If you are selling online, here are trends you need to look out for:
1. Using videos to generate online sales = The increasing use of broadband has significantly expanded the use of videos and rich media. The key now is to think how to use these formats to increase sales in your website. Video sites such as YouTube attract gargantuan traffic and could be used to increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales. One way videos can be used to boost sales is through the creation of product demonstrations. Marketing Sherpa has written a great article on how to create online videos for your products.
2. Using social networks to boost sales = Social networking sites such as MySpace generate tremendous traffic, including your very own target audience. Study how the big and other innovative small businesses are creating personal profiles in MySpace and similar sites and using these to drive traffic and sales to their websites.
3. Using product reviews to create more loyal customers = Amazon has made product reviews an important tool of online selling, and big sites such as Overstock.com and others are using the same technique. In a study published by Foresee Results in January 2007, they found that “shoppers on sites with customer product reviews were 5% more likely to buy online, 5% more likely to buy from the retailer the next holiday season, and 4% more likely to purchase from the retailer the next time they are in the market for similar merchandise.”
4. Increasing importance of multichannel marketing = This is an area where the big boys can sufficiently harness to further their brand and reach. Customers can order at CircuitCity.com and pick up the items from the nearest Circuit City store. Customers can buy from Gap.com and return the items in their nearest Gap stores. The key is integration of the different sales mediums. There are a lot of small businesses that operate catalogs and online stores or physical and online stores — and they need to enhance the synergies between these mediums.
5. Growing mobile commerce. Using cellphones to buy items online may still be in its infancy in the United States, but it is happening elsewhere such as Japan. While there may still be a lot of technical hurdles to overcome, tapping the phones and turning them into a sales machine is something that small businesses need to look into, and how to get in on the game.