Tag: marketing trends

covid-marketing-trends

Five essential marketing trends you need to consider in a post-COVID world

As the world starts to emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown, businesses will need to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and work to a marketing roadmap that’s considerably different from what they’d intended.

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The businesses that will be successful are already starting to adjust to a post-COVID economy, where agility and innovation will be key to reaping rewards.

We’ve predicted five marketing trends for a post-COVID world and what your business will need to do to keep up.

1. Invest in an online purchasing journey

Businesses who plan to or have already invested in an online purchasing system via their website or app will start to see the pay-off as more customers choose to shop virtually in the wake of the pandemic.

This means that now more than ever a seamless online customer experience is vital. The path to customer purchase has changed significantly and brands need to put user experience at the heart of their online marketing activities.

Product-based retailers will need to effectively highlight their products features and benefits in order to build trust with customers who may be new to online shopping. Customer generated content, such as images and videos, of the products in use will create confidence, as will reviews and feedback from current customers.

2. Voice-activation will grow and evolve

The way we use the internet to search for products and services is evolving. Voice search is growing—especially with the younger generation, with 55% of teenagers already using voice search daily. Mobile devices now come with voice activation (Apple Siri and Google Assistant). But it’s not just phones, voice activated home devices, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, are becoming much more common, and are providing a new way to explore the internet, do shopping, and connect with loved ones.

Consumers are more comfortable with voice-activated products and companies need to consider including smart features like voice activation when developing new products. Imagine a fridge that tells you which food items you’re running low on, or a kettle that can boil itself when asked. Consumers want speed and convenience when interacting with products; and speaking is one of the most convenient ways to make commands.  

3. Embrace user-generated content

In an uncertain world, consumers have reverted to brands that have excellent customer service values. Building trust with your audience is key to gaining their custom, and user-generated content is a valuable vehicle for fostering that ‘feel-good factor’ in your brand.

Peer-generated content is deemed 92% more trustworthy than traditional advertising and increases engagement and time spent on a social media platform or website. Ask your potential customers for their input by creating a company hashtag for competitions or offer a reward in exchange for a video review. We’re share our lives online more than ever, and we’re more than happy to share our thoughts and images of products that we love with our connections. Savvy brands will use this desire to share to their advantage.

4. The agile brand catches the worm

During the height of the pandemic things could change on an almost daily basis. Successful brands were able to jump on these changes and use them to their advantage to produce content and campaigns quickly. It meant adapting to a new culture, speeding up creative processes, reducing bureaucracy, and maybe hardest of all, learning how to conduct meetings via Zoom!

Businesses that are agile in this emerging new reality will be able steal market share from less-agile competitors. But it will be important not to be too hasty to ensure that any decisions made align with business goals. Tesco’s “little helps” TV advert was both practical for the climate but stayed true to the brand.

5. Diversification could make or break businesses

When lockdown hit many businesses were either completely unable to trade or had severely reduced trading capabilities. For the most part retailers were able to trade online, which helped them to weather the storm. But many businesses were also able to diversify their products and services which gave them an entirely new customer base. Dyson for example, rising to the UK Government’s challenge, were able to develop an entirely new ventilator in just 30 days, and countless brands jumped on the huge increase in demand for Personal Protective Equipment, such as face masks (Gap) or hand sanitiser (Brew Dog).

Turns your plans into reality

The world has changed and business owners have learned that success can’t be taken for granted. Our team specialise in product marketing tactics that align with your organisational goals. From initial consultation and branding strategies, to go-to-market ideas and methods to turn customers into brand advocates, we offer the full turnkey solution.

If you’re seeking to evolve your product marketing in a post-COVID landscape, call our team on 01474 368654 or send us a note with your aims for 2022 and beyond.

 

 

Guide to using CGI for Ecommerce websites

Discover our best-practice advice when it comes to selecting images for an ecommerce website from our CGI experts.

This post will cover all aspects of ecommerce CGI images from: what is CGI, to why CGI can be a good option for ecommerce sites, to how to be efficient when using CGI, as well as pros and cons vs using traditional photography for ecommerce product websites.

What is CGI?

CGI stands for Computer Generated Images, which essentially means what it says on the tin: they’re images generated using a computer. We use professional CGI software called KeyShot to create our images – it’s one of the most powerful and accurate CGI software programmes available.

Barton Marine Stanchion Bullseye

You’ll probably have heard of CGI being used in video gaming, movies and advertising.

But many product images are now CGI because companies have recognised that there are many benefits to choosing CGI over photography. It is also common for retailers to use a hybrid of CGI and photography.

What defines an ecommerce website?

Ecommerce (electronic commerce) websites are exactly that: websites that allow customers to buy (and sell) goods and services via the internet, rather than at a physical location. A business can use an ecommerce website to process orders, accept payments via different methods, manage shipping and provide customer service. Some social media platforms have now become ecommerce platforms too, adding ecommerce functionality for their users to buy and sell. Today, it is expected that most retailers should have an online store presence of some description, whether it is their own ecommerce website or via a social network.

Buying and selling is not new, of course, but ecommerce has made it easier and a preferred way to shop for many customers. In fact, the total ecommerce revenue generated in the UK in 2019 was £693 billion, a massive 40% increase since 2015, and ecommerce now accounts for 16.5% of total business turnover.

Websites are no longer a “nice to have” for businesses. In 2019, 81.4% of businesses with 10-49 employees had a website, while 96.9% of businesses with 1000 of more employees had a website (seriously, what are the remaining 3.1% doing?)

So, it’s clear that customers love to shop online, buying everything from clothes to garden equipment, their weekly food shop, sofas, cars and even holidays. The home buying market has even started to move fully online (yes, really), with virtual tours boosted by the pandemic.

Consumer confidence in buying online has increased massively in recent years, again drive recently by the pandemic, as well as the increase in smart devices including mobile phones and home devices such as Amazon Alexa.

And yes, while we love to buy online, retailers need to make sure the products they are selling best address their target audience’s needs and challenges; something that only be achieved through comprehensive market research.

And once they’ve made sure they have the perfect products to sell, it’s important for website developers to continue to come up with solutions to improve their customers’ shopping experiences.

There are certain best practices when it comes to selling products online.

One of the essential elements to a good ecommerce website is images. You simply cannot sell a product without good quality images. Images bring a product to life.

Images help a user decide whether a product is suitable or not, for example – do they like the look of it? Does it suit their style? How do they feel when they look at it? Does it complement other products they own?

CGI portfolio

Product images need to be high quality (without slowing the website down) and show the product from different angles.

There are different types of images that can be used to showcase a product online:

  • Cut out images – showing the product on a plain background to emphasis the product and its features
  • Lifestyle images – showing the product against a background setting, such as a home interior shot or outdoors landscape
  • Action images – showing the product being used in some way
  • 360 spin images – a more recent edition to online images, which allow the customer to rotate the product 360 degrees to see the entire product.
  • Videos – not technically an image, but the use of video, showing a product working or being used, is becoming a prerequisite for online shopping.
  • Customisation options – if the product is available in different colours or materials, for example, the user can select from swatch buttons to change the customisation options of the product displayed.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) – the next evolution in ecommerce imagery. An innovative way to show the product in a real-life setting, such as your home (e.g. imagine being able to see a fridge in your actual kitchen before buying it, or check whether a pushchair will fit in the boot of your car).
  • User Generated Content – many e-retailers now encourage customers to upload images of a product they’ve purchased being used. Not only does this increase engagement and loyalty with current customers, but also instils trust for new customers who are more likely to buy after seeing others with the same product.

How can CGI be used to enhance ecommerce websites?

So, how can CGI be used by retailers wanting to sell online, and is it a good option?

Some of the image types described above, such as 360 spin and AR, can only be created using CGI, but for cut out, lifestyle and action shots, retailers can choose between CGI and photography. So we need to compare CGI and photography to address the pros and cons of each.

While CGI will never completely replace photography, the capabilities of CGI software have advanced enormously over recent years, meaning that images are now incredibly photorealistic and a very credible source of product imagery.

CGI also tends to be quicker and more cost efficient that photography. It can be time consuming and expensive to set up photoshoots.

Where CGI really comes into its own is with customisation. If a product is available in 20 colours, for example, photographing 20 different versions may take a long time. Multiple this by a few different products and the costs will quickly escalate. Whereas with CGI, once the first scene has been set up it is very quick to replicate for different colours.

It is also easier to create unusual angles with CGI, whereas a photographer will need jigs to hold the product in place and will then require more time in post-editing.

iPhone case CGI

So, CGI can be much more efficient, producing more images in a shorter space of time.

This is very important for ecommerce websites which may have thousands of different products, each available in various options.

Remember what we said earlier: to give customers the best possible shopping experience, a website should show all different options. Only showing some of the available colours or materials for example, will cause frustration for some customers, negatively impact their experience.

We also mentioned hybrid CGI earlier – this is a blend of photography and CGI. So for example, using CGI of a product placed within a real photograph. This gives the effect of a “real” photograph but circumnavigates any logistics or cost issues presented by taking the photography on location.

Pre-order: the beauty of CGI: One area that CGI excels at is using it for products that are not yet manufactured. Being able to create an image of a product that doesn’t currently exist means that pre-orders can be generated before manufacture, generating revenue before the product has even been launched.

Are there any downsides to CGI?

One area that can be problematic is colour matching, however, this can be an issue whether the image is a photograph or CGI – it can depend on a customer’s device as well as the settings.

For large amount purchases, such as a sofa, many retailers allow customers to order physical swatches to be mailed out – so this gets around any colour discrepancies.

One of the biggest drawbacks of online shopping is not being able to touch, feel and try a product, and while this is an issue for both photography and CGI, there are ways that sellers can try to circumnavigate this issue:

  • It’s important to increase customer confidence in the product before buying – 51% of shoppers believe the biggest drawback of online shopping is not being able to touch a product before buying. Customer reviews, tutorials and demonstrations, faith in the brand, excellent customer services and reassurance when it comes to returns and refunds will all help provide trust.
  • But good images, and specifically 360 spin images, AR images, user generated content all help to foster trust with customers. Although these images don’t allow customers to touch and feel the product, they enable them to view the entire product, interact with it online and see it in their home before purchasing.
  • AR technology is still evolving, but it is becoming more commonplace with ecommerce retailers and it’s estimated there will be 1.7 billion AR users by 2024. One way that make up brands are using AR is by enabling customers to “try on” their make up using virtual try-on technology.

Augmented reality

Key takeaways

The evolution of the partnership between CGI and ecommerce websites is exciting, and the possibilities for product imagery are endless.

  • Consumer confidence in buying online is growing, but good quality images can help to win trust.
  • No longer are standard cut out images enough on their own – customers expect 3D spin images, user generated content as well as video and even augmented reality.
  • Nothing can replace a real photograph, but CGI is a suitable option for companies that want photorealistic images at a fraction of the cost.
  • CGI is an effective tool for pre-orders campaigns, generating revenue before a product has even been manufactured.
  • Customisation is an area where retailers can save costs by using CGI.
  • The most important thing is to enhance the shopping experience for the customer. Anything that doesn’t improve their experience shouldn’t be implemented.

If you’re excited about exploring the idea of CGI on an ecommerce website please get in touch with our CGI experts.

Key Product Marketing Trends for 2021 (after Covid-19)

We recently published our latest video detailing our predictions for product marketing trends after the Coronavirus pandemic is over (if that day will ever come!)

You can watch the video below, or alternatively scroll down for a transcript. What do you think businesses will need to focus on to survive in a post-Covid world? Have you started to implement any of these marketing suggestions already?

Video transcription

Do you want to know the key marketing trends for 2021 and beyond? Want to know what’s likely to happen after COVID? I’ll be taking you through our top five marketing trends. So keep watching. Hi, I’m Lucy from Cornelius Creative. We’re a product design and marketing consultancy based in the south east of the UK. We help businesses and people like you to create and market amazing products. We post videos regularly on product design, marketing, and 3d printing too. So if that’s the sort of thing that you’re interested in, we’d love to have you as a subscriber. In today’s video, I’m going to be taking you through the top five marketing trends that we predict will happen after COVID. So we’re just over six months into the pandemic and it looks like Coronavirus is going to be with us for a while. It’s affected all businesses. Some have been completely unable to trade, whereas others have seen a massive boost in sales. It’s changed the way that we search and buy products. And it’s changed the type of products that we’re buying too. Now while no one has a crystal ball and knows for definite what’s going to happen in the future, we can look at what’s happened so far and make predictions. So without further ado, let’s get into our five key predictions for what’s likely to happen after the coronavirus pandemic.

1.) Invest in an online purchasing journey.

At the start of the pandemic Primark saw their sales go from £650million in March to £0 in April. And that’s because they don’t have an e-commerce platform on their website. They’ve said for years it doesn’t suit their business model, but they probably didn’t see a global pandemic coming that would stop all of their sales. So whether this will now encourage them to revisit that and add some e-commerce functionality to their website, I don’t know. Obviously when the shops did reopen in June, there were queues around the streets for people desperate to get back into Primark. So it probably didn’t affect their sales for too long, but for the rest of us that don’t have the pulling power of Primark, we need to invest in an online purchasing journey for our customers. If you’re selling products, you need to be selling them online. It’s not enough now to just be in the high street. In the wake of the pandemic, more and more customers are shopping virtually. Online sales have been around for years and businesses that have invested in an online journey for their customers will have seen the payoff during the pandemic as more and more people choose to shop virtually. This means that now more than ever, a seamless online journey for your customers is vital. Brands need to put user experience at the heart of their online marketing activity. It’s not enough for retailers to just highlight their products’ features and benefits. You need to build trust with your customers, some of which may be new to online shopping. So whether that’s using user generated content, such as videos and images, showing your products in use, or displaying reviews and feedback from past customers, both of which will create confidence with your new customer base.

2.) Voice activation will grow and evolve

The way that we use the internet to search for products and services is changing and voice search is becoming much more common, especially amongst the younger generation. 55% of teenagers use voice search on a daily basis, and mobile devices now all come with voice activation inbuilt. But it’s not just mobile devices. There are so many voice activated home devices now available to buy; think of the Amazon Echo or Google Home. People are becoming much more comfortable with using voice search to explore the internet, do shopping and connect with loved ones as well. So businesses that are developing products need to bear this in mind and consider adding smart features like voice activation when they’re developing new products. Think of a fridge that can tell you when your milk is running out or a kettle that can boil itself when asked. These are the sorts of products that are going to be developed over the next few years.

3.) Embrace user generated content

It’s an uncertain world that we’re living in, so customers have reverted to brands that have excellent customer service values. Building trust with your audience is key to gaining their custom and a great way to build trust with your audience is to provide user-generated content. So that could be videos and images of your products being used. Peer generated content is deemed to be 92% more trustworthy than traditional advertising. And it increases the engagement and time spent on your social media platform and website. We share our lives online now more than ever. It helps us to stay connected to our loved ones. And we’re more than happy to provide recommendations for products that we love. Think about how many times you’ve posted about a product that you really love, and you’ve shared it with your loved ones. So businesses can use this to their advantage, whether it’s creating a hashtag for your customers to use, or perhaps running a competition for them to enter if they post a video of your product being used.

4.) Brands will need to learn to become more agile

During the height of the pandemic it seemed like things changed on an almost daily basis. And the brands that were successful were the ones that were able to jump on these changes and use them to their advantage, to create content and campaigns quickly. It meant adapting to a new culture, potentially reducing the amount of approvals that were needed for campaigns, and being able to create content very, very quickly. With a lot of people working from home, it meant hosting meetings via zoom became the norm, which was quite out of the comfort zone for a lot of us. There were many TV adverts that were broadcast at the height of the pandemic and they would have had the slots booked for many months previously. So they would have had to have adapted their content, because perhaps the campaigns that they were running previously weren’t relevant anymore. A lot of these brands utilised user generated content. So people filming themselves from their homes, where everyone was staying at home. And a lot of the themes changed to be around community and looking out for each other, the sort of new priorities that were important to us at the time. One of the adverts that stood out to me was the Tesco ‘little helps’ advert. It was a practical insight into the new user experience of their supermarket. So they actually filmed what it would be like to go around the supermarket at the markings on the floor, the perspex screens at the checkout, sanitising trolleys, perhaps having to queue at busy times. this was a really practical advert for Tesco to run, but it also reassured their customers into what was quite a scary experience for a lot of people.

5.) Diversification could make or break businesses

When the national lockdown hit, many businesses were completely unable to trade. Some businesses were able to move their trading online as I mentioned previously, to weather the storm, but others weren’t able to do that. So they had to diversify their products and services. Dyson, for example, rising to the UK government’s challenge, were able to develop an entirely new ventilator in just 30 days. And countless other brands jumped on the increase in demand for PPE. So whether that was Gap producing face masks or BrewDog producing hand sanitiser. So there you have our predictions for the five key marketing trends post COVID: online purchasing, voice activation, user-generated content, agility, and diversification. I really hope you found this video. Interesting. If you have, please give it a thumbs up and consider subscribing to our channel. We’d love to have you as a viewer. Until next time. See you soon.

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