Multichannel Integration: Three Tactics to Achieve Channel, Brand and Market Segment Profitability
February 20, 2007

As evidenced by recent surveys, including one in this issue’s By the Stats column, multichannel integration and customer acquisition across channels are both issues of increasing importance to catalogers, online merchants and brick-and-mortar retailers. Executives from several multichannel merchants gave their strategies for achieving success across multiple channels, brands and market segments in a panel session at last week’s eTail conference in Palm Desert, Calif. 1. On getting Internet marketing funds from reluctant executives: “One of the ways we raised awareness for e-marketing was to break out the sales that were attributed to Internet marketing on the formal P&L,” said Maureen Daney, vice president and

E-commerce: How Interactive Additions to HP.com Increased Sales, Reduced Exit Rates
February 20, 2007

As evidenced by the proliferation of shows like eTail, nearly every cataloger and brick-and-mortar retailer has its own Web site. But what does that Web site do for your brand? Is your business on the Web to sell, build the brand or just keep up with the competition? Prior to a recent redesign of HP.com, Hewlett-Packard defined its online priorities and took steps to address them with Web 2.0 features, such as blogs, podcasts and interactive content, said Stephanie Acker-Moy, vice president of customer experience at HP.com, in a keynote session at last week’s eTail conference in Palm Desert, Calif. Below are her top three

E-commerce: Three Next-generation Strategies to Increase Revenue
February 13, 2007

The Internet constantly is shifting and revealing new opportunities to engage and reel in new customers to your brand. Web. 2.0 technologies such as blogs and podcasts have allowed merchants to communicate with their customers in unique ways. But beyond Web 2.0 are strategies and technologies that will allow you to create an even more interactive dialog with your customers. Doug Mack, president and co-founder of online rich media provider Scene 7 offers a few of these emerging strategies in his recent whitepaper “E-commerce 3.0: How E-commerce Becomes a Uniquely Great Experience.” * Market to broadband consumers. Web site designers traditionally have had to

Small Companies Outpace Big Box Retailers in Search Engine Marketing
February 13, 2007

Big box stores represented just 5.3 percent of Web sites displayed during holiday 2006 product searches on the three largest search engines, according to a recent report released by search marketing and optimization firm Internet-Engine. By comparison, independent e-commerce stores made up 32.3 percent of results, while manufacturer sites and comparison shopping sites pulled down about 21 percent each. Big box retailers did marginally better in some categories, while independent merchants fared significantly better in some cases. Select product search results follow below: Watches: 2.5 percent of results - big box retailers; 40.8 percent - independent merchants; 11.7 percent - manufacturers; and 34.2 percent

Search Engine Marketing: Five Steps for More Effective Paid Search Ad Copy
February 6, 2007

As you work to improve conversion rates across your online marketing programs in 2007, consider the following five steps for more effective search engine marketing ad copy, offered by search marketing firm MoreVisibility, in a recent whitepaper. 1. Use the paid keyword in the ad. In both Google AdWords and MSN AdCenter, if you include in your ad the search term your potential customer used to trigger your ad, the keyword will be bolded, which helps them stand out on the page, the whitepaper’s authors write. 2. Make a unique and immediate call to action. Your call to action should invite the searcher to

E-mail Marketing: Three Tips to Improve Opt-in E-mail Results
February 6, 2007

No doubt you collect e-mail addresses and other consumer information on your Web site. Perhaps you have a box on your homepage offering a free newsletter, or a special page that offers discounts if shoppers supply personal data. Regardless of the method you use to collect this information, you should send an immediate welcome message to these new names, note officials at Internet marketing firm Topica in a recent whitepaper. Following are Topica’s tips for maximizing the effectiveness of these Web prospects: 1. Gather the correct information up front. In an effort to acquire as many prospects as possible, many online merchants ask only

Case Study: Site Search Solution Spikes Sales by 60 Percent
February 1, 2007

Problem: Organize.com sought to merchandise its site search results. Solution: It employed a site search software platform. Results: Online orders increased 60 percent in the first month. When Organize.com first employed an onsite search program in 1999, officials at the company believed the Yahoo! solution they implemented was state-of-the-art. Fast forward to the middle of 2005, and what was once a top-of-the-line technological breakthrough had become obsolete. Search results often were randomly displayed, and Organize.com was unable to track whether customers were using search to purchase. Organize.com wanted a solution that allowed its merchandisers to be able to decide which products were most relevant to customers’ searches,

Kayaking, Partying & Profits
February 1, 2007

There’s a very thin line that ties together the two catalogs produced out of 132 Robin Hill Road in Santa Barbara, Calif. Founded in 1994 as Surf to Summit, a B-to-B catalog of kayakin g equipment, the company in 2001 spun off After 5, a consumer catalog of quirky — often wacky — products for wine and martini parties. After 5 came to life after the company found that its customers were responding briskly to the cocktail party-related novelties that it first offered almost as an afterthought in Surf to Summit. But that’s where any similarities between the two catalogs end. Although the

Online Activity Plays Increasing Role in Retail Sales
January 30, 2007

Brick-and-mortar retail sales influenced by consumers’ online browsing and research are expected to increase by a compounded annual growth rate of 12 percent over the next five years, according to a recent report by JupiterResearch. Offline sales influenced by online research will reach 40 percent of all U.S. retail sales by 2011. Other data released by the survey: * U.S. online retail sales will plateau at 10 percent to 15 percent of total retail sales; * U.S. online retail sales will grow by 16 percent in 2007, reaching $116 billion; and * Online sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11

E-commerce: Three Web Conversion Tips
January 23, 2007

The fastest way to higher profits from multichannel customers is not by increasing average order value, but by increasing conversion. This was the primary message delivered by Mark Giresi, executive vice president of retail operations for multi-branded apparel and accessories merchant Limited Brands, and Pat Conroy, vice chairman and national managing principal for consumer business practice at Deloitte & Touche during a session during last week’s National Retail Federation Conference in New York. Giresi pointed out that higher conversion should be a merchant’s focus since the average order value of a shopper that doesn’t purchase is $0. Speakers discussed several online consumer behavioral statistics and