Facebook’s Plans A Product Roadmap

Mark Zuckerberg presented Facebook’s plans and product roadmap for 2019. Here’s everything we need to know.

Facebook shared its revenue and growth stats for Q4 2018. Mark Zuckerberg also shared a post discussing the product roadmap and their plans for 2019.

It has been a turbulent year for Facebook but all the negative publicity didn’t seem to affect its user and revenue growth. According to Zuckerberg, the company saw a revenue of $16.91 billion in Q4 2018, up from $13.7 billion in Q3 2018.

Moreover, Facebook counted 1.52 billion daily active users in December 2018, which is an increase of 9% from 2017.

When it comes to monthly active users, there are now 2.32 billion as of December 2018. The increase proves that people are still using Facebook, despite all the controversy from earlier this year.

Another interesting statistic is that 93% of the advertising revenue comes from mobile devices, up from 89% in Q4 2017. This means that mobile users should be more important than ever in our advertising strategies.

Overview of key stats we need to know as we plan our Facebook marketing strategy for 2019:

  • 1.52 billion use Facebook daily
  • 2.32 billion use Facebook monthly
  • 93% of the advertising revenue comes from mobile
  • 2.7 billion people use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month (Facebook’s “Family” of services)
  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily
  • 2 million advertisers are now focusing on Stories

Zuckerberg also shared the company’s plans for 2019 and their priorities for the new year.

As he mentioned, “We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we’re investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect.”

Facebook focused on security in 2018 and 2019 will be the year of product innovation. This sounds like an exciting promise.

Here are Facebook’s four key priorities for 2019

1. Making progress on social issues

The first priority is about improving the way the internet and their company handles major social issues. It’s key to proactively identify harmful content and they have already improved their systems for this work.

Mark Zuckerberg said that he’s proud of having one of the most advanced systems in the world and that they have more than 30,000 people working on safety and security.

The bigger question he raised for this case has to do with the set of values. How can you decide what’s acceptable and what is not?

Facebook has reduced engagement in WhatsApp to stop misinformation. They have also reduced viral videos by 50 million hours a day to improve well-being.

Moreover, they are also working on privacy and encryption. They are confident that they’ve built one of the most powerful encrypted messaging services in the world.

As people need additional privacy, Facebook is working on making more of their products end-to-end encrypted by default to improve the safety and security of their users.

2. Building new and meaningful experiences while gearing up for bigger improvements

Facebook wants to deliver new experiences that can meaningfully improve people’s lives. Mark Zuckerberg talked about Stories and how they keep on growing as an emerging content type.

Instagram has actually passed 500 million daily active Stories users just 6 months after reaching 400 million daily active users.

Now the focus is to improve such experiences over the next months:

  • Messaging will become the center of the social experience if it’s not already. That’s why WhatsApp will allow payments through the app in more countries.
  • Private sharing and stories will also become more important to the social experience as people focus on privacy.
  • More businesses are going to be on boarded to be part of this social experience while finding new ways to reach their audience
  • Facebook Groups and communities will continue to deepen. Community is a central part of the experience on Facebook and Groups will soon be as important as friends and family for people.
  • Facebook Watch will become even more mainstream. 400 million people currently use it every month and it seems that people spend more than 20 minutes every day on Watch daily. Thus, Facebook is looking for New Years to grow this feature beyond the news feed to separate the entertainment from the social interactions.
  • Instagram will focus more on commerce and shopping. Mark Zuckerberg has promised that they will deliver more quality experiences around these.
  • AR and VR will bring people together in the longer term. Oculus Quest shipping will begin this spring while Portal also goes surprisingly well.

3. Supporting business to grow

There are currently more than 90 million small businesses using Facebook’s products. Most of them rely on free products and according to a survey from Facebook, they have managed to grow their business and hire more people ever since they’ve started using Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg said that they are happy to see that they are helping such businesses grow and they are committed to continue doing it.

4. Improving transparency on their work and role they play in the world

The last priority for this year for Facebook is to communicate more clearly what they’re doing and the role their services play in the world.

As Mark Zuckerberg mentioned, there’s a lot of negativity out the impact of technology. The tech industry should be scrutinized heavily due to the big role they play in people’s lives. However, it’s important to listen to the critique first and then to figure out the best way to address these issues while staying true to your own beliefs.

2018 has helped Facebook get a clearer sense of their beliefs and they seem to be ready to move forward. They are also ready to work with people seek for better outcomes, either with content or data regulation, cooperation on shared threats, using AI to serve people or supporting the idea of living in an open and connected world.

What do Facebook’s plans mean for our 2019 strategies?

It’s always useful to know what big social companies like Facebook and its family are planning ahead. If you’re working with brands in marketing, advertising, or sales then you understand that these trends may also affect your own work.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and the rest play a big role in our lives and it’s important to keep up with their latest changes to adapt our own strategies.

What we can learn from Facebook’s new priorities is that the ‘Facebook family’ has lots of different plans ahead. What we need to remember is that Facebook is not just one platform anymore.

Even if your audience is steadily leaving this platform, they will probably still be on Instagram or WhatsApp, which means that it’s useful to keep up with their integrations and their upcoming plans.

The post Facebook unveils its plans for 2019: What’s next? appeared first on ClickZ.

Stuff like this are why everyone loves your page

Digital Transformation is a hot topic these days. It might be in the running for buzzword of the year, along with blockchain, disruptive, and cloud-native. And yet, it’s a buzzword that businesses are taking very seriously.

As IDG noted in their 2018 State of Digital Transformation Report:

digital transformation first approach

“More than a third of organizations (44%) have already started implementing a digital-first approach to business processes, operations and customer engagement.

Some 19% are in the integration process of making operational and technology changes throughout the enterprise, and 18% are executing their digital plans and making process, operational and technology changes on a department and business unit level.

Just 7% of companies have already fully implemented their digital first approach and are in the maintenance phase.”

A recent Progress report notes that 85% of enterprise decision makers believe that if they don’t make serious progress on digitally transforming their businesses in the next 24 months, they’ll fall behind the competition and take a hit on their bottom line.

Clearly, people believe that digital transformation is a pretty big deal

But despite the significant enthusiasm and high hopes surrounding digital transformation, many people are still fuzzy on exactly what it means and how to implement it.

The whole idea can feel somewhat like Michael Scott’s proposed slogan for Dunder Mifflin in the show The Office: “Limitless Paper In A Paperless World.”

On the surface, it sounds appealing, futuristic, and forward-thinking.

But once people dive into the nitty-gritty of what’s actually involved, things become a little unclear. Phrases such as Internet of Things, asset digitization, and cloud infrastructure get thrown around, often without clarity on exactly how they relate.

The conversation can quickly devolve into buzzword soup.

In this article, we’ll break down the what, why, and how of digital transformation. We’ll walk step-by-step through the exact nature of digital transformation, why it matters to your business, and practical ways to actually implement it.

Consider this a detailed primer on digital transformation— a roadmap if you will.

What is digital transformation?

Essentially, digital transformation is the process of using digital tools and technology to improve or renovate existing processes.

This process involves strengthening or even replacing archaic, slow, tedious, often manual processes, with easier, efficient, and often automated processes.

But we also can apply a broader, more fundamental way to understand digital transformation.

It means integrating digital technology into all departments of a business, which then dramatically changes how each one operates.

Digital transformation also means a change in the business culture. This change starts in the C-Suite and filters down through every level of the business. It involves a commitment to using digital tools to increase the efficiency and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Digital transformation requires commitment because it’s not typically a simple process. It takes significant changes to long-used legacy systems.

This, in turn, means time and resources, as well as buy-in from the employees who will have to learn new ways to do tasks.

David Terrar at Agile Elephant puts it this way:

“Digital transformation is the process of shifting your organisation from a legacy approach to new ways of working and thinking using digital, social, mobile and emerging technologies. It involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitisation of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.”

And while all this may sound great, it does raise the question: why does digital transformation even matter?

Why digital transformation matters for your business

Frankly, all the high-level talk about the matter can fail to answer the fundamental question of why you should even care. After all, if it’s not broke, why bother fixing it? If long-standing processes and workflows seem to be getting the job done, why rock the boat?

These are certainly valid questions. There are a number of costs associated with digital transformation. It requires a significant commitment in order to make it all work. Is it really worth it for your company to invest time, money, and human capital in this process?

Short answer: yes.

At the risk of overstating things, it’s a matter of survival. Maybe not in the immediate future, but certainly a few years down the road.

Four reasons why digital transformation matters

You can think of these as a series of falling dominoes, with each one leading to the next.

1. Increased efficiency

By its very nature, digital transformation involves making processes and workflows faster, easier, and more efficient.

For example instead of spending hours processing paperwork, you can create digital workflows that will seamlessly and automatically move documents to their proper locations.

This increased efficiency frees up employees to focus on other, more revenue-centered activities.

In a recent survey of 100 IT leaders by Vanson Bourne, 44% of respondents indicated that legacy systems hold back or hamper nearly every project.

Digital transformation enables you to create much more efficient systems and processes, which in turn allows key tasks and projects to move forward much faster.

2. Improved customer experience

Implementing digital transformation allows you to remove points of friction experienced by your customers.

For example, if new clients or customers need to fill out a series of onboarding documents, digitizing and automating that process can lift a significant burden from the them.

This leads to higher customer loyalty and a greater Customer Lifetime Value.

3. Increased profits

digital transformation increased profits

The statistics are clear that implementing digital transformation leads to improvements on the bottom line.

In a recent Gartner survey, 56% of CEOs said that digital improvements have already led to increases in revenue. With this being the fundamental goal of all businesses, this in and of itself is reason to move toward it.

4. Keeping up with the competition

digital transformation influence on revenue

It follows that if digital transformation leads to increased profits, it’s also necessary for keeping up with your competition, who are most certainly implementing a digital transformation strategy.

A recent Forrester survey shows that executives believe that within five years, as much as 50% of their revenue will be driven by digital changes to their businesses.

Bottom line: Your competition know that digital transformation is crucial for future business success, and if you want to keep up with them, you also need to consider a competitive strategy.

Implementing digital transformation in your business

It’s one thing to recognize its importance, but making digital transformation a reality in your business is a different animal altogether.

It’s the difference between talking about running a marathon and actually doing it. Talking about the health benefits and the sense of pride of completing a goal come naturally. Actually running the race requires an intense commitment to training, eating properly, and purchasing the appropriate running gear.

So how do you move from talking about digital transformation to the actual transformation?

We recommend these ten steps for implementing digital transformation

1. Get the full support of top-level management

As noted earlier, this simply can’t happen if the CEO and leadership team aren’t on board. Making the transformation a reality requires time, human capital, and financial resources. It also involves employees learning to do tasks in new ways, which can generate pushback.

Additionally, because it touches every department, it’s essential that the push come from the top down. This commitment signals to everyone in the company that digital transformation is a priority requiring commitment from all parties.

As McKinsey & Company notes:

“…the CEO cannot simply sanction a digital transformation; he or she must communicate a vision of what needs to be achieved, and why, in order to demonstrate that digital is an unquestionable priority, make other leaders accountable, and make it harder to back-track.”

2. Identify strategic change areas

There are certain areas in your business that will benefit most from digital transformation. For example, internal research may show that shortening the time between an application being submitted and company follow up will dramatically increase customer loyalty and reduce the overall churn rate.

Once you’ve identified strategic areas for improvement, look for specific ways digital transformation can contribute to that improvement. Are there ways to automatically move submitted applications to the appropriate individuals? Can the application process itself be made simpler and easier for the customer? By implementing digital transformation in key areas, you maximize the overall effect.

3. Allocate sufficient funding

Almost every change project will require some portion of the budget. Whether it’s replacing legacy systems, making strategic hires, or creating partnerships with other companies, funding will be required.

To state the obvious, it’s critical to determine approximately how much the digital transformation process will cost and then set aside the appropriate resources. It’s true that it won’t be cheap, but the cost of ignoring it will be even greater. Additionally, the benefits created will far outweigh the costs in the long run.

4. Create a launch team

There’s a high probability that neither your executives nor your employees will have experience in engineering digital transformation. If you give them the job of bringing the change to pass, the endeavor will probably fail.

The solution? Creating a team of experts who can lead the process. This usually starts with hiring someone like a Chief Digital Officer, who is then responsible for assembling a team of employees, consultants, and engineers to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Duncan Tait, Head of Americas and EMEIA at Fujitsu, puts it this way:

“While businesses today recognize the need to adopt and adapt to technology, there remain significant issues that are contributing to substantial rates of failure and high associated costs. To realize their digital vision, it’s crucial that businesses have the right skills, processes, partnerships and technology in place. With digital disruption rapidly changing the business landscape, businesses can’t afford to fail in their transformation.”

5. Start with low-risk projects

This works in conjunction with Step #2. After identifying strategic change areas, start your digital transformation with relatively simple, low-risk projects in the strategic areas. Making small progress on big goals creates a sense of momentum and helps people see the overall potential.

Additionally, tackling smaller projects can give you at least a limited sense of what will be involved in the project as a whole.

6. Carefully introduce new workflows

Digital transformation always involves creating new, more efficient workflows. However, the launch team must be careful as they introduce these workflows within the different departments. If the workflows are simply dumped on a department en masse, it can create chaos and engender resentment.

Additionally, the launch team must be aware of the office politics that often accompany new initiatives. Department executives can be territorial and may push back against anything that seems like it might make things more complicated.

The launch team must carefully (and often slowly) introduce new processes, giving employees and department heads adequate time to process and learn them.

7. Continue to build the culture

Digital transformation isn’t a one-and-done process. Rather, it’s something that must be woven deep into the culture of your business. Technology is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace, and in order to keep up there must be a willingness within the organization to adapt, experiment, and strive for continuous improvement.

If this is seen as simply a one-time project, your company will fall behind competitors as technology continues to evolve. A company culture must be created that recognizes these new realities and is prepared to keep pace with them. “Evolve or die,” may be a cliche by this point, but there remains some truth in it.

8. Build momentum

As you make progress on the strategic areas you chose at the beginning of the process, you’ll begin to pick up momentum. Those areas of your business that have been transformed should generate additional revenue, which can then be used for further digital transformation.

Every new transformation initiative should build on the previous one, ensuring that momentum continues to build and revenue continues to come in.

As your efforts begin to snowball, continue to focus on strategic areas that will continue to enable growth. Don’t begin chasing every possible opportunity. Focus on the 20% that will move the needle.

9. Increase core business capabilities

If things go well during the initial rollout, there will come a time when more substantive changes are needed. Core operating platforms, as well as the people who run them, will need to be boosted in order for further transformation to be possible.

In some ways, this is the tipping point for your company. If you continue to build out your core business capabilities to enable further transformation, you can truly become a leader in your industry.

10. Change your operating model

A full digital transformation will eventually require you to implement a new operating model. Departments and functions that were once siloed will need to be reorganized to enable communication and collaboration. Data that was once the property of a single business entity must be easily shared across the company.

To quote McKinsey & Company again:

“…companies will have to lean away from a traditional matrix structure with rigid functional boundaries if the transformation is to succeed. They will need a network structure, organizing around sources of value, with product managers empowered to make decisions with implications that cut across functions.”

The times are changing

When it comes to the way successful businesses run, the times are certainly changing. The, “If it’s not broke then don’t fix it,” model simply doesn’t work anymore. Technology moves too fast and your competitors are moving with it. It’s not about keeping up, it’s about not falling behind.

Creating a company-wide digital transformation won’t be any by easy means. But it’s a worthwhile necessity. The increased efficiency, customer satisfaction, and revenue set you up for years of success.

Former president Bill Clinton put it this way: “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.”

We wholeheartedly agree.

Brandyn is the Agency Development Director at MojoTech, a custom software development consultancy.

The post Digital transformation: What it is and why it matters in 2019 appeared first on ClickZ.

Anyone else love this as much as me

A digital marketing strategy needs to be frequently revised to stay successful. Here are the latest trends to keep an eye on for 2019.

Technology keeps evolving and we all need to keep up with the latest trends to make sure that we develop successful marketing tactics. It’s the perfect time to reflect on what worked the past year and how the latest trends will affect our marketing strategies in 2019.

Here are the key trends you need to know and how to include them in your current digital marketing strategy.

Video

Video consumption is not expected to slow down. As more social platforms invest in video content, marketers are investing in video to engage their audience.

However, it’s not enough to create videos with no clear objectives.

Start spending more time on analyzing the best types of video that work for your audience. Bite-sized videos may work on social media, but what if your audience is still interested in watching longer videos?

For example, Instagram will invest more on IGTV to establish it as a new platform to consume longer videos. Although it’s still at an early stage, there is a great opportunity to beat the competition before it gets more popular.

Video ads are also another trend to try out, either to increase awareness or even to drive conversions.

According to Animoto, video ads are the primary way that consumers find out about a brand or product before making a purchase.

Marketers need to optimize videos for mobile users, while the call-to-action needs to be clear but not off-putting. Focus on creating appealing videos that engage the viewers to keep watching.

For more tips on how to create successful video content, check out:

AI and AR to improve marketing

Artificial Intelligence can revolutionize our marketing tactics. We’re already seeing its application in customer experience, personalization, analytics and it can turn out to be the secret weapon of your marketing strategy in 2019.

Personalization will be more important than ever and customers are expecting a great shopping experience from brands. It’s interesting that 74% of consumers are willing to give up data for a more personalized ad experience. Thus, AI can be the link between the brand and the customer. In fact, the AI industry is expected to grow to $7.3 billion per year by 2022.

Similarly, augmented reality is reaching the stage that it’s taken more seriously in terms of practical application. As we’ve left Pokemon Go behind, more brands realize that AR can help them create an experience that can boost their messaging. It is already used across many different industries and consumers are ready to use it even more.

Brands can introduce AR to their marketing strategies to:

  • Raise awareness
  • Tell a story
  • Improve customer experience
  • Promote their products through gamification
  • Build engagement through a new way to reach your consumers

According to Gartner, 100 million people will be shopping with Augmented Reality by 2020 so this year is the perfect opportunity to explore how AR can fit into your own marketing plans.

For more creative ideas on how to use AI and AR in your marketing strategy, check out:

Data-driven marketing

Many successful marketing strategies rely on data to justify their tactics. The more channels and platforms we are using, the bigger the access to data.

This brings out the challenge of bringing it all together with the use of the right tools. Martech can be the solution to this challenge to improve the measurement of your campaigns and the attribution of your best-performing touchpoints.

A data-driven marketing strategy can help you learn more about your audience to improve your tactics and your future campaigns. More specifically, it can help you improve your customer experience with the use of personalization or it can even help you create more effective ads to reach the right audience.

For further reading, check out:

Social media Stories

Stories make the next big trend in social media marketing. They are already engaging enough to encourage more marketers to try them out and they will become even more popular in 2019.

Vertical content is more appealing for mobile devices and Stories take over most social networks, with Instagram being the most popular platform to use them.

There are more than 400 million active Stories users every month and they seem to be more engaged in Stories comparing to the social feeds.

Brands are using Stories to prove their authenticity with behind the scenes content, fun polls, countdowns or engaging videos that can also involve their followers. Stories don’t necessarily require the help of a creative professional, but they still need a strategy on how to make the most of them,

2019 will be the year that more marketers will integrate Stories into their digital marketing strategies as an effective method of reaching their followers.

To read more about social media Stories, check out:

Voice technology and the need for conversational content

Voice technology sees an increased adoption rate year over year and it will become even more popular in 2019. As consumers are ready to spend more time on voice technology, marketers need to understand how to benefit from the growing trend.

There is a new type of conversational content and promotion that they need to involve in their digital marketing strategy. As it differs from other promotional methods, we need to start exploring how to create more conversational content. It’s not enough anymore to think of keywords and marketing jargon. Voice search is about knowing what consumers want and how they would use a voice assistant.

It’s interesting to consider that according to IAB, 18% of American consumers already own smart devices and 65% admit that they couldn’t imagine not using them anymore.

This can bring a big opportunity for the brands that are ready to invest in this trend.

If you want to learn more about marketing and voice technology, check out:

The post Digital marketing strategy 2019: How to take advantage of the latest trends appeared first on ClickZ.

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It’s that time of the year again: reflecting on the year that’s past as we prepare for 2019 lurking around the corner. In this article, we have a roundup of some of our fan favorite pieces from 2018 on emerging technology.

From the rise of artificial intelligence to chatbot powered marketing, Magic Leap shaking the AR industry to big name brands snuggling up to blockchain, these were some of our highlights from the past year.

We also have a roundup of our top articles from each of our other three staple categories: marketing technology, digital marketing, and digital transformation.

1. Can artificial intelligence create content as well as a human?

Will robots take over our jobs? Ever the question.

Earlier this year, we received an email from a company that uses artificial intelligence to create content.

They said, “You choose the topic and length, and our algorithm will create your content.”

So in this article, we got some AI to actually write a bit of our article. The result? A piece of content that is surprisingly … normal. A few typos for sure, but with a bit of human editing, it could fare pretty well.

So if you’ve been wondering, “can AI create content as well as a human?” — here’s your answer.

2. How new technologies will affect your marketing strategy

Technology has played an integral role in the growth of marketing over the years.

3. 10 industries utilizing augmented reality

When it comes to augmented reality, we often think of Pokémon Go and other such games.

However, the technology has grown far beyond the gaming and entertainment sectors.

In this article, we look at popular use cases of augmented reality in the business world.

Manufacturing, education, health care, marketing, fashion, travel, navigation, retail, food and beverage, and enterprise — these are all industries using AR.

4. Brands and blockchain: How Walmart, Burger King and De Beers are snuggling up to decentralization

Is Bitcoin the future of money? Has the cryptocurrency bubble already popped?

It depends who you ask. The topic of Bitcoin is just as polarizing as it is hot. But no matter how volatile Bitcoin stocks may be, its underlying technology, blockchain, still has huge potential for digital transformation.

We often talk about blockchain in a speculative way, but brands like Walmart, Amazon and Burger King are already embracing the technology.

Diamond powerhouse De Beers even has plans for its own industry blockchain.

In this article, we look at what six big brands are doing to cozy up to decentralization and apply the power of blockchain to their work.

5. Five brands that prove chatbot-powered marketing is the future

As personal assistants like Siri and Alexa become a normal part of consumers’ digital experiences and our interactions with devices get increasingly more conversational, many companies are working to incorporate chatbots into their marketing strategies.

In this article, we look at five brands who bet on chatbots — with excellent results.

Starbucks, Aeromexico, Sephora, National Geographic, and Taco Bell are among the early adopters of chatbot-powered marketing.

6. Magic Leap shakes the AR industry in 2018. What’s next?

One of the companies that made the biggest splash in the augmented reality industry this year was Magic Leap.

After eight years of hype (a total investment of $2.6 billion), they only recently introduced their first product to their audience in August of this year.

How did their first AR headset goggles affect the AR industry? Did it meet expectations? And why is this company threatening big tech giants that want to succeed in this competitive market?

In this article, we looked at Magic Leap’s big news, what the change meant for marketers, and how would affect our strategies.

Stay tuned for more “Best of 2018” roundups on Monday!

The post Best of 2018: Emerging technology news and trends appeared first on ClickZ.

Amazing post very informative I <3a

This past holiday season, internet sales for Wednesday through Black Friday surged 26.4 percent compared to last year, generating a whopping $12.3 billion in sales. From product browsing to checkout, consumers crave convenience and efficiency when shopping online, and this craving will only intensify as we move into the new year.

Throughout my tenure in the ecommerce, payments and technology space, I’ve seen trends wax and wane over the years but there are a few themes that remain consistent in all of them: innovation and creativity.

Brands need to set themselves apart from competitors in order to build a strong reputation amongst customers and keep them coming back to their online store to shop.

Below are three trends I see coming to 2019 that online sellers need to embrace in order to provide the shopping experiences consumers will be looking for online.

AR/VR technologies will become more integrated in the checkout process

When it comes to the future of checkout, artificial and virtual reality are two technologies that will eventually become more integrated into the process.

In a world dominated by emerging technologies like AR and VR, consumers are becoming more focused on experiences, according to The Guardian. In fact, an ISACA survey notes that 62 percent of US consumers believe that augmented reality enhancements would benefit their shopping experience.

How do these technologies benefit the overall shopping experience? To start, AR and VR could help the seller better showcase what they’re selling, and the end-user visualize what they’re buying.

Remember: convenience and efficiency are the goals for your shopper. This is especially true for digital goods sellers who are offering products that aren’t tangible, like software.

I like to think of the process inevitably beginning with the implementation of artificial and virtual reality, which can then lead to a visually appealing shopping experience for the consumer, and finally ending with a simple checkout process to complete one flawless transaction.

These technologies will eventually create more visually appealing experiences to shop for any type of product and reduce the frustration of a complicated checkout process. The result your business can look forward to gaining is more knowledgeable and satisfied customers coming back time and time again to buy your products online.

While consistent integration of AR and VR within an ecommerce platform is not expected until the distant future, your business can start thinking now about where these types of emerging will play a role in your processes and how your company will adapt accordingly. 

Subscription services will out-perform the traditional business model

With the rise of subscription-based selling and usership, there’s a fundamental shift occurring in the way people purchase, especially when it comes to digital goods.

According to a McKinsey & Company survey, the subscription ecommerce market has grown by more than 100 percent a year over the past five years, with the largest retailers generating more than $2.6B in sales in 2016, up from $57.0M in 2011.

In fact, the same survey revealed 15 percent of online shoppers have subscribed to an e-commerce service over the past year, with 46 percent of respondents subscribed to an online streaming-media service including Netflix.

In order to keep up, online sellers must embrace and understand how this shift in purchase behavior will help or hurt their business model, and know when, if and how to make a change. Once a brand can identify what the customer is looking for, businesses can tailor their approaches to meet these expectations and deliver a quick and easy experience.

2019 will see a transition out of the traditional business model of simply selling a product or service to a customer into a preferred subscription-based service where remembering to pay a bill is taken care of and digital goods are easily delivered.

Dynamic commerce will be required for online sellers to stay afloat

Consumer expectations now require brands and online sellers to deliver a fast, easy, secure and personalized shopping experience from browsing to checkout.

Some consumers are even willing to pay the price for a top-notch experience, too.

According to a recent DataStax ‘Me Culture’ survey, nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) international adults are willing to spend extra to reduce their wait times for services they care about. Those willing to pay more will shell out, on average, 21 percent extra to reduce their wait.

To that point, 2019 will be the year of dynamic commerce, which allows the ability to have your customer-facing pages to dynamically update based on multiple factors, such as browsing history and geolocation.

While this process heightens the overall shopping experience, simultaneously it also allows a brand to showcase forms of innovation and creativity resulting in efficient purchases and satisfied customers. A personalized experience for the shopper is almost guaranteed from content to currency.

Online sellers need to act now to keep up with the changes to come. AR/VR will become more integrated into the shopping experience, particularly the checkout process and subscription services will out-perform the traditional business model.

Dynamic commerce will also be required to ensure a personalized customer experience and keep online sellers on top. 

Get ready for these new and exciting trends to come. Your customers are ready. Are you?

Chris Lueck is CEO of FastSpring.

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