Analytics Should be Driving Your Decisions

June 18, 2009

Regardless of the topic I’m speaking on, I always talk about using an analytics program.  Without metrics/data, you can’t make informed decisions.

So it’s great that Yahoo! is stressing analtyics at the Yahoo! Merchant Summit (an event for their bigger merchants).  Dennis Mortensen, Director of Data Insights, Yahoo! gave some quick tips, such as scheduling alerts. Yahoo! Analytics is baked into Yahoo! Merchant Solutions (big changes/updates to the analytics product in October of last year and April of this year).

Dennis, Jonathan Garris (ECMTA, Gotham City Online), and Michael Whitaker (Monitus) are now speaking on an analytics panel.

The one thing missing from the discussion, that’s missing from a lot of merchant related analytics discussions, is Lifetime Value of the Visitor.

How well do you track lifetime value…or is everything based on a single, short event?

Bing Cashback Huge for AT&T?

June 15, 2009

Say what you want about Bing, but Bing Cashback (or is it Bing Shopping?) has been getting a good amount of buzz the last couple weeks. Why? In part because of a cashback offer from the AT&T Store. AT&T is offering a pretty incredible 35% cashback offer. This is the richest cashback offer I’ve seen on Cashback. Add to that the launch of the new iPhone, which you can pre-order through AT&T, and at least the twitterverse has been abuzz over Bing Cashback.

I’m still waiting to hear back from some companies like Converseon that monitor ‘conversations’ on the web, but this offer seems to be attracting a lot of attention on twitter and deal sites. Out of the other Bing Cashback advertisers who have a good offer (HP, eBay, Backcountry, etc.), only eBay seems to be generating as much buzz according to Google Trends:

SingleFeed Arrives In Boston for Internet Retailer

June 15, 2009

SingleFeed is in Boston this week for Internet Retailer. We do not have a booth this year, so if you’re a merchant who would like to meet up to discuss the shopping engines, data feeds, or SingleFeed, please contact me at Also, we’re getting together with some friends @ Lobby Bar & Kitchen Tuesday night from 7:30 – 9pm for drinks and dessert. Just email me if you’d like to join. Thanks!

Pay attention to the personal savings rate

June 5, 2009

If you watch CNBC these days, it seems that the economy is on a road to recovery and things will be looking pretty good in early 2010 or maybe even by the end of this year. It’s not that the housing market is hot hot hot or the unemployment rate is dropping, but these economic indicators and others are easing (not looking as bad as in Q1). And with the stock market (often seen as a leading indicator for the economy) up over 30% since its lows in March, it’s easy to start thinking good thoughts.

While I’m hoping for a recovery in early 2010, I think whatever recovery we might see will be muted. Basically, I’m not expecting to suddenly see GREAT numbers from retailers. OK numbers. Maybe GOOD numbers. But not great.

There really is a new reality in the US (and probably abroad). Consumers are scared. We’ve lost our jobs, our houses, and our savings. This combination means that Americans are saving again. While saving is good in a lot of ways (and I can hear my father’s sage advice not to live beyond my means), if we’re saving, we’re not spending. And if we’re not spending, retailers are not going to knock their top or bottom line numbers out of the park.

So pay attention to the personal savings rate which is now at 5.7%, the highest since 1995.

Piper Jaffray Believes May eCommerce Sales Flat to Slightly Negative

June 5, 2009

Piper Jaffray’s eCommerce forecasts are always of interest to me because Gene Munster and his team have correlated sales of certain retailers to overall eCommerce revenue. In the latest report (June 4), Piper Jaffray expects “May eCommerce Sales 0% to (1%) y/y” which would be “Slight Negative for eCommerce” based on Target’s same store sales for May. Next report to be on the lookout for is comScore’s eCommerce sales out on June 15th.

Bing Cashback – Why Merchants Should Submit their Feed Today

June 5, 2009

Say what you want about MSFT and Bing, but if you’re a merchant, you should be submitting your data feed to Bing Cashback right now. Why? While some people think that Bing will do nothing for MSFT’s search market share, there’s a strong possibility that at least in the short term, with all the money that MSFT is throwing at its advertising campaign that Bing will gain consumer adoption. If that’s the case, then Bing Cashback will also benefit. And at this point Bing Cashback does not have the merchant coverage of the other shopping enignes which means less competition for each merchant. Add the fact that Bing Cashback is cost per acquisition (CPA) and there’s no risk to submit your feed. Now, there is the cost of getting up and running (creating a data feed and implementing Bing Cashback’s tracking solution), but now might just be the right time to go for it.

At the Microsoft Search Summit, the pundits had plenty of harsh words for the Bing team, but they also had some good ideas for Bing Cashback. As I tweeted today (#badabing), there were three great ideas: integration of coupons (take a look at Yahoo! Shopping, Smarter, and TheFind), addition of video reviews (take a look at Smarter/ExpoTV integration and heck, take a look at Ciao, which is part of the MSFT family), and clearer view of bottom line price (right now it’s not clear if the price listed is before or after cashback). I need to add to the list comprehensiveness (more merchants needed), addition of tax/shipping info, and social features. Ok, this last point is a little strange for me to even mention as I feel that most of the web x.0 ‘social shopping’ experiments have been a complete waste, but with the runaway success of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube and the obvious social aspect of shopping offline, there has to be a smart way for Bing Cashback to experiment in this area. Could be a nice differentiation point…maybe take a look at Pronto’s work in the area…or just talk to the team at Ciao.

Microsoft Search Summit – BING!

June 4, 2009

I’m at the Microsoft Search Summit today and tomorrow. Some of the information is not for public distribution, but I’ll share what I can. For those of you who have been living under a rock, one of Bing’s 4 main focuses is Shopping/Product Search. More soon.

If you want to follow on twitter: #badabing


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