By the Stats: How Do Catalogers Use Their Web Sites to Collect E-mail Addresses?
June 7, 2005

Of 175 catalogers with e-mail programs, e-mail marketer Silverpop found that between March and May of this year, 75 percent offered e-mail signup directly on the homepage, while 3 percent used a pop-up at the homepage to collect e-mail addresses. Other data revealed by the study: * 75% offered an incentive to customers for providing their e-mail addresses * 45% of those catalogers offered sales and promotions as an incentive * 14% offered newsletters * 11% offered a catalog or other form of direct mail * 2% offered a prize For more information on Silverpop’s “2005 Retail E-mail Marketing Study,” visit http://www.silverpop.com/news/press/05_26_05.html.

E-commerce: Plot Out Your Online Programs
May 31, 2005

Sure, you have programs for search engine marketing (SEM), e-mail and affiliate marketing. But how extensively have you plotted out your overall strategy? A key to your success involves a closely integrated program that involves all forms of online advertising. Following are some strategies revealed. Gordon Hotchkiss, president/CEO of search engine marketing firm Enquiro, noted in his presentation during the Annual Catalog Conference in Orlando last week several key factors to managing a viable SEM program. He discussed two primary kinds of searches: Mapping searches are when consumers search by subject; transporter searches are when consumers search by company names or URLs. Be prepared for both,

Three Tactics for Better Online Marketing
May 31, 2005

There’s so much to learn in online marketing -- where do you begin? Speakers at the Annual Catalog Conference held in Orlando last week offered up a few ideas you can put to use: 1. Address information overload: Stephen Spencer, founder/president of search engine optimization firm Netconcepts, said during the “Meet the Speakers” brunch that information overload “threatens our very existence,” and that marketers should be concerned about consumers being overloaded. “These days, you can’t just go online, see e-mail, get a little information and be off,” he said. “People have to find a way to get beyond that data smog, and you must help

By the Stats: Get Personal in Cyberspace
May 24, 2005

E-mail personalization is a lost opportunity, says David Daniels, research director at JupiterResearch, a Darien, Conn.-based business research firm. Such a lost opportunity is particularly troublesome, he says, in an era when the technology to do personalization is readily available. E-commerce merchants who responded to the e-tailing group’s fourth annual Merchant Survey, released last month, admit they still have a way to go in this arena. Following is how they answered the question: How do you define personalization relative to your Web site and e-mails? ¥ 7% said their sites dynamically show products based on customers’ past purchases. ¥ 14% offer tools that allow

Search Engine Marketing: Savvy Search Marketing Strategies
May 10, 2005

“As consumers become savvier searchers, online merchants must become savvier marketers,” said Diane Rinaldo, director of strategic alliances for Yahoo Search Marketing, at the session “Search Engine Marketing Strategies for Retailers: What Are Your Choices, and How Can You Use Them Effectively?” at the Search Marketing Forum held last month in New York. Rinaldo offered the following two strategies for merchants looking to get the most out of search engine marketing: 1. Since 38 percent of sales occur four weeks after a consumer’s initial search, you need to track consumer behavior for a longer period of time, Rinaldo pointed out. “Look beyond your current cookie duration.

Customer Acquisition: Feed Your Need to Sell
May 1, 2005

The rise of the search engine as a marketing tool has brought with it a bevy of other online-selling opportunities. Not least among these are the shopping feeds, Web sites that act as online aggregators of merchandise and that allow consumers to compare similar products online, then choose merchants to supply the items. Often shopping feeds are referred to as comparison shopping engines or Web co-ops. Notable examples include Google’s Froogle and Amazon (see “Five Feeds Examined,” below). While few catalogers are claiming that shopping feeds are bringing in huge amounts of money, many in the e-commerce world do admit that they’re

Sell More Via the Web
May 1, 2005

Some online retailers seeking to improve their sites can afford substantial investments in sophisticated analysis tools and costly usability consulting. Others can’t. This article aims to help anyone who wants to tune a Web site “on the cheap.” Step 1: Decide What Needs Improvement on Your Site After listening to comments from customers and employees, you may already know some of the trouble spots on your Web site. You also may note weaknesses on your site after surfing and shopping from your competitors. And you may even use Neilsen’s law of Web usability, which states — quite obviously — your visitors spend

Merchandising: Use the Web as a Price Proving Ground
April 26, 2005

Catalogers should consider using the Web for price testing, said Daniel Dorzback, chief merchandising officer at Petals, a silk flower and decorative accessories catalog, when he spoke at the Hudson Valley Direct Marketing Association’s”Meet the Catalogers” luncheon held in Greenwich, Conn., in early April. “In our paper catalogs, we may run a promotional price test, but not a test across our entire mailing segment,” he said. “We use our Web site as a testing ground -- like a lab to look at different Web exclusives to see how customers will buy into new product categories.” The beauty of online product testing is that the Web provides”a

By the Stats: How Quickly Have Consumers Adopted Media Technology?
April 26, 2005

The Internet penetrated consumers’ inner sanctum faster than any medium since the black-and-white television; both reached 50 percent of U.S. households within eight years of being readily accessible, says DoubleClick, citing the 2001 U.S. Census in its paper, “The Decade in Online Advertising, 1994-2004,” released last Wednesday. And just how does that compare to other media used to reach consumers? Other data revealed by the U.S. Census: ¥ Nine years for 50 percent of homes to gain radios ¥ 17 years for personal computers ¥ 39 years for cable television ¥ 70 years for the telephone

Freezing Out Fraudsters
April 1, 2005

Problem: Omaha Steaks wanted to prevent as many fraudulent orders as possible from shipping. Solution: Instituted a comprehensive fraud-protection program, and it hired fraud-prevention professionals. Results: Saves about $1 million annually from catching fraudulent orders before they ship and in credit card chargeback fees. Ron Eike, director of operations for food purveyor Omaha Steaks, called it his company’s “million dollar problem.” How to prevent fraudsters from using stolen credit cards and other illegal means to buy the company’s gourmet goods? Omaha Steaks established in the early 1990s a comprehensive fraud-protection program, which includes technological means of flagging suspect orders. It also