Digital Dash: Retail tech’s future & more

1. 3 ways tech will transform retail in 2018 and beyond
Along with advances in technology comes an evolved and enhanced retail experience. And while this has always been true, it seems that the pace of change has really accelerated over the past few years.

So what’s in store for 2018 and beyond?

1) Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will make shops even smarter
Gone will be the days when you had to hover awkwardly beside a busy shop assistant to get answers – in future, all product information will be available at a quick scan of a smartphone. Shelves will gain a new lease of life too, accessing your virtual profile to remind you that it’s a friend’s birthday tomorrow so you should probably stop by the cake aisle. The products themselves will also get in on the act, communicating to centralised stock control systems to identify precisely what needs replenishing, in which store, and when.

2) Payments and purchases will be more personal
With use of Apple Pay and other ‘digital wallet’ forms already on the rise, consumers will come to expect instant, secure and virtually effort-free payments. Blockchain technology, for example, might open up a world of new options for things like ‘micro-transactions’ with its digital decentralised ledger able to keep a permanent, tamper-proof record of any transaction. Blockchain could also be used to give buyers visibility of a product’s journey through the supply chain, something a company called Provenance is spearheading.

3) Brick and mortar locations will become discovery destinations
Stores of the future will serve as showrooms instead of places to purchase. People will still visit to get a feel for items and even try them on, but digital screens will curate the customer experience and augmented and virtual reality will facilitate more immersive product interactions. You’ll decide what to buy offline, then order it virtually. It’ll probably arrive home before you do. Either that or you’ll meet a delivery robot in the car park.

Read more about the future of retail tech, as originally reported by Wired, here


2. Spotify moves into beauty, and yes you read that right
If you did a double take at the headline, you’re probably not the only one.

Spotify, the $16 billion music streaming service is catching everyone off guard by setting its sights on the beauty sector.

The company began working with Merchbar last year, enabling artists to sell merchandise on their profile pages, a partnership that is now expanding – with the help of make-up artist Pat Mcgrath and singer-songwriter Maggie Lindemann – so users can ‘shop the look’ of their favourite artists.

Spotify won’t however be profiting from the diversification of its offering. Instead, it will open up a new revenue stream for artists aside from streaming.


3. 6 important Facebook updates that we’re giving thanks for
With so much turkey and other feast-related foods to focus on, we’d have forgiven Facebook for going a bit quiet this week.

And although there wasn’t much in the way of major headline-grabbing updates, the announcements that did come along were the type that will make a real day-to-day difference.

Here’s a rundown of what’s new:

1) Creative reporting: a new tab is being tested in the Account Overview section of Ads Manager. It will compare creative performance across all ad sets at once, and group ads using similar copy, call-to-actions, images and video.

2) Auction competition: currently also in testing, this new tab will give an insight into the auction system ads compete in, letting you know key information such as the bid amount Facebook entered.

3) Dynamic language optimisation: previously only available for posts, this feature has now come to ads, letting you publish a single ad in up to 6 languages. Facebook will automatically display the correct one based on user settings.

4) Messenger plugin: you will soon be able to chat to website visitors through Facebook Messenger directly on your website, with all threads appearing in the unified Inbox.

FB_messenger plug-in5) Messenger Streak: unashamedly copying Snapchat (again), a lightning bolt emoji will now appear next to the profile of people you’ve interacted with for consecutive days.

FB Messenger_streak

6) Collections: if rumours are to be believed, you’ll soon be able to group saved Facebook posts/ads into ‘Collections’ just like you can on Instagram… and also just like Pinterest’s core concept.


4. Why LinkedIn’s new Website Demographics feature is dynamite for marketers
When it comes to website analytics, the more granular the data, the better. Maybe not in terms of time management or mental wellbeing – but definitely in terms of getting a clear picture of what’s going on and why, and what’s working and not.

While Google Analytics is everyone’s go-to, there are some areas where it falls short. One of these is providing insights about the visitors themselves, something that LinkedIn is swooping in to resolve with its recently launched Website Demographics feature.

Using the feature you can see information such as the job title, company, location, industry and company size of site visitors. You can then break this down at domain, subfolder and page level to get an even clearer sense of visitor behaviour and interests.

There are lots of different ways the insights offered by Website Demographics could be used to strengthen marketing efforts. These include:

• LinkedIn targeting: create new audiences
• Content creation: tailor hyper-relevant messaging to website activity
• Sales funnel: use website activity/intent signals to inform strategy


5. IG vs. Facebook – which wins for engagement?
In short, Instagram.

In a recent study by Social Bakers, Instagram wiped the floor with Facebook in terms of organic engagement, scoring higher for reach and impressions in relation to audience size, and interactions per impression and reach.

This is also true for brand profiles – as you can see below – with 80% of Instagram profiles achieving better organic impressions and reach per audience when compared to Facebook.


FB_social bakers 2

FB_social bakers 1

Although the graphs are persuasive and give food for thought, it’s worth considering that Instagram, with its strong focus on stunning visuals, shouldn’t necessarily be compared like-for-like with Facebook. It’s fairly expected that organic reach, impressions and engagement would be higher with this in mind.

Also, it’s very important to look beyond these top level metrics when assessing which platform to focus on – the organic metrics mentioned in this study are only really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to measuring any brand’s social success.