Have You Heard of the Flat Lay or Boho Design Trends?

flat lay design (1)

You’ve probably seen Flat Lay designs, even if you haven’t heard the term.  Flat Lay design refers to a shot of items lying flat on a table, floor or other surface, shot from above. You see these kinds of images on eCommerce sites and other websites frequently. The Flat Lay design trend is up 160 percent according to the just-released Creative Trends 2016 report by Shutterstock.

This fascinating report outlines a number of other visual and creative trends that Shutterstock predicts will be popular during 2016.

If you’re looking for design ideas for your website, social media headers, advertisements or other graphics — this is one report you need to check out.

flat lay design boho design

Here’s another insight from the report. Have you heard of the Boho trend?  Boho is short for Boho-chic, which refers to Bohemian or hippie design according to Wikipedia.  Boho refers to swirling, feathery, often flowery patterns and imagery. Think of that old Bohemian style skirt that women wore during the Woodstock era.  (And for those of you younger than that … come on, you’ve seen a picture at least!)

The Creative Trends report covers images, but it also points to cultural and technology trends.  For instance, the choice of images that people make indicates that there’s a lot of interest right now in certain tech phenomena.  Did you know that images of smart watches are up a whopping 900 percent?  And images of drones are up 181 percent.  Those tech phenomena and more are obviously popular subjects of discussion and interest.

The report is based on data gathered by Shutterstock. According to Flo Lau, the Marketing Digital Designer at Shutterstock, that data can be used to predict the popularity of certain design trends in the coming year.  Lau acknowledged that it’s risky to make predictions.  However, based on the considerable data the company has collected, she said Shutterstock expressed confidence that these will be the design trends during 2016, noting:

“Luckily Shutterstock uses data to make our predictions. With information gathered from millions of searches and downloads, our annual Creative Trends infographic shows what’s on the rise around the world. From global trends to local developments, it’s an in-depth look at how the creative world will look in 2016.

Expect to see a mix of opposites this year: the latest technology and the natural world, clean lines and intricate patterns, the old and the new.”

Go here for the infographic, and find the full trends report here.

Flat Lay Design, Boho Design Photos via Shutterstock

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Six Eye-Opening Mobile Trends for 2016

Six Eye-Opening Mobile Trends for 2016

A big problem that so many businesses face is staying on top of what is new in the niche.  But just because something is hard does not mean it’s not possible.  Generating new ideas often comes after a good hard look at what’s on the horizon.  An easy and effective way to do this is with a close examination of what is trending in your business’ market.

Those of us in the mobile business face great challenges when it comes to following trends because technology is changing so fast.  As soon as one idea becomes popular, it is quickly washed away — only to be replaced by something newer, faster, smaller, and more portable.  That is unless you dig deep and find what is on the horizon.

Here are six eye-opening mobile trends for 2016.  By looking at them, you can help yourself think through your next mobile venture.

Keep Your Eye on These 6 Mobile Trends in 2016

Invest in Smart Phone App Development

Smart phones will soon be to future generations what rotary phones were to the “Happy Days” generation, and the numbers support this growth.  This means that the demand for applications for these phones will be on the rise.

Investing in smart phone app development will certainly yield profit.  In fact, Android’s market grew 65 percent in 2015.

Whether you are considering investing in an app for your business or you are tossing around the idea of starting a white label app development company of your own, you are certain to generate some income and stay current with the market trends.

Knowing How to Use Data Driven Decisions is the Key to Marketing

If your business is not using data to make decisions, it’s a good bet that you are close to (if not already) a failed venture.  You have to use data as the backbone of your decisions — especially if you are in the mobile industry.

Data acquisition in 2016 isn’t the challenge that it was years ago.  It has become much easier to collect and much easier to sort.  If you want numbers, you can get your hands on just about any type of numbers you want.  The key is what you do with those numbers.

Your goal should be to use the data to make connections with potential clients. So what if you know that Mrs. Smith visited Store XYZ seven times in the past month on her mobile device. The trick is finding out how Mrs. Smith’s visits to store XYZ can help your mobile business.

The first step in the puzzle is assuring that your IT department and your marketing department has clear lines of communication.  A solid plan for sharing the information is the first step to utilizing the data you collect.

From there, you need a good team that can actually interpret the data.  Ultimately, your goal in any mobile venture is to find a way to simplify the lives of users.  Your team of data analysts needs to be able to interpret the data and supply it to your marketing department.

After your marketing department is given numbers and statistics that are easy to understand, it needs to take creative and innovative risks based on the numbers.  The more you learn about mobile users and their patterns of use, the easier it will be to simplify their lives.

Of course, there are always going to be people who are just able to follow their gut when it comes to innovation and creative thinking.  If you have one of those guys on your team — you know the type, anything he touches turns to gold — don’t dismiss him.

But for the most effective and practical solutions, look at the data and invest in a team that can interpret the numbers to mean something beneficial to your mobile business.

Say What You Need to Say — 2016 Technology Has Your Back

Don’t hold back what’s on your mind.  In fact, in the near future, you will be able to speak it right to your computer.  The best part — it will understand you.  Many of the industries biggest and brightest are battling with young and innovative start-ups to see who will figure out the best and most effective way to use voice computer interfaces.

Most computers come equipped with some type of voice recognition software, but as we journey into the future, these software applications will become much more innovative, which will allow computers to become even more involved in our day to day routines.

Your desktop is not the only form of technology that is listening to what you have to say. Most mobile devices are already equipped with some sort of voice recognition. Mobile devices are also jumping on board to develop voice recognition apps.  Companies across the globe are looking to develop the most responsive voice apps to stay abreast of the changing trends in the mobile market.

While we are not reaching “Jetsons” status just yet, there are several companies breaking ground in this niche, and it is certainly something to pay close mind to.

“Push” Those Ads — It’s the New way to Spread the Word

Push notifications are a great way to get information into the hands of your customers, and the numbers support it.  First of all, 2/3 of the population owns a smart phone.  And that 66 percent of people check their phones approximately 46 times per day.

That means that you have 46 opportunities EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. to send push notifications to people who chose to download your app.

With modern technology, you can use radiused and geofenced push notifications to offer promotions to consumers when they are near your stores.  To top off the benefits of the push, the best part is there are character limits, so you can say what you need to say in a short and sweet notice.  There’s no need for elaborate and creative copy.

SMS Marketing is the New Social Media

The social media craze has made its mark in advertising — there’s not doubt there.  You have to have a strong social media presence so your customers can engage with your brand.  They virtually do the legwork for you by sharing what you have to say.  But, it’s time to look past social media.  You need to look for even faster and more personalized ways to reach people.

In the past, this was called telemarketing.  Today, telemarketing is a good way to upset people and get called a name or two.  But, this is largely because people are engaging less and less in phone conversations and more and more in text communication.

Phone calls are a thing of the past.  Heck, you don’t even need to call to order a pizza or make a hotel reservation anymore, you can just text your request.  In fact, the research shows that 73 percent of people text.  Of those 73 percent of people, 55 percent of them send over 50 text messages each day.  As SMS messaging becomes the preferred means of communications, it makes sense to use it to advertise.

SMS marketing lets your customers engage with your brand on a personal level.  In fact, app developers are making messaging platforms that are starting to rival the built-in texting applications that come with phones.  Products such as Handcent, Chomp, and Hoverchat, are dominating the Android market.

What this means to you is that you virtually have a direct line to your consumers pockets.  You can tell them everything they want to know about your product.

Let Millennials and Generation Z Guide Your Thinking

Gone are the days of, “If you will build it they will come.”  Today, app developers have to build apps to simplify the lives of their users.  Simply put, this means that you need to look at the subsets of consumers who have technology needs that need met.  Enter Millennials and Generation Z users.

These guys are the ones who are filling the social media feeds with their thoughts, and they are the ones advertising their every move online — and they are doing it from their smartphones.

This means opportunity for you.  What are they talking about?  What do they need?  These kids put it all out there.  Use this to your advantage.  Find out what they need based on what they are saying, then build it.


If you want to compete in the mobile industry, you have to do your homework.  This means looking at the past and learning what has worked, and what has failed.  It also means looking at the data and trying to predict what is needed in the future.

By paying close mind to what’s trending in the industry, you can set yourself up for a successful mobile venture.  These six eye-opening trends should get your wheels spinning.  Look to apply them to what you know about the business and with some hard work, you can develop the next must have app in the store.

Using Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock


2016 Pinterest Trends – What’s Next This Year?

pinterest feature

Does Pinterest still matter? Once it was the dominant visual social media network. But now Instagram and a host of trendier platforms, like Periscope and Snapchat, have solidly dethroned Pinterest’s claim as the visual network du jour.

But don’t count it out of your social media strategy just yet.

Pinterest, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, remains an important space for businesses to “nurture, maintain and share their unique philosophy, integrity and corporate purpose” writes Marie Alonso on social media branding.

Ready to get your Pinterest strategy back on track? Below are some ways to use Pinterest in 2016.

2016 Pinterest Trends

Why the “Buy” Button Matters

Pinterest may not be as trendy as Instagram, but the network is hardly flying under the radar, especially after it kicked off the “buy button” invasion of 2015. The Internet officially has “buy button” fever, with networks from YouTube to Twitter joining in with shop-able buttons. The addition of buy buttons is huge for mobile ecommerce: consumers are more likely to purchase a product directly inside an app than clicking through multiple link layers to a third-party site. Now, any commerce company that uses Shopify, Demandware, IBM Commerce, Magento or Bigcommerce can utilize Pinterest’s buy buttons, streamlining the direct purchase process.

“Intent to buy” has long been what sets Pinterest apart from other networks. Pinterest boards are aspirational: from interior decorations and recipe collections to wedding planning and nursery design, the leap from dream to reality is just a click away. In the past, however, Pinterest users who were primed to make a purchase based on a pin were faced with a challenge.

Many pins may link back to old blog posts or products that are no longer for sale, making purchasing difficult. Motivated consumers would have to do a Google image search for the product or settle for a different item. A great discovery service needs inventory for continued expansion.

“By getting more merchants and more buyable pins and more products on the platform, we’re able to build smarter and better recommendations and search,” Michael Yamartino, Pinterest’s head of commerce, told Fortune.

Early results show that the buy button is working, especially when it comes to reaching new customers. The online clothing boutique Spool No. 72 reports that 84 percent of all customers acquired via buy button pins are new, according to Fortune. Handmade goods shop Madesmith says that as of October 2015, buyable pins already represented seven percent of all company sales. And Shopify reports that the average order coming from Pinterest is $50, higher than any other social media platform.

Small Business Brand Building on Pinterest

But what about small businesses that don’t sell merchandise online or aren’t ready for the buy button? Can these businesses leverage the power of Pinterest to continue to build their brands? Absolutely. Consistently pinning products or images that reflect your brand is key to building consumer relationships, strengthening brand loyalty and reaching new customers. Keep these best practices in mind:

Pin Consistently, but Space Out Your Pins

Aim to pin multiple times every day, rather than dumping 20+ pins all at once. (You’ll overload your follower’s feed and miss out on being seen by as wide an audience.) Simplify the process by scheduling pins ahead of time, just as you would schedule other social media postings to promote a blog article.

Buffer is one of my favorite tools for scheduling social media posts, including Pinterest. Buffer also comes with the image creator tool Pablo, so you can take a photo straight off your blog, overlay with custom typography, and scale it correctly for Pinterest.

Create Boards Matching Your Consumers’ Interests

Don’t turn your boards into a 24/7 stream of promotional material: create boards that naturally align with your customers’ interests. Aquarium Finatics, an online guide to setting up your first at-home aquarium has an incredibly diverse and creative Pinterest account ranging from the world’s best public aquariums and out-of-this-world hotel aquariums to Shark Week and Aquarium inspired gifts for kids.

This same diverse approach goes for selling merchandise. Women’s active wear company Athleta has boards titled “Go Outside”, “Fuel Your Fitness” and “Run Wild”, in addition to boards dedicated to showcasing the company’s products.

Be Part of Something Bigger

Invite your followers to participate in a shared pinning board, or join a few of your own. Hannah Crum, the creative force behind the brand Kombucha Kamp, shares her love for fermented/nutrient dense foods on Pinterest via community boards like “Whole Foods Recipes” and “Holistic Health Topics.”

Bottom Line

You don’t have to sell products directly on Pinterest with a “buy” button in order to build your brand. But you do need a consistent and diverse posting strategy. Pre-schedule pins for posting at peak times throughout the day.

Create gift guides, make a thoughtful reading list, invite followers to join community boards (or host guest pinners), and host giveaways exclusively for your followers.