Posts categorized ‘ePublishing’
In 1867, Harper’s BAZAAR became America’s first fashion magazine. The magazine has now achieved another first with the launch of ShopBAZAAR, a breakthrough online store that allows the viewer to complete the purchase without leaving the magazine, closing the gap between seeing and buying. The readers, inspired by the items on display, can purchase in a fully integrated and seamless experience.
Unlike conventional ecommerce stores where business managers decide what to sell, the editors of ShopBAZAAR handpick items for sale. This brings to life an authentic content-to-commerce preposition, allowing viewers to experience special one-of-a kind products inspired by editorial features and enjoy contextual shopping experience to the fullest. ShopBAZAAR showcases about 1000-1500 products at any given time, with global brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, Salvatore Ferragamo, Derek Lam, Hirshleifers, Les Nouvelles, and Donna Karan Cosmetics.
In March this year, Harper’s BAZAAR embarked on a brand transformation exercise that started with a redesign and culminated in ShopBAZAAR. The BAZAAR Book app provides the monthly mag-alogue and the contextual shopping experience to iPad users. ShopBazaar.com also appears as a sub-domain of www.harpersbazaar.com, accessible as a “Shopping” tab on the home page. A tab on the Harper’s BAZAAR Facebook page takes the users directly to the BAZAAR Book on harpersbazaar.com. The innovations are poised to continue, with Digimarc watermarks that allow readers to shop the pages using smart phones. Expect that in early 2013.
ShopBAZAAR was launched in collaboration with American Express. American Express card holders receive exclusive perks and benefits, including access to specially-produced pieces from key designers, special gifts and private shopping events.
Check out the full online shopping experience to get an idea of how BAZAAR has truly used digital publishing to their advantage.
Digital journals allow readers to consume content in a much better way than any other delivery medium and nothing exemplifies this more than CVS Caremark Insights 2012, the newest digital publication from the pharmaceutical major CVS Caremarks.
Dissemination of information required either printing a journal or publishing an e-book/website. All these methods have their limitations. The CVS Caremark Insights 2012 publication, developed by Zmags, true to any digital publication, not only combines the best of the print and digital medium, but also delivers several new possibilities that allow the reader to consume the content in the best and most convenient manner.
To a detached observer, the digital journal is a replica of the print journal that gels well with the tablet. The various standard features of the digital journal—such as a vertical scroll bar that functions as a preview-based menu and allows proceeding directly to a page; the ability to email, print, share or download as PDF any particular page of the journal—provide user-friendly options to make navigation and content consumption an enjoyable experience in itself. Among the new functionalities featured in this journal is the option to crop any part of the page and download or email it.
Other enhanced possibilities include clicking on the reference note, which leads directly to the list of references and from there to the external link of the reference, allowing the journal reader to seamlessly pursue the topic of interest with ease.
Needless to say, the video and flash elements add life to the otherwise dry information, keeping the customers connected and visually engaged.
Speed and convenience is not the only thing that drives customers to online shopping. Today’s mobile shopper likes to research reviews, compare prices, and share photos as part of the shopping experience. They consider it a positive and enriching experience when they can do all these in seconds, on-line, and in-store.
Mobile digital touch points such as tablets and smart phones make all these possible. Smartphone and tablet owners use their devices to understand products better and enhance their shopping experience, and the success of the online marketer depends on the extent to which they facilitate the customer in this regard.
A study conducted Moosylvania, an ad agency reveals that 30.1% of smartphone owners research products on their mobile device when away from home, 19.6% do so while watching TV, 13.4% do so on the weekends, 12.4% do so when shopping in-store, 10.9% do so while at work and 2.7% do so when on holidays. Only 10.9% of smart phone owners do not research products before purchase. Of shoppers who research products while in a store, 73.9% compare prices among other retailers.
80% of smartphone owners prefer more mobile-optimized product information even when shopping in conventional brick and mortar stores. Among other mobile optimized tools that provide information and make shopping better, 76% prefer mobile coupons, 44% prefer mobile wallets to make payments, 31% prefer mobile apps, 26% prefer QR codes, 20% prefer text messages, 19% prefer links to informational videos and 17% prefer mobile display ads.
The survey also confirms the multi-device trend – where people access the Internet through multiple channels. 97% of respondents (all smart phone owners) have access to a personal computer and 43% of them have access to a tablet.
Are you appealing to the mobile shopper?
We stumbled upon this awesome infographic by Pew Research Center and The Economist Group shared by ReadWriteWeb, discussing the changing behaviors of consumers, activities related to news, and what it means for revenue. The study shows that 53% of people are regularly accessing news on their smartphones and 57% are accessing news on their tablets. Furthermore, 33% have added new subscriptions with digital access since getting a tablet and 27% says digital subscriptions replace print subscriptions, leading to more revenue being put into that medium.
Based on this data, it is imperative for news sources to have seamless digital experiences across all devices. The goal is to lead to customer retention, and without an easy to use experience, news readers will go elsewhere. For more details on the changing behaviors related to news and mobile devices, check out the infographic below.
Zmags has launched a new digital interactive catalog for Musician’s Friend, a seller of premium guitars. This catalog has all the features of a great catalog and allows Musician’s Friend to “strike a chord” with its customers.
The major highlights of this catalog are:
- The ability to zoom in and view the product up close
- A new 360 degree view, with the ability to spin the product even when zoomed in
- A footer that lists recently viewed gear to navigate easily, and to compare products
- A pop-up window that previews upcoming pages
- Ability to click and open a pop-up window for the product description, and add the product to the cart, without disturbing the catalogue. Alternatively, it also allows the click to open the ecommerce website with the product page, while keeping the catalogue intact in another window
- Features such as “Certificate of Authority” and Guitar History available as pull outs
- Options to hear the music of the guitar, download wallpaper, and more
The increasing popularity of tablets has etailers scurrying to set up digital catalogs. Digital catalogs leverage the rich media capabilities of the tablet and other digital touch points to deliver an enchanting and interactive experience, much more than what ordinary catalogues can deliver. The in-built ecommerce capabilities allow the marketer to entice a customer and convert them on the spot.
The 2011 Holiday Shopping Survey conducted by Equation Research on over 1500 US based online shoppers spread across age, gender and income levels presents some interesting findings.
87 percent of all tablet owners revealed their intention to shop through the tablets during the holiday season. 53 percent of them expressed their intention not just to research and discover, but also purchase using the tablet. The figure is set to rise further with 49 percent of the respondents anticipating that they will purchase more using tablets in 2012. A high figure denotes the arrival of the tablet as a major ecommerce medium.
The most popular items of interest among holiday shoppers who use the tablet is electronics. 60 percent use the tablet to browse for electronic goods and 53 percent actually make a purchase. Clothing comes next with 52 percent of tablet owners browsing for clothes and 40 percent making a purchase. Toys, Music and Books rank next in popularity, in that order.
The tablet has over time proven itself as a device that inspires people to shop. 65 percent of the tablet owners are inspired to shop, compared to 35 percent of the non-tablet owners. The inspiration stems from the ability of the tablets to facilitate the discovery of products better. Digital websites contribute significantly in this aspect.
Tablets also facilitate browsing and discovery in a “lean back and relax” environment, something other digital mediums fail to provide. 50 percent of all tablet owners feel inspired to discover and eventually purchase when they are on the couch, while another 20 percent feel so when they are in bed.
So, how about creating that digital catalog?
A picture is worth a thousand words, which especially holds true in ecommerce. Creating a look that converts browsers into buyers can fuel sales. The “look,” however, extends much more than an attractive or clever image. Marketers have to leverage the rich media capabilities offered by the latest touch points to make the shopping experience fun, easy and seamless.
A case in point is the Express Fall 2012 collection catalog. The catalog is arranged in a simple and neat fashion. Users may simply click on the arrow to browse the different pages, or it can run as a slideshow. The specific items displayed in each page, such as necklace, shirt and tank are clearly marked. Users can simply click on the required object to buy without leaving the page.
By clicking on the product, a pop up window comes up with an expandable description of the product, color and other technical specifications, allowing the user to enter the size and number of pieces that they would like. The user then has the option to continue browsing the catalog or proceeding to checkout. In checkout, the user has the option to make changes, login or enter the billing information and make the payment.
The “Get the look” option in the catalogue opens up a pop up listing the entire “look” or the range of products showcased in the image, making the purchase easy and fast.
The “Show Me More” option opens up a pop up that lists additional items available, which may or may not be part of the catalog, but which closely relates to the product being shown. The customer has the option to compare alternatives and dig deeper into the inventory to make the best buy.
The first page of the catalog features a video that showcases the products. Research by Google concludes that 53 percent of all tablet shoppers use videos when researching and shopping, and among them, 82 percent watch videos for more than 10 minutes.
Bottom line is that intuitive features in the catalog enrich the shopping experience. Is your shopping intuitive? Are you creating a visually compelling experience?
The widespread success of the tablet may have less to do with convenience and the rich media possibilities the device offers and more to do with how customers shop or research today.
Going back a few decades, many families eagerly awaited the glossy print catalog that arrived in the mail. People loved to turn the pages, circle what they liked for later review and share the experiences. The convenience of websites soon decreased the use of print catalogs, and the speed and price oriented e-commerce website did not replicate the experience of the print brochure. The tablet, however, turns the clock back. It allows the user to browse through the catalogs exactly the way they did before web browsers. It also builds on the enhanced functionality and convenience offered by the web browser.
In a sense, it offers the best of both worlds.
Considering the fact that people in their prime today grew up flipping through print catalogs in their youth, they connect instantly with the e-catalog delivered through tablets.
However, not all catalogs are equal in this regard.
Unlike conventional websites that focus on providing the as much information as possible, people defer to catalogs for the experience it provides. While catalogs also provide information, they also have to focus on delivering the information in the right way through images and videos. Rather than blasting customers with full product details, specs and reviews, the focus of the e-catalog needs to be on providing cursory information.
The role of the e-catalog is a bit different than the print catalogs in the sense that they don’t provide complete information, but they rather entice the reader with pictures and graphs. Just like the print catalog of yesteryears, the tablet is basically a visual merchandising medium where images speak louder than words. An interested viewer of a print brochure seeks detailed product information elsewhere. The interested viewer of the e-catalogue just has to click on the link!
Consumers show an increasing willingness to adopt mobile touch points such as the iPad and smart phones. Forrester.com estimates that 21% of a typical online retailer’s traffic comes from tablets, with several retailers reporting figures way in excess of 50% as well. Greystripe study on tablet travel insights estimates that 69% of iPad users use the tablet for research before making an online purchase.
But retailers do not seem to be taking advantage of this situation to offer the best shopping experiences through such devices. For instance, only one-third of retailers have optimized their sites for tablet commerce. Most people use tablets at leisure, in a relaxed mode. If retailers can engage the customers by making shopping a fun and entertaining experience, chances are that the customers would connect.
So how do retailers make shopping a fun and enjoyable experience?
1. Make purchases easy. Make sure that users can easily place items in the shopping cart, the checkout experience is quick and easy, and users can clearly see what they placed in their cart.
2. Create an interactive and intuitive experience. Make product searches interactive and educational, with an array of photos and media enriching user experience. Give users the options to share products on their social networks, or let them rate the product.
3. Give users the option to search. This helps customers find and do what they want in the first place. This makes the experience much more enjoyable for the user.
4. Add snippets that disclose some interesting fact or tidbit about the product, which the interested user may tap into and follow up for more details. For instance, when a user is shopping for a dress, a fact about the design details or the nature of the fabric could help close the deal for them.
Whatever you do, create an experience that will be easy and fun for the user so that they will come back to buy more!
We found this great infographic by Monetate, entitled “Are Tablet Buyers Taking Over Ecommerce?” The data in the infographic presented some interesting insights into tablets users’ behavior, including the fact that people are increasingly using tablets for pre-sale activities and consumers are shopping with tablets more often than mobile phones. But what is even more fascinating is that conversion rates are higher with tablets than on the desktop.
As you’re moving forward with your marketing decisions, it is important to keep these facts in mind, especially if you’re in the B2C space with a big shopping cart. Whether it’s a tablet, mobile, or online, making sure that your branding is consistent, your interface is easy to use, and highlights your product.