Something to Hang our Hat on?
"...Advertisers follow the timeless creed of go where your consumers are, and the interactive advertising market is no exception. Consumers are going online in droves and the ad dollars are following closely behind," said Greg Stuart, President and CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau.
So what the heck is going on at agencies? Everywhere you look there are still layoffs. And sure, there's still a heck of a lot of job jumping. Perhaps it's to duck and cover and avoid potential layoffs? I've seen several peers relocate from Boston to New York lately. Is New York the only hot bed now? It's tough for me to see all these talents go. Who's got the money? Most of these studies are based on research from the top 15 sites. In the past it has always been the top 5 or 10 advertisers spend most of the money these days. Are new advertisers popping up? And if so, do these folks ever make a difference?
Recent studies indicate that eTail has a strong pulse. Forrester predicts that there will be 25 million new households shopping online by 2008. That's 5 million new people per year for the next five years. Forrester indicates the need for enhancing the online shopping experience. As advertisers, we need to prepare ourselves and our clients for this expected jump.
Keep in mind, online shoppers want:
Convenience. If a process takes a longer amount of time online, why sell online? I recently bought makeup online. It took the site longer to fulfill my order and ship it than it would for me to schlep to the mall, finding a parking space, hoof through the crowds of teenagers, get sprayed by those nasty fragrance counter women, and pick it up myself.
Security. I hate to even have to say this but some sites are not secure. I won't go on them.
Speed. As advertisers and marketers, we need to make sure we don't get caught up in technology. We still need to keep a close eye toward designing things toward the lowest common denominator. No one wants to wait for a site to load because they are on a connection with a slower speed.
Detailed information. This is not brochure-ware here; this is details. Consumers want to know things such as the make, model, weight, dimensions, competitive products, etc. Make it fast and easy for them to find this.
Easy navigation. Ugh. How many times have you been on a site where you can't get back to the page you were on prior? Ask yourself if your site is easy to navigate to your consumers. Many marketers gear the site toward what they think the user experience would be. Have an informal focus group with a handful of people. Ask them about their user experiences. You'll learn a lot.
Site enhancements such as product zoom. Most car sites do it right. If people can buy cars online they can buy just about anything. Simulate what's close to an offline experience. Simple elements such as product zoom go a long way today.
Promotional opportunities. Loyalty programs such as refer-a-friend, BOGOs, e-coupons, and the like are favorable among consumers. Take the offline CPG world for instance. If weekly circulars still work for supermarkets, think of what private sale emails and frequent buyer sneak peeks can do.
To be recognized. If you are asking users to register a username, why not address them by that name when they return? Or how about offering a saved search page? Users can come back to their shopping or researching at a more convenient time. It's the little things that matter. And besides, doesn't everyone want to be loved?