IR Magazine: Coming in the September Issue
Cover Story

Mobile takes charge

Consumers increasingly are going online via smartphones and tablets, and that includes when they’re shopping. That’s forcing retailers to adapt to smaller screens, but also new shopping scenarios, such as a consumer comparing prices while in a retailer’s store—or that of a competitor. This issue’s cover story will reveal insights on the e-retailers making the transition most successfully, as measured by the amount and percentage of sales they are closing with consumers ordering from mobile devices. The story will update key statistics about mobile Internet and app use, the web design changes e-retailers are making to appeal to mobile shoppers and include commentary from key mobile commerce leaders on where the market and sales are headed. It will also take up new trends that are emerging, including shoppers’ growing willingness to purchase via their increasingly large smartphones on retailers’ increasingly appealing mobile sites and apps.

Topics: M-commerce

Ample room for growth

Latin America is second only to China in world e-commerce market growth rate, and web merchants ranked in the 2015 Latin America 500 are getting down to business and looking for opportunity. As an e-commerce market, Latin America still presents challenges from poor roads, a lack of true national delivery systems and lots of taxes and other government red tape. But challenges aside, e-commerce in Latin America is also growing faster than any other global e-commerce market with the exception of China. This story will explore the growth drivers and hindrances of selling online in Latin America

Topics: Latam e-commerce

The Northern opportunity

E-retailing in Canada has evolved at a slower pace than in markets like the United States and the United Kingdom, and e-retailers and experts cite multiple reasons for this—from access and infrastructure to ingrained shopping habits to lack of selection to the sheer cost of trying to serve a market spread across a country slightly larger in geographic size than the United States but which has only about 10% as many people. Some of these reasons are no longer an issue; but other remain. This story delves into the development and current state of e-commerce in Canada, the evolving shopping habits of Canadian consumers and the leading online retailers tackling Canada’s unique challenges and claiming market share. Today most of the leading online retailers in Canada have U.S. roots, but Canada-based retailers are coming online and raising their e-commerce acumen.

Topics: Canada e-commerce

Profile: Mobile app excellence

There are thousands of retail apps available, but few have gained the traction among consumers that Groupon Inc.’s has. The seller of vouchers and, increasingly, physical goods has universal apps for iOS and Android that consumers access more than 36 million times a month to explore offers and shop. This detailed profile of Groupon’s mobile capabilities will show readers why more than half of Groupon’s sales happen on mobile devices, and how Groupon leverages its gold-plated email list, a product of its explosive growth as a voucher provider, when marketing to mobile shoppers. It will draw on comment from industry experts to explain Groupon’s mobile success and why Groupon was selected to receive the Internet Retailer Excellence Award for Mobile.

Topics: Mobile apps

Operations: Testing mobile performance

Everyone knows that mobile sites have to load quickly to satisfy mobile users, but what’s equally important is that site content and functionality deliver on consumers’ expectations. This story will look beyond mobile speed and uptime to look at how e-retailers are testing and changing their mobile sites for optimal mobile usability. For example, which navigation format works best for mobile users? Text search? Faceted navigation? Voice? What tests can an e-retailer run to even know that answer? What do consumers mainly want to do on smartphones versus tablets versus desktops? How can an e-retailer gain an understanding of exactly how their site will work across all mobile devices? This story will include commentary from mobile retail leaders about how they test their mobile sites and apps for usability and the surprising lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Topics: Testing

SMB e-retailer Article Series: Breaking through the social clutter

With tweets whizzing by at the speed of light and Facebook users seeing fewer unpaid posts by retailers they’ve Liked, it’s getting tough for e-retailers to get their messages through to potential customers on social networks. This story, part of the SMB Article Series, will look at the methods small and medium-sized e-retailers are using to reach customers on social media channels. It will include comment from social media experts/consultants about what raises a post’s profile (such as embedding a photo or video in a post) and when paying for sponsored placement is justified. Small and mid-sized e-retailers will share detailed examples of how they are evolving their social media strategies to remain socially connected with their fans.  They will talk about what they’ve learned about advertising using the growing number of ad formats on social networks, and their early experiences with Buy buttons on social networks. And they’ll explain the importance—especially for a smaller company—of taking advantage of employees’ knowledge about social networking, and inspiring them to use that expertise to raise the company’s profile with social shoppers.

Topics: SMB

Marketing Article Series: Content marketing

This story will look at how e-retailers are successfully using content marketing—thecreation and distribution of relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action--to increase traffic and sales. It will include examples of creative digital content that has deepened engagement with consumers, exposed the e-retailer to new customers and contributed to sales growth. It will also examine how good content can improve a retailer’s search engine optimization and document any shifts retailers are making in their marketing budgets to allow for content development. The retail examples will include details on how much of retailers’ marketing budgets are allocated for content development (is money being reallocated away from search, display, etc.?), how the content was conceived, how the retailer placed and promoted it online, and the long-tail results of the content (including sales attributed to it or other trackable metrics, increases in SEO, etc.)—in other words, the sorts of numbers/details that a reader could show his boss to help him or her justify allotting money and resources to content.  It will also examine the most cost-effective ways to generate great content: Is it better to rely on in-house personnel who know a brand or retailer’s products intimately, or outsource it to the growing number of firms that will create slick articles, images and videos—but who may lack the passion of a retailer’s own people.

Topics: Content marketing

Toast of the town

Thirsty? There’s an app for that. Drizly, Thirstie, DrinkFly, Swill, Drinkos, Klink and other colorfully named sites and mobile apps have emerged in the 18 months to help stock mostly Millennial-aged consumers’ fridges with alcohol typically delivered by local liquor stores in about an hour. Orders—and venture funding—are flowing in as the companies race to claim territories. This story will look at companies in the market, the traction they are getting and the long-term profit potential for specialized delivery. Are these companies leveraging what they know to deliver other types of products? Does what they’re learning suggest there is a cost-effective way to deliver online orders of all kinds of products from local stores, or is it too hard to ensure on-time delivery without damage when you’re not relying on professional delivery services like UPS and FedEx?

Topics: Specialized delivery

The global bankrollers

Private equity funding is flowing to developing e-commerce markets, and a handful of investment firms are going deep. This article will profile three of these private equity firms and their e-commerce investments in developing global markets: Tiger Global (global, but many in Asia), Rocket Internet (global, but they do a lot in Latin America) and Naspers (Africa). The story will introduce readers to the equity managers that analyze and direct these firm’s e-commerce/digital investments, detailing what they look for in a target company and their outlook for e-commerce development in these developing markets. It will also include the voices of e-retailers these firms have invested in, speaking on the trajectory their online businesses are taking.  

Topics: Private equity firms
Special Report

A good fit for all

Today’s e-commerce platforms are all-encompassing retail sales engines that, among other things, provide consumers with real-time inventory counts, allow them to track shipments, read product reviews, deliver streamlined navigation paths so they can quickly find the products they are looking for, and enable retailers to coordinate marketing initiatives across online, mobile and social channels.

E-retailers have lots of choices to consider when shopping for an e-commerce platform, and finding the right one isn’t always easy. Web merchants must balance a platform’s cost, ease of use, functionality and scalability to help them make a selection, and manage the push and pull among stakeholders with differing opinions. And that’s all before a single keystroke is struck or line of code gets generated.

Online retailers are replatforming more often, Forrester Research reports, as e-commerce becomes more critical and complex. That also brings more stakeholders—including those from the C-suite—to the table for discussions of which platform to choose. This special report and advertising section, “E-commerce platforms: A good fit for all” will inform readers about how to create an e-commerce platform shopping list, such as the mix of services and capabilities needed now and the mix the e-retailer will want in the future, the budget and the level of I.T. involvement that the merchant is comfortable with. Industry leaders will share their perspectives on how to evaluate platforms effectively to work through the decision-making process and get to the implementation stage. It will also cover the requirements a retailer should write into a contract and the consequences if a vendor does not meet them. As well, the article will address the questions a retailer should ask about post-implementation service, including the price of upgrades and any cost a retailer would incur by moving to a responsive design site or building a new e-commerce site in a new market.

E-commerce platforms: A good fit for all” also will introduce the latest e-commerce platform advancements from vendors and their service models, such as software as a service versus licensing software that the retailer hosts, and how to understand which has the best fit for a business’ needs.

Topics: E-commerce platforms

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

08/07/2015:Ad Space Close

08/14/2015:Ad MAterials Due