Remember the days when you anxiously waited for the mail to come so you could rip open the latest direct mail advertising materials and start shopping? Of course you don’t. That’s because, as e-commerce in the United States has grown, advertisers and sales professionals have increasingly turned to online presentation tools to capitalize on what market research company eMarketer predicts will be a $349 billion industry in 2015.

At first glance, it may seem like the more online presentation tools available to sales professionals and consumers the better. Salespeople are able to experiment with different ways of interacting with the consumer and in turn, the consumer has a plethora of different user-friendly methods for finding the products and information they are looking for. However, the market can be a double-edged sword because it’s flooded with new tools and not all of them are going to deliver the same experience. Deciding between using a PowerPoint presentation or a different kind of slideshow to entice potential customers may seem trivial, but with so many options available to that customer, it may also make the difference between converting interested lead into a satisfied customer.

According to a 2014 online shopping survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, more than 80 percent of the 7,000 online consumers surveyed from across the globe conduct online research before they buy electronics, computers, books, music, and movies. Additionally, 88 percent of respondents in the United States said that they research a product online before buying and 73 percent reported that they research online when buying clothing, footwear, toys, and health and beauty products. The numbers make a pretty clear statement: not everyone actually purchases the products online, but nearly everyone shops online before making a purchase decision.

This is why online presentation tools are so important and why sales professionals need to have a nuanced understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each type of tool.

Slideshows: The lowest common denominator of presentation tools, slideshows are great because they’re easy to put together, much more visually appealing than text on a page, and easy for consumers to understand. In some sense, the traits that make slideshows great are also what holds them back. In terms of interactivity and user experience, they have been lapped by newer tools. Software like Haiku Deck, SlideRocket, and SlideShare are part of a new and improved cache of slideshow tools worth looking into.

Infographics: The infographic is a tried and true way for sales professionals to turn dry and complicated data into an easy-to-read visual presentation. They aren’t particularly hard to create and they are easy to post. The problem is that infographics aren’t exactly a market inefficiency, which means the Internet is flooded with infographics – some good, and some awful.

Prezi: Everyone’s favorite online presentation tool is easy to think of as a sort of PowerPoint on steroids. It allows its users to create non-linear presentations that come with all of the animated and motion bells and whistles available as well. It’s all online and it is free for anyone to use (although they have premium plans). Its comprehensive offering can cause some sales folks to get too fancy, but its diverse set of tools make it nearly everyone’s new favorite tool.

Animated Video: The newest player on the scene is animated video which is steadily rising in popularity amongst sales professionals. But, like all other tools, it has its pros and cons. Videos can be interactive, they can be more user-friendly than slide shows and they allow the sales professional to pitch the customer more easily. But if made incorrectly, they can be hectic to follow, boring and uninteresting. Companies like Knovio and Moovly are some of the most popular options currently on the market.

Learn more about business presentation templates here. 

About GoAnimate

GoAnimate is the world’s #1 animation video creation platform. We were the first to enable businesses on six continents to produce videos quickly and easily, and we have never stopped innovating. Our platform is the most powerful of its kind, with many unique features – yet everything is controlled through the same, super-simple, drag & drop interface. We offer tens of thousands of pre-animated characters, backgrounds, props, and actions representing hundreds of industries and occupations – with more added all the time. Our templates will get you to a quick win in a matter of minutes. You can stop there, or customize further until your video is truly one of a kind. Adding voice-over narration or lip-synced dialogue is a snap! Music and sound effects from premium libraries are included at no extra cost. When finished, simply download your video as an MP4 or publish directly to YouTube or any of our video hosting partners.