5 Effective Ways to Promote Your Small Business Online

Catching fishes has never been this easy.


Here’s a fact more solid than reality: some of the biggest marketing campaigns in history is driven by a multi-million dollar budget. These iconic campaigns swept across the world and propelled their marketed brands into staple names of their respective industries. Nike’s Just Do It, Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke, and Apple’s Get a Mac will forever be etched on the memories of current generation consumers and will be remembered as the campaigns that must be.

 

Photo by: http://constructionexec.com/article/the-fishermans-model-catch-new-work-with-sales-and-marketing

But for the MSMEs (Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises), those campaigns are tough acts to follow. To illustrate things, mind you, it’s like fishermen are required to have a huge boat to take home a large catch.

And yet, it was far simpler back then—there was no technical know-how; the breadth of knowledge and awareness of billions of consumers are limited to mostly three channels: radio, print media, and television. The fishes were smart, but they almost instinctively fall for the bait every time.

Today, however, it has become much more complex—but it was never this easy, and cheap for that matter. Yes, the fishes—consumers—are way smarter in this era, but modern fishermen—marketers—are never this prepared. Some give nearly all the credits to the astronomical rise of e-commerce and online marketing. We’d like to call it evolution—of both the fisherman and the fish.

Nonetheless, we live in the second decade of the 21st century. The Internet dominates all forms of media, so we thought it could be a good thing to collate all the ways and know-how of the marketing titans—Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, you name it. Read on and learn.

EFFECTIVE WAYS TO PROMOTE ONLINE

1. Website Optimization

Arguably the most convoluted method to market online, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you make serious traction in any industry. Can you imagine? This elaborate sets of processes can pave the way for near-limitless amounts of internet traffic to any website or online store you create.

Yes, it holds that much potential. But then again, it isn’t quite that simple. SEO is among the most complex technical undertakings you can embark upon for your business’ growth. We highly suggest employing—not just anyone—a highly skilled SEO specialist for optimal results. You can also use this web tool to analyze if your website is SEO optimized.

2. Giveaway Stints

Giveaway promos are highly popular among the growing millennial market. Here’s a tip: find something in-demand these days (the latest iPhone, an airplane ticket to a famous vacation spot, or concert tickets for a whole group) that you can give away and co-sponsor the whole thing with another company or perhaps with a celebrity. Your goal is to reach a wider audience and actively engage with them using these promos. Most importantly, it will add value to your business in the public eye.

3. Email Marketing

One of the oldest effective ways to promote your business online is through email marketing. To be effective, you need to attract the right niche in the market. It is almost always imperative to gain and establish a core customer base—individual consumers who are not just customers but are loyal patrons of your business and/or product.

So how do you attract the right customers? Create compelling content that resonates and leaves something to be desired by the customer. The goal is for them to sign up, and once they did, you’ve still got work ahead of you by having to share useful information with them periodically.

4. Mobile Markets

Never neglect mobile users. A study by New York University shows that smartphone displays have become the primary screen of humans since its inception in the late 2000s. For emphasis, a recent survey suggests that a staggering 73% of daily Internet users access the Web through their smartphones. The point? Make sure you take advantage of the different mobile markets (Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Marketplace) while having a mobile-friendly version of your website so that customers can access your pages on the go.

5. Collaborations

Photo by: Photo by: https://www.create.net/blog/how-to-collaborate-with-bloggers

B/Vloggers have become powerful influencers. A single post of an ultra-popular internet celebrity (ahem, PewDiePie) can dictate the success of a particular product or brand. These personalities can rival the endorsing power of conventional celebrities—an undeniable testament of the growing niche of the online market

What does this mean for your business? Reaching out to popular b/vloggers in your niche is most likely an effective way to market your small business online. This works well if you have something of value to add to one of their posts (ex. Product ambassadorship). A great way to make this possible is to offer your products and/or services to a particular b/vlogger whom you think correlates to your line of work. It might be difficult at first, but it would be worth the shot if you managed to secure a sponsorship post. Imagine all of that b/vlogger’s followers buying your product or service. Ka-ching!

As the saying goes, there’s no easy way to catch the fish. While this proves true to nearly all businesses, online or brick-and-mortar, technological advancements have enabled us to fish almost effortlessly. These effective ways to promote your small business online will yield far better results if implemented properly and systematically.

And that’s what we do best. Our Internet-based commerce solutions have been a great help to dozens of small companies who want to find their niche in a saturated online market. Want to put our services to the test? Click here and let’s talk.

All about Gamification

In today’s world of super Droids and ginormous iPhones, immersion is everything—and it’s set to change how we market our products


Good marketing is not just showing content. It’s about giving an experience.

Err, that’s highly arguable, we agree. But there’s some truth to that, and it’s all thanks to the conception of technology so game-changing (excuse the pun) that marketers around the world revere it with so much hype.

At first, putting ‘games’ and ‘marketing’ side by side may sound strange, but they’re a match made in heaven. Your visitors have fun interacting with their beloved brands, while you as a company increases customer engagement. Win-win.

And the good thing about it is it didn’t stay as a hyped-up marketing campaign of otherworldly proportions. Gamification has developed into a $1.65 billion industry and is projected to reach 11.1 billion by 2020. By the onset of the new decade, gamified strategies are expected to dominate marketing practices as the primary medium to increase brand engagement and customer loyalty. Using gamification will help you secure a loyal pool of customers, long-term engagements, and valuable results for your business.

But what is gamification, and why does it work? Learn more right after the jump.

THE BASICS OF GAMIFICATION

Gamification is the practical application of techniques and concepts from gaming to marketing strategies. It’s essentially a process wherein you take the essence of what makes games so “immersive and irresistible” and integrate them into non-gaming experiences, such as marketing our tourism.

Remember when McDonald’s released a fast-food themed Monopoly game?

That’s one fine example of gamification. And the concepts you will use for your business can be actual games, trophies, or even points. The idea is that marketing content that mimics games is better at converting visitors into dollar-dispensing customers.

Does it work? The core elements of gaming added to your site? For the record, it may trigger a sense of achievement and make use of the competitive nature in people, encouraging them to stay on your website even more, because they simply enjoy staying there.
Also, by incorporating gamification into your business, you create a fun experience for your customers and audience, which may lead to a longer and more engaging relationship. Because there is a rewards system, customers get motivated to participate, and it could lead to an unprecedented activity rate for your website. Lastly, gamification also works well with other areas of your business. Think project management, talent acquisition, and more. The possibilities are almost endless.

THE PROS AND CONS

Your customers get to indulge in game-like euphoria, and you get to keep their dollars. Sounds like a win-win? Here are some thoughts to pond over.

  • Gamification generally increases the engagement of customers, visitors, and partners. Which then turns to wider, more powerful brand awareness. Which ultimately materializes as either a one-time sale or long-term loyal patronage. The idea remains unchanged: it has the potential to get anyone who will visit your store hooked and hungry for what you have to offer.
  • It speaks to the sense of achievement and competitiveness of your audience. Most shoppers like to spoil themselves in rewards. Performing better than their peers will leave them with a sense of achievement.
  • However, gamification can get quite tedious. The system of getting achievements and rewards will become inevitably repetitive, and so your developers (yes, you will require a separate team for that) will have to innovate something again.

 

You also have to consider that gamification is not a widely accepted tool in the marketing world yet. Customers may find it unconventional, but if statistics are true, people will adapt to this trend easily in the future.

HOW DO YOU GET IT STARTED?

We list some tips on how to get started with gamification in your marketing strategy.

  • Set your goals. Get a good overview of what you believe could use a little help from this wonderful invention.
  • Focus on what your audience wants. “What’s going to work for them? What kind of games will appeal to them the most?” Always remember: a game will not be the same for an older audience than for a younger audience.
  • Start small by implementing subtle elements first before going big or overboard. You can launch a small game and see how it goes. Let your customers have little challenges and quizzes to reward them.
  • Be clear with the rewards you’re giving away. These rewards can be monetary or in the form of in-house, cash-convertible points.
  • Most importantly, make it fun and memorable.

In a dynamic world such as marketing, innovation is always the name of the game. Gamification is an incredible crossover—the union of two unsuspecting ideas that are star-crossed lovers. The best news is: it’s here to stay—and for a long while.

Interested in enhancing your website? Always Open Commerce can help you integrate creative elements into your online store! Overhaul, redesign, and breathe life to your site with our exceptional solutions designed for your e-commerce needs. Give us a call or shoot us an email through this page so we can hear more.

Harnessing the Power of
Luxury

Understanding the spending habits of the opulent and the wealthy


There’s a reason Salvatore Ferragamo doesn’t like making infomercials. That Maserati would only run TV ads in Europe for households earning 500,000 euros per capita. That Cartier remains a major powerhouse in embellishing the necks of superstars walking down the carpet of the annual MET Gala.

These brands—if they still prefer to be considered as such—tend to focus on, well, luxury. The glamour and glitz they inspire. The ostentatious quality they command. The sheer opulence that becomes synonymous with their logos and taglines that becomes a part of that brave, excessive consumer.

So whether you’re trying to sell luxury products or tap into the multi-billion dollar ‘luxury market’, your target audience needs to feel as though what you’re trying to sell—either a product or service—is a physical manifestation of luxury.

But how does the world perceive luxury? Wealth trends are constantly changing, so exorbitant prices are not always associated with luxury. To be perceived as luxurious, a product should’ve been created with the highest brand value and pricing power by leveraging all intangible elements of singularity—i.e. time, heritage, country of origin, craftsmanship, client portfolio, etc. And to properly allocate these intangible elements so as it could translate into real ROI, we need to understand the luxury consumer—and the way they swipe their cards or empty their wallets of cold cash.

Understanding the Luxury Consumer

Then again, wealth changes. But there’s more to that rule than we thought we know. Reaching the same luxury consumer today can be different a few months from now. When you try to understand the interests and buying habits of the ultra-rich (and any other consumer, regardless of class), you’ll discover more ways to influence those types of consumers and even new ones.

Strategy #1: Never underestimate a consumer. For the brick-and-mortar owners, wearing signature items does not guarantee a luxurious purchase. They might be a show-off, for all we know. The truth is that there are other chunks of the market who are equally likely to purchase these high-end products, and you can’t neglect them.

Let’s try to simulate that in a real-life scenario.

Think about that customer who has been saving up for that Oscar de la Renta cocktail dress she wants to get online. And, good lord, it’s a five-grand dress; you can buy five iPhone 11’s with that dress. But she’s desperate for it. She’s saving all year for a screenshot of that checkout page so she can show it off to her friends at work or as a treat for her husband. The point is: these consumers—regardless of their purchasing power—are so drawn to high-end items that they’re willing to save and splurge.

This tendency of the modern shopper gives you an opportunity to nurture them as loyal, lifelong luxury consumers.

This formula enables marketers to produce legions of loyal luxury consumers that serve as the core base of their target market. Because the luxury market is no longer solely dependent on managing brand reputation and recognition, marketers have to understand consumer behaviors, clarify their goals and intentions, and use market data to motivate even the most unsuspecting buyers.

These qualities will help you in establishing a loyal customer base.

Keeping up with the trends

Building a strong marketing foundation is just the first step. There’s much more to learn. Take into consideration the following questions:

  • How do you keep that luxury appetite going?
  • What can you do to captivate your customers?
  • What methods get people to recommend your brand as a luxury product?
  • How can you maintain their interest?

Luxury marketing is perhaps the most tedious of all the disciplines of marketing. It will require you to be nimble and adept; your recognition of the fact that there isn’t one type of customer coming through your door is easier said—and realized—than done. Even more so, they have ever-changing needs and desires that must be satisfied.

Strategy #2: By tailoring your E-commerce mechanisms, you’re able to communicate your latest and hottest offerings in ways that are accessible and appealing to more individuals. Through the development of targeted messaging, your business can create not just a good foundation but also a robust connection with your customers for your brand. A reliable E-commerce side for your business is now a must for luxury brands.

Another luxury marketing trend is the “buy it to experience it” mantra. It’s a mix of product plus service goodness targeted for the decadent rich—the retirees, the pensioners, the “Oh, life’s good” market. They may be more inclined to buy luxury products associated with travel and leisure. Case in point: luxury marketing will allow consumers to feel that they are part of a novel and elite experience—something intended for the privileged, the opulent, and the decadent. Believe us when say: nothing is more thrilling for the ultra-rich, or even the modest spender, than knowing that they’ll be subjected to the adjectives ‘tailor-fit’, ‘personalized’, ‘custom-made’.

“This is what I am”

Let’s make this clear: luxury is not only about exorbitant price tags enclosed in laser-secured glass counters. For a product—or a brand—to be considered ‘luxurious’, it must be unique and incomparable. Luxury, for most consumers, is the expression of a taste, of a creative identity; it’s a bold manifestation of the statement “this is what I am.” Salvatore Ferragamo has an identity associated with authenticity. Maserati denotes power and exclusivity. Cartier is a timeless label of wealth and extravagance. These brands give their consumers that particularly powerful feeling of luxury that helps give an impression of privilege and incomparability.

Strategy #3: In the world of luxury marketing, you have to clearly, or even explicitly, position your product or brand as luxury or high-end. You will find this concept of positioning an advantageous mechanism for driving sales. Every classic brand has to specify its positioning, and then convey it through its products, its services, its price, its distribution, and its customer relations.

Look at Apple, for instance. It’s not a luxury brand, but how they positioned their smartphones created an immensely insurmountable gap even for its closest rival Samsung. Their marketing mantra (pseudo-luxury, if you will) created such a difference in value and position that it manifested a preference among the global market. The result? Apple may not be the best-selling brand, but it eats up profits by 73% of the entire smartphone industry. Now that’s luxury at its finest figures.

Then again, luxury marketing is all about personalization and tailor-fitting. Learn more about how targeted marketing—luxury or not luxury—can benefit your business by requesting a call from one of our E-commerce experts. Click here to visit our website.

The Rise of E-Commerce: What It Means For Your Business

No force on Earth can stop the rising dominance of e-Commerce. By 2021, it will become the largest retail channel in the world.

 

The numbers don’t lie.

US figures for online shopping in 2016 accounted for almost $395 billion in sales. This represents a whopping forty-two percent jump YoY (year-on-year) from 2015. In China, e-commerce sales accounted for over 26 trillion yuan in 2016, posting a YoY growth of 19.8%. The Asian giant accounts for 39.2% of all global e-commerce receipts made in 2016, with a lot of growth potential left untapped in this market alone.

Set for global domination

E-commerce is well on its way to becoming the largest retail channel in the world by 2021, a notion made and supported by Euromonitor International, a leading independent provider of strategic market research. A plateauing growth in mobile devices (eg. Smartphones, tablets, notebooks) poses a considerable risk, however, but won’t likely affect the momentum of e-commerce rising. It will soon outpace the sales of brick-and-mortar kings like supermarkets, grocers, boutiques, concept stores, among others.

In 2021, the Asia-Pacific region will lead towards a total e-commerce lifestyle with a 13% penetration rate. The channel will not reach the top spot in Western Europe, however, and will require businesses more aggressive integration of the technology on their company strategies. North America is not too far behind with the combined e-commerce markets of the US and Canada accounting for 16% of global retail sales.

What businesses need to consider

Being an online merchant, it is essential to be updated with all the e-commerce trends. Even traditional businesses have transitioned or have been transitioning to digital means of marketing and sales strategies. For online businesses, it is a compulsory task to focus on web development and/or mobile app development based on your industry. Since the onset of intelligent mobile devices and along with it the pioneers of e-commerce, the way people do shopping has completely changed. There’s no more stopping to an industry that is rising at an unprecedented pace. All we have to do is to adapt.

Integrate your existing business with the power of e-commerce. AOC is here to help you all the way. For more information, click here.

20 Inspirational Quotes from the Top E-Commerce Moguls

Entering the growing e-commerce industry can be overwhelming. More than resources and experience, you need to have a pool of support and motivation – especially from those who’ve been down the same path before.

If you’re thinking of venturing into e-commerce or still figuring out a formula for your e-commerce success, get to know the e-commerce moguls of 2016’s top 10 e-commerce companies in the world. Be inspired by how one small initiative to make a difference in the business industry led them to their company’s successes. Learn a thing or two from them with their inspirational quotes.

Hiroshi Mikitani

CEO, Rakuten

“Search is a good thing. But it’s not a replacement for shopping. Shopping is much more. E-commerce can’t stop at the search box.”

“I rewrite the rule of the salary man when I quit my fast-track job at Industrial Bank of Japan. I also rewrote a cultural rule when I mandated all Rakuten employees speak English. … some old rules will need to be rewritten.”

Michael Otto

Head, German Otto GmbH

“One has to live with the fact that some corporate decisions are going to be wrong. As long as most of the decisions are right.”

”It is always important that we have transparency, that we have shareholder protection. Then again, I think it is important that there are not so many regulations that management can’t make a decision without asking a lawyer whether he can do it.”

Pierre Omidyar

Founder, eBay

“What makes eBay successful – the real value and the real power at eBay – is the community. It’s the buyers and sellers coming together and forming a marketplace.”

“You’ll fail at some things – that’s a learning experience that you need so that you can take that on to the next experience. What you learn from those challenges and failures are what will get you past the next ones.”

Jeff Hoffman

Founding team, Priceline.com

“You need to decide for yourself what you want to do. Follow your passions, not the rulebook.”

“Entrepreneurship is about being in control of your life and designing your own future.”

Steve Jobs

Co-founder, Apple

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”

Jack Ma

Founder, Alibaba

“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”

“Success and profitability are outcomes of focusing on customers and employees, not objectives.”

Sam Walton

Founder, Walmart

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

“If everybody else is doing it one way, you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.”

Terry J. Lundgren

CEO, Macy’s

“To better serve our customers in this highly competitive retailing environment, we must concentrate on our best national brands and reduce costs so we can deliver outstanding value to shoppers.”

“Those department stores that have survived the decades did so by keeping pace with customer needs and preferences.”

Liu Qiangdong

Founder, JD.com

“The most fundamental reason for Jingdong Mall’s success is focus. Though many traditional retailers and suppliers use e-business, they tend to look at it as a complementary unit and not a main source of income. For us, e-business was everything, which led us to allocate resources differently.”

“I devote 30% of my time every day at work to reading customers’ emails, and our old customers also e-mail me directly, which helps us improve service.”

Jeff Bezos

Founder, Amazon

“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6000 friends.”

Entering the highly competitive e-commerce industry is no easy journey. But with passion, hard work, and motivation, soon you’ll make a difference and a name in the e-commerce industry too!

How to Retain Your Customers and Increase Their Loyalty

To make a business grow, whether it be online or offline, it takes more than just acquiring customers. Business growth comes when you get to retain your acquired customers and transform them to your loyal consumers.

In thinking of strategies to grow your business, you must include customer retention and loyalty to your primary goals. While you may get overwhelmed with the joy of attracting new customers, you must also put great importance into retaining your customers.

According to a study by Belly Card on marketing and customer retention trends, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are advised to place more emphasis on retaining customers than in acquiring them. The reason is that existing customers are reported to be 50% more likely to try a new product and spend 31% more than new customers. Even with just a 5% increase in customer retention, your profit can experience a whopping 95% raise.

That’s good to know; but how exactly can a business retain its paying customers? To help you increase your customer retention and loyalty rates, here’s a basic compilation of a few effective and tested retention strategies you can try:

#1 Having a mission or something you stand for

Sometimes, people get inspired to support a brand because of their mission and what they stand for. Customers are more likely to choose a brand with a cause than a brand whose aim is to merely sell its products.

 

A research by the Harvard Business Review states that brand loyalty comes from shared values. You must have values or a mission to share with your customers. Here are a few brands who do well in this aspect:

 

  • TOMS, a shoe company, isn’t only popular for its comfortable slip-ons, but more for its “One for one” movement which aims to make the world a better place. For every purchase of a pair of shoes, a new pair is given to a person in need. This movement has already given 60 M+ new pairs of shoes across the world.
  • DOVE, a Unilever product, did more than just creating a cause. Its #RealBeauty campaign that started in 2004 has ignited a worldwide awareness for abolishing beauty stereotypes. It has won the hearts of many and still continues to reach more women with the information of how they should be positive about their bodies.

You don’t necessary need a cause or mission as grand as the above examples. You can start with determining what people care about and build your mission and values around that.

 

#2 Personalizing your customer’s experience

 

Consumers are more drawn to brands they can relate with – a brand that has a human persona. In personalizing customer experience, the first step would be to get to identify your consumer personas and what social channels they would most likely be at. From there, think of strategies where you can communicate, engage, or interact with them on a more personal level.

There are so many different ways to personalize customer experience. You can either leverage Twitter to speak to them directly, use words your customers would love to hear, offer them personalized recommendations based on their data, or personalize customer service.

 

You can also ask for their recommendations or suggestions when you’re planning to launch a new product or service for example. Let’s say you’re an ice cream company. Ask them what ice cream flavors they would love to be created. Doing this will make them feel important and valued. It will establish a deeper connection between you and them – increasing customer loyalty.

 

#3 Providing excellent customer service

 

Besides searching for products and services, most people also look for a brand with a customer service or support they can easily engage with. They are more likely to do business with a brand that provides quality, courteous, helpful, and willing customer service representatives. More than that, customers are more satisfied with a quality customer service more than a speedy one.

 

To deliver excellent customer service and support to your customers, consider the tips below:

 

  • Make sure to have a customer support available round the clock so you can’t miss out on a potential customer’s queries and messages. Always have someone ready.
  • If possible, get to know your customers personally. Make conversations that are both personal yet professional. Address name by their first name too, it really works.
  • Always be courteous and polite when dealing with your customers, including the irate ones. Be consistent with your quality of service no matter what the situation is.
  • Address and resolve your customers’ needs. More than that, you can go the extra mile.

 

Customer service greatly affects customer retention and loyalty. If you want to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, provide them with excellent customer service. You can also learn from the big brands included in 2015’s Customer Service Hall of Famers list.

 

Remember that poor customer service can instantly drive your customers to your competitors.

 

#4 Practicing consistency and integrity

 

Imagine men when they’re courting the woman they like. Their efforts don’t end after winning the woman’s heart. They have to be consistent all throughout. The same applies to making your customers stay with you. You should never stop “courting” them. Be consistent with the quality of the products and services you provide them. Provide them with even better service.

 

Deliver what you promised your customers when you’re still winning them over. Make every effort to be consistent in addressing their needs and expectations. Never let them down.

 

 

There are different customer retention and loyalty tactics you can find around the Web. But, it’s for you to find out which of these tactics will work best for your brand. Use the tips and strategies enumerated above to guide you in crafting your next marketing strategy.

 

But most of all, remember that the quality of your products and services is still the number one factor that will lead your customers to stay and your business to grow.

Virtual Reality and Its Game-Changing Benefits to Digital Marketing

Virtual reality is now reshaping and winning the game of digital marketing. Huge and small brands are now embracing and injecting the VR technology into their digital marketing efforts.

 

 

Although virtual reality has already been a generation old, the way it is currently being used for digital marketing purposes isn’t. Virtual reality now offers a different kind of experience for both marketers and consumers.

 

Because of this, virtual reality has drawn a lot of attention of different brands – both big and small. More than the 360º experience feature that appeals to the market, here are other game-changing benefits VR offers:

 

  • Immersive engagement. With VR headgears, users can have a completely undivided attention towards the content they are viewing. They can fully immerse themselves and have fewer distractions as compared to watching digital ads through other media.

 

As marketers, this means, you can engage and completely immerse the audience in the content you’re offering them. Through VR, people are more likely to connect with a brand on a more personal level; this means higher chances of leads and conversions.

 

See Michelle Obama’s exclusive virtual reality interview, for example. If you watch this video while wearing a VR headset, you can totally immerse yourself in Michelle Obama’s interview and social media story. More so, you’ll feel like you’re with her for real.

 

  • “Real-time” experience. No other medium can match VR technology’s 360º panoramic video stream experience. Watching a 360º video using a VR headset transports you into the video you are watching and makes you feel like you belong in there.

 

VR technology makes the impossible almost seem possible. When your audience can’t experience something you offer them because of location or other reasons, VR technology will bring the “real-time” virtual reality experience to them instead.

 

During London Fashion Week in 2014, Topshop utilized VR technology to offer four lucky fans a different kind of catwalk experience. Through VR headsets, the lucky fans were able to have a virtual front seat view of a live Topshop fashion show.

 

  • Hands-on product tests. Brand owners can give consumers a first-hand experience of their products through VR technology. Through virtual reality, consumers can visualize, test, and try out different products before making their purchase official.

 

In 2014, Lowe’s, a home-improvement and appliance store, leveraged VR technology through their Holoroom visualization tool to offer homeowners an intuitive and immersive experience to see how their makeover project will look like in full scale.

 

That same year, Volvo utilized Google Cardboard and paired it with an Android app to give people a virtual inside view of their new SUV. More than that, users can have a 360º virtual experience on how it’s like to drive around with a Volvo XC90.

 

  • Engaging storytelling. For other people, they need to see completely what a brand can offer them before engaging in official business. Storytelling through a 360º VR film communicates a story that can be experienced, not merely explained.

 

Etihad, a brand that prides itself on product experience, leveraged VR technology to tell a story about their aircraft – the unique way. Instead of merely using words to describe the features of their award-winning A380 aircraft, they used live-action VR.

 

Etihad’s “Reimagine” ad featuring Nicole Kidman presents prospect passengers different sensory interactions while on board the A380 aircraft on a New York to Abu Dhabi flight. It brings to life the passenger experience the A380 aircraft delivers.

 

  • Interactive simulations. VR technology isn’t solely for marketing products or services; it can also be used in raising awareness for certain medical issues people doesn’t know much about. VR technology can transform information to experience.

 

On April of this year, Excedrin, a migraine medication company, utilized the VR technology to create a VR-based migraine symptom simulator to create awareness about the symptoms and pains migraine sufferers go through in their daily lives.

 

Through Excedrin’s VR simulator, non-migraine sufferers gained a genuine empathy for migraine sufferers because they experienced the symptoms themselves with the help of a VR gear. VR technology really offers a one-of-a-kind experience.

 

When utilized strategically, VR technology will bring a huge change to the way marketers do their digital marketing efforts. Because marketing with VR technology primes on offering real-time experiences, it can leave longer lasting impressions to people than other types of marketing.

 

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced,” says John Keats, an English poet. Virtual reality changes the game of digital marketing by creating real-time experiences for people. Experience the game-changing benefits VR technology can bring your brand. Wear your gears, and see it for yourself!

Physical Store VS E-Commerce Store: Which Is Really Better?

If retail was a boxing match, who can possibly be the winner? Will it be the veteran brick-and-mortar physical store or the newbie online e-commerce store?

 

For entrepreneurs like you who want to build a shop that can attract greater sales opportunities, one of the questions you may ask is: Should I begin my business with a physical store, an online store, or both? Which will really work well for your business?

 

In opening a store of any kind, you must consider your products or services, business goals, and target consumers. To help you weigh in your business decisions better, here are the pros and cons of selling on a traditional physical store VS selling online.

 

Startup and Monthly Maintenance Costs

 

In building a business start-up, you have to be wise in choosing when and where to spend your money. If possible, avoid spending thousands of dollars on a business idea that you aren’t sure about. To help you, here is a brief cost analysis between online and offline business options:

Traditional Physical Store:

 

Setting up a traditional physical store may require a lot from your budget at once – for advance deposit and monthly dues for retail lease, renovations, sign creation, utilities, shop fittings and equipment, salary of staff, and marketing collateral.

 

An initial investment of more or less $10, 000 is required for store renovations, sign creation, utility and lease deposits, lease closing costs, equipment costs, etc.

 

Monthly, you’ll have to prepare another $10, 000+ to pay for your monthly lease, at least two staff members’ wage, utilities such as electricity, and other bills.

Online E-Commerce Store:

 

Setting up an online store is less costly than setting up a physical store. You just need to find a to help you create a custom e-commerce website. You need to prepare at least $6, 000 to build your online shop.

 

Besides having a customized e-commerce site, your initial investment will also cover complete shopping cart functions, analytics, blog integration, reviews and rating features, etc.

 

Monthly payables will be for web hosting and technical and marketing support. With less cost, your store can even run 24/7.

 

Sensory Information and Experience

 

Physical retail stores have an edge over online stores in terms of fulfilling sensory information and experience. With physical stores, customers can try, hear, feel, taste or smell a product before making their purchase. Especially for fashion stores, customers prefer to try on clothes and shoes first before making a buying decision.

 

Online e-commerce stores can’t give that full sensory experience to their customers. But, for other products that are primarily based on visual information, the sensory experience is just the same with physical stores. Examples of products sold online that find no problem with this feature include books, paper products, audio CDs, etc.

 

Although online shopping can’t give the shoppers a privilege to feel the item personally, it offers 24/7 access, convenience, and easier product searching and browsing. These unique qualities of an online store attract shoppers as well.

 

Potential Customer and Market Reach

 

Unlike a physical store’s limited audience, an e-commerce store’s potential audience is limitless. Potential customers can view your online store anywhere across the world. Because the Internet is open 24/7, customers can also view, browse, and purchase your products anytime they want to. Your store’s opportunity to sell doesn’t have closing hours. This unlimited shopping time will be convenient for you and your customers.

 

However, many e-commerce sites are now vying for attention and ranking on search engines. If you are selling a product that is already offered by already established brands, it will be a bit difficult to break in. You need to work out your rankings on the popular search engines like Google and Bing to get found by potential shoppers.

 

On the other hand, if you are selling your products in a shop owned by a big store such as a supermarket or department store, then there is an assurance that your products will sell. Your products will benefit from their advertising, marketing, and distribution strategies. They can help you increase your product’s exposure. But, it will still be limited to that physical store’s location.

 

Your Working Hours and Location

 

One of the great advantages of having an e-commerce store is having a flexible working schedule. You can choose to work from home at any hour you want to. It also opens up the opportunity to serve other commitments while your website works for you 24/7. Running a physical shop requires your long hours of physical presence while in an online store you can set up an automatic order processing you can monitor from time to time.

 

With an online store, you can work anytime and anywhere. You can even have a full-time job and still run your online shop at the same time. However, some shoppers may still prefer personal interaction in physical stores to make a purchase.

 

So, which is really the better choice?

 

Indeed, an online e-commerce store offers promising benefits to your business the same way a physical store does. They both have their owns set of pros and cons. See which between these two benefits you and your business the most. Or, try to have an omnichannel or brick-and-click store instead? A physical store and an e-commerce store can work better hand in hand.

 

An online store significantly influences purchases from retail stores, and vice versa. 3 out of 4 customers who find online product information from a website has higher chances of visiting a physical store. Likewise, 22% of consumers spend more in physical retail stores when digital channels are involved. The match is over. It’s a draw. Is it better to have both instead?

 

According to statistics, 84% of customers find it better when retailers integrate their offline and online channels. Shoppers today find it more favorable when they are provided with a seamless omnichannel experience. They want the best of both worlds. Having to offer your customers both an online and offline store can improve their shopping experience and drive you more sales.

 

 

Still, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for making a business work and find its way to success. The choice and decision are still yours to make. Consider the pros and cons of the two types of channel explained above and see which works best for your products or services. Happy selling!