eCommerce, Meet the Retail Store

eCommerce is great. But the one thing it lacks is that between discovering an item and touching it is the pesky shipping bit.  Traditional retail mostly sucks but at least we can touch the heck out of anything on a shelf.

Enter b8ta (  b8ta is the first brick-and-mortar retailer architected to help you discover, experience, and buy the latest tech (I’ve ripped this line from their site).  Basically, b8ta is a showroom where gadget manufacturers showcase their hot new products.

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Did Not Encrypt This Message

If you’re using email marketing you need to aware of this new Gmail feature where it notifies email receivers if your email was encrypted.  If it isn’t encrypted a red open padlock icon appears:

Did not encrypt this message

And on mouseover the user is told this message isn’t encrypted:

Did not encrypt this message explanation

Most ISPs should be taking care of this but if your mailing list is seeing the open padlock look into fixing this.  More details–

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What Is FetchBack?

Taken from their site…

FetchBack is the Retargeting Company.  On average, 98% of a Web site’s visitors leave without converting. FetchBack ‘fetches’ them back to that site via the industry’s most advanced retargeting platform, FetchBack is the only company that provides retargeting analytics, enabling advertisers to see deeper into their campaigns than ever before. FetchBack Retargeting is easy to implement, and maximizes the conversions that Retargeting has to offer.

Learn more here.

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Social Shopping – A New Approach

Social Networks have helped us all get many more friends than we imagined possible.  But while our friend list is huge it offers little real life benefit.  That’s where TurnTo comes in.  TurnTo leverages the power of these casual networks in a very specific area: online shopping.

TurnTo is based on a simple idea: unknown customer reviews are OK but opinions of friends matter way more.  TurnTo tells you when people you know have experience that could be helpful.

Curious to see how it works? watch the video: has a live implementation, here is a sample product page.

This seems like a novel idea but it’ll only take off if it hits critical mass.  If.

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The eCommerce Bubble

In a definite sign that ecommerce platform space is getting too crowded Omniture has gone ahead with the purchase of Mercado’s Site Search and Online Merchandising platforms.

Mercado’s customers include: Macy’s, OfficeMax, REI,, B&H Photo Video and Williams Sonoma.

As recently as February ’08 Mercado was undergoing a re-brand when, in my opinion, they should have been focused on saving their sinking ship.

In the ecommerce world Omniture is one of the few companies that has developed a voracious appetite for acquisitions and in recent years they’ve purchased: Offermatica, Visual Sciences and UK based TouchClarity.

The Mercado business is well known to Omniture and the companies have collaborated on areas like site search and analytics in the past.

Mercado had raised nearly $65 million in VC monies and was bought for a mere $6.5 million.  That’s as good as a bargain deal can get.

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eBay Buys Bill Me Later

In a move to further consolidate control of online payment environments eBay has gone and bought the second largest player Bill Me Later for an all cash transaction of $820 Million.  This is significant because eBay already owns PayPal.  Obviously the company is doing this to realign their business by focussing on strengths because the news also comes with the announcement that eBay will layoff 10% of their global work force.

I find it funny that Bill Me Later which gives shoppers the option to defer payments has chosen to sell itself for an immediate all cash transaction.  How ironic.

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Proclivity Raises $5.5 Million


The world is slowly slipping into the hands of Super Crunchers.

As every interaction starts getting recorded it will only improve the super cruncher’s ability to mine data and identify powerful causal relationships.  One company offering super crunching services to the eCommerce world is Proclivity.  Their Proclivity Mail platform allows marketers to individually market to customers based on purchasing likelihood, thus maximizing retailer margins.  Think of it this way: if their data mining algorithm identifies you as a motivated prospect with a high price premium tolerance for a specific item then instead of giving a 7% discount they’ll convert you with a 5% discount, thus leaving 2% more for the retailer.  Over thousands of transactions this quickly adds up.

Today Proclivity raised another $5.5 million which means their system will get even more bad-ass.

Led by the former head of BI and data mining at über etailer Bluefly Proclivity could grow to be a very scary company.

Learn more about their founder here.

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