How to Cut the Operational Costs of Your E-commerce Business

How to Cut the Operational Costs of Your E-commerce Business

Although you may not operate from a physical store, there are still just as many costs involved with running an e-commerce business. Everyone wants their business to be successful, and that success depends on making money. As product and operational costs continue to rise, it’s essential that you keep not only your prices competitive but that you also find ways in which to increase your profits. The first strategy that comes to mind would be to find ways to boost sales or grow revenue. Although cutting operational costs is another critical way, you can put money back in your pocket. 

Won’t reducing operational spending put strains on your business? Not if done strategically and practically. Costs can get out of control if not monitored. Here are some great strategies for cutting the operational costs of your e-commerce business.

1. Contract your staff 

The top way in which you can reduce your operating costs is by contracting your team. While hiring a full-time employee may be necessary for certain aspects of your business, it probably isn’t for the majority of them. By contracting an employee, you can cut all sorts of costs. Firstly, you will have less to pay for wages. You can pay for exactly how many hours you require the employee to work. Beyond that, you will not have to pay benefits or holiday pay. 

Tasks such as web design, admin, and social media management do not take 40 hours a week. Having a salaried employee for these areas will end up costing you way more than is necessary for these tasks. An admin assistant can jump on 30 minutes a day to answer emails. A social media manager can put in an hour a day to schedule posts and engage with your social communities. 

High-salaried employees, such as those in your IT department, are huge budget suckers. While it’s nice to have someone on hand to fix inevitable tech problems, many companies contract out IT support. Companies such as Capstone IT Services handle any technical issues that you may have, at whatever time you need them. 

2. Make strategic and quality investments from the beginning

While it may be tempting to take the cheap route when setting up your business, it may lead to financial losses in the long run. Investing in quality options from the beginning will mean that you won’t need to keep paying for constant updates. 

When it comes to your website design, an investment in a high-quality web designer is worth it. The site is the virtual storefront and, therefore, the most important investment that you can make as an e-commerce business. Investing in quality design from the beginning will mean that you’ll have a great foundation to work from. Web design can get quite costly if you need constant updates and revisions. Start with an excellent base from which you can make small changes as required. 

Your branding is another area that is worth the initial investment. Continually changing your logo and brand identity will only act as a deterrent for potential clients. Take the time to develop a well-thought-out brand identity that you are confident about and can stick with going forward. 

Always choose quality over a cheap price tag, because in the end, it will end up costing your business more. Try to avoid opting for an inexpensive designer and instead hire experienced, trusted professionals with a proven track record. 

3. Know the market

The more products you offer, the more it’s going to cost you. If all your products are flying off the shelves, then that’s great, but this is not usually the case. You need to know the market and understand what your target consumer is looking for. Stocking products that don’t sell is a waste of resources and the physical space that it takes up in your storeroom. Stay updated with current trends in your industry. What’s the competition like? What products are selling the most? You’re better off offering a smaller range of high-demand products than a massive range of items that don’t sell. 

The same goes for if you are selling a service. If you offer tons of services, but only a few are selling, then focus on them. While they may not take up physical space, you’re probably wasting valuable marketing budget and your time promoting them. Know when to offer discounts or coupons to help clear out stock that isn’t selling.

Focusing your efforts on the products and services that the market wants will save you tons of money on storage, marketing, production, and more. 

4. Limit your payment methods

While it can be tempting to offer as many payment methods as possible, it can cost a lot of money. Payment processing fees will add up very quickly, and the more options you provide, the more expenses you’ll pay. Identify the most popular payment options among your consumers and stick to them. Since the majority of people have more than one payment type, it shouldn’t limit you from converting sales. 

5. Choose the most effective marketing channels 

Spending on marketing is significant for the growth and success of your business. That said, if you are spending in the wrong channels, you may as well be throwing money into the wind. Marketing costs can be high, so the key is identifying which channels deliver the highest ROI. It will vary for each e-commerce business, depending on their specific industry. The most effective way to find out where you should be allocating budget is through web analytics

Web analytics will show you exactly where all your website traffic is generating. It will let you know which of your marketing efforts is paying off the most. Maybe you’ll notice high traffic from link-building via relevant blogs, or perhaps it’s from Facebook ads. Regardless of how your visitors get to your website, you will be able to identify which channels aren’t converting and discontinue those campaigns.

You can dramatically cut costs on your marketing by basing your campaigns on your web analytics. 

6. Customer retention

Converting sales from current customers costs seven times less than converting new customers. Retaining the customers that you already have will save you a lot of money on marketing. Not to mention, loyal customers exponentially increase your reach through referrals. It’s free marketing at its finest. By engaging with your customer base, offering loyalty programs, and using email marketing to stay relevant, you can encourage your consumers to keep buying.  

Conclusion

The quality of your e-commerce business does not need to suffer for you to reduce your operational costs. You can still employ expert, qualified staff who will help your business to run efficiently and productively for a fraction of the cost. Your website design can make an impact and create a brand identity that will help you to stand out against the competition, helping you to form a loyal customer base. By running strategic and analyzed marketing campaigns, you can minimize your budget and convert more sales than ever before. 

By making some small tweaks in your current processes and choosing investments wisely, you can cut your operating costs and increase profit in your e-commerce business. 

Develop Ecommerce Consumer Involvement in 2020

Develop Ecommerce Consumer Involvement in 2020

As e-commerce involves majorly on the consumer, the relationship between the two should be well-built. It is one of the critical building blocks that you will have to add in your online business 2020. You have to understand how crucial a customer’s feedback can turn out to be. They help you shape up your business flaws, which works like constructive criticism. A simple thing like highlighting your loyal customers monthly on the company’s social media can be a big win.

Areas to Involve the Consumer

One of the areas that are still a challenge for online businesses is safety. As the opportunities to go global arises, assuring consumer’s safety while paying with their credit card is an issue that needs solving. Only then can you take its full advantage. Know the tools that you can use to protect your website. Luckily, you can find a WordPress website design company to have anti-spam tools added to your site. 

Now the internet is way easier to access. People can find and hack your information online. Help your customers to transact through the electronic marketplace comfortably.

Build Partnership

It is an important area, although overlooked. Usually, it costs nothing to offer excellent service to your customers but earns you big. When you delight them, they refer others to your company. Whenever you have an oncoming sale, let them know ahead of time. They feel valued.

Give them coupon vouchers that they can redeem in your store. For your existing customers, you can offer them loyalty cards that will earn them points that can later accumulate into substantial cash, which they can use and save money.

Based on the aggregate of referrals they have brought to your store, you can offer them some discount to encourage them to do so. The whole essence of saving your client’s acquisition is what will retain them. Transparency also plays a significant role in involving clients in your business in 2020.

Make Use of Common Platforms

When you are operating in e-commerce, it is paramount to find out where your clients spend more time for you to reach out. It is so apparent that you will find most of them on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Use them to interact with your clients. If there are questions that need answers, don’t take long to answer them. Clarify when required, and create a meaningful personal connection.

By taking full advantage of the platforms, you can create a community and start a conversation by seeking customer’s insights. Weigh in some exciting trends that will engage as many people as possible. To keep the fire burning, have an open dialogue.

Customers’ Reviews 

What kind of analysis are your customers giving? If you offer commendable service to your clients, then you don’t need to worry about the reports that you will find on your site. New customers will take a view of what previous ones had to say regarding their purchases and overall experience in your brand.

Remember, testimonies can give more weight to your brand, and the majority of people will only buy from you after watching videos of customer testimonials. To emphasize this, you can offer small incentives to your clients to participate in it.

Offer Exclusive Deals

Everyone loves deals. Especially when you mention that it is exclusive. Show a sneak peek of some unique content that you will release at a later date in your blog, to have your clients hooked. You can keep updating it on your site, or even send an email reminder, so your customers don’t miss out.

If you get a WordPress website design company to work on your site, these are things that can get sorted. Provide your email subscribers and those who have a premium membership a 5 to 10% coupon so that they can use it to purchase your products and probably spend more.

Be an Inspiration

We understand you are in business, but a little inspiration goes well with it. Develop a marketing initiative that draws people closer to your brand because it shows that you care for them. Some companies will advertise, “for every purchase, a dollar goes to help the needy.” While those in fashion will say something similar, “buying a pair of shoes from them will warrant one to a poor child.”

Your brand shows that you care and play a significant role in helping the marginalized.

Sharing your vision to the world also can inspire many customers out there. Assuming it carries a relevant message that depicts your care.

Do a Follow-up

customer followup

Most people do a fantastic job of bringing in a customer, and finally converting leads. Little do they realize that one of the other essential business deals of closing the loop is doing a client follow up. Call and check if your customers’ merchandise was according to their needs.

How was the service experience? Not only will this grow your clientele base, but it will bring back the customer for more. Orange Mud CEO Josh Sprague, suggests; “Remember to organize tasks of customer’s follow-up with an intent of executing.”

Since not everyone will appreciate a follow-up call, learn your customer’s behavior. When you do so, it will be way easier to understand their preferred means of communication. Most importantly, the right time to give them a call. If a customer says a call is a bother, it’s good to respect their request unless there is an urgent situation.

Take Them for a Tour

Since you cannot invite everyone to your company, select only the loyal ones. Take them on a tour guide as you explain more about your products. You should be more knowledgeable about your company, and everything that you have there. It is an efficient way of reaching out and involving clients about a brand that they love.

For the sake of those who did not make it, you can record the tour on video and place it on YouTube and all your active social media avenues. These are places that you are likely to attract a lot of views. Remember, there are companies like Animoto that have enabled you to turn your amateur video into a more professional type.

In conclusion, when you develop a strong business relationship with your customers, you are headed to the top. Customers love to be treated special and appreciated. They value responsiveness. Ensure to have a mobile integration to nail this effectively. There are varieties of tools that you can get from the WordPress website design company that can be added to your site to involve customer interaction.

 

Martech 2020: An Expert Guide for Your Company on Future Market Trends

Martech 2020: An Expert Guide for Your Company on Future Market Trends

 

Insights into the marketing technology 2020 and beyond is an online survey conducted by WARC in association with BDO and the University of Bristol on more than 750 brands and agencies to understand their current and future marketing plans for martech tool use, budgets and barriers to growth. This research was conducted on brands and agencies located in North America, the UK, Europe, and APAC.

Moving on, let’s take a more in-depth look at what this 2020 Martech Insights? what are the marketing trends ? and what the future of Matech 2020 is?

You must be familiar with the concept that marketing usually focuses on developing a healthy relationship with customers and satisfying their needs.

Then you must also be knowing that this could not have been possible without technology.

Indeed, these marketing technology tools and needs in marketing are directly proportional to each other. The more the tools, the more their need.

However, due to the modernization of people’s language with time and this marketing technology word clubbed to form a portmanteau, MarTech.

Well, in simpler terms, MarTech is basically a short version of marketing technology. This mixed name concept can be witnessed in various other sectors, such as AdTech (Advertising Technology), a term used in the world of advertisement field.

Well, well, wait! Before hitting the numbers and data, let’s first try to understand the basic concepts of Martech.

What is MarTech?

martech law

Source: Chiefmatec

Like any other term used in the Software world, this Martech is also a term used by the software techies and marketers who plan, execute, and measure their business campaigns.

The planning, execution, and measurements are usually carried out with the help of Martech tools.

These tools help you in streamlining and analyzing your data and provide you with various methods or options to reach out to your target audience and keep them engaged.

What are the MarTech Tools?

Martech Tools ranges from content strategy tools designed for different media to data management tools, analytics, and attribution tools.

Some examples of tools are Photoshop, WordPress, MS- Excel, etc.. To sum up, there are about 7040 Marketing tools readily available for you on a global scale, according to Chief Market Technologies. And these vendors vary from start-up specialists to established providers.
Well, speaking of tools while browsing about this vast topic, did you ever come across the term Martech 5000 and wondered what it stands for?

Like, you and I know what I love you 3000 stands for but Martech 5000?

Well, in 2017, there were around 5000 solutions available globally for commercial purposes are these were nicknamed as “MartTech 5000”.

According to Growth, the top 10 market technology tools are:

martech tools

Source: Growth

Getting back to the basics, let’s understand what a stack is in the retail world.

What is meant by Martech Stack?

A marketing technology stack is an archive of all the technology tools that companies or marketers leverage for improving their retail activities or processes.

In simpler terms, this stack is a collection of the software used by the company for retailing purpose.

I guess you have brushed up your basics, let’s now get into details about insights into the marketing technology aka Martech.

In this article, you will find the current trend, state, use, and future expectations of the marketing technology industry.

Ages of Marketing technology

marketing age
Source: Chiefmartec

Our tech market’s first era began in the early 21st century and was in existence until 2012.

As you can see, 2012 saw the upleap in the tech market, and the era was called the early age of martech. This early age of martech saw the introduction of new marketing tools into the lives of businesses and companies.

Later till 2017, the graphs of software and tools usage hit an excellent steep, and that age was called the first golden age of martech.

But from the 2018 year, you can observe a bend in the graphs of tech usage.

2018 to 2020, a reckoning in the market is predicted. Therefore the era is called the reckoning age of martech.

However, past 2020, it is said that marketing technology will see a drastic change and will be higher than ever.

Martechs law:

martech law 2
Source: Chiefmartec

As you know, marketing is bizarrely complex and is evolving at a breakneck pace. Martec’s Law is a genuine dilemma for everyone in the corporate industry.

Hold on… Before I talk about how bizarre the market is. Let me tell you what the Law is.

What is Martech Law?

Martech’s Law is a graphical representation of the change in the market and change in the organizations.

martech law
Source: chiefmartec

According to this Law,” Technology changes exponentially, but organizations change logarithmically.”

That means the rate at which the technology is updating is faster when compared to the rate at which organizations are adopting the technology.

In other words, the rate at which the organizations are adapting to the new technology is slower than the rate of updation in technology.

Insight of MarTech 2020:

Technical software is developing over time. According to Marketing Technology 2020 Landscape Supergraphic reports by Chiefmartec, the number of solutions in 2011 was 150; from there, it boosted to 7,040 solutions according to  Landscape Supergraphic 2019.

The growth of the solutions from the past eight years can be seen in the image below

martech-landscape-2011-2019

Source Chiefmartec

The estimated market size of the Marketing Industry in North America and the United Kingdom’s (UK) is as follows:

Source: Martech 2020: and Beyond

From the above image, you can see How the market spending has doubled from $34.3 billion in 2017 up to $65.9 billion in 2019 just in a span of two years. The data is combined spending of North America and the UK exclusively.

However, you can observe a massive difference between the increased amount of spending for each individual annum. The increase in marketing size in 2018 is 18.1 BN, and for the current year, it is 13.5 BN.

This means the corporate spending on marketing software has decreased by 4.6 BN in comparison to 2017.

The percentage of overall retail budget spending on marketing technology:

market spend

Source: Martech 2020: and Beyond

The data, in the above image, is split by the proportion of companies spending on in-house and outsourced marketing technology.

As you can see, the results show a rapid growth rate in the spendings in North America
region while the UK has remained steady.

On average, all the brands in North America and the UK are spending approximately 26% of their budgets on software when compared to 23% last year.

That means there is a 13% increase in martech budgets since last year. However, in comparison to 2017 Martech values, there is slight evidence of a decline in the future of the market.

When coming to in-house sourcing and outsourcing by these companies, there has been substantial discussion in the industry regarding the usage of in-housing of tech and optimized utilization of services by brands from their agency partners over the years.

However, what the results suggest is, in the North America region, there has been an increase in both in-sourcing and outsourcing by the brands.

However, when you look at the data of the UK, there has been an evident drop in the outsourcing of resources but a 1% increase in the in-sourcing.

Marketing Technology budget change over 12 months:

The martech budget change of clients by 2020:

The 750 brands and agencies on who the research is done have two opinions on the client’s budget. On analyzing the combined results of these 750 brands, 43% of the brands feel there would be an increase in the client’s budget over 12 months by 2020, 53% of the brands feel there wouldn’t be any change as the clients will still keep their budgets fixed for the annum. However, only 4% of the brands feel there would be a slight drop in the set budgets of the clients.

client
Source: Martech 2020 and Beyond

When you try to look at the results of the analysis for individual regions, each region has its perspective.

Before moving on with the further analysis of the data, you should remember that the analysis reports of Europe excluding the UK while the others are of the whole region.

All other regions except for Europe strongly believe that most of the client’s budget would remain constant while in Europe, 53% of the brands believe there would be a significant increase in the budgets of the clients.

The martech budget increase of brands by 2020:

When the brands were questioned about their budget increase over the next 12 months, the results were somewhat like this:

brand
Source: Martech 2020: and beyond

As you can see, each percentage of brands has its proposals for the budget increase.

On average marketing technology, 2020 budgets by brands are:
  • 22% believe that their budgets might increase by 0-5%.
  • 26% estimate their budget increase between 6-10%.
  • 21% calculate their brand budget increase to range in between 11-15%.
  • 15% of the brands feel theirs might increase between 16-20%.
  • 9% of the brands say their budget will increase between 21-25%
  • 6% of all brands estimated their budgets to increase by more than 25%.

However, from the results, you can analyze that Europe, including the UK, has the highest percentage of brands, on average, 9.5%, which predicts their budgets to be more than 25% of the current budgets.

While North America has no companies which estimate to spend more than 25%, however, it has the highest number of brands calculating to increase in between 0-5% on their budgets.

How has increased investment in marketing technology affected the companies’ Media Spend?

With the development of Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, SEO tools, and other corporate tools, it has become easier for marketers which media is most effective for their use and promotions.

In the last year’s survey, it was found that the marketers had decreased their market spend when they invested in software tools. But for 2019, marketing technology, the market trends have changed.

trends
Source: Martech 2020 and beyond

From the above data, you can understand how the market trends have changed in comparison to 2018.

Though for about 44% of the brands, their media spend has not been affected, for 32%, it has decreased whereas there was a 57% decrease in 2018.

That means there is a difference of 25% when compared. However, a significant increase of 8% is visible on the media spend from 2018 to 2019.

What do the marketing trends, marketing technology budgets and marketing sizes for 2020 suggest to…..

Brands?

On a global basis for brands the marketing technology, market trends and sizes suggest for the development of in-sourcing resources as well as to maintain good relations with outsourcers too.

Thought the budgets of companies by 2020 are predicted to increase, you can see how more than half of the budget is spent on resourcing.

Hence the companies should focus more on developing their in-source resources or train the pre-existing staff to integrate and upskill their methods and ideas of resourcing.

This doesn’t mean you tend to lose your relations with outsourcers. Incase if the insource resources crash, the only option you have to get your job done is through outsourcing. Hence it is equally important to maintain a balance between insourcing and outsourcing.

Agencies?

From the observations of inhouse and outsourcing future marketing trends, you can see that there is a little momentum in In-housing resources among the respondents.

Hence there is an excellent opportunity for you to grab. You can use this opportunity as an advantage and win back most of your clients, who are about to consider in-housing or have recently shifted to in-housing.

However, winning back is not as easy as you think.

It rarely happens that you go to your client, explain to him difficulties of in-housing, and boom he is impressed and gets back to you.

To impress your client and win him back, you should sell your values according to “COW.”

Now wondering what this COW is?

Well, COW stands for Creativity, Objectivity, and Wider perspective.

Hence, when you are explaining your resources to the client, always try to be creative, objective, and try to have a wider perspective of branding and culture.

Technology vendors?

As you can see, the possibility of an increase in budget spending, there is always a scope of improvement for your tech vendors.

All you have to do is to ensure that your goods and services can facilitate creativity, are easy to operate, and solve the concerns of both brands as well as agencies.

Media Owners?

If you are a media owner and are looking at the data analysis, I bet you must be feeling happy.

Compared to last year, data this year has a piece of positive news for all media owners because there last year had a great decrease in media spent while this year’s research says there is an increase.

For you, the key to making money out of this is by focusing on the importance of data of the brands and agencies as well as keeping yourself transparent.

Now, if you step ahead and prove your effectiveness and relevance to brands concerning the context of increasing usage of technology platforms, that’s it you get clicked just like that.

Now, let’s look at the current usage and capabilities of marketing tools.

Current Use and Capabilities of Marketing technology:

Marketing tools provided by established organizations are where the brands and agencies find their use.

The following are the marketing tools currently in use by most of the brands on a global level.

martech tools
Source: Martech 2020 and beyond

From the above data, you can analyze various categories of tools used by companies for marketing.

In 2018, the usage of tools was

  • Email – 85%
  • Social Media – 75%
  • CRM – 68%
  • Analytics – 64%
  • Content Strategy – 63%
  • Mobile – 58%
  • Data Management – 58%
  • Ad Tech – 57%
  • Commerce, Lead management, sales – 56%
  • SEO – 47%
  • Market Automation – 41%
  • Experience Optimization – 37%
  • Collaboration – 28%
  • None of the above – 9%

Source of the data: Martech 2019 survey by WARC and Moore Stephens

By comparing both 2018 and 2019 data, you can see that for some tools, there is a drop in their usage while some have picked up the graphs.

Though you can observe a negligible difference between the rise of Analytics, Measurements and Insights, Mobile, Data management, and Ad tech’s graph, you can find a significant rise of 3% among Market automation and SEO. A 5% rise in usage of experience optimization can also be seen. But, in the case of collaborations with other software, there is an increase of 9% in comparison to that of 2018.

However, you can see that, and there is a 3% downfall in the usage of Commerce, lead generation and sales, and Customer relationship management (CRM). While coming to Emails, there is a significant drop of 6% in the usage in 2019.

However, the future market trends also suggest that there might be a huge fall in the usage of Emails as only 14% of the population among the 750 brands plan to use it in the next 12 months. Comparatively collaboration usage can be seen to fall as 38% of the crowd have no plans in using the tools.

How can you develop the best MarTech Strategy?

When the Brand respondents of the Survey conducted by WARC in association with BDO, and University of Bristol were asked about the skills they look into while hiring the marketing function for their company the top priorities were somewhat like this:

qualities'
Source: Martech 2020 and beyond

As you can see, the most important criteria for the brands is creativity. On average, 49% of the brands prefer their marketing software to be creative. Later they look at the brand strategy and then the customer experience.

So similarly, even you should have a clear picture of what you need for your brand. Hence planning a martech strategy is very essential.

Here are some great tips for you to develop the best marketing strategy for the future market trends:

Analyze what you need:

Along with the growing market, new tools are launched every day. It is always tempting to get the best tool or a high-end tool. Every organization, just like yours, wants to have the best.

But what will you do with a tool which is of no use to you? It is just like a person with hearing aid buying a high-end version of headsets.

Hence, always sit with your team and analyze which tool is easy for them to work on and to give fantastic results.

Check for Upgradations of the tool:

Now, you know what you want and started to use it. It is giving the best results. But, with the change of time, tools also need to be upgraded for more optimization.

Hence, keep looking for up-gradation of the tool or alternative sources for tools that are easier to adapt and give optimized results for your brand.

You can save your time of research about new tools and use product hunt for the same.

Understand the role of the tool:

Why do you need a tool? Why can’t you do everything manually?

I know the answers, I was just playing around.

You usually need a tool because it serves several purposes that are important to your business team.

First, they help you in understanding your customers through data and analytics.

Second, they help you in automating processes so you can use that data to work more efficiently.

And third, they help you in making the customer experience even more personal and meaningful.

Hence when you are using tools, make sure that it serves at least one of the purposes. If your tool is not serving any of the purposes, I say ditch it and shift it to a useful tool.

Know what your clients look for:

Having a tool, analyzing the numbers or data will not fetch you anything until the client is satisfied. Hence when you are choosing a tool or planning a strategy, always keep clients persona in mind.

To know what your clients need to look for leads from the customer experience department and choose strategies accordingly.

Keep your data up to date:

Always remember, no matter whichever product services your companies provide, you must have your database. The database helps you understand more about the market; it’s functioning and customers’ persona, which helps you and your company develop to the next level.

How are marketing technology and customer experience related?

When the brands were asked about how important is customer experience optimization for their company? The results are:

customer exp
Source Martech 2020 and beyond

As you can see, 57% of the population feel customer experience is very important, and 39% feel it is important. Hence on average, 76.5% of the brands and agencies feel customer experience is somewhat important for them.

What is the customer experience?

Customer experience is nothing but the feedback from the customer. The feedback can be in any manner. It can be the impression on your brand, product, or your services.

For most customer-based companies, the customer is the king.

Technologies used by the brands to learn about customer experience:

According to the research, as you can see, Most of the brands use Customer relationship management and social media management the most to get customer experience.
It’s not always necessary that you should also use what the top brands use. Here are some customer experience tools you can use for your company for better results.

Customer experience tools are:

   1. Customer review suggestion box:

No one knows what is working and what is not better than your employees. So, first, start from your own office. You know, like charity begins at home, feedback also should start from your own office.

There might be a possibility that if you, the boss, is asking about a review, no one would dare tell negatives.

So drop a suggestion box where the employee’s name can be anonymous, and you get the genuine review.

   2. Customer surveys:

Well, well, yes, customer surveys. From your database, you can find out your brand loyals easily, and also you can find brand switchers.

Pick them up and send surveys via online mails, or if you are in the same area, try to meet them up. You can have a little chat about their experience with the brand and then conduct a survey.

   3. Social media listening tools:

If you feel that surveys, the suggestion box is too much, and you don’t wanna do it, then you can always turn to technology for help.

Social media listening tools help you monitor what your customers are looking for. It includes the top searched keywords, your brand products, their reviews or comments, your competitors, and many more.

Now you must be wondering where to get these tools? Don’t worry; we have a solution to every problem of yours.

There are an unlimited number of tools out there based on your preferences, for reference Hubspot, Hootsuite, Sprout Social are few tools from where you can start.

There are other Customer experience tools available in the market that fulfill your preferences, and they are IBM Tealeaf, Satmetrix, WalkMe, Khoros, Podium, Whatfix, and on and on.

By reading the above information about marketing technology and trends, I bet you must have understood what it is about and how are the current market trends.

Well, now let’s look at the future.

With 2019 almost coming to an end, it’s time we take our experiences from it and prepare for the future 2020.

Future of Marketing Technology 2020 :

The most used technology in the current marketing strategy these days is IOT- Internet of Things, 38% of the population among the brands use IOT as their technology in marketing strategy. 26% of them plan to use it in the next 12 months too.

Next, catching up technology is Virtual Reality, aka VR, 26% currently use it, and 24% plan to use in the coming 12 months.

The other analysis you can find in the figure below.

future martech 2020
Source: Martech 2020 and beyond.

As you might be aware of the fact that along with changing times, technology is also evolving.

So, What will happen in 2020?

This is probably going to be the future of Marketing technologies, aka martech:

  1. Companies will optimize to Voice Search
  2. Companies’ dependence on Google Analytics will decrease.
  3. IOT technologies will top the business
  4. Brands will look for alternative communication channels.
  5. Businesses will no longer be built on one channel
  6. Personalization will be the new market trend

#Voice Search Optimization:

Though the research states that the voice search usage in the next 12 months will not be more than 25%, another search, according to ComScore states, over 50% of the future searches in 2020 will be in the from voice search.

Hence, companies to rank on top have to optimize to voice search.

Here we are not just talking about Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa. We are talking about voice searches beyond these.

One such personal best is Jetson.ai. Never heard about it?

Well, Jetson.ai is a voice assistant, which helps in voice shopping.

You don’t have to buy a device; all you need to do is simply connect it to your Amazon’s Alexa or Google Mini.

Then upload the menu and shop.

Voice Shopping in the U.S.is estimated to reach $40 Billion in and $5 Billion in the UK by 2022.”
-OC&C STRATEGY CONSULTANTS

Another wonderful thing about jetson.ai learns from the customers and customize it accordingly.

That means, If you are ordering a particular item from the same store over and over, it understands it, and for the next purchase, it makes it easy for you to order.

# Why will dependency on Google Analytics to decrease?

I am sure that every company at one point or the other must have used Google Analytics or is currently using it.

If you have used Google Analytics, you must be aware of how it functions.

If not, here is a brief intro to it. Google Analytics is basically a web analytics service. Google offers it. It helps you to track and report website traffic as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand.

If you ask me if this Google Analytics is not accurate for research? I would say No.

Now, if you ask m if there is something wrong? Still, it’s no.

I bet your next question will be, do people, not like it? Of Course, no, who wouldn’t like a free tool to check Website traffic.

Then why will it be replaced? Let me give you a living example of smartphones.

Nokia phones were considered the best. Even you must have used it at some point. But with time, smartphones came in and replaced it.

People like you and me preferred smartphones cause work got easy and optimized.

Similarly, with Google Analytics. Over time new updated tools and software are emerging, and Analytics has become the conventional method of data analysis.

Nowadays, there are things like repeat purchases, upsells, down sells, and checkout bumps are seen. On top of that, there are various ways in which you can generate revenue for your online business, like partnerships, or webinars.

As a result, it has caused companies to start using analytics solutions that match their database better, for example, Amplitude. Or something more convenient than that.

In the end, all you are seeing is a big push into business intelligence.

In 2020, you will get to see more and more companies adopting these business intelligence solutions. Due to budgets, they might as well shift from paid ones to free ones like Google Data Studio.

If you have no idea about Data Studio, then I suggest you start getting an idea now.

It is easy for you to pass in all of your business and corporate data into one place.

For example, you can pass in more complicated data from your Facebook ad campaigns into Data Studio with ease as it would be a bit difficult task to perform with Google Analytics.

#How IoT will top the businesses?

As mentioned earlier, 38% of the population among the brands use IOT as their technology in marketing strategy. 26% of them plan to use it in the next 12 months too.

According to a report by Statista, the Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices installed worldwide in 2020 will be 30.73 billion. Currently, in 2019, it is 26.66 Billion.

Which means there would be a rise of 4.07 billion in IoT.

If you have no idea about what IoT is then, The internet of things (IoT) is nothing but the data you share over an internet connection.

In technical terms, IoT is a growing set of technologies based on devices that could share data via an internet connection.

Hence, companies will have to look into this for better optimization, and it is estimated according to a report by Statista that by 2015, this IoT would reach 75.44 billion.

That means 48.78 billion rises from the current use.

#Why will brands look for alternative communication channels?

The most conventional communication channel used by corporates is Email. You and I also use it for our marketing purposes.

In fact, email marketing is one of the E-Commerce business ideas and SEO ideas.

The only problem with emails is conversion rates are low. Buyers, most of the time, do not check inboxes or only look for important ones and skip promotions. Hence it is becoming challenging for companies to only stick to emails.

Hence, companies are looking forward to alternative business channels for better conversion rates, which are effective in turning their leads into customers.

Some alternative communication channels are Chatbots, Customer call centers, toll-free centers, and push up notifications.

# Why will business no longer be built on one channel?

In previous years, a lot have companies have been built on a single channel, like facebook, quora, etc.

Facebook uses the email address book as its channel. Whenever you log in for the first time, you must have seen a pop up suggested friends or import email addresses from facebook.

Similarly, Quora is built on SEO channels. It helps companies ranking on search engines.

But, marketing these days is not unidirectional. It is heading fast towards marginal gains.

If you want to win the market, then you must use all the channels possible for business. Hence marketers will shift to use multiple channels to build their businesses or rank number one.

#Why personalization is important in the future?

Personalization is an SEO trick to grab the attention of your customers. There are two types of personalization to a website:

  • Themed personalization
  • User personalization

Themed personalization:

This is what you do to customize your website according to a festival. Like recently, we celebrated Halloween. So you must have customized your website to a Halloween theme.

Google always personalizes itself to such events. It makes the users happy and attracts them.

Well, if you do not know how to customize your website, you can use organized themes for helping you with customization.

User Personalization:

This is an important point, especially in the field of online marketing. Let it be your ads or products you sell. You should always know your demographics.

User personalization is what you can find Amazon or Flipkart doing. They observe your shopping trends or recent searches. Later, when you use their services, they will show you related items.

Based on your recent searches, here are some suggested products. A message appears, and we find all our related items.

Now, what will happen if this is not there? If personalization was not there, then you or I can get suggestions for baby clothes or dog food.

Well, if you have a baby or a dog, it will be useful, but I don’t have a baby or a dog, so its a spam to me.

But if you give me some search related to footwear- oh, I love browsing footwear and keep on buying them even if I don’t need new pairs- I will browse and definitely buy at least one pair.

So, personalization helps in business growth and attracts customers.

Now, if you ask me, why is it important? In future people will get so busy that they will not have time to look into anything. If you personalize your products according to buyer persona and showcase them on top of the websites or ads, the chances are high that they will end up purchasing some goods or the other.

You might have definitely been hearing about some of the above points or might feel they are irrelevant to you, but this is the future of marketing technology 2020.

Martech is not a piece of cake. You also must have been facing barriers in technology for marketing. However, here are a few topmost barriers for Marketing technology 2020.

Barriers for MarTech:

According to the report, MarTech 2020 and beyond, the brands and agencies have different views on the barriers of marketing.

According to the brands, 50% of them feel budgets will be the top constraint in 2020 marketing. Still, agencies have a different view; among them, 56% feel understanding the technology will be a constraint for marketing technology 2020.

Here is the data analysis of barriers for both brands and agencies

Image:
Source: Martech 2020 and beyond

Conclusion:

On a whole account, Marketing technology 2020 is going to see a lot of ups and downs. But for you, if you have confusion or dilemma about what to do, where to start, how to start, you can always contact us.

Most things mentioned above are either things that you have been hearing for a long time or have never heard about. But whatever it is, it is in the future, and if you want to survive, you should be prepared.

We would always love to hear your views on the marketing trends 2020 and what you think about your future. Do give your opinions in the comments section below or contact us.

We hope that this article was of excellent help to you in understanding marketing technology and 2020 trends.

Different Types Of Small Business Mobile Apps That Encourage Growth

Different Types Of Small Business Mobile Apps That Encourage Growth

It is not very long ago; people had a small idea about apps and their effectiveness in real life. They thought these are simply for the big players and the privileged to use. However, over time, the concept has changed, and so has the functionality and usefulness of these apps due to the continual development of these apps.

If you are into business, you will be benefitted a lot from app development irrespective of the size of your company, the nature of your business and even for the time you have been in this particular business. It is not without any rhyme or reason that thousands of companies each year are investing millions of dollars in such app development, big or small.

The fact that more than half of small business owners last year in the United States admitted that they already had made plans to invest in developing a mobile app for the business further substantiates the drive and need of a business app.

Therefore, you can expect a lot of such apps to be developed and launched very soon with hundreds of others in the pipeline. Therefore, if you have not already, it is high time to reconsider things and make arrangements to develop an app that is relevant for your business.

  • It will surely help you to increase your sales revenue just as it has for 50% of the small business owners who have developed and are using a business app already.
  • In addition to that, these apps will also enhance the user experience. This will, in turn, help your business to stay competitive in a market which is changing continually.

In this competitive business world, you cannot merely afford to fall behind your competitors and expect to thrive. Therefore, invest in app development and stay abreast with the latest technology for your business benefit and growth.

Increase mobile payments

Whether it is National Debt Relief Programs or any other, the better design ensures safety and better functionality, and the same applies to mobile apps. This is an essential aspect because whether it is banking, e-commerce, fashion, or any other service, all need a dedicated business app to ensure a safer, faster, and more effective transaction.

Ideally, when mobile security improves, it will automatically result in a rise in the global app revenue. That means you will see a surge in mobile payments as well. A few of such safe payment apps are:

  • Bank apps
  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Venmo
  • Samsung Pay and
  • Apple Pay.

Over the last three years, there is always a significant rise in the number of payment apps users as well, and this number is not going to slow down sooner or later. Once again, this signifies the mobile security aspect that ideally has a direct relation with the comfort factor of the users of these apps to make mobile payments and the upsurge in the popularity of mobile payment.

The transportation apps

It for quite some time now, people use different apps to purchase train tickets, plane tickets, and even local bus schedules. There are also ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft and car sharing apps such as Turo and Zipcar have been dominating the market for years now.

There are also a few new apps developed that are expected to change the entire transportation business to a whole new level.

  • With these apps launched, you will be even able to locate your scooter or bicycle by only using your mobile device.
  • These apps will help you to unlock your transport while you approach towards it using the cameras on your smartphones.
  • You have to pay for the duration of your use, and then you can leave the bike or scooter anywhere after reaching your destination.

These apps are all in keeping with location-based services provided by small business and mobile payments, and all of these are predicted to be a significant part of the transportation industry in the future.

Apps with virtual reality

There are even a few apps that have a virtual reality that you can use for your specific business. However, these are not quite the same as those apps that come with augmented reality. To use apps with VR, you will need more than just a smartphone, for example, goggles or a helmet that will be in sync with your mobile device to ‘see’ things. You can control it with a controller or a joystick.

These apps are typically favorite among real estate business and estimated that the valuation of the virtual reality market on a global scale would exceed $26 billion by 2022. However, VR apps are still under development, and things will not happen overnight.

The hybrid apps

You can also choose between native and hybrid apps, given the fact that mobile app development can be costly. Measure the pros and cons of each to select the best one for your business.

Smaller businesses having smaller budgets for app development may also choose apps that work both on iOS and Android devices. This way, they will not have to go through the development stages twice, making it simple and easy for them.

However, using a hybrid app can reduce your costs and allow you to earn more revenue for a fraction of its price.

Stay with the trend

Since technology is continually evolving, you will need to stay with the pattern to make sure that you make the most out of your small business. Look at the phone that you have now and compare it with the one you had five or ten years back and you will see the rate at which technology is evolving. With time, it will continue to develop, and you will see newer and better trends. More modern technology will replace the older ones if they cannot be modified and upgraded.

Your primary objective is to understand how the consumers will react to such changes, identify the rising trends, and accordingly adapt the best one to meet the requests of your mobile customers.

Conclusion

These are some of the mobile applications that are suitable for small businesses or start-ups those who work on a small scale. All these applications help in the growth of the companies with not most costing on your budget.

To know about more such tools or want us to include more content related, comment below we will do the same.

Happy reading!

 

Why Small Businesses Are Increasing their 2019 Fintech Investment

Why Small Businesses Are Increasing their 2019 Fintech Investment

Small businesses with a promising growth trajectory and the cash flow under control, and with some funds available to invest in the business can find it challenging to decide on what to spend. Investments in accounting software while not being as much fun as a fleet of drones for making home deliveries can be more practical and help the business shore up its bottom line while preparing for the second round of funding to take it to a higher orbit.

Prevalence of the Use of Accounting Software

A study of over 700 small businesses revealed that around 90% were either already using some technology for accounting or were planning implementation in the next couple of years.

To put it in perspective, the figure is higher than even the adoption of technology on information security, customer relationship management, project management, and human resources that are universally regarded as vital areas for the deployment of technology. Not surprisingly, 82% of businesses reported a significant impact on their operations due to the use of the accounting software.

While it is true that you should never invest in anything just because others are doing so, it is very apparent that investment in accounting technology is something that merits paying closer attention. Investments in accounting fintech are nowadays far more than in any other technology because of its proven capabilities to contribute to the better management of the business finances and the overall growth of the business.

fintech investment

Virtually every business, irrespective of its sector and scale needs to have accounting software in place to not only ensure regulatory and tax filing compliance but also to free up vital human resources to look after other essential functions.

Expected Benefits of Fintech Investment for Small Businesses

It is no secret that spending on fintech, particularly accounting software, is on the rise in 2019 in small businesses. Most business owners, while willing to invest in accounting software, are often not too clear about the multiple benefits of its use apart from convenience and numerical accuracy. A quick look at the basket of benefits that small businesses can enjoy with the implementation of accounting software:

Less Time Spent on Routine Tasks

Perhaps one of the most essential benefits of using accounting technology is that it makes routine tasks like invoicing and payroll processing that tends to be very time-consuming more efficient. Typically, the software has the capability of taking inputs from various modules and undertaking the processes without any further intervention leaving business owners with more time on their hands to focus on building the business or even get on top of their debts by reading debt settlement reviews online.

Even if you have some accounting system in place, it is always possible to use it more efficiently by connecting it to some useful apps. A research study conducted by Intuit revealed that it was possible for every QuickBooks user to save around four hours per week by connecting to just one app.

With the number of possible integrations above 600, small-business owners can potentially save a lot of time undertaking routine functions like time tracking or expense management.

More Accurate

Small business owners who try to manage accounts on their own simply because they do not have the luxury of to hire dedicated accountants tend to make a large number of mistakes because they are constantly distracted by the other demands of the business.

Further, if they have not been getting the desired amount of sleep, which is very common to busy entrepreneurs, they are liable to make even more errors leading to the generation of false reports, wrong invoices, and more that take even more time to track down and correct.

According to The small balance business, by implementing a software solution for accounting and finance, it is possible to ensure that all the tasks will be completed on time with a high degree of accuracy. A routine job like bank reconciliation that takes a considerable amount of time when done manually can be completed very quickly by the accounting software without any errors to give you the satisfaction that the records match the actual bank balance.

In the absence of accounting software, it is all too straightforward to miss making an entry or enter an incorrect amount that results in a mismatch down the line. When you use accounting software, you can very easily compare the numbers side-by-side, making it easy to spot the mistakes or even signs of fraudulent activity.

Small business fintech

In case of a mismatch, the software itself will usually have the capabilities to identify the source. With a correctly set up system, bank reconciliation can accomplish in minutes instead of the agonizing days in a manual mode.

Simpler Tax Filing

Tax compliance can be a nightmare for small business owners trying to do it manually. However, filing tax returns and claiming deductions become very simple when done through accounting software.

When it is time for you to file your returns, the system can pull all the necessary data from within the system and ensure an error-free performance if you have been using it to record all the financial transactions around the year. Another significant advantage of using fintech accounting software is that it is always up to date with the latest tax rules and regulations and prepares the tax returns accordingly.

Insightful Financial Reports

Making sense of all the information, mainly financial information that flows through every business can be a torrid task when it has to be done manually. Accounting software has the added benefit of being able to generate many different kinds of MIS reports that you can use to find out what is going right and what needs to be right in your business.

Generating an income statement or a cash flow statement is now a breeze as are reports of your top selling products and their contribution to sales and profits.

Conclusion

Given the multiple benefits of fintech, small business owners should direct a substantial portion of their surpluses to deploy technology applications, especially accounting software to save on time, increase efficiency, and gain useful insights into the business operation.

10 Major Ways To Decrease The Sales Funnel

10 Major Ways To Decrease The Sales Funnel

Every business owner probably knows what a sales funnel is. If you don’t, sales funnel is a process or set of actions that a customer should go through to purchase your product. Understanding the sales funnel is essential to manipulate it in a way so that your potential customers become your buyers and not chicken out at the most critical moment.

The sales funnel consists of six main stages:

  • Awareness: The first stage of the sales funnel grabs the attention of your potential customer. Your goal at the awareness stages should keep them coming back.
  • Consideration: Now that they are interested, they start considering the purchase. The goal here is to get their email address.
  • Preference: Now, they are hooked. On the stage of choice, you should pre-qualify the prospect.
  • Purchase: Once they’ve decided, they should purchase. Here, your goal is to make the sale.
  • Loyalty: After they made one purchase, you should keep them loyal so that they buy something else. This time your goal is to make the sale again.
  • Advocacy: And finally, they are not only coming back for more but also advocating others to purchase from you.

This article will look into ways that you can decrease the sales funnel by working on the first five stages.

1. Awareness: Blogging

Most probably one of the most recommended ways of increasing your online presence, blogging has proven to be an effective and relatively cheap way of promoting yourself. It doesn’t matter if your business has anything to do with writing – blogging is meant to increase your visibility for search engines and have more customers find you.

Another reason to put blogging on your to-do list is that it is a surprisingly powerful storytelling tool that can showcase the importance of your brand. It is also a perfect persuasion tool.

When used right, blogging can give enormous results. If you are not good at it, you can always look for writing and translation professionals at PickWriters or search for freelancers on Fiverr. It’s ideal for personalizing your customers’ experiences, and this can be achieved by enabling them to access the information on your website in their native language. English is suitable for larger audiences, but when it comes to going global, it is always better to customize your content for each country separately.

2. Awareness: Social Networking

Apart from indirectly impacting your search engine rankings, social networking is also the best way to gain social media recognition.

social media

Your availability on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook may also influence how much customers trust you. Reviews and recommendations are prevalent on social media platforms, which means that this is where your advocacy stage customers will operate to find you, new clients.

Decide on the platforms perfect for you and create accounts. To link them all in one place, you can use Linktree. There are also numerous social media management apps and programs in case you want to be able to maintain them all from one place or even schedule posts. You might want to check out such services as Buffer or Hootsuite.

3. Consideration: Landing Pages

Landing pages are very different from the home pages. A landing page is a page on your website that has content on it addressing a specific problem and containing a clear call to action. A home page, however, will represent the general aspects of your business. For example, your home page might say that your business is called XYZ and you sell ABC, while one of your landing pages may assume that you sell the EFG segment of products (from the overall ABC) and will include a form to order one of the products.

To increase your conversion rate, it is recommended that you work on your site’s landing pages. Make sure that they are as appealing as possible and have the content on them as meaningful as the images or illustrations. Have a clear call to action. After all, the page’s purpose is to capture the prospect’s contact information or make a sale. To see how landing pages work, try to compare the landing pages of big company websites to their home pages.

4. Consideration: Calls To Action

Calls to action are a must when it comes to conversions. For every page on your website, think of what goal are you pursuing. What work should the visitor complete?

Of course, the ultimate goal is to have them purchase the product from you, but what about the smaller actions leading up to it? Most of the time, you will need your potential customer to click a link, leave their email, or watch a video. Making a purchase already comes after it.
When including a call to action, it is better to have several here and there. This way, your audience will be reminded about the operation several times.

5. Preference: Email

emails

Email marketing is a great way to keep your potential customers involved at least to some extent. But even a simple email answering the most frequently asked questions or explaining the basics of your company can keep the person interested.

If you haven’t had any experience with email marketing yet, then this is the perfect time to start. Collect all the knowledge you may need and plan your email marketing campaign before diving-in. You can also set up autoresponders that send out electronic messages once your customers complete specific actions. Do not forget to thank them for what they do – sincerity and gratitude are always appreciated. On the other hand, don’t bury them under piles of emails because they can unsubscribe or mark them as spam.

6. Preference: CRM

Customer Relationship Management, commonly known as CRM, is a program that helps you track interactions with current and future customers. This software enables you to identify on which stage of the sales funnels your prospects currently are.

By using CRM, you can identify which emails each potential customer should receive based on their cookies and what you already know about them. CRM, when combined with email marketing, is a powerful tool that helps you personalize the experience of every customer or prospect and lead them on to the next stage of the sales funnel.

7. Purchase: eCommerce Promotion

Never assume that your customers will easily find their way to check out. You should guide them up until the end of the process and make sure that they follow the calls to action you included. This is why eCommerce promotion is so important, and here are some ways to use it:

ecommerce

  • Marketing Campaigns: Schedule your marketing campaigns around favorite holidays. This will give your prospects an incentive to buy your product.
  • New Products: Always email or notify them about new products. If you don’t tell them what’s new in stock, nobody will. They are not on the lookout for new products – you are on the lookout for new customers.
  • Offers: Offer them various bonuses and opportunities such as free shipping, live chats, etc. Sales and discounts are a sure way to attract their attention and maybe even convert it into a deal.

8. Purchase: Social Monitoring

Social monitoring will not only help you see who is talking about you but will also let you engage with your potential customers.

Set up Google Alerts to notify you when someone is discussing your brand or something related to it. Monitor who has tweeted at you and reply to their question. Reply to comments under your posts on social media and get involved with both your prospects and your customers.

If someone has written a review of your brand or product, it would be good to see what it is about and maybe even display it to persuade more prospects that you are worth the money. People tend to trust other people, especially when the reviews are not fake or bot-generated.

9. Loyalty: Referrals

Referrals are a great way to appreciate your customers and show them that you value them. Ask them to refer a friend and let them get a reward. It could be a discount or a different kind of bonus.

Referrals are useful for establishing long-term relationships with your past and present customers. They help set up a group of people that will come back to purchase more and help you gain yet another client.

If you think referrals are not for you, you may want to try setting up affiliate programs for your customers, but that might take more time and will require more effort both for you and your customers. Moreover, referral programs do not apply to all of your clients.

10. Loyalty: Resells, Upsells, Cross-sells

Last but not least, resells, upsells, and cross-sells are another way to keep your customers interested in the loyalty stage.

Resells mean that you are selling the same product to your customer that they already purchased from you. If they enjoyed the first, they would probably enjoy it again. The only thing they need is a soft nudge.

Upsells and cross-sells prompts your customers to purchase other items that are similar to the one they bought but that are more expensive. These can also be items that function as a kind of an add-on to the main thing your customer purchased. You can market these either before, during, or after the purchase.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, the sales funnel one of the basics that you should know about your business and operating it. Make sure to try out these strategies to decrease your sales funnel and increase the probability of a potential customer becoming a buyer.