Not one industry could have anticipated the disruption that COVID-19 currently presents; It is reasonable to assume that sooner or later an event of some kind would present an obstacle to any professional industry. This disruption challenges professionals to rethink how information is shared and conveyed to current and future learners and clients. Various platforms for engagement include events, conferences, tradeshows, and training, but how do we cater to an audience who cannot all connect in one geographic region?
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Why Should You Care About Mobile?
You should care about mobile because your customers care about mobile. In fact, according to Statista, the most important mobile search feature according to U.S. customers is a company’s list of products. Over 40% of all Amazon searches are completed on mobile devices, and over 60% of Google searches are performed on mobile devices. That number only continues to rise. When you think about where your customers are and how they interact with your e-commerce site, you have to think about mobile. Think about your own behavior. When is the last time you got frustrated with a mobile site, and simply chose to make a purchase elsewhere? Mobile searches and purchases are the future of e-commerce, and if you aren’t optimizing for mobile, you are being left behind by your competition. This doesn’t just mean a set it and forget it approach.
What are the Primary Performance Issues on Mobile?When it comes to mobile sites, especially e-commerce sites, there are a few common issues. The reason these issues come up so often is simple. The features that make a desktop site beautiful can clutter and slow a mobile site, causing a poor user experience. Here are a few of the most common problems.
The rule of thumb for mobile sites is to keep them simple, especially when it comes to scrolling and the call to action. When users log on to a mobile site, they most often will scroll all the way to the bottom to see how long it will take them to navigate the page and how complex it is. Not only does this relate to how important the footer of your mobile page, and what is at the very bottom, is to users, but it also often determines if the user will leave your page right away. If the page, or the form, look too long and hard to navigate on mobile, your user may simply leave, intending to finish their shopping experience on a desktop, and perhaps never doing so. Worse, many may navigate away from your page and return to search results or wherever they saw your product page, and then click through to a competitor who has a simple site to work with.
Complex Page Structure
This is another common problem that plagues mobile e-commerce sites and their product pages. While at some points it might even be desirable to offer your customer choices, the product page is not one of them. There should be a single, clear call to action, and the customer should be offered few to no choices except to
“add to cart” or
“continue shopping.” Don’t distract from what you want the customer to do, simply lead them to that choice.
Distractions from the Call to Action
Dated Content Doesn’t Engage the UserWe’ve all landed on that non-responsive site on our mobile device where you had to scroll, not just up and down but left and right, to find menu items and to read all text. The need to pinch to zoom to see the call to action will drive most users running the other way. Mobile responsiveness is the standard, not an option, and dated content and sites will do nothing for your product pages. If these pages are the last item on your list for revisions, you might want to prioritize mobile optimization before you lose not only sales but reputation with your customers as well.
Mobile Functionality is PoorEven if you have a responsive site, you may not have a site that includes great mobile functionality. There are a few parts that go into this: Page Speed: You have only a few seconds to grab the attention of your customer and a few more for them to add your product to their cart. Loading time can quickly eat those seconds. Buttons: Buttons should be easy to tap with a thumb or single finger. If they are too small or in the wrong location, the user may also give up. One-handed operation: A user should be able to navigate your product page, add to cart, and even check out one-handed. The smoother your mobile site, and specifically your product pages function, the better. What can you do about these and other issues to make your mobile product pages spectacular?
Optimizing for mobile is not as complex as it might at first seem. The steps listed below are really quite simple for the most part.
Tips and Best Practices for Optimizing for Mobile
Use Responsive DesignFirst, and most simply, use a responsive design. However, with the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) from Google, even that is not enough. You need to make sure your pages are AMP compliant, not just fast and responsive to changes in devices. You may even need to add an AMP design to your page so that it is completely different than your desktop page. Whatever you need to do, you need to ensure that your mobile page is responsive, fast, and meets all of the requirements discussed in the above section.
Avoid Pop-ups and SidebarsWhile it might seem like a great idea to collect email addresses no matter what platform the user is on or try to draw them back into your site, using popups and odd sidebars are a sure way to send users to your competition. A pop-up, no matter how well-timed, will often end a web session. Especially when it comes to product pages, sidebars are a major problem. First, they are hard to interact with and use on mobile devices. Second, they detract from the very product you are trying to sell. Remember, keep it simple. The simpler and smoother your site, the better.
Optimize Site Search with Easy to Find and Use FiltersBy the time they reach your product lists or pages, your customer already knows what they are looking for, or at least the category it is in. Make sure your site search is easy to use with easy to find filters as soon as the user hits the search bar or page. The likelihood is that if they are on a product page, the customer is ready to make that purchase. They may be looking for a different size, color, or style, so you should make this simple for them to both find and navigate to. You’ve already sold them on you and your products, you just need to ensure that they can find the right one.
Add Brief and Clear Product DescriptionsProduct descriptions are really where the user learns what your product or service is about, but a long, drawn-out description, especially on mobile, will drive them away. Much like search, once the user has landed on the product page, they are ready to buy. All the description tells them is that they have landed in the right place and that this product is what they really want. This isn’t the time to belabor features or add anything in your description that will cause them to be confused or think twice about their purchase. You are just closing the deal at this point. Let your product speak for itself.
Ensure you have a One-Handed Checkout ProcessWe talked about this briefly above, but your customer may be juggling their credit card, a toddler, a pet, or all three when trying to check out to ensure they do not encounter any issues, be sure all of your checkout operations can be completed one-handed. This means everything, from buttons to the call to action and card entry process need to be easy to do with the thumb. Not every user will need this, but it is a simple way to ensure that your design works for everyone.
Engage Your Customer Using ARA relatively new option for mobile users is AR. Augmented reality technology allows the customer to see your product interacting with the environment they are in. This works for everything from clothing to furniture, from jewelry to art. The more the customer can interact with your product and virtually try it out before they buy, the more likely they are to have already established a connection with it. This is a game-changer for product pages in a variety of industries. When the user is at the crucial point of making a buying decision, the final influence can be the ability to interact with your product in a meaningful way. At first, augmented reality development option could be seen as complicated, but with the right partner, it can be easier and less expensive than you might think and the payoff in conversion rates can be huge. If you aren’t engaging in AR, you can be sure that your competition will be. The key is to give customers the option: some will already be decided and not need to interact with the AR product, but may find it new and exciting. Still, others may want that experience, and as technology continues to advance, it may even become a consumer expectation of certain product lines. Applications include:
- Sephora, and the makeup industry
- Amikasa and home design
- Quiver for children
- IKEA for furniture, art, and design
- Tap Painter for determining what color to paint your walls
ConclusionYour product pages are where you make your money. When you optimize them for mobile, you ensure that the 63% of people who search on their phones and the 40% of people who complete their transactions there can easily buy your products. Customers have high standards for mobile sites, and those expectations grow as mobile computing becomes more common. To keep up, you need to optimize more than just your main pages, product lists, and content. Your product pages need your attention too, and are at least as important, and potentially more so than the rest of your site.
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Q&A with Facebook’s Chris Barbour, Head of AR Camera Partnerships
Whether it’s trying on pair glasses or a pair of sneakers by just using your phone’s camera or viewing through your iPad how a piece of furniture would look like in your living room before buying it, augmented reality is becoming an important part of a brand’s marketing strategy. As we begin to close out a decade and look toward the 2020s and beyond, it’s no surprise that AR is an important part of most tech and mobile companies’ future roadmaps.
Topics: Blog Uncategorized
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Article Originally posted on Stockhouse January 8, 2018
Topics: Blog E-commerce Investor Relations News
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"AR is here to influence how businesses are going to promote their products and services. Soon, how they optimize for search rankings."
Topics: Blog Consumer Research and Advice
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Originally Posted January 3, 2018 on Big Data Made Simple.
"We recently interviewed Evan Gappelberg, an accomplished entrepreneur and CEO of NexTech AR Solutions, which brings augmented reality (AR) to the masses by creating an AR ecosystem featuring eCommerce solutions for websites. We spoke a lot about augmented reality in eCommerce and you can read the complete interview below.
1. Augmented Reality (AR) isn’t just for gaming anymore! In a very short period of time, AR technology has come a long way and now, it is all poised to disrupt the future of industries like health care, books, retail, and of course eCommerce. It is said that augmented reality will revolutionize the eCommerce business with its ability to personalize and enhance the shopping experience for customers. Your company NexTech promises to bring the in-store experience to the home with a hologram, as well as a virtual “try-on at home” platform for every product. I am excited to know more…
NexTech is quickly building out the next generation, an industry first, web-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) based AR eCommerce solution. With AI integration the platform will be able to offer scanning of the body, hands, and feet as well as facial features, to understand an individual shopper’s style, sizes, and preferences, as well as creating AR holograms acting as personal shopping assistants. Nextech’s web-enabled AR platform allows small and large eCommerce websites to integrate AR into the shopping experience with just a few lines of embed code democratizing AR at scale and creating a true consumer platform.
The biggest hurdle online customers face is determining whether a certain product fits and is right for them. AR offers shoppers the confidence that will motivate online purchasing decisions. AR provides users with an in-store shopping experience, anytime and anywhere. Our AR platform superimposes 3D objects in various spaces, giving customers a chance to interact with digital twins from the comfort of their own homes. AR has been rapidly scaling into the eCommerce landscape through early adopters like IKEA whose app lets you see the furniture in your house by overlaying a digital twin of the object in your living room. However, the experience is limited to the IKEA app. Nextech’s platform allows all eCommerce websites to have this same capability no app required leveling the playing field for all eCommerce sites and opening up the floodgates for AR eCommerce shopping.
2. You say that with this new virtual “try-on at home” shopping experiences, returns of products will be reduced by as much as 80% and an increase in sales will be as much as 3X. What are the other benefits?
Another major benefit is that once the Nextech platform has recorded the size and shape of a person’s body, feet, hands as well as facial features using AI it can start to recommend to the consumer new products that would perfectly fit their body style creating a connection and trust between the customer and the brand, this used to have to take place in store. With the ability to easily try on products at home the shopping experience is truly transformed creating a frictionless shopping environment where the act of buying a product will become so effortless it happens with the push of one button or just by saying the word “BUY” out-loud…the perfectly fitting product showing up at your doorstep in a day or even an hour later. The ease of ordering built on the confidence of buying what you know fits, all powered by Nextech’s platform is a big step forward for eCommerce!
3. Tell us about the new integration with IBM Watson’s Machine Learning (ML) algorithms into your AR platform. Why Watson and how is it going to help your platform?
IBM Watson was the obvious choice for us as it allows for Nextech to leverage IBM’s decades’ long development of AI, even though AI is now taking the world by storm AI and ML is not new to IBM or Watson. With AI we will be able to offer many more features including AI chatbots, body scanning, facial recognition, as well as holograms that know your likes and dislikes. We are standing on the shoulders of Watson and the view is amazing!
4. NexTech’s web-enabled AR eCommerce solution works on every browser and on every device including desktops, laptops, iPods, and all mobile phones. It does not need an app installed to function. Tell us more about its features.
Nextech has filed a patent around its AR web-enabled eCommerce platform which has been integrated with Shopify, WordPress, and Magento. The AR can “go live” on any eCommerce site with just a few lines of embed code creating an easy to use a highly scalable platform. When we started looking at AR, we immediately saw the “wow” factor and application for eCommerce but also saw a hesitation of consumers to load another app on their mobile device. With our web-enabled AR eCommerce solution, we have eliminated that friction point which we believe will open the floodgates to AR shopping experiences worldwide, this truly is a game changer.
5. Every online retailer now wants to put an augmented reality feature online to gain a competitive advantage, because according to a study, approximately 40% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product, when they are offered an augmented reality experience. What are the key things one has to remember while integrating an AR feature into an online eCommerce store?
For eCommerce sites that are integrating AR, they should just be prepared for a lot of consumer excitement, questions, and sales. Consumers love what’s new and exciting and AR certainly fits that bill and with that, they become curious and will ask questions… so I would just make sure that customer service is ready to answer some of those questions. I would also be prepared for sales going up and with that in mind have a bit more inventory of those items being sold with our AR. I would also make sure that the right expectations are met meaning AR works if the intention is to show how a painting or flat screen TV looks on a wall or a how a table and chairs look in a kitchen or even how new doorknobs or a new bicycle looks then AR will work really well for that.
6. Tell us about your plans. And what is going to be the future of AR in the next five years?
Nextech didn’t create the AR economy it was Apple, Google, Microsoft and NVIDIA and other large tech companies that have invested billions into this technology over the past few years and they aren’t slowing the level of investment, in fact, it is accelerating. The AR industry is expected to grow from around $20 billion in 2018 to $120 billion by 2021 according to Statista, and we intend to be a part of that growth with our platforms.
AR adoption is moving very fast, starting in 2017 the AR industry began forming around APP’s and mobile devices, however we see a tectonic shift in the near future where no app is needed, the phone goes the way of the pager and a new device rises up and takes over the market called “smart glasses”. The “smart glasses” will allow for a truly amazing, mind-bending, fully immersive 3D experience where what’s “real” and what’s “virtual” truly merge and are indistinguishable…over time this will become the new norm starting in 2019/2020…by 2025 phones will be obsoleted. Nextech is unique in that it’s building its AR technology on the web which means all its technology will work seamlessly with the next generation of products which is huge. Nextech wants the first AR enhanced product a consumer sees to be powered by our Nextech platform."