What new technologies should I incorporate into my online store?
With all the new technology coming fast and furious - RSS, video blogging, mobile advertising - is it wise for me to jump into any of these technologies for my affiliate site or should I wait for wide adoption of a strong few? In other words, do I need all that tech on my site?
The answer to this question lies in your level of risk aversion, actually. The question is: do you want to be on the forefront of technology, experimenting with new and exciting distribution and communication methods, even if some of them will prove obsolete, or do you want to let someone else take the risk and follow them into tested, mature areas? If we were using metaphors I'd ask whether you prefer "the road less traveled" about now...
The answer is probably more nuanced, though, because it not only depends on your own level of risk aversion, it also depends on the characteristics and psychographics of your target audience. Since you are an affiliate, your question should really be about your customers anyway, not you or your company. At some level it doesn't really matter if you like doing any of these, but whether your customers will listen, watch, subscribe, or otherwise be more reachable through these new technologies.
A bit of an aside: As a member of a lot of affiliate programs, I have to say that it's remarkable to me how LITTLE I hear from vendors. I would think that if they made measurable sales through affiliates it would very much be in their best interest to communicate with us affiliates - to help make us maximally successful - as frequently as possible. I certainly don't see any affiliate programs embracing any of these new technologies.
In that light, I'd poll your customers to ask how they would want to hear from you and make sure you were communicating using those methods, whether you personally are enamored of them or not. If you can get your customers to listen to a 20 minute podcast every week highlighting the benefits and features of a hot new product, well, wouldn't that be VERY worthwhile to produce, even if you didn't personally like the sound of your voice on recordings? (remember, you can always outsource blogs, podcasts, video blogging, etc)
The other factor to consider is the cost. Producing a modest podcast is pretty easy (you can think of it as chatting on the phone with your best customer if you'd like) and even blogging is straightforward for just about any serious merchant. Video blogging, that's a bit more complicated if you don't' want to have terribly amateur results, but if you have a product that's begging for video, that's what you need to do and it should be easy to test and ascertain whether a few simple videos products a boost in sales or not.
You ask a very interesting question, one that all of us online are curious about. There are new technologies, new services and new designs coming online every day. What to adopt? I think in the end there are two critical factors, what your customers want, and whether it tests as being beneficial to your sales. Regardless of what you are or aren't doing, you definitely want to test any new technology before you dive head-first into revamping your business.
Good luck. Come back and report how things tested out as you dabble in the various new technologies. I predict you'll be pleasantly surprised...
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