How Social Media Marketing Drives Sales

One of the biggest trends in the ever-changing world of digital is the acceleration in success of social media marketing. No matter who your target market is, many of your customers will have some sort of connection with social media. Social media is an increasingly important digital touch point for brands as the way in which consumers engage with businesses are changing. Today, your customers will not only use social media to stay up-to-date with a company’s latest news, but also as a platform to get in contact with customer support. Furthermore, building a large and engaged social media audience can also massively impact a brands bottom line. Studies show that customers that interact with your business over social media are 129% more likely to purchase. The experiences that customers obtain on social media, contribute to their brand associations of your company, therefore their willingness to purchase from you to become a repeat customer. Marketing on social media gives the impression that your business is present and making an impact which makes customer feel more connected to you as a company. So what benefits can a company expect to gain from marketing on social media? Benefits of social media for business:
  • Gaining customer insights –can be a way of generating new ideas for many businesses. This could be for new products or just a way of improving customer service, which will result in making better business decisions for a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Increases brand awareness and loyalty – many people are online to feel part of a community, which is something that will benefit companies. A customer, feeling involved and having a positive customer experience will encourage them to repeat their shopping habits with your brand, so creating customer loyalty.
  • Proving a better experience for your customers – customer service being executed correctly is key to a business. When online, having a quicker response time builds consumer confidence and the risk of losing customers.
  • Increase traffic and search ranking – Google now uses social signals to influence search rankings. By growing your social reach and posting relevant content that your audience share, you’ll boost your authority and drive more traffic to your site, either directly from your social media or through searches.
  • Share content faster – another great benefit of social media is that information can be posted to thousands of people with just one click of a button. It also keeps your customers informed at all times enabling them to feel involved.

Social Media Marketing and Sales

Social Media Marketing Studies show that for sales, social media acts as a powerful tool. Which is no surprise when most adults between the ages of 18 and 34 state they are more likely to follow a brand via social media than any other source. For example; with Facebook, highly targeted advertising has become increasingly popular, as adverts appear based on a user’s likes, interests, demographics and more. In fact, studies show that 85% of all orders from social media came from Facebook. Advertising within a large social media site such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram gives your company exposure on a daily basis, which increases the likelihood of sales. This is one of the biggest changes to be seen from social media as many consumers follow brands to see what’s new. A survey from Aimia found that 56% of consumers said they follow brands on social media to browse their products and 31% use it specifically to find new items to purchase. One of the main things that businesses should be taking advantage of on their social media sites is making it easier for consumers to access the web page or app directly from a social media post. This way if consumers see something that they want to purchase it is much easier for them to buy it and this can also encourage impulse purchasing. Here are some more ways of increasing sales volume from your social media marketing accounts:
  • Choose the right social media marketing network – your target market and business will determine what social media channels are relevant to your brand. Examples for this could be on Instagram, clothing brands thrive by sharing high quality images of their clothing and latest fashion trends.
  • Follow the correct users – by doing this you wont be wasting time with consumers that aren’t interested
  • Contribute to discussions about your brand – to add value to your business, it is important to respond to your customers. Also it gives the business a chance to get their name out there multiple times.
It’s fair to say that the power of social media and your brand’s bottom line should never be underestimated. With 1.65 billion active mobile social media accounts globally and a further 1 million being added everyday it highlights the endless opportunities available to expand your footprint. Sign up to our newsletter below to receive our latest news and insider tips, to help your business thrive in today’s digital arena. If you would like to learn more about our digital marketing services, call our friendly team on 01604 696385 or email info@star-digital.co.uk.

Web Design Trends for Ecommerce in 2017

Designing the perfect shopping experience for ecommerce websites requires creativity, ingenuity, and a deep level of understanding of consumer buying behaviour. Our digital design guru, shares his thoughts on today’s web design trends for ecommerce. Applying the latest design trends to e-commerce can be tricky and a topic that divides opinions industry-wide. Although minimalism, sleek UI and limited content are all the rage in some of today’s digital projects, they may not be as effective for ecommerce. Therefore, certain design rules should be carefully considered and tested, to ensure you provide your customers with an enjoyable and user friendly shopping experience. Digital design is constantly evolving. However, here’s the web design trends that are predicted to take off massively in the e-commerce world this year.

Styling & The Extra Details

Styling and a focus on the ‘extra details’ allows an e-commerce site to stand out against its competitors. Suitable consideration for design elements such as use of space, original artwork, smart implementation of typography, and micro animation effects are very important. These can be highly effective tools to make the user want to engage with the site, explore and return. It’s important for e-commerce sites to also consider smaller additional details, such as telling a user if products are in stock, what styles/colors are available, product filters and easy access checkout.

Original Photography & Personalised Artwork

Photography will always be an important tool within web design. However, in today’s climate, brands want to see originality and authenticity over generically staged stock photos. Large, well considered hero images are appearing more and more on e-commerce sites to help sell the brand and products. The other road that creatives will look to explore is the use of personalised illustrations. They can be versatile visuals that are playful and friendly but easily represent the tone of a brand. Although this approach is not seen as much within e-commerce, there is potential for this medium to transfer across in time. Dropbox isn’t you’re a-typical ecommerce site but its use of personalised illustrations is a prime example of unique brand engagement. Bespoke Illustration Example Image Source: Dropbox

Large Typography

The use of large and decorative typefaces combined with simplistic forms allows a designer to control space and a reader’s attention. An engaging way to invite a user to find out more about a product or brand.

Brighter Colours

Appearing more and more in web design trends, expect the application of bold colours to transfer over to e-commerce sites in due course, as gradients and bright colours are used to create effect and appeal. Colour can be a friendly yet edgy way to keep a user engaged with what they are seeing.

Micro Animations

Micro Animations have started to appear across a broad spectrum of web design. So, expect them to start appearing on ecommerce sites, especially homepages and landing pages where grabbing a user’s attention is key. They help call attention to important CTA’s, encouraging user to travel down specific journeys, such as promoting the brands newest products. A great example of this is protest.eu, a sportswear brand who use subtle hover animation to encourage a user to view a product. Another great example of how micro-animations have been utilised in a fun and effective way, is the beloved stripe.com/gb, a fan favourite amongst many web designers. Protest.eu Image Source: protest.eu

Mobile First Approach

With an increase in web browsing and purchasing via their mobiles, it was inevitable that one day there would need to be a shift in design priority. Due to restrictive mobile screens, designers must focus more on the core content of a website and the key messages brands want to communicate to their consumers. This means stripping back the unnecessary elements that would usually appear on the desktop format. Designers must consider features such as large full width images, clear CTA’s, obvious and sensible icons and hidden menu navigations. Two examples of very different sites that have nailed the art of the mobile display are Skinny Ties and Etsy. The latter being the most considered design, as the level of products and their eclectic varieties needed to be clear and obvious to navigate. However, as most sites were desktop first it’s now a game of catch up for many brands, making sure they deliver the best mobile first experience. This is where deprecation of elements becomes the most important marketing and creative decisions to make. Some brands may even consider a full re-design in order to deliver what the consumer is demanding.

Minimal & Flat Design

Thanks to Google’s Material design concept, a lot of companies have adapted this idea using flat and minimal designs to help establish their brand identity. The use of flat colours and simplistic design is an effective way of applying the classic ‘Say more with less’ approach. Minimalism is a great way for brands to focus their sites on an uncluttered user experience, allowing a customer to interact with their site more instinctively. Many e-commerce sites are now picking up this trend, especially within fashion, where the focus is purely on the product and making it easier for a customer to find what they need quickly. An obvious example of this is the e-commerce giant ASOS. Their clean and clear creative allows a user to navigate easily through the site without any unnecessary distractions. asos.com Image Source: asos.com With a shift in browsing patterns and priorities, it’s more important than ever to nail the UX journeys a consumer will take. The demand for speed and ease is top of the list, with the following concepts up for consideration:

Personalisation

This would start as something simple like a personalised welcome message but then become more complex such as recommended products based on the users browsing history. Although possibly considered intrusive, it creates a time saving experience for a user. There is no one who nails this better than Amazon who’s main focus is upselling as many products as possible. Personalisation Example

Fewer Menu Options & Time Saving

 This was a concept that started to develop in 2016 and is likely to continue in 2017. Due to increased demand of speed and ease, quicker navigation menus are required to improve the user journey. This may result in sites shifting their focus to advanced product level filtering, allowing UX to be intuitive and interactive, ultimately saving users time. This concept is often seen on designs based on the user taking actions one step at a time.

Experimental takes on traditional UX

This is all about standing out against your competition without losing the familiar functionalities of an e-commerce site. The skill here is coming up with something creative and unique that appeals to the target market. Some of the more contemporary and younger brands are stepping away from the traditional e-commerce vibe and trying something more experimental. These sites will still include your classic elements like photo carousels and minimal navigation menus, just treated in a new way. Adam Underwear is a prime example of a brand who have embraced an experimental design but based it purely on their younger audience which is why it works so well. Traditional UXImage Source: adamunderwear.com

Key Takeaways

Only some of the design trends for 2017 have been touched on here. There are many more out there that are up for deliberation, but ultimately only time will tell as to which trends will successfully transfer over into the e-commerce world and which ones will die off. It is, however, clear to see that UX journeys will shift to a mobile first lead approach with an increased focus on time saving navigation and ease of use. Web designers will need to become more creative with their approaches, considering many factors to deliver this ultimate e-commerce experience. If you would like to learn more about our ecommerce design services, call our friendly team on 01604 696385 or email info@star-digital.co.uk Sign up to our newsletter below, to stay up-to-date with all our latest news.

Art Dealers: A Lesson in Online Customer Experience

The online world has opened the art market up to a universal audience. So, how will traditional art auctioneers win the war against a rising band of young and trendy start-ups to a gain a piece of the art industry pie estimated to be worth $9.58 billon by 2020? There will be many factors that influence the race, not least the crucial aspect of online customer experience. This is equally important to both traditional art buyers braving the online world and the new millennial audience keen to start their collections. So how can these art institutions target both audiences and deliver a premium experience that convinces each group to purchase art online? Simply put, art buying online can be intimidating for first time buyers and seasoned art collectors alike.  A smooth, simple customer experience can allay those fears and reduce the perceived risk for all buyer audiences. What are the concerns of buying art online and how can the experience be optimised? 1. Lack of physical inspection. For both new and traditional buyers alike, the want to justify purchases by ensuring their artwork is authentic and in the condition they expect is hindered by the lack of a physical inspection. According to the Hiscox Art Trade Report 2017, this is the single biggest barrier facing the industry’s move online, with 80% of art buyers concerned that artwork may not look the same as the digital image. The ability to zoom right in to the artwork to see the piece’s condition needs to be available, alongside a range of photos and angles. Potential buyers will want to see as much detail as possible, and request further condition reports easily. A powerful presentation layer can help the prospective buyer to decide whether to buy online, or make the journey to see the item prior. Either way, the online experience is key in supporting those decisions. Art2arts.co.uk does this well, with many different images available of the artwork and a zoom function so potential buyers can inspect further.   art2arts inspection tools 2. Relevant and accessible information. Much like the need to closely inspect items, art buyers want context and further information around the piece and its artist, especially if collecting art as an investment. 79% of the respondents in the Hiscox Art Survey suggested they want further background information on the art. Sites like Artfinder.com use the description written by the artist and have extensive artist profiles, allowing buyers to fully engage and learn about the art they are interested in. Artist description no artfinder example artist profile Buyers also look for an educational experience according to the Hiscox report, with 52% attributing value to the educational aspect of buying art online. Riseart.co.uk take this a step further by offering guides on how to start collecting art online. Collecting art with Riseart 3. Price transparency 88% of art buyers told the Hiscox report that they want to see clear pricing when looking at art online – a point that has additional relevance when you consider that 79% of all online art sales are for less than $5000. Price segmentation and grouping will be important for online sellers and can be seen at riseart.com who have a collection for less than £500. This is designed to further derisk the sale proposition and provide their online store with some competitive differential. shopping by art collection 4. Returns 80% of hesitant art buyers want the option to review their purchase and if it’s not the right piece for them, to be able to return it. Art selling sites should follow best practice and display their return policies clearly, clients like to feel that they can trust the dealer and this goes a long way in the online marketplace. The more robust and longer the policy, the more trust it will invoke. return policy from Saatchi Art 5. Human interaction Buyers are still looking to interact with experts before finalising their art buying decisions. According to the Hiscox art report, 73% of respondents still wanted the opportunity to talk decisions through. Saatchiart.com build this element into their offering from the homepage, offering visitors the opportunity to find art with the free help of a dedicated curator. Online condition report requests and chat features can also go a long way to assist users in this direction as well. Art Advisory service example 6. Customer Reviews 65% of those asked by the Hiscox survey said they would consider buying art from reading customer reviews of the selling website. artgallery.co.uk use customer reviews well, with a dedicated page on the website listing reviews and prominently displaying their reviews across the site. Asking a customer to leave an online review forms part of your feedback marketing, allowing you to engage with the customer post purchase. reviews of an art seller 7. Visual experience Art buyers are looking for a website to be visually compelling, logical and easy to navigate. Art galleries are arranged in such a way as to lead the eye on a journey and the online world needs to follow suit to entice buyers. Art.com have even tried to bring an art gallery look online with their top categories section. top art selling categories Art sellers need to walk a metaphorical tight rope when getting their online experiences right in order to maximise sales from traditional buyers who are used to visually attractive, physical experiences, and young inexperienced buyers who want to learn more and be reassured they are making the right decision. The Dealer Co initiative from Star Digital has been designed from the ground up to offer fine art dealers and galleries a robust, modern and inexpensive solution to display their products online, process condition report requests, take orders and curate sales without the need for any technical knowledge. Our digital commerce experts are on hand to provide further information or run an online demo. Call us on 01604 696385 for a quick overview or email info@star-digital.co.uk to find out more.