July 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Who puts the ‘e’ in e-commerce

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1. Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC, 113 Top 500 clients, including:
Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1)
Costco Wholesale Corp. (No. 14)
Zappos.com Inc. (No. 27)

2. PayPal Inc., 75 Top 500 clients, including:
SonyStyle.com (No. 12)
Blue Nile Inc. (No. 56)
YOOX Group (No. 79)

3. CyberSource Corp., 45 Top 500 clients, including:
Overstock.com Inc. (No. 29)
The Home Depot Inc. (No. 43)
Nike Inc. (No. 49)

Personalization: Making relevant offers

Online retailers that pay close attention to how customers react to personalized product recommendations have an excellent opportunity to drive more sales, says a June 2009 report and survey from personalization technology vendor MyBuys Inc. and research firm the E-tailing Group Inc. In a survey of 1,000 consumers with annual household incomes of $50,000 and higher who shop online at least twice each month, 43% of respondents find it very or somewhat valuable if the retailer offers specific product recommendations tailored to their personal tastes and shopping histories.

1. Certona, 6 (tie) Top 500 clients, including:
Victoria’s Secret (No. 19)
eBags.com (No. 93)
Petco Animal Supplies Inc. (No. 186)

1. MyBuys Inc., 6 (tie) Top 500 clients, including:
AutoAnything (No. 204)
Gaiam Inc. (No. 254)
Cost Plus Inc. (No. 374)

3. ATG, 5 Top 500 clients, including:
Best Buy Co. (No. 10)
NutriSystem Inc. (No. 46)
Joann.com (No. 256)

Rich media: New looks

Web retailers are adding rich media to offer consumers visual shopping aids. In a recent survey, 50% of retailers plan to add alternative product images this year, and 31% color swatches, according to Shop.org and Forrester Research. Vendors offer technologies via licensed software or host them, providing service on demand.

1. Scene7, an Adobe Co., 109 Top 500 clients, including:
Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 7)
Walmart.com (No. 13)
HP Home & Home Office Store (No. 16)

2. ChannelAdvisor, 33 Top 500 clients, including:
Staples Inc. (No. 2)
Walmart.com (No. 13)
1-800-Flowers.com Inc. (No. 31)

3. Easy2 Technologies Inc., 22 Top 500 clients, including:
Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1)
CDW Corp. (No. 8)
Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (No. 76)

Search engine marketing: Productive tools

Fiscal inertia characterized much of U.S. retailing in the past year. But through it all online retailers have fared better than other channels and many have done so by sticking to search as a key tool for online advertising. And there are signs that strategy is working. Internet Retailer’s spring search engine marketing survey found that since last fall 41.9% of retailers say paid search advertising outperformed other forms of marketing.

1. iProspect, 18 Top 500 clients, including:
ShoeMall.com (No. 135)
Jones Retail Corp. (No. 271)
Hat World Corp. (No. 360)

2. Performics, 15 Top 500 clients, including:
HP Home & Home Office Store (No. 16)
Cabela’s Inc. (No. 40)
American Girl LLC (No. 97)

3. ChannelAdvisor, 13 (tie) Top 500 clients, including:
J&R; Electronics Inc. (No. 103)
Petco Animal Supplies Inc. (No. 186)
LumberLiquidators.com (No. 234)

3. Google, 13 (tie) Top 500 clients, including:
Costco Wholesale Corp. (No. 14)
Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. (No. 39)
YOOX Group (No. 79)

Security certification: Calming fears

Many consumers worry about the safety of buying online, and 71% say they exercise caution when choosing where to shop online, according to a survey by research and consulting firm Gartner Inc. Many online retailers try to soothe those fears by using security services that certify the safety of an e-commerce site. Of the Top 500 retailers, 58% use security certification vendors.

1. VeriSign Inc., 132 Top 500 clients, including:
Newegg Inc. (No. 9)
Overstock.com Inc. (No. 29)
Peapod LLC (No. 47)

2. McAfee Inc., 129 Top 500 clients, including:
Avon Products Inc. (No. 30)
Redcats USA (No. 34)
Cabela’s Inc. (No. 40)

3. Thawte Inc., 20 Top 500 clients, including:
Cymax Stores Inc. (No. 200)
Under Armour Inc. (No. 259)
KitchenSource.com (No. 427)

Site design: Follow a leader

Many online merchants that have been through an e-commerce redesign experience similar woes. Everyone-from technology staff to the marketing department to upper management-wants a say in how the site should look and function. And many times, those opinions clash. Pulling off a successful site redesign is not easy, but it can be done. Retailers who have done it offer a few tips: Put the customer first, establish clear objectives in the beginning and designate a redesign leader that no one, not even the CEO, can trump.

1. Fry Inc., 12 Top 500 clients, including:
Ann Taylor Stores Corp. (No. 108)
The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc. (No. 149)
Meijer Inc. (No. 490)

2. GSI Commerce Inc., 11 Top 500 clients, including:
National Football League (No. 123)
adidas America Inc. (No. 315)
Shop PBS (No. 400)

3. Razorfish, 5 Top 500 clients, including:
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (No. 15)
Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 24)
Amway Global (No. 28)

Site search: Meshing the tools

The most successful e-commerce sites integrate site search and other key marketing tools, says Susan Aldrich, senior vice president with the marketing consulting firm Patricia Seybold Group. Combining site search with other key elements of an e-commerce platform can produce more sales, bigger orders and a higher sales conversion. Until recently many online retailers have focused on getting the basics working: a site search engine and taxonomy, product catalogs, and a shopping cart, Aldrich says. Site search applications have dramatically improved in the past decade and even more significantly in the past two years.

1. Endeca Technologies Inc., 85 Top 500 clients, including:
SonyStyle.com (No. 12)
Costco Wholesale Corp. (No. 14)
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (No. 15)

2. Omniture (Mercado), 45 Top 500 clients, including:
Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 24)
Overstock.com Inc. (No. 29)
Blockbuster Inc. (No. 37)

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