How The IoT and Amazon are Making Life Easier

Out of all of the emerging media coming our way, I think my favorite, and the most intriguing, is all of the technology that makes/ will make up the Internet of Things (IoT). After learning about the IoT there is not doubt that it will change the way we live our lives and how we work. While these types of technology are just now appearing, in the next four years, Gartner has predicted that more than 26 billion devices will be connected.

When searching for information about Amazon, I came across a link titled “Amazon Dash.” Being that I had never heard of this before, I followed the link. When I learned what Amazon Dash was I was completely amazed and immediately thought about everything I have learned about the IoT and realized that the things I once considered “futuristic” are now HERE! So for those of you who haven’t heard of Amazon Dash, prepare to be “wowed.”dash_button_cp_3_images_new_buttons

(Amazon Dash, 2016).

For those who did not know, grocery shopping is currently the largest industry for m-commerce. A number of people now complete their grocery shopping online through grocery store sites, or through the ultimate Internet store, Amazon. As we all know, grocery items are items that are often a repeat purchase once one runs out. When Amazon noticed these repeat purchases, they introduced the Amazon Dash Button. The Amazon Dash Button allows Amazon shoppers to re-order their items by simply pressing their product specific Dash Button. The button is connected through Wi-Fi and works through the Amazon app on a smartphone. Thus when you realize that you are running low on dog food, laundry detergent, diapers or toilet paper, all you have to do is push the Dash Button.

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(Smith, 2015).

This quick option takes away from consumers having to take the time to sit down, log into their account and place a new order. The Dash Button is $4.99, but no worries, after the first press consumers receive a $4.99 credit toward their re-order. Currently, Amazon Dash is only available to Amazon Prime members, but as the IoT becomes more popular there may be a chance that it will be available to all Amazon members.

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(Amazon Dash, 2016).

While this technology seems as if it would take off very fast, the numbers and the usage of the buttons have not been too crazy. “Fewer than half of people who bought a Dash button since March 2015 have used it to place an actual order, estimates Slice Intelligence, which conducts market research based on emailed consumer receipts. Those consumers who do order make a purchase roughly once every two months” (Terlep, 2016). While the IoT is ready for the world, this can make one ponder if the world is ready for the IoT.

References:

Smith, D. (2015, February 23). More people use mobile devices to buy groceries than any other retail category. [Image]. Retrieved September 18, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-popular-retail-purchase-on-mobile-phones-is-groceries-2015-2

Terlep, S. (2016, June 26). Amazon to Add Dozens of Brands to Dash Buttons, but Do Shoppers Want Them? Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-to-add-dozens-of-brands-to-dash-buttons-but-do-shoppers-want-them-1466970276

 

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Your Negative Social Media Review Could Result in a Lawsuit!

If consumers are not happy with a product or service there is always a chance that they will share their opinion via social media outlets. A number of consumers seek advice or reviews when going to purchase a product or invest in a service/experience, and can more than likely find answers online. This is also known as word of mouth. Word of mouth can be a company’s/marketer’s best friend or worst enemy depending on the consumers experience. Whether they are a consumer’s friend or a total stranger, 88 percent of people trust online reviews. What if I told you that your negative review on social media or online could result in a lawsuit?

As crazy as it sounds, businesses are going after consumers who post negative reviews. Exactly what are they suing reviewers for? Defamation. Defamation is the act of causing damages to the good reputation of an individual, or in this case a business, and can be classified as either libel (written) or slander (spoken). Of course since social media reviews are mostly written it would be considered libel.

The next question is whether the review is a fact or an opinion. If a review can be proven as truthful, it is not defamatory and consumers/reviewers may have a better chance at winning the case. While proving truth can be a challenge, trying to prove an opinion can be even more of a challenge. While some statements may sound like an opinion, it all comes down to the context. For example, if a review states that the manager of a store/restaurant is a loser, the statement made cannot be verified as truth, thus is classified as one’s opinion of another. However, if a review states that the manager was arrested for drugs, the person reviewing best hope the information is true because if it not then a lawsuit could be coming their way.

The following shows an example of what is consider libelous and non-libelous when it comes to posting reviews online:

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(Image Retrieved from Probasco, 2015).

However, the best advice for all of us to avoid getting stuck in the middle of a defamation lawsuit is to “THINK” before posting something that is not true. Social media and the Internet are awesome tools that can be used for great things. Be polite and use common sense.

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(Image Retrieved: http://mrlosik.com/?p=494).

Hey Siri?…Nevermind.

I am forever thinking about how difficult it must’ve been for my parents and grandparents to search for information. This could be because they are always reminding me of how easy today’s society has it compared to how it used to be. My parents (whom attended college in the ‘70s) would spend hours in a library going through books to find information to use to complete their schoolwork. I grew up in a time where I simply went to Google, typed in what I was looking for and had a plethora of information in a matter of seconds. Did you know that there are 3.5 billion Google searches per day? That breaks down to 40,000 searches every second! The way in which the Internet works is truly amazing. However, even more technology has changed the way in which we search for information. We can now conduct a search by using our voices.

By now we have all gotten used to intelligent assistants on our mobile devices. With these intelligent assistants, like Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Cortana, we can do anything from scheduling a meeting to sending an email by simply stating what we need done. What I have noticed the most is users using “Hey Siri” to conduct an Internet search. I, too, am guilty of attempting to do so. “Hey Siri,” allows users to simply state the words, “Hey Siri,” to get the assistant’s attention for a voice search or command. Although we have known these mobile personal assistants for quite some time now, the trend of talking to our mobile devices has just recently started to rise. “The range of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, Google Voice Search/Now, Viv, Amazon Alexa, and now, Google Home, are collectively training people to search using their voices and to become more “conversational” with search and mobile devices” (Sterling, 2016).

 

 

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(MindMeld,. Mindmeld Launches Voice Assistant 2.0, Says Voice Search Growing Dramatically. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.)

It has been noted that Siri gets more than 1 billion requests from users each week! My question is, how many of those requests are misunderstood, go wrong and end up in a typed search? While using voice is convenient, it can lead users to wrong websites, calling the wrong person and more. Thus, SEO or PPC companies need to take pronunciation of keywords and phrases into consideration when it comes to choosing voice searches. I cannot tell you how many times I have asked Siri to make a call and she calls the wrong number, or to conduct a search that leads me to websites and links that are irrelevant. It is truly a love-hate relationship depending on my search/command results. Ways that marketers can solve these problems and avoid confused and upset consumers include: “Research misspellings that can result from common mispronunciations of brand name, product name or key search terms,” and “Add them as a test to your keyword optimization strategy, though be careful to add in relevant negative keywords, as well” (Virji, 2016). You can learn more solutions here. I am not alone in having a neutral feeling toward the technology.

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(MindMeld,. Mindmeld Launches Voice Assistant 2.0, Says Voice Search Growing Dramatically. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.)

These mobile personal assistants are just catching on, and if consumers find that there are errors in their voice searches, they may choose to abandon the technology. Yes, there is a way to turn off Siri. There is so much potential when it comes to using voice search, I truly hope that we find ways to avoid mistakes and that these assistants are around for a long time.

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(Morgan, 2016).

How often do you use voice search via mobile personal assistants? Were your last searches successful? Or did they end with you going to a typed search?

The 80/20 Social Media Rule

When planning out your social media strategy there are a lot of options from which to choose. These include what you want to post, how frequently you will post, what types of social media accounts to make, and more. However you choose to use social media, it is always important to apply the 80/20 social media rule. The rule can help companies have a fair balance between different types of content. For example, 80 percent of content should be entertaining, interesting and sharable, whereas the remaining 20 percent should be all about you and your brand.

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(Image retrieved: http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/80-20-rule-content-origins-apply-0855447) 

You may be asking yourself, “What type of content falls under the 80 percent?” The content that falls under the 80 percent is all the posts that are considered entertaining. For example personal blogs from employees, photos, informative posts and did I mention photos? A lot of fans on social media LOVE photos. You would not believe how many likes a picture of the office dog can get in a matter of minutes. It is very important to make this content filled with fun and shareable posts. Also, the 80 percent is a great way to engage and start conversations with your audience.

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(Image retrieved from Bordas & Bordas Attorneys, PLLC Facebook 

The 20 percent should be mainly focused on your brand and how it can be beneficial to the audience. Anything from your services or products your company offers to informing them about a sale could fall under the 20 percent category. The over all goal of this content is to motivate your audience to learn more about your company.

The best way to find out if you are following this rule is to go through the social media content on your page and categorize it. Look at the year 2015 and make two categories: entertainment and brand. Count each post and keep a tally. From here, you can figure out the percent by taking the amount of each category and dividing it by the total of all posts. You may find that you are not exactly in the 80/20 area, but if you are close, for example 73/27, you can still give yourself a pat on the back. Of course this can be measure using social media tools as well.

If your posts are not even close to the 80/20 spectrum, you should reevaluate your social media strategy. When making the decision to create various social media accounts for your company, it is extremely important to have a plan. Whether your business chooses to hire an advertising agency to do the job, or chooses to conduct the sites yourself, you should never, ever “wing” the job. Social media is this crazy, free, and effective way of advertising and getting your product or service out there; therefore, it is important to treat it like gold and to have a strategy and goal in mind (Morgan, 2015).

 

*Blog previously published by Olivia Morgan on Wheelhouse Creative, LLC Blog

“Calling” All Pet Lovers!

 

Society is all about connections. We’re constantly connected to our mobile devices and other technologies that allow us to connect and interact with the world whenever we please. Technology like FaceTime and Skype have allowed us to stay in touch with our friends, family and colleagues who are hundreds or thousands of miles away. The Internet is full of “things” like Facetime that give us more access to the world and the world of technology more access to us. These “things” have changed our lives, but what if I told you there was a “thing” that has changed our pets’ lives.

We are all guilty of introducing our pets to cameras and have more than likely featured these friends on our social media outlets. Now it’s time that our pets get a turn with their own personal technology. Ladies and gentleman, I introduce you to PetChatz. PetChatz is like a FaceTime camera that is down to “pet eye seeing level” so that owners can contact their cat or dog while away at work, running errands or just to say hello, and there is a chance that you have seen this item promoted through social media. Check out the advertisement for this product here.

(Image courtesy of PetChatz: How it Workz)

The PetChatz device can be mounted onto a wall in your home and then the fun begins. Once it is set up an owner can make the call to their pet. The device rings through, and if the pet is trained correctly, they will run to the device to find their owner greeting them. Owners can also choose to dispense a treat that falls out of the bottom of the machine. (But wait, it gets better!) If the pet is trained proper, they can even press a button to call their owner!

Today, more than 2.3 million dogs are left alone for more than five hours each day. This statistic could be why there is a video chatting market for pets. Another fact that could have helped start this technology is that pet owners spend $60 billion a year on their pets. While PetChatz is a couple years old, more companies are coming out with technologies to help humans check on their animals. A similar product to the PetChatz technology is called PetBot. PetBot “has developed a monitor that can sense when a pet approaches and record a short video—which it then e-mails to the owner. Future versions of the device will be able to post the videos directly to a pet’s accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook” (Brennan, 2016). These technologies, or enchanted objects, are making pet owners’ lives easier by allowing them to know that they can check on their pet from anywhere.

With all of this being invented, it is hard to imagine what the technology industry will come up with next. Do you think this technology will last for years to come? How do you think it could be improved? Would you make this purchase?

Reference:

Brennan, W. (2016, January). The Future of Pets. Retrieved September 3, 2016, from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-future-of-pets/419133/

Restaurants Should Be Joining the Mobile App Revolution

Being that I am now a Dairy Queen franchisee, I recently received an announcement from Dairy Queen about their mobile app preparing to launch their online ordering option. I immediately began thinking about how much mobile apps have changed the restaurant industry, and how easy they have made it for consumers to have a simple and convenient experience. In a world where mobile apps are becoming more popular, it is important for those in the restaurant industry to pay attention to this growing trend.

A study has found that food and drink apps, the category where a lot of restaurant apps fall under, make up 2.72 percent of the App Store apps. As trends grow, more apps emerge and more downloads occur. Today, 25 percent of mobile phone owners have at least one restaurant app on their device. Which leads to the questions: Who is using these apps? How are they being used? Why should restaurants invest? And how new features like online ordering and mobile pay are changing the industry?

 Who has Restaurant Apps and how are they using them?

It has been found that the demographic that utilizes mobile restaurant apps the most are those ages 25 to 34. There are also other types of restaurant app users:

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( Infographic courtesy QSRWeb)

Whether these users want to place an order, find a location, pay for an order or make a reservation, they are able to do so from their phone thanks to today’s mobile technology. The chart below shows the types of actions that were taken by restaurant app users in 2015:

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(Statista (2015). Actions typically performed while using restaurant apps according to users in the United States as of February 2015- Statista) 

The features that I feel are most important for a restaurant app to have consist of the menu, the location and hours, online ordering and a payment method.

Why should restaurant chains invest in a mobile app?

The success from the investment of a mobile app is demonstrated best by Starbucks. “When you consider that 60% of local searches on mobile convert into buying customers within the hour, and the fact that Starbucks (a company notorious for leading the trends in the food and beverage industry) conducted 16% of their monetary transactions over their app alone. Which means that even though someone has to be in a physical Starbucks location to buy one of their drinks, $1.6 billion of a $10 billion revenue was all done via mobile” (Baldwin, 2016). Of course not every restaurant will receive results like Starbucks’ $1.6 billion, but there is a strong chance for increased sales.

 

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(NBC News (2016). 1 Million People Now Ordering Starbucks On Mobile Every Month- NBC News)

Another example of why restaurants should invest in mobile apps is because of the chance of increased sales amongst the largest generation, the millennials. Statistics have shown that 35 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds enjoy placing their order via smartphone/tablet apps, and that 98 percent have used a mobile payment method and would be willing to use one again. It should also be noted that this generation spends about $174 on dining out each month. Thus if companies cater to millennials then they will get millennial’s business.

Additional reasons include:

  • “69% of consumers order food online using a mobile device (IAB & Viggle study “Mealtime Goes Mobile”)
  • 62% of consumers are less likely to choose a restaurant if they can’t read the menu on a mobile device (SinglePlatform and Chadwick Martin Bailey Study)
  • 75% of time spent on mobile for restaurants is in apps (xAd/Telmetrics Mobile Path to Purchase Study 2012)” (Ockerbloom, 2015).

How is the app world changing the industry?

 There is no doubt that today’s technology has changed the way consumers choose to fulfill their needs. From placing an order through a mobile device and using one of these top ten restaurant finding apps to making reservations through apps like “No Wait”, the industry is witnessing consumers using mobile apps and devices to create their very own dining experience. The following infographic shows how restaurant apps have made a difference and what features must be included for success.

 

5-Things-Restaurant-Mobile-Apps-Must-Include-infographic

(Mobile Payments Today (2014). 5 Things Restaurant Mobile Apps Must Include.)

Do you have mobile apps on your phone? Which is your favorite? Do you think that the power of apps may impact future jobs of waitresses/fast-food workers?

-Olivia

References:

Kelso, A. (2014, February 3). 5 Things Restaurant Mobile Apps Must Include [Digital image]. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/blogs/5-things-your-restaurants-mobile-app-must-include-infographic/

 Mobile Apps for Restaurants | The Current State of Mobile. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2016, from http://blog.rockbot.com/mobile-apps-for-restaurants-the-current-state-of-mobile

U.S. restaurant app usage activities 2015 | Statistic. (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved August 30, 2016, from http://www.statista.com/statistics/483857/restaurant-apps-usage-reasons-usa/

White, C. (n.d.). 35 Most Popular Restaurant Apps. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://mashable.com/2013/02/16/restaurant-apps/#VYD1l1bMHEqo

14 Reasons Why Your Restaurant Needs a Mobile App | BuildFire. (2016, April 04). Retrieved August 30, 2016, from http://buildfire.com/restaurant-mobile-app/

To Emoji or Not To Emoji?

Throughout this past week we have discussed a lot about emerging media and minorities. With the populations of Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans on the rise, it is important for marketers to educate themselves on these audiences so that strong relationships can be formed. Out of these three minority groups, Asian-Americans are the fastest growing group in the United States (Britt, 2012). The United States has been introduced to a number of different Asian trends including but not limited to restaurants, yoga, comics, medical techniques and the extremely popular Emoticons, better known as Emojis (Britt, 2012).

The Emoji keyboard was first introduced to Americans in 2011 in an Apple iPhone update. Before they were a big hit in the U.S., Emojis were popular in Asia, particularly Japan, when Shigetaka Kurita developed them in 1999! Today, we see emojis everywhere, and even see them included in U.S. marketing strategies and campaigns. Since 2015, brands’ usage of emojis in email and mobile marketing has increased by 777 percent! unnamed

May I remind you that we still have four more months left in 2016. The emojis help add humanization to marketing campaigns. I, and I am sure readers, have seen emojis used in Chevrolet advertisements, Domino’s Pizza’s epic way to order with a pizza emoji on Twitter and even on the latest Ellen Show commercial. There’s even a National Emoji Day on July 17. While companies are utilizing emojis to help humanize their brand, there are differences between the emojis that the public prefers and the emojis that the business world prefers:

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While the world is being taken over by the use of emojis, I cannot help but wonder if there is such a thing as emoji etiquette. When is it wrong to use emojis in marketing? Are we possibly offending Asian-Americans with the new emojis being created? Lastly, are we using emojis the way in which the Japanese founder intended them to be used when he created them in 1999? Let’s find out!

When is it wrong to use emojis in marketing?

 The famous saying of less is more is something to keep in mind when marketing with emojis. While some use of emojis do require more, there is a way to do so tastefully without annoying fans of the brand.

Check out these two examples from Social Control:

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Clearly the Bud light tweet is the more favorable usage of emojis.

Are we possibly offending Asian-Americans with the new emojis being created?

 In 2015, Apple released an update that allowed users of the emoji keyboard to customize their human featured emojis by skin tone. The update was Apple simply making an effort to make the keyboard more diverse. The Asian-Americans found the yellow skin tone to be offensive and took their opinions to social media. Just a reminder that we must be mindful of society when choosing emojis to use in campaigns.

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Lastly, are we using emojis the way in which the Japanese founder intended them to be used when he created them in 1999?

The Japanese have typically used emojis to offer a better and more polite method of communication through online/digital media outlets. A lot of emojis represent themes from the Asian cultures that allow for “language play” and “cute culture.” In my opinion, we are using the emojis in a fun and appropriate way when it comes to marketing, however, others may think different.

Which leads to the question–To emoji or not to emoji? Do you think the emoji can survive through emerging media?

-Olivia