IR Magazine: Coming in the April Issue
Cover story

The delivery squeeze

The United Parcel Service and FedEx have been the go-to delivery carriers for most North American e-retailers for years, but moves by the USPS and retailers may be poised to undermine that position. The USPS, where gains in parcel volume has been pretty much the only positive number on its profit and loss statement for years, last fall cut its rates for large-volume shippers nearly in half for some shipments. That move was intended to make it an attractive alternative for e-retailers trying to offer free or low-cost shipping to consumers while preserving margin at a time when UPS and FedEx are raising rates and revising how those rates are determined. The USPS is also working more cozily with Amazon and its newer sortation centers, delivering packages on Sundays and in some markets, even groceries. Meanwhile, UPS says the move by retailers to fulfill some online orders from stores is a reason for a decline in the use of premium services, like air service, and an increase in shipments traveling a shorter distance, which is affecting its bottom line. This story will dig deeply into the dynamics of the delivery market today, focusing on UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service, to gain an understanding of how the market is changing, how e-retailers are (or aren’t) rethinking their carrier mix and contract terms, and what such moves mean for e-commerce. That includes whether any of these services is seriously investing in same-day delivery options. It will include comment from operations executives at e-retailers about their delivery mix, their concerns/complaints, etc.

Topics: Fulfillment showcase

E-retail salaries and hiring

This story will reveal the average salaries for a range of e-commerce positions, based on available independent salary survey data, and assess the demand for those positions among retailers. It will also examine how and where e-retailers find and recruit qualified employees to join their organizations, addressing how long it takes to fill key e-commerce positions vs. hiring norms, and what is the tenure of e-commerce executive positions vs. non e-commerce executive averages. E-retail executives will share how they came to their positions, what the key factors that helped them decide to make a move, etc. In-house hiring managers will talk about how they keep their pipelines full. 

Topics: E-Commerce salaries

E-commerce in India

E-commerce in India is growing up fast. Sales are expected to top $6 billion this year, up 70% from a year ago, and by 2020 account for 3% of all retail sales in the country. This story will introduce the key players in Indian e-commerce to readers, explain why India is so far behind China and whether that is likely to change, how Western e-retailers are positioning themselves to make inroads in the market and the challenges that lay ahead.

Topics: E-Commerce

Leveraging loyalty to get new customers

The cost to acquire a new web customer can be high, especially for small and medium-sized e-retailers who find it tough to come out ahead in online marketing venues like search, where organic results are losing ground to paid ads, and the cost of paid ads is high. Retailers are, however, finding that investing in their relationships with existing customers can introduce them to new customers. This story will look at the methods small and medium-sized e-retailers are using to leverage loyalty to gain new customers, such as structured referral programs (refer a friend, get a discount) and less structured methods, such as fostering or building a community environment online that naturally encourage customers to direct others the e-retailer’s way. This story will help smaller e-retailers—who may not have the assortment or repeat purchase frequency to justify a full-scale rewards program like larger retailers—ascertain how they can best grow their customer base through the customers they’ve already won. The story will include measurement metrics like the lifetime value of a customer, cost of acquisition, etc. from the e-retailers interviewed to demonstrate the success of their methods.

Topics: SMB, marketing

The battle for web performance

Sometimes a day doesn’t go as expected, and the same can be said for e-retailers. Sudden surges in traffic—legitimate or malicious—can knock a site offline and lock out customers who want to buy. This story will look at how e-retailers prepare for such days (load testing), exploring the fail-safes they have in place. The story will explore new web site hosting services and other new technologies that can take the burden of keeping a site running off of a small company. It will also highlight how less-prepared e-retailers have managed to get back online after encountering an issue.

Topics: Operations

App success

Consumers spend 52% of all digital time (desktop, tablet, smartphone, wearables, web, apps, everything) within a mobile app. More than ever, retailers and other businesses must know how to craft a mobile app that meets customers’ needs and sells products—or helps sell products in-store. For this story retail executives will share their mobile app secrets, detailing the features and functions that businesses serving consumers today must have to succeed. They also will discuss how to approach Apple iOS and Google Android development, and the differences between these two different types of mobile users, especially when it comes to what they expect from mobile apps.

Topics: M-Commerce

Decoding data management

The amount of data retailers have at their disposal today is abundant, both about their products and their customers. But it’s not easy to use that data to its full potential. Numerous vendors have emerged in the last several years with services promising that they can help e-retailers with their “master data management” challenges and make data collected in all parts of the organization, accessible and usable, ensuring, for example, that the latest product information from a manufacturer is displayed on a retailer’s web site, or that a customer service agent has ready access to what a customer bought last week and any recent complaints from that consumer. This story will look at how e-retailers are using master data management services or devising their own approaches in-house, what kinds of operational improvements they can credit to their more organized approach to data and how those have made them better competitors.

Topics: Technology

The buzz on beacons

One of the big opportunities for retailers that operate bricks-and-mortar locations is to use mobile technologies to bring into physical stores all the helpful and fun tools consumers have come to expect when shopping online. One way retailers are trying to bridge the digital/store gap is with beacons. Beacons are tiny pieces of hardware that can be placed just about anywhere in a store. They emit Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless transmissions to communicate with mobile apps on smartphones, meaning retailers can send shoppers who have the app installed on their smartphone messages to enhance their visit and encourage them to convert, such as a discount on an item in the aisle where the shopper is standing. Apple and PayPal each launched beacon hardware last year and a host of retailers, including Macy’s, Duane Reade, Hudson’s Bay and Alex and Ani, have been trialing beacons in stores. This story will examine how retailers are using beacons in stores, what consumer response has been and what retailers are learning about what consumers want from the messaging and what works or doesn’t work. Among other things it will delve into how retailers encourage shoppers to download and use apps that work with beacons and how they allay privacy concerns.

Topics: Beacons
Special report

Optimizing e-mail marketing for mobile shoppers

Two-thirds of marketing e-mail messages today are opened on a mobile device, the majority of those on smartphones. The special report and advertising section “Optimizing e-mail marketing for mobile shoppers” will look at what e-retailers can do to make sure their email marketing messages get opened, and when they do, render optimally for mobile users using their favorite mobile device.

With input from e-mail marketing experts, this special report will detail how e-retailers can understand what each consumer’s device preference is, and how to make sure that consumers gets a message that works best on that device. It will also cover the content of those e-mails in terms of design (how many products should an e-mail destined to be opened on a mobile device highlight?) and function. For example, a best practice for mobile e-mail marketing is to link to the mobile-optimized web site, not the desktop site.

The special report and advertising section “Optimizing e-mail marketing for mobile shoppers” will provide readers with the ideas and best practices they need to design marketing e-mail messages that work for today’s very mobile customers. 

As an email marketing service provider, this special report provides you the platform to showcase your industry leadership in email marketing.  Whether it be providing personalization and messaging tactics, responsive design, geo email targeting, shopper behavior marketing, analyzing big data, platform upgrades and more to the e-retailing audience.  Let them know your can help grow their business and better service this growing segment of the market.

Topics: E-mail marketing
Special report

Conquering B2B’s e-commerce challenges

The special report and advertising section “Conquering B2B’s e-commerce challenges” is geared to readers engaged in or contemplating engaging in B2B e-commerce; that is businesses selling goods and services online to other businesses, government agencies, schools or non-profit groups. While in some regards B2B e-retailing is similar to selling to consumers, in others it is quite distinct. B2B buyers often need to route orders through an internal approval process, for example, and use other forms of payment besides credit cards, like direct transfers or purchase orders. B2B buyers also expect to see products reflecting their negotiated pricing or bulk discounts—all challenges that are likely new to even seasoned B2C e-commerce executives. The special report and advertising section “Conquering B2B’s e-commerce challenges” will be a resource providing the guidance needed to answer these and other distinctly B2B questions and introduce the technology and ancillary services that help e-retail executives make going the B2B route easier. 

Topics: B2B

This Month's Issue

Contact a Sales Rep

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

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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

03/06/2015:Ad Space Close

03/13/2015:Ad Materials Dude