Archive for the ‘retail’ Category

e-commerce- the relationship-less sale

February 15, 2008

I wonder if e-commerce sites will try and create a better relationship with customers like myself, rather than try and sell things that other people bought when they bought the same item I did. I understand math and statistics and database modelling and how in an ideal world it all makes sense, but from a customer view, I want a trusted relationship with a site. If I trust a site and felt that they understood my needs and situation like a brick and mortar sales clerk, I would be inclined to purchase more.

My example was when I went to a Banana Republic recently. I had a good conversation with their employee about what I was looking for and why. She helped me find some items, but then let me know that they were getting the new spring line in a couple of days and theme matched what I was looking for. I am not suggesting sites become the obnoxious sales force like some retail stores have and ask “Can I help you?” every two minutes, but I believe they could possibly build a relationship better. Hell, their emails seem to act like there is a relationship, just don’t relax when I get to the site. This is the kind of relationship that I would love to see from e-commerce platforms. Suggest some items I might be interested in, and allow me to enter what I am looking for and give me suggestions and then keep that established “e-relationship” alive throughout the visit. Retail salesman can read cues from shoppers about their shopping habits, the person who tries on everything, the person who buys all and returns 90%, and the shy guy who walks in and looks around and doesn’t do much and buys a few items without help. Now in an online world, web analytics can help us tell some of these cues. The person who clicks on a bunch of items and then clicks back, the one who views every single image of the product, length on site, returning customer, etc. etc. E-commerce sites now just need to be more progressive with the data and think in terms of relationship selling.

Some platforms are more progressive than others like iTunes and Amazon, but most are a little behind the times. In order to decrease abandonment rate and increase the industry average conversion rate of around 3%, I suggest e-commerce sites look into the psychology of a purchase, rather than strictly rely on what people “like me” bought.

Future of TV media goes online with Youtube video

January 19, 2008

I read an article about how Chris Bosh created a self promoting video for the 2008 NBA All-Star game for only $20. As of this morning, it had over 397,000 views. If I look at trying to attain that through traditional media, the cost would be enormous, not to mention the production cost. I believe this is going to be the leading edge of future athletic advertising geared to athletes. Crispin launched a new campaign targeting serious runners with the new Nike ads, but why not save money and shoot “endorsed” athletes that resonate with actual runners and load them on YouTube. I am suggesting shoot twenty different marathon runners that are household names with the audience and have them tell their stories through videos.

The cost savings alone would allow a lot more scale and versions, not to mention more endorsed content that could speak to individuals, rather than a TV spot of a guy looking at a treadmill after a montage of clips. I have heard Nike has a similar video to Bosh’s featuring Steve Nash and the production cost was around 20k. I have never worked in TV production, but I am willing to bet you can get more reach and frequency through several well done videos posted on YouTube than producing one TV spot and then buying the media to support. I am not even going to argue that the YouTube model would get more engagement as well, cause it does.

McD’s eighty-sixes the report card promotion

January 18, 2008

McDonald’s has decided to eighty-six their promotion of offering free happy meals to students who get good grades on their report cards. They are also discontinuing running ads on the report card for other promotions. So much for baiting the kids to come in and making the parents try one of their new product offerings. They are still picking up the printing tab on the report cards however. Maybe they can begin sponsoring employee evaluations and give away free coffee as they launch the new high end coffee campaign to compete against Schultz’s ‘Bucks. This would get them to come into the store and probably buy some food to go along with the coffee. This kind of campaign would provoke interaction, and get results.

Jeep Patriot site… Good interactive site

December 28, 2007

I heard about the interactive site for the Jeep Patriot and decided to go check it out. As soon as it started, I got a weird sensation I was seeing a trailer for The Blair Witch Project. Maybe they intended it to look and feel that way, as that is one of the classic examples of viral marketing. After I made a few selections from the website, I began to lose interest and eventually went to another tab and let my “adventure” fizzle. Even though I did not spend a lot of time, or attention for that matter, I think it is a great step in interactive marketing. The Jeep logo was consistently on the page, but I did not feel that I was being bombarded with brand messaging, rather being allowed to interact with three people on their adventure. The companies that continue to move down this road with interactive games/marketing will move forward in leaps and bounds in consumers minds. Hopefully other marketers will catch on and create marketing pieces like this one, rather than the traditional :30 or billboard.

McDonald’s steeps to a new low…

December 6, 2007

I’m lovin’ McD’s new marketing idea for kids. Although this is not about online, it is interactive marketing. McDonald’s now has a deal where kids that get all A’s and B’s in Seminole County Florida, will get a coupon printed on their report card that can be redeemed at a local McDonald’s for Happy Meal. Now we are rewarding the smart kids with a nice fat Happy Meal. What will marketers do next? It will be interesting to see if McDonald’s continues the campaign to further states. Maybe they will only target the fattest cities in the country. Chicago and Las Vegas children might be heading for a little extra treat if they get good grades.

Branded Keywords in Search Engine Marketing

December 5, 2007

Bidding on branded keywords have always been a debatable subject. If you do, people say you will have got those same consumers through organic search, and if you don’t, your competitors might come in and swoop them away and you will never see them again. I was asked an interesting question today that made me think about this. It was “Did you see the great promotion Wells was offering yesterday?” My response was no, I go to their site everyday but I did not see that. I am habitually tuned to go directly to the login and move on about my business. I have seen reports where the average Internet user often times enters a url in a Google search box, instead of the browser. This would then return them the most relevant results, and most likely the brand home page.

If this user is like me, they would click through and most likely have a similar habitual pattern of going directly to the login, and paying no or very attention ti the messages on the home page. Enter branded keyword! If the company had a great promotion or rate or sale, with some clever copy-writing, this could be sold to the user before they click on the organic results and drive them deeper into to the site where they can find more information that they may never have found. Companies need to look more at their analytics and see if real estate on the home page devoted to offers and promotions really drive the desired traffic for them to work.

I think this is a great questions for banks such as Chase, Wells Fargo, and several other baking institutions.

Yahoo! Search Marketing doesn’t get local

November 29, 2007

i have heard a lot about the value of localized search and especially for local retailers trying to get more traffic to their stores. As more options arise for local business owners arise, there are several opportunities online and Yahoo! Search Marketing is one of them. I have heard a lot about their services and went exploring today for a possible client. I was not impressed with what I found.

As i read an article today about the future of online marketing and one of the key points was “vertical local” niches, i though Yahoo! would provide a great solution. As i began looking around in my locale, Salt Lake City, I started seeing some interesting results. I searched clothing in Salt Lake City and saw that the “sponsored” listings were for online retailers. One of the search queries returned an ad for credit cards. I thought that was interesting and called the 1-800 number to find out more. I wanted to know what exactly my money would get me, since it did not appear that the results were relevant to:

a) City

b) Search query

 After having to talk to three different sales reps, I finally got an answer about what was going on. If no one sponsors the local “category” they fill those places with content CPC ads. Even the sales rep was a little shocked that an ad for credit cards was showing. I let her know I was thankful for the information that she gave me about the $250 monthly cost for a “clothing store” featured listing and would get back to her.

However, I don’t think they have the localized search quite figured out yet, and I think it’s because they are greedy. if they had a better solution, I would feel much more comfortable recommending their product. Hopefully someone will figure out a cost-effective localized marketing solution for small businesses other than AdWords and such. To them, the greatest profits will come.

Major retailers slow to adopt interactive

November 15, 2007

I am a little shocked at how much press hoas been pointed towards Sears and JC Penny for their “new” interactive holiday guides. These kind of ideas are not new. The user can go and create wish lists, and send e-cards and the such and this has been around for quite awhile. I think it shows how slow major retailers are to adopt new media and how to maximize the interaction with their customers. It seems their is still quite a divide of those that get interactive marketing and make it easy for people to get their ideas out, and those that think that having a website and e-commerce is sufficient these days. The leaders in e-commerce are moving ahead with user reviews and video reviews, while these major ‘brands” are not just building list creatintion sites. I personally thought that high end retailers such Saks and Neiman Marcus would have caught on early with the “list building” microsite and allowed kids to build wish lists worth thousands that they could send to their parents.