Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Are You Embarrassed by Your Video Marketing Efforts? Don’t Miss This Virtual Conference

How to Create Professional Video Ads with Zero Knowhow

If you are using video as part of your marketing strategy, #CouchCon wants you to pull up a chair and join the virtual conference on Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

You will learn how to optimize video marketing with experts from Wistia, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Unbounce, Buffer and others.

The conversation will include Wistia CEO Chris Savage, who will discuss new ways you should think about video, the marketing funnel and opportunities you might be missing out on.

The virtual conference will also cover conversion optimization, email marketing, social media, content strategy and more.

So make sure to click the register button and get your favorite couch, desk or lounge chair ready.

Register Now

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

CouchCon by Wistia: The Free Virtual Deep-Dive into MarketingCouchCon by Wistia: The Free Virtual Deep-Dive into Marketing
August 14, 2018, Online

Save your seat for CouchCon – a virtual conference on all things video marketing. Wistia’s lined up 13 industry leaders who’ve used video to solve some of their biggest marketing challenges and are eager to share how you can do the same. From creating successful video campaigns to engaging with your audience, each session is designed to help provide marketers like you with advanced techniques to take your video marketing game to the next level. Whether you’re watching CouchCon from your living room, the local coffee shop, or the office, it’s all completely free. That means you can get access to all sorts of awesome video marketing content without spending a penny or leaving your couch! Join thousands of other marketers and register today.

WEBINAR August 15, 2PM ET (11AM PT): How Mobile Ate the Web - and 7 Ways Small Businesses Can Capitalize WEBINAR August 15, 2PM ET (11AM PT): How Mobile Ate the Web – and 7 Ways Small Businesses Can Capitalize
August 15, 2018, Online

Browsing via mobile devices has overtaken and now exceeds desktop computer browsing. Sadly, most marketers and business owners still look at their company web presence using desktop devices – but that’s not what most of their visitors are seeing! Visitors are seeing it through mobile devices. In this webinar we’ll explore how users find and get to businesses using mobile devices. We’ll look at the latest trends, and whether your business needs them or should ignore them, including:
AMP (accelerated mobile pages), progressive Web apps vs true mobile apps, mobile templates vs responsive websites, the search engine “knowledge panel” for your business, the mobile-first Google index, leveraging third party reviews and their impact on mobile visitors, and much more. Join us on August 15, 2PM ET (11AM PT) by registering today!

Growth & Success ConGrowth & Success Con
September 17, 2018, Online

This small business virtual conference is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs at all stages who are stuck in the daily grind of building their businesses and struggle to get solid advice and guidance. An amazing panel of experts in various disciplines and business coaches will share tips & tricks on topics including Growth, Marketing, Management & Business Building for Success. Register today!

More Events

NEW YORK FINTECH WEEK 2018
July 31, 2018, New York, United States
Online Small Business Skills Summit
August 06, 2018, Online
2018 #FlipMyFunnel B2B Marketing and Sales Conference
August 08, 2018, Online
Small Business Expo 2018 – SAN FRANCISCO
August 09, 2018, San Mateo, United States
CapCon 2018
August 11, 2018, Newport News, Virginia
SILICON VALLEY FINTECH WEEK 2018
August 13, 2018, Online
Nashville Lifestyles Women in Business
August 14, 2018, Nashville, Tennessee
IoT Forum on Logistics
August 16, 2018, East Palo Alto, CA
TECHSPO Singapore 2018
August 19, 2018, Singapore, Singapore
National Ergonomics Conference and ErgoExpo – August 2018 – Paris Las Vegas
August 21, 2018, Las Vegas, USA
TECHSPO Sydney 2018
August 22, 2018, Sydney, Sydney
DigiMarCon New Zealand 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
August 22, 2018, Sydney, NSW
DigiMarCon Australia 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
August 22, 2018, Sydney, Australia
Culture Talk: Culture and Cultural Identity
August 23, 2018, Online
The Sales Development Conference San Francisco August 30th 2018 Tenbound
August 30, 2018, San Francisco, California
TECHSPO London 2018
September 05, 2018, London, NSW
DigiMarCon Europe 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
September 05, 2018, London, United Kingdom
DigiMarCon UK 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
September 05, 2018, London, London
HR Technology Conference and Exposition
September 11, 2018, Online
DigiMarCon India 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
September 19, 2018, Online

More Contests

Public Vote to Crown America’s Most Unique Small Business Underway
November 08, 2018,

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.

Image: Shutterstock

This article, “Are You Embarrassed by Your Video Marketing Efforts? Don’t Miss This Virtual Conference” was first published on Small Business Trends

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These 40 Entrepreneurs Swear by These Marketing & Growth Strategies

America1. PPC & organic are a winning combo.
John Breaker, President/Founder, BirdieBall.

Pay-per-click and organic positioning are the most successful, pure and simple.

If you are in a market category that has active searches, pay to get seen and fight for conversions.

If you can afford to stay number one in paid search, you can get stronger and stronger from there.

Paid search forces you to convert, which in turn drives up organic by default. To convert from the number one position means you are good and getting better every day.

It forces you to get good at all of the blocking and tackling basics of customer satisfaction and business.

Satisfied customers and quality products are characteristics of the company that can be in the top paid positions in a category week after week, year after year.

2. Never forget to email customers.
Parker Slavin, President, StationeryXpress.

Email marketing keeps our customers engaged and informed as to new products, deals and sales.

Advertising on Google AdWords also works really well, as many people search Google and other search engines for what they are looking for.

3. Direct face-to-face contact with customers.
Brittany Hogan, Owner and Artisan, Nefertem Naturals.

Direct face-to-face contact works best for our business because it’s hard to sell the idea of rubbing cow fat on your face over the internet! People have to try it to believe it.

4. Meet your customers.
Jim Taylor, President and Owner, Belted Cow.

For us, it all starts with a high-quality, unique product and exceptional customer service.

We have always put most of our energy into product development.

If you can create something truly worth talking about, it’s easier to market it.

Once we had something to show people, we needed to get it in front of them and let them do word-of-mouth marketing.

We started by attending over 20 retail shows a year to get in front of people.

We continue to attend shows, expand our social media following, and update our website for improved customer experience.

We have also seen successful brand exposure by partnering with local nonprofit organizations and donating a portion of the sales from select designs.

5. Create a community.
John Wray, CEO, Hero Care Packages

We’ve tried to do lots of direct marketing as well as PPC advertising.

We just migrated to BigCommerce and are looking to directly ramp up sales now that we have the platform we want and all of the infrastructure set up.

Building an email list is key. Community involvement in what you’re building is critical.

6. Having grit is essential.
Barbara Huffman, Owner and Eco-Friendly Artisan, Southern Magnolia Mineral Cosmetics

Personally, the most successful tactic to the growth of SMM Cosmetics is my tenacity.

However, professionally, email marketing and social media have by far been the most successful.

Social media alone has allowed the small business owner a little voice over the big cosmetic companies.

I don’t have the budget to advertise or pay for clicks, so having Facebook and Twitter in particular has given me a resource to tap into and reach as many customers as possible, but doing it with a little southern charm!

7. Have a website that looks professional.
Amy Breaker, Director of Operations, BirdieBall

A banging website is what works for us!

We are continually trying to improve the website and make sure our website educates our customers on our unique products with a great user experience.

We are always focusing on getting more conversions from our efforts with Google advertising. Improving our SEO is another huge avenue for growth so we can organically get people’s attention.

8. Google advertising, newsletters and a good ecommerce platform.
Elizabeth Curtis, Owner and Marketing Director, The BananaNana Shoppe

These things have worked really well for us: Google advertising (first with AdWords, then Google Shopping), newsletters (email marketing, including suggestions for grandparent ideas), moving to BigCommerce.

9. Send customers relevant information.
Katie Bernotksy, Owner, Power Team Lures

Email marketing. Being able to reach our direct market with sales and company news our customers truly care about is key.

10. Use word of mouth marketing.
Founder and Owner at San Francisco RAW

Word of mouth and veterinary referrals are the most effective and common growth tactic for us.

We also get a lot of people finding us through Instagram and Facebook – especially Instagram, lately.

Yelp is another place people find us.

Want more insights like this?

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11. Use an omnichannel approach.
Damon Didier, Vice President of Marketing, Office Furniture Source

BigCommerce’s connections to eBay and Amazon have driven considerable online sales, and strong SEO has helped to drive both online and in-store sales.

12. Have a great product.
Stan Farrell, President, ComposiMold

It’s really been a combination of social media messages, free ebooks to grow our newsletter, social media marketing (I’ve liked Facebook advertising) and lots of conversations.

The really big key, I think, has been selling a unique product that can solve people’s desire to make things real.

13. Utilize social proof.
Philip Kauppinen, Owner, Grand New Flag

SEO and customer reviews using Yotpo have been the most successful.

I have found that my organic traffic has been more successful than any advertising, along with the Yotpo reviews system integration, which gathers and displays customer feedback wonderfully.

14. Find the right starting point.
Daniella Park, Designer and Webmaster, Doing It Sober

Honestly, BigCommerce has been crucial to my growth.

The platform keeps me on my toes with new information all the time.

I had no money when I started, so I basically taught myself everything from BigCommerce University!

Instagram has been the main player with getting the word out there.

15. Data is your friend.
Chief Marketing Officer at Wilson Amplifiers

Organic traffic growth through content marketing is a long-term play, but hugely profitable once in play.

We think of this as free revenue as opposed to PPC with higher CPA numbers.

Conversion rate optimization is critical and needs dedicated resources. This is not a set-and-forget-it part of the business.

TEST EVERYTHING, ALWAYS.

Checkout funnel analysis and retention strategies are KEY. Mobile growth is up 40% YOY.

Ensure that you look at key metrics. Load times, for instance, are critical, as is cross-device sharing of content.

Mobile generates more traffic than desktop, although revenue numbers are lower.

Lastly, having an understanding of attribution is critical to understanding multi-channel campaigns’ value.

16. Find where your audience lives.
Danielle Rogland, Coordinator, Celebration Ashes

Advertising on Facebook has been great for us, because families who have had memorials created are able to share their stories to our company Facebook page.

These really touching personal accounts are a great way for other families to see what we are about and decide if this kind of memorial piece would work for them.

17. Consider targeting a specific niche.
Kenneth Eremita, Vice President of Marketing, Turtleback

Google Shopping ads have been the most successful.

We have a lot of niche product for flip phones and radios that don’t have a lot of competitive bids.

Many of our customers have these niche devices and start with Google to see where they can find a carry/case solution and find us.

18. Leverage Amazon.
Barbara Weiderspahn, Ecommerce Manager, Racelite Hardware

Selling on Amazon has been a big boost to our business.

Not just direct sales on Amazon, but people finding our products on Amazon and then coming to our website for a more complete selection of products.

Using web analytics has also helped us improve search results to steer people to our website.

19. Make long-term investments in marketing.
Ferrell Alman, President and Founder, Roanline

Social media and social media advertising have allowed us to connect with our target audiences and share content, stories and products.

We also spent a good amount of time on design and SEO work, which has paid off in spades for organic traffic.

20. Don’t forget about repeat customers.
Manager at Fox Creek Leather, Fox Creek Leather

We have been having recent success with email marketing and other digital advertising means; however, most of our business comes from repeat customers, forums and referrals from customers.

We also try to keep on top of our SEO so we are shown more often through organic searches.

21. Add that personal touch.
Kevin Danaher, Ecommerce & Marketing Manager, Stuff2Color

We answer all customer phone calls, orders, emails or letters in the mail with a personal touch. No boilerplate responses or generic call center reps.

We believe in the human element of commerce and think that has been key to our growth.

22. Have an effective PPC strategy.
Derek Lenington, Co-founder and CFO, Taylor Street Favors

Google Shopping with the assistance ofWordStream and Logical Position has been the most successful while we grow organically through social media.

23. Be SEO focused.
Patrick Hope, Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Partial Owner, Fleet Safety

Search engine optimization has been the most successful growth tactic for us.

It allowed us to get on the map and be seen by everyone across the nation, not just in the mid-south where our 6 stores are located.

24. Be social & searchable.
Lauryn Spence, Founder, Pride Chicken

Social media & Facebook ads have made a great impact for us.

We also started focusing more on our organic search in the last 6 months and have already seen an improvement in traffic.

25. Keep up with Google algorithm changes.
Jerri Hemsworth, Co-Owner, RP Boutique

Keeping on top of the changing algorithms of Google has worked well for us.

Social media has been a big deal for us, but not our biggest converter.

Google’s organic search and email campaigns have been our biggest sources of traffic.

26. Use data to hone in on your audience.
Ashli Clubine, Director of Marketing, Nine Line Apparel

Facebook advertising is what really helped us establish ourselves, allowing us to reach a wide expanse of our target demographic based on honing in on those with like-minded views and interests who would relate to the message that our apparel conveys.

27. Provide customers informative content.
Brian Krilivsky, President, Journey To Health

Providing content in my niche area has been the most successful.

One of my main selling products are Wiffle balls and bats. (Yes, the good old, made in America, plastic bat and ball that has been around for decades!).

I’ve set up informational resource pages on the site exploring and promoting all areas of Wiffle Ball: Wiffle ball tournaments, Wiffle ball fields, Wiffle ball pitches, Wiffle ball leagues, Wiffle ball rules, etc.

These pages have brought a ton of customers to my site where I can then cross-sell them all types of products related to Wiffle ball.

Blogging about all of these areas has also helped.

28. Compete on price, quality and service.
Joanne Wood-Ellison, Founder and Chief Executive Collar Crafter, The Artful Canine

Offering the perfect combination of price, quality and service is what has grown our business.

Big box pet stores have the price, but not the quality. Boutiques have the quality, but not the value, and few offer all three.

I reach those seeking this level of service and value through SEO, great content and accurate, revealing photography.

29. Get feedback from customers.
Kate Dillon, CEO, Crate Insider

Social media, and Facebook in particular, has been instrumental to our success.

It’s been a great platform to engage with our customers and allow them to be part of our community.

They can like, comment and share new products or tech tips that we publish.

It’s been a strong platform for building loyalty among our audience.

Out of all paid-advertising channels, Facebook has been the most effective by far.

The other tactic we’ve used has been to provide relevant content on our website.

We provide tech articles and videos and write unique product descriptions.

As a result, organic search on Google has been responsible for a large portion of our traffic.

30. Successful advertising requires you to pay to play.
Kyle Sharick, Owner, TracksNTeeth

Paid advertising via Google/Yahoo/Bing to drive our traffic and providing high-quality products at affordable prices with fast shipping time is the winning combination we’ve used to give our customers a top-notch customer experience.

31. Use the Golden Rule.
Chris Angelini, CoFounder, American Bench Craft

Providing customer service that’s just as awesome as our products are.

Without venture capital money or investors backing us, we don’t have a substantial marketing budget, so we rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers.

By taking care of our customers and treating them they way we like to be treated, they are so happy with their overall experience with us they tend to be really engaging with social media shares and positive reviews.

A simple Google search of American Bench Craft will reveal hundreds of overwhelmingly positive 5-star reviews!

This has worked well for us because there’s a surprising number of companies that don’t provide good customer service or any at all.

We get so many emails and phone calls from people who are refreshed by our customer service and they tend to talk loudly about our company and products and that has been what’s kept us growing these past few years.

32. Be tenacious.
Ana Seidel, CEO and CCO, My Bliss Kiss

Social media, Amazon and writing over 80 articles on our sister site NailCareHQ.com is what has driven our growth.

33. Create long-term strategies..
David Skeen, Owner, Matboard Plus

Initially, Google AdWords drove our growth in a big way.

This was essential for finding our audience and new sales. Expensive? Yes.

But I knew I had to find customers in order to build the real business of “repeat customers.”

Long term, we have been developing our SEO to reduce the cost of finding new customers through PPC alone.

34. Be engaging.
Jennifer Lugo, Founder and Product Formulator, Verefina

Using our blog in tandem with email marketing and social media has really helped us engage our customers and communicate with them in a meaningful way.

35. Stay connected to your audience.
Tersha Carpenter, CFO, Island Slipper

Email marketing and social media have been the most successful.

We started actively working on our social media presence last year, and I think it is finally beginning to pay off. We are beginning to see more traffic due to social media.

But even more successful has been the direct email marketing campaigns. Every time we send out an email, there is a spike of traffic and sales.

36. Slow and steady wins the race.
Bonnie Porter & Megan Boyd, Chief Party Officers, Cute Booze

Email and social media have been the most successful because we were able to get the Cute Booze name out at a low cost.

It’s slow but it works – constantly increasing Facebook likes, etc.

We are now investing in SEO and starting to implement the features built into BigCommerce.

37. Make key connections.
Gordie Spater, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, Kurgo

Partnering with retailers like Petco, PetSmart and Pet Food Express has been the most successful.

We have distribution in over 90% of pet specialty retail doors now.

This presence has established us as a leader in this category.

38. Content is still king.
Vice President and Co-owner, Universal Design Specialists

As a small business, we found the punch to be in our on-page content.

We try our best to give our customers the best, straightforward information possible to understand our sometimes-complicated products.

Using quality SEO tools and of course BigCommerce has been beneficial in simplifying the ecommerce aspect of our business as we are “do it yourselfers.”

39. Create key digital relationships.
Katie Caudill, Founder and CEO, Sunday Coupon Inserts

Blogger relationships, hands down.

Whether it’s sponsoring giveaways, testimonials or simply having our button on their website, we can contribute a large portion of our continued new customer base to referrals from coupon blogs with whom we have established relationships.

This has not only increased our sales, it has grown our Facebook presence to almost 200,000 fans!

40. Do it all.
Jennifer Raines, Chick-in-Charge, Quirks! Handcrafted Goods & Unique Gifts

We pretty much do it all.

All forms of social media (approaching 14,000 Facebook fans), Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat.

We also have an active MailChimp email list with nearly 10,000 subscribers.

We are extremely active in our local community.

Over the years, we’ve really grown to love our little tribe of locals and visitors who support us and all of our crazy schemes.

We also take pride in the fact that Quirks has become an interactive and vital community hub with artist visits and contributions to the community through our nonprofit CultureFix.

The nonprofit coordinates events to promote arts and culture in the Greater Williamsburg area, including the Winter Blues Jazz Fest, 2nd Sundays Art & Music Festivals, the Big Bluesy, and ChowderFest.

We’re always on the lookout for unique ways to have fun, excite our neighbors, make days brighter, extend our reach beyond our store walls and think outside the box.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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What Facebook’s Algorithm Change Means for Hotels on Social Media

When the focus is on engagement, hotels on social media need to keep up-to-date on the latest best practices. Facebook made that a little more difficult this week. The social network grabbed headlines with two big algorithm changes that aim to reward high-quality content.

The first algorithm change puts a greater emphasis on engagement time, or how long people tend to spend on a given post. As a result, engagement stems from more than likes or comments on a post–it also now draws data that Facebook has been collecting on how long people spend on Instant Articles or clicked through its mobile browser. Now, Facebook can prioritize a user’s News Feed based on how long that user has spent on similar posts from an author or publisher in the past.

The second adjustment will reduce how often Facebook users see several posts from the same publisher in a row, a response to user complaints that their Timeline content is becoming repetitive and boring.

Facebook claims that publishers like hotels will only see a very small increase or decrease in traffic and that no significant changes are expected. In all, the social network states, the shift is a move toward quality over quantity and should reduce the amount of clickbait we see in our News Feeds. But, many publishers are already wary of Facebook’s algorithm, with some alleging that referral traffic from the social media giant to their brand websites has dipped 20% over the past months.

So what does this mean for hotels on social media? It doesn’t mean that hotels should give up on trying to reach their guests on Facebook or any other social network. Instead, hotels should focus more on creating and sharing content that provides value to their guests and prospective guests. Here are some tips that Facebook posted to its blog:

Hotels on Social Media: Tips for Engaging with Guests on Facebook
1. Share photos and videos

Photos and videos can drive up engagement, which will allow your channel to be more visible to your followers. You can also upload videos directly to Facebook, which, according to the new algorithm, will drive up engagement even further.

By uploading videos to Facebook directly, you can also take advantage of these two benefits:

Your videos will play automatically in News Feed – Native videos start playing immediately as people scroll through their Feed. Videos initially play silently, but people can tap the video to play it with sound in full screen.
Your videos will have view counts – Public videos from people and Pages will now show view counts to help people discover them.

2. Find your voice

Let your brand voice shine in your social posts. It’s important to note that being conversational, personal, and authentic can go a long way toward engaging and making a connection with your guests and prospective guests online. Take the time to post directly to your Facebook page in your own voice. Your content will be more meaningful if it reminds your audience of their experience with your brand.

3. Respond to your audience

In the same way that it can be good to be personal in your posts, hotels on social media should also reply personally to people who comment on posts. Your guests and prospective guests will be thrilled to know that you’re listening.

4. Share exclusive content

Your hotel’s fans will love to see exclusives, sneak peaks, and behind-the-scenes posts that can’t be found anywhere else. For example, The Charles Hotel in Cambridge Massachusetts posted this to their Facebook page to promote the new rooms following a renovation.

author

The hotel executed this post perfectly – it showcases the newly renovated rooms in a way that feels behind-the-scenes and exclusive, and it followed up with people who commented in a personal way.

5. Mix it up

Post a variety of content to see better results. For example, hotels on social media can take inspiration from English singer-songwriter and musician Ed Sheeran. He posted a photo of a heartwarming letter from a fan.

Britains Natural Environment Research Council

A hotel could do the same with a heartfelt review or social media post from a past guest. This is a great way to engage guests and prospective guests on Facebook, and therefore make your content more visible to your audience.

6. Use hashtags to join the discussion

It used to be that hashtags didn’t work on Facebook, but that changed in 2013. Now, hashtags are a great way to make your posts more discoverable and relevant.

Hotel Marketing Tips

When deciding what hashtags to use, you can try a couple of different things. You can look at trending topics and hop on the hashtag for a current event. You can also try something like the post from the Whitney Peak Hotel above – they used #biggestlittlecity, which is a hashtag that locals and tourists use when referring to their surrounding area in Reno, Nevada.

7. Crowdsource responsibly

If you have a solid following, one way to increase engagement is to ask for content from your guests. When you ask for user-generated content, make the prompt clear and explain how the information will be used. Feature the best content on your page and follow up with a reply to the people who participated.

For example, Mike Rowe got a ton of engagement on his page when he asked fans to help him name his new puppy. (Side note – the Revinate team has spotted Mike and the puppy in the neighborhood of our San Francisco offices on a couple of occasions. Yes, he walks his own dog! #celebcrush)

Nevada

On crowdsourcing, there is one thing to be aware of – the Internet has a sense of humor. Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council learned this the hard way this month when it launched a public poll to name its new $300 million research vessel. The good people of the Internet decided that “Boaty McBoatface” was the most appropriate name. Science Minister Jo Johnson decided that the ship needed a more “suitable” name.

8. Use Page Insights

Once 30 people like your hotel’s Facebook page, you can use Insights to help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Insights include demographics about your page’s audience, a list of the most popular posts, and details about videos that you upload to Facebook.

people and Pages

9. Send the right message to the right audience

Just as with email marketing, hotels on social media should use any targeting tools at their disposal to increase the relevance of their posts to their audience. For example, you can target posts by language to the people most interested in your content. Targeted posts will still be visible to everyone on your Page, but will only appear in News Feed for the audience that you select.

Reno

One caveat – there is a minimum spend for targeted posts based on the amount of reach you have in your targeted area, so evaluate your hotel’s marketing budget carefully to see whether you have the dollars to spend on a social media experiment.

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE to access our on-demand webinar Hotel Marketing Tips for 2016 in which we dive into further detail on best practices for hotels on social media.

The post What Facebook’s Algorithm Change Means for Hotels on Social Media appeared first on Revinate.

Read more: revinate.com

Is Voice The Future of eCommerce Search?

We’ve got everyone’s favorite dynamic duo on the show today, regular guest Bill D’Alessandro of Elements Brands and Miracle Wanzo, a longtime eCommerceFuel member and our in-house Facebook guru. Today we’re bantering back and forth on what we think the future of voice looks like, how Alexa and Siri measure up against one another and whether we think this trend is overhyped or about to explode.

You’ll learn:

What store owners are doing to optimize for voice now
The future of Alexa peddling Amazon products
Predictions on how voice can be used in commerce

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com, Miracle Wanzo of HipUndies.com, and Bill D’Alessandro of ElementsBrands.com)

Andrew: Welcome to “The eCommerceFuel Podcast,” the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.

Hi guys, it’s Andrew here. And welcome to The eCommerceFuel Podcast. Thanks so much for joining me on the show today. Today we’re gonna talk about voice, the future of ecommerce search or the next big flop that was hyped up and destined to become a failure but no one could see it at the time? It’s kind of a long title than I normally put on a show, but we might go with it.

But Voice Search, is that actually something that is gonna be, you know, the way people are gonna shop in the future? Obviously, we’re using it with Alexa, with our phones, it’s becoming more prevalent. I’ll get into a few stats a little bit further in the episode that kinda talk to how much more traction it’s getting. But is that gonna bleed over into eCommerce?

And joining me to talk about that are two of my favorite people in eCommerce, first, Miracle Wanzo, from hipundies.com. Very prominent eCommerceFuel community member, our official Facebook expert, and someone just who I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for. Incredible knowledgeable and smart woman.

And then also, Bill D’Alessandro from elementsbrands.com, also a good buddy of mine. And if you’ve listened to the podcasts for a while, you’re also likely familiar with him as well. We sit down and talk about Voice, so like I said, if it’s gonna be the next big thing or if we think it’s a little before its time.

Thanks To Our Sponsors!

But before we jump in, I wanna say a big “Thank you” to our two phenomenal sponsors who make the show possible. First, to the team at Klaviyo, who makes email marketing automation incredibly easy and profitable. And one of the ways that they can do that is with their very cool Shopify back-in-stock feature.

So, if you’ve got a product on your store and you mark it out-of-stock, obviously, people can’t purchase it, of course, but why aren’t you collecting email addresses for people who are interested in it so you can email them when it comes back inn stock? Probably because it’s a pain to set that up on a technical standpoint. You know it would be great.

Well, if you’re on Klaviyo, there’s an integration with Shopify that makes this really easy. People come, they automatically can sign up when a product is out of stock, and they automatically get emailed once you return the inventory to in-stock, which is pretty cool.

So, just one of the many features they have to help you make more money from your email marketing. So, if you’re not using them, get started for free today at ecommercefuel.com/klaviyo.

And then secondly, a big “Thank you” to Liquid Web, who offers the web’s best managed hosting for WooCommerce. A few cool things about their offering. First, they make it really easy to make a copy of your store and move it to a staging area. But even more so than that, because a lot of places offer that, they offer you the ability to stress test it.

For example, you can load it up with 100 users and see how it works. You can load it up with 1,000 concurrent users and see how it performs, if it’s able to scale with that.

So, if you’re thinking about running a big promotion or, you know, a big sale, or you’re going on “Shark Tank,” something like that, you can be really confident that your store is gonna be able to work flawlessly when you need it to the most. So, if you’re on Woo, if you’re thinking about getting on Woo, make sure you check them out at ecommercefuel.com/liquidweb.

All right, let’s go ahead and get into our discussion today with Miracle and Bill, about voice. Bill and Miracle, welcome back to the show. Good to have you, guys.

Bill: Yeah, glad to be here. Good to be back on the podcast.

Miracle: Great to be back, thanks.

50% Of All Searches Will Be Done By Voice in 2020

Andrew: Yeah, of course. Thanks for coming on. So, we’re gonna be, like I talked about at the top, kinda doing a deep dive on voice. Voice is something I feel like it is, we haven’t done an episode on, it’s not really getting talked about a lot in the e-commerce world, but I wanna really talk about if it’s something we need to be paying attention to, how we should be optimizing our sites, and the future of it.

So, kinda casual conversation, curious to get you guys’ thoughts on things.

But I wanna kick us off with a few stats to kind of frame the conversation. The first one is, you know, 50% of all searches are gonna be done by voice by 2020. You know, in a couple of years, half of everything, and a lot of that being driven by mobile, but half is gonna be voice.

Thirty percent of all searches done by 2020 are gonna be done without a screen, think stuff like Alexa, HomePod, things like that. Thirteen percent of U.S. houses own a smart speaker today, you know, in 2017, rather, and will rise to more than half by 2022. And you think about Amazon Echo, and it was the number one bestselling item on Amazon this last Christmas.

So, how much do you guys use voice right now? Like, between Alexa on your mobile phone, are you guys using it a ton, are you kinda like me, not as probably in the game as I’m guessing Bill is? How much are you guys using? And Miracle, we can start with you and then go to Bill.

Alexa Has a Mind of Her Own

Miracle: I use Siri a lot to ask just basic questions that I don’t want to Google. I don’t use it for shopping. And I have a problem with Alexa.

Just the whole idea of the little things that have happened where Alexa has burst out in laughter during a conversation, I’ve had that happen and it was weird, or the recent news story of Alexa randomly sending someone in a woman’s contact list, a recorded conversation on her home, that’s led to me keeping Alexa outside of the rooms where I spend most of my time.

Andrew: Whoa, I’ve never even heard of these things. Have you heard of these, Bill?

Bill: Yeah, I couldn’t tell how much of it was basically like Alexa misheard what was going on in the room. And this is kind of funny because the Alexa in my office just lit up, and I’m gonna have to unplug it for this conversation because I’m gonna mention her name lots of times.

But, yeah, I think like, you know, she heard her name and like thought it was a joke and began laughing. Apparently, there was like a common phrase that triggered it. I didn’t know about the recording though, Miracle.

Miracle: Oh, yeah. That’s a recent one. Amazon actually verified that that did happen and that they were working to fix whatever it was that caused it.

Bill Lives With Six Echoes

Andrew: That’s so creepy. I think we’ll have it in, you know…this is a whole another episode, but the extent to which we’re living in a Big Brother world with more microphones and cameras than we care to admit. Bill, how much are you using Alexa for in your mobile phone to either order stuff or just, you know, in general in daily life?

Bill: As may be foreshadowed from my previous episode a few minutes ago, I own six echoes. They’re in almost every room in my house and then also here in my office at work. And I use them absolutely constantly, primarily for home automation because I have smart light switches all throughout my house, so I can say, “Turn on the fan,” or, “Turn on the kitchen lights,” or, “I’m going up stairs,” and that turns off the downstairs lights and turns on my bedroom lights.

All sorts of things like that I use it for constantly, which I actually think is one of the best use cases for voice, is home automation and control.

But I also use it very frequently. Every day, what’s the weather? Every day in the morning, play some music while I’m getting ready, in the evenings, play some music like while Natalie, my wife and I, are cooking. All sorts of things.

So, that being said, almost never for commerce. I don’t know if I’ve ever used them to purchase something, which actually leads to me being very bullish on voice, but bearish on voice for commerce.

Siri Needs To Up Her Game

Andrew: Yeah. It’s when I got our first Alexa. I’m kinda probably behind the team times, where given you have six of them. I had my first one this Christmas, I was one of those people contributing to it being the bestselling item. We have it in our kitchen. We use it probably most days, but primarily for music. And I use voice occasionally on my mobile phone, but the bigger reason I don’t use more is because I’m an IOS.

And Alexa, I feel like it’s phenomenal. I can have my kids running around screaming and I can, you know, yell something at Alexa, and over the din, she’ll be able to get it and, you know, do whatever I ask her. I can be in a silent room and enunciate as much as possible, and half the time, Siri first takes like 30 seconds to figure out what I’m saying, and then a lot of the times doesn’t even get it right, which is shocking.

I don’t know if you guys have this experience with Siri, but it blows my mind that Apple, with how much of the mobile market they have, they don’t have a better voice assistant.

Bill: The worst. I try to use Siri every day and I…just terrible. But Alexa’s great. I mean, almost every time, she gets it from across the room. Like, I can throw my voice across the room and my echo will pick it up, and Siri, on my iPhone actually sitting on the table right in front of me, and I could say, “Hey, Siri,” all day long and she doesn’t even wake up. And then even if she does, she screws it up.

Andrew: Yeah. Miracle, what are you using?

Miracle: Well, I do use Siri. I think one of the reasons that Amazon is leading in this space is because their technology for understanding language and processing language, and going from speech to text, and processing it, and bring it back to speech, is kind of available on AWS.

So, I think they have so many developers using it, that that’s why they have a much more evolved system for having those conversations come across is more natural, where when you use Siri, you definitely feel like you’re talking to a machine and you have to kind of adjust the way that you say things, and then you might get unpredictable results.

The Future of Purchasing Via Voice

Andrew: Yeah, it’s crazy. I wanna ask you guys, you know, what do you think the big question…obviously, voice is being used, Bill you kind of alluded to this, and I’m guessing I know your answer, you kinda, you know, gave it away. But, do you think this is gonna change the way, fundamentally, that we market products as ecommerce store owners? I’m not purchasing stuff on, you know, like that.

It sounds like you guys aren’t purchasing much either via voice. Do you think this has big implications for us as merchants?

Miracle: Sure. I think eventually, we’ll get to that point. I did watch a demo of Scott Galloway asking Alexa to buy batteries. Alexa gave some suggestions, and I felt like for something where you’re a little bit agnostic to which brand you purchase, that it’s great because you’re not really evaluating it much, except maybe the best price, or the best, you know, speed of receiving your order.

But I think for a lot of other things where I see voice being useful, is if the technology can evolve to the point where the assistant can do some preliminary shopping and filtering, and then present you with the best options visually one of your devices where you then can review them and then make a purchase decision. I think it’s gonna be hard to purchase a lot of things sight unseen, just totally relying on an assistant to get it right.

Bill’s Take: Will Be Difficult To Replace Research and Customer Acquisition

Bill: I think that’s exactly what I would say, because voice really, when you think about it, is a pretty low bandwidth medium. I mean, it’s very good for commanding control, “Turn on the lights,” it’s very good for, “What’s the weather?” or, “What’s five times 52?” you know, or basically, basic question and answer.

But, I mean, try to edit a photo with your voice, or try to do comparison shopping for different brands of laundry detergents to figure out which one you want. I mean, it’s the same reason that, you know, a lot of people much prefer to read text than watch video, because text can be scanned, text, you can put two documents side by side and compare them.

If if everything had to be done by voice, I mean, can you imagine reading the news, like, having the news read to you? It’s just not as high bandwidth.

So, I think voice has a spot in commerce. It’s not that it will not be used for commerce, I think it’s great for say reordering things that you’ve already ordered, like a subscribe and save type functionality, or, “Hey, get those batteries I got last time,” or whatever it was.

But I think it’s very difficult to replace that research and kind of customer acquisition piece with voice, where actually, that’s where a lot of the money is. That’s where all the ad dollars are, right? Is in customer acquisition. That’s what brands pay for, is to acquire new customers.

Whereas I think voice can get particularly interesting for a ongoing relationship with the customer you already have that maybe is loyal to keep them loyal, or to cross sell them other things if they already know what they’re gonna get when they buy from your brand. “Oh, yeah, I buy the laundry detergent. I’ll take the fabric softener,” that type of thing.

Using Voice for Discovery

Andrew: Yeah, I wish I could come in here and offer a really strong counterpoint and disagree with you guys for, you know, having a fun little…some banter on the show, but I gotta go totally in agreement with you. And if you look at the top things that people are using mobile voice search for, at least among adults, you know, number ones through number six are directions, dictating texts, calling someone, checking time, playing a song, and movie times.

And, you know, of all of those, really, one is only kind of maybe loosely correlated with business, and that’s getting directions to, you know, a business or a place to eat, or something like that.

So, Bill, you kind of mentioned before, you know, discovery is really the issue with voice, and if…I think part of telling that is trust. Like, I think if things change a little bit in the future, we’re thinking about voice and the way it works now with the way commerce works, but imagine a world where Alexa knew all of your browsing history, knew your location, could tap into your e-mails, and maybe it integrated with third party review sites like The Wire Cutter, we were talking about this earlier as well.

If it got a lot better at knowing who you were, what you liked…you know, I was also talking with Miracle, I don’t know if you were on, Bill, but location, like you’re in North Carolina and I’m in Montana, and the fashion trends are very different, right?

Like, if you say, “Alexa, get me an outfit for this weekend,” the outfit it’s gonna generate for you is gonna be very different from the one which it’s gonna generate for me in Montana or even, you know, Miracle, in San Francisco. And so, over time if you’re willing to give Alexa more data and it can start leveraging some of the AI machine learning with your preferences and things like that, and that trust gets solved,

I think we could definitely start to see it become more of a force. But I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that yet.

The Cloud Brain Separation

Bill: See, what you’re talking about though, is you’re talking about the strength and potential of AI, and you’re talking about the Alexa application as like the cloud brain. But to confine it strictly to voice, I mean, assuming that Alexa could do all those things, you could just as easily give the command, “Give me an outfit for this weekend,” by clicking a button on a screen. Voice is really just the interface. And that’s sort of what I think you have to separate.

You know, the cloud brain that is Alexa, yeah, it can get phenomenally more powerful, but I just think voice as an interface is just so low bandwidth that it’s again, more command and control of the cloud brain rather than…you know, I think people when they talk about shopping, you know, what is shopping?

That is I wanna compare a few options, I wanna learn about them, and I wanna make a decision. I just don’t think voice is a high enough bandwidth interface for that type of activity.

And now, if I’m willing to trust your recommendation, then the cloud brain is very good. It’s a low bandwidth interaction to say, “Make a recommendation, I trust you,” right?

Andrew: Right, yeah. And I guess my argument would be voice is so easy. You know, you can be very, you know, on a top of mind ask something by voice that it’s low friction. And so the more you trust the results you get, the more likely you’re gonna use that low friction approach to be able to order things.

I totally agree with what you’re saying, voice is just kind of the avenue to get to that recommendation engine, but you’re gonna trust that recommendation engine more and leverage it more especially, you know, low recommendation for voice if it’s much better.

Using Voice as a Prompt

Miracle: Well, what do you think if voice was used more of a prompt to customers? And I don’t know how you do this without making it creepy, because in some regards you’d be looking for the device to initiate the conversation, but would there be a good use case for voice to do something like a prompt to reorder something that’s re-orderable, or to suggest something that is a good companion to a purchase recently made? What do you think about that?

Bill: That’s not bad as an upsell. Like you say, “Hey, Alexa, buy that laundry detergent I always buy,” and then it goes, “That brand also has a fabric softener, would you like to buy that too?” You know, that you can see for, sure.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean…Miracle, are you thinking like you’re just kind of sitting there in your kitchen having dinner and a kind of off the plot and nothing, Alexa chimes in and says, “Oh, hey. It seems like you’re running low on dishwasher detergent, can I recommend this?” Like, it’s proactively prompting you for things? Is that what you’re thinking?

Alexa Might Be Good at Upselling

Miracle: That would be too creepy. But if you are already engaged in that, like say you were doing that, “Hey, Alexa, buy the laundry detergent I always buy,” and Alexa said, “Okay, well I also notice it’s been, you know, a while since you’ve reordered this, would you like to reorder?” That kind of thing, I could see being useful.

Implementing Voice for eCommerce

Andrew: Totally agree. Yeah, I totally agree. Are you guys thinking about or doing any…and we’re talking about this at a high level, are you guys making any, you know, changes today or tweaks today, to your website, or your SEO where your marketing strategy is to try to target voice? Or is it something that’s a little bit too abstract for, you know, real implementation at this point? And Miracle, maybe we can start with you.

Miracle: No, I haven’t done anything. I’m in a wait-and-see mode. I do play around, though, sometimes with the AWS services that relate to voice just to see where they are in terms of the evolution or the ease of use for a normal ecommerce site. And it’s been pretty fascinating to watch how much Amazon has rolled out in this space over the past, you know, year or so that I’ve been looking at it.

But I think we’re gonna get to the point where the machine learning will be able to just understand the context of websites.

And maybe that type of structured data that we use in the past, we’ll only need it for really complicated technical things, but for most basic products, I think we’ll eventually be at the point where the technology can just look at the web page, scan it, pick up the context, pick up all the little data points that it needs, and have the ability to do something with it, and turn it into language that the machine can use to communicate with the user.

Bill: Yeah, we’re not doing anything proactively either. I mean, I’ve seen in talking with other sellers, it seems like the, at least right now, the biggest implication of voice is that if you are able to get that Amazon’s choice badge for certain keywords, that is the product that Alexa will recommend for those certain keywords if somebody happens to voice search in those cases. So, it does make that Amazon’s choice badge a little bit more desirable.

But we also recently had a product that was very hot and I was looking in my Amazon conversion rate, I had conversion rate of 115%, and that didn’t make any sense, and our only way we were able to theorize what might be going on is people were buying it with voice, so it was generating conversion without a page view, was my hypothesis.

So, I think voice could be driving transactions, but there’s really not much needed to optimize for it beyond that trying to get that Amazon’s choice badge for the keywords that matter to you.

Planning for Google’s Voice Assistant

Andrew: Interesting. And one thing, I don’t know if you guys have seen this, I don’t think Google has rolled this out yet, but there’s rumors that in the search console, just like they split out on analytics, just like they split out mobile traffic and desktop traffic, they’re gonna start splitting out queries based on voice versus regular, you know, kind of keyboard input, which should be really interesting to see.

And I did some digging on this, because I’m not doing anything at all right now either to try to optimize for voice. And I read a handful of articles expecting to see like, “Hey, there’s a lot of markup,” or, “You should do this or that,” it’s a pop up, and the only things I found, I think most of it was really related to local, having your markup data really well done if like for your hours, or your location, or what kind of business you are if you’re a local business, for directions and calls, things like that.

You know, there’s a mention of trying to land that featured snippets, you know, kind of the question that often gets pulled and put on top by Google, because that’s a lot of times what, especially Google’s voice assistant will read, and a couple of recommendations on how you can maybe change your keywords tracing to target more questions and more naturally spoken requests versus typed ones.

But to be honest, reading through, I don’t think people really have any idea, apart from maybe some basic local stuff, how to optimize this for voice. It seems like it’s still pretty much the Wild West, and not a lot of real concrete stuff that’s gonna help a lot at this point.

Bill: And I don’t feel like voice yet is big enough that you would wanna sacrifice the optimizations you’ve made for text in order to be optimized for voice.

Alexa Makes You Shop for Amazon Brands

Andrew: Yeah. What do you guys think? One thing we looked at before we hopped on was Scott Galloway, the guy from L2. I think a lot of people know him. He had an interesting video on how he believes Alexa is gonna kill brands. And he uses the example…Miracle, you mentioned there earlier about how, you know, you shop for batteries, Alexa pops up the two Amazon basic types. It doesn’t offer anything from Duracell or Energizer, or any of that.

His whole point is based on that given when people shop more brands are really gonna die because it’s, you know, Amazon is being this portal and it’s limiting that brand choice for you. What do you guys think about that? You think he’s on the money, or do you think he’s kinda overblowing those fears?

Bill: Yeah, Andrew, you and I have talked some, I think there’s a prior podcast episode actually, where we talked about this. I come down on the side of in some places, this will hurt brands. But I think to some degree, it will really be a monetization strategy for Amazon because you’ll be able to pay to be the one that Alexa recommends. So, it’ll just be kind of a new type of ad unit, and brands are used to paying for ad units.

But the other thing is as I kind of alluded to earlier, brands are very much shortcut for consumers. Consumers love brands. I mean, brands…the death of brands has been much heralded for decades as stores have rolled out private label products and stuck them right next to the branded options on the shelves at half the price, and yet still, brands persist.

I think there’s something very, very deep in the human psyche that likes brands. Brands are a shortcut for product quality. You can see a new product but from a brand you trust. You can buy that without having to read the reviews. If you see a new product from a brand you trust, it’s a great upsell. Brands can convey status and prestige, which matters sometimes.

You can argue more than ever in kind of a Instagram world. So, I think discovery of brands are changing, but I’m not quite on the brand-pocalypse Scott Galloway trend.

Not a Truly Brand Agnostic Future

Miracle: Yeah, I agree with Bill. I was a little disappointed that he made that prediction, because, you know, his four horsemen video was such a great thing. And he talked about the things that motivate people to buy products, and how sometimes people buy products out of things that have absolutely nothing to do with the functionality of the product, but then he made this statement about voice killing brands as though most purchases of branded products are utilitarian.

So, I felt like it just didn’t have the best context because I think there are things that people purchase where their attachment to that purchase, or that product, or the usage of that product, is so strong that the idea that just a random recommendation from anywhere could kind of break that bond is a little misguided. There are some things that people care so much about that they’re not brand-agnostic. They really do care.

But then there are a lot of things that people buy where it wouldn’t matter who made it. And I think maybe those are the products or the categories that are most at risk, but the problem is that differs for different people. Some people, like I care about my toothpaste. A lot of people don’t, but I really do care. So, you know, I think where it matters for the consumer can differ across the spectrum of products. And I don’t know that you can unilaterally say that voice is a threat to brands, because people buy for irrational reasons.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a great point Miracle. I mean, he, to your point on Scott, he talks a lot about like Apple being the ultimate luxury brand, and the reason people buy it is like this show status and, you know, at some level like signals they are good all this kind of stuff, and kind of goes against a little bit what he’s arguing with the brand.

I agree with you guys. I think the only time where that might be more of an issue is if we get into a point in the, you know, pretty distant future I would suspect, where kind of going back to what I was saying earlier, you have Alexa, or, you know, kind of the recommendation engine gets so good at recommending products for you, knowing your history, your contacts, your past purchasing record, all that kind of stuff that you really trusted, and, you know, it’s got a 80%, 90% rate where the things it recommends, you just absolutely love.

But I think that’s a ways away, and until that happens I think there’s, you know, that’s gonna be brands are still are here to stay for quite a while.

Is Spotify The Fifth Horseman?

Andrew: Totally unrelated, have you guys…I’d love to get your thoughts on this completely unrelated topic, but he just came out with a recent post about how he thinks Spotify, there’s a good chance it’s gonna be the next, kind of the fifth horseman. And he makes the argument it’s got global reach, it gets better with time, it kind of appeals to a younger audience.

Have you guys any thoughts on that? I don’t know of if you saw that piece, but I…maybe this is just coming from a place where I missed out on Amazon at 200 even though Bill was smacking me in the face trying to get me to buy. I totally missed the boat on Shopify, even though, you know, I should’ve known, and still I’m wondering if I should pay more attention to hear it.

You guys, any thoughts on Spotify, and if you think that’s gonna be something that takes off in the next…really takes off as what he would call the fifth horseman?

Bill: That’s a complicated one. I mean, you would have to give it a horseman status. I think you got some questions about what that means, but I know one that comes to mind is Netflix, which is basically the large tech company in video. So, you could argue that, “Will there be a large tech company in audio?” perhaps. I think the thing that makes Spotify in the music business different is just this decades of entrenched royalty model.

And you’ve got very few licensing companies that have the rights to almost all the music in the world, I think almost without exaggeration, locked up.

And if you look at Spotify’s financials, they are giving every penny they make to the labels, which I don’t know if that dynamic exists in the same way in video. And Netflix has really pushed to create original content, I think, which frees them from a dependence on like the Marvel movies, for example, you know, the big content creation houses.

And I don’t know if that works in music or not. I think in order for Spotify to kind of rise to that level, I mean, they’ve got to start displacing things like radio in a way that Netflix displaced television.

So, before Spotify, I think, gets status like that, you gotta show that people are not listening to the radio anymore, and that also they’ve got to develop some sort of unique content creation capability, and show that we can sign artists and record music, and people will wanna listen to it. That’s hard to do.

Miracle: So, a while ago, there was this article, really good, don’t remember where I read it, and it was about Spotify’s machine-learning team, and how good it was at picking up people’s playlists in the music they listen to and translating that into actionable information.

And there was a specific group at Spotify for one of the genres of music that had the ability to kind of launch artists and then take that data from their Spotify, all of the data from the Spotify platform, and then give it back and show all the things that could be actionable, like what the artist should be doing to promote, where they might have a high density of fans for touring and all of this other stuff.

And it’ll be interesting to see how Spotify commercializes their platform just outside of those standard ads that show up if you’re on Spotify free, because there may be a play for being more of an intelligence platform, not, you know, that they get the data from the streaming of the music and then that’s not a profit center, but the data that they have that they can sell to companies is profitable, just like Twitter.

Twitter has this thing where they make a lot of their profit by selling data to companies as opposed to the actual trashiness of hits ad platform, for lack of a better phrase.

A Final Consensus: Is Voice Overhyped?

Andrew: Well, guys, I’m gonna wrap us up on kind of voice in general, but maybe in closing, and maybe this is a little too binary, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway in the sake of making us take a stand on thoughts on if, you know, voice is gonna be the next big thing or if it’s slightly overhyped.

And, you know, stuff like mobile payments comes to mind, where two years ago, you know, I was hopeful…I think a lot of people were hopeful that Apple Pay would roll out and all of a sudden, our mobile conversion rates would, you know, get maybe not on par with desktop at least be somewhat in the vicinity of VRs, some of those other things.

Thoughts on whether voice is something that’s a little overhyped right now because there’s a lot of talk about it, or if it, you know, some of that actually is legitimate. And I think on my side, I take the standpoint of I think this is gonna be big for usability on mobile, big for local businesses, and I think maybe long, long term, it’ll be something that changes the way commerce is done, but for the next, you know, two to three years, definitely, it’s not something that’s gonna take a meaningful chunk away from eCommerce stores, especially if you’re off Amazon.

It maybe a little more on Amazon or more nuance, but especially if you’re off Amazon, it’s not gonna be something that’s gonna be a major threat. So, thoughts, guys?

Miracle: Oh, no, I pretty much agree. I don’t know how far we are from having voice be a big thing, because the evolution of the technology is so rapid, but I definitely think it’ll eventually get there, because, you know, we’re not gonna put that genie back in the bottle. But in the meantime, I don’t know that right now ecommerce merchants need to be worried about losing out to voice.

Bill: I would put it somewhere in between major shift, next big thing, and you also suggested is it dud like VR. I mean, you could argue whether or not VR is a dud or just not quite here yet. But my hypothesis is that voice kind of becomes something like voice-over IP. Like you remember when Skype was the next big thing, and it was gonna replace all telephones, and Skype was gonna be the next multibillion dollar company etc., etc.

And, you know, they sold for a lot of money to Microsoft, to eBay first and then Microsoft, but what actually happened is voice-over IP just kind of merged into everything.

You can make a voice call in the Facebook Messenger app. You can make voice call in Whatsapp. You can make voice call in almost every platform under the sun. Voice-over IP kind of became this thing that was commoditized. And I sort of think that’s what’s gonna happen with voice control and recognition, that it’s just going to seep into everything.

I don’t think it’s gonna become sort of this monolithic platform that replaces keyboards or replaces, you know, some maybe new form of interaction.

I just watched a really cool video on mental control of computers based on nerve impulses.

But I think it will just be a new way but one of the many ways that we interact with computers, much more like inventing a new type of keyboard rather than an entire new paradigm, I think, for how things are done. It takes is one step closer to the man-machine-mind meld, but I still think it’s more of an interface than it is a platform.

Andrew: Awesome, guys. This is fun around what to come back on in two or three years and talk about how we’re ordering 90% of our purchases through Alexa, and see how it pans out.

Bill D’Alessandro, from elementsbrands.com, and Miracle Wanzo from hipundies.com among others. Guys, thanks so much for coming on. It’s always fun chatting and batting this stuff around.

Bill: Yeah, man. Thanks. And if we get to that point, Miracle and I will come back on and spend an hour talking about our strategies optimizing for voice.

Andrew: Love it, look forward to it. Thanks, guys.

That’s gonna do it for this week’s episode, but if you enjoyed what you heard, check us out of ecommercefuel.com, where you’ll find the private vetted community for online store owners. And what makes us different from other online communities or forums is that we heavily vet everyone who joins, to make sure that they have meaningful experience to contribute to the broader conversation.

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And I have to, again, thank our sponsors who help make this show possible. Klaviyo, who makes you know segmentation easy and powerful. The cool thing about Klaviyo is they plan your entire catalog, customer and sales history to help you build out incredibly powerful automated segments that make you money on autopilot. If you’re not using them, check them out and try them for free at klaviyo.com.

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And it’s highly elastic and scalable, as well as comes with a whole suite of tools and performance tests to optimize your store. You can check them out and learn more about their hosted WooCommerce offering at ecommercefuel.com/liquidweb.

Thanks so much for listening, really appreciate you tuning in, and looking forward to talking to you again next Friday.

Want to connect with and learn from other proven eCommerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel private community. It’s our tight-knit, vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter of a million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more and apply for membership at ecommercefuel.com. Thanks so much for listening, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again next time.

What Was Mentioned

Andrew Youderian: BlogTwitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
Miracle Wanzo: Website | Twitter
Bill D’Alessandro: Website | Twitter
33 Voice Search Statistics to Prepare You for the Voice Search Revolution
Scott Galloway: This Technology Kills Brands
There Is Another by Scott Galloway

Flickr: Ayşe ÖZSOY

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