By Heather Legg
October 8, 2012
Whenever people shop, whether in physical or online stores, they need to have a pleasant customer experience. As a merchant, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the customers time in your store is smooth and leaves them with a good impression. When considering how this is done… everything matters, not just the product. Consumers appreciate it when stores, virtual or not, are user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. This doesn’t only benefit the buyer because when the buyer is happy, well…the seller is, too.
When consumers go online to shop, it can be difficult to find exactly what they’re looking for. When they do, however, they want to be able to purchase easily. If an eMerchant is looking to build their own website for their business, it may help them to look around at existing websites for ideas on what look and feel they prefer. For those looking for that certain special experience for their websites, check out some of the following small and medium business storefronts that fit the bill of being user-friendly and visually pleasing:
- StreamlineDesign.com This bright and bold site has many graphic options and looks cute while doing it. From wall graphics to apparel to a print shop and design services, they’ve got you covered. The fun site makes browsing easy, provide an easy check-out, and answers all your questions – just like any great shop should do!
- Gather Looking to make your own blog pop? Try out WordPress’s Gather theme, where you can not only blog, but also sell your wares and show yourself off, all packaged in one great look.
- HeidisHeavenlyCookies.com Not only are these little cookies absolutely to die for but their products look great! When you want a different type of housewarming gift or maybe something unique for a business gift or get well gift, check Heidi’s cookies out. Browse this site and see how a small cookie business uses a smart eCommerce software to to get the job done through excellent product images and ease of use. Your mouth will be watering and you’ll get some great ideas at the same time!
- LawnandHouseDecor.com This whimsical site offers the best in décor for your home, including mailbox covers, flags, and seasonal doormats and puts it’s product line-up in a fun, easy-to-navigate, easy-to-shop set-up. Lawn and House Décor knows what it’s doing with its website. Check it out for some great ideas on building your own.
- Etsy This is THE place to shop for handmade crafts and the site makes your experience with them just as much as fun as shopping at the mall. With Etsy, it’s easy to get around and find just what you are looking for, from jewelry to scarves to any kind of craft or vintage clothes. Check out the site and all the storefronts within for some great ideas on building a small/medium business website.
- ZoxStraps.com Young, trendy and lively, the Zox storefront showcases the enthusiasm of the founders and the product… wrist “straps” not bands! The positive vibe not only portrays the company, but will rub off on any customer browsing the site. It’s super warm and welcoming as well as user-friendly.
- Micheleng.com Take a deep relaxing breath and look at this blog. Whimsical, charming, and peaceful, this website conveys its message with more than words and pictures – it’s emphasizes simplicity and bundles blogging and selling.
Whether you are buying or you’re selling, the website matters. A buyer wants ease-of-use and aesthetics; the seller should be able to offer that. Take a look around for just what you want; it has to be out there!
Guest author Heather Legg is an author who writes for a variety of websites including Business.com.
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 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 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.
October 24, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Looking for that perfect holiday gift but can’t afford the full retail price? Want to know what top designers, tech giants and celebrities are dreaming of this year? Or maybe you need to reward yourself–since about 60 percent of shoppers admit they will buy themselves a gift this holiday season. If you’re in the NYC area, head over to 404 Park Avenue South between now and November 10 to check out eBay’s and designer Jonathan Adler’s new “Inspiration Shop.”
The storefront was unveiled on Friday, and it allows passersby to act on their impulses. Think of it as modified window shopping–except this time you actually make a purchase, even though you never enter the store. Potential shoppers walk by, and a name, product or pattern catches their eye. They read a little bit about it and raise their smartphones to the display. There, if they’ve downloaded the eBay app, they can scan any of the available QR codes to find similar items on eBay, allowing for price comparison. There are about 200 million eBay listings available on the app.
The window displays feature exclusive products selected by fashion favorites like Betsey Johnson, Charlotte Ronson, Molly Sims and more. It isn’t only designers, though: actors, editors, photographers and musicians were among those asked for their wishlist items. Jonathan Adler contributed his bold patterned designs to provide a visually exciting background for the showcase.
eBay’s Chief Marketing Officer, Richelle Parham, commented on the new concept:
“Consumers today expect to shop how they want, when they want – and mobile technology is blurring the lines between online and offline retail to meet this demand. The Inspiration Shop brings to life how eBay enables people to immediately act on their passion for shopping in this new commerce environment.”
46.7 percent of surveyed shoppers plan to buy gifts online this year, completing about 36 percent of their total shopping via ecommerce solutions. Since about 48 percent of shoppers say they want to be able to purchase desired items immediately, and 46 percent like to browse window displays to get ideas, the eBay Inspiration Shop seems right on target. Consumers’ biggest issues with brick-and-mortar shopping, especially around the holidays, helped inspire (yes, inspire) the concept for the Inspiration Shop. A survey found that 57 percent of consumers hate long lines, 54 percent despise stores with too many shoppers, 52 percent are deterred by commission-driven or otherwise invasive sales people, and 65 percent feel there isn’t enough selection or availability in physical stores.
Although a majority of shoppers–62 percent–hope to spend less on their holiday gift buying this year, consumers are turning to digital shopping carts more frequently. E-tailers should focus on offering incentives like free shipping and discounts, and make sure their brand is top-of-mind so that people will spread the word about their store via social media. That way, the difficulties of the economy don’t have to be quite so difficult for all ecommerce solutions.
With a combination of impulse buys and comparison shopping, such as can be found at eBay’s Inspiration Shop, consumers and online retailers alike can get what they want out of this holiday season. What do you think about the Inspiration Shop and its limited engagement? Would you like to see something like this in your area, and in a more permanent capacity?
October 21, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Three major publishers will soon provide authors with access to book sales data online through new author portals.
Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Wednesday the creation of its author portal that will allow authors and illustrators to see data online about the sales of their published material. Authors will have access to the last six weeks of sales data broken down by different types of booksellers and book formats. There will be data for e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook sales.
Simon & Schuster’s author portal will also feature tools for authors to manage online interactions with readers. In addition, the publisher has released a portal for agents that will provide information similar to that stored on the author site.
Two other major publishers, Random House and the Hachette Book Group, also announced Wednesday that they are in the process of creating ecommerce solutions for authors. Hachette’s author portal will be up and running sometime in 2012; Random House has not publicly announced a date for the launch of their site. A spokesman for Random House said that their author portal will feature marketing tools and other information in addition to sales data.
This marks the first time that major publishers have provided authors with direct access to data about their book sales. Previously it could take months for authors to get information about how well their books were selling and they often would have to go through their agents to get data from a publisher. The new sites should ease some of the tension between authors and publishers regarding the availability of sales information.
Back in December 2010 ecommerce solution Amazon began offering authors access to Nielsen BookScan sales data. Nielsen BookScan provides limited data about print sales of books and, through Amazon’s “Author Central” site, authors can track the past four weeks of a book’s sales. BookScan is estimated to report on approximately 75 percent of print sales and does not track e-book sales. Amazon itself keeps track of e-book sales but currently only reports the figures to publishers and not to authors themselves.
The launch of services allowing authors direct access to sales data about their published material means that authors will be notified much sooner than in the past if their books are not doing well. With timely access to sales figures and information, authors will be better able to address problems and come up with a plan to market their books more effectively and boost shopping cart sales. Some of the additional tools and resources that these new author portals will provide to authors are focused on marketing strategies including the use of social media sites such as Twitter, as well as video promotion through sites like YouTube.
October 13, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
L2 recently released its third annual Digital IQ Index for fashion, which ranks the digital competence of 49 prestigious fashion brands.
The index ranks the brands based on the effectiveness of their digital strategies across four categories: site, digital marketing, social media, and mobile. Brands were given digital IQ scores that fall into one of five rankings: genius, gifted, average, challenged, or feeble.
According to the index’s methodology, a brand’s website accounts for 35 percent of its overall digital IQ score. Nine sites of the 49 brands studied did not have an ecommerce solution, which significantly lowered their score. Brands that did have ecommerce-enabled websites averaged 19 percent more visits per user. The U.S. has the most brands selling online, at 79 percent, with the U.K. coming in second at 61 percent, while other European countries came in third at 41 percent.
The top two brands studied, falling into the genius ranking category, were Burberry and Kate Spade. Factors that led to Burberry’s number one spot are its high quality ecommerce-enabled site, Facebook page with more than 8.6 million fans, Twitter handle with 565,790 followers, and Instagram account with more than 86,000 followers. Kate Spade is doing some innovative things with social media and on the brand’s ecommerce solution. For example, an automatic email is sent to customers who abandon their shopping carts, offering them free shipping as an incentive to complete their order.
Social media presence, and the ability for customers to share information about fashion items via social media, are other big contributors to brands’ overall digital IQ scores. Fifty-seven percent of consumers surveyed reported that information they get through social media influences their luxury purchases. Only 57 percent of the brands studied allow users to Tweet products from their product pages, and only 53 percent allow users to share products on Facebook. According to the study, social media accounts for more than 14 percent of traffic going to a fashion brand’s website, and the majority of this traffic is from Facebook.
The mobile category was the least influential of L2’s four digital competence categories, but still accounted for 15 percent of a brand’s overall digital IQ score. Forty percent of consumers likely to buy luxury fashion products access the Internet from a smartphone daily, but only 18 percent of the brands studied provide mobile sites with ecommerce solutions. The majority of the 49 brands’ mobile sites have limited functionality, although some of the brands do offer mobile commerce apps.
Other interesting key findings from the study include that 10 of the top 15 brands are based in the U.S., compared to 6 in 2010. U.S.-based brands have the highest overall digital IQ rankings, followed closely by the U.K., Italy, and France. According to the study, a higher digital IQ translates to a higher shareholder value, so brands should take a close look at what they are doing across the four digital competence categories to see what they can improve on.
October 6, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
StyleOwner is a new site that allows fashion bloggers to create a virtual storefront and sell products from partner retail stores.
Fashionistas who dream of opening their own store can become part of the virtual mall that StyleOwner creates and start selling items from more than 2,000 retail partners like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Not only do bloggers get to display their writing and recommendations, but they also make a 10 percent commission on all items that get purchased through their storefront. StyleOwner provides the full ecommerce solution from shopping cart to shipping.
StyleOwner aims to increase growth of online fashion sales by creating a social and personalized marketplace. The site benefits both fashion enthusiasts, who want to curate their own virtual storefront, and retailers, who want their items to be recommended and purchased online. Fashion bloggers have been getting retailers online sales for a long time by posting “recommended looks” on their blogs with links to places that the items can be bought. Now, with StyleOwner, there is the 10 percent commission as a benefit for bloggers recommending items for shopping carts.
30 well-known fashion bloggers have already become a part of StyleOwner and the site hopes that this will attract fans of their blogs. The site is currently still private and has just 1,000 storefronts; new users need an invite to join. However, users don’t need to be among the top ranks of fashion bloggers to get a virtual storefront–StyleOwner hopes that average fashion enthusiasts will become part of the site and bring members of their social network with them. StyleOwner creates a collaborative experience where trendsetters get to do what they are passionate about and get compensated for it, and retailers know that their products are being seen by the right audience.
The company has attracted investors such as Forerunner Ventures and Andy Dunn, CEO and founder of Bonobos. Dunn had this to say about the ecommerce solution:
“It puts power in the hands of tastemakers and individuals and gives brands an authentic audience in the process. Bloggers and individuals add a lot to brands already but rarely get compensated for it in transparent and authentic ways.”
StyleOwner is committed to creating a trusted and authentic marketplace and will be encouraging storefront owners to attend forums, meetups, and webinars to get educated about aspects of marketing. Currently, ecommerce only accounts for about 10 percent of fashion sales annually, but it is growing quickly due to the rise in popularity of social selling and flash sales sites such as Rue La La. Shoppers are becoming more Web-oriented and increasingly engaging in ecommerce as an alternative to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
September 21, 2010
By the ZippyCart Content Team
SailThru, a company whose service allows ecommerce solutions and businesses to send relevant and personalized email content to their customers, has received a new round of venture capital funding totaling $8 million. The new investment, led by RRE Ventures, qualifies as Round A funding for SailThru, which means it is still early in its development stage. The company plans to use this latest round of funding to fuel the growth in the flash sales and publisher markets, as well as increase staff numbers and invest in continued innovation.
Since getting its start in 2009 the company has added major clients such as AOL/Huffington Post, Betaworks, Business Insider, Fab.com, FlavorPill, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, the New York Observer, Oscar de la Renta, Oyster.com, Thrillist, and Turntable.fm. SailThru helps its clients increase conversion rates and generate revenue by delivering users highly relevant, personalized content via email, the web or other advertising channels.
“Merchants and online publishers have long struggled with issues of engagement, retention and maximizing the revenue generated by each visit to their properties. Sailthru’s technology enables its customers to create individual offerings…using data science and analysis to consider the preferences and circumstances of each individual visitor to a site,” said Eric Wiesen, General Partner at RRE Ventures. “The platform helps customers maximize engagement and deliver messages at key times based on a user’s individual stream of activity. It is of huge incremental value to both publishers and ecommerce merchants.”
Directed content is one of the most important components of ecommerce conversions. Consumers don’t want to waste their time opening an email and being directed to a site that sells, for example, a thousand different pairs of jeans when what they have been looking for is a new pair of shoes. Both sites would qualify as clothing ecommerce solutions, but narrowing down the focus to exactly what the end-user is looking for not only helps boost conversions, it also develops a lasting relationship with the purchaser that is more likely to bring them back to the site. It’s an issue that retailers and search engines alike have struggled with for years, and it will be interesting to watch companies like SailThru develop and work on solutions for the relevant content dilemma.
September 20, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
CrowdTwist is a new tool that allows brands to track and measure audience interaction across all online social channels.
The CrowdTwist platform integrates itself into a brands website and connects to all of the brand’s social media channels to provide data about consumer engagement and ROI. It keeps track of all online interactions and mentions by the public. Brands can use this information to determine the most influential or loyal followers and customize future marketing strategies based on the types of interaction that they are receiving.
The ecommerce solution benefits the customers as well as the brand, giving them points for all interactions that can then be used towards real rewards. Brands can choose to provide any type of reward that they want, from experiences to discounts or free shwag.
Data that CrowdTwist provides allows brands to understand what types of customer actions on various social media channels are most valuable. The recent explosion of so many new outlets for consumers online has fragmented brand-consumer interactions and made it more difficult for marketers to structure both their online and offline campaign strategies. CrowdTwist brings together metrics from all these scattered outlets and provides custom campaign tools for brands to reach different target markets.
Brands such as JCPenney, LiveNation, and TheFanHub are among those currently using CrowdTwist’s ecommerce software. The platform has already demonstrated its effectiveness; increasing average time-on-site by 250 percent, average page views per visit by 450 percent, and average purchase size by more than 30 percent.
CrowdTwist announced Monday that it has secured $6 million in a round of Series A funding led by SoftBank Capital and Fairhaven Capital. The company will use the funding to reinforce its rapid growth as it expands and forms new partnerships with brands. Irving Fain, CEO and co-founder, had this to say:
“Brands that take steps now to connect all of their online and offline audiences and enrich the overall customer experience are well positioned to discover, activate and retain their highest-value customers. Today’s funding by a fantastic roster of investors is an affirmation of this vision, and we look forward to continuing to build a world class team and product.”
Next week, the tool will begin powering the brand loyalty program for Simon Cowell’s X-Factor. The new talent competition TV show will use CrowdTwist’s ecommerce software to track viewer engagement and interaction with the brand across multiple channels. The show will be able to use the platform to track and analyze how viewers are interacting with their online, social, and mobile presences.
September 20, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Hot on the heels of the leaked documents stating that Google Wallet would officially launch on September 19th, it appears that the NFC mobile payment platform has started to show up in retail stores in San Francisco. Multiple sources reported that Google had sent a notification to partners outlining the September 19th launch of the contactless payment solution, which allows consumers to pay for their purchases by swiping their NFC-enabled smartphones in front of a Google Wallet payment station. The Google Wallet platforms have already started popping up in San Francisco, with the one pictured being spotted for the first time in a Peet’s Coffee establishment in the city.
The company has not officially acknowledged the roll-out of its new mobile payment solution, but is expected to make the announcement soon. At the current time, the platform supports only one smartphone- the Nexus S 4G from Sprint. The product offering is expected to grow as time goes on, and as more and more phones begin to feature NFC technology. Apple has been rumored to be working on an NFC-enabled iPhone, as has Android’s main hardware partner- HTC.
Google has developed an NFC sticker product that allows users to bring the tap-to-pay technology to their previously disabled phones, but it is not clear if that will be ready for the launch. Hardware to enable the payments on the merchant end is also needed. And again, MasterCard has been the only official partner on the credit card side of things so far. It appears that at the time, Google Wallet users will have to either own a CitiBank MasterCard or a Google Prepaid credit card. Google hopes that the Wallet app will be widely adopted, and more will be made available to users.
NFC technology has gained the interest of phone manufacturers and wireless carriers alike. HTC launched an NFC-ready device in China recently, planting the seed for mobile payments in the world’s largest consumer market. Mobile ecommerce solution ISIS signed deals with three of the largest credit card companies: Visa, American Express, and MasterCard. With Discover already backing the venture, ISIS is now the only mobile payment solution that supports all four major credit card companies. ISIS expects that their new deal will help expand interest in NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile payment technology and help move consumers towards a more mobile shopping cart experience by the time it publicly launches in 2012. Google Wallet also has the same intention.
Allowing consumers to speed up the purchase of items in their shopping cart is anticipated to help ease the sometimes tedious and outdated credit card and cash payment options that are the most current “technology.” Ecommerce solutions like PayPal have made shopping online easy by allowing users to securely purchase items with one log-in, making adding an item to your shopping cart and checking out online as easy as possible. NFC technology is essentially the same idea as online payment providers, but in the physical retail world.
A commenter on TechCrunch’s site has mentioned that he has personally seen the Google Wallet scanner in action, and interacted with the Peet’s employees. The man says that the employee saw “one person try to use it, and it did not work”. It sounds like there may still be some kinks to work out in the system.
September 16, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an official federal investigation into Craigslist’s allegations that eBay employees stole confidential information about the company and used it to launch a competing site.
A California court issued a grand jury subpoena last week outlining the allegations against the ecommerce giant. Craigslist claims that eBay executives, who also held a seat on Craigslist’s board of directors, unfairly and illegally used their position to steal classified information about the company. Craigslist alleges that eBay then used the information to start its own competing classifieds ecommerce solution, Kijiji.
eBay has held a seat on Craigslist’s board of directors since 2004 when it bought a 28 percent minority stake in the company. The grand jury subpoena states that the department of justice will investigate:
“Incidents where eBay employees engaged in alleged criminal activities and misconduct focused around the misappropriation of proprietary/confidential information from Craigslist.”
Those being accused of stealing trade secrets include Pierre Omidyar, eBay’s founder and chairman, who allegedly requested information about Craigslist’s finances and strategies in 2005 and then passed it on to other eBay employees.
Craigslist and eBay have been in conflict since eBay launched its own Internet classifieds site, Kijiji, in 2007. The company later renamed the site eBayClassifieds.com. Allegations also state that after the launch of its online classifieds site, eBay began buying Internet ad space that would steer users away from Craigslist and onto eBay’s site.
eBay representatives deny the validity of allegations that the ecommerce solution used any of the information to benefit its own classifieds site. The company is countering with claims that Craigslist breached terms of a shareholders’ agreement. Amanda Miller, an eBay spokeswoman, had this to say:
“We will cooperate with any inquiry related to the disputes between eBay and Craigslist. eBay believes that Craigslist’s allegations against eBay are without merit. We will continue to vigorously defend ourselves, and we will aggressively pursue our claims against Craigslist.”
This newest investigation is just the latest in a series of legal battles between the two ecommerce solutions. Last year Craigslist owners James Buckmaster and Craig Newmark attempted to relinquish eBay of its board seat. The owners believed that having a shareholding member of eBay seated on the board posed a serious threat to their company. eBay won the ruling however and retained its rights as a minority stakeholder in Craigslist.
Back in May a similar case occurred when Paypal sued Google over the launch of its mobile payments ecommerce solution, Google Wallet. Paypal alleged that Google obtained trade secrets from a former employee who switched from one company to the other.
September 7, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Amazon's Lockers As Seen at 7-11 in Seattle
If you’ve ever ordered an item from Amazon, or from any ecommerce solution, you’re likely familiar with the anxiety of waiting for the package to arrive. Sometimes you can’t be around to sign for your items, or you’re away from the house and don’t want your brand new computer delivered to your doorstep. Amazon has heard the feedback from its fanbase, and has decided to implement a trial-run of in-store deliveries at a 7-11 in Seattle. The program has not officially been announced, but the lockers have been spotted in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.
Here’s how it works: You order a product from Amazon’s massive online store. When checking out, you realize you won’t be around to sign for the item, or you’d just rather it be delivered somewhere else. Maybe you need to leave town right after work or need the item for a presentation that day. You can then choose to have your products delivered to Amazon’s locker cluster in a local 7-11. You’ll receive an email from the ecommerce solution that includes a barcode. Much like a QR code, the locker cluster will then scan the barcode, provide a PIN number for the assigned locker, and you walk away with your shiny new Amazon purchase.
The program, which will expand if it sees success in the Seattle area, seems to be a step in the direction of “in-store pickup” for Amazon. Many other ecommerce solutions have started to allow customers to pick up their online orders from local brick-and-mortar establishments. Best Buy and Wal-Mart are the two largest retailers who have implemented an in-store pickup policy, which allows customers to save on shipping when purchasing online. It is still unknown if there will be a reduction of shipping costs to have Amazon packages shipped to a locker instead of to an actual address.
The cost of shipping is a hurdle that every ecommerce solution has been working to overcome since the advent of the Internet. Recently, Nordstrom announced that they would be offering free shipping on every order from their online shop. Amazon itself has started its Prime membership, which offers free Two-Day shipping on orders fullfilled by the company and also offers movie and TV streaming similar to Netflix. eBay offers sellers a better deal on listing items if the seller offers free shipping. Zappos.com also offers free initial and return shipping to the purchaser.
Compete.com released results from a recent Online Shopper Survey citing that free shipping would encourage 93% of respondents to purchase more online. According to the LA Times: “The cost of shipping is seen by many shoppers and retail analysts as one of the biggest drawbacks of shopping online (along with not being able to see the product in person and having to wait a few days for your purchase to arrive).”
It’s entirely feasible that Amazon could partner with 7-11 to allow its own form of “in-store” pickup in the future. Its lack of physical presence, apart from its headquarters in Seattle and numerous warehouses throughout the country, has held Amazon back from offering in-store or local pickup. By largely reducing the cost of shipping for consumers, Amazon would make headway in the shipping headache that has haunted ecommerce solutions who are solely online, those site that have no brick-and-mortar presence.
September 1, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Like it or not, summer is drawing to a close and the holiday season is right around the corner. All the ecommerce sites out there are starting to stock up on the latest and greatest Halloween costumes for the 2011 holiday. The costume parties seem to begin just as soon as the month of October comes around, so everyone needs to be prepared for the festivities. And complimenting couples costumes are always an amusing perk of the holiday. But let’s say you’ve been out of the loop this past year, and need some great ideas for the perfect Halloween costume. Don’t worry, we’ve got you (and your other half) covered this Halloween.
While the young ones are usually the main business for costume designers, the adults are the interested in the biggest and baddest costumes to impress at the company party or take home the prize for best costume at the bar. Here’s your opportunity to get a head start on your competition. When it comes to Halloween costumes ideas for couples, there are a multitude of options, but we’ve picked out the best combos and the best ways to save you money when you get a hold of them online.
Buy Costumes boasts one of the largest online costume catalogs, and frequently offer Halloween enthusiasts a great deal on the latest costumes. Use coupon code SAVE15 by 9/30 to save 15% off your order of $75 or more. This can turn into some serious savings if buying costumes for the whole family! Some of the best couples ideas from Buy Costumes:
- Optimus Prime and Sexy Bumble Bee
- Mario and Waluigi or Luigi and Princess Peach
- Darth Vader & Princess Leia
- Wonder Women & Captain America
- Dorthy and the Tin Man (The Wizard of Oz)
Of course, Spirit Halloween also offers a great selection of Halloween get-ups that are sure to impress. Get the costume shopping out of the way early and leave more time for planning your Halloween party. Spirit Halloween is offering a fantastic discount for its customers that will take some of the sting off of your costume purchase: Use coupon code SPAFF20 by 10/26 and receive 20% off a single item in your shopping cart. Some of the great couple’s costume choices from Spirit Halloween:
- Zombie Prom King and Queen
- Snookie and the Situation (The Jersey Shore)
- Inky and Blinky (Pac-Man)
- Gangster and Flirty Flapper
Maybe you’re looking to get the absolute best deal on a Halloween costume this year. Costume Discounters offers a price match guarantee, where if you find the same costume for a lower price, the ecommerce site will match that price. Not only that, but Costume Discounters is offering free shipping for any order over $60. Just use the coupon code: FREE60. And for orders of $150 or more, use code 15MORE for 15% off. Or for 10% off $35 or more use 35SPRING. And if you order the wrong size, the site will pay for return shipping. So go ahead and confidently order any one of these great costume ideas for couples:
- Ring Master and Sexy Circus Ring Master Mistress
- Uncle Sam and Statue of Liberty
- Snow White and Storybook Prince
- Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf
- Matadorable and Torro the Terri-bull
Costume Kingdom also offers a wide variety of costumes, ranging from Vampire outfits to costumes emulating famous Pop Stars. Along with the large amount of kids costumes, the site offers a vast collection of adult costumes, many of which can be paired together to form an awesome couples costume. Costume Kingdom offers tons of pop-culture couple outfits, things that are sure to get a laugh at all the Halloween parties. Save 10% on any purchase with coupon code CK10 when you buy through 9/30/11. Just a few ideas:
- Jack Skellington and Sally
- Jim Dangle & Deputy Johnson (Reno 911)
Last but certainly not least is Halloween Express. This site really wants you to get into Halloween this year, and as a result is offering a bevy of coupon codes to utilize on your site. Some great costume ideas come from Halloween Express. Do you love Angry Birds? Why not get you and your other half an Angry Bird Halloween costume that will make a hilarious couples get-up. It’s even better when you can save money with the coupon codes: Buy One Get One 25% off orders of $50 or more, or 10% off all orders with no minimum PLUS free shipping with $75 purchase, or $15 off all orders of $100 or more PLUS Free shipping!
- Angry Birds Red & Angry Birds Yellow