Today, businesses that once relied on face-to-face sales pitches and a firm handshake are increasingly realizing that online engagement is a valuable tool for generating healthy revenue streams. The way in which consumers interact with companies online is constantly evolving, so it’s essential for businesses to stay on top of the latest trends. These trends are often driven by new technologies—but also by the demands of the consumers themselves. Throughout 2017, watch out for the following trends across social media and other online platforms.
Built-in E-commerce Tools on Social Media
E-commerce allows every company—from multinational giants to corner mom-and-pop shops—to sell to a global market. E-commerce shipments continue to climb every year; according to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce shipments increased from $3,315.7 billion in 2013 to $3,584.0 billion in 2014. E-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, particularly now that it has been making forays into popular social media platforms, including:
All of these social media platforms have begun offering features that allow companies to sell products directly within their apps, and consumers are using these features to check out the latest sales. In other words, they aren’t always looking for something specific to buy. Companies can capitalize on spontaneous buys by pairing their products with meaningful, engaging content, such as a blog about the top 10 gift ideas for summer weddings.
Virtual Reality Devices to Engage Customers
Virtual reality devices are pretty exciting by themselves, but there’s a way to leverage their sales potential without actually selling the headsets or viewers. Any company can produce virtual reality video that demonstrates their products or services in a visually impactful way. TOMS, for instance, is using virtual reality video to back up their “One for One” campaign. The campaign gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair a customer buys. The virtual reality experience immerses potential consumers in a Peruvian village so they can see the real impact their purchase will have.
Chatbots to Handle Real-Time Customer Demands
Ask any savvy entrepreneur about the secret to brand longevity, and you’ll almost certainly get “superior customer service” as an answer. However, having a chat with a friendly and knowledgeable representative isn’t the only thing consumers are looking for these days. They want their questions and concerns addressed now, in real-time, with no wait required. The solution? Artificial intelligence-powered chatbots. The technology has advanced to the point where it can be difficult to tell the difference between chatting with a human from the help desk versus chatting with a ‘bot. More complex questions are still directed to human representatives, but the chatbots can handle most typical questions. And, most importantly, they can provide the fast answers that consumers demand.
Harnessing the power of digital branding is what we do best here at Pennington Creative. Our expert team carefully crafts customized marketing campaigns that include strong social media outreach initiatives. Contact us today and become our next success story!