Nice work by Charmin and Kmart for bringing their brand personality and voice to this fun exchange on Twitter this week.
Appreciating the smaller moments that put a smile on your face, like when Jeremiah Owyang favorites your Tweet, or someone you admire affirms your opinions.
It’s what marketers strive for with their customers, right? We want to create a connection, make customers feel special and valued. It’s not about building loyalty, though that is a desired outcome. Help people, make them feel special, be useful and genuine. Try it today and see what happens.
Opening the Can of Worms: Privacy and Big Data
Big Data. In our business at Janrain we talk about data a lot because our customers use our solutions to access social profile data, then leverage it to improve relationships with their audience. Depending on who I’m talking to, that sentence can rouse some pretty intense emotions.
Some of my closest friends won’t use a social identity when given the opportunity to at a new site - no matter how badly they want to play an online game that requires it - simply due to the permissions screen that is part of the authentication process. The sentence where you’re granting the app permission to post to your Facebook wall is a big request for many people, no matter how you explain the details and meaning behind it. These same friends, however, will use an email identity to sign in or register at new sites without a second thought. In their perspective, there’s less risk.
The reality is that there’s less data. This gives many people a sense of comfort, and control. The issues around big data are personal and, given that, many groups want their opinion heard on the topic. The government, of course, wants more control. Organizations, of course, want freedom. This combination of these opposing interests results in controversy and debate that I don’t anticipate ending soon.
SXSW is taking place this week in Austin and the organizers have given an interesting group of panel experts the microphone on this topic. Here’s a high level review of what was surely a heated conversation on the issues of privacy and data. The closing line of this article sums up the entire issue quite well:
"One of the real potential harms [is that] big data has huge potential to do great things…cool things," Stanley said. "But it also has the potential to invade our privacy by revealing things we didn’t choose to reveal."
You can scroll down to see the comment I left with my thoughts on this, or read it right here:
The reality is that nothing we do on a connected device is private. Absolutely nothing. Someone out there, whether your provider, browser, website or identity provider, knows every click you take, every purchase made, every article read, every bit of information shared. I don’t believe that most people know just how much they’re sharing and that collectively they’re sharing a lot every time they get on these devices.
Some people don’t care that cookie-based information (even though they don’t know what that means) is watched and tracked. Others don’t mind that “only friends” see their personal information on Facebook. But when they start thinking about all the information they have put out there, collectively, it gets freaky. And overwhelming.
With permission-based access to data, like via a social login authentication process, marketers need to be even more sensitive to their responsibility with the information because they asked for it. Consumers will trust website owners only as long as they’re trustworthy. And adding value for the exchange.
People don’t mind sharing their personal information, children’s pictures, or current location on Facebook because trust and value exist.
So, tell me, how do you feel about big data and privacy concerns? Can of worms officially opened.
Are You Leveraging Mobile Shopping In Your Store?
Some retailers might scratch their heads and wonder exactly what I mean by that but the reality is that shoppers have entered your store knowing they won’t buy. That’s different from decades ago where shoppers came to a store hoping to find what they need, make a purchase and happily be on their way.
Boy, how times have changed. Now people are using social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook to discover or find new products that may fill a need or make life a little easier. And although they could easily purchase online via links from these sites, for many product categories, shoppers still want to check out the product in your store.
Many connected consumers are doing what the industry refers to as “showrooming” where they learn more about the product in your store, but will go online at home or on their mobile device to find the best offer. They are basically using your store as a showroom, and buying elsewhere.
My question for smart retail leaders like Best Buy, Macy’s and Sears is how will you innovate to leverage this new shopping pattern? Technology is actually bringing shoppers into your store to touch and feel products, so how do you create a sense of urgency (you need this today), add value or entice them to buy from you vs online?
Next week I’m headed south to Palm Desert for the eTail West event. As I prepare for what will be a mix of educational sessions, customer meetings and press briefings, I can’t help but reflect on today’s consumer and their shopping habits. Next year I’ll celebrate 20 years of working with retailers and consumer brands, and boy have I witnessed change over two decades.
When I look only at the impact technology has had on the shopping experience it becomes clear that the buying of goods has become easier, faster and in some ways more social, and yet more complex at the same time. New devices and innovations have improved the adventure of discovering new products – just spend 10 minutes on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
There’s a tipping point, however, where all this product discover becomes overwhelming to the point of a mind-numbing state where no decisions are made. In my own personal case, I can lose track of time “discovering” on Pinterest and not realize that I’ve run out of time and accomplished nothing. No products purchased. No gifts secured.
Of course, no one knows what future innovations will mean for the shopping experience, but its easy to assume that technologies we use today for other purposes will be leveraged by retailers to enhance the way we shop. Based on Marian Salzman’s Trendspotting Report, I made a few predictions that I hope to see retail leaders explore in the coming year, like using our Xbox Kinect to find the perfect pair of jeans.
Where do you see the need or calling for innovation in retail?
We now create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.
— Eric Schmidt, Executive chairman of Google
As you create more content today, think about that.
Connecting the Dots with Social Sharing
That’s a lot of people on Facebook. I’ll go out on a limb to say that you probably don’t have that many people coming to your website.
The question for every marketer is how to get a piece of that action. It’s a fact that conversations are happening there, so why not bring your brand to Facebook and let your fans chat about you, your brand and products with you there?
That’s just one tactic in a social media strategy.
There’s still tremendous value in your website - especially if you have content that your customers find entertaining, useful or informative. Does your social media strategy connect the dots? Is your content easy for people to share your good stuff? Are you enabling your biggest fans to spread your word through social commenting?
Just as I was working on social “wings” requirements for our content applications, I came across this smart piece from Carri Bugbee and Janrain: 7 Proven Ways to Integrate Social On Your Site. It’s a must read!
These smart tips reinforce the points I made at Expo West last month in my Retail Mobile Apps education session. It really starts with strategy - what do you want to achieve?
Interesting look at how our national department store retailers have jumped into social commerce. Some are doing a better job than others at providing a truly social experience, and one that is consistent and cohesive across their many properties, and I assume that we’re looking at a long learning curve.If they’re listening to their shoppers, tapping into industry leaders for advice, and learning from their experience, they’ll get there.
When Free Delivery is the Smartest Sales-Driving Tactic
People buy new appliances when they buy a new home or move, but the housing market is still in a slump. So, what’s a smart marketer to do to entice consumers to spend money on new appliances that often carry big price tags?
Something as simple as free delivery. Just like Best Buy announced today.
Why? Beyond affordability, people don’t buy new appliances because they have these hassles to figure out: how do I get the thing home, and what do I do with the beast in it’s space now?
Remove those obstacles to buy and you make the deal.
Wait…when you make the offer, remind me how much money I’ll save with the energy-efficient model, and of the extra time that I can spend with my family when I’m not washing dishes by hand. Or tell me that my broken washing machine will be refurbished and donated to the local homeless shelter to wash the linens. Making me feel good about doing business with you gets me back in your store. And I’ll tell friends.