Andrea has written 52 articles so far, you can find them below.
Andrea is originally from Vancouver (not Canada), Washington (not D.C.) but currently resides in Seattle, WA as she finishes up her last two quarters at Seattle Pacific University. Majoring in communications and minoring in business administration, Andrea has big dreams of a career in public relations. When not writing for Zippycart or studying for class (hah!) she enjoys the chaos of living in a house with 5 other girls. Follow her adventures on Twitter: @andrea_ruge
January 6, 2012
By the ZippyCart Content Team
There are several activities people engage in while drunk that are generally looked down upon like drunk driving, dialing or texting. However, ecommerce retailers are loving a new activity that is swiftly gaining popularity: drunk online shopping.
According to a recent study in the UK, many respondents admitted to logging into their favorite ecommerce websites and making purchases. This trend has been called “BUI” or buying under the influence. For some shoppers, late night plastered purchases result in a “Heart’s Greatest Hits” CD, like one woman confessed in Times, but sometimes they are more detrimental to one’s bank account than an unwanted addition to your music library.
For example Chris Tansey, an accountant from Australia, recalled his $10,000 drunken online shopping purchase: a motorcycle trip around New Zealand. Although the trip was fun, Tansey said in an email to the Times, “The hang-ups of spending your hard-earned cash are so far removed from your life when you’ve had a bottle of wine.”
Retailers are far from ignorant to this trend with sites like eBay and The Guilt Groupe reporting a noticeable spike in consumer purchases in the late hours of the night. eBay has the highest traffic daily between 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm in each time zone. Vice president for mobile for eBay, Steve Yankovich, commented on drinking being a possible factor for the volume of shoppers between those times:
“I mean, if you think about what most people do when they get home from work in the evening, it’s decompression time. The consumer’s in a good mood.”
Many ecommerce marketers have taken advantage of consumers late-night behaviors and have adjusted their promotions accordingly. An array of promotional emails are sent out after dinner time and well-into the night. High-end flash sale site The Gilt Groupe says it plans on adding more deals that begin at 9 pm. Although retailers will not say if they specifically target intoxicated shoppers, judging by the timing of promotional emails we can draw our own conclusions.
Additionally, mobile shopping apps and one-click checkout options that many retailers offer for convenience have contributed to the spike in Alcohol-fueled purchases. This is considered a problem to some as it is well-known that alcohol reduces working memory, which means shoppers may not have the cognitive clarity to make rational judgments and think through purchases.
However, many people don’t see BUI as a particularly concerning habit, but rather a fun game full of surprise. Many of these shoppers don’t regret their post-bar buying behaviors, but actually enjoy the surprise gifts that show up at their door several days after the fact.
Whether it is a problem or not, perhaps In Icon’s Steve Jobs action figure sales will benefit from this phenomenon.
January 4, 2012
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Only 3 short months after the highly publicized death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Chinese company In Icon has created an extremely realistic looking action figure of the late technology mogul. The 12-inch “Collectible Figure” will be available this February for $99.99- a price quite a bit higher than that of your average Barbie or G.I. Joe.
According to In Icon’s website the action figure is “Dedicated to the Genius, Great Inventor and Visionary: Steve Jobs.” However, many people feel the sale of this doll is an inappropriate and unsuitable tribute.
Another Chinese company created a similar Jobs doll in early 2011. M.I.C. Gadget released a figure that shows Jobs standing on the Apple logo while holding an iPhone and iPad in his hands. An alternate version was also created, which depicted Jobs wearing a ninja hood and holding throwing stars. However, the Jobs family successfully blocked the distribution of these dolls, which the company explained with this message: “Apple Inc. has informed us that this phenomenal SJ action figure, has not consented to the use of Apple’s copyrights and trademarks, therefore they request us immediately to cease the marketing and sale of this figure.”
There has been no comment from Apple regarding In Icon’s new action figure. Since Jobs died on October 5th, it’d be surprising if his estate took kindly to this new replica toy.
The Jobs family nor Apple also have yet to intervene after a full-size bronze statue of Steve Jobs was erected in the middle of a technology center in Budapest, Hungary in December. A software company called Graphisoft funded the sculpture, which corresponded to a memorial stamp of Jobs the country issued the same month. Jobs lent his support to Graphisoft early in that company’s history, which could explain why Apple has decided to allow the sculpture to remain.
The doll comes with several accessories including:
- Two pairs of glasses
- Three sets of hands
- A signature black turtleneck and a pair of blue jeans
- A black leather belt and a wood and metal chair (for your doll’s presentations)
- A pair of black socks and New Balance sneakers
- Two apples (one with a bite taken out of it)
- A hard backdrop with the phrase “One More Thing” printed on it
Miniature Steve Jobs and all of his accessories are packaged in a box that resembles the cover of his popular autobiography. The collectible figure is displayed on In Icon’s website in several poses to show shoppers how realistic it is.
Most unfortunately the Mac and iPhone are not included with Mr. Jobs.
January 3, 2012
By the ZippyCart Content Team
The 2011 holiday shopping season is officially over and retailers have shifted their focus to the heaps of holiday gift returns coming in as we begin the New Year. Holiday returns are up 8% this year from the same time last year, which is due to more confident consumers and a 15% increase in online shopping profits this holiday season. Consumers engaged in more online spending this year than ever before resulting in $35.3 billion in ecommerce sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25.
Along with increased confidence in ecommerce spending, this year marked the first time since the financial crisis in 2008 that consumers have been notably less price sensitive during the holiday shopping season. According to a survey released last week by ForeSee, a customer experience analytics firm, free shipping, above competitive pricing, increased consumer satisfaction. The study found that Americans were less price sensitive during the 2011 holiday shopping season. Along with finding shoppers were less price sensitive this past holiday season, the study also highlighted the benefits of increased Customer satisfaction such as increased sales, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
According to ForeSee, Amazon leads the pack in customer satisfaction, which is likely due to a combination of marketing efforts, customer service, inventory and competitive prices.
Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee, commented on Amazon’s unyielding success:
“E-retailers have consistently upped their game since we first started measuring holiday satisfaction in 2005, but Amazon is still the 800-pound gorilla of retail, and it just keeps getting better. It’s tough for a smaller retailer to compete with this level of dedication to providing an excellent customer experience.”
Although Amazon is known for competitive prices, retailers should shift their focus from a price-battle to a battle for customer satisfaction through different avenues. Freed also explained, “The aggressive promotions and discounts helped sales, but consumers wanted more from retailers.”
There are several ways (excluding price) e-tailers can ensure customers are highly satisfied with their online shopping experience. There are 4 categories that are particularly prevalent when it comes to customer satisfaction on ecommerce websites. These include:
- Free Shipping. As explored in ForeSee’s study, free shipping attracted many customers to spend their money online this holiday season. Free shipping is great for ecommerce solutions because it not only initially entices shoppers, but also provides and outstanding customer experience. There can be challenges that arise with offering free shipping, but oftentimes it is an explicit expectation of shoppers.
- Experience. Sites that are easy to navigate and provide useful and accurate information provide high customer satisfaction.
- Convenience. In a face-paced and busy culture, shoppers look for ecommerce conveniences like 24/7 availability and one-click checkout. If your shopping cart is not optimized for consumer convenience, satisfaction rates decline.
- Reliability. Do items ship quickly? Are consumers getting what they expect? Website reliability increases consumer confidence in your ecommerce solution and is a primary factor leading to customer satisfaction.
December 27, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Shopify app SumAll has completed an analysis of current Shopify customers providing insight on rising prices, increasing discounts, and decreased shipping costs. The study was conducted over four years (2007-2011) and derived findings from 30 million transactions from stores powered by Shopify.
Overall the data shows retailers are making more net revenue on each unit sold, while charging less on shipping and taxes. The average total revenue per unit has risen 12.3% from 2010 to 2011, and 73.9% from 2007 to 2011. As the graphic below illustrates, consumers spent an average of $19.86 per item purchased online in 2007 compared to and average of $39.37 in 2011.
The research from SumAll suggests the factors contributing to this jump in average spending over the past four years are inflation and a shift in items. The study determined a combination of consumer confidence in purchasing expensive items online and minor price inflation have resulted in increased consumer spending on ecommerce solutions throughout the past four years. Consumers’ enthusiastic adoption of mobile technology, tablets and daily deal sites have also significantly added to the growth of ecommerce spending, particularly in the past year.
The research also included interesting facts regarding discounts and shipping. From 2007 to 2011 the average discount percentage per unit sold has increased from an average of 11% to an average of over 19%. Daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial have drawn in the masses by offering deep discounts. Discounts and savings appeal to shoppers who love to feel like they are getting a good deal. In 2012, ecommerce retailers can attract consumers by showing them it’s not how much you spend, it’s how much you save that constitutes a good deal. SumAll offers this advice to e-tailers looking to draw in shoppers:
“Markup, then discount–perception is everything.”
Cheap or free shipping has been a primary angle retailers have been taking in 2011 to create a perception of discounts. Although SumAll found that shipping fees have actually risen 24.3% from 2007 to 2011, relative shipping rates have fallen. Gross sales have risen significantly faster than shipping costs (73.9% from 2007 to 2011), which has caused shipping relative to the purchase to fall from 11.7% and 8.6%. According to the study, free shipping offers can decrease cart abandonment by 20%.
Below is a graphic from SumAll that represents some of the key findings of this holiday shopping analysis.
Further research on holiday shopping this year shows an increase in the amount of people who continued their online shopping on Christmas Day. Although brick-and-mortar stores may have been closed for the holiday, many people logged onto retailers’ ecommerce solutions. In fact, IBM reported yesterday a 16.4% increase in the amount of shoppers making purchases and the dollar amount of those purchases made on mobile devices was up 179.2% from 2010. We’ll see if this crop of consumer confidence continues to rise or levels out as we ring in the new year.
December 22, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
The concept of linking sales to non-profits is a swiftly growing phenomenon. Websites like Nonprofitshoppingmall.com and GoodShop.com allow consumers to donate to charities through their ecommerce purchases using a click-through technology. Although these websites have been around for the past decade, their success has been limited and slow-growing. However, new ecommerce solution Sharing Spree has seen large growth in just under a years’ time with their unique twist of combining daily deals with philanthropy.
While, Nonprofitshoppingmall.com and GoodShop.com lead shoppers to external ecommerce solutions and make donations from commission, Sharing Spree takes on the Groupon and LivingSocial daily deal model. Sharing Spree offers daily deal and helps consumers give back by donating 10-15% of every sale to a school or non-profit. Just like Groupon, users find location-specific deals that are only offered for a limited time. The difference, however, is that with every consumer purchase Sharing Spree makes a donation to a charity of the shopper’s choice. The site has contracts with popular large charities like American Cancer Society and Meals of Wheels in addition to many local causes that are often overlooked when it comes to donating.
Officially launched in June 2010, Sharing Spree boasts a motto of “buying, giving and living locally.” Sharing Spree supports local communities by offering daily discounts for restaurants, spas, bars, theaters, sporting events, retails, hotels and more. Since January of this year, Sharing Spree has seen a 500% subscriber base growth, which has generated over $225,000 in donations to various non-profits and schools. consumers can decide which organizations receive their donations by simply choosing from a list on Sharing Spree’s website.
Timothy Moorehead, vice president of marketing for Sharing Spree had this to say in a recent press release about the creative ecommerce solution:
“Great causes are all around us, but the harsh economic climate during the past few years has forced many people—especially those already living on a shoestring budget—to put charitable donations at the bottom of their financial to-do list. We are thrilled to add a charitable twist to the daily deal phenomenon to help non-profits and schools boost donations.”
Although the current state of the economy has caused non-profits to suffer due to a lack of donations, the daily deal market continues to thrive. Sharing Spree has successfully leveraged the prosperous daily deal market in order to boost donations to charities and help out local communities.
Sharing Spree currently offers daily deals in Portland, Ore., Nashville, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala. The unique ecommerce solution plans to expand their market and begin launching daily deals in other cities across the United States throughout the next year.
December 21, 2011
Guest post By Michael Dolen, founder and CEO of CreditCardForum
How much does your eStore pay for card processing? Unfortunately the answer is rarely clear-cut. There are many factors that go into the calculation of card credit card processing fees:
1. Your Business Type – What are you selling and to whom? Some industries are more prone to fraud and chargebacks from customers and in turn, they tend to pay higher fees. Be careful because come card processing companies are all too anxious to classify your ecommerce business for a higher risk category when in actuality, you might be eligible for a lower risk (and lower cost) classification.
2. Customer Card Types – In a nutshell, the fancier the card, the more it will cost you. When you see processing fees advertised, sometimes they are only referencing the lowest tier (such as a basic Visa card with no rewards program). However these days of course, almost everyone uses cash back and travel credit cards, so make sure you pay attention to how much those will cost. If your ecommerce is mainly selling B2B then you will likely have a lot of customers using business credit cards with rewards. These are usually the #1 most expensive type to process so if you expect a lot of business customers, pay close attention to the processing fees for business credit cards.
3. Transaction Types – According to Paypal, online stores experience fraud 17 times more often than offline stores. I’ve heard other statistics that are lower but regardless, it’s safe to conclude that online fraud is prevalent. For this reason, ecommerce credit card processing companies often charge a bit more for online stores, compared to what a brick and mortar store might pay.
4.Transaction Times – Another factor which can influence fees is the amount of time between when the purchase is authorized and when it is actually settled. In many instances the purchase is charged at time of authorization, but if there will be an extended delay in shipping or the customer is first signing up for a free trial, the time between authorization and settlement will be greater and might cost more.
There can literally be hundreds – if not thousands – of combinations when you take all the variables into account. This is why you really need to shop around and compare the fine print from each company. The best way to do so (which I have recommended to people on my forum) is to use ZippyCart’s partnership with Fee Fighters where you can see competing card processing offers since by side. Go here to find out how much you can save.
Bundling Card Processing + Shopping Cart?
There are some companies out there which peddle ecommerce credit card processing and a shopping cart bundled together. From my experience this is rarely the way to go. Why? Because they may reel you in with a free or low cost shopping cart but then charge an arm and a leg for your processing fees… so in the end you might not be saving anything.
Worse yet, the bundle may be structured in a way which prevents you from canceling part of it. For example, if you wanted to keep using the shopping cart but switch to a different credit card processor, that might not be an option.
My recommendation? If it’s a free cart you are after, then check out these free shopping cart software reviews (no bundling required). Or compare shopping carts side by side. But whatever you do, don’t just limit your options to those bundled cart + credit card packages.
About the Author:
Michael founded CreditCardForum.com, a site where consumers rank and review the best credit cards for cash back, travel rewards, and every other category under the sun.
December 20, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
A new study shows more holiday shoppers are bound to make last minute purchases this year. A recent survey by BIGresearch found that by the second week of December the majority of shoppers had completed less than 50% of their holiday shopping. According to the study, 37 million Americans had not yet started their holiday shopping by the second week of December.
For those shoppers who have yet to complete their holiday shopping and are desperately looking for quick and meaningful gifts to give this Christmas, ecommerce solution Nonprofitsshoppingmall.com allows consumers to give to non profits causes while picking up gifts online.
Shoppers who take advantage of Nonprofitshoppingmall.com (NPSM) can purchase things they would normally buy from their favorite brands for regular market price and give back to non-profit organizations of their choice. When a consumer shops through the NPSM ecommerce solution, a donation is made to their favorite charity.
NPSM has partnerships with hundreds of retailers, including ecommerce giants like Amazon, Macy’s, Barnes and Noble, Netflix, Target, Best Buy, Expedia and Nordstrom. Using the NPSM site search engine, shoppers can find supported retailers selling products from home improvement to beauty supplies. All retailers listed on the website pay a commission to NPSM for every sale that originates from a click-through from NPSM. The donations are a specified percentage of the commission profits and are passed on to a non-profit chosen by the shopper. Shoppers can see the percentage of their purchase that will be donated on the NPSM beneath retailers’ logos, which varies for every company.
NPSM just last week introduced their latest tool for online cause shopping, a Facebook Shop-and-Give Tab. The Shop-and-give Tab allows Facebook fans and friends of participating non-profits to click through to the private label online malls.
President of NPSM, Corine Couwnberg, commented on the benefits of the company’s new Facebook tab:
“We are excited to be able to provide this new tool. It enables our non-profit partners to reach all their social media friends without incurring the cost of traditional printed campaigns. Furthermore it opens the way to online shopping from iPads, tablets and smart phones. We are confident that the new easy access will make cause shopping even more accessible. Some organizations have hundreds of thousands of fans and friends on Facebook. Estimating that Americans will spend nearly 30 billion dollars online this season, and earmark and average of 3% this could result in millions in raised funds.”
NPSM has been around for over a decade and is joined by several other online charity shopping malls including We-Care.com and GoodShop.com. We-Care and GoodShop are set up very similar to NPSM with contracts with 600 and 2,500 retailers respectively. GoodShop varies from the others of its kind because it donates a percentage of sales rather than a portion of commission. GoodShop makes donations of 3% to 30% to an organization of a shoppers choice.
Shoppers who have yet to complete their holiday shopping can enjoy giving back to charity with no extra cost to them through Nonprofitshoppingmall.com and various other philanthropic ecommerce solutions.
December 16, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Ecommerce solution eBay coined the term “Green Monday” in 2007 to describe the second Monday in December, which for the past six years has marked the most (or second-most in 2005 and 2007) profitable shopping day of the year for online retailers. “Green Monday” has been exceptionally profitable for the past several years, but this holiday shopping season has blown previous season’s out of the water and merits the more appropriate name of “Manic Mondays.”
According to a study released by ComScore, the past 3 Mondays have all seen ecommerce profits exceeding $1 billion. Cyber Monday saw record breaking sales amounting to $1.25 billion, which, according to ComScore’s report, was followed by $1.17 billion in sales on Monday December 5, and sales of $1.13 billion this past Monday, December 12. This year’s string of “Manic Monday” sales mark the three most profitable online shopping days of 2011 and the continuing holiday success for ecommerce solutions.
In total, holiday shopping (from Nov. 1 to Dec. 12) has so far reached nearly $25 billion, up 15 percent from the same period last year. ComScore also reported a record of $6.1 billion spent in just last week ending December 11.
The most profitable product category this holiday season has been digital content and subscriptions, with a growth rate double that of the online sector as a whole. Jewelry and watches is the second-fastest growing category and consumer electronics led by flat screen TV’s and tablets rounds out the third.
Holiday ecommerce in the U.S. is expected to remain steady and increase 15 percent this year compared to the same time in 2010. The gains in online commerce significantly shadows the 2 to 3 percent gains predicted for overall retail sales this holiday season.
ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni commented on this year’s holiday spending:
“These highlights represent another very positive sign for the holiday shopping season, as the week following ‘Cyber Week’ often experiences relative softness in spending momentum due to retailers pulling back on their promotional activity. As we enter what will be the heaviest week of the season for online retailers – beginning with ‘Green Monday’ on December 12 – all signs are now pointing to a strong finish to the season.”
Ecommerce accounts for less 5 percent of consumer spending, leaving ecommerce solutions like eBay and Amazon to vie for shopper’s business by offering discounts and daily promotions. eBay opened up several pop-up stores for shoppers who want to check out products in-person before making purchase and shoppers have seen more free shipping offers than ever from Amazon this year.
December 15, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Belly, a Chicago-based startup formerly known as “Bellyflop,” has secured more than $1 million in funding from Lightbank. Lightbank is an investment vehicle owned by Groupon co-founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, that also contributed $1.5 million in seed funding to Benzinga this past May.
Belly integrates on and offline commerce by providing digital loyalty programs for small businesses that aims to replace traditional punch cards in favor of a more personalized approach. Personalization is one of the biggest trends ecommerce will see in 2012, putting Belly ahead of the crowd with the startup’s attempt at exchanging regular loyalty card programs with rewards that better fit business’ personalities connecting them to customers on a more personal level.
Belly works by installing an iPad in retailers’ stores to track customers’ visits. The system is designed for customers to use the iPad to scan a bar code on the Belly mobile app available for both iPhone and Android platforms. Customers also have the option to scan a physical loyalty card from Belly called a “Belly Card”. After scanning the bar code/card, a message will immediately pop up on the retailer’s iPad letting the customer know whether or not they have received a reward. The Belly application or physical card can be used at any business signed up with Belly.
Officially launched back in August, Belly not only replaces traditional loyalty cards, but also replaces the traditional rewards that can be earned using them. Belly offers an assortment of rewards, which are not always monetary and sometimes a little off-the-wall. A couple of the most random rewards include:
- A sandwich store will name a sandwich after their most loyal customers
- Punch the AlleyCat Comics owner in the stomach
- EGG the Gaztro Wagon truck – 60 Eggs & Egg the Truck as it Cruises By
- All you can eat at Devil Dawgs for 10 minutes in the store.
Currently, Belly has been installed at 285 businesses in the Chicago area with close to 50 new businesses being added to Belly every week. The application has accumulated over 18,000 users and 50,000 check-ins in the short period of time since its pilot launch and many merchants are seeing more check-ins from Belly users than Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla combined.
There are several other startups in the loyalty services game with Belly including Womply, Offermatic, Swipely and Five Stars Card. Belly claims they offer services that differ from their competitors because they provide merchant training and a in-store iPad with every subscription. Larger ecommerce players like Google and PayPal also have plans to launch loyalty services.
Although Belly is only offered to Chicago businesses at this time, the startup is planning on launching nationally in upcoming months.
December 14, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
TapBuy is a new technology that aims to simplify the m-commerce checkout process and increase conversion rates. Available now to retailers, developers, and shopping aggregators, TapBuy facilitates a quick and easy sales conversion by storing shopper’s billing and shipping information. TapBuy technology can be integrated into retailer’s mobile apps, which then allows shoppers to make purchases from a series of supported apps and merchants with just a few taps.
Mobile commerce conversions are often prevented due to the inconvenience for shoppers to input all of their information. Typing out usernames, passwords, billing and skipping addresses and credit card information on small mobile devices is meticulous and time consuming. This is a major factor in poor m-commerce conversion rates in comparison to desktop ecommerce. In trials TapBuy’s quick-checkout technology has increased sales conversions for retailers up to 15 times. Conversion rates are increased due to the convenient platform TapBuy provides. Shoppers only have to enter their personal information one time and it is then saved by TapBuy. Once information is stored, mobile shoppers can checkout from any TapBuy-enabled app/merchant by typing their PIN.
TapBuy is a great tool to ensure mobile commerce thrives in 2012. M-commerce is swiftly gaining popularity, which is seen by the 516% increase in global mobile payments this Black Friday in comparison to Black Friday 2010. In addition, more shoppers than ever are browsing ecommerce solutions on mobile devices.
TapBuy also works behind the scenes to group consumers’ items in order to save shipping costs. This technology also helps consumer’s save money by tracking coupon codes and automatically adding them to customer orders.
TheFind Mobile, a shopping aggregator application based in San Francisco, is thus far the first customer to integrate TapBuy technology into their checkout process. TheFind is a popular in-store shopping app for smartphones that features bar code scanning and text search with online and local price comparison creating a helpful shopping companion. TheFind’s integration of TapBuy technology ensures customers will enjoy a secure and simple checkout process.
Ramneek Bhasin, VP & GM Mobile at TheFind, commented on the company’s use of TapBuy technology:
“The primary point of friction in mobile commerce is that entering a credit card number and shipping information onto a tiny screen is very cumbersome. By integrating TapBuy, we remove this point of friction for merchants, and are able to bring new deal discovery elements into our app.”
Currently, TheFind application is available on both iPhone and Android platforms.
December 13, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Ecommerce campaigns are more effective at driving more sales in brick and mortar stores than online store fronts. According to a two year long study recently completed by RevTrax, paid search and display ads generate $6 of offline retail spending for every $1 of ecommerce spending. Although revenue in any channel is great, the results from RevTrax’s study raises the issue of ecommerce campaigns failing to receive compensation for offline revenue generated by online advertising.
Currently ecommerce campaigns are only getting acknowledged for the online spending they generate. Because paid search ads have historically been focused on ecommerce spending, the revenue they are generating offline gets overlooked.
Also, the effectiveness of paid search for local sales is difficult to track. However, with the increasing presence of smartphones online to offline tracking is made more possible.
In order to effectively track cross-channel buying behaviors and their relationship to paid search and display ads, RevTrax conducted a involved study lasting 2 full years. Between August 2009 and August 2011, RevTrax tracked millions of paid search ads and the offline sales they generated for retailers. RevTrax conducted the study by displaying a paid search ad to shoppers, which led to a landing page with either a printable or mobile coupon with a unique bar code. The use of these coupons in brick and mortar retail locations was then tracked and traced back to the online search and specific keyword used. The average transaction size for participants in the report was less than $200. At the conclusion of the study, it is apparent that consumers are comfortable with both ecommerce and brick and mortar shopping, but still indicate a strong preference of shopping in-store.
The most significant finding was that paid search and display ads leads offline sales 6:1 compared to ecommerce sales. Some other interesting results include:
- Paid search campaigns on average generated $15 of in-store revenue
- 40% to 50% of customers were new, indicating it wasn’t preexisting customers simply searching for a deal
- 9% of paid search clicks result in an in-store purchase
Results from this study indicate that retailers with on and offline sales channels must begin include paid search ROI into calculations. Many companies fail to incorporate this data which significantly undervalues the paid search channel’s contribution to revenue.
All in all, this study indicates the cross channel success of ecommerce campaigns for retailers and the need for companies to redesign their business models to fairly compensate marketers for the revenue brought into brick and mortar stores through paid search and display ads.
December 12, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Many small brick and mortar retailers around the country were less than pleased with Amazon’s promotion of their new Price Check mobile application this past weekend. On Saturday (12/10), Amazon offered customers a 5% discount up to $5 for using the new application. The application, called Price Check, enables shoppers to compare Amazon prices with product prices in physical stores. The information can be relayed through the app by scanning bar codes, photographing the product, speaking the product name or sending a text message. The promotion was eligible for up to three items, which saved some customers a total of $15.
This promotion caused a big huff among small brick and mortar retailers who felt the promotion was encouraging shoppers to come into their stores but leave without buying anything. Another aspect of Saturday’s deal that irked retailers is that Amazon isn’t required to collect state sales tax from online sales. Because of this, products are always cheaper on the ecommerce solution than at physical stores where sales tax is required.
Retailers selling music, DVD’s, electronics, sporting goods and toys were effected the most on Saturday as those were the products Amazon’s promotion focused on.
Although brick and mortar retailers see the purpose of the Price Check application as predatory towards small businesses, Amazon insists it’s purpose is to save shoppers money. Sam Hall, director of Amazon Mobile, said this about the application:
“Price transparency means that you can save money on the products you want and that’s a great thing for customers. Price Check in-store deals are another incentive to shop smart this holiday season.”
A statement on Amazon’s website stated, “By sharing prices, this helps ensure our prices remain competitive for our customers.”
On main point of contention with protesters of Amazon’s promotion was the unfair advantage Amazon has over pricing because they are not required to collect sales tax. Although the government is working on a bill that will require ecommerce solutions that sell more than $1 million a year in the United States and over $100,000 in a particular state to collect state sales tax. Currently, Amazon is not required to collect any sales tax from shoppers making their prices inherently cheaper.
Retail Industry Leaders Association’s executive vice president for public affairs, Katherine Lugar, had this to say about Amazon’s promotion:
“Retailers compete on price 365 days a year, and at no time is that competition hotter than during the make-or-break holiday shopping season.However, by continuing to evade collecting state sales taxes, Amazon’s exploitation of a pre-Internet tax loophole is resulting in a 6 to 10 percent perceived price advantage over their competitors on Main Street.”
Amazon further defended the promotion, insisting that it was meant for price comparisons in “major” retail stores.
December 9th, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Facebook commerce, or f-commerce, will undoubtedly be one of the fastest spreading ecommerce trends of 2012. Many mega-retailers have already begun to leverage f-commerce technology and create retail storefronts on the social media website. With more than 800 million active Facebook users globally, f-commerce is a great tool giving retailers exposure to a vast online market.
For retailers looking to engage in the growing world of social shopping, f-commerce solution StoreYa offers useful tools. StoreYa provides easy importing of products, a unique search engine, language customization and the tools for retailers to maintain existing e-commerce platforms for sales, returns and order processing. StoreYa is especially helpful to retailers who don’t have coding or design experience.
Perhaps the most convenient tools StoreYa provides is one-click importing. Using the Magento platform, StoreYa allows retailers to import their entire online store into Facebook. The process is quick and painless, with nothing required of retailers further than directing StoreYa to their existing Magento store. While in beta StoreYa services are free for merchants to use, which is a great opportunity for retailers to test their f-commerce viability.
Facebook commerce was listed in our recent roundup of the top ecommerce trends for 2012 and for good reason. A study released by Reevoo on Monday (12/5) outlined the quickly increasing number of shoppers in the UK who are turning to Facebook to fulfill their ecommerce needs.
Founder and CEO of Reevoo, Richard Anson had this to say about the importance of leveraging social commerce:
“We have said for some time how vital it is that marketers who have so far ignored social commerce need to look at it very seriously, now. Many brands are translating these social changes into revenue, while those that don’t will be left behind – and now we can see just how fast they might be receding into the distance.”
Reevoo’s survey yielded results similar to Performetric’s October survey on social shopping in the US. The data from both surveys show that f-commerce is not only an important channel for retailers in the United States to realize, but European retailers have a large social commerce market too. Reevoo’s survey found the number of shoppers buying products through f-commerce has doubled in just the last 9 months, increasing from 4% to 8%. Both surveys highlighted the importance shoppers place on friends opinions posted on Facebook with Reevoo’s survey showing shoppers are increasingly turning to Facebook for product recommendations. According to the survey, 24% now use it to see track what their friends “like”, 27% look to friends for product recommendations and 21% are influenced by the products friends have bought and recommended.
December 5, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Walmart, one of the highest grossing retailers on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, last week launched a holiday shopping gift-guide application on Facebook called Shopycat. Created by @WalmartLabs, Walmart’s tech shop in the Silicon Valley, the app is designed to help users with often difficult task of Christmas shopping for friends.
The application officially went live on Wednesday evening (11/30) and has already drawn 8,000 users to the platform. Users can download the app directly from Walmart’s Facebook fan page, which has close to 11 million fans. Shopycat is easy to operate, allowing users to scroll through their friends or search by name and providing a selection of gifts that person would enjoy. Users can also check out the gifts suggested for them. Shopycat creates gift suggestions for friends based on data from their Facebook profiles such as interests and likes.
The gift suggestions offered on the app are sometimes creepily accurate and at times hilariously erroneous. Users can personally edit their profile and add interests to ensure Shopycat gives their friends good gift recommendations. Currently Shopycat has more that 600,000 items in its gift database, which is comprised of Walmart products in addition to items from Barnes and Noble, NBC Universal, ThinkGeek and more. @WalmartLabs has partnered with 20 retailers to ensure a wide range of gift offerings. The database includes many special edition products as they are viewed as more “gift worthy”.
If there is not enough information on a friends interests to generate gift ideas, Shopycat provides generic suggestions like a Starbucks gift-pack, a George Foreman Quesadilla Maker, and various other gifts that tend to be Walmart best-sellers. Users may also encounter suggestions of gift cards from Walmart.com, iTunes, and Zynga.
@WalmartLabs Shopycat app may look similar to GiveEmThis.com, a web app launched by Imply Labs in September of this year. The two applications provide strikingly similar services, but do so through different platforms. As a web app, GiveEmThis.com integrates several different social media platforms, while @WalmartLabs only incorporates Facebook. The most notable difference between the two apps is their business models. @WalmartLabs serves Walmart’s technology needs specifically, while Imply Labs provides a universal service to all online retailers.
Shopycat joins several other social gifting apps on the Facebook platform such as Giftiki. Giftiki is a group gift giving platform, launched in October, that allows Facebook friends pool their money together to buy a combined gift for friends’ birthdays, holidays, weddings, and other gift-worthy occasions.