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More On Video

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A few years back I started looking at the differences between bestbuy.com and the best buy stores. One immediate realization was that when at the store a salesperson would help understand why I needed a certain big screen TV. This experience was totally missing online. When I shared this with friends their biggest concern was cost. They believed it to …

Some eTail Best Practices

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As we scan through best practices in the eCommerce world 2 common themes emerge: –Leaders set and match customer expectations better than peers –Successful eTailers deliver brand promise consistently through all touch points Amazon.com (1 on IR500 list): By focusing on core innovations: collaborative filtering, onsite search and testing they have grown from carrying books to carrying virtual storefronts of …

Tagging As A Selling Tool

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One of the most ubiquitous features of the web 2.0 world is tagging. Tagging is an outside-in way of organizing information. And while tagging my seem like a loss of control over editorial content it is surprisingly robust and effective at organizing data and greatly improves ‘findability’. Thus I don’t understand why retailers are not using tagging. And while Tagging …

The First Sale

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The biggest distinction between online shoppers and non-online shoppers is that those that buy online do it all the time with all kinds of products and those that don’t buy online don’t buy at all. So the biggest part of an online retailer’s job is converting a non shopper. Because once the life long behavior of touch, feel, fit and …

Discovering New Categories

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Have you ever walked into a Foot Locker outlet and asked the sales associate for a pair of vegetarian shoes? Neither have I. But did you know vegetarian shoes is the fastest growing category on zappos.com? So, why didn’t Foot Locker this of this category first? After all they are a profit driven company. The truth is that Foot Locker …

How To Convert A Liability Into An Asset

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Panera Bread is one of the few coffee retailers that actually offer customers free Internet access and I can’t even tell you how much I feel endeared to the brand because of this. But I also know Panera is giving free Internet in hopes of getting me to buy more stuff (which, I don’t think I really do) so it’s …

Not Either Or

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Every time the cash register rings two kinds of analysis are possible. The traditional way is to look at the transaction itself (size, frequency, category etc). The alternative is to measure everything leading up to the purchase; things like, other products considered, time taken to make purchase decision, customer history etc. Retailers should look at both.

Offline Vs. Online

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My previous post about bluenile.com has gotten me thinking. The fact that an online retailer (with 0 offline stores) is able to generate 5 times the online revenue of its closest rival (which happens to have 2,700 offline locations) should be a lesson to retailers who believe selling online is hard because browsers can do a Google searches to find …

The Cardinal Rule

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Compelling online experiences (not traffic) drive sales. Consider a company like BlueNile.com which is able to generate annualized web revenues of $169 Million through just 739,000 online monthly visitors. Translation: every customer that walks into bluenile.com (with or without an intention to buy) ends up spending $19 dollars (and change) at the store. That’s a really big deal and I …

The Adoption Game

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The common lesson in the new web 2.0 explosion has been that viral ideas trump good ideas almost every single time. Flickr, YouTube, Myspace and Techcrunch have all benefited from this; neither of these were the first to introduce an idea and yet they ended up completely dominating their respective services. So while retailers have been slow to innovate on …

If You Use Revenue As Sole Measure You Might Be Making A Fatal Mistake

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Nordstrom is one of the few retailers that have managed to grow quarter over quarter.  We don’t know what portion of their $7 Billion in revenues comes from online sales but this channel is definitely growing.  I was quite surprised to learn a whopping 3.5 million people visit nordstrom.com every month.  As CEO I’d be just as interested in traffic …

Mutually Exclusive Innovation

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The whole point of innovation is to improve a solution. Sometimes new innovation creates a whole new ecosystem and sometimes new innovation renders the incumbent obsolete. Take for example television and the Internet. Video on demand exists on our set top boxes and also on the Internet. However video on the Internet can be tagged and searched and this is …