IR Magazine: Coming in the November Issue
Cover story

Smoothing the ramp to online buying and selling

Many companies—manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers—that sell to other companies are moving more into business-to-business e-commerce, or at least considering it. The opportunities are in selling more products to more customers, while also saving on operating costs and improving profit margins. But the challenges are many. B2B companies selling online must learn how their particular customers can benefit from purchasing online and deploy the right e-commerce applications and related services that suit their customers’ needs. This often means that sellers are offering online systems that, for example, let their customers set spending limits for particular employees and products, while also offering more such user-friendly features common on retail e-commerce and mobile sites as site search punctuated with product images, fast checkout and product reviews. This article will look at the e-commerce technology and strategies that several B2B companies have deployed, and how it has affected their relationships with customers. The article will also look at how the role of sellers’ sales and customer service reps have evolved as companies have moved more into e-commerce and mobile commerce. 

Topics: B2B strategy

Survey: Search marketing

This story will examine the results of Internet Retailer’s annual search marketing survey, which asks e-retailers to share details about their search marketing strategies, budgets and how they’ve adjusted and plan to adjust their search marketing mix in the coming year. This year the survey will include questions on retailers’ budgets and spending on mobile search ads. E-commerce experts will comment on the results and explain the significance of these survey results for web retailers crafting their own search marketing budgets for 2015.

Topics: Search marketing

The ROI of stores for web-only retailers

A growing number of top web-only retailers are venturing into bricks-and-mortar retailing. The question is why? The cost of operating a physical storefront can be high, and diverts funds that might be better used to drive online growth. So what is compelling e-retailers to invest in stores? Web merchants that have opened or are opening stores include Bonobos, Birchbox, Gemvara, Warby Parker and Indochino, among others. This story will explore why web merchants are trying store retailing, how they are paying for store operations and the monetary and ancillary ROI they say they are getting from stores. It will also explore which types of goods consumers most want to touch and feel, and whether the marketing value of one or a few storefronts in prime locations justifies the overhead. Retailers will describe their experiences and retail analysts will offer their views on whether this is a trend or a passing fad.

Topics: ROI, Web-only retailers

Long-distance shoppers, long-distance returns?

More than half of the largest retailers in North America sell to consumers outside their home country. And while international consumers generate sales, web retailers have to also consider the potential hassle and cost of managing returns. Often, the cost of transporting and processing an international return can exceed a retailer's margin on the product, leading some to just write off the sale. But many retailers are figuring ways around this challenge, coming up with processes and systems that make returns less onerous on their international shoppers and on themselves. This story will look at international returns processes and provide guidance on how an e-retailer can select the one right for its current and future international expansion plans. Options include establishing a retailer-operated warehouse in popular foreign markets and employing an international returns processing vendor or fulfillment provider that can handle the return in or near where most consumers are. The story will look at the cost of these options and what retailers need to know to make returns easier and less costly. It will also examine the additional information a retailer can offer on its web site to make it more likely an overseas shopper will get the product she wants, and not return it.

Topics: Returns processing

Preparing for a data breach

The number of data breaches jumped 53.6% in 2013 from 2012, and 54.0% of those breaches were targeted at e-commerce web sites. Those attacks have hit everyone from Home Depot to Made in Oregon. So, what can/should a retailer do to respond to a data breach? This story will explore the mechanics of what retailers can do when criminals penetrate its defenses. For example, it will examine how retailers put together preparedness plans so that they have procedures in place for responding if particular systems are breached and includes understanding which consultants and other vendors to use to assist in the response. It will also review the obligations a retailer has if customer data is compromised, and whether consumers have become more quick to respond to breach notifications in light of the recent rash of successful attacks on the computer networks of retailers and others.

Topics: Security

Content that drives social conversions

 Driving sales via social media isn't easy. Most of a brand's fans won't see its posts on Facebook or Twitter, Instagram is a closed network and Pinterest has a ton of noise. So how do you retailers break through and drive sales? This story will highlight several retailers' successful campaigns that have driven sales via social media. Those efforts are often multipronged because each social network has a distinct audience that has certain expectations. A critical piece of the story, for many retailers, are the techniques marketers use to ensure that shoppers see their posts. For example, how do they decide which posts or tweets to pay to promote to get higher visibility?

Topics: Social media

Let your fingers do the shopping

It’s ironic: The smartphone has always been damned (and rightfully so) as the most difficult device on which to make a purchase, but today it's on the way to becoming the easiest. The problem has always been: Who wants to type in all that payment and shipping information on the tiny screen of a smartphone? Not to mention sometimes slow page loads over wireless networks that make a multi-step/multi-page checkout a pain. One-touch checkout is the answer to mobile checkout woes, and the direction the leaders are taking. This story looks at the most optimal examples of checkout on smartphones today, including as they are baked into responsive design sites, and examines one-touch technologies, looking at early adopters and retailers considering one-touch for their sites and apps.

Topics: mCommerce

E-commerce platforms for young retailers

E-retailing continues to be a growth industry—there is no shortage of newly launched e-retail sites hitting the web, and the fact that 56 of the 1000 largest e-retailers ranked by sales operating in North America today are less than four years old shows that opportunity remains. But fledgling retailers often need to bootstrap their way into business and carefully watch their costs along the way. An important early investment for retailers is the e-commerce platform that will serve as the technology foundation of their web business, and there are plenty on the market for retailers to choose from. This story will look at the more budget-friendly e-commerce platforms available to retailers and those used by the younger retailers among the Top 1000. The story will include e-retailer insights on why they chose the platforms they did, their costs and the benefits and challenges/limitations retailers see in them. 

Topics: E-commerce platforms
Special Report

Web site improvements that drive sales

Successful online retailers understand that their web work is never done. They constantly adjust, tweak and test their web sites to make them more appealing to consumers. The November 2014 issue of Internet Retailer will include a special report and advertising section on the different approaches to web site optimization. In “Web site improvements that drive sales” e-commerce executives will share how retailers can raise the performance of their desktop and mobile web sites. It will cover web optimization from numerous angles, including speed and stability, the performance of third-party applications and testing. It will also look at how e-retailers can optimize sites to draw more traffic, such as through search engine optimization and through participation on social media.

Topics: Web site optimization

This Month's Issue

Contact a Sales Rep

For information about the latest ad opportunities, contact your regional representative.

Which Region am I in?
Pick a region to contact a sales rep.

Cindy Wilkins

Midwest / Intl. Advertising Manager

Nancy Bernardini

Northeast Advertising Manager

Dave Cappelli

Western Advertising Manager

Judy Dellert

Southeast Advertising Manager

Oliver Love

Classified Advertising Manager

Important Dates

10/07/2014:Ad close

10/14/2014:Ad materials due