Vende Buzz: The Worst of 2015

by Ray Larson
  |  December 30, 2015  |  
December 30, 2015

Unlike a lot of blogs, we don’t want to give you our Best of 2015 list. So we don’t. What we do give you is a give a view on e-commerce…

Vende Digital Best of 2015 List – Not

Skimming through the tech, social media and business news like we always do, our major sources all have one thing in common….the inevitable “best of 2015” lists. It is the end of the year after all and everyone likes to think their opinion is the right one.

Hopefully by now you already know that social media is moving fast, mobile is where it is at, and both Facebook and Google want to “be” the internet.

We could tell you what we think were the “best” developments, trends, whatever of 2015 were. We could do that. We could, but we won’t….

The point is: Besides making the “expert” feel like he is the fountain of all knowledge, those lists are made for another reason….Google search. “Best”, “top”, and “most” lists do pretty well in Google searches so even those “experts” we turn to, optimize by keywords and you need to do some keyword optimization yourself.

Google “best of 2015” and see what you come up with. Do it, we dare you.

e-commerce – you have some decisions to make

Since Black Friday didn’t bring us any shocking stories about innocent employees being crushed to death by a mindless hoard of shoppers rushing to get through the door at any big box stores, the news about Cyber Monday sales actually overshadowed other sales news. Before we go much further though, let us be clear….e-commerce, otherwise known as online shopping has not killed Brick and Mortar shopping…yet.

Crunch the e-commerce info at Techcrunch.

Shopping on Facebook – here they go, trying to eat the internet again.

Facebook, true to form, wants all of your attention – not only do they want to keep you on the site for news….they want to compete with Amazon for your shopping dollars.

What, you say? Yes, they want to compete with Amazon. You may know that they were tinkering around with “buy now” buttons back in the summer and followed with “shop tabs”. They want to convince you that shopping doesn’t need to take away from your Facebook time either.

Amazon was launched an amazing 20 years ago (amazing to those of us who can remember the days before Amazon). It wasn’t the first in the online shopping game – that award really goes to Ebay. Ebay however, has spiraled into a scary flea-market-of-the-internet, taking consumers on a hazardous journey of perilous navigation, fraught with technical difficulties and fear of using your credit card…you get the idea.

Amazon, on the other hand, is the clean, well-lit, shopping mall of the internet with the shining star, Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime, allows us to order stuff….expensive stuff, cheap stuff, big stuff, little stuff and have it arrive just two days later – right at our front door. Naturally, Amazon makes money off of their small businesses.

Facebook wants that. Of course they do, which is why they are stepping into the shopping arena.

Problem is, they are very late to the online shopping game. Being the “rolling largess” that is Facebook, shopping is hard to use, hidden, difficult to navigate….and mostly unfindable on mobile. Even though Google shopping is a pretty awful experience for most consumers, Facebook’s first shot at the shopping thing is bad. Really bad.

  • Search for something you want on Amazon…and what do you find? Exactly what you are looking for in a well-orchestrated order that is reliably unremarkable.
  • Search for something on Google…..and what do you find? Hit or miss with unpredictable structure of pricing, location and availability.
  • Search for something you want on Facebook shopping…and what do you find? You will certainly find something – but it isn’t likely what you are looking for.

Despite the fact that Facebook has pretty much all of your tracking data, demographic information, along with your bank account and personal ID info and despite the fact that they have the “natural language processing” which should be helping with indexing and such….like a lot of first shots on Facebook, the shopping experience isn’t great – this one is so “not great” that some are calling it F-commerce.

Maybe someday it will be a good deal….someday in a distant future, when the search engine has grown up.

Huh, this news actually came from a news site, CNBC but you don’t have to search to find out about the downside of Facebook shopping search at TechCrunch.

Point is: Makes you wonder how Facebook got to be so big if it is so difficult….or maybe it’s largeness explains why it is so difficult.

For now, you still have to be there, on Facebook that is, but don’t bank on Facebook shopping anytime soon. Despite the hype, e-commerce sales are really less than 10% of retail sales, they are rising yearly but still a small slice.

If you really think you need an online store, consider all of your options for e-commerce and then take it up with an expert. You wouldn’t get a “do-it-yourself” haircut that looks like you did it yourself so build a do-it-yourself online store because it will look like you did it yourself.

You can use Facebook, Google and Twitter – along with Pinterest and Instagram to drive your traffic – and you should.

Amazon expands Launchpad to help startups launch

You may know that Amazon launched “Launchpad” earlier this year (we like to use Launchpad and launch in the same sentence). It is geared to “innovative” products from “emerging” brands and they recently expanded it to the UK. Why?

Small business already has multiple options for e-commerce but these don’t always fit, especially for start-ups who have limited resources for product management with no real “all-in-one” solution. Enter Amazon Launchpad.

Like all things from all businesses…Amazon’s decisions are driven by profit motive. When any business sets up an Amazon Storefront, they get the benefits of Shopify, Product Hunt and Shyp all in one. Amazon will manage inventory for those who want to turn it over – and get the benefits of Prime for their customers, ultimately boosting sales. Amazon of course gets a piece of the pie.

Regular Amazon works great for retailers of known products but it doesn’t work great for innovators, whose consumers don’t know what they are looking to purchase, and may not even know “that” they are looking at all.

Launchpad is tailor made for start-ups and new, inventive products. The businesses get the management tools and benefit from consumer confidence of the Amazon system. They also have a new, innovative platform to showcase their products with the opportunity for “storytelling”, which particularly appeals to the millennials who are incidentally, the biggest consumers of unique, emerging products – even when they are expensive.

Amazon will also allow startups to work with crowdfunding – which can award “funders” with one of those items. A donation of a certain amount – gets you that new product, before it is widely available. Crowdfunding done this way also has the benefit for startups of raising the money sooner, as funders are motivated to “give now” to get the product now…or soon at least.

Get wired to Amazon Launchpad at Wired.

Point is: Amazon is focusing on these businesses and products because they know the target audience. They already have the average Mom on board, who does most of the household purchasing – but this way they can chase the “not yet” millennials of both genders who want the latest tech, the products with social value, and are more likely to support startups because they are in startups themselves.

Like Amazon, you need to know your target audience and you need to embrace the ideals of millennials because they are coming – and have money to spend.

Next up: Why Instagram, really? … and Why you need a hashtag strategy, really.

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