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Making The Most Of “Out Of Stock”

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It sucks when an interested customer stumbles on your site only to discover that the item they were just about to buy is out to stock. This morning I was reading the hugely popular Outblush blog where they profiled Karacoma Sofa.  After reading the article I visited conranusa.com and realized the product was “Temporarily out of stock”. I wish the …

Fine Tuning The Wrong Channel

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Back in the day radios had two dials, one which moved quickly between channels and another which was used to fine tune a channel. For years I have been hearing about the magic of testing and how retailers like organize.com are seeing improvements in conversion rates by simply changing Buy Now to Add to Cart.  These amazing stories emphasize the …

Six Dimensions of Ecommerce

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If you are an online retailer make sure your store stands out on at least one of the following dimensions: — unique product (that is very very hard to find elsewhere) — lowest price (biggest discount) — largest selection — friendliest policies (shipping, return, membership discount etc) — uniquest content (heartfelt editorial, video, superb product photography etc) — most innovative …

A Personal Note

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As a multichannel retail strategist I am genuinely excited about online commerce.  One could even say I’m obsessed.  Reviewing ecommerce sites and reading latest ecommerce trends, stats and best practices can be quite boring for someone lacking natural interest in the subject.  Now, by no way should one confuse enthusiasm with erudition. This wide-eyed enthusiasm is what I use to …

Are You An Amazon Or A Zappos?

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Amazon and Zappos are two wildly successful, yet characteristically different companies. Amazon is an engineering company with solid focus on measurement.  This is great for incremental improvement (even very rapid paced improvement) but means they have had few paradigm shifting moments.  Akin to an awesomely efficient Supercomputer Amazon knows how to squeeze efficiency when a set of variables is presented …

Making Gift Card Redemption Better

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Brendan Regan’s post on how etailers should manage gift card redemption is so good I’m re-producing it verbatim (even the procrastination bit, which might seem out of place in this reproduction).  The steps below illustrate the experience from a customer’s perspective: 1. Receive the card, note how much is on it. 2. Sometime between and 12/26 and 1/31, decide to …

Back To Basics

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I realize this is an incredibly rough patch for retailers and apologize, in advance, for sounding too critical. I need to remind myself that it’s easy to find faults.  Had I been a retailer I too would be crying myself to sleep.  But, I’m not a retailer. Why is this such a bad stretch? We all realize consumer spending is …

Give Me A Reason To Register

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Yoox.com has a useful little feature where when a customer lands on a product page (in my example handbags) if you don’t find what you were looking for you can click on “Email me when other items like these are available”.  When similar items get added to their site Yoox will send an email. This is a nice way to …

What Role Does The Retailer Play?

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No matter how you slice and dice it any mass produced item is a commodity. And in the world of commodity a retailer has five alternatives for growth: – Exclusive rights (with manufacturer) – Volume discounts (from manufacturer) – Visibility (through advertising and retail presence) – Service – Lowest prices But for a retailer that does not ‘own’ any of …

Exit Questions

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Avinash Kaushik is a brilliant man. And now all retailers can benefit from his genius for free. Partnering with iPerceptions Avinash is launching a new free service called 4Q. 4Q is a site exit poll that is randomly shown to select visitors. The poll does an incredible job at pulling rich data that perfectly compliments your analytics data. Those four …

The Mall Effect

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In the offline retail world malls and departmental stores exist for four reasons: It is a cost effective alternative for a retailer (building stores for each brand is expensive) It is convenient because it saves the customer from making multiple trips It is easier to remember Macy’s than the 400 brands they carry It builds trust, I can be confident …

Shopping To The N’th Degree

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QVC is the second most profitable network in all of TV land. They make their money selling products, lots and lots of them. But I was a little surprised to see a little section on their site called Model’s Closet, here they actually sell the products worn by their presenters. Is this too much or is QVC a retail genius? …

Building Better Shopping Experiences

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Every day I visit one eCommerce site to do a quick audit (against a list of best practices). This morning I visited Bissell.com and found absolutely no shortcomings on their site: Site traffic: 223,451 unique monthly hits – Good Site navigation: above average Product page: has product video – Great Larger images: check Features page: well designed numbered feature list …