Gamers to order pizza via console: are we taking technology too far?

dominos and xbox Owning a business in the digital marketing industry, it’s more than fair to say that I’m an avid follower and advocate for new and upcoming concepts sweeping the world of technology.

But when is it time to say stop?

It has recently emerged that Domino’s Pizza and Microsoft are cooking up a partnership, which allows Xbox One users to order pizza directly from their console.

While this may seem heaven sent for ardent gamers, at what point do we draw the line, and reflect on the possible negative impacts technology could have on us, and our children for that matter?

The evolution of technology is a fabulous thing, and the level of freedom and innovation it brings to our lives, in both a personal and professional capacity, is great. But could technology be dumbing us down on a subconscious level?

I love technology and I’m all for using apps to make life easier, but should there be limitations? Or are we one day going to live in a world where we wake up everyday to a ready-made breakfast and have machines dressing us and driving us to work – a world where we can’t do anything for ourselves?

It’s just a thought, but as a mother it’s a slightly worrying thought.

What do you think?

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How can technology revitalise the High Street?

With online shopping on the rise, retailers are putting more focus on digital consumers rather than the shoppers who take the time to come in-store. But with online sales accounting for 21% of all retail in 2013 alone, consumers have made their preferences very clear. The freedom to shop at any given time or place is the new norm, but what could the high street do to maximise this and bring elements of online marketing into physical stores?

Personalise the High Street Experience

Merging in-store and e-commerce strategies could offer a valuable platform to create a personalised customer experience.

Providing a service similar to an online personal shopping experience would be a great way to maintain customer engagement. With technology being central to our lives these days, an app that allows customers to scan the barcode of an item that they like, which then links to an online database to produce matching accessories or shoes, would be a great way to maximise positive customer experiences – not to mention a valuable cross selling technique for retailers.

Providing the customer with a vision of their perfect look while they’re physically shopping in store gives them the best of both worlds. Collaborations between on and offline channels should play an integral part in the growth and expansion of today’s retail industry.

Increase the level of interaction between brand and customer

Customers could easily build relationships with both their favourite brands and retailers, and they want to be able to do so via their choice of technology. Apps in particular can enable a fast and convenient connection to customers and allow for instant communication while they shop.

Bluetooth beacons are an inexpensive and convenient way to transmit information and communications to customers while shopping in store, especially as Bluetooth is now compatible with most mobile devices and tablets. The platform could be used to provide offers or points schemes, or to help shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for quicker than ever, avoiding the whole “show room” process.

This would be a really simple thing to do yet it has the possibility to be really successful. It’s a lot less invasive than email offers and promotions, and shoppers would be more likely to read and take advantage of the offers while they are physically in the shop.

Give the customer the power of choice

Lunchtime shopping seems to be becoming more and more popular these days, with people often browsing in their lunch hours then making a note to purchase online later, as they simply don’t have the time to stand and queue.

Stores must be prepared to accommodate this new trend of shopping, and facilitate a speedy checkout to retain in-store purchases and stop e-commerce snatching anymore footfall. Mobile technology could help shoppers find what they’re looking for more quickly, and an app could be created for a self-service style checkout. This would help close sales a lot quicker and increase them on a daily basis.

Make sure they are able to deliver on promises

It’s the most annoying thing when your size is out of stock or the item you really wanted is completely sold out; shops must ensure they are equipped to keep up with demand.

There’s absolutely no point in retailers promising customers these new and innovate services unless they have the capability to accommodate them efficiently. Technology can play a vital part in this and shops need to open up to the idea of letting technology help the situation improve.

Having a strong retail background myself, and being the owner of a digital marketing agency, I am passionate about collaborating in-store and online strategies to move the in-store shopping experience to the next level. Technology is evolving rapidly, and its innovate and exciting offerings to the retail industry are endless.

I am interested to see how the high street shapes up in the coming months and years; I think we could see a huge shift as more intelligent concepts emerge. This is such an exciting time and the high street needs to embrace it.

New Look ‘New Look’

In a delicate economy it is often difficult for brands to see the light at the end of the frugal tunnel.

Despite austere times, British High Street favourite ‘New Look’ recently announced a very impressive 79% leap in online sales in the three months leading up to June and I was keen to learn what they attributed the boost to.

New Look Shop

One thing that New Look has got right is their SEO. They’ve successfully manipulated Google algorithms to appear on page one for several beneficial search terms including “cheap women’s clothes” and “women’s shoes”. This is proof that great SEO really does make a difference when it comes to generating new business. The majority of online shoppers often settle for a page one Google result and are rarely inclined to browse beyond page three.

Another great attribute to New Look’s revamped website is consistent navigation. Thanks to familiarity and an intuitive interface, New Look customers are finding their way around the site easily. This means that they’re more inclined to hang about and browse. Slick navigation features ensure that you’re maximising traffic and minimising bounce rate.

New Look Interface

This ease of use ties in nicely with the newly expanded Click & Collect feature, which is arguably the main reason behind the increase in sales. Both Argos and Tesco have seen great success with Click & Collect services, with Asda recently getting in on the action too and announcing plans to expand their own service.

An eConsultancy report on ‘How The Internet Can Save The High Street’ found that 80% of UK consumers have reserved a product online for in-store collection, while 20% do this at least once a month.

Finally, another successful addition to New Look’s site that I’d like to highlight is their Live Chat feature. Used as a tool to improve customer service and boost online sales, Live Chat is experiencing a great level of popularity amongst all of the big players.

New Look Live Chat

It effectively puts the consumer in direct contact with the business in real-time – No more automated responses or hold music; just instant answers and advice. Today’s consumer wants an efficient, quality service and Live Chat helps to implement that.

I’ve been promoting Live Chat for over a year now and have seen first-hand the benefits that it delivers to a wide spectrum of industries, so it’s no surprise that Live Chat has played a part in New Look’s recent success.

If you’d like to discuss Live Chat in more depth, please feel free to get in touch. Who knows: It could be just what you need to take your business to the next level too.

One Room Paradise

My team at the agency make every effort to share stories of technological innovation and digital delights, to educate, amuse and entertain one another. It was their curious nature that drew my attention to Ikea’s latest digital campaign, subsequently compelling me to write this blog for you:

“Small Space Living” is the campaign in question and it’s been brought to the public eye primarily thanks to TV advertising and a cover of the Aretha Franklin hit ‘One Room Paradise’.

However, delving deeper into their marketing strategy, “Make Small Spaces Big” was brought to my attention.

“You’re invited to have a nose around lots of clever ideas,” explains the website.

Upon clicking the ‘Start’ button, video footage of your Scandinavian host welcomes you to the house shown in the TV ad and briefly explains the navigation of the 360 experience. Seamlessly combining this footage with digital overlays and an intuitive interface is impressive in itself, plus the movements are slick and the graphics engaging.

Tied in with the experience is the soft sell of Ikea products as you might expect, however it’s done in a very subtle way and you almost forget that you’re shopping altogether.

Further to the 360 experience, Ikea offer up tips and ideas, according to room, on how you can make the most of small or awkward spaces. One particular option that I think is genius is “Going to University’ – here Ikea are tapping into a lucrative market of young adults who are looking for affordable style and functionality. They’ve even provided handy checklists and a printable document, which you’re able to take in store to save time and hassle.

IKEA Image

Throughout, the star of the campaign – affectionately referred to as ‘Mandy’ – seems to be portrayed as something of an Ikea celebrity despite the fact that she’s a human depiction of a Barbie doll.

As well as being the protagonist to this latest campaign, Mandy also has her own Twitter account @IKEAMandy, where she delivers insight into her life and interacts with her fans. Mandy often Tweets using the hashtag “#MandyProblems” which not only pokes fun at her Barbie-like demeanour, but they can also be related to. These include: “The more clothes I own, the less I have to wear. #MandyProblems” and “When your hair still looks gorge from the night before but it’s too big to fit under a shower cap. #MandyProblems

IKEA Twitter

To compliment the music video style advert, Mandy invites users in on an ‘MTV Cribs’ style tour of her “One Room Paradise”. The script alone makes this worth a view!

“Hiya lads – How ya doin’? Welcome to me pad!”

It’s clever and witty, as well as engaging and worthy of a Facebook ‘Share’, to say the least. The writers of this little gem should give themselves a pat on the back – it’s a refreshing change to the marketing we often see of furniture and home goods, and works perfectly at attracting Ikea’s target demographic of trendy, young adults.

All in all, I find the ‘One Room Paradise’ campaign to be a great success. Ikea have nailed the styling and tone of voice, as well as served up some impressive interactive features and engaging content. I’d be interested to see how the strategy has affected their sales and also to see what adventures Mandy is subjected to in the future!

You can view the full site by clicking here.