October 29, 2010
Congrats to Milo on the launch of their new Android app. It’s in Beta. They’re just getting going.
Will be great to see usage stats on Milo and Google Local Shopping this holiday shopping season.
After a pretty great experience with ShopSavvy, I think I have to go window shopping this weekend and try out a half dozen new and not so new mobile/local apps:
October 29, 2010
Sears got into the holiday spirit months ago with Sears Layaway and Kmart Layaway.
Driving into Palo Alto this morning at 6am, I noticed the holiday lights wrapping the trees on University Avenue.
Since getting into retail, I’ve always thought of the holiday shopping season starting November 1st, the day after Halloween. But as everyone has been reporting, the holidays arrived early this year.
Now Amazon is getting into the game with ‘Countdown to Black Friday’ sales. Not sure how many categories are running this promotion, but the first I’ve been notified of is in the Electronics category. This splash page should work for everyone. Today’s inaugural deal is the Toshiba 55-Inch 1080p LED HDTV with Net TV for $1199.99, a 50% markdown.
We’re counting down the weeks until Black Friday with spectacular deals every Friday, starting October 29 and running weekly through November 19. Check back every Friday to find fantastic prices on select electronics, video games, and more. And all of these hot deals relate to a theme, including the Deal of the Day and Lightning Deals. Bookmark this page and come back each week to see how you’ll save on items that help you “Connect,” “Play,” “Watch,” and “Listen.” All deals are good while supplies last, so don’t delay!
October 15, 2010
If you click on the Product link in your Google Merchant Center (GMC) account, you’ll now see a column for Product Ads.
Clicking on the ? next to Product Ads brings you to a basic page that discusses the various destinations for Product Listings. Here’s the Product Ads page which discusses the various attributes you can include in your data feed to control your Product Ads:
As the holiday shopping season approaches and retailers are looking for any and every way to increase sales, expect more merchants to adopt product ads. Also expect some confusion as there have been a number of changes to the Product Ads specification over the last year. Get started testing right now.
Most important thing to note for merchants, though, is that you need to start with a high quality data feed. Go beyond the basics.
October 13, 2010
About a month ago, I took a step back to look at some big themes I’m seeing in ecommerce.
Here’s what I came up with:
Social – Branding, Conversations, General Marketing, Analytics
Local/Mobile – Rise of Smartphones, Checking-in –> Targeting, Local inventory/pricing
Deals – Coupons, Groupons, Private Sales
Recommendations – Merchant/Consumer, Transactional, Social/Reviews
Display – Big Revival – Better Creative, Targeting, Lower/Dynamic prices
Marketplaces/Comparison Shopping – Big sites are pushing it themselves, small sites are adopting as well
Making this a game (Jesse Schell) – Points/Status
Video – Reviews, Richer Product Data –> More Traffic, Higher Conversion, More Sales, Lower Return Rates, Lower Cart Abandonment
I’ll expand on all of these areas over the next couple weeks.
October 13, 2010
Tada is Shopzilla’s new Deal of the Day site. Yes, deal of the day sites are all the rage, and there are a million of them out there, but this is where a shopping engine could shine. Shopzilla has the connections to get the deals, the industry knowledge and data to know what to sell at what price, and the traffic to build a community (I first noticed TaDa through ads all over Shopzilla). And they need to do something to stem the loss in traffic and counteract higher traffic acquisition costs (TACs).
The inaugural TaDa deal is the Invicta Auto Pro Diver Watch for $59.99 (52% off retail price) from WorldofWatches.com. There have been 167 watches purchased thus far, racking up $10,018.33 in sales. The traditional Groupon model would suggest that Tada takes in half of that and the other half goes to the merchant. Not sure if TaDa is able to collect 50% of the deal price, though, and might be fine getting much less for the moment in order to get some buzz. But @ 50%, that would be a $5000 take in one day (with 2hrs left on the deal). [ Shopzilla would have had to do 12,500 in clicks (@ an average of $0.40/click) to generate that revenue.
Interestingly, WorldofWatches.com doesn’t seem to be advertising on Shopzilla, although the site does participate in BizRate’s Store Ratings Program.
You can track TaDa’s Deals of the Day by signing up for email alters, on Facebook or directly at TaDa.com.
October 12, 2010
-I forgot to mention that the Morning Roundup was inspired by Morning Lowdown over at paidContent, one of my favorite blogs.
-I didn’t realize that Bain’s acquisition of Gymboree would be “the largest leveraged buyout over the last 3 years bu more than $1 billion,” according to The Chronicle with Bloomberg.
-Walmart gets a jump on the holiday shopping season. According to the press release, “Research shows that this holiday season will be more difficult than most for budget-savvy customers. Families are looking to save money by cutting gifts for extended family and friends to create a memorable holiday for their immediate family.” (Walmart Customer Insights, 2010).
-Real time shopping search. OK, not exactly, but I like Beso’s What Users are Viewing Right Now dynamic feature on the homepage. Makes the site jump a little more…feel a bit more social.
-Amazon buys BuyVIP.com. Private sale sites have been second to only Groupon’s meteoric rise in the last couple years. BuyVIP is a European private sale site. From Internet Retailer, “BuyVIP.com is an excellent complement to Amazon’s European business and will provide another unique way for Amazon customers to find and discover unique and compelling products,” says Greg Greeley, vice president of European Retail at Amazon.”
-Demandware offers entry level pricing. From Internet Retailer, “”Establishing a strong ecommerce presence is critical for early stage retailers. Unfortunately due to a lack of platforms that are both robust and affordable, many great brands have been forced to launch on lesser inexpensive solutions, fully knowing that they would have to re-platform as the business grows,” said Jamus Driscoll, vice president of marketing for Demandware.” Love that quotation…lesser inexpensive solutions. I’m not convinced that Demandware is the right place for an ‘early stage’ retailer to start. “Re-platforming” can be incredibly expensive, but going with Demandware to start could be like going with Omniture to start in the world of analytics. Yes, it has incredible functionality, but you’re not going to use 80% of that functionality at the start, and you’ll have to hire 3 consultants just to pull the right reports. I wonder if Demandware is feeling pressure from Magento.
October 11, 2010
If you’re a merchant without an account manager at Shopping.com and Shopzilla, make sure to take advantage of their slightly under the radar phone support.
Representatives available from 9AM to 5PM PST Monday thru Friday, dial 650-616-6700.
Representatives available from 8AM to 6PM PST Monday thru Friday, dial 877-224-2999.
You’re not always going to get through to a live person, but they’re both getting better at picking up the phone. I applaud these shopping engines for testing out phone support.
October 11, 2010
-In preparation for Tough Mudder (I survived!), on Friday night, I headed to REI to grab some packs of GU, a hat, gloves, and other odds ‘n ends. While in the store, I decided to test a couple shopping apps and websites on my cell phone as I’ve been following what’s happening with Google Local Shopping and Milo. I’ve also been catching up with others like Krillion and GPShopper/Slifter. With all the hoopla about all these services, the one that scored for me was ShopSavvy (run by Biggu.com), which has options for local retailers just like the more well known services out there. ShopSavvy’s barcode scanner seemed to work better than the others I tried, and I was able to provide local inventory. While I’m not sure if ShopSavvy is getting up to the minute product data from REI, the products that I scanned that ShopSavvy said were in stock at price X, were in fact in stock at price X. Still pondering how all these services will pan out…
-Private Equity firms move in on retailers. Pershing Square Capital Management has acquired 16.5% of JCP while Bain Capital pays $1.8B for Gymboree.
-NexTag has always been at the forefront of online advertising. While all shopping engines run PPC campaigns, NexTag has also been one of the largest buyers of display advertising throughout the years. Now it’s trying to figure out Facebook Ads. Here’s an example of a Facebook ad for Tommy Bahama that NexTag is running:
I wonder if brands are going to have the same issues with shopping engines bidding on their brand names on Facebook as they have on Google AdWords.
-Only 46 more days until Black Friday!