Thursday, February 23, 2012

Customer Experience Is Key In Ecommerce

Great video I found on the Internet about online shopper experience, while going through the paying process.

It is very true that the whole process is very complicated, and is a real turn off. It is therefore important to pay a close attention to this key part. It should be an e-commerce website know-how to make the payment process easy.

In traditionnal retailing, it is the arrival of automatic cashiers that allowed supermarkets, hypermarkets, and the whole modern retailing to spring up. Payment is a basic thing, but it does matter.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts About The Non Searchable Web

The Internet is changing. And it is changing fast. Social Media is modifying the way we consume and find information online. And you can see it shifting on a daily basis. Prior to the rise of social network, especially Facebook and Twitter, search engines was the path to reach information on the Internet. Therefore websites, either information one or ecommerce websites, needed to apply the rules of Google (Mainly), Yahoo and Microsoft, in order to generate leads. 

Search engines have by the way been a key factor of the exponential growth of the information, making it simple to navigate online.

But now, people spends more and more time on social network, and hence, they tend to access information not through search engines, but Facebook or Twitter. And it is a very important part that business must take care of. 

Indeed, the old rule of search engine optimization are not the only way to get visibility. This is the reason why marketing departments are spending more and more money on Social Media in order to get exposure.

It is very different to try to get the best ranking possible on Google, with specific coding rules, and to get a great exposure thanks to Facebook. Both tools don't work the same at all. 

Here are the rules it implies:
Step 1:
  • Of course content needs to be planned for social media use.
  • Content needs to be designed to “enable” social dynamics.
  • In other words: the content must be created in a "socialisable" way from the start.

Step 2:
  • It is no longer possible to rely exclusively on the analysis of user behaviour and motivation without also considering the social context.
  • In designing social dynamics, user experience (UX) plays a very important role, so we should begin to place UX closer to [SEO] (Extension of SEO as Social Engine Optimization) than ever before. 
Social media is defenitely changing the web.

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Ode To Competition

I wanted to share with you some thoughts about several news which happened the past few months. All of them are linked with the competition concept.

 Competition is core to our capitalist society, and is supposed to stimulate low prices and innovation. Competition, as a matter of fact, is not something natural for companies. It is something that any corporation would try to avoid. Indeed, competition means that you can not master your business model. You have external factors, such as direct competitions (companies producing the same kind of products), indirect competition (companies which propose substitution products, or products which gets into the same budget for one client), customers, regulation, foreign companies getting into one market, and so on. To know more about these factors, you should look at the Porter matrix.

 Companies indeed try to escape from competition, it is the whole idea behind the Blue Ocean Strategy: Creating a space where you can not be compared, where your products/services are unique. Nevertheless, competition is something very important in business. Because competition is what drives innovation, and better prices for companies. Here is a video of Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, during Le Web 2011. He would like to see more competition in the Web 2.0 world outside of the Silicon Valley. He believes that it would stimulate the whole industry and therefore would benefit to innovation.

 There is also a very important part about competition: it forces companies to pay more attention to customers. This is when markets mature that you see companies developing customer relationship management strategy.

It also forces them to create new services. For example, when Pizza Hut proposes to deliver its pizzas in 30 minutes, then it forces the whole competition to follow the lead, and to propose the same.

 I take as an example what is going on in France, with the arrival of a new mobile network operator Free, which proposes new discounted fares. Prior to its arrival, there were three main competitors sharing the markets, with large margins, and therefore there was no real competition. But then, Free decided to enter the market, and to provide discounted prices, in order to cut the bills by half. After the arrival of this new competitor, other companies launched counter offers in order to align their fares. To sum up, we can say that competition, even though it is tough, is always a good thing, because it makes things going forward. What do you think about it?