All Posts by Bethanie Nonami

The Role of Intent Marketing in Voice Search

If you are able to effectively implement intent marketing, you may just convince consumers that your company is magic. Intent marketing enables companies to predict what consumers need and their likelihood to purchase – and to pop the right marketing at the right time to enable a purchase. It’s as though you get into their heads and offer up your product exactly when they need it. 

We have provided some information and insights on intent marketing below, including the powerful ways voice search will change and improve intent marketing.  

What is Intent Marketing? 

According to Allerin, “intent marketing is an act of identifying a customer’s purpose over that of the brand, and accordingly targeting them, which helps marketers determine what their customers want or need at any point of time…. It enables marketers to find audiences showing interest in a particular brand by leveraging big data strategies.”

It is expected to produce better ROI because you don’t need to create awareness about a product or service in the consumer’s mind before promoting it, you’re simply following their lead. Like Wikipedia states, “consumer’s intent for consuming a product or service may either be predicted based on behavioral data or captured explicitly when the subscriber tries to purchase a product and the transaction has been aborted for some reason.”

Why Should I Care About Intent Marketing?

Intent marketing is focused on analyzing a consumer action to glean their intent to purchase a product or service – and then offering up that product or service in your marketing. This type of marketing allows companies to prioritize consumers whose behavior indicates they are ready to make a purchase. Effective intent marketing allows businesses to focus their marketing efforts on the right customers to turn interest into sales.

How Do You Determine Consumer Intent?

While predicting consumer intent may sound difficult, most businesses have the information they need right at their fingertips. There is one important thing necessary to start understanding your customers and their purchase plans: data. Harnessing the power of data will allow you to analyze the trends and behaviors of your customers over time. 

First, you should focus on data specific to your customers. This data could take many forms, but will likely include:

  • Search engine queries
  • Social media data
  • Campaign traffic driving consumers to your website
  • Whether website visitors are first-time visitors or whether they have visited multiple times
  • Dwell time on specific content on your website
  • Number of clicks on website content

Second, you should pay attention to a broader analysis of consumer intent trends. Given the prominence and effectiveness of intent marketing, significant information is surfacing regarding cues to purchase intent. For example, a search query that includes the words “buy” or “purchase” might be more likely to lead to a conversion than those that include statements like “what information do I need” or “how can I learn about.”

The Potential of Voice Search in Intent Marketing

There is no doubt that voice search is exploding in accuracy and popularity. The accuracy rates for voice search queries are improving rapidly, with 90% accuracy reported on major platforms.  Adoption is also on the rise, with 67 million voice-assisted devices predicted to be in use in the U.S. in 2019. Given the prominence of voice on mobile devices, it is also important to note that nearly 60% of searches are now being performed from mobile devices.

With the increase in voice search, it is important to consider how it might provide new cues to consumer intent. Voice search naturally alters consumer search behavior. When a consumer uses speech for search, they are more likely to use their natural speaking pattern. Consider a consumer who wants information on New York Times bestselling books. In a search engine, they might simply type “New York Time bestseller list”. If they were to speak this query, you would be more likely to hear something like “What books are on the New York Times bestseller list?”  The mechanism for the search has altered their behavior.

With the use of more natural language comes the ability to understand more about consumer intent. Every additional term used by the consumer is a context clue to their purchase intent. Think of the types of data discussed above. We noted that language like “buy” or “purchase” are more likely to lead to a conversion. In what type of search is a consumer more likely to use that language? The odds are much higher in voice search.

Prepare for the Voice Search Revolution with These Voice Search Statistics

We’ve all heard the prediction: Voice is about to take over. But when exactly? And how much will it account for in consumer spending? Although adoption rates seem to stagger, it’s best for marketers and business owners everywhere to start to wrap their heads around how voice will transform the user experience and how it will shift commerce forever. 

Here are a few important statistics that paint the whole picture to help you prepare for the voice search revolution. 

  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 (comScore)
  • But… According to a small (1,000 people) SUMO Heavy survey, 46 percent never use virtual assistants and only 19 percent saying they use one rarely. Six percent said they use a voice assistant monthly while 13 percent use weekly and 16 percent do so on a daily basis.
  • No screen – Gartner says that by 2020 about 30% of all searches will be done without a screen
  • Smart speaker ownership by household should be up to 55% by 2022 (OC&C Strategy Consultants) totaling 21.4 million only in the US (Activate). 
  • One-in-six Americans own a voice-activated smart-speaker (Edison Research and NPR)
  • Although there are more Android phones in the world,  iOS users outpace Android users in terms of voice assistant usage across the board (SUMO Heavy survey)
  • One billion voice searches per month, per Alpine.AI (2018)
  • By 2022, voice is expected to be a $40 billion channel. In 2019, voice shopping accounts for close to $2 billion in consumer spending (Source: OC&C Strategy Consultants).
  • Where are they? – 52% of people keep their voice-activated speakers in their living rooms. 25% keep them in their bedrooms, while 22% keep them in their kitchens. Google
  • 22% of smart home speaker owners have made a purchase using their device.  (Edison Research)
  • BrightLocal Study
    • 58% consumers that have used voice search to find local business information within the last year. Of those, 
    • 46% voice search users look for a local business daily.
    • 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search (and remember you only get one result in voice!)
    • 6% of smart home speaker users conduct local searches at least once a week—with 53% performing daily searches. 
  • Smart speaker shipments grew nearly 200% YOY in Q3 2018 globally, according to Strategy Analytics
  • The most active age group on voice is 25 to 49-year-olds with 65% speaking to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day ( PwC). Nevertheless, the 18-24 demographic is credited with helping to drive early adoption of the technology. 
  • Also according to PwC, 71% of wearable device owners say they’ll perform more voice searches in the future.
  • “How” or “what” and adjectives like “best” or “easy” are some of the most popular voice search words within queries. Nearly 20% of all voice search queries are triggered by a set of 25 keywords. (seoClarity).
  • According to Narvar, 51% of voice shoppers use it to research products. 22% of those consumers make purchases directly through voice and 17% have used it to reorder items. 

There’s no doubt about it, voice technology is revolutionizing ecommerce. The numbers don’t lie, voice is a powerful force that is only getting stronger. Make sure your business is one step ahead and prepare for the voice revolution. 

How Voice Commerce is Changing the Way People Shop

With the use of voice commerce technology on the rise, it’s no wonder that the concept is changing the way millions of people shop online every day. Whether it’s making ordering a refill of paper towels easier for a busy parent or ensuring an auto shop owner with hands covered in grease can still get the tools they need, voice commerce allows us to fit shopping seamlessly into our busy lives.

Below, we’ve rounded up a few notable ways that voice commerce is changing the shopping experience for consumers around the world. Read on to find out more about how today’s shoppers are utilizing– and benefiting from– the powerful capabilities of voice commerce technology

How Voice Commerce is Changing the Way People Shop

Reordering is easy and intuitive

If you utilize a voice assistant to make a routine purchase, that data can be stored for use in the future. That means that once it comes time to order toilet paper again, all shoppers need to do is ask their voice assistants to “order toilet paper.” There won’t be any questions, fuss, or confusion– whichever product was last ordered in that category is simple reordered and at their doorstep in a matter of days.

Leaving reviews has never been simpler

Many consumers fail to leave reviews because of one simple factor: time. Today’s shoppers are constantly busy and always on the go; but with the help of voice technology, they’ll have a much easier time of dictating reviews while they attend to other business, too.

Savvy marketers know that reviews are critical to retail success (especially in the realm of online shopping), but getting consumers to spend time writing them is tough. Voice commerce technology removes this barrier from the equation entirely.

Increased humanization

For decades, shopping online has been an impersonal and detached experience. Web users who want assistance with their shopping or are in search of that unique “human touch” during the experience have long been out of luck– but voice commerce is changing that. Through the use of online shopping process.

Speaking with a voice assistant will never measure up to receiving personalized service in a brick-and-mortar store, but it’s an ideal solution to the communication-based dilemma posed by online shopping.

Making returns easier

Returns are a natural part of the retail cycle, especially if shoppers are making purchases online. It’s only fair that return rates rise when consumers don’t have a chance to see the items they’re buying in person before making a purchase. While the process of online returns has long been a hassle for retailers and consumers alike, voice commerce could change that.

Businesses are increasingly automating portions of the returns process to make it easier and more intuitive. Shopping assistants can automatically remind consumers to send back unwanted items from services who build returns into their business models (like keep-what-you-want subscription boxes). Not only does this remove the headache of frustrated buyers who failed to make returns on time for retailers, but it means consumers can spend less time fretting over whether they’ve started the process in a timely manner.

How Voice Technology is Revolutionizing eCommerce

What is Voice Commerce?

Voice commerce is an umbrella term utilized to refer to a number of innovative new voice-based technologies. These technologies all allow consumers to use voice commands in order to perform commerce-based tasks they’d normally rely on a computer and keyboard (or a mobile phone) for. Some of these tasks may include:

• Making traditional online retail purchases

• Ordering food or rideshare service via voice

• Researching purchase options

Voice commerce in the real world

While it sounds a little foreign, the concept of using voice commerce throughout the course of our day-to-day lives is much more common than you might suspect. One company, Capgemini, conducted a study concerning voice commerce use featuring over 5,000 respondents from a number of countries. The results?

• 51% of respondents utilized voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri

• 34% of respondents have utilized voice commerce technology to order meals

• 35% of respondents have purchased other products by way of voice commerce technology

How Voice Commerce is Revolutionizing eCommerce

Improved customer experience

Happier, more satisfied customers spend more money. That means that any opportunity a business has to improve the customer service experience for consumers has the potential to make an enormous impact on their brand’s bottom line.

Voice commerce is one straightforward, innovative piece of that puzzle. Companies who leap to create their own special mobile apps and voice assistants with customized features and abilities are able to separate themselves from the crowd and stand out amongst competitors. This means a frenzy to achieve change for brands and an improved shopping experience for customers.

Targeted advertising is becoming easier

Anybody who knows anything about marketing is aware that targeted content and advertisements are a lucrative investment regardless of what you’re selling. As voice commerce technology becomes more advanced, voice assistants are able to field a growing variety of questions and concerns– and that means they’ll have more customer feedback and input to base advertising decisions on.

Within three years, it’s anticipated that as many as 40% of consumers will be relying on voice assistants to complete tasks they otherwise would have on apps or websites. That translates to a wealth of learning opportunities for the Al software that’s powering voice commerce capabilities.

Making purchases is simpler than ever before

Perhaps one of the most impactful features of voice commerce technology lies in the fact that it makes buying things easier. Consumers are much more likely to make last-minute or impulse purchases if they don’t even need to lift a finger to do it.

Consider a single mother who just arrived home from work. She’s likely on the couch for a moment, exhausted, with a toddler running circles around her and no idea what to do for dinner. You can hardly blame her for avoiding a run to the store to grab food; but thanks to voice commerce technology, she can order grocery delivery through a service like Amazon Prime Now and add additional items to her cart she never would’ve purchased otherwise.

The value to be found here becomes clear immediately. Thanks to voice commerce, consumers don’t even need to leave their home or head to the computer to make purchases. That translates to larger purchases with greater frequency, which means big bucks for eCommerce retailers.

Why Aren’t More People Using Voice Commerce?

Anyone observing last year’s holiday season and the plethora of home voice-activated devices purchased by consumers, might be surprised to learn that these devices are not necessarily being used for e-commerce transactions. In fact, eMarketer reports that only.4% or $2.1 billion of e-commerce in 2018 came from voice-activated commerce. Breaking it out even further, just over 50% of women have never purchased anything using their voice-activated device. Men do slightly better with almost 60% reporting they have used their device to make a purchase at least once. In this post, we will discuss some of the unique e-commerce challenges presented by voice-activated devices, as well as discuss what the future might hold for this emerging technology.

Voice Commerce Challenges

Change Takes Time

While it is likely that voice-activated devices will become more and more commonplace, it still takes time for the average consumer to discover all the potential uses of these devices. It’s one thing to ask Alexa or Siri a simple question about today’s weather — it’s another thing to trust a device enough to complete a financial transaction. Even though most people are now comfortable with using their PC or smartphone to make a purchase, these transactions involve actually seeing the transaction occur, as well as controlling it by fingertip. With voice-activated e-commerce, transactions are completed through voice alone, which removes some of the visual information and tactile interaction that helps consumers feel comfortable and in control.

A Different Way of Shopping

The traditional manner of shopping often included visiting several stores, comparing prices, quality, etc. Then online shopping emerged and consumers loved the convenience of shopping for and comparing items, reading product reviews, then completing a transaction — all by way of a few keystrokes.

Voice-activated shopping is notably different than these more traditional methods. If a customer knows exactly what they want to purchase, then a voice-activated device makes the entire transaction a simple, brief conversation. However, many customers don’t know exactly what they want to buy. They still want to compare various items, read reviews, and look for deals. In addition, in many cases, a visual representation of all their various options is critically important for an individual to help them make their final product selection.

Little Incentive

Companies like Amazon have offered some discounts and sales in the hopes it will encourage their customers to try their Alexa devices to make purchases, but so far the incentives have been small. Customers simply aren’t motivated enough to try a new way of parting with their dollars, which unsurprisingly turns out to be a very important part of their daily life.

The Future of Voice Commerce

It’s not uncommon for a product or industry to initially experience some growing pains before eventually offering consumers something of real value. Both leading tech giants (Amazon and Google) seem to want to give voice-activated devices a real chance to become major components in voice commerce transactions. Lesser players such as Apple and Sonos are likely to remain focused on other services offered by home speaker devices.

All is not lost yet in the game of voice commerce vs traditional commerce, or even in the competition of which company will eventually dominate in the area of voice commerce. One crucial feature that holds notable promise is the incorporation of smart screens to go along with voice-activated devices. Just this addition alone would bring back the all-important visual aspect of shopping — so crucial when making decisions about where to book a resort for a vacation, buying shoes or clothing, etc.

The Evolution of Retail Shopping

Retail shopping has been around for years. Even before money was invented, people have been practicing exchanges for goods and services. But the way we shop has changed tremendously; long gone are the days of waiting for catalogs to come in the mail, or even having to drive to a store to purchase an item.

To fully appreciate retail shopping for what it is today, let’s take a closer look at its evolution.

How Retail Shopping Has Evolved

Bartering And The Rise Of Specialty Shopping

Dating back to 600 B.C., we’ve seen evidence of some of the earliest trades and barters among Mesopotamian tribes with hand-to-hand transactions in open air. Vendors would bring their specialty products to open-air markets and put them on display for shoppers to purchase.

This, later on, moved indoors, with specialty shops popping up in towns. Looking for shoes? Head to the local cobbler shop. Specialty shops still exist, but they are declining in popularity because of their lack of convenience

Department Stores

Department stores came to the scene during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s. Because goods were made quickly and cheaply, stores were able to stock up on products instead of fabricating them one by one. The Industrial Revolution also gave way to a growing middle class with disposable income, that could leisurely stroll through their aisles to purchase the latest innovations and goods.

The Catalog Revolution

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Your local vacuum cleaner salesman, would you like to take a look at my latest models? Here’s my catalog.

Catalog shopping also dates back to the mid-1800s thanks to a reliable mail system coming into place in most of the developed world, marking an important shift in the way we shop: Products can come to the shopper, instead of the shopper having to go out to the store. Catalogs were a great strategy to expand clientele and expose products to new consumers that were not necessarily actively seeking out their product. People would mail in their orders with the payment and it would be delivered straight to your door.

In addition to direct door-to-door sales, catalog shopping was also supported by traditional advertising through radio, newspapers, and later on, TV, creating additional awareness and driving purchases.

Antiquated as it may seem, this important shift in the way we shop set the base for online shopping as we know it today.

Malls

With catalogs diversifying the shopping experience from only being able to purchase a specialty product at the time to many different types of products, physical stores also started to evolve in this sense. During the second half of the 20th century, retail shopping shifted from multiple trips around town to a centralized location where you could get everything you needed.

The Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota was the first enclosed shopping mall built in the United States. For the next fifty years, people would flock to shopping centers to buy everything from clothes to home goods to sports gear. In addition to providing a convenient way to shop for many items at once, malls also turned into a social gathering center where families and teenagers could gather to walk around, share a meal and catch the latest blockbusters in movie theaters.

The rise of online shopping marked the decline of malls with many closing their doors in the last decade or so. Department stores that were not able to transition to an online business model are also shutting down.

Online Commerce

Hello Internet! After the dot-com boom, product manufacturers took another tremendous leap on how they were able to offer their products to a large and diverse consumer base. The world literally opened up for retail… You can now get handmade quilts, fruit baskets, auto parts, toilet paper, you name it and it’s just a click away. Major overhauls to the mailing and shipping industries meant faster shipping times, enabling online commerce to compete (and many times win) with brick and mortar stores.

Once e-commerce was established, retailers started diversifying their channels to include mobile apps, social media selling, even providing tailor-made experiences based on your past online activity, demographics and preferences. It’s safe to say that online commerce is here to stay and has set the base for future generations to push the limits of how we shop and interact with brands.

Voice Commerce

The next frontier is voice. Still in its very beginnings, we’re setting the path right now for what will be the future of retail. At the moment, Amazon is the only retailer poised to complete purchase transactions through voice, but we trust this won’t be the case for very long. Nevertheless, businesses everywhere are listening up and gearing up for what will be the next transformative landmark in commerce.

Even if you don’t foresee your customers being able to purchase your products or services through voice just yet, making good use of schema markups will help position your business for voice search, an important first step.

“Alexa,…”


With Alexa Echo Dot as the highest selling item on Amazon globally in 2018 (a 200% YoY Growth) and more than 74 million Americans owning a smart speaker, one must wonder… What are people actually using Alexa and Echo for?

There’s a ton of hype surrounding popular voice assistants. I mean, more than one million people registered to pre-order Echo Auto. What is making everyone flock to purchase a smart speaker?

Top Uses for Voice Assistants

Voice Commerce

As of now, the only place one can actually purchase something entirely through voice is Amazon, but this doesn’t mean that voice commerce end there. If we take into consideration the complete buyer’s journey, from the moment a person is initially aware of an issue and sets out to find possible solutions, through the consideration phase in which possible solutions are compared, all the way to the purchase intent, voice commerce turns into an infinitive world. That the actual purchase doesn’t take place using a voice assistant doesn’t diminish its role through the whole process.

For example… Anne realizes that her hair is unruly and frizzy. She asks Alexa for the best remedies for damaged hair (awareness). Using the article reader skill, Alexa lists off a series of remedies. There are several options; leave-in conditioners, hair masks, homemade natural concoctions (consideration). But it was the last option that caught Anne’s attention: Get a haircut. She realizes that it’s been a while since her last haircut. Her split ends confirm her decision: She’s getting a haircut.

“Alexa, what’s the best hair salon near me?” Based on the website’s schema markups, Alexa pulls a hair salon with great reviews (decision). “Alexa, please call the salon.” And voila, Anne has practically completed a purchase using voice.

Managing Smart Appliances

It’s not all shopping and entertainment with voice assistants, they can actually be pretty useful around the house (if you have compatible smart home devices). From security cameras to light bulbs, temperature control to speakers and TVs, you can pretty much control most of your home’s appliances with voice. I mean, there’s even a voice-activated sprinkler controller and robot vacuums. Looks like household chores are about to get a lot easier…

Entertainment

Why not have a little fun with your voice assistant pal? Voice assistants can play your best playlist, read and audiobook, put on your favorite TV show. It can list movie times, search for recipes, play games… it can even tell you a few jokes.

Other Skills

AI assistants are in constant evolution. New functionalities added to Alexa are called skills and they can be downloaded on Amazon’s website. App developers are rushing to make apps voice-friendly, with the list of compatible apps increasing every day.

Online Basics To Influence Consumers

Online Basics To Influence Consumers

The online retail world keeps getting increasingly competitive. It’s growing more difficult for online retailers to know how to best promote themselves. Truth be told, as the online landscape continues getting competitive the opportunities to reach your consumers in a credible way keep getting slimmer. You might think that everyone is doing the same thing to compete for your audience’s attention. But, are they really?

Let’s talk about some of the top challenges with online advertising and how to sidestep them with proven strategies to influence consumers.

Challenges in Online Advertising

We Keep Buying More Ads and Reaching Fewer People

One of the mistakes many retailers, especially newer businesses, make is buying more and more online advertisements. While there was a time when pay-per-click advertisements, banner ads, and social media ads were a major revenue source for online retailers, those days are past. When you check the results for each advertisement campaign, you’ll likely notice a sizeable decrease in the number of engagements the advertisements garnered.

Just because you’re online advertisements are netting the engagements you’d like, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop using them altogether. It just means you need to get smarter about how you’re using online advertisements. Pay attention to the location and content of the advertisements that are generating a response and focus your resources on those. If an advertisement hasn’t gotten a full ROI after a couple of weeks, it’s time to pull it.

More Consumer Use Ad Blockers

The use of ad blockers is on the rise and it’s creating problems for retailers. Forbes recently reported that 22.7% of online consumers use ad blockers and that the number increases by about 47% each year. Not only does this mean the online retailers who rely on online advertisements aren’t getting noticed, but that the websites that rely on the money they get by allowing the ads on their websites are struggling to generate any revenue.

The best way for online retailers to work around the problems created by ad blockers is by changing the way they promote themselves. Today’s consumers believe that online retailers shouldn’t get something for nothing. They are attracted to the type of promotional material that is also informative or entertaining. This means that instead of dedicating all of your advertising efforts to PPC ads, use some of it to generate high-quality blog posts, website content, and articles.

So how do we move past these challenges? Let’s talk about how to influence consumers today – and in the near future.

Influencing Consumers Today

Online retailers spend a great deal of time trying to come up with ways to influence consumers beyond digital advertising. Here are a few of our favorite strategies.

Work on your domain authority

Domain authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz, a popular SEO expert site. It predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). According to Moz, “Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the “ranking strength” of a website over time.

Nevertheless, Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google in determining search rankings and has no effect on the SERPs, but it does take into account influential factors that you are going to want to work on to get good search results, such as backlinks.

Backlinks are one of the most important SERP factors, and the best way to get backlinks is to produce good, influential content. So work on your content. And then work on distributing your content. Incorporating links into your content will bring good karma. Give what you aim to receive. Being nice always pays off 😉

Here are a few places to check your domain authority:

Get some @s and PR love

Being tagged and mentioned can be even more impactful than full-on media coverage. That being said, get some media coverage as well. The old saying rings very true here “What’s better than talking about yourself? Having other people do it for you.” Good, old-fashioned PR (and it’s modern @ equivalent) is a surefire way to build credibility.

To get those media and influencer relationship going, reach out! Make a list of websites and publications that your target audience read. Get in touch with an editor and send them a short pitch. Make it about the consumer; tell an interesting story, highlight how your product is solving a problem in a unique way… generic “my product is the best thing ever” emails will not get a response. Sometimes, you’ll be directed to the Sales department (coverage for ad), but if you have a good story you might be able to get some free media coverage.

Working with influencers is a whole other deal. Your best bet here is to reach out to a few that you know your audience follows (and trusts), and ask them how they work with brands. Their cost per post will most likely depend on the number of followers they have, but you’ll also want to take a look at their engagement to make sure you’ll get as many eyes on your product as possible. Don’t discount up and coming and local influencers, they might be more willing to barter for mentions and have a deeper connection with your local community.

Build a community

Building a community can mark the difference between making it or not. Getting your audience to actively rally behind your product or service is crucial nowadays. We all know that people are skeptical of brands and blatant advertising. They are more quickly to trust what other consumers have to say. So make sure you give them a platform to speak about your brand – or several.

Social media is the obvious choice – for most. It will depend on what you’re offering and to whom. For example, social media might not be as impactful for highly technical B2B big-ticket items. Retail, on the other hand, can thrive or die in social media. Make sure to adapt your content to each channel, you can recycle the same content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Incentivize your followers to interact with you by offering thought-provoking posts, innovative content and asking for their opinion. But most importantly, don’t make it all about you – make it about your followers and how you fit into their world. And for the love of (insert your biggest love here), engage with your followers. Respond to their comments, share their relevant content, tag them when it’s appropriate.

The ability to leave reviews spans far wider than just review sites. Yes, Yelp and Google reviews can be decisive factors when making a purchase (again, depending on the product or service), but think beyond this to incorporate customer reviews. Actively request testimonials and reviews shortly after purchase. Make sure to include some on your website, collateral, social media, email drip campaigns, even advertising.

We want to include email newsletters as a strategy to build a community. Before you say “what the…”, hear us out. Newsletters are one of the most powerful resources any company can have. We don’t agree that email is dead. And while consumers are moving to a more proactive buying experience, the ROI a good email campaign is unmatched by any other strategy. You build a community by contributing to your audience’s life. Email is a powerful tool to do this. Have you ever curled up with a nice cup of coffee to sort through your email? Do you have certain emails you always skim through when they pop up on your inbox? Have you ever replied to the author of a piece of content you read in an email? This is engagement at its finest – on a one on one level. Your email relationships are intimate, think of them this way. Don’t just blast out generic content, make sure you’re speaking to your people, to your community, and encourage them to answer back.

SEM & SEO

We can’t talk about influencing consumers without mentioning SEO & SEM. Most online retailers are familiar with SEO and understand the importance of making sure they have the highest possible search engine ranking, but surprisingly few of them are familiar with search engine marketing (SEM) and how it helps connect them to members of their target market. SEM does more than simply focus on your web content. It embraces every single aspect of online promotion, including:

  • Paid advertisements
  • Content marketing
  • SEO practices
  • GEO targeted ads

Strong knowledge of SEM enables online retailers to generate a maximum ROI on their marketing efforts. SEM is not as simple as it may seem, our best advice is to get an agency that knows their stuff and let them do the heavy lifting.

SEO is still important, it’s fundamental. But you have to look at SEO this way: Owning the right keywords through high-value content is a base to build upon, it’s not enough to throw good content out there and hope that Google will push it up the ranking ladder. You have to help it along with solid technical and on-page SEO and Schema markups.

Prepare for Voice Search

It’s coming, trust us. With the rise of AI assistants, natural language voice commands are increasingly important. Alexa and Siri are not serving up the first page of Google Search, they’re serving up ONE result, the one that they deem as most valuable. Now is the time to make it yours.

Amazon Echo or Google Home? Getting to Know Your Next Best Friend

If you’re new to the virtual assistant AI space, you might be wondering what is the difference between Amazon Echo and Google Home. Where does Alexa live? And who is Google Assistant anyway?

Smart speakers house your voice assistant, that witty little woman that calls your mom, gives you directions to the nearest Papa John’s and has some of the best jokes around. Originally found in your smartphone, AI-powered virtual assistants are now moving into your home. And they’re here to stay.  

According to data from OC&C Strategy Consultants, voice shopping is expected to jump to $40 billion in 2022, up from $2 billion today? This means that this new channel, driven by a surge in the number of homes using smart speakers, will most likely be the next major disruptive force in retail.


Today, 13% of homes rely on virtual assistant AI. In the US, Amazon Echo leads the smart speaker race with a 10% penetration followed by Google’s Home with a 4% penetration and Microsoft’s Cortana with 2%. But penetration is posed to rise dramatically, forecasted at a 55% homes by 2022.

What does this mean for retailers? That it’s time to listen up. Voice commerce is on the rise and everyone needs to be ready for it. Let’s start by understanding the major players in the current smart speaker space.

Smart Speakers You Should Know About

Amazon Echo

Alexa’s companion of choice, Echo is, well, Amazon’s smart speaker. In addition to answering questions, calling or messaging, and playing music, through Echo can provide real-time information such as weather and traffic, make to-do lists, set alarms, stream podcasts, play audiobooks and control several smart devices, acting as a home automation hub. Most interestingly, you can have Alexa to restock your fridge or replenish your pantry. From Amazon, of course.

Here are even more things you can do with Amazon Echo.

Developed in 2010 but launched to the public in 2015, Echo has a variety of versions including the Echo Dot, Look, Spot, Show, Plus, Amazon Tap (which is portable), and most recently, Echo Auto.

Google Home

Google’s response to Amazon Echo, Google Home, was released in 2016. Similarly, with Google Home lets you listen to music, control playback of videos or photos, or receive news updates entirely by voice, as well as integrated support for home automation, all through Google’s AI virtual assistant cleverly called Google Assistant.

It also comes in a variety of versions: Google Home Max (larger, built for sound and more expensive), Google Home Hub, or Google Home Mini (smaller).

Google Home Hub has a 7-inch touchscreen display to watch videos, view photos, control your smart home via touchscreen. You can also view who’s at your door with a compatible video doorbell.

Difference Between Amazon Echo and Google Home

According to Digital Trends, the main difference between Echo and Home is cost (Echo is cheaper). Echo also has greater variety of models, colors and fabric choices. It’s also compatible with more smart home devices. But… Google Home and Assistant seem to be smarter.  

Both powerhouses are in the voice business for the long haul – and this game is just getting started. Hop on.

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