How will we have to adapt? And what can we do to maximize our profits from the changes?
Here are just a few of the items I'm expecting to see…
1. Fun Brought Into Shopping
Why is social media like Facebook so popular? People are having FUN with their friends online. They're making new connections. They're even playing games.
I've blocked more games than I could think of from Facebook invitations. What are people flocking to…especially during the recession of 2010? They want entertainment…movies, TV, online games, etc.
The question becomes how can you make shopping on your site fun?
Sites such as Etsy become a site to explore and discover (basically a site selling crafts).
ToVieFor, Gilt, and Swoope are all high end designer fashion type sites that implement a limited auction type model (in one way or another).
How can you make your website more fun…and buying from your more of an experience instead of just a transaction?
2. Increased Regulation
As annoying as it has been, I bet we can expect more of this…more government regulation.
Several states tried to create new rules of what meant a sales tax nexus in 2010 (including Texas which for a time was making it a law that all web hosts would equal a sales tax nexus for your transactions).
With so many states short on funds, we can expect more of this. In addition, we can expect tighter restrictions on what is allowed and even some possible licensing.
I agree that we need more ethical business online, but also don't believe the government is a great model for ethics.
What's this likely to mean for us? It means as you start generating profits you'll want a closer connection to an attorney to check what's possible and what's not for your online business.
3. More Brand Advertisers
I've now heard it from several clients. Their Bing advertising reps were directly talking to them about how to better “brand” their businesses.
Their reps were taking on the branding mindset instead of response based advertising, because that's who they want to cater to. It's easier than those who demand a return on their investment.
A lot of advertising has increased in price because big brands are seeing better returns from their online dollar than their large TV budgets anymore.
As you spend time on the web, pay attention to how many ads (especially video ads) you're seeing from the major corporations now online. It's growing quite a bit and this is pushing up ad prices.
This means you need to concentrate heavily on generating long term value and relationship with your customers as it is becoming more expensive to acquire them initially.
4. TV/Internet Convergence
The Internet is combining in with TV. There were WebTV projects in the past, but we're going to see a lot better pick-up of this in 2011. Even Google is getting involved with their Google TV.
This of course means more video from your website. It also means more emphasis given to “sound bytes” – quick bites of information delivered for the Attention Deficit TV generation.
That's right. Video is not about to drop in popularity. It's about to get even more important!
Mobile Marketing Wins
iPhones, Androids, iPads, and more. By 2012 we can expect to see more smart phones and other mobile devices than we do PC's.
What's that mean for your business? It means you need to pay attention to what experience you're providing to users of these devices.
This is a little tougher for someone like me who can't stand any of them. Yes, I own an iTouch and I pretty much quit using it as I find a small laptop much more useful. And I barely even use my cell phone.
This again leads us back to quick bites of information. And it also leads us into a more personal approach of making sales online…live chat, webinar experiences, on the phone follow-up, etc.
How to Make Sure You're Ready For 2011
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