In this video from the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, Joe Keenan, managing editor of Retail Online Integration, interviews Michael Hines, vice president of e-commerce and technology for Jones Group Inc. Hines discusses the value of testing and monitoring your e-commerce site (including mobile versions) in developing an optimized shopping experience for visitors.
Jim Davidson, the manager of marketing research at email and marketing automation provider Bronto Software, presented data from Loading the Sleigh: Marketers' Plans & Expectations for the Holiday Season, a jointly published report by Bronto Software and Retail Systems Research, during his presentation at the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago this week.
In this video from the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, Melissa Campanelli, editor-in-chief of Retail Online Integration, chats with Bernard Luthi, chief marketing officer of Rakuten.com Shopping (formerly Buy.com). Luthi discusses the recent transition of the brand, along with how Rakuten.com Shopping can be used by merchants and consumers.
In a session on Wednesday at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Eli Gurock, co-founder and head of e-commerce at Magic Beans, a cross-channel retailer of baby toys and baby gear, detailed how his company is dealing with showrooming — a term referring to the practice of consumers examining products in-store but without making a purchase, then going online to find the product at a lower price.
As retail brands evolve into omnichannel organizations, sharing and integrating data across channels has become critical to their success. In a session yesterday at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Stephanie Scheele, senior director of strategic intelligence for Vera Bradley, a retailer of fashionable handbags, accessories and luggage, discussed how the brand is using data collected online to dictate in-store pricing decisions. Scheele specifically focused on Vera Bradley's recently launched baby collection.
Social Labs today released its findings regarding how online retailers implement Facebook's log-in button. The company examined how the top 500 online retailers integrated the plug-in as an alternative option for their account creation, site registration and site log-in processes. The 14-page study titled "Log In With Facebook and the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500″ shows the numbers aren't pretty: only 30 out of the top 500 sites, or 6 percent, integrated Facebook with the core of their e-commerce site for the purpose of user account creation.
Retailers are being asked to move more products, through more channels, in more countries than ever before. Under this new paradigm, the retailers who espouse supply chain technology are simply far better positioned for positive growth.
A few surprises showed up when my company analyzed the email marketing practices of Internet Retailer's Top 500 online retailers this year. On the up side, more retailers are cross-pollinating their email and social channels for greater growth and engagement. They're also emailing more often in the critical first 30 days after opt-in. But the study also found that fewer marketers offer new subscribers options either to customize their email program or to avoid unsubscribing later on.
Having spent last week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, I came away with three key takeaways: One, if you're an online retailer not selling internationally, particularly in Australia, what are you waiting for? You're missing out on a potential growth opportunity for your brand. Two, brick-and mortar retailers must develop a strategy to deal with "showrooming," — i.e., consumers using stores as showrooms to check out products, then buying those products online at a lower price (with free shipping, of course). Three, online marketplaces are proliferating — it's not just Amazon.com and eBay anymore — and becoming another viable channel for retailers to engage consumers and sell their products.