Seeing a path to better revenues, and being a better business
By now every growing e-commerce entity has figured out the critical role social media plays in their business. It’s become a household pastime; a venue for people from all demographics who are connecting with the world through computers and devices.
The opportunities for marketing and branding are rich. And increasingly, the picture has become much rosier. Research conducted in 2018 showed that social media users made their most recent purchase directly through Facebook and their eBay Daily Deals. Facebook ran away with the biggest share of the pie, with Instagram coming in a close second.
Yet there is a demographic often left in the dust; one thought to be unable – disabled, as it were – to use social media.
That has changed. With technological developments in connectivity have come celebrated advances in bringing the Internet to people with varying degrees and types of disabilities. There are nearly 60 million of them in the U.S., and that number will grow as they age. They are players. They are shoppers. And they can be your best customers if given the chance.
Seeing Progress and Profits: Instagram Adds Feature to Aid the Visually ImpaireD
Accessibility. It’s not just an accommodation. It’s an underrated boon for business.
Social media app Instagram is keenly aware, and on the job. With the introduction of new features that simplify their site for visually impaired users, they join other big players in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, in expanding inclusivity.
How does this impact ecommerce merchants? The shopping public is reflective of overall demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 3 percent of all Americans aged 16 to 75 experience some level of significant visual impairment. That’s more than 7 million people.
Wouldn’t you like to make sure your goods and services are available to as many potential buyers as possible? Instagram thinks so.
Here’s how it works: Programmers employ object recognition technology to produce descriptions of images for screen readers, making it possible to actually hear lists of items contained in photos as you scroll through them. The feature operates when Feed, Explore, and Profile pages are accessed.
Beginning next week, we’re rolling out a multi-part series focusing on accessibility in social media and ecommerce.
Before we dive into some platform-specific issues and ideas, let’s talk a little bit about what is legally required. On social media? There really isn’t a requirement that your content be accessible. (Though we think it ought to be.)
But there are some requirements and guidelines for your website. According to the ADA and subsequent court findings, your website is required to be accessible to those with disabilities. And it makes good business sense – the easier your site is to use, the more likely you are to make a sale.
While there are no comprehensive federal regulations in terms of website accessibility, there is a great guideline – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 – and we think it's where you should start. Chances are high that if the federal government does come out with legislation or regulation, it's going to look like this.
Here’s a life hack for ecommerce merchants, and a cool development you won’t want to miss.
No, not the standard app you’ve been playing around with for a while, deciding whether it’s of value to you as an online seller. After all, it’s so, so graphical. Maybe too graphical. And personal. Isn’t this what millennials use to share selfies?
Not anymore. With the lion’s share of social media apps hungry to gain attention from businesses, Instagram has been paying apt attention. The ever-popular feature Instagram Stories quietly morphed into a tool for ecommerce in the fall of 2017, allowing businesses to tag product photos through “stickers” on their posts. Those stickers are active links to your site.
And in June of 2018, Instagram took to the video platform with IGTV, an app designed to animate social and business parallels.
It’s gone so well that Instagram is reported to be launching an app tailored for you, the merchant. And experienced users will get the hang of it in no time flat.
Consider this: More than 25 million businesses have existing Instagram accounts. Of those, 2 million are advertisers. The foundation is set for sales, and they have been happening. If you feel like you’re missing a golden opportunity, you may be right.
The numbers are in, somewhat. A recent survey showed that brands have reported an increase in site traffic of more than 1400 percent and a whopping 20 percent gain in sales. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
To no one’s surprise, potential hasn’t escaped third-party app developers. Ecommerce site Ecwid rolled out a transition app on its own. It’s pretty interesting. But conventional wisdom says they anticipated Instagram would seize on the opportunity to rebrand their name, and it appears they will.
What can go wrong when you celebrate a design-forward palette? Not much, according to Pantone LLC, an entity devoted to the wonderful world of color. Pantone shades appear as go-to matching guides for artists, interior designers, and just about everyone engaged in a pursuit of imagery.
For 2019, the nod goes to “Living Coral” as Pantone’s Color of the Year designation. And there are good reasons why.
First, it never hurts when old and new engender the same emotion. Coral is a fave; a mainstay from Mid-Century days among cutting edge designers. Its rich melon base with a spicy red ingredient woke up living rooms, apparel, and even some automobiles with warmth and pizzazz.
Living Coral emulates its ancestor, but adds in a pinkish tone that brightens. It offers golden undertones to embellish warm palettes. And it enlivens both infrastructure and accent décor with a personality all its own.
Coral’s origin is, of course, rooted in cold water ocean reef environments. Its heyday in wearability celebrated fashionable necklaces, bracelets, and rings. The substance comes in a variety of shades, but for consumer purposes, the melon-based hue is most popular.
Increasing your productivity is hard in today’s world of constant distractions. It’s easy to make excuses about lack of productivity, too – it’s too nice outside, a big game is on TV, the President just tweeted something provocative again, etc.
Of course, you’ve likely heard that good sleep, eating well, keeping hydrated, staying active, meditating and keeping positive are common methods for ramping up productivity.
Still, to truly be effective, you should have a set of actionable ways that you can implement starting today – though it might take diligence to turn them into habits that get results.
Put Down the Smartphone
The smartphone does wonders for communication, growing your network, and increasing business, but it can be a huge distraction. You can text, see social media notices, track emails, and access zillions of apps, most designed to distract, even those for business (here’s looking at you, Slack).
Here’s how to limit the temptations:
Erase Email Inefficiency
Emails are crucial to business and personal communication, no doubt. But inefficient use of email is a productivity killer. Learning to pay attention to the important ones (personally or professionally) and ignore the time-wasters is key to being more productive.
Emails can instill you with a reactive inclination if you’re constantly replying or answering, especially if it isn’t important. But being reactionary is an albatross. Consistently being proactive is the best way to raise your productivity.
So, here are several ways to reduce email anxiety:
Wishing everyone a very merry holiday season this year! May you find joy and laughter, enjoy time with friends and family, and embrace the coming new year.
Particles is taking a little holiday hiatus. We'll see you right back here on January 10th with brand new content!
I let the kids (well, teenagers, to be fair) put up the Christmas decorations this year. Scary? Yes. But they loved it and it turned out they did a really nice job. It’s turned into a welcomed update for our home. Not only that, it’s left empty the top of my sideboard in the dining room.
That can only mean one thing—it’s time to go shopping!
Browsing around got me thinking about exactly what I might want for that space, the vibe I wanted to create, the colors I wanted to use. Want I really wanted was to create a little vignette—a coordinated scene with pieces that fit together just right to tell a little story.
My dining room is lovely, but’s not the least bit formal. Despite that, I wanted something a little more upscale for this space. The kids are getting older, I’m worried much less about the breaking things, and my tastes have changed since we acquired the bulk of our holiday decor.
Optimizing for voice searches is a great new strategy
Let’s face it: Gen-Xers are masters at pounding out text, rapidly, on the tiniest of device keyboards. The rest of us stumble through frustrating errors, many of which launch hilarious misfires thanks to autocorrect. But there’s nothing silly about understanding that voice control will continue to permeate the computer use experience for all groups.
The mercurial rise of digital voice assistants on smartphones and—most recently, lovely Alexa from Amazon—is a good indicator that we’re moving into an era that is at least partly keystroke free. And why not? It’s quick, convenient, and increasingly accurate. What merchants are discovering is that it can also be profitable.
Think it’s a longshot? Fasten your seatbelt. OC&C Strategy Consultants recorded a month of sales rates for 2,000 Amazon-posted products, and found that voice-powered devices and products totaled $1.8 billion in domestic retail revenues in the year 2017. They predict that number will increase to $40 billion by 2022.
Big players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have jumped ahead of the game to integrate voice searching on their platforms. The most searched brands are ranked at the top for voice searches. Maintaining a presence on these seller sites, in conjunction with optimized voice search strategies, will put you far ahead of the game.
It’s easy to get stuck following the same tactics in social media marketing, particularly if one strategy has been lucrative or has grown your business exponentially. Amazingly, though, many social media “gurus” continue with campaigns that aren’t bringing in revenue.
While it’s important to keep up-to-date with new strategies and evolving techniques, it’s also important to ditch so-called “best practices” that aren’t delivering. Sometimes, it’s what you don’t do that contributes as much to your success as what you do do.