Pricefish Announces FishClips

February 27, 2006

Pricefish offers FishClips

I wish I had time to look at the smaller shopping comparison engines in depth because I think I’d find some innovative offerings.

Like this:

Pricefish is now offering FishClips to all merchants. FishClips are audio files which merchants can create and then display next to their listings. Some examples can be found on this Sony Cyber-shot product page (scroll down and look for the headphones icon). The clips on this page include general store information highlighting benefits like security, service, and selection. However, merchants can actually create separate FishClips for every product.

As Mark Dresner, President of Pricefish explained, “in a sea of sameness, anything merchants can do to differentiate themselves can increase conversion rate. We have several merchants using [FishClips] on a global basis, but the way we set it up, they can have a different mp3 for every listing. Think of how this applies to apparel and jewelry; merchants can produce a 10-15 second commercial for each product and have a better chance to convert.”

The press release says that FishClips is the “first in a planned series of multi-media offerings. Pricefish.com believes that this new feature will deliver increased sales for online retailers and create an enriched and rewarding experience for shoppers.” In other words, expect further FishClips in the form of videos such as those found on CNET.


Google Payments & Unified Shopping Carts

February 27, 2006

Google Payments is finally here. Greg Yardley and Scot Wingo (thanks for the heads up, Scot) both were quick to pick up on it, so check out their sites if you want to get the foundation. The official Google blog and official Google Base blog also put in $0.02 on the topic.

While Google Payments should be applauded (feared?) for many reasons, one potential impact on the shopping comparison engine world is that I see a unified shopping cart for Google Base/Froogle as one logical step forward (once the Google Payments system has been fully rolled out). Amazon is the only shopping comparison engine (yes, Greg, you’ve convinced me) which offers this functionality, and I think it could be a game changer for Froogle.

As I mentioned last week in my post about eBay express, I’m disappointed to hear that Shopping.com (SDC) is not going to be involved with eBay express beyond providing catalog/organization technology.

I was hoping to hear a plan for rolling out the eBay express platform to SDC, allowing a user to add a sweater from Macy’s, hat from Nordstrom, and shoes from Zappos to a unified cart for checkout. I purposely give the example of the apparel category because I think the category begs for innovation on the shopping comparison engines, but unification obviously works for the electronics category – think digital camera and accessories, computers and accessories, ipods and accessories and many other areas (anywhere there is an upsell opportunity).

PriceGrabber has smart functionality which allows a registered user to see if it’s cheaper to buy all products from one retailer as opposed to from multiple retailers, but the multiple retailer route forces the consumer to go from store to store to store. A unified shopping cart technology from Google Payments or eBay express would simplify this process.

Google and eBay have a great advantage over the other shopping comparison engines because no one else has a payments system (except Yahoo! with Yahoo! Wallet). I’m sure Google Base/Froogle will exploit this opportunity ASAP, and I hope that SDC does the same.

As I’ve been discussing with a couple shopping comparison engines recently, one innovation I think consumers would welcome is a system where you can dress up a virtual mannequin (with your dimensions) with a pair of jeans from one company, shirt from another, and shoes from a third. The consumer could then save the mannequin and share it with friends to get feedback. Once settled on an ensemble, the user would then buy everything through a single cart. This example brings together social shopping and cart technologies – both areas which could help the shopping comparison engines become more sticky and therefore less dependent on pay per click engines.


Customer Service

February 26, 2006

A fairly large company, let’s call it ABC Inc., in the internet marketing space (not comparison shopping) called me on Friday to get feedback on the service they provided me (I was a client of this company most of last year)

I didn’t have a good experience with ABC Inc. and have started recommending that retailers not work with the company.

Because of this, I welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback. Maybe the company would address my concerns, and I’d change my opinion. Unfortunately, the call did not go that smoothly.

There was a simple survey asking me to rate the company in a variety of areas from 1 – 5. That part was fairly painless. The poor guy on the other line then asked if there was anything else I wanted to say. So I went off…I gave him one concrete example of a poor experience. I then volunteered another example (which turned into a fairly lengthy tirade). I was about to discuss another poor experience, but the guy quickly said ‘have a good weekend’ and basically hung up.

Nice to know the company cares enough to get my feedback…but considering that the guy wasn’t open to listening to all my issues, I don’t get the feeling that he really cares. Not a good experience. Oh well, there are 1 or 2 other major players in the area which I will recommend to merchants. Just as with Thomas Hawk’s PriceRitePhoto experience, you never know who you’re talking to. Companies should be a lot more careful.


Jobs – Webloyalty, LetsTalk, Shopzilla, Shopping.com (University Program), PriceGrabber (France)

February 26, 2006

A smattering of job opportunities…

-Webloyalty – Director, Online Media Buying
Webloyalty.com is seeking an outstanding candidate for Director, Online Media Buying. This position is responsible for all aspects of campaign management including: identifying prospects, negotiating and closing deals; developing and implementing marketing campaigns and test strategies; monitoring and optimizing campaign performance to meet targeted acquisition costs. A minimum of 4+ years of media buying (CPA/CPC/CPM), plus proven negotiating and analytic skills is required. Experience with SEO a plus. Send resume and salary requirement to ‘productjobs at webloyalty dot com.’

Webloyalty Grew 2005 Revenues 26% to Exceed $100 Million. Read the Webloyalty release.

-LetsTalk – Acquisition Marketing Manager
Identify and negotiate online advertising opportunities with online portals and niche sites, Develop comprehensive online marketing strategies and maintain annual marketing plans, Lead identification of new online marketing partners and act as an industry liaison to keep LetsTalk abreast of emerging technologies and trends in online advertising, Analyze existing campaigns and proactively identify opportunities to optimize performance, Contributing to creative strategy and advertising development, Work with agency partners as necessary, Provide media buying and planning services. Send resume to ‘jobs at letstalk dot com.’

-Letstalk.com – Database Marketing Manager
Develop email marketing plans (both trigger and bulk mail campaigns) to increase life-time customer value, user referrals, and provide support for community-building activities, Initiate and implement testing strategies to continually improve key performance metrics (opens, clicks, conversion rates, etc), Continually analyze campaign metrics and present findings to the marketing group, Identify market potential, estimate potential sales, and model return on investment for new email marketing initiatives, Provide day-to-day strategic, tactical and operational support for ongoing email marketing campaigns, Evaluate affinity marketing, advertising/sponsorship, and cross-marketing opportunities to increase revenue per user metrics,
Initiate and manage email tool development projects. Send resume to ‘jobs at letstalk dot com.’

Read the rest of this entry »


Brian Smith IM/Skype Contact Information

February 25, 2006

Ok, I’ve re-joined the instant messaging world.
You can always email me: ‘brian at comparison engines dot com’…
But I also welcome IMs/Skype calls:

Brian Smith
Yahoo! – brismi
AOL – brismiandrew
Skype – brismiandrew


Web 2.0 in Retailing – Fry’s

February 23, 2006

Fry's Electronics on Web 2.0 Technology on retail sites

Some quick thoughts from Fry’s (NOT Fry’s Electronics) VP of Sales and CTO, Rudy Pataro. This is not an interview (no direct quotes), just what I picked up from his brief talk.

Web 2.0 technologies – AJAX, RSS, etc. Tons of interest from start-ups, but in the retail space, there isn’t much excitement or traction. Why aren’t we taking advantage of those technologies?

3 examples of Web 2.0 technologies to think about:
-On site search. Why is it that when you do a search, you get multiple pages and have to go to page 1 then page 2 then page 3, etc. With AJAX, you can scroll through the items dynamically. Also, which products do you put on a particular category page? Why not put them all and allow your users to navigate through the information. (If anyone is interested in this concept, I have a friend working on this idea)
-Tagging. Consumers might tag products in a different way than you categorize them. Their tagging system is more helpful for them, and you should be open to it.
-Site management. Most people think of RSS from a consumer point of view. But if you’re getting all this syndicated content from a ton of sites, doesn’t it just become like email spam? From a retailer perspective, though, maybe RSS allows for a better way to handle inventory management.


Best Buy on Multi-Channel Retailing

February 22, 2006

etail 2006

When Best Buy speaks, I listen. The company seems to be ahead of the retailing curve in terms of producing an innovative customer experience. Back in September, I posted about Best Buy’s personal shopping assistants and kitchen design service. There’s been a lot of talk about the company’s in-store customer centric initiative. Over the holiday shopping season, the company pushed it’s in store pick up service with great success.

Sam Taylor, Best Buy SVP Online Stores & Marketing, discussed some of his strategies for success with multi-channel retailing. This is not an interview (no direct quotes), just what I picked up from his talk.

Sam equated the normal multi-channel retailing situation to a sandbox. Kids play nicely at first, but ultimately, some kind of conflict comes along. The secret is sharing. Analogy to your organization: Are people pointing fingers? Is there an internal channel conflict? Do you hear people say things like…you shouldn’t be on our P&L…there shouldn’t be online only promotions…or from the other perspective…we’re the younger, smarter brother, we’re growing faster, etc.

It’s about sharing:
1. Share the money.
-All the stores get credit for the revenue and profits from BestBuy.com.

2. Share the data between the different channels.
-For example, we break out web analytics by different customer segments on the web and share that data with the stores (for instance, on the web, BB can see a certain segment looks for Star Wars, WWE, Webcams, etc.). One store manager put this data to use and wrote: “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. On the release of Star Wars, we put out titles from your list on a third table. We were 198% to revenue as well as one of the top stores in UPT. The ‘segment table’ has about 70% sell through strength.”

3. Share the experience and solution for the customer across the channels.
-For example, more than 50% of houses with multiple pcs don’t have a broadband network or can’t get the network to work. The BB response was the acquisition of Geek Squad – it addressed a real customer need. Geek Squad is the first 24/7 customer support task force. Founded in 1994 and acquired by BB in 2002. There are now over 10,500 agents in North America. In home, in-store and phone support – you have to be where your customers want you. From the website: “Geek Squad can set you free with a wireless network. Once set up, you can share your high-speed internet connection with every PC in your home. That means you can browse the web from your laptop in the backyard, print from your couch or e-mail work while still in bed.”

-Another example is the Magnolia Stores integration with Best Buy. Magnolia provides home theater product knowledge, service, and installation expertise. The company has over 1,300 installers in North America.

-In store pick up. Customer wins (no waiting for delivery, no shipping charges, convenient). Best Buy wins (40% higher average order value, 20% make additional in-store purchases, 65% are new to BestBuy.com, competetive advantage – the only store that offers in store pick up for movies, music, and games).

Related posts:
Locking in Your Customer – September 13, 2005


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