Posts tagged e-commerce
10 Interesting Ecommerce Facts & Trends

The ecommerce industry has become a major part of worldwide consumerism and is now baked into popular culture and daily life.  Companies like Amazon and Ebay are household names and often the first choice when something - anything - needs to be purchased.

Estimates place worldwide ecommerce sales at $1 trillion in 2012, a 26% increase from the previous year.

With ecommerce representing such a massive money-making opportunity with relatively few barriers to entry, it is no surprise that this industry experiences more disruption than many others - often leading to wild swings in consumer trends.

Here are 10 interesting facts and trends about ecommerce that you may not currently know:

  1.  Pizza Hut was one of the first major brands to experiment with online commerce, starting in 1994.Pizza Hut - Welcome to PizzaNet!
  2. Ecommerce is predicted to represent 10% of all US retail by 2017.
  3. North Dakota, Connecticut, and Alaska lead all US states in ecommerce sales per capita.
  4. India is home to the fastest growing ecommerce market, and France is experiencing the slowest growth.
  5. 80% of the online population has used the internet to make a purchase, and 50% of the online population has purchased online more than once.
  6. 'Apparel and Accessories' is the fastest growing ecommerce sector of the 9 major categories.
  7. Although it launched in 1995, Amazon wasn’t able to turn a profit until 2003.Amazon's First Gateway Page
  8. 26% of all products added to cart are abandoned and never purchased.
  9. 44% of smartphone users admitted to “show-rooming” - They browsed products in brick-and-mortar stores, picked what they liked, then purchased online.
  10. During the third quarter of 2012, $4,423 was transacted via Paypal, per second.

Sources: 

Spotlight: Variable Technologies

Here at Delegator, we’re slightly obsessed with the latest and greatest in geek technology.  Whether its our resident neck-beard painstakingly showing us every single android feature that is better than its iOS counterpart, or our yuppiest of project managers downloading the latest social aggregator on his iPad mini, we pretty much have an epic collection of techy toys. That’s why we are extremely excited about a local tech company that we’re working with: Variable Technologies.

These guys are the real deal.  Led by George Yu, a PhD engineering wiz out of Georgia Tech, Variable Technologies produces a modular sensory device called NODE.

NODE is a sleek and powerful bluetooth device that sends a wide array of data sets to your smartphone.

As illustrated, NODE is comprised of a core unit aptly named Kore, and has 2 open slots at either end which can be configured with any two modules.  Even without two modules attached, Kore is loaded, boasting a motion engine, a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer.  Combine this with all the module offerings, and you’ve got yourself a powerhouse.

A sampling of the sensory options you have with NODE:

NODE features some differentiators that we think could be game changing:

1. It’s modular

Variable Tech produces a wide variety of sensors, with a ton still in R&D.  All of the module sensors are compatible with the central unit - Kore.  Simply screw on whichever sensor you are interested in using, and you can immediately start collecting data.

2. It’s smartphone based

These days, everyone has a smartphone; especially professionals.  Choosing a widely owned and popular platform lowers barriers to market adoption.  Whether it's for small, niche companies, or massive corporate quality control, it doesn’t take much to equip your team with this device and begin collecting valuable data.

3. It’s cheap

In the realm of handheld sensors, NODE costs a fraction of what other, enterprise level sensory devices cost, and it collects a comparable caliber of data.

Variable Technologies is on a hot streak right now - wrapping up second of two very successful Kickstarters.  They have been all over tech blogs (TechCrunch, Gizmag, and many more), and have recently interviewed with Forbes, Wired, and Popular Mechanics.

Based on current web trends and the rising obsession with mobile, it's hard to imagine that Variable Tech's NODE won't soon be changing the way businesses standardize their field data collection.  Heck, maybe we'll even see NODE on Mary Meeker's 2013 trends summary!

We hope you’ll be as excited to watch these guys evolve as we are!

 

Web - VariableTech.com

Twitter - @VariableTech

Facebook - NODE

 

Top 5 Custom Advanced Segments for E-commerce Websites

The “Advanced Segments” feature on Google Analytics has been helping companies optimize website analysis for a few years now, and gurus across the globe have designed their favorite custom segments for all brands of websites. We have a few favorites of our own around here at Delegator, especially for our e-commerce clients. If you are looking for more useful, streamlined filters on your own e-commerce account, here are five custom segments we highly recommend.

1. Visits with Add to CartE-commerce Advanced Segments

Google Analytics has a default segment called "Visits with Transactions." Convenient, right? What we discovered is that we not only love having shoppers roll up to the conveyor belt and checkout, but we also want to know who may have added items to her cart but failed to commit to a full-on transaction. Filtered metrics like these can often give you superior insight, both for debugging purposes and, particularly, for content analysis.

2. Specific Product Purchases

One simple fact of e-commerce is that some items generate higher transaction rates than others. You know your company's hottest items. Customizing this filter will take your product analysis beyond the scope of e-commerce’s “Product Performance.” Now you can dig into AdWords under Traffic Sources and identify the types of keywords that commonly lead to a particular item transaction. This same method can be applied to specific product views, as well, revealing similar data on a wider scope.

3. High Revenue Products

Not only do some items produce higher conversion rates, but some produce higher revenue than others. You need to isolate these items for many purposes, including --but definitely not limited to-- identifying potential revenue skews and improving marketing on these items. These high-dollar products are what you’re banking on, so go ahead and give them their own special segment.

4. Low Revenue Products

This segment is as useful as number 3. Ever wonder how many of your conversions are being sucked up by low-revenue items on your website? Set a low ceiling price in this segment and check out how many viewers are only buying your cheapest products. If this number is high, you may consider redirecting your marketing campaign to a wider audience with more promising high-revenue returns. Additionally, you may reconsider the prominence of low-revenue items on your site in order to draw more attention to higher quality products.

5. Social Networks

While we know that most popular social media sites receive a lot of traffic in general, you ultimately need to know how this is reflected in profit for your business. Is your time spent on social media worth the investment? With a social media filter, you can include any or all social mediums utilized. You may find that some networks are more profitable than others, and some, not at all. Social networks guarantee exposure, but as any good business does, you need to check your actual return on investment.

Thanks to Google Analytics, customizing your own advanced segments is a simple process with great returns. Give these five segments a try, and you may find yourself designing even more streamlined segments that fit your business perfectly. If this does happen, feel free to drop by and share!

3 Things We've Learned From March Madness

The Final Four is approaching this weekend, which means it is time for another sports-related blog post. While we can’t get enough of March Madness here at Delegator - let’s just say office lunch breaks tend to last a little longer in March - we have picked up on a couple of lessons from the Tournament that we can apply to our own line of work.

1. Depth

To make a run in the NCAA tournament, you will need contributions from your starters and bench alike. Depth allows teams to survive and advance when their star player gets in foul trouble or doesn’t have the best shooting night.

Maybe Google AdWords is the bread and butter of your business. But what will you do when competition increases and you can’t squeeze the same ROI out of paid search? You’ll need to have a backup plan to drive that traffic and sales (a blog , email marketing, etc.)

2. Consistency

To get to the coveted Final Four, your team has to play at a high level and maintain it for two weeks. No one remembers the first weekend blowouts if they’re followed by a poor showing in the second weekend (sorry Duke fans).

Duke loses

Consistency for an online business means maintaining a steady stream of revenue from your site. Sure, you might see some big numbers around Christmas if you’re an ecommerce site, or around other sales and promotions. But the key to sustaining an online business is consistency. This means always staying visible, by periodically refreshing content on your site, updating your Facebook status, and tweeting, among other things.

3. Experience

With all due respect to Brad Stevens, the conventional wisdom is that experience matters in the NCAA Tournament. There are countless examples of veteran teams outshining talented, but young teams in the Big Dance. Does anyone think VCU makes their Cinderella run without starting 4 seniors and a junior?

Experience is important in e-marketing as it can help you to navigate the inevitable challenges you will face. In the e-marketplace, we face challenges all the time. After all, we are unavoidably reliant on search engines and social media platforms for a lot of our business, and having SEO experience allows us to adapt when Google or Facebook rolls out their latest change. Instead of panicking when this occurs, an experienced online marketing team will be able to analyze the change, assess how it will affect their business, and devise a strategy moving forward.

Google Analytics: How Does The Other Half Live?

A recent analysis shows that only 50% of the top million websites have Google Analytics tracking code. This begs the question: What are the other half of websites doing? To those who work in Analytics on a daily, or at least weekly basis, this is a serious question. With the growth of social networks and e-commerce, it would seem that at least a majority of website owners would place a premium on insightful information about their website. To be sure, there are other Analytics software packages that will track useful data about website visitors. But most of these packages are expensive - Google’s is free - and many lack the intuitive interface of Google Analytics that makes all that mess of data clean and actionable. And now that Google’s tracking code is asynchronous, site speed is no longer a reason to eschew Analytics.

So what are these 50% of website owners thinking? Quick answer: They aren’t.

The Other Half

A straw poll of small business owners with websites would probably reveal that a lot of them have never heard of Analytics and don’t know the wealth of information that can be made available to them at no cost. What to do now? Well, we did make getting the word out about Google Analytics one of our New Year's Resolutions.

Stay tuned for a series of posts in the coming weeks on how to get the most out of Analytics for your business or blog. But in the meantime, go ahead and create your Analytics account, and join the soon-to-be majority of websites in the knowledgeable class.

World Series of E-Commerce: Part II

The MLB playoffs are in full swing now, with a no-hitter and the retirement of a legend highlighting the first round. A couple of weeks ago I began a post comparing our online marketing services to a baseball lineup. You can read the post for a full rundown of the first five spots in our lineup, but I’ll list them here again.

  1. Google Analytics
  2. SEO (site review)
  3. Content Writing
  4. Google AdWords
  5. Social Media

And, without further ado, the back half of our E-Commerce Starting Lineup:

6.  Local Search Marketing

  • In the major leagues, there is no room for a weak spot in your lineup. So at #6, we roll out a local search marketing plan, revolving around Google Places, Maps, and Earth, along with the newly released Facebook Places. With a strong organic and paid search outlook as well as social media integration, you might think your site has enough to sustain sales. The rules of the game are always changing though, and local search’s market share is growing faster than any of the aforementioned areas.

7.  Affiliate Marketing

  • Affiliate Marketing is a specialist hitter, not strong enough to be placed higher in the order, yet valuable enough to make the starting nine. To extend the analogy further, we might call this our Designated Hitter. Just as the DH only exists in the American League (not the National), affiliate marketing is almost exclusively the domain of e-commerce sites (and rarely useful in service-based sites). Still, it makes the cut because of its role as a power hitter, a true driver of sales (RBIs).

Bobby Cox

8.  Web Design/Development

  • Web design and development are good back-end services that clean up some of the work of the heavy hitters and lead in to our #9 hitter. If your site isn’t converting as well as you’d like, a few design tweaks can give it a boost. We are well-versed in web usability best practices and have advised many clients on ways to improve their site’s conversion rate.

9.  A/B and Multivariate Testing

  • Our last batter, and perhaps most effective, is multivariate testing. Once everything else is in place (top-level marketing goals, organic search strategy, paid search strategy, social media, local/mobile engagement of users) it is time to test and check everything to ensure that the marketing achieves optimal results. In baseball, the #9 hitter is not the most powerful; indeed he may often lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance a previous batter. This is the type of marginal improvement we see in Multivariate Testing. Whether it be a landing page, a homepage design, or an AdWords ad, testing and tweaking is a process of constant improvement.

Google Apps (pitching staff)

  • 2010 is the year of the pitcher in baseball and every team needs a good pitching staff to keep up. You don’t rely on your pitchers to score runs, but you need them to win games. Google Apps fills this role in a business. After all, you need email, a calendar, and data storage, and Google Apps is all of that and more (documents, chat, video, sites, etc.). Other platforms like MS Exchange are clunky, unreliable, and not easily scalable. Google Apps gives your business the data security you need combined with the collaborative tools that make everything else in day-to-day operations run more smoothly.

Of course, this is just one way to structure our services and we've seen a variety of different lineups among our clients. But we know e-marketing can be overwhelming to some, and we think this will be a welcome template to those who want to get into online marketing but don't exactly know where to start. Now we'll start thinking about our football post...