tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/strategy-operations Latest Strategy & Operations content from Econsultancy 2017-11-16T10:00:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69581 2017-11-16T10:00:00+00:00 2017-11-16T10:00:00+00:00 Four reasons you may need to rebrand your business Nikki Gilliland <p>Then again, if executed correctly, rebranding can result in far superior benefits. Here’s a run-down of some of the biggest advantages, along with a few examples of companies that have successfully rebranded (or are currently in the midst of doing so). </p> <h3>To reach a new demographic</h3> <p>It’s easy for brands to get put into a box, especially if they have been around for a long time. They might only be remembered for a particular advertising campaign, or thought of in relation to a certain age range or demographic.</p> <p>Old Spice is one example of a brand that suffered with this issue, largely due to its stereotypically-macho advertising campaigns from the 1950’s. It also tended to use older gentlemen in its ads, leading to the common assumption that it a deodorant brand only your dad or grandad would use.</p> <p>In order to combat this preconception, Old Spice decided to rebrand in 2010, rolling out a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67102-the-dangerous-art-of-using-humour-in-marketing" target="_blank">humour-driven ad campaign</a> to engage a younger audience. Using the tagline “smell like a man, man” – it amusingly repositioned itself as a product for desirable younger men. It also cleverly aired its first advert during the coveted Super Bowl time-slot – ideal for reaching its new target market.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/owGykVbfgUE?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>Since its rebrand, Old Spice has further built on its youthful image, releasing a slew of campaigns in a funny, quirky, and offbeat tone. It’s resulted in success too, with the sales of the brand jumping significantly after the first campaign. </p> <h3>To repair a reputation</h3> <p>Bad press used to be known as tomorrow’s fish and chip paper. However, today’s digitally-focused world means that negative social sentiment and reviews can stick around much longer, gradually damaging a brand’s reputation in the long-term.</p> <p>Even worse when a documentary examining the effects of its product gains popularity. This happened to McDonalds with the release of Supersize Me, which fuelled negativity towards to the brand relating to issues like nutritional value and how it markets to children.</p> <p>Combined with reports of meagre wages and unfair hours, McDonalds found itself losing out to competitors like Chipotle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0484/supersize_me.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="573"></p> <p>While it did not undertake a typical rebrand – as neither its logo or brand design changed – McDonalds did attempt to counteract this by implementing changes both internally and externally over the course of 18 months. </p> <p>First, it started to tweak its menu, promoting the high-quality nature of its beef and placing greater focus on salads and other healthy menu options. It also launched the ‘Our Food, Your Questions’ campaign, which was centred around answering specific concerns and worries over the production and nutritional value of its food.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Have a question about our food? The floor is yours. <a href="http://t.co/T9W0r3CQVK">http://t.co/T9W0r3CQVK</a></p> — McDonald's (@McDonalds) <a href="https://twitter.com/McDonalds/status/521676837429080064?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 13, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, McDonalds’ rebranding exercise did not come to an end with this campaign. In the past few years, it has continued to make changes in order to reposition itself as a relevant and modern fast food chain. From stripped-back packaging to new cashless technology in restaurants, its continual evolution shows that ‘rebranding’ can be a subtle and ongoing process.</p> <h3>To reclaim a brand identity</h3> <p>Instead of a brand’s own wrong-doing, reputations can sometimes be damaged due to negative associations with a certain type of consumer. Burberry is one of the most high-profile examples of this, with the once-premium fashion label becoming more associated with ‘chav culture’ throughout the late nineties and early noughties.</p> <p>Another is Stella Artois, whose ‘reassuringly expensive’ brand promise (meaning that it was premium, but worth a higher price point) clashed with retailer’s marketing strategies. In order to increase footfall, supermarkets began to sell cans of Stella – which was also known to be of a higher alcohol percentage) at <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64782-how-to-use-discounting-without-harming-your-business" target="_blank">heavily discounted prices</a>. As a result, Stella became associated with binge drinking culture, chosen by ‘lager louts’ for its strength and cheap price point.</p> <p>In order to re-establish and strengthen its original brand purpose, Stella created a new range of beers under the softer Artois name. With a new 4% lager, it counteracted associations with binge drinking, and introduced a cider option to attract a wider audience.</p> <p>Following on from this, Stella Artois also launched the ‘Thing of Beauty’ campaign to re-claim its premium status. This was particularly clever, as instead of changing the product itself, it aimed to change the way consumers drank it. Its ‘9 step preparation’ element emphasised that it is a drink to be savoured. Meanwhile, with ads depicting sophisticated and smartly-dressed drinkers, it began to re-align itself with a luxury lifestyle and turn away from laddish culture.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s6_h0HUSZ_Y?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>To boost sales</h3> <p>Rebranding can also be an effective way to differentiate a company in a competitive market, giving consumers a reason to choose it over a rival – especially if sales are dwindling.</p> <p>Two of America’s largest retail chains, Target and Walmart, are both based around offering customers good value. Previously, Target has used its brand communication in order to create a point of difference, telling consumers that they can “Expect More. Pay Less”. This helps to instil confidence in consumers, and in comparison with Walmart’s “Save Money. Live Better”, also promotes the idea that its products are of a better quality.</p> <p>However, Target has been suffering from poor sales in recent months, announcing recently that it will execute a new brand strategy to claim back market share. In the face of increasing competition from Amazon, it is set to discontinues a number of its most famous brand lines, and introduce 12 new ones including an athleisure line and homeware. Meanwhile, It’s also remodelling its US stores to give customers a better and more streamlined shopping experience. </p> <p>Will the strategy work? This remains to be seen, but with other retailers like Sears and JC Penney shutting down stores in the face of dwindling sales – Target is clearly hoping a bold rebrand will be the key to winning back consumer favour.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Today’s the day! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HearthAndHand?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HearthAndHand</a> with Magnolia is available <a href="https://twitter.com/Target?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Target</a> &amp; on their website! We had fun designing it &amp; can’t wait for you to see! <a href="https://t.co/q2dL3PNv3Z">pic.twitter.com/q2dL3PNv3Z</a></p> — Joanna Gaines (@joannagaines) <a href="https://twitter.com/joannagaines/status/927190486187757570?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 5, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>Related reading</strong>:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68402-boss-life-how-avon-is-rebranding-to-target-a-new-generation">Boss life: How Avon is rebranding to target a new generation</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63099-five-tips-for-a-successful-rebrand/">Five tips for a successful rebrand</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3351 2017-11-10T08:38:09+00:00 2017-11-10T08:38:09+00:00 Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Marketing – Singapore <p>How soon do you need to prepare for artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence is already here – it’s no longer a futuristic promise. And it’s been here for years. Companies should already be thinking about how they can automate many of their ordinary marketing processes. This is the basic step that every company should take to make themselves more efficient.</p> <p>In this course, we discuss why you should look beyond the hype while learning how to leverage the benefits that artificially intelligent machines can provide. Doing so will empower marketers to establish more personal and relevant interactions with customers, driving ROI and increasing revenue.</p> <p>Artificial Intelligence for Marketing (AIM) solutions can sift through huge data sets much faster than any human marketing team ever could, uncovering hidden insights into customer behaviour, identifying purchasing trends, and revealing critical data points.</p> <p>Ultimately, AIM actually gives marketers the valuable gift of time by automating back-end, complex tasks. It provides them with the freedom to focus on content, creative, and strategy to deliver those personalized customer interactions.But in the meantime, you should track the development of artificial intelligence in your industry.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69467 2017-11-02T15:00:00+00:00 2017-11-02T15:00:00+00:00 What marketing leaders can learn about professional development from the military Seán Donnelly <p>Iain Herron, retired Warrant Officer Class One in the Adjutant General’s Corps and now Operations Director of consulting and recruitment firm J1, had some interesting insights about the strategic importance of providing access to structured learning and development opportunities to personnel. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9313/Iain_Herron_J1.png" alt=""></p> <h3>On structured careers in the armed forces </h3> <h4>Common Military Syllabus </h4> <p>Iain explained that everyone who joins the British Army completes a 14-week training course known as the Common Military Syllabus (CMS). This means that everybody has the same foundation training and that no matter what role somebody eventually finds themselves in, every person in the military is a trained soldier. This makes sense. According to Iain, “the organisation is set up in such a way that everyone is on the same playing field”.  </p> <h4>Command, Leadership and Management Programme</h4> <p>Recruits don’t just complete the same foundation training. To progress in the military, members need to complete standardised courses. For example, Iain explained that those selected for promotion to the rank of Non-Commissioned Officer must complete a Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) programme. The CLM programmes develop leadership and management competencies as soldier’s progress through the ranks.</p> <p>Successful completion of different parts of these programmes are a key element of qualifying the individual for immediate or subsequent promotion by giving them the skills and knowledge they will require in order to operate effectively in leadership positions. Each course builds on the previous one, while introducing new material as appropriate.</p> <p>What’s interesting about these programmes is that as well as developing military knowledge, these courses cover leadership, management, communication, professional and personal development.</p> <p>Iain went on to explain that the structured training programmes and pathways offered by the military equip members with a shared understanding of the organisation, solidify culture, encourage teamwork and provide a sense of camaraderie.</p> <h4>Further education and career development in the military </h4> <p>In his 23-year military career, Iain estimates that he received as much as four years of leadership training. This consisted of formal training including the CLM programme as well as structured on-the-job training. “Every day you are being taught something,” he said.</p> <p>In fact, Iain explained that not only are members of the defence forces encouraged to change roles every few years, but that they <em>have to</em> change roles every two to three years.</p> <p>In order to be successful in those roles, members are equipped with the skills to do the new job via structured training courses and are given six weeks to learn the new job. They will be expected to become a subject leader within six months of starting the new position.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0159/british_army.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="434"></p> <h4>Q. What is the rationale behind ordering people to change job every two to three years?  </h4> <p>Iain: “The idea behind changing job every 2-3 years is basically to keep people and the organisation fresh. People can bring fresh perspective into roles. Also, the structured training and handover phase ensures a smooth handover, removes unnecessary stress and prevents people who aren’t equipped with the knowledge and skills finding themselves operating in a position where they are out of their depth.</p> <p>"If you think of civil servants who may find themselves in the same role for a long time, they may unwittingly become jaded and find themselves following old procedures purely because they were ‘always done that way’.”</p> <h4>Q. This suggests that there is room for bottom-up ideas as opposed to following rigid procedures. How can new thinking be introduced?<em> </em> </h4> <p>Iain: "We used terminology called ‘Mission Command’ which basically means that once the goal of a mission is made clear, it is up to you to come up with the plan. The point is that the achievement of the task is the priority, not necessarily how that task gets completed. This means that the military is a lot more collaborative than you would think.</p> <p>“For example, usually when a young officer has learned how to lead, they will be assigned with a mission. They will then surround themselves with their best soldiers to gather feedback on the best ways to complete that mission. There is a clear recognition that subordinates may well have good ideas based on their own operational experiences. These subordinates are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas to the officer. Ultimately, it is the officer who takes responsibility for the mission.”</p> <p>With so much being written about the need for organisational agility, it is clear that this concept already exists in the military, whether it is called agility or not. Everyone, regardless of their rank, has been equipped with the same foundational knowledge (Common Military Syllabus). Those same people have been supported via structured and relevant training.</p> <p>This means that everyone in the organisation understands the context and complexities involved in introducing a new idea or procedure, and can use their own learning and experience to make recommendations as to how their mission can be achieved.</p> <p>As well as ensuring that the organisation doesn’t become stifled by top down rigidity, such an approach supports autonomy, empowerment and initiative, all basic tenets of a culture that supports employee engagement.</p> <p>Iain also advises: “The military has a process for capturing good ideas called GEMS. GEMS is a Ministry of Defence Scheme which encourages ideas with the aim of improving the organisation. The scheme allows members of the defence forces to submit innovative ideas to save money and improve procedures.”</p> <p>The GEMS Scheme was introduced in 1996 as the single defence-wide suggestion scheme and in that time dozens of suggestions from all over defence have saved the department millions as well as improved the working lives of thousands. According to figures published by gov.co.uk, the scheme generates savings of an average of £13m per year. <a title="" name="_ftnref1"></a>It is considered the third most successful of its type anywhere in the world and more than 2,000 ideas were put forward to the GEMS team in the last year.</p> <h3>Managing job rotation every two to three years</h3> <p>According to Iain, the military has a very robust approach to resource management in order to allow people time away to train and also to support them to move into new positions every few years. In fact, the British Army has an entire team of Resource Managers whose job it is to manage this very issue.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0161/british_military_2.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="432"></p> <p>A key challenge that many commercial organisations have around sending people for training and even encouraging employees to change positions within the organisation is that of maintaining service levels and ensuring that work continues to get done.</p> <p>Because they may not have the right structures in place to manage these challenges, organisations may stifle staff opportunities both to upskill and to add value to the organisation by not allowing them access to training or secondment. On a macro level this may impact organisational culture including morale, turnover levels, organisational agility and ultimately profitability, although this is difficult to measure.</p> <p>Iain discussed how he worked with an international audit and consulting firm that seconded consultants to client offices for the duration of those engagements. He described that clients would regularly request that the same consultant return for each engagement.</p> <p>While this gave the client confidence in terms of ensuring projects were delivered on time, it also meant consultants’ own careers were being stifled by enabling this approach. The consultant returning to the client was prevented from working with new clients and expanding their knowledge and skills. Also, other consultants that would benefit from such an engagement were being precluded because their pathway was being blocked by the existing client/consultant relationship.</p> <p>Iain worked with this firm to centralise all resource management into a single location so as to get a clearer picture of the synergies available by deploying consultants more strategically. This meant politely but assertively communicating with clients that they couldn’t always demand that the same consultant return for each engagement. When this was communicated appropriately, clients were happy to accept this arrangement.</p> <h3>What can commercial organisations and marketers learn from the military approach to L&amp;D? </h3> <h4>The strategic importance of investing in staff </h4> <p>Military organisations need to invest in staff for obvious reasons, but on a more macro level, providing learning opportunities for staff keeps them engaged and stops them from stagnating in their position, losing motivation and becoming unwilling to accept change.<br>  <br> On this level, providing learning opportunities also lets organisations be dynamic and able to deal with the exponential change that characterises today’s economy.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/0004/staff_dilemma-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="218"></p> <h4>Competence</h4> <p>In his book, <em>An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth</em>, Commander Chris Hadfield discusses the importance of competence. In any task, the absolute minimum that staff should be is competent. The challenge that marketers face is that as consumer behaviour changes and technology plays a bigger role in their job, what represents competence today may not represent competence next year. This means that marketers require access to learning and development opportunities.</p><p>One of the things that makes the military so good is understanding capabilities and providing structured opportunities to develop those capabilities via training. According to Iain: “Hard-won competence via training and practice provides military personnel the knowledge and skills that they need to not only remain calm in high stress situations but also the ability to focus on only the outcomes that will lead to success.”</p><p>If marketers and their organisations can learn one thing from the military, it is the importance of providing access to and actively encouraging and rewarding training. By doing this, marketers and their organisations can remain competent and be better able to respond to challenges presented by new business models, changing technology and consumer behaviour.</p> <h4>Trust</h4> <p>Competence is not only about being able to do one’s job well. Trust is also a key element of high functioning teams and organisations. In the military, trust in your peers is a matter of life and death.</p> <p>The establishment of trust and underlying competence in commercial organisations means that business leaders can be confident that their staff have the skills they need to do the job and to make decisions relative to their role.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/0011/trust_issues-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="353"></p> <p>US General Stanley McChrystal, in a Harvard Business Review article titled ‘What Companies Can Learn From Military Teams’<a title="" name="_ftnref1"></a>, said: “I try to exhibit trust in small ways. In a briefing, if somebody asks me for a decision, I might turn to a subordinate and ask them to handle it. I don’t ask for specifics, and I’m very overt – almost theatrical – about it. Everybody else sees it. The message is: ‘I trust you guys to handle this stuff,’ and that can grow virally throughout an organisation. Trust is essential in any high performing learning organisation.”  </p> <h4>Engagement</h4> <p>The value of learning and development opportunities familiarises people with new concepts, equips them with new skills and opens up their minds to new possibilities. What it is really doing is building up individual and organisation flexibility to adapt and avoiding the trap of people becoming jaded in their roles.  </p> <h3>Control points</h3> <p>Finally, Iain Herron discussed what he called ‘control points’ in people’s military career. These are points in an individual career where if a person hasn’t met certain criteria or displayed a willingness to develop themselves then they will be asked to leave the organisation. ‘Manning control’ is a policy in the British Army which allows the army to terminate the service of soldiers at the end of three, six, nine, 12 or 15 years’ service.</p> <p>‘Manning control’ was created to allow the army to maintain a balance of experience and to ensure that there were opportunities for talented soldiers to progress through the ranks.  This is reminiscent of one of the key insights derived from the research of Jim Collins. In his book <em>Good to Great</em><a title="" name="_ftnref1"></a>, Collins writes about how the right people in the right place are the foundation of greatness. He also writes about removing people who don’t add value. </p> <p>Readers might be familiar with a famous quote from the book: “Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”</p> <h3>How Marketers Learn</h3> <p>Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/how-marketers-learn-research-findings/" target="_blank">How Marketers Learn report</a> will benefit leaders and managers in organisations of any size or sector by providing insights into the importance of having a learning and development strategy.</p> <p>It provides an overview of how marketers are currently managing their learning requirements. The research in this report will also help marketing leaders by highlighting the value of L&amp;D in marketing and demonstrating its business case. </p> <p><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/subscribe/">Subscribe to Econsultancy</a> to gain access to a wealth of Digital Best Practice content, or learn new skills by booking yourself onto one of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/">our training courses</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69531 2017-10-31T15:10:00+00:00 2017-10-31T15:10:00+00:00 Direct ad buys are back in fashion as programmatic declines Patricio Robles <p>Meanwhile, following the <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69276-following-youtube-s-brand-safety-backlash-will-ad-relevance-take-center-stage">YouTube brand safety scandal in April</a>, more brands owned by two of the largest advertisers in the world, Procter &amp; Gamble (P&amp;G) and Unilever, started purchasing ads directly.</p> <p>Between January and March, MediaRadar observed 49 of P&amp;G's brands purchasing premium video and native ads through direct buys. From May through July, that number increased 27% to 62.</p> <p>The number of Unlilever brands turning to premium inventory through direct buys was even more substantial, growing from 25 in the January to March period to 53 between May and July, a 112% increase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9920/mediaradar.png" alt="" width="449" height="522"></p> <h3>Not just a temporary shift?</h3> <p>Obviously, programmatic is clearly here to stay. It now accounts for over 80% of the display ad market, and the industry has invested significant sums in building out programmatic infrastructure.</p> <p>At the same time, however, it is also looking like concerns over brand safety, as well as ad fraud, have caused brand advertisers to fundamentally rethink their digital advertising strategies.</p> <p>"Everyone is talking about transparency and brand safety," stated Todd Krizelman, CEO &amp; co-founder, MediaRadar. "In the quest for it, many of the world's largest advertisers are shifting ad spend, and now spreading it across more than a dozen different media formats."</p> <p>From P&amp;G, which slashed its digital ad budget by $100m, to Chase, which cut the number of sites it advertises on from 400,000 to 5,000, both without any apparent negative impact on return, it's increasingly evident that brand advertisers are not just making temporary changes.</p> <h3>Has the ad industry been living a lie?</h3> <p>Business Insider's Mike Shields believes that it has. In <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-advertising-industry-has-been-living-a-lie-2017-10">a piece</a> that has sparked discussion and debate, he suggested that advertisers "have fallen in love with the fantasy of buying ads aimed at exactly the right people on the web's 'long tail.'"</p> <p>But, he observes, "most people don't spend time on thousands of websites", which begs the question: if consumers don't spend time on thousands of websites, why have advertisers been throwing so much of their budgets to programmatic channels that help them buy ads across thousands of websites, exposing themselves to <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/ad-industry-insiders-are-connected-to-a-fraud-scheme-that">audacious fraud</a> in the process?</p> <p>If MediaRadar's data is any indication, it would seem that brand advertisers are starting to ask themselves that very question.</p> <p>While it's too early to predict the precise long-term impacts of this trend, it seems reasonable to assume that greater scrutiny of open programmatic exchanges, renewed interest in direct buys, and more adoption of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68844-should-advertisers-be-more-picky-with-programmatic">private exchanges</a> lie ahead.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-10-31T11:33:00+00:00 2017-10-31T11:33:00+00:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and digital market research with data, facts, charts and figures. The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need - a huge time-saver for presentations and reports.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Sector-specific data and reports are also available:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a><br></strong></li> <li><strong><strong><a title="Financial Services and Insurance Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/financial-services-and-insurance-internet-statistics-compendium/">Financial Services and Insurance</a></strong></strong></li> <li> <strong><a title="Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/healthcare-and-pharmaceuticals-internet-statistics-compendium/">Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals</a></strong><strong> </strong> </li> <li><strong><a title="Retail Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/retail-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Retail</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Travel Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/travel-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Travel</a></strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>Regions covered in each document (where data is available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3257 2017-10-26T11:54:23+01:00 2017-10-26T11:54:23+01:00 Content Strategy, Editorial Planning & Content Calendars <p>Great content sells – it will build your brand and boost your business.  Our 1-day Content Strategy, Editorial Planning &amp; Content Calendars training course will help you to define and produce the content that will help your organisation succeed!</p> <p>On the day, you’ll learn about our unique 7-step process and  get our exclusive templates for: Strategy Statements, Content Audits, Content Requests, Content Briefs and Content Calendars!</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69496 2017-10-17T14:30:00+01:00 2017-10-17T14:30:00+01:00 Four examples of automotive brands that are innovating the customer experience Patricio Robles <p>Here are four examples of how automakers are innovating the customer experience to meet changing consumer expectations.</p> <h3>Ford becomes a mobility solutions provider with FordPass</h3> <p>Need to get from Point A to Point B? A car can help you get there, but as American automaker Ford looks to the future, it is slowly starting to transform itself into a mobility solutions provider.</p> <p>This transformation is exemplified through its "one-stop mobility app" dubbed <a href="https://www.fordpass.com">FordPass</a>. </p> <p>Launched in 2016, FordPass helps users with numerous mobility tasks. It can help users find and pay for parking and locate gas stations based on their preferences. It allows Ford owners to access vehicle information, including their service history, and configure alerts and service reminders.</p> <p>Owners of Ford vehicles with SYNC Connect technology can use the FordPass app to remotely access information about their car, such as fuel level, and unlock the car and start it. It's even possible to schedule the vehicle to start ahead of time.</p> <p>To encourage use, Ford has even added gamification to FordPass. Users can unlock badges if they make Ford a part of their journeys and earn the ability to enter sweepstakes through a feature called FordPass Perks. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9591/Perks_HalfDash.png" alt="" width="236" height="260"></p> <p><a href="https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/01/11/making-of-fordpass.html">According to</a> Ford, the "reimagined customer experience" FordPass represents took 18 months to bring to fruition and, while the offering is still evolving, it is a good example of how automakers are increasingly having to look beyond manufacturing and selling cars to stay relevant with consumers today.</p> <h3>Hyundai is trying to create "the Amazon experience" for car buyers</h3> <p>After studying used car dealers and online retailers including Amazon, Korean automaker Hyundai <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-10/hyundai-mounts-charm-offensive-at-dealerships-to-stem-u-s-slump">this week announced</a> a new program called Shopper Assurance that will add pricing transparency and allow buyers to handle most of the purchase process – such as calculating the value of a trade-in and completing a loan application – online before they come in to a dealership.</p> <p>For added convenience, Hyundai is giving potential buyers the ability to schedule test drives at their home or work and to give buyers peace of mind, it is offering a three-day buyback period in which a customer can return the car he or she bought for a full refund provided that it has been driven less than 300 miles. In other words, returning a new Hyundai won't be all that different from returning a pair of jeans that didn't fit.</p> <p>According to Hyundai Motor America's CMO Dean Evans, the goal is to bring "the Amazon experience" to car buying. "I don’t have to tell you we’re undergoing a paradigm shift when it comes to how people are buying cars," he stated at a press conference.</p> <p>While automakers like Hyundai will obviously have to manufacture car models consumers want to buy, there's no doubt that the purchase is now an important part of the overall customer experience – one that can't be overlooked.</p> <h3>Porsche Passport could make dreams come true</h3> <p>Did you dream of owning a garage full of exotic sports cars as a kid? Most of the people who have will never realize that dream, but Porsche might soon offer affluent consumers a consolation prize.</p> <p><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-10/drivers-to-summon-porsches-with-new-2-000-a-month-subscriptions">As detailed by</a> Bloomberg, the storied automaker is piloting an app-based subscription service called Porsche Passport that allows subscribers to drive a Porsche model of their choice on demand. For $2,000/month, subscribers can drive a 718 Boxster, Cayman S, Macan S or Cayenne. For $3,000/month, they can select from 22 Porsche models.</p> <p>Subscribers can hop in and out of models at their convenience, making it possible to, say, hop into a new Porsche every week. The subscription fee covers registration, insurance and maintenance costs; subscribers are responsible for gas.</p> <p>Porsche Passport is similar in nature to a subscription service Cadillac launched earlier this year. Dubbed <a href="http://media.cadillac.com/media/us/en/cadillac/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2017/jan/0105-cadillac-book.html">BOOK by Cadillac</a>, that service gives subscribers on-demand access to a fleet of Cadillacs for $1,500 per month.</p> <p>According to Klaus Zellmer, Porsche's North American president, Porsche Passport is targeting younger consumers who have the cash to drive a Porsche but might not be willing to buy one outright. "We now have millennials who are incredibly successful and have the financial power to own a Porsche, but might not be willing to own a Porsche today," he told Bloomberg.</p> <p>Zellmer said he expects the program to help sales, "especially in the mid and long term", and if that comes to pass, expect to see other automakers launch similar offerings, proving that there are fewer and fewer products for which a subscription model can't be applied. </p> <h3>Tesla is revolutionizing the way cars are serviced</h3> <p>It's hard to talk about customer experience innovation in the auto industry without mentioning Tesla. The electric vehicle upstart has built an enviable following that many established automakers would die for and it has done that by innovating the customer experience in numerous ways.</p> <p>While one could look at the purchase process – Tesla has convinced hundreds of thousands of consumers to pre-order its new Model 3 – Tesla's customer experience innovation is perhaps most notable when it comes to what happens <em>after</em> customers have their cars. </p> <p>Tesla models are truly connected cars and the company boasts that "90% of issues can be identified from a customer's garage." When service is needed, Tesla has built a service network that is capable of sending mobile technicians to customers. For issues that require a customer to bring a car into a Tesla service center, customers will soon be able to schedule an appointment directly through their car's console.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The future of Tesla service <a href="https://t.co/lWx0rDr4Ix">pic.twitter.com/lWx0rDr4Ix</a></p> — Tesla (@Tesla) <a href="https://twitter.com/Tesla/status/884759299028697089?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 11, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>What's more, Tesla has pioneered over-the-air (OTA) software updates that can literally "upgrade" cars in an instant. Some of the upgrades are relatively simple and relate software accessed via the car's console, but OTA updates have been used to deliver a new Auto High Beam feature and <a href="http://fortune.com/2017/03/29/tesla-software-autopilot/">Tesla's Autopilot 2.0 functionality</a>.</p> <p>Because Tesla can add significant capabilities to existing cars without any physical modification, essentially giving Tesla owners a continuously improving car, one analyst <a href="https://electrek.co/2017/07/19/tesla-software-updates-vs-auto-industry/">has suggested</a> that other automakers are "highly vulnerable to obsolescence" if they don't catch up and embrace OTA updates themselves.</p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67700-what-can-automotive-brands-learn-from-the-tesla-website/"><em>What can automotive brands learn from the Tesla website?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69321-with-peugeot-now-selling-cars-online-how-is-retail-influencing-automotive"><em>With Peugeot now selling cars online, how is retail influencing automotive?</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69468 2017-10-04T16:06:36+01:00 2017-10-04T16:06:36+01:00 Introducing the Modern Marketing Model (M3) Ashley Friedlein <p>Alongside this need for a new framework, there are new requirements for marketing competencies and capabilities around domains of expertise like data and analytics, customer experience, content, multichannel, and personalisation, which are neither properly understood nor being met. This is acknowledged in the marketing industry but not reflected in any definitive model.</p> <p>Due to these changes, and the rise of digital, the marketing function is going through an existential crisis: it is not clear on its own remit, it does not know what skills it needs nor how to organise itself and it struggles to resolve a dislocation not only in how it interacts with other business functions but within itself with ‘digital’ vs ‘traditional’ schisms.</p> <p>In <a href="https://hbr.org/2017/07/the-trouble-with-cmos">The Trouble with CMOs</a>, recently published in the Harvard Business Review, we are reminded that CMOs have the highest turnover in the C-suite. They are in office for an average 4.1 years, compared to eight years for a chief executive, according to <a href="http://www.kornferry.com/press/age-and-tenure-in-the-c-suite-korn-ferry-institute-study-reveals-trends-by-title-and-industry/">Korn Ferry</a> analysis.</p> <p>The relationship between the CEO and CMO is also troubled. <a href="https://www.fournaisegroup.com/ceos-do-not-trust-marketers/">A global survey</a> by the Fournaise Marketing Group in 2012 set out the scale of the problem, revealing that 80% of CEOs do not trust, or are unimpressed with, their CMOs.</p> <p>Why do marketing leaders have such short average tenures in their jobs? Because of poor job design resulting from confusion around what marketing actually does.</p> <h3>The Modern Marketing Model (M3)</h3> <p>There are serious repercussions if we cannot define and agree on a a fresh start, a new paradigm. This is why the <a href="http://m3.econsultancy.com/">Modern Marketing Model (M3)</a> was developed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9335/Modern-marketing-model-uai-1440x1440.jpg" alt="Modern Marketing Model M3" width="615"></p> <p><em>The Modern Marketing Model (M3)</em></p> <p>Without a clear reference like M3 to help clarify an organisation’s expectations of what the marketing function does, we will continue to see turmoil that is damaging value.</p> <p>If we cannot reconcile digital and classic marketing, then we will see further organisational silos, duplicated work and a lack of clarity and focus around roles and responsibilities which leads to inefficiency, frustration and bickering. Opportunities are missed and the growth that marketing, and the business, wants to deliver will by stymied.</p> <p>For academia and providers of marketing education, it is important that what they teach is relevant and current with what the marketing industry and employing organisations require from their teams. We must encourage educators to update their courses and curricula with reference to a model like M3. </p> <p>The diagrams below outline how popular marketing models have evolved over the last 60 years, culminating in the 10 elements of the Modern Marketing Model (M3) which we then show broken down into four stages: strategy, analysis, planning, execution.</p> <p><em><strong>(Click to enlarge)</strong></em></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9337/Historic-marketing-models-and-the-new-M3-approach-uai-1440x963.jpg"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9337/Historic-marketing-models-and-the-new-M3-approach-uai-1440x963.jpg" alt="" width="615"></a></p> <p><em>The evolution of the marketing model</em></p> <p><strong><em>(Click to enlarge)</em></strong></p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9338/Modern-marketing-model-competencies-uai-1440x1110.jpg"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9338/Modern-marketing-model-competencies-uai-1440x1110.jpg" alt="" width="615"></a></p> <p><em>Competencies and capabilities aligned to M3 elements</em></p> <p>In creating M3 we have not sought to create a brand new intellectual and conceptual vision of marketing processes or terminology. We believe this is not required and risks being difficult to understand and disconnected from marketing professionals’ real world. Rather we seek to clarify, structure, and make more consistent what are currently different dimensions and evolutions that we feel need to be brought together in a contemporary and holistic view.</p> <p>There are many elements where the tactical and executional opportunities may have changed, largely because of digital, but which do not need renaming for the sake of it. Conceptually they are still valid and based on robust and enduring data, research and best practice. These elements include: marketing strategy, market orientation, customer insight, brand, segmentation, targeting, positioning and promotion. Even the change from ‘Place’ to ‘Distribution’ is slight. </p> <p>Removing ‘Price’ as a core element will no doubt excite debate. In our experience price is rarely under the direct remit of the marketing function, except perhaps in FMCG businesses. Price is also still covered under other areas like “Brand &amp; Value” and “Marketing Strategy”. </p> <p>We have changed “Product” to “Customer Experience &amp; Content” which may also be controversial. Our new description still covers classic product, or service, development and innovation but ‘Customer Experience’ is deliberately broader than just ‘product’ and covers services as well as the customer journey and experience around the product itself. ‘Content’ recognises the importance of content marketing to support the customer journey.</p> <p>“Data &amp; Measurement” is the only completely new element added. We believe data is now a marketing asset in itself (e.g. metadata, schemas) so needs to be considered part of the marketing mix. We now market to machines with data as well as to people. Marketing also now has more dedicated roles and capabilities around data, analytics, measurement and optimisation and these need to be a distinct domain of marketing competence.</p> <p>In 2013, I helped develop the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62668-our-modern-marketing-manifesto-will-you-sign">Modern Marketing Manifesto</a>, an articulation of our beliefs that the marketing discipline should embrace digital and classic marketing. The Modern Marketing Model (M3) now creates a new framework for applying this thinking within organisations. </p> <p>The Modern Marketing Model is a unifying force which fuses digital and classic marketing into one future-facing framework. This informs marketing’s remit, required competencies and organisational design. </p> <p>M3 defines marketing in the digital age.</p> <p><em>View the <a href="http://m3.econsultancy.com/">Modern Marketing Model (M3) and download your own copy</a></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69453 2017-09-28T12:00:00+01:00 2017-09-28T12:00:00+01:00 Choosing a hosted ecommerce platform: A guide to the alternatives to Magento 2 Dan Conboy <p>Magento 1’s end-of-life has been in the pipeline for a while now, and even though Magento recently set back the eventual end-of-life date from November 2018, most merchants will eventually have to update their store.</p> <p>After the end-of-life date, Magento will release no further security patches for the platform, meaning there’s no guarantee Magento 1 will remain secure and stable. Magento 1 merchants will have to replatform to either Magento 2, or replatform to another ecommerce platform altogether. Risking staying on an unsupported Magento 1 is almost certainly not a good idea given the security risks this poses for companies and consumers.</p> <p>While opting to switch to Magento 2 may seem like the obvious option, this still involves a full replatforming project rather than just a simple upgrade. This is where hosted ecommerce comes in as a possible alternative. </p> <p><em>To improve your own skills in this area, check out Econsultancy's range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/ecommerce/">ecommerce training courses</a>.</em></p> <h3>So why hosted ecommerce?</h3> <p>A hosted ecommerce platform differs from self-hosted platforms like Magento in that everything from hosting to security updates are taken care of by the platform, and is usually bundled together in a monthly subscription package. </p> <p>Hosted ecommerce platforms have developed in leaps and bounds over recent years which has prompted a significant increase in their adoption amongst growing online brands, with platforms like Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware) and BigCommerce growing their market share.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9207/ecomplatforms.png" alt="ecom market share" width="615"></p> <p><em>Ecommerce technology usage statistics (Source: BuiltWith)</em> </p> <h3>So why would you choose hosted ecommerce over Magento?</h3> <h4>Automatic Updates</h4> <p>Merchants on self-hosted platforms may be familiar with the risks that accompany updates and patches. With a hosted platform, all updates occur automatically and are applied by the platform, often simultaneously to all stores.</p> <p>A hosted platform means there’s significantly lower risk of your store’s functionality breaking with each update.</p> <h4>Scalability</h4> <p>The advantage of a monthly subscription package is that scaling your store up as you grow is usually as simple as upgrading your package. Hosted platforms will also automatically scale up your hosting to deal with demand, removing worries over coping with spikes. </p> <p>Flash sales and key seasonal events like Black Friday are a key part of today’s online retailing environment, but this can place pressure and expense on IT and hosting teams to ensure sites remain available during such high periods of demand.  </p> <p>Hosted ecommerce can take away this burden, allowing brands to focus more on sales and marketing. Shopify, for example, handles the huge traffic spikes of reality star Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics brand without a problem.</p> <p>Scaling up your store used to be a complex task, but a hosted platform puts advanced features and capabilities just a click away.</p> <h4>Security</h4> <p>Security is one of the biggest concerns for every ecommerce store owner. A data breach is disastrous from both a legal and brand reputation perspective. Just as hosted platforms take care of hosting, they also take care of a high proportion of security considerations. </p> <p>A hosted ecommerce package usually includes an SSL certificate and is usually level-1 <a href="http://www.theukcardsassociation.org.uk/security/what_is_PCI%20DSS.asp">PCI DSS compliant</a>, taking any worries about security out of your hands. You don’t need to worry about the security of your customers’ card data with hosted ecommerce.</p> <p>Not only that, but the previously mentioned automatic updates mean every store stays secure, with the latest patches applied as soon as they’ve been developed. </p> <h4>Reliability</h4> <p>Magento 2 is a new platform. While new platforms do make improvements in reliability and stability as they become more popular, there is a period of time before they’re fully stable. Existing hosted platforms have the advantage of having been established for many years already.</p> <p>Popular hosted platforms are now tried, tested and more than capable of dealing with stresses like demand spikes.</p> <h4>Access to the latest features</h4> <p>Really want to add a cutting edge feature like Apple Pay to your store? You’ll find that hosted ecommerce platforms make these kind of features available to every single one of their merchants very quickly.</p> <p>While implementing the latest features can be complicated and expensive on a platform like Magento, with a hosted ecommerce platform you could find access to the latest technologies much more readily accessible.  </p> <h3>Assessing the options</h3> <p>So if you’re seriously considering a hosted ecommerce platform as an alternative to your Magento replatform, what options are out there?</p> <p>Since Magento 1 originally launched in 2008, hosted platforms have come from nothing to being some of the most popular choices among ecommerce businesses both large and small. There are plenty of hosted ecommerce providers available, but here are three of the most popular. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/9222/shopify-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="shopify" width="300"></p> <p>Shopify is one of the market leaders when it comes to hosted ecommerce, with 35% of the market share. The platform powers over 500,000 businesses worldwide, and has gone from being the go-to option for small businesses to the powerhouse platform of choice for major brands from Tesla to Kylie Jenner. </p> <p>A recent survey of merchants by Fuel showed that 35% of the highest performing merchants used Shopify, and rapid innovation has made it a powerful choice for merchants large and small. </p> <p>Shopify subscriptions run from $29 to $299 per month depending on your need for advanced features, with unlimited products and storage provided on every package. For high growth stores, the enterprise level option, Shopify Plus, is also gaining a lot of momentum, attracting big brands and celebrities like Red Bull and Adele. </p> <h4>Pros of Shopify</h4> <p>One of Shopify’s key advantages is its app ecosystem. Just as Magento stores can be enhanced with extensions, a Shopify store can add extra functionality through apps. The difference is that every app in the Shopify app store has been checked and approved by Shopify, meaning it should work seamlessly with any site. </p> <p>Shopify makes adding everything from a loyalty scheme to an integrated Instagram feed simple.</p> <p>Another virtue of Shopify is its user interface. This simple interface is part of the reason Shopify was originally so popular with small businesses, but it still retains the same ease of use for larger and enterprise level merchants as well. </p> <p>Shopify’s huge user base also means there’s a vast community of merchants and developers ready to tackle any issues you may have, all backed up by Shopify’s own 24/7 support team.</p> <p>Finally, Shopify offers great flexibility when it comes to design, offering a wide selection of high quality themes for lower budgets, or the option to design a custom store from scratch for those willing to use the services of a developer. </p> <h4>Cons of Shopify</h4> <p>As of writing, Shopify’s shipping rate customisation and delivery options can be limited, unless you’re on one of its higher packages with the real-time shipping calculator functionality. </p> <p>While the ability to create discounts and offers is available to every merchant out of the box, the flexibility of the discounts you can create can be limited. Merchants looking for the option to create more complex discounts, particularly automated discounting, will probably have to opt for an app or upgrade to Shopify Plus which provides much greater flexibility.</p> <p>Shopify’s checkout process has limited levels of configuration, something that some brands may be averse to – but again, this is solved through the Shopify Plus option which offers a fully customised checkout experience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9223/sf.jpg" alt="salesforce commerce cloud" width="400"></p> <p>Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware) has been a popular hosted ecommerce choice for years now. Big brands like <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69401-how-lush-delights-customers-with-brand-marketing-strong-values-and-digital-innovation">LUSH</a> and Adidas can be found here thanks to the platform’s scalability and proficiency in handling high volume stores across the globe.</p> <p>Salesforce Commerce Cloud is targeted at high growth and high volume merchants, putting it in direct competition with Magento Enterprise as a viable hosted alternative.</p> <h4>Pros of Salesforce Commerce Cloud</h4> <p>Where Salesforce Commerce Cloud really comes into its own is speed to market and scalability on a global scale. This is not just a hosted solution, but one that enables retailers to actively trade through <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69431-how-machine-learning-can-set-fashion-ecommerce-strategy-product-assortment">machine learning</a> personalisation. The platform comes equipped with “Predictive Intelligence” and “Active Merchandising” features that focus on customer behaviour which creates highly targeted customer journeys. </p> <p>While other platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce can also offer these features through integrations, Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers them in one packaged solution.</p> <p>With eight to 10 seamless platform releases a year, Salesforce Commerce Cloud constantly enhances the solution on not just performance, but on customer behaviour and conversion.</p> <p>Salesforce Commerce Cloud also makes for a tested and reliable platform when it comes to dealing with high volumes of traffic. Demandware has proven to be scalable and sturdy over the years, and you’ll also find 24/7 support from their dedicated service team.</p> <h4>Cons of Salesforce Commerce Cloud</h4> <p>As mentioned, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is focused on scaling businesses rapidly to a global scale, so smaller merchants in their early stages of ecommerce would not be a suitable fit. </p> <p>Salesforce Commerce Cloud also has a much smaller community of developers than Shopify has, for example, meaning finding a developer may be more difficult.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/9224/bigc-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="bigcommerce logo" width="400"></p> <p>Like Shopify, BigCommerce has also come into its own over recent years. It now supports stores as diverse as Avery Dennison and the Carolina Panthers.</p> <p>BigCommerce has processed over $8bn in revenue from its merchants, making it a well tested and stable hosted platform. BigCommerce has become a popular choice for brands, and a great alternative to Shopify. </p> <p>Similar to Shopify’s pricing, a BigCommerce store will cost between $29.95 to $249.99 per month, with an enterprise level tier also available. </p> <h4>Pros of BigCommerce</h4> <p>BigCommerce offers some more great functionality out of the box. Features like built-in real-time shipping rates and basic email marketing are available as standard for BigCommerce merchants, something that may be attractive to smaller businesses. </p> <p>It also allows a greater level of customisation without having to resort to using apps. Something that the more technically capable store owner may prefer. While Shopify tends to rely more on apps to enhance the functionality of stores, BigCommerce focuses slightly more on customising the core storefront.</p> <p>BigCommerce also offers automatic inventory syncing between your store and marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, making selling across multiple locations a little easier for BigCommerce merchants out of the box.</p> <p>Like Shopify, BigCommerce also comes equipped with an app store that should give store owners every opportunity to extend their store with everything from advanced inventory management to upselling tools.</p> <h4>Cons of BigCommerce</h4> <p>While there may be greater customisation options, BigCommerce’s smaller app store means there are fewer integration options and fewer possibilities for extending your store.</p> <p>You’ll also find a smaller selection of themes and a few less options when it comes to design. BigCommerce doesn’t quite have the same high quality themes available for those who don’t have the budget to design a totally custom store.</p> <h3>Enterprise Scalability</h3> <p>As I’ve mentioned above, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is an enterprise-level platform for retailers generating significant revenue, working with brands such as Bonmarche. As such it’s well placed to meet the demands of brands that are scaling their business for growth. </p> <p>Beyond their standard packages, both Shopify and BigCommerce also offer enterprise level solutions for larger stores, and unlike switching to Magento Enterprise, upgrading to a hosted enterprise platform is as simple as the click of a button and perhaps a 10-minute waiting time.</p> <p>Moving up to Shopify Plus or BigCommerce Enterprise also gives store owners access to even greater customisation, as well as enterprise level security and hosting. In the case of Shopify, you’ll also be provided with a dedicated account manager tasked with advising and helping to grow your business.</p> <p>A hosted platform like Shopify or BigCommerce makes scaling a growing ecommerce business much simpler, and one excellent illustration of this is the story of Gymshark…</p> <h4>The Gymshark Story</h4> <p>Gymshark is a £26m ecommerce business that operates on Shopify Plus. The business started out on Shopify’s standard platform, but with no enterprise level variant at the time, it outgrew the platform and decided to move to Magento. This site took 6-8 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars to build, leaving Gymshark with a finished Magento site the business had already outgrown. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9208/gymshark.jpg" alt="gymshark" width="615"> </p> <p>The worst though, was yet to come. Gymshark’s new Magento store failed when the pressure was really on. The site was down for eight hours on Black Friday 2015, costing the company over £100,000 and significant reputational damage. </p> <p>Ten months after moving to Magento, Gymshark switched back to Shopify.</p> <p>Gymshark thought what many fast growing merchants think, that a flexible self hosted platform is the best option. In reality, a hosted platform ended up being the more scalable, flexible and stable choice for this particular brand.</p> <h3>When should you act?</h3> <p>Whether you prefer the benefits of choosing a hosted ecommerce platform over a Magento 2 replatform or not, the time to act is undoubtedly now.</p> <p>The closer we get towards Magento 1’s end-of-life, the more difficult it will become to find a great developer for your replatforming project – their calendars will fill up quickly. Avoiding key trading periods like Christmas is also an important consideration if you’re to make the switch away from Magento 1. </p> <p>Now that there’s no definitive date for Magento 1’s end-of-life, waiting will only lead to uncertainty so it’s much better to make a decision now, whatever that decision may be.</p> <p>Of course, switching to Magento 2 will be the right option for some businesses, but certainly not for all. Take time to look at the alternatives out there and see if one may be a better fit for your ecommerce business.</p> <p>Hosted platforms like Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and BigCommerce are powerful, reliable and modern. Choosing hosted ecommerce could make a real difference, both in terms of cost but also in terms of enabling merchants to focus on sales and growth, rather than IT and infrastructure.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69262-shopify-plus-review-a-look-at-the-ecommerce-platform-s-pros-and-cons"><em>Shopify Plus review: a look at the ecommerce platform's pros and cons</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69059-preparing-for-a-magento-1-to-magento-2-migration"><em>Preparing for a Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69451 2017-09-27T11:01:00+01:00 2017-09-27T11:01:00+01:00 Twitter is testing longer tweets: The pros and cons Patricio Robles <p>In its announcement, Twitter revealed that 9% of English tweets hit the 140-character limit and according to Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen, “our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English.”</p> <p>As Twitter seeks to find a way to restart its growth engine and better compete with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, the company appears to be focusing in on this apparent source of frustration.</p> <p>While the expanded character limit is just a limited test for now, here's what marketers should be considering given the possibility that this change will be made permanent and rolled out to all users.</p> <h3>The good</h3> <p>It's hard to craft effective messages in 140 characters, and while marketers have proven over the years that it can be done, in theory, a 280-character limit will give marketers more flexibility and make it easier for them to craft still-brief but clearer messages that resonate with Twitter users. </p> <p>For that reason, many marketers are already excited about the prospect of a 280-character limit.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">To my fellow CDN marketers who've struggled with EN /FR character limitations on Twitter. Finally!! <a href="https://t.co/zFy4FWgWHY">https://t.co/zFy4FWgWHY</a></p> — Julia Kassam (@jccflys) <a href="https://twitter.com/jccflys/status/912881031652544512">September 27, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Additionally, if Twitter is right and an increased character limit can broaden Twitter's appeal and increase engagement, marketers active on Twitter will obviously benefit. Right now, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67496-what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-twitter">Twitter's languishing growth and the uncertainty of its future</a> in the market is a drag on marketers, particularly those that have invested heavily in the platform over the years while upstarts like Snapchat rose up and eclipsed it.</p> <h3>The bad</h3> <p>Despite the fact that a 280-character limit would give marketers greater flexibility, after years of building messages around the 140-character limit, it will also require them to rethink how they tweet.</p> <p>After all, just because marketers would have room to post longer messages doesn't mean that they'll make effective use of it. Attention spans are short and marketers won't be able to assume that Twitter users will read all 280 characters just because they're on the screen.</p> <p>Some users have suggested that instead of displaying all 280 characters, Twitter display a “read more” link on tweets above 140 characters in length. This is a reasonable suggestion, but for marketers to take real advantage of the extended tweet length they would still have to focus on creating a compelling message that's 140 characters in length. If they didn't, it's unlikely users would click on the “read more” link to expand their longer tweets.</p> <p>Bottom line: even with a 280-character limit, marketers are going to have to work hard to cut through the clutter and it's plausible that a longer character limit will make it even harder to do that.</p> <h3>The ugly</h3> <p>Twitter will no doubt be closely monitoring how users respond to its 280-character limit test and only roll it out broadly if it sees evidence that it will benefit the platform. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for error because what Twitter thinks will benefit the platform might not be what other stakeholders believe will benefit the platform.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We expected (and !) all the snark &amp; critique for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/280characters?src=hash">#280characters</a>. Comes with the job. What matters now is we clearly show why this change is important, and prove to you all it’s better. Give us some time to learn and confirm (or challenge!) our ideas. <a href="https://t.co/qJrzzIluMw">https://t.co/qJrzzIluMw</a></p> — jack (@jack) <a href="https://twitter.com/jack/status/912886007451676672">September 27, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Twitter users, particularly power users, have been notoriously resistant to change and this is one of the biggest changes that Twitter could make. Not surprisingly, some users are already expressing displeasure with the prospect of a 280-character limit.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">what makes twitter unique is that it understand that people have short attention spans and won't want to read more than 140 characters</p> — Lumi Is Precious (@RobynIsANinja) <a href="https://twitter.com/RobynIsANinja/status/912860688544092162">September 27, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>There are two worst case scenarios that marketers will have to keep an eye out for if Twitter rolls out an increased character limit broadly:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>It negatively impacts the platform.</strong> This could come in any number of forms. For example, an increased character limit could drive power users away. Or if it does broaden Twitter's appeal, marketers might find that the user base changes and the signal to noise ratio decreases.</li> <li> <strong>It does nothing.</strong> While the status quo might not seem so bad, if such a significant change fails to help Twitter increase user growth and engagement, it will be one of the strongest indicators yet that Twitter's long-term relevance is in doubt and that might hasten a marketer de-emphasis of the service.</li> </ul>