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    Take the Test: Will You Sink or Swim in “The Year of the Tablet”?

    Take the Test: Will You Sink or Swim in the "Year of the Tablet"?You’ve heard the hype: 2013 is being hailed “the year of the tablet”. There’s no question that tablet adoption and use is on the rise. The questions are: what will it mean for your industry and most importantly, are you ready?

    We’ve compiled a few links and stats around what we see coming, and what it means for the Consumer Products & Retail and Homebuilding industries in particular. See what the tablet surge holds for your industry and then take one of the tests below to see if you’re poised to sink or swim.

    What’s Coming

    Tablet Prices Will Drop

    Apple’s latest 16GB iPad2 and Mini are $399 and $329 respectively – an over $100 drop since the iPad’s 2010 release. Rising competition from Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Sony, Acer and others is helping to drive tablet and e-reader prices down. You can already pick up Lenovo’s IdeaTab for $299 or Amazon’s Kindle Fire for $199. And, if you’re willing to sacrifice a few GBs or features, you can snag others for under $200. But an even bigger indicator than today’s price is tomorrow’s tech – already developing in and for “emerging markets.” Acer plans to launch a $99 tablet in China called the Iconica B1. India’s $40 Ubislate tablet could drop to $25 by year’s end. While these aren’t due to touch US soil at these prices just yet, they put the reality of low-cost tablet production in clear view. [Read more…]

    It’s Official: Home Buyers Have Gone Mobile [Infographic]

    Mobile Phones and the Home Buying ExperienceZillow.com, the leading real estate information marketplace, recently announced record numbers of homes being viewed by mobile devices, and smartphone sales have overtaken PC sales. Interestingly enough, recent studies also show that mobile users may be more aggressive decision makers, three times more likely than desktop users to contact a real estate professional following their mobile search. Can you imagine tripling your call volume?

    It all begins with an evaluation of your website and digital content:

    • How does your site look to mobile users?
    • Is it optimized in HTML5? Or are your visitors hit with blank screens due to Flash?
    • Can all mobile users view your site, regardless of platform?
    • How does it engage home buyers?
    • Is it easy to share video and photos of the communities that pique their interest?

    Now that the mobile “trend” has clearly become a pattern, it’s important to implement the types of features and apps buyers have begun to expect. As printed materials and static presentations become passé, you’ll need to offer newer, interactive, mobile-friendly content in order to keep home buyers engaged.

    See why mobile matters for homebuilders and real estate professionals…

    [Read more…]

    QR Codes, After the Sale [Infographic]

    After the Sale: Using QR Codes to Deliver on Product PromisesThere’s a lot of hype around QR codes as one-click sales and marketing tools. And we’ve seen a ton of executions aimed at wooing consumers before the sale – links to promotional content, online reviews, slick branding videos and landing pages.

    But what about after you’ve gotten the customer to fall in love with your product and take it home?

    Here’s where consumers get left in the lurch – feeling frustrated, abandoned and on their own. Confusing printed instruction manuals leave them with questions. User error leads to lack of confidence in the product (and the brand). Improper assembly leads to product damage. And, all of that confusion and frustration leads to customer service calls, complaints and returns.

    Keeping the customer satisfied is as critical as securing the initial sale.

    QR codes that deliver instructional animation help boost customer satisfaction and reduce service incidents and returns. Animation makes “how-to” steps simple and surpasses video in its demonstrative ability. Easy access to guided instructions via QR code and a mobile device, puts help on-hand to squelch customer frustrations the very moment they arise. When done well, QR codes can head off consumer frustration altogether by following through on the promises made before the sale.

    [Read more…]

    The Science of Distraction: Why Your Audience May Be Missing Your Message

    Remember the famous airport scene from the movie “Catch Me If You Can?” Legendary con man Frank Abagnale, Jr. successfully impersonates a PanAm pilot by surrounding himself with a bevy of beautiful would-be flight attendants.

    Incredibly, the master distracter strolls past dozens of police officers and G-Men actively searching for him. In real life, Abagnale executed this trick by hiding in plain sight as his pursuers focused on the lovely ladies and overlooked the criminal they were hunting.

    Intrigued by similar real-life accounts of mass distraction, neuroscientists Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde launched a thought-provoking study that confirmed what they’d already suspected — that viewers can be so distracted by faces that they miss what’s happening right in front of them. We found these results especially relevant in light of our previous blog post about onscreen talent and the way it can distract viewers when used in instructional videos.

    Shut Your Face

    When Macknik and Martinez-Conde began to explore the distraction phenomenon by studying magicians in Las Vegas, they were particularly interested in understanding how we can be so easily deceived by simple magic tricks— even though we know that magicians are out to trick us. It turns out all the magician has to do is divert our focus a bit.

    So what’s one of the most effective tools in the magician’s bag of tricks?

    His face.

    [Read more…]

    Study Reveals What Customers Really Think About Online Product Images

    You have a wonderful online product catalog, and your website runs like a dream. Simple to search, easy to navigate—what’s not to love? But you still see room for improvement, both in sales and conversion rates. So what’s next?

    Based on the results of a National Retail Federation study, your product images could be holding you back, playing an even greater role than any of us ever realized. When presented with a list of 26 different site elements, survey participants listed image quality as one of the most important factors influencing their buying decisions, ranking it #4 overall —more important than product guides, short descriptions, long descriptions, and even product reviews.

    An impressive 94% said the quality of the image was “very to somewhat important” to selecting and ultimately buying products. When women’s responses were singled out, that number climbed even higher – with 96% indicating its importance.

    When visiting a merchant’s product page, how important is the following image related information to selecting and ultimately purchasing a product?
    VERY TO SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT TOTAL WOMEN MEN
    Quality of the image 94% 96% 92%
    Alternative views 88% 91% 83%
    Zoom 85% 86% 81%
    Item specific image (i.e. pillow vs. entire bedroom
    or shirt vs. complete outfit)
    77% 79% 74%
    Color change 65% 72% 51%
    View on a model 61% 65% 55%
    View in a room 50% 52% 44%

    [Read more…]

    3 Reasons Onscreen Talent is a Bad Idea in Product Demos

    For traditional advertising and marketing, choosing to use onscreen talent or a spokesperson may indeed be spot on. After all, consumers can relate to them, warm up to them and feel motivated to go buy a product simply because of the personality and trust they can evoke.

    But, when it comes to helping customers with complex installation, instructions or in-depth product details, onscreen talent may actually hurt matters.

    Before booking talent for your product videos consider this…

    Myth #1: The best way to demonstrate complex product details is to use onscreen talent or spokespeople.

    Truth: In instructional videos – such as product demos or “how to” tutorials – the use of talent can actually confuse or even frustrate the viewer.

    Why? On any media platform, your talent’s physical presence can block important product details from your consumer’s line of sight.

    [Read more…]

    Why You Still Need a Flash Fallback with HTML5

    Why You Still Need a Flash Fallback with HTML5When it comes to web-based interactive content and cross-browser compatibility, the future is here and it’s HTML5. The problem is: not everyone’s on board yet.

    In a previous post, we dove into HTML5 – a programming language built into the latest browsers to support multimedia and graphics display without the use of third-party plugins like Flash. It’s recommended to ensure that your interactive content is accessible by the rapidly-growing population of iPad and mobile web surfers whose devices typically won’t display Flash. With mobile devices driving nearly 7% of US web traffic currently and projected to surpass desktop usage by 2014, mobile users can’t be ignored.

    But you can’t neglect desktop users and slow adopters either. There are still a significant number of desktop users with outdated operating systems and browsers – especially in corporate offices where many people access the internet during the workday. Companies who invested in machines running the Windows XP operating system can’t upgrade beyond Internet Explorer 8 (IE’s last non-HTML5 version) because IE stopped supporting XP with its version 9 release (CNET).

    Corporate users running Windows XP and IE8 are a top reason that you still need a Flash fallback. For many reasons, a whopping 31.4% are still holding out with XP and haven’t upgraded to Vista or Windows 7 (w3Schools). And Windows XP means no HTML5 capabilities without an operating system upgrade or a switch to Firefox, Chrome, or another compatible browser.

    [Read more…]

    Will Printed Instructions Slow Down Your Product’s Success?

    As a savvy product manager, chances are you run a tight ship when it comes to new product launches.

    Your company’s strategists carefully research the concept’s viability. Your engineers translate it into an appealing prototype. Production delivers on time and on budget. The marketing campaign rolls out as planned, just prior to launch.

    Under your watchful eye, the entire product development team pulls together and meets all launch targets. Voila! Success!

    Sales begin to grow. Momentum is building. You’re a Product Management rock star.

    Then suddenly, reports start trickling in about increasing rates of returns and consumer complaints.

    Yikes. What went wrong?

    With any product launch, potential risks always exist.

    Almost 75% of newly-launched consumer goods and retail products fail. – Harvard Business Review Tweet It!

    Sometimes, an obvious culprit is the one most often overlooked: customers just don’t understand how to install or use your product. You included a manual, you say? Guess what? That may no longer be enough.

    [Read more…]

    Why You Can’t Ignore HTML5 Much Longer

    HTML5 LogoGot questions about Flash®, HTML5 and cross-browser compatibility? You’re not alone. Since we began rolling out our interactive solutions in HTML5, we’ve received quite a few questions. So we’ve decided to address some of them on our blog but feel free to keep the questions coming.

    Why can’t I see my interactive content on my iPad or mobile phone?

    Interactive presentations, games and applications have traditionally been designed in Flash – which requires a downloaded plugin for display. But most of today’s mobile devices and tablet PCs can’t play Flash – leaving your web content inaccessible to many users. Manufacturers like Apple® cite performance, security and drain on battery life as reasons for abandoning the Flash mobile plugin.

    Why mobile users can’t be ignored:

    • Mobile devices are driving nearly 7% of US web traffic and growing. (Cnet) Tweet It!
    • That non-computer digital traffic is made up of tablets (1.9%), mobile phones (4.4%) and “other devices” (.5) namely the iPod Touch. (ComScore) Tweet It!
    • Apple’s non-Flash mobile devices (iPad®, iPhone®, iPod Touch®) account for 43.1% of that mobile web traffic. (ComScore) Tweet It!
    • The iPad accounts for 97.2% of tablet traffic specifically. (ComScore) Tweet It!
    • By 2014, mobile internet usage is projected to surpass desktop usage. (DigitalBuzz) Tweet It!
    • 44% of Americans already own smartphones (redOrbit) Tweet It!
    • 75% of consumers use a mobile device in the retail buying process. (Verve Wireless) Tweet It!
    • More stats

    [Read more…]