Online Marketing

Wal-Mart Will Buy Media for Suppliers as Digital Scope Grows
July 11, 2014

Now that digital and social media are reaching what Wal-Mart U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn calls "critical mass," the retail giant is reshaping its marketing team and changing how it works with suppliers — including buying media for them. Wal-Mart met recently with around 200 supplier marketing executives in part to discuss the Walmart Exchange, or WMX, which its executives bill as a digital targeting, buying and optimization platform that will bring everything from sales to social media data to bear on spending plans for Wal-Mart and its suppliers.

How New Top-Level Domains Will Impact Retail
April 30, 2014

Over the next few years, the internet will be facing its biggest makeover yet when branded and generic domain names like .nyc, .shop and .tiffany enter the existing field of top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com and .org. The decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to introduce thousands of new TLDs to the web was intended to increase innovation on the internet. Brands and retailers, specifically, should see this as an incredible opportunity to better appeal to consumers in a way that allows them to creatively target customers based on geography and cultural context. 

Amazon Easing Into $1B Sideline Business: Ad Sales
March 19, 2014

Amazon.com is cautiously dipping into its trove of customer data, trying not to betray consumer trust as it develops a digital advertising business that's on track to sell nearly $1 billion worth of ads this year. The data the retail giant collects on its 237 million active customer accounts puts Google to shame. Amazon doesn't just know what folks have searched for, it knows what they bought. Using that data has turned Amazon into one of the web's ad juggernauts, the seventh-largest seller of digital ads worldwide, according to eMarketer.

NRF Forecasts 4.1% Increase in Retail Sales for 2014
February 7, 2014

The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its 2014 economic forecast yesterday, projecting retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will increase 4.1 percent, up from the preliminary 3.7 percent growth seen in 2013. NRF also announced it expects online sales in 2014 to grow between 9 percent and 12 percent. "Measured improvements in economic growth combined with positive expectations for continued consumer spending will put the retail industry in a relatively good place in 2014," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Why ‘Last In’ Affiliate Attribution Needs a Second Look
January 9, 2014

Attention to attribution is skyrocketing because in many companies reporting has been set up so that every channel claims 100 percent of the final sale, even when their efforts were only partially responsible. This "double counting" of converted traffic has led to inflated marketing channel reports and, more importantly, has companies overpaying for sales and leads.

Sears Uses Crowdsourcing for Tech Innovation
December 1, 2013

Plenty of retailers have leveraged user-generated content (e.g., customer photos and videos) from contests and promotions in branded marketing campaigns before, but not quite like Sears just did. The company's Startup + Developer Challenge, held this past summer, was a "code-a-thon" designed to find the best and brightest minds in the tech community of Silicon Valley — and then use those minds to Sears' benefit.

Hungry for Content
December 1, 2013

Instagram, Facebook's insanely popular photo-sharing app, introduced video capability in June to compete with the rise of Vine's bite-sized videos. Within 24 hours, Instagram's 130 million users uploaded over 5 million videos.

5 Steps for Ensuring PLA Success This Holiday Season
November 13, 2013

Product listing ads (PLAs) are search ads that include concise product information such as product image, price and merchant name without relying solely on text ads to entice online shoppers. PLAs are proving that a picture is truly worth a thousand (key) words, as they're consistently driving increased clickthrough rates and conversions. Given that the holiday season is quickly approaching, it's now more important than ever for merchants to understand how to maximize PLAs. Here are some tips on how to most effectively use PLAs this holiday season.

Tips for Customizing the Online Shopping Experience
November 8, 2013

In an effort to give you a sneak peek into the upcoming Retail Online Integration webinar, One Size Does NOT Fit All: Delivering Customized Shopping Experiences for Your Customers (you can register for free here!), I conducted an interview with Catherine Frye, marketing and customer services solutions manager, IBM Business Analytics. Frye will be co-presenting the webinar, and offered a few of her thoughts on the value of personalization in e-commerce. Here's a portion of that interview: