technology

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e-commerce hotter

e-commerce is hotter than ever.

Whether in mature markets, where consumer spending is shifting online because of convenient purchases, or in growth markets where rapid urbanization and increasing (mobile) internet penetration are unlocking new shopping habits, shoppers are ‘e-commercing’ it up.

e-commerce

Some stats ( from trendwatching.com) in 2012 vs 2016-2017:

  • US e-commerce sales will grow 62% by 2016, to $327 billion (Source: Forrester, February 2012) – the actual data – $322 billion (Source: Statistica.com)
  • European e-commerce sales will grow by 78% by 2016, to USD 230 billion (Source: Forrester, February 2012).
  • Brazilian e-commerce sales will grow 21.9% in 2012 to USD 18.7 billion (Source: eMarketer, January 2012).
  • Chinese e-commerce sales were CNY 780 billion (USD 124 billion) in 2011, an increase of 66% from 2010. E-commerce is expected to rise from 3% of consumption to 7% by 2015 (Source: IDC, March 2012) – 2016 data:  $ 681 billion
    • Over 40% of the total global e-Commerce spend came from China in 2015
      Approximately $14.3 billion was spent on last year’s “Singles Day”, the one day Chinese digital shopping holiday
    • The total number of digital shoppers in the country reached 468 million last year
      Online wallets are the top payment method of choice, with 33% of Chinese shoppers utilizing the technology to complete transactions
  • India’s e-commerce market is expected to grow to USD 70 billion by 2020, from just USD 600 million in 2011 (Source: Technopak Advisors, February 2012).
  • According to a new study by Forrester Research, approximately a fifth of total retail sales will take place online by 2021 in Asia Pacific, with 78 percent of that coming from mobile, up from 63 percent in 2016. The study adds that online retail via mobile will grow at a CAGR of 15.6 percent, to reach $1 trillion in 2020, up from $539 billion in 2016.

forrester online retail report

 

Maturing customer

World over, apparel is the largest category for online retail, followed by consumer electronics and computer hardware.

However, grocery, beauty and cosmetics, home appliances and furniture are the fastest-growing categories, showing the increasing maturity of online shopping in Asia Pacific.

 

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New Google Hummingbird Algorithm

A couple of days ago Google switched on a new search algorithm, new Google Hummingbird Algorithm, the system it uses to sort through all the information it has when you search and come back with answers.

It was merged together with 15th anniversary of Google.

We love Google for its great search engine, for helping us finding the most relevant information, for collecting so many information globally.

I believe that Google is a great source for education, business and inspiration. It gives equal opportunity for all people with Internet access to the knowledge and information.

Yes, we are in an information age.

Recently I read a couple of post about SEO changes due to Google recent algorithm. It looks like Google finally judges the content value, brand and technical preparedness – not links, backlinks and all SEO hidden activities.

This will change the whole situation.

“Hummingbird” Algorithm

I see it very well on my own websites. It looks that natural search rules, like great content, great meta tags, alt tags and speed of website, are the most important now.

Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or meaning are taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.

google hummingbird

I see it – my websites statistics show better data now and are more visible in natural search.

Paid Search – Google Adwords

On the other hand I noticed that Google Adwords take now 6 lines on each page and sidebar.

It looks like it is the very important change and income source for Google.

Let’s see if this recent change has impact on average conversion rate.

We managed a couple of campaigns recently for our clients and we noticed many major changes: more functions and more customization possibilities.

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Multidevice online searches

Our habits are changing all the time. The multidevice online searches are really common activity. We use many electronic devices that are connected to Internet at home, at work. As a consequence search engines started monitor our online searches and our behaviour.

According Google – the tablets and smartphones changed the web searching experience:

77% of mobile searches are in a location (home or work) where people are likely to have a
PC available to them.
Source: Mobile Search Moments Study
March 2013

90% of multiple device owners switch between screens to complete tasks.
Source: The New Multi-Screen World
August 2012

According Google data our multivice online searches have changed our habits importantly, especially in e-commerce area.

Please look at the infographic below:

multi device search

PDF version – multi-screen-world-infographic_infographics

I saw also other researches that presented a purchase process by using different devices.

Simply the outcome of  multidevice purchasing was following:

  • if a customer see the same product offer on many devices correctly, she/he will be more willing to buy. This pre-purchasing activity will help in taking decision. 67% of Internet users are buying by using many devices in the same time.
  • if a customer sees too many products at your offer on PC, you can differentiate this offer by mobile device – less products on tablets, lesser products on smartphone website.
  • you can combine multichannel sales to present better offer.
  • usability of websites on different devices is a key factor of success
  • the great content, great offer – it is another surplus!

More targeted offer  – the less risk and higher conversion of sales

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Product optimization vs. consumer health

Today I read a great article about the food product optimization vs. consumer health in relation to the junk food in USA. There are people that really would like to change the production of food and try to change it. Good people, good engineers.

My thoughts after reading this article are following:

  1. Junk food is a very efficient business and very prosperous for their producers ( there are great examples in the article)
  2. CEO of junk food producers are not interested in healthy society and don’t understand their engineers language
  3. Junk food is a art of chemistry – not an art of nutrition that is needed for people.
  4. Junk food is everything about smell, touch, feel, sip, swirl and taste
  5. the food industry already knew some things about making people happy – sugar
  6. Product optimization has different annotations for producers and consumers. We want to have a healthy, tasty food, they want to sell more and more in efficient way.
  7. Sensory-specific satiety is a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating
  8. “Discover what consumers want to buy and give it to them with both barrels. Sell more, keep your job! How do marketers often translate these ‘rules’ into action on food? Our limbic brains love sugar, fat, salt. . . . So formulate products to deliver these. Perhaps add low-cost ingredients to boost profit margins. Then ‘supersize’ to sell more. . . . And advertise/promote to lock in ‘heavy users.’ Plenty of guilt to go around here!”

junk food

And some marketing information I found:

“In the process of product optimization, food engineers alter a litany of variables with the sole intent of finding the most perfect version (or versions) of a product. Ordinary consumers are paid to spend hours sitting in rooms where they touch, feel, sip, smell, swirl and taste whatever product is in question. Their opinions are dumped into a computer, and the data are sifted and sorted through a statistical method called conjoint analysis, which determines what features will be most attractive to consumers. “

More you can find on nyt.com

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usability of iPad

iPad and other tablets usage is growing rapidly. Two years ago I got my first iPad and I truly didn’t know why I need it. I had to learn how to use it, navigate, download apps, etc.

Of course it was a fast curve of learning but still it required my concentration.

ipad usability

Nielsen Norman Group posted their reports of iPad usability.

They looked at how iPad users interact with apps and websites on their devices, and whether usability improves with time as people practice and learn new interfaces. The design guidelines are based on 2 rounds of usability studies, conducted in 2010 and 2011.

What is the most interesting:

How People Use the iPad – simply no surprise  – it is exactly like me:

  1. games,
  2. checking email and social network sites,
  3. watching movies and videos
  4. reading news
  5. e-commerce: most of our users said that they had not done any purchases on
    the iPad because they didn’t know if it is secure. Others felt that it was easier to shop on the desktop computer. But they did some researching, browsing, checking classifieds (e.g., Craigslist) or auctions (e.g., eBay).

Who is using iPad

one device is used by many people. It is an interesting observation. It looks that it is a different situation than mobile phones or laptop’s usage.

  • children can play games or watch cartoons
  • family member use one device when it is available
  • some problems appeared like password changing, application installation that is available for everybody

Where is used

  • 50% carry iPad frequently with them
  • rest of users keep it at home and take outside only where they have to wait for something for a long time. It is typical for me:) I take it during flights.

The typical functionality of tablets like iPad are applications that should enable better usability and friendliness for users.

The research shows also some examples of websites and iPad applications that provided a different and surprised user experience. For example Amazon application and website – totally different user interface, navigation in application. That situation made a confusion.

The report also provides some tips for application developers:

  1. Design for repeat users
  2. Your iPad app should have a secret weapon compared to your website.
  3. Do not make users work more in your iPad app than on your website.
  4. Do not design an iPad app as if it were an iPhone app.

and many other nice findings related to usability – please read the full reports – here.

 

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when web sales dropped

What to do when your web sales dropped?

This is a common question of all online shop owners recently. I wrote about Fairsearch.org recently, an organisation that wants to setup clear rules in web search. I wrote about allegro.pl and tablica.pl that were banned for backlinking by Google. There are more examples of such activity and good ones as well – some firms won with Google – like http://www.iai-shop.com/.

In EU we have a little bit different situation than in USA. Almost 95% of search is driven by Google.

In USA  this number is lower – 65-70% but it looks that American shop owners also noticed the declining number of visitors and as a consequence – lower sales.

Today I read another story from the US posted on nytimes.com.

nextag

Nextag

Since February, Jeffrey G. Katz watched the steady decline of online traffic to his company’s comparison-shopping Web site, Nextag, from Google’s search engine. Nextag is a website for comparing prices before you buy any product. In Poland we have similar websites – ceneo.pl, nokaut.pl, etc.

First they tried to find any bugs on their own side – systems, applications, etc. They employed  experts and what the result was – it was because of Google’s rules change.

Nextag’s response? It doubled its spending on Google paid search advertising in the last five months.  They had to retain shoppers. It was really costly solution but it was the only one.

Also my Polish customers, online shop owners had to do the same activity. They started using AdWords. The results were not so proficient as they should be. Google claims that 0,3 CTR rate is good one. But the competition also started to buy it and your CTR rate would drop… you need to change the text of paid advertising more often, it means more money for the agencies, etc…

For example we have 17 thousands of online shops in one category, if all of them start to use AdWords in the same time, the efficiency of such advertising will drop also…but the cost will grow.

The relationship between Google and Web sites, publishers and advertisers often seems lopsided, if not unfair. Google generates $80 billion a year in revenue for 1.8 million businesses, Web sites and nonprofit organizations in the United States alone. What about other countries?

Google has drawn the attention of antitrust officials as it has moved aggressively beyond its dominant product — search and search advertising — into fields like online commerce and local reviews.

Let’s see what will be the result. On the other hand Google tries to fix issues and inform about their changes before their introduction. But is it enough?

More information you can find on nytimes.com.   For example: MapQuest example and Google Maps  – in 2005 – nobody knew Google Maps. Everybody were using MapQuest. Now they have a half of users of Google Maps.

 

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FairSearch really

A couple of days ago Allegro joined the Fairsearch organisation that wanted to limit Google domination in setting web search engines rules. Actually their principles are quite obvious but the real life is a little bit more complicated.

fairsearch

 

 

 

Please look at their principles:

  • “TRANSPARENCY: Consumers – not search engines – should choose winners in the marketplace. Consumers benefit from more choices in the search marketplace competing to win users, innovating to improve products and displaying results transparently. When search providers engage in search discrimination – manipulating search results to promote a favored product and demote competitors – consumers pay the price.
  • INNOVATION: Consumers benefit when competition in the marketplace forces companies to continue to innovate and develop the best solutions for online search. No one company should be allowed to use its dominance to foreclose competitors from the search marketplace – particularly in high-traffic specialty segments, like travel, jobs, health, real estate, media and local search.”

from

I fully agree with these statements but the question is why Internet users prefer use a Google search engine instead of bing, yahoo, aol or any other search engines.

There are some examples like Russian yandex.ru or Chinese baidu.com search engines that are better on their local market then Google. These markets are not so open. They have internal restrictions.

In all other markets Google wins. Google sets standards and rules in search. Actually they are monopolists because of their unique skills and know how. They are very fast in implemententing changes.

But I see that they do many good things to stop unfair activities recently like catalogs, SWL linking, fake content, duplicates of website, articles, etc.

On the other hand they introduce more and more new services for example: Google Merchant for e-commerce, Google e-books, Google Places…

Majority of users don’t want to look at many search engines results. They use only 1-2 pages for their decision.

The problem is that Google is not a search engine only anymore. They bought many business and develop many new services constantly.

The question is if they treat them in search equally like other businesses or maybe they are better postioned in their own search engine rankings. I don’t know.

I know that Google has the access to so many websites, so many contents, so many ideas, so many business cases like any other company. This is their huge advantage. And they know how to use it. Simply:

  • they prepare their current tools to meet our needs – because they know very well our needs – local, regional, global.
  • they develop new tools and services because they know all new ideas that are spreading all over the web.

Summarising I agree that better regulations and more competitors in this search engine business are very important for overall global business.