A must read for all e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers. Features include news and updates on internet shopping trends, mobile commerce and location-based marketing technology. Learn how to improve online conversions, drive consumer traffic to physical store locations and increase retail sales performance.

Thinking ahead to the Q4 holiday shopping season? Visit our special Holiday Retailer section for in-depth Black Friday and Cyber Monday coverage, plus marketing tips and tactics to round out your holiday promotional strategy.

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The New Shopper Marketing Paradigm: Centering On The Shopper

shoppingcart Shopping has undergone a revolution, and it is still changing. It started with an Internet bookstore and an online swap meet introducing new ways to shop. Fast forward two decades, and online shopping continues to grow. In fact, in its report, "US Online Retail Forecast, 2012 To 2017," Forrester predicts that e-commerce will reach $371 billion by 2017, when it will account for 10% of all retail sales. The explosion of digital devices and media, open information, real-time word of mouth, and same-day delivery illustrate the landscape is still being created. Today's shopper is differen [...]


Study: Retail Website Page Load Times Are 47% Slower Than 2 Years Ago

slow-slugs-snails-600 According to a new report from Radware, the time it takes for a retail website to load is getting worse, with load times now 47 percent slower than in 2012. Analyzing the top 500 retail websites, Radware's Ecommerce Page Speed and Web Performance State of the Union report found the median load time for ecommerce home pages has reached 10 seconds, more than three-seconds slower than 2012's median load time of 6.8 seconds. Median Load Times for Retail Home Pages Since 2012: Radware also discovered that the median load time for the top 100 websites was seven percent slower than top 500. Acco [...]


Researchers Say Online Sales Tax Caused 10% Drop In Amazon Purchases

Amazon Logo A 42-page paper published by researchers from Ohio State University claims Amazon shoppers in states that have enacted online sales tax laws have reduced their spending on Amazon by 10 percent. Bloomberg.com reported on "The Amazon Tax" study which tracked the spending habits of 245,000 households that had spent at least $100 on Amazon during the first half of 2012 and followed their spending habits through 2013. According to the report, not only did spending drop 10 percent in the states with online sales taxes, but purchases totaling more than $300 plummeted 24 percent in those same st [...]


Report: February E-commerce Sales Up 10% Over Last Year, Outperforming US Retail Sales

ecommerce-shopping-credit-600 According to Custora's latest reports, last month's e-commerce revenue climbed 10 percent over February, 2013. The growth in online sales represents a significant increase compared to overall US retail sales which Custora says grew a meager 1.5 percent compared to last February. Tracking over 100 US retailers and 70 million shoppers, the report revealed transactions were also up 12 percent year-over-year, along with average order value which experienced a slight one-percent growth rate. Custora's numbers show mobile e-commerce continues to grow, with purchases made on smartphones and [...]


Majority Of Shoppers Want Cross-Channel Personalization — Survey

shopping-featured According to a new survey, cross-channel shoppers want personalization on retail/e-commerce websites and in email, less so with display or social ads. The survey was conducted earlier this year by the etailing-group (n=1,004 US adults) for MyBuys, a personalization platform. All of the survey respondents owned smartphones and 61 percent reported owning a tablet. The respondents were equally divided between men and women. Source: MyBuys/e-tailing group Most respondents (83 percent) "saw value" in personalization across mobile devices. However only 23 percent said they thought retai [...]


Putting The “R” Into E-Tail: Adopt A Holistic Retail Marketing Approach

Tablet There are a few "signs of the times" that most retailers would agree on: Online sales as a percentage of total sales is growing for all retailers Amazon is a competitor for all retailers Showrooming -- the practice of looking at something in a store and then buying it cheaper online -- is becoming increasingly common However, the strategies for online and offline sales are often completely different, and companies are struggling to create a cohesive experience within the two. Even Apple only brought its offline and online stores together in Q4 2013 when they hired Angela Ahrendt [...]


Will In-Store Bluetooth Beacons Marginalize QR Codes?

belt buckle QR Code Though many fans of QR codes will strongly disagree, I would argue that they haven't found their "sweet spot" in mobile marketing and must do so relatively soon or be marginalized. Similarly, SMS was once a much touted opportunity for marketers but has since failed to gain widespread marketing adoption. Despite some statistics showing that as many as 38 percent US adults under 35 have at some point scanned QR codes, most smartphone owners don’t engage with them in any regular or meaningful way. And while they’re quite versatile, core QR codes use cases are now threatened by newer techn [...]


Prime Price Hike Hurts Amazon Brand Engagement

amazon-featured Amazon is the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement leader for online retail. However last week, the brand measurement firm reported that the company's $20 price hike on its most loyal customers (Prime members) caused the Amazon brand to suffer a loss of engagement. Amazon raised the cost of its innovative free shipping and loyalty program from $79 per year to $99. In a Brand Keys survey conducted earlier this month (n=1,050 Prime members), the firm found some consumers were put off by the price increase: "the Amazon brand took a blow to its normally high overall brand engagement a [...]


Survey: Consumers Ready For Indoor Location, Marketing

smartphone-shutterstock A new consumer survey by "iBeacon marketing platform" provider Swirl, which works with specialty retailers such as Alexi and Ani and Timberland, shows that consumers are ready for indoor location and marketing. Industry and retailer fears about consumer acceptance of indoor location tracking may thus be overblown. It is true that consumers are concerned about who has access to their location data in the abstract. However when they receive clear value for sharing it they're more than comfortable with doing so.  According to the Swirl survey of 1,000 US adults, 85 percent of consumers hav [...]


Google Integrates Dynamic Remarketing Campaigns With Google Analytics

Google-AdWords-Dynamic-Retargeting-Ads When Google enabled the ability to develop retargeting lists for AdWords in Google Analytics, advertisers gained a huge opportunity to refine audience targeting by using the wealth of dimensions and metrics available in Analytics. Now Google is bringing this integration to Dynamic Remarketing display campaigns. Launched in June of last year, Dynamic Remarketing campaigns in AdWords are powered by product feeds in Google Merchant Center. Product images are pulled from Merchant Center into ads dynamically based on what a user was browsing on an advertisers' web site. Ads are then served on th [...]


Amazon Up But Satisfaction With E-Commerce Lowest In A Decade

ecommerce-credit-retail-shopping-featured This morning, the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) retail and e-commerce report came out. It covers retail, grocery stores, online brokerages and e-commerce. The results are mixed and largely negative for e-tailers. According to the report, based on data compiled through "interviews with roughly 70,000 customers annually" by the University of Michigan and its research partners, customer satisfaction with online retail sunk to its lowest aggregate score in more than a decade. Some brick-and-mortar retailers fared better, although department store performance was lackluste [...]


Conversion Optimization For Guide E-Commerce Shopping Carts

holiday-retailer2-600 E-commerce websites come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: the shopping cart. For something that is so easy to do in real life, the online shopping experience is usually done so badly you'd think some companies were trying to turn away shoppers. Those companies that get it right find themselves on the Internet Retailer 1000 list. When you don't have an e-commerce team to make regular changes and ensure that people find what they want and buy more stuff, what should you be doing to increase conversions? When 1% Means 6 Figures You need to create a clear pictur [...]


E-commerce Sales Up 8% In January, With 20% Of Mobile Orders Happening On An Android

ecommerce-online-sales-retail Marketing analytics firm Custora says US e-commerce sales were up eight percent this January over January 2013. While combined offline and online transactions were down 0.4 percent last month compared to a year ago, Custora claims January was a strong month for e-commerce, with a 6 percent increase in traffic to e-commerce stores. Based on e-commerce transactions from over 100 retailers and 70 million shoppers, Custora's data also revealed a slight increase in the average conversion rate last month, holding at 2.2 percent compared to 2.1 percent in January 2013. Mobile accounted for a [...]


Target Partners With 3 Top Designers On Pinterest To Create Collection Of Party Items

Pinterest Target is continuing to build on its relationship with Pinterest users, announcing today a collaboration with three top designers who each have a substantial number of followers on the social media site. According to an announcement on Target's A Bull's Eye View blog, the retailer is partnering with Joy Cho, of the blog Oh Joy!, Jan Halvarson of Poppytalk.com and Kate Arends, the owner of the fashion and design site Wit & Delight. Each of the designers will create a line of party products to include party décor items, paper products and serving pieces. "Pinterest is such a popular d [...]


For Product Brands, Paid Search On Retailers’ Sites Pays Off

google.retailer.search Last year, Google made what was to some a surprising announcement: its previously free Google Product Search would become Google Shopping, which would ask a fee of product brands and retailers that wanted to be included in new Product Listing Ads. I can't say that I disagree with Google's decision. The company has hit on a solid way to increase both its revenue and its visibility as a retail platform, and the shift to pay-to-play has been considered successful -- particularly for Google, but for e-commerce retailers as well. It's less beneficial to product brands. Shoppers get on Goo [...]


Fancy.com Screenshot Shows How Twitter E-Commerce Might Work

Twitter logo If a screenshot found today on Fancy.com's website is accurate, the company may be close to partnering with Twitter to bring e-commerce to individual tweets. Re/code broke the news this afternoon of a program called Twitter Commerce and reported that Fancy.com would be at least one of the consumer-facing partners that would make shopping from a tweet reality. Fancy.com's part of the program is detailed in publicly available image that Re/code discovered on Fancy.com's website. The image was available at s3.amazonaws.com/twitter_fancy/Twitter-Fancy-storyboard.png but has since been remove [...]


Why And How Brands Must Go Omni-Channel in 2014

ML Display Stats Jan 2014 copy You visit your favorite retailer's website. Upon your arrival, the site drops cookies on your browser. Next thing you know, you're seeing a television ad promoting deals available via the retailer's mobile app. And before you know it, you are accessing information on your mobile device and then visiting the brick-and-mortar store. As you browse through the store, you look up products online and perhaps even scan a QR code in search of a deal. Meet the omni-channel consumer -- you. In MIT's recent report, "Beyond the Checkout Cart," the omni-channel consumer is the central force shaping the [...]


Strategizing Direct-To-Consumer E-Commerce: When Should Manufacturers Dive In?

Widget Costs Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to help a few prominent manufacturers strategize direct-to-consumer e-commerce experiences while balancing their relationships with their retail partners. Entering the engagements, my thought was that any brand should strive to capture their sales through direct channels in order to maximize margins. But politics are fascinating in the manufacturer/retailer ecosystem; and as a result, the economics don’t always make sense. By the end, I came to realize that there’s a time and a place to sell direct, but there are some very particular [...]


Facebook And YouTube: Top Social Traffic Sources For E-Commerce In December

facebook-youtube-logos-250px Driving 5.32 percent of traffic to retailer websites over the holiday season, Facebook accounted for more than half of all social referrals to retailers in the Hitwise 500, according to data shared by Experian. YouTube came in second with 1.65 percent of upstream traffic to retailers. Facebook's share of referral traffic increased a relatively modest 38 percent.  YouTube's share grew 55 percent. Only Yahoo Answers sent less traffic to retailer sites year-over-year. Yet, though Google+, Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr each drove big percentage increases in traffic, each sent less traffic th [...]


Holiday Mobile Orders Shot Up 50 Percent In 2013; Social Commerce Remains Negligible, Organic Still Dominates

holiday-retailer2-600 More than one in four US e-commerce orders this holiday season came from mobile devices. Custora released its complete E-Commerce Pulse data for the 2013 holiday season, an update of its post-Cyber Monday report that showed record sales in the US. This final analysis looks at e-commerce performance between November 1st through December 31st, highlighting Black Friday, Cyber Monday and online's last-minute rush period between December 12 through 18. Overall, holiday online orders are estimated to be up 12 percent over 2012, compared to just three to four percent growth estimated for total US [...]


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