising has become common, it doesn’t need any longer such a large sales force.
Now it will be interesting to see the impact it will have in the long term on the ability of Google to keep a strong customer service with smaller agencies.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Aiming To Mobile Payments

Mobile payments is on the edge to spring in the next few years. For the longest times, the different actors of this industry (phone manufactures, banks, phone networks, chip producers and retailers) and this was the reason why it has never really developed. Let’s not forget the technology is pretty old. Indeed, in Asia, mobile payment is pretty common, and most of vending machines and stores are equipped (Japan has always been an advanced market for new technologies and foremost mobile ones).

Now a lot of signs are showing that the time has come for mobile payments to skyrocket:

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Mobile Internet Empowers Social Shopping

As social media has been rocketing those past few years, with successful social media like Facebook, or Twitter, companies have tried to leverage this mainstream to take advantage out of it. Indeed, as people are spending more and more time on these social media, they are getting influenced by it, especially as they are following most of the time brands among other friends and families. In terms of customer relationship management, you need to deal with this new feature, because you can’t only deal with one customer anymore, but with its whole community, which will have an impact on what he is going to buy.

It is bringing complexity to CRM, but it adds fun to it as a professional, and also it gives once again more power to customers. I have recently read an article about Myshopanion, which is a fast growing start up of the Silicon Valley. They have developed an Iphone app (unfortunately ONLY an Iphone app, when will people consider Blackberry and Android users?) which helps you find “social information about the products you are shopping.

Part of your decision making process, the opinion and advices of previous customers or “experts” of the products will help one customer to make his decisions. And as people have more and more choices to make, they want tools which help them access this information right away.

This is exactly what Myshopanion is doing. As it is held on a mobile phone, you may access it at any time, which makes the delivery of information very easy. The information is based on users opinion and reviews. And it is delivered fast: you may scan thanks to your smartphone a product to access information of one product.

I believe this company will try to monetize thanks to targeted advertising. Imagine, if someone is looking for information on computers, you may add some commercials about a good offer, which might be appropriate while the customer is actively seeking for the product.

In terms of customer relationship management, social shopping is for sure a trend to look after. It looks sort of like products reviews websites, but bettered.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Is Facebook Lacking Of Innovation?

It might seem ackward to make this statement. Indeed, Facebook is revolutionizing the Internet, thanks to its ability to let people connect with each other, like never before. Nevertheless, Facebook is struggling to launch new features.

I was reading this very interesting article on Techcrunch. And I must admit. All the features they added overtime are just copycats:
  • Facebook groups: Aren't they somekind of web forums?
  • They have coppied Twitter with their updates system.
  • Facebook place is nothing else but what Foursquare has designed
  • Facebook emails: Do I really need to explain?
Now, what is scary about it is that Facebook is building up an ecosystem which might be dangerous for web neutrality. If you need to log on Facebook to manage all your online activities (even shopping now), Facebook will have the power to control everything. It is becoming so true, that new Internet experts are thinking about deleting websites to focus on managing Facebook's Fan pages...

Now is there any alternative to Facebook? Myspace has trailed blazes, but as we have seen recently, won't follow the social network goal. Some projects of open source social network are not working...

So, what will happen?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Facebook As A Distribution Channel : The Exit41 Case

Initiatives on Facebook to monetize investments have been on the rise. Facebook is becoming a new virtual place, where you may have human interaction, but also, and some business. The Exit41 proposes to restaurant an ordering system implemented right into Facebook pages. Hence it allows the restaurant to maximize its social media investment by linking it to potential purchases. Once again, with this new feature, Facebook pages interest seems to overcome traditional websites. Will Facebook kills websites?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Aushopping: Première gallerie commerciale virtuelle en Europe

Auchan vient de lancer une toute nouvelle innovation dans le e-commerce, en lançant Aushopping (en version béta pour l’instant). Aushopping, c’est une gallerie commerciale, où vous pouvez créer votre Avatar, afin de faire du shopping. L’intérêt principal du système ? Le site est ouvert 24h sur 24, et aussi vous pourriez être capable de faire du shopping avec des amis habitants à plusieurs centaines de km de chez vous, et vous rendre ensemble dans le centre.

Créer par Immochan, l’enseigne de gestion de centres commerciaux de la galaxie Mulliez, le business modell est très classique. En effet, l’idée est de louer des emplacements dans ce centre virtuel à des enseignes. Mais cette nouvelle me parait étrange.

En effet, il y a quelques années, les mondes virtuelles étaient à la mode. Le succès de Second Life était bien réel, mais depuis l’avènement de Facebook, le futur de ce type de plateforme semble nébuleux. Surtout que pour moi il n’y a pas vraiment d’intérêt en tant que consommateur d’acheter via une gallerie 3D. En effet, l’un des avantages de la distribution classique est de pouvoir toucher le produit. Je ne suis pas sûr que cette nouvelle plateforme propose ce type de service.

De plus, s’il y avait besoin de ce type d’initiative, n’aurait-ce pas été mieux de le faire sur Second life, ou une vrai vie virtuelle existe déjà ? Je pense que cela sera difficile de trouver des utilisateurs de ce service.

Bien sûr, je sais que la problématique des centres commerciaux est difficile. Leur attractivité baisse due à la concurrence de plus en plus forte d’Internet, et ils ont beaucoup de mal à développer une nouvelle manière de pensée leur permettant d’innover. Mais je pense que les centres commerciaux ont du potentiel, s’ils arrivent à incorporer l’usage des technologies pour améliorer l’expérience client.

Et vous, qu’en pensez vous ?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Loyalty Reward Based on Gelocalization

I have read several articles of French mastermind of customer relationship programs Henri Kaufman about the non sense of certain loyalty reward programs. Indeed, loyalty reward programs had a specific goal 2 decades ago when they have been created: Keeping customers from going to the competitor, and hence securing revenues leads. But competition became tougher, and as every businesses now owns some kind of CRM programs, loyalty is a non concrete philosophy.

One good example, explained in Henri Kaufman’s blog, is when a customer before paying is asked if he has the store’s card. It sounds as it is a fault or a shame not to own it. But when you really think about it, this concept is wrong: Loyal customers can not be the majority of your clientele. Therefore we can consider that the term “loyalty” is obsolete.

One of the main reproaches of Henri Kaufman is the fact that what is rewarded is the sales made by one customer. Hence, it would be better to incentive the repetition of purchase. This concept in my opinion has two benefits:

  • If your customer comes often to your store, it is less likely to visit the competition.
  • If it comes regularly, you have more chances to drive both up selling and cross selling, which are actually the main purposes of loyalty reward programs, and wider customer relationship management.

Some retailers are already emphasizing this strategy by setting signs and boards showing for example Foursquare’s mayors advantages. But as the technology has not yet gone mainstream, it is important to find a way to ease the “checks in”. For example, some blue tooth equipment may automatically check you in.

I believe that mobile devices usage will help loyalty reward program to leverage this new philosophy. There are several services which propose loyalty reward programs based on “mobile check-in”, like Topguest. However, no brands have yet developed their own program.

What do you think about it?