With Alexa Buying Products Is As Easy As Saying “Yes”

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Alexa-swear-930x477Amazon’s Alexa, a virtual assistant that allows users to add voice commands by speaking into the Echo speakers, can now order over a Million products on Amazon. According to The Verge, ” if you say, “Alexa, enable NBC News,” or “Alexa, enable Fitbit” or “Alexa, enable Dad-Bot”  to an Echo speaker, the smart software will add those third-party skill sets to your set up, so you can issue more voice commands for those apps”.

With Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, or Amazon Fire TV, you can order over a Million products available on Amazon. The Voice Command has been activated for Amazon Prime subscribers. The Virtual Assistant cannot order apparel, shoes, jewelry, watches, Amazon Fresh, Prime Pantry, Prime Now, or Add-On items.

Virtual assistant Ordering brings a new challenge to the Virtual assistant space where brands were vying for conversational commands and adding skills such as making a shopping list or checking the flight status. Amazon Alexa’s Skills Kit was recently upgraded with 1400 Skills that allow users to enable Skills from Third Party Apps by simply speaking into the speakers with the command “Alexa Enable”.  “Now people who own devices like the $180 Echo and the $130 Amazon Tap can enable new skills, or capabilities, simply by saying, “Alexa, enable” and then saying the name of the desired skill. Until now, you had to retrieve your phone or tablet, find the skill, and turn it on.”. according to Venture Beat. Some of the updates on Amazon’s Alexa are:

  • There are now over 1,400 Alexa skills and the catalog has grown by 50 percent in just over one month
  • Customers have made over 3 million requests using the top 10 most popular Alexa skills
  • Since January 2016, selection of Alexa smart home API skills has grown by more than 5x

A comparison of Google Home scheduled for launch later in the year and Amazon’s Alexa shows Amazon is far ahead in the game, though Google Home has unique features such as the synced audio playback to multiple devices.

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With a  Virtual Assistant Interface, the buyer journey is now redefined as users can now buy products with voice commands. The Path To Purchase is redefined to  “No Click Ordering” with the Virtual Assistants.

 

Instagram Introduces New Brand Discovery Tool

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An all new Brand discovery tool on Instagram, allows users to browse linked Instagram accounts, from the Instagram feed. The tool works in a similar manner as the mentions, however, has a greater clickability as the link appears on the image. The concept is very similar to the Pop Up Shops that are seen in the brick and mortar retail environment. Instagram has recently added Video View Count.

For retail business, Pop Up Shops are estimated to be big business and according to an estimate shared by Shopify, Pop Up Shops account for USD 8 Billion of retail sales in the US Market. Instagram has now introduced a concept similar to Pop Up Shops. The Instagram Posts are now clickable with links to the brand’s Instagram account. The new User Experience has been designed for the Mobile Shopper, making it easier for the user to browse through the feed and click directly for the merchandise that the user likes. The Pop Up concept makes the experience user-friendly while making for a seamless buyer journey.

In the post shared by Forever 21 the user can click to The Fashion Sight Instagram account from the tab on the image by clicking on the post. The tab appears on the Left Hand Side that the user can click on and head over to the pop up shop instagram account to see more details about the coat.

In the Top Shop post for Sweet Pea and Pearl, the user can browse back to the Top Shop account and shop directly from the Top Shop bio link to ClickShop.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BByCPd1Fo36/?taken-by=thefashionsight
In the links featured by the Fashion Sight the user can view the linked accounts and follow conversations for two or more linked accounts.

Net-A-Porter has featured Opening Ceremony.

Key Takeaways For Marketers

Brands can build and link  conversations that will get more users within the Brand’s eco system engaged.

Your Brand Content is likely to have more shares as users for other accounts will discover your content.

Pop Up Instagram accounts can engage audiences with different interests and often act as a way of generating incremental traffic. For brands linking to accounts that are from diverse verticals can bring in audiences other than brand loyalists.

By featuring products in context that they are most likely to be looking for, is likely to increase Brand favorability, bringing in  a higher promoter score for your brand.

Given that mobile audiences look at approx. 11 pieces of content before arriving at a purchase decision, pop-up instagram accounts can navigate the user journey giving Brands an opportunity to build preference with positive influence and engagement.

 

Gift Cards Retail Trends

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Bizrate

According to Bizrate Insights, a survey conducted among consumers of 5000 eCommerce retailers via an online survey presented immediately after completing a purchase, Gift Cards are seen to be preferred by Millennials, with over 70 percent of 18-34 years, hoping to receive Gift Cards. However, there is a gap among consumers hoping to receive a Gift Card and those who plan to buy a Gift card. The survey was, conducted among 11,067 online buyers, ages 18 and over, in the U.S. and Canada and carried out between November 1, 2015 and November 8, 2015.

According to Card Hub, the size of Gift Card market is projected to grow over the next two years. In a research shared by CEB TowerGroup, Gift cards represent 18 percent of the money spent by consumers on Holiday purchases and eGifting is likely to trend upwards. The preferred  Gift Cards categories that buyers plan to purchase for Holiday season are Restaurants, Department Store, Coffee Shops, Entertainment and Electronics Store.

GiftcardsresearchRetailers targeting Holiday Shoppers have designed offers on Gift cards that are focused on customers interests and build on the experiential gifting. The search queries for Gift cards increase in the first two weeks of December and the top search queries for 2015 thus far are restaurant gift cards, best gift cards.

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Consumer Focused Approach

Walmart’s robust offering of Gift Cards targeted at Movies and Music fans as wells  restaurant gift cards, provide a wide choice to buyers who want to buy Gift Cards that are likely to be preferred by the target audience. The choice of  retail gift cards provide an offering for consumers that are looking at choosing gifts based on interests. The gift cards value proposition offers a complete suite of gift options for different categories from Apparel, Dining to Entertainment. Combining the products with an e-gift delivery option makes for a comprehensive Gift Card experience from product design to delivery stage. Gift card experience from Walmart is designed around the consumer, with Branding and Design and the User Interface enhanced for Discovery.

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Key Takeaway 

Design your Gift card strategy around your core target audience buyer persona, offering different options, with branding and content experience enhanced for mobile discovery. Create a special icon to flag products that have an email delivery option or a special price offer, as can be seen for Walmart’s eCard.

Pricing Focus

Amazon has designed special offers targeted at buyers of speciality cards, with a 20 percent off for buyers of gift cards, with special packs designed for up-selling. Target has also focused on creating special price offers for gift cards and running special offers to promote gift cards.
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Amazon’s gift cards strategy focuses on creating a value proposition based on pricing and the choice of shopping all gift cards at one place. The choice that is available promises at reducing stress usually associated with finding the right gift.

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Key Takeaway 

Design your Gift card strategy around the different Gifting needs of the consumer. Usually customers looking for deals and offers around holiday season tend to buy into value offers that can be redeemed after the Christmas sales.

Giving a choice of retail brands adds choice for consumers with the possibility to find the right gift for different recepients.

Experiential Rewards

Sam’s  Club has created experiences for Motor Sports Enthusiasts, that features racing Experiences and different Drive packages. Sam’s Club includes  Gift Cards rating that lets customers choose and decide from popular cards that are featured in  “Popular Products” section.

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Key Takeaway 

Designing experiential rewards gift cards engages audiences for your brand with one of a kind offers that are not likely to be available off the shelf. Offering Experiential rewards Gift Cards are likely to create greater buzz and social media sharing for Gift Cards.

Price Match Guarantee

Best Buy offers consumers to choose from the options available with a Price match guarantee.

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Key Takeaway 

Offering Price Match Guarantee on Gift Cards is likely to resonate with audiences as it takes the stress away for Gift Card Shoppers.

Limited Edition Gift Cards

Starbucks  Limited Edition holiday cards, embellished with Swarovski crystals in Silver and Blue are aimed at engaging audiences with a Lifestyle aspiration, where the card design is the reward itself. The Gift cards are an extension of other merchandise available at Starbucks with Crystal and Gold embellishments.

 

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Starbucks continues to promote Holiday cards with Gift Cards Messaging.

Key Takeaway 

Designing Limited Edition Gift Cards are  a way to engage audiences for key occasions that reward your loyal customers.

Gift Card As A Reward

Target

Offering a Gift card linked to a purchase as can be seen from Target’s USD 100 Card linked to an Apple Watch purchase. Linking a free gift card offer with a purchase can help retailers boost sales with a special pricing offer linked to Gift Cards. Allowing time bound offers on Gift cards can further help retailers divert spend in lean sales months.

Key Takeaway

Gift Cards can increase sales when used as an incentive and increase sales during low season months.

Gift Card Statistics
 
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Key Insights For Designing User Experience For The Smartwatch App

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appwatchMobile mind shift has created newer opportunities for Marketers to respond to the glanceable moment offered by Smartwatch screen views.  According to research by Forrester, as high as 10 percent US respondents use a daily fitness tracker and as high as 45 percent are intrigued by the prospect of getting a Smartwatch.

A Smartwatch experience is seen by the users, as a step ahead of the Smartphones experience as the Smartwatch glanceable moments,  make it easier to access and personal than accessing the phone that is seen to be more cumbersome.

Urban Airship with Forrester has shared insights from research that can help you design your Smartwatch App Experience and chalk out your Brand’s Smartwatch App Engagement Strategy.

Recreate Mobile Use Case For Smartwatch experience with A Glanceable Moment in Mind
Glanceable moments offer a window of 3 seconds for engaging your customer. Thus designing a Smartwatch experience is different from a Mobile App Use Case. To get the Smartwatch experience right it has to be seen as how well it can help the user to do something that helps them do ” The Next thing”. It is based on the predictive behavior where the information pushed to the user is actionable in 3 seconds as opposed to 10 seconds to 30 seconds available for Mobile phone use case. Thus designing use case by giving timely notification makes the experience more meaningful in a glance. Starbucks App serves notification at the time of placing an order advising the user of the earned rewards. Apple Store App notifications can let you connect with reminders and updates on shipping deliveries.
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