The future of social commerce,that is, buying and selling on different social media platforms is more than just promising. With numerous available tools, brands can convert their social media presence into an effective sales channel or a mall. However, customers would need a reason to get involved in social commerce.

For those brands which want to take advantage of social commerce, Jay Chang briefly discusses the major players including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well as how they work.

Social commerce consumers want an authentic experience, that is, “soft sell” and “engagement” as compared to “hard sell” and “sales pitch.” Use of user-generated content is recommended because people trust other people. Also, customers want shopping to be hassle-free, that is, a simple transaction process. Social commerce has potential to save time and effort of consumers by eliminating the frustrating internet search process. Lastly, brands need to make differentiated promotions to motivate buyers to buy on social media.

Every social network and every brand is different. What works for one may not work for another. So experiment, review and change your selling and marketing strategy and tactics continuously

New research suggests that the best method to enhance your in-store sales is to improve your online messaging. Actionable shopper-specific content based on the overall marketing strategy delivered using technology is key to increasing in-store sales. Apart from messages that build brand awareness, targeted and personalized messaging which is personal, local and contextually meaningful will be required to push up in-store sales. Local means more than just location and includes who, what and when. For instance, it may help to get the consumer inside the in-store to purchase when he is near the in-store with a actionable shopper-specific message. Another critical action required is that different teams working mobile, web, e-commerce and social media marketing should be working under a unified marketing strategy in a coordinated manner instead of in silos. This is because customers want and should logically be approached with the same actionable shopper-specific message at each touch point. According to Chad Brooks, if you want to establish an effective digital marketing strategy so as to increase in-store sales, all you have to do is read and follow the 10 steps that he discusses in this article.

Every year, as part of its budgeting process, every company has to decide it’s budget for sales and marketing including what marketing tools and technologies to invest in especially for manufacturers. It is important that the marketing tools and technologies acquired by the manufacturers do not end up wasting budget by  complicating the technology strategy of the company with different platforms, disconnected data and toolsets. Also, one needs to make sure it fits with the technology selected under the corporate strategy.

Jenni makes a great effort to assist manufacturing marketers to navigate through the complicated world of available marketing technologies which have the ability to be plugged into the existing CRM or ERP system of the company. Here she discusses marketing automation platforms like Marketo and Pardot, Google Analytics, AdRoll- the paid advertising tool, Call tracking technology system of Marchex and DialogTech, Crazy Egg- the conversion rate optimization tool and Tableau- the reporting tool. So before you decide on which marketing tools and technologies to invest in, you may save time and money by considering Jenni’s recommendations.

An interesting development in the ecommerce world. After testing a Buy button on its platform for nearly a year, Twitter is aiming to become the “world’s biggest social marketplace” by permitting Best Buy Co., adidas AG and Pacific Sunwear of California and other US retailers to sell through it’s “Buy Now” button. This opens up tremendous opportunities for retailers to easily sell through Twitter’s platform especially smart phone users as now there would be no need for shoppers to click on retailer’s site. Twitter has been making steady moves to become a significant player in the ecommerce business. For instance, it allowed it customers to browse and shop for goods without exiting the Twitter. Similarly, othersocial networks like Pinterest and Facebook are also showing keen interest in adding e-commerce facilities on their platforms like the “Buy it” buttons. Competition is heating up to make social networks into effective marketing platforms. Find out how you can take advantage of this marketing opportunity and include selling through social network part of yourmarketing strategy.

One always hears employers complaining that the incoming new employees do not have necessary skills including digital skills while older employees are not willing to learn new skills. Karen’s article discusses the findings of a study which basically rubbishes the claims of the employer on both counts.

The study reveals that acquiring digital skills is a priority for all employees and they not only understand its importance for their career but also understand its benefits to the organization they work for. One of the three surprising findings of the study was that older employees also actively enhance their technical digital skills and contribute to digitally transforming the workplace. The other that the barriers to effectively using the digital skills of employees were primarily management related. The most surprising of all, that younger employees thought that the senior management lacked understanding of business technology.

The study suggests that organization should bring the multi-generational workforce together to remove the perception that there is a disconnect between the younger employees and senior management. A excellent read for ideas on talent management.

Behind every successful ecommerce business, usually there is an effective promotional design which brings in new leads and higher sales. Effective promotions enhance website experience, increases visitor engagement and give better sales results.

What makes overlay promotional design effective? Incorporating the right design elements in overlay promotions is the key to making them effective as some design elements yield better results than others. In this article, Grant uses “show and tell” format to present some of these design elements through 10 excellent examples of well designed overlay promotions.

You will get an opportunity to see great overlay promotions by brands like SoleRebels, Bandolier, Drop Bottle, Renovator Store, Horseland, Sol Angeles, MuscleEgg, Flow, Mustela and The Poster List using design elements like display ideas, short call to action, two field form to collect information, image building, encouraging subscription to mailing list, engaging new customers, displaying value clearly, contests, darkening of the overlay background, educational content, new product updates and clearance sale.

I recommend that you do not miss this opportunity to learn how to make your overlay promotions effective and your ecommerce marketing strategy a resounding success.

Business research conducted has provided us with certain trends marketers must keep track of. Data enables proper business analysis and thus it is critical to the way marketing is now undertaken. Social media is key part of digital marketing. Video mode engages audiences quickly. Marketing is veering increasingly towards the mobile and online platforms. Sponsored content is being produced in house by publishers. Social influencers are now being gauged to attract youngsters. Increasingly firms are implementing ad blocking software. Technology is getting linked to marketing but there is still some untapped potential. Programmatic ads are instead being the focus of publishers and marketers. Peer based reviews’ generation ahs now ballooned to be a full-fledged industry.

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