The Rimm-Kaufman Group

E-commerce Insights: How to Secure Your Web Site Against Hackers
March 1, 2006

From this article, you’ll learn how to start protecting your Web site and customer data from potential security breaches. A security breach could hit your company without warning. A hacker could bring your firm to its knees with terrifying swiftness. If your Web site is insecure today, hackers could break into it tonight, and tomorrow you could face widespread customer wrath, disastrous publicity and significant legal liability. If your firm hasn’t yet taken steps to reduce your Web security risk, now is the time to do so. Following are suggestions to get you started. Yes, You Are a Target Too many

Product Data Feed Standards Sought
March 1, 2006

While comparison shopping sites such as Froogle, and Shopzilla can provide an opportunity for multichannel marketers to reach new customer universes, they also present a unique set of challenges. Because there are myriad formats of product data feeds (the information you provide to the sites), this creates problems if you want to sell products on more than one site, says Alan Rimm-Kaufman, CEO of interactive marketing firm The Rimm-Kaufman Group. In a move to combat these dilemmas, merchants, search agencies and search engines met at’s FirstLook 2006 in Atlanta in January to discuss the need for a common standard for describing

E-commerce Insights: 19 Ways to Suppress Online Sales
February 1, 2006

Following are a few tactics that can torpedo your online conversion rate and impede your Web sales in 2006. (P.S.: If you’re not heeding the following advice, congratulations!) 1. Make customers work to purchase. Be sure users have to learn how to use your site. This is the best way to get them to concentrate and forget about competitors who are just a click away. Ignore the accepted conventions of industry leaders and frequently change layouts throughout your site to increase “shopping suspense.” 2. Design by committee. Let a group of senior executives design your homepage — or you can let your CEO

The Economics of Online Marketing
December 1, 2005

From this article, you’ll learn how to determine the efficiency of your online advertising efforts and how to calculate the maximum cost per click for those campaigns. The basic economics of online marketing are simple: Determine the advertising efficiency needed to make your profitability goals, then buy all the inventory you can get your hands on. But how do you determine the advertising efficiency needed to achieve your profitability goals? This article offers some practical formulas and advice. Defining Online Advertising Efficiency Ad efficiency comes down to a cost vs. benefit ratio: “What did I spend on advertising?” vs. “What did I get in

The Coming Web Revolution
October 1, 2005

Big changes are afoot online. It’s still early, but I see two trends that will impact online marketing: 1) the sharing of content and 2) the sharing of applications. These two trends haven’t fully arrived, and so they don’t have well-established names yet. But their early glimmers are visible today in the growth of really simple syndication (RSS) and the growing popularity of Web service application programming interfaces (APIs). These trends — let’s call them “open content” and “open apps” — are coming fast. During the next few years they’ll revolutionize the Web, and in doing so, revolutionize online marketing. This article

10 Tactics for Online Testing
September 1, 2005

Almost any question can be answered cheaply, quickly and finally by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them — not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort — the buyers of your product. —Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising, 1923 Savvy catalogers have long used testing to improve their mail businesses. And as the Web matures, catalogers are bringing the same discipline to their online marketing efforts. This article offers 10 tips for running direct marketing tests in the online world. The first seven are common to online and offline. The last three are unique

E-commerce Insights: Nine Popular Myths About Natural Search Marketing
July 1, 2005

Search marketing is hot: Analysts predict the industry will reach almost $15 billion in marketing spend in 2005, up more than 30 percent compared to 2004. There are two primary flavors of search marketing: paid search, dominated by Google’s and Yahoo!’s pay-per-click networks; and natural search, also known as organic search, unpaid search, or search engine optimization. Since cost-per-click fees have risen during the last few quarters, marketers have increased their focus on natural search efforts. To help improve online sales, this article examines nine common misconceptions about natural search marketing and how you can avoid these pitfalls. It’s simply too complex. Some

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

Get More Conversions
October 1, 2004

Aaron Montgomery Ward mailed the first catalog in 1872, and catalogers have been working to perfect the art of selling from the printed page ever since. By now, savvy catalogers understand the factors needed for effective print design, including cover imagery, page count, product density, copy, typography, color, paper, trim, etc. The Web, in contrast, is in its infancy. The graphical Internet dates back only to 1991. Leading online firms (e.g., Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay, Google) are no more than 10 years old. It isn’t surprising, then, that many catalogers have more experience creating strong print pages than Web pages. This article offers four suggestions

Check Out the Web’s Hidden Treasures
September 1, 2004

The World Wide Web is full of hidden treasures for direct marketers. The trick simply is knowing where these interesting spots can be found. For this article, I asked catalogers and e-tailers for their suggestions of lesser-known online resources, information sources and new ideas related to e-commerce. The resulting list is somewhat eclectic. Hopefully, it will trigger a new idea and help with your Web marketing. DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS DNS Stuff, Ever encounter something odd such as a well-known site disappears, an e-mail to a good address bounces or a customer says your site is down when it isn’t? Often the problem stems