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Stephanie´s Ramblings - Online Impulse Buying Expansion: Flash Sale Idea Moves into a Feature for All Websites?

posted on 18 September 2013 by Stephanie Bogue

This week’s blog was inspired by my desire to get in shape this fall/winter and join a gym.  It is starting to get cold here in Berlin, and what little exercise I did before outside will have to be moved indoors. I conducted online research about the gyms in my neighborhood and asked friends about where they were members.  I read reviews, looked at photos, fitness class schedules and ensured the gyms I was interested in had a sauna (rewards are important for hard workouts).  Just when I thought it would be a great idea to walk out the door and tour my top three gyms, I went to one more website, “Groupon”.  Back in the USA a few years ago, I frequented daily deal websites to scan what new experiences were offered in my hometown and to see if I could get a discounted price on things I already purchased such as the occasional massage or dinner deals at my favorite restaurants.  Here in Berlin, I have not logged on to Groupon once.  On my first go, as luck would have it, the featured deal was a 3-month gym membership for €30.  As I didn´t want to get locked into a contract and this appeared to be a great way to give the gym a trial run, I added this option to the ones I was already considering.  I took a glance at the time ticking away on the deal, I had 2 days left to decide.  Within that same day, I logged back on to Groupon and clicked to purchase.  After that, I got two more friends to buy the same deal.  After all, you need buddies to go to the gym with.  

Impulse Buying

This made me consider how impulse buying has moved online.  Back in February, I conducted a little study with a colleague for a project.  Essentially, we sent out an old impulse buying survey from 1995 to around 30 people to see how they viewed the purchases they made and what kind of buyers they thought they were.  Our main finding was that no one pinned themselves as an impulse buyer.  And, our biggest takeaway from this little study was that we are all liars and impulsive buyers!  Now, shoppers are being tracked through surveillance as you can imagine the empty results impulse buying research yielded when relying on people to be honest about impulse, which is by definition something we as humans have no control over.  Since the days of not so long ago, retailers have invested money into in-store tracking cameras and product placement and this surveillance translates online into heat maps to see where your eyes go first on webpages, what items you click on, and when you abandon your shopping cart.  

Flash-sale websites 

But, flash sale sites and member-only websites made a no nonsense move in 2007 and brought the simple idea of an online impulse buy, plain and simple.  Here is a clock, it is ticking, buy it now or in the next 72 hours or never.  This was the big transition from making the impulsive candy bar purchase while waiting in line at the supermarket to making an impulse purchase in the online world.  The timing was perfect as the economy tanked in 2008 and the desire to save a few bucks was on everyone´s mind.  These companies (Groupon, Living Social, Gilt, Ruelala, etc.) saw extreme growth.  The idea was a huge success.  And, once you get sucked in, make a purchase, and have a pleasant experience, shoppers come back to do it all over again.  Since my gym membership purchase, I think I have been back to Groupon´s website everyday despite my two-year absence. 

New Trend?

Although flash deal websites have struggled on an international level to see the success they saw in the USA and the hype has mellowed out a bit, the main idea of online impulse purchasing is still a good one.  Now, more and more businesses are looking to add this feature to their own website for a higher CTR or to unload overstocked items for a reduced price (read more here).  Why not?  The beauty of the flash deal is that it gets you to purchase now or in the next few days.  For me, the desire for something I want to buy on the internet can die when I log off the page and then forget what and where that thing I wanted so badly was.  Flash sales keep an image burned into my brain and the 2-3 day sale time is just contained enough to keep my short attention span on its toes. My advice however, is to keep flash sales special and deeply discounted.  My fear is that a flash sale will become a regular sale and a regular sale sometimes is not a sale at all really.  So, will we see this trend continue?  Will more online businesses go this route? What does the impulse buyer inside of you think?

Stephanie BoguePermalinkKommentare 0
Tags: marketing, flash sale, members only, impulse buying, impulse purchase
Views: 122

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Stephanie´s Ramblings - Is Crowdfunding Getting Too Big For Its Britches?

posted on 9 September 2013 by Stephanie Bogue

In the Beginning:

It all starts with an idea, well, a really good one.  You think to yourself, I could turn this idea into a business.  You dream of being your own boss, you see the scope of what a great idea you have, and maybe you can even provide jobs for others.  You work on a business plan, organize it, review it………….then a look into your bank account reveals that you are not a millionaire, perhaps not even close.  Traditionally, you would go to the bank to take out a loan, tell your rich Uncle about an investment opportunity, and put everything you have (money and time) into turning your dream into reality.  Today, you have another option: crowdfunding.

I have to admit, this topic excites me.  In fact, I have personally seen a few ideas evolve into businesses or products through crowdfunding.  As the amount of money banks are willing to loan has dried up a bit since 2008, the average Joe is picking up the slack.  Where the bank loan left off, I saw a good friend get the donations he needed to buy brewery equipment to open his very own brewery through a kickstarter campaign.  I watched as a vegan restaurant did nearly the same thing through the same route for kitchen equipment.  In addition, I saw a local band fund a new album from their fans with a crowdfunding campaign.  Essentially, these campaigns all consisted of a high volume of small donations. For the most part, these individuals relied on their local community and their fan base for funding and social media for spreading the word about their good ideas and how to help.  I love the warm and fuzzies you get from donating and contributing to someone else´s life story.  It just feels good!  And, what is it like to be on the receiving end of all this love money?  I could imagine many feel that not only is this an investment in their business idea, but also themselves.  It is a close connection that evolves into a bigger respect for your future customers and the business you are running.  The people that donated are interested in watching your project unfold and rooting for its success while you, the business owner, feel a greater need to not only make your idea a success, but also to give back to all those who invested in the idea of you.   So, watch out world, this looks to be the comeback of small to medium businesses and the local community.  This was the grassroots idea of crowdfunding; however, it is quickly evolving. 

Now and the Future:

Now, the original donation based idea has taken a large step into the bigger business world.  Are you a start-up looking for angel investors, a product developer looking to invent the next big thing, a charity, or are apps your thing?  If you fall into any of these categories, then there is a crowdfunding site and campaign made specifically for you.  On this scale, the whole idea begins to change.  For example, instead of making a donation, you can become a shareholder.  So, as the idea evolves into a grander scheme, and the investments get bigger and bigger, so do the rules in Germany at least. 

My thoughts instantly go to Berlin, Germany, home of a huge start-up scene.  Is this a viable option here?  Are these Berlin or German start-ups using crowdfunding as a source of additional income where the bank loans fall short?  For now, I think the answer is not so much.  Apparently, the rules Germany has made for this bigger version of crowdfunding are pretty strict in comparison to the rest of Europe and the world.  If you want a crowdfunded investment of 100,000 Euros or more, bureaucracy and the rules might get in the way. (read more here -  http://europecrowdfunding.org/files/2013/06/20130610_Regulation_of_Crowdfunding_ECN_OC.pdf)

But is this a bad thing?  Crowdfunding was originally born as an idea to give a boost to small and medium businesses from anyone who felt a connection to your idea and story.  I, along with Germany, wonder if this is too much of a stretch.  It is perplexing.  SME´s are making a comeback and are a big contributor in getting the world´s unemployment rate down.  Wouldn´t this bigger and better version of crowdfunding help more small and medium businesses start and grow?  I guess the answer is yes and I guess the role of the crowdfunder just got a little more complex.  I, for one, will proceed with caution.  I can´t say that I like where the original idea is headed.  For me, there is a lot of charm and magic involved in the roots of crowdfunding and how it has worked to turn dreamers into business owners on a more local and personal level.  Can we still call this bigger, better version crowdfunding? Or is it something completely different? 

Stephanie BoguePermalinkKommentare 0
Tags: crowdfunding, marketing, online marketing, bvh BLOG
Views: 313

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Social Media Marketing: Über den Social-Evolutionsschub

Hinweis vom 05.09.2013 auf den Beitrag von Stephanie Lehnert, ONEtoONE

Social Media Marketing ist aus dem Alltag vieler Unternehmen heute nicht mehr wegzudenken. Wenn es nicht gar direkt mit der eigenen Unternehmens-DNA verwoben ist, gehört „Social“ mittlerweile zum Standard sowie „Must have“ vieler Marken.

ONEtoONE hat einen genaueren Blick auf die unterschiedlichen Social-Media-Strategien von Marken wie Dawanda, Zalando und Baumarkt Direkt geworfen und untersucht, wie Social- direkt mit Transaktionskomponenten verknüpft werden können.

Lesen Sie mehr dazu hier im Beitrag!

 

Christin SchmidtPermalinkKommentare 0
Tags: social media, social media marketing, social media strategien, stephanie lehnert, onetoone
Views: 248

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