U.S. Online Retail Sales to Reach $327 Billion by 2016 [STUDY]

Before questioning any figures question your own behavior this last Christmas. How many department stores did you visit? Did you shop more online?

The future of ecommerce looks bright. After topping $200 billion for the first time, online retail sales in the U.S. are forecast to reach $327 billion by 2016, a study from technology and market research firm Forrester says. Overall share of the retail market is expected to increase from 7% to 9% during that period.

What’s driving the growth? More consumers are shopping online every day. Last year, 167 million consumers — 53% of the U.S. population — purchased something online. That number is expected to grow to 192 million, or 56% of the population, by 2016. The study also projects that consumers’ average yearly online spending will increase from $1,207 per person in 2011 to $1,738 per person by 2016.

Consumers are also becoming increasingly comfortable purchasing a wider variety of categories online. In a 2001 survey, Forrester found only three of the 30 retail categories were able to attribute more than 20% of sales to online channels. That number grew to eight categories in 2011, and is expected to increase to 14 categories by 2016.

U.S. shoppers are also now finding it easier to shop than ever before, thanks to improvements in mobile and tablet shopping capabilities. Innovative shopping models and loyalty programs — think flash sales sites like Gilt and Woot as well as subscription loyalty programs like Amazon Prime — and aggressive promotions are drawing sales away from brick-and-mortar operations. This was especially true during big discount periods such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, during which approximately 75% of consumers said they shopped online because the deals were better.

Meanwhile, online sales in Europe are expected to amount to 171 billion euros ($230 billion) in Europe by 2016 up from 96.7 billion euros ($130 billion) in 2011, according to Forrester’s estimates.

Just think of all the possibilities for your business if this year you focus a little more on your online presence. Go one step further and consider the use of online video as part of your marketing mix.  Videos alone can increase your sales conversion by 40%

Consumer behavior has changed and it is not going back to what it was. It is up to you as a business owner to adapt and innovate. Take action!

online consumer behavior



By Tyler Howell

Despite their rapid movement toward retirement — within the next decade, a majority of Baby Boomers will be of retirement age — boomers still hold a large percentage of leadership positions, especially in more “traditional” industries (i.e. manufacturing, utility and power, government, etc.).

So, how can more senior managers and leaders relate to and draw the most out of their younger employees? Here are 4 tips for relating to this young generation:


    1. Don’t be a boss, be a coach 

      Like many of my peers, I was introduced to league- and team-based sports early in my life and participated in them religiously. Thinking back, I can still remember every coach I had and their impact on my performance and attitude.

      The good ones pulled performance out of me, were encouraging but firm, tough but fair, and provided guidance about how to do the “job” well. Because of their influence, I learned to love the sports they coached.

      The bad ones, however, played favorites, dismissed questions or concerns, didn’t listen, and were arrogant or hateful, and my perception of the sport was diminished.

      The No. 1 reason a millennial will leave their job is due to a bad manager. If companies want to reduce their turnover costs and retain millennial talent, managers need to be coaches — not bosses.


    1. Set your values and live by them

      Millennials have a strong inclination toward aligning justice and fairness across the various aspects of their lives. They want their work to be meaningful and make a difference — and to not just collect a paycheck every two weeks.

      There is little forgiveness for companies that act unethically or hypocritically. Not only are they likely to lose their millennial talent, but their brand might also be blasted across social media and be publicly shamed.

      If companies don’t have their values in order, or they haven’t communicated them to their employees, there’s no time like the present. If such corporate values are already in place, for the love of God live by them! Hypocrisy is an extremely toxic corporate value for millennials.


    1. Create opportunities for development

      The average tenure for millennials in any one job is two years. Yep, you read that right — that millennial employee you just spent a lot of resources to hire at the beginning of last year might not be with your company for the holiday party this year. Why are they leaving?

      One of the primary reasons millennials decide to pack up and leave is because they don’t believe they are receiving any personal benefit or growth. Millennials have grown up in an era of instant access to information, leading them to become more efficient in problem solving, decision-making and critical thinking.

      Work with this generation to make a development plan for their job that includes continuing education, progressive job training and coaching. This type of development provides them more responsibility and will allow them to move up the proverbial corporate leadership ladder.


  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

    From my experience, if there is one key concept for working well with millennials, it’s communication. My generation is used to instant communication in almost every facet of our lives, from parents, teachers, coaches and peers, so it makes sense that we would expect the same from our managers.

    However, this is a big shift for a lot of managers. Whereas older generations would only receive feedback during annual performance reviews, millennials want to receive feedback much more regularly.  It’s not just the frequency of communication, but also the content. Millennials want to know if their performance may be suffering, as well as when they are succeeding.

    Moreover, they want to be included in brainstorming about how the job could be improved, provide new ideas for productivity or efficiency, and learn how their role fits within the organization. T hink about your communication. If you believe you’re communicating too little, you most likely are not meeting the mark!

Maximize Your Resources!

If you follow these four tips, you will be well on your way to maximizing your millennial workforce.

Take this to heart: Millennial workers, if managed properly, can be your most productive, innovative and motivated employees yet! Once they feel invested in, the sky is the limit.

teenagers online


Online Videos in 2016

Is online video consumption really growing?

Do people really have time to watch a video online?

Here are a few points brought by Robert Kyncl, the Chief Business Officer at YouTube at CES 2016:

Right now, watching video—whether on TV or online—is the single most important media activity for people.

75 percent of all video will come over the internet by 2020.

More than five hours a day are spent watching video, and those hours fuel a $200 Billion economy, with the majority of that money coming from Pay TV subscriptions.

Only 2 other things people spend more time than watching videos: Sleeping and working.

New research  conducted with Nielsen shows that the time 18 to 34 year old spent on TV fell nine percent last year. Meanwhile, this same audience spent 48% more time on YouTube, with mobile viewing making up the largest source of growth.

And on YouTube, the average time people spend watching video on their mobile device is forty minutes, a gain of 50 percent year-on-year.

This is just a tiny slice of what is happening out there related to videos. There is also streaming videos from the couch. Consumers spent 42.5 billion hours streaming on Netflix during 2015, up from 29.1 billion hours in 2014. They spent 12 billion hours streaming in the last quarter alone, up from 8 billion a year ago.

Roku, a streaming solution for content creators and info marketers has now 8% of the market in the US and it is present in several countries.

With Cel phones shooting in 4k, quality is accessible to anyone.

Game changers lie YouTube Cardboard is also knocking at our doors, so virtual reality might be the next step for content creators.

Video is by far one of the best opportunities for business owners, content creators and info-marketers. Serialize content and syndicate is the new formula for success.

Check more info at Start My TV show

video marketing


Get out of your comfort zone

This is the perfect time of the year for you to check what habits you are going to get rid of in 2016. Which habits impact your growth and stops you to become what you are meant to become. As entrepreneurs we tend to get in the way of our business and sabotage ourselves. Make decisions that will really impact your results and get out of your comfort zone. This is the only way you will really be able to create new habits and achieve the wealth you are reaching for. If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you won’t grow. It is that simple

Get out of your comfort zone


Make 2016 the Year You Say Good-Bye to Money Issues!

We will be one of the speakers in the Live Streaming event on Wealth creation.

It will have some amazing speakers and you should make an effort to attend.

This is a free event.

Register here for Wealth Creation Event

wealth event


The search for Prosperity

As the end of the year approaches we start making plans on how we are going to rock in 2016. A lot of us will hope for more prosperity in our lives.

But most fail to define what prosperity really means to them, in a very specific way. We also tend to fool ourselves that in order to achieve prosperity we need to do more of what we have been doing. It does not work that way. In order to change and achieve prosperity we need to get out of our comfort zone and we need to change our attitude. Prosperity requires an open mind to new things, an open heart to embrace things and create empathy with people around us and an open will, the desire to try



Which one works: horizontal or vertical sites?

There is a huge trend out there on horizontal sites. They look modern, simple and on a first moment the new way to go. Not everything that looks cool works!

But are they the best choice for you?

Here are a few things you should know before deciding which way to go:

Always something to consider is the age of your target market. Remember that some age groups are more resistant to change than others.

In this case we also need to take into consideration some basic human patterns before we make this type of decision. It might seem just a design decision but it is much more than that because it will impact how many people engage with your site and how many leave before doing what they are supposed to do on your site: Buy, read etc.

Our brains like to recognize patterns that have previously led to successful interactions. We produce dopamine which gives us pleasure when we recognize familiar patterns around us.

Our recognition of objects relies mainly on their shapes. In the very early stages of recognition, our perceptual system uses information on the retina to identify the object by primitive features like lines, edges and angles. This helps our primitive brain to make fast decisions.

Our mind tends to complete incomplete shapes and create mental objects even if only a small part of the shape is displayed. Our mind does this by ignoring gaps and completing contour lines to form shapes already represented in our minds.

weight watchers

That is one of the reasons why you should question a horizontal layout : The horizontal box construction implies closure and is a pattern more typical of the bottom of a page.

When we see the closed horizontal structure, we do not look for more information. So we don’t see the rest of the page.

In a study done with heat maps, showed that visitors would scroll 34% less in horizontal site. That is significant when you are looking for engagement. This fact besides the results on your site would also impact how you rank on Google since it has and tracks metrics of engagement.

Engagement means not only sales but also time on site, pages viewed per visit, and so on.

Now, maybe you just changed your site and going back is not an option. What can you do to improve engagement?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Add a down arrow. You can locate the arrow on the lower end of the content block. Make it obvious there is more below.
  2. Add a vertical element or an element in half. This will make the visitor want to scroll down.
  3. Populate the sidebar. This is easy in some WordPress themes.
  4. Use floating arrows. They are a constant reminder to keep going down.
  5. Eliminate boxes and horizontal lines. Rectangular boxes and horizontal lines add a visual indication that the content has ended. Eliminating these will increase probability that visitors will scroll down.

As a Company, Do you Listen? A Halloween story

I’ve been using social media for many, many years. I know I joined Twitter in 2007. It says so in my profile there and over the years I’ve advised several businesses on how to get results with social media. Unfortunately, up to this day, what I see is most businesses using social media as a broadcasting tool, pushing content, pushing what they think and pushing annoying selfies more often that anyone can digest.

It is a rule that if you want to mesmerize an audience or group of people, get their attention and loyalty, you need to become relevant to them. Well, that is very hard to achieve if you are the only one talking and never listening. It is also very hard when you don’t pay attention on what matters to others and how they tend to behave. You really just spend time, get no results and will end up  joining the “Social Media Doesn’t work” group.

Some companies do get it though. They listen, they act and make bold moves. All according to what is relevant to the people they serve.

A few days before Halloween my daughter told me this story about one of her friends.

This friend has 2 little daughters and was asking them what costumes they wanted for this year when one of them said:

“I’m going be a fairy panda bear!”
“Do you mean a furry panda bear?”
“No, mom. A fairy panda bear.”

Cute and funny. So her father gets this tweet out:

“Our 3 year old decided what she wants to be for Halloween. I hope Amazon has a wide selection of Fairy Panda Bear Costumes!

A few hours later this happened:

amazon's tweets

And a few days later:

amazon halloween costume




Now, any company could put this together right? But only if they were listening and really participating in social media. Not just wasting time saying how great they are. Amazon did way more than make one little girl happy. They got a whole family to become loyal customers, the kind of customer that would give them a big hug every time they click on the buy button and a whole legion of the father’s followers to see the company in a better light.

They got me to spend my time thinking and writing about them. They became relevant, way beyond 2 day shipping. They reached me on an emotional level.

Simple, inexpensive way to become relevant by listening and acting. This is something any company could do.

But Amazon does not stop there. They don’t follow the herd either and they take bold actions. Something all businesses should do. Stop the excuses and act without fear. But most of us, just want the mass to validate a move before we take a step.

This week Amazon announced its first Brick and Mortar store. Yes, the giant online retailer did not join the crowds saying “Retail is Dead“, it put its money on a traditional model. That is bold and wise. Why rely in only one outlet of revenue when you don’t have to? Do people shop in different ways? Does Amazon sell to different generations? With different behaviors? If so, why not adapt to their behavior?

What about you? What are you waiting for?


Online Video Micro Moments

from Think with Google

Four types of video micro-moments

Video micro-moments generally fall into four categories: “I want-to-watch-what-I’m-into” moments, when people are seeking videos on their passions or interests; “I want-to-know” moments, when people are trying to learn something; “I want-to-do” moments, when they’re looking for step-by-step instructions on how to make or do something; and I “want-to-buy” moments, when they’re using video to try before they buy.

Three ways to adapt your video strategy to micro-moments

Brands can ensure they’re relevant and useful in these four video micro-moments by understanding their consumer’s intent on YouTube. Expand your focus from just who consumers are (for example, 18-34-year-old women) to what they want (“spring fashion trends”). In a micro-moments world, intent trumps identity.

Here are three ways to make sure you’re staying relevant and useful in moments that really matter—when your brand has a meaningful role to play based on what people really want:

1. Identify the micro-moments where your audience’s goals and your brand’s goals intersect

People come to YouTube millions of times each day, looking for videos that meet their needs, wants, and interests. Reimagine your consumer’s journey as a collection of these video micro-moments: What are his needs and questions, and when does he look for them? Once you’ve mapped out your consumer’s micro-moments, understand your place on the map: Where does your brand have the right to play?

Beauty brand Sephora, for example, knew that beauty content on YouTube grew by 50% from 2014 to 2015 and that YouTube searches related to “how-to” were up 70% year over year. For Sephora, how-to videos and tutorials were the magical intersection of the brand’s beauty-centric message and its audience’s beauty needs. That how-to and tutorial content now makes up more than 60% of Sephora’s library of video content.

2. Be there when your audience is looking with useful content that answers their needs
Once you understand how your brand maps to consumers’ video micro-moments, you can build a plan to be there when people are looking. The first step is creating relevant, useful YouTube content that adds value in those key micro-moments. The second is making sure your brand shows up when they need you, with organic and paid search, for example, or withshopping ads on YouTube.

Sephora has become a resource in its customers’ micro-moments by creating a variety of video content. To answer beauty fans’ calls for on-trend makeup and hair tutorials, Sephora uses the CCC content model: the team creates their own original videos, curates playlists of videos on trending YouTube topics like “beauty hauls,” and collaborates with YouTube creators to make content that feels organic in the YouTube environment. To make sure its content is discoverable, Sephora uses TrueView in-display ads, which give its videos prominent placement at the top of key beauty search results.

3. Help your audience find you, even when they’re not looking, with relevant video ads
Even when people aren’t actively looking for answers, brands can delight them by showing up with messaging that’s relevant to their interests. That means going beyond demographic targeting and connecting with viewers based on signals of intent or context.

Choice-driven ad formats are a great way to show that your brand understands and respects people’s intent; if someone chooses to watch your ad, it’s a powerful signal of their interest. Sephora, for example, usesTrueView advertising, YouTube’s skippable ad format. In-market and affinity targeting can also help your brand serve messaging that’s timely and helpful to consumers based on their most recent and repeated digital behaviors.

Context is also key. First, there’s the context of video. Video ads feel more at home in a video context than non-video environments. But beyond sharing video ads before or during video content, you can share your ads when people are in the mood for that messaging. For example, when Sephora consumers are already watching beauty videos on YouTube, they’re more open to Sephora’s beauty-related ads.

The purchase journey has been fragmented into hundreds of micro-moments. It’s imperative that brands be there in these micro-moments with relevant, useful videos. Those who “get the most points on the board”—and who prove themselves useful and relevant in the most micro-moments—will establish the greatest brand equity in an era of infinite consumer choice. If your brand isn’t there in your audience’s moments of need, another brand will be.



Did Barbie finally Got it?

At least in this ad Barbie finally got what girls are about. Very clever marketing here. Now it needs to spread to the shelves with career oriented Barbies and to the videos with other messages besides boys and fashion. Imagine the possibilities here. But as a stand alone marketing piece is a very clever way to appleal to today’s girls. We all need some re-branding every now and then.









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