Tag Archives: retail

We’ve pivoted. And we’re looking for beta testers.

24 June 2016 Omar Budeiri Leave a comment Taggr

As a team, we’ve always been passionate about rewriting the rules of online retail. In the past year, we’ve toiled to build a host of tools for retailers and shoppers. We even have a free app for shoppers www.taggr.com/app that enables them to wish-list items from any site, see what their friends are wish-listing and then keep track of price-changes to the products that interest them. We’ve tried it. Lots. And actually, it’s pretty addictive.

While we were in the process of building this, one thing that we had to build was a scraping tool, that took a product page from the web, extrapolated all the information from it and manifested it as some sort of product listing. Three months later, Google removed the right-hand Adwords column and started focusing on that exact same thing. Google shopping is essentially a hierarchy of product listings. We realised we could make them quickly and efficiently, and that this could be really valuable to online retailers. So we came up with a hypothesis:

‘There’s (probably) a need among retailers for an off-the-shelf software package that enables them to create an instant feed just by typing in their root URL.’

So we built a rudimentary version of this. And it worked. Kinda. We then had some conversations and demonstrations with a few online retailers of different sizes, including Zalando, Toyshades and ASOS. They gave us some steering and feedback, and our interface was born.

On 1st July, we’re opening out a free beta-version for testing. If you’re an online retailer and want to get on Google shopping, we would love you to test it out (for free) and give us some feedback. Your reward will be simple. Once the beta phase is done, you will get our base package (usually £49/month) for free as a gesture of appreciation. You will also have a say in which features we build, and will get the chance to be part of something game-changing.

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How has social media changed online retailing?

22 May 2016 Omar Budeiri Leave a comment Taggr

For many shoppers, social media is now a primary driver. In a recent global sampling by PwC, 78% of shoppers said that their shopping habits were influenced by social media (up from 68% is 2015).

Consumer views matter now more than ever, and their propensity to share online is constantly growing. As is traffic from online referrals. In fact, online referrals is the fastest growing revenue source for online retailers. This can be attributed to two things:

1. The ubiquity of mobile devices.

2. The culture-shift in the readiness of people to share opinions online.

The most successful online retailers in this environment have managed to link a vibrant online following with a seamless purchasing procedure. Seth Godin has been writing for years about how buying online needs to be seen as a set of stages, all part of a process. That process begins with a share on social media, and ends with the consumer clicking a buy-button.

Even though both Google and Facebook have entered the PLA (Product Listing Ad) market recently, the data on how effective and seamless the process is from social channel to clicking that ‘buy’ button is limited. What we do know, is that retailers need to start investing in this process if they are to compete in the future.

10% of US consumers currently purchase directly through social media. While this doesn’t seem high, it’s significantly higher than last year. Given that 2 in 3 shoppers claim social media influences their purchasing decision, It is only a matter of time before direct purchasing through social media becomes a much more significant process.

Many companies use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy that overlooks customer interaction within their social communities. This simply doesn’t work. The selection of the right channels is the first port of call. Discard the rest. Then, foster transparency and authenticity, and invest time and care into your customers through these channels. Previously, relationships with customers were private, now they are public, and many retailers fail to understand this.

Consumer-shared, user-generated content is now seen as the holy grail of social communities. It helps foster strong customer relationships, but the main takeaway here is that it encourages brand-trust and brand-loyalty far more readily than any billboard, TV ad or radio jingle. Why? Because it’s not created by people trying to take your money. It’s created by your peers. And we trust our peers, as they are less likely to have a concealed motive for giving a positive review or recommendation.

When a retailer goes beyond simply selling, and focuses on providing services that fulfil customer aspirations, based in part, of course, on the data that social media yields, they get a seat at the dinner-table with online communities, and a real insight into their target customer’s demographic and psychographic profile.

This is good branding and good business. And the most successful brands know this.

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How millennials are calling the shots for retailers

24 March 2016 Omar Budeiri Leave a comment Taggr

Consumer behaviour is changing, and with it, the global retail environment. Under the microscope, the most noticeable changes post-millennium have been in the world of e-commerce.

Many retailers have had to ditch evolution for revolution in a bid to stay competitive.

Let’s take Amazon, for instance. In 2001, Amazon’s global sales totalled $1bn. In 2015, they took in excess of $90bn. In that same 15 years, many brick-and-mortar, household-name retailers that were taking in excess of $40bn in sales back in 2001, have seen a 70% drop in sales.

At the core of these changes lies a phenomenon that our parents fantasised about, that we grew up flirting with, and that as adults, we made happen. I’m talking about digital disruption.

The speed of tech adoption over the last 15 years, led by millennials, has been frighteningly quick. We’ve adopted the technology quicker than retailers have managed to evolve to meet its needs. Here’s what we know:

Affordability has always been an issue across every income bracket, with every age group, in almost every currency-using culture on the planet. Nobody likes to pay more than they have to.

With online sales up, store traffic has gone down. Retailers have had to shift focus away from the traditional focus on footfall, and reinvest that brainpower into ingenious ways to facilitate customer conversion.

Social media has had a seismic effect on purchasing behaviour and overall brand perception. Reading unmoderated reviews, feedback and comments now has an unprecedented influence on whether or not the purchase goes ahead. Wanting to know what our peers think is nothing new, but never before have our peers been so viral with their opinions.

For millennials especially, phones and tablets are increasingly becoming the tool of choice for purchasing. Last year, 12% of the world’s population made an online purchase. This year, the figure is more like 20%.

Yes. Last year, 8% of the world’s population made their first online purchase. These figures indicate 2015 as a watershed year for online purchasing, a culmination of 15 years of changes to market conditions.

The retailers that have thrived in this environment are the ones that have consistently raised the bar, with better pricing, better product and better delivery. And if it hadn’t been for our (often-criticised) generation, none of that would have happened.

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