Thursday, April 24, 2008

Exclusive: Zappos Zeta

US online retailer Zappos' upcoming version of their website, currently in "Zeta", complete with their new product categories:

Monday, April 21, 2008

The New Zappos: going into Amazon territory | from CNET

The company's two warehouses in Kentucky hold around 4 million items, but at just under a million square feet, Zappos has plenty of room to grow. And that's just what they're planning on; by the end of 2008 the company hopes to be selling footwear, apparel, sunglasses, watches, bags, bedding/linens, cosmetics, luggage, and electronics, according to the CEO's blog.

Zappos prides itself on attention to customer service--an 800 number is plastered on every page, along with notes promoting the company's 24/7 customer service line and 365-day return policy. So far, this approach has been working: Zappos, which launched in 1999, had gross sales of $840 million in 2007, up from $1.6 million in 2000. As of the beginning of April, the company had a customer base of 7.7 million people.

The privately held company reported an operating profit in 2007, and "we exceeded (our goal) a little bit," Hsieh said. In fact, things are going so well that the company recently told its 1,600 employees they would each receive a bonus equal to 10 percent of their 2007 salary.

New Zappos: Shoes--and gadgets to boot | Tech news blog - CNET

Visual Mobile Search for Shopping!

Here's a demo video from Evolution Robotics' ViPR technology: snap a pic of any product off a store shelf with your mobile phone (ANY mobile phone), send it to the ViPR server via e-mail or through the ViPR app, and you get detailed info about the product including copy, specs, video from YouTube and even music from iTunes.

Think of it as mortar shopping meeting online shopbots, all on your mobile phone screen:
> For consumers: it's so much faster than typing on their (mobile) keyboard
> For ViPR: it's fully trackable (sent pictures logs) thus easily monetizeable (mobile user profiles colmplete with search history and product interests!)

Great Stuff!

Enjoy the demo:

New Brand Jordan Commercial.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Online shoppers will return to socialize - Internet Retailer

More than 60% of consumers are drawn to online retailers that employ interactive and dynamic Web 2.0 tools and techniques, according to a survey by web technology consulting firm Guidance and market research firm Synovate:

"35% say they’re most likely to return to an e-commerce site if it offers customer product recommendations. 26% desire a unique experience each visit, which the continually changing content of Web 2.0 features facilitates, the firms say. And 6% say they’re most likely to return if a site makes them feel part of a community with other shoppers." - Daily News for Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Google Will Not Kill the Agency Star, Says Publicis CEO [SearchEngineWatch]

While the business model for advertising agencies needs change, Publicis CEO Maurice Levy says that agencies will adapt and not become obsolete.

Levy says that agencies are the ones who develop the creative, something that companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo do not provide.

"Agencies do need to gain a better understanding of new media in order to develop better creatives for channels such as video games and cell phones", according to Levy.

Publicis may be well on its way to doing just that, having acquired digital agency Digitas for $1.3 billion last year.

Google Will Not Kill the Agency Star, Says Publicis CEO [SearchEngineWatch]

"Who's #1? iTunes, thats' who!"

Apple’s online iTunes Store has surpassed Wal-Mart Stores as the leading U.S. music retailer based on January and February sales, research firm NPD Group says.

I beg to differ: iTunes is the leading music retailer in the whole wide world.
Among retailers online AND offline.

“We launched iTunes less than five years ago, and it has now become the number one music retailer in the world,” says Eddy Cue, vice president of iTunes.

To date, iTunes has sold more than 4 billion songs to more than 50 million customers.

Ouch for Walmart, for music store chains accross the world... and for all the major music distributors who are scrambling to get on the online music bandwagon a little late.

Apparel and accessories top category for US web purchases

Apparel and accessories led all product categories in number of online purchases in the USA in February, Nielsen Online reports.

Apparel and accessories led all product categories in number of online purchases in February, with 9.87 million, or 16% of all online purchases, Nielsen Online reports in its MegaView Online Retail report.

It adds that eBay led all retail web sites in number of online purchases in the apparel and accessories category, with 4.6 million, 47% of the market , followed by Victoria’s Secret, with 870,000 purchases and a 9% of the market.

Forrester Research concurs: in its State of Retailing Online 2008 report, the apparel category, which surpassed computer gear for the first time in 2006 as the top online sales category, is projected to hold onto the top spot again in 2008, accounting for $26.6 billion in sales, up 17.2% from $22.7 billion last year.

E-commerce will grow 17% to $204 billion in the US this year -

Despite the US economic slowdown, e-commerce sales will grow nearly 17% from $175 billion in 2007 to $204 billion this year, according the first installment of the three-part State of Retailing Online 2008 report from research and consulting firm Forrester Research and, the online retail arm of the National Retail Federation, a merchant trade association.

E-commerce sales also grew 17% from 2006 to 2007, the report says. Online sales will account for 7% of U.S. retail sales this year, up from 6% last year, the report says.

“Even in 2008, when retailers in general are expected to encounter challenges with growth due to uncertain or adverse economic circumstances, we project that online retail will continue to erode market share from other channels,” the report says. Forrester has reported separately that, although 61% of U.S. online shoppers expect the economy to worsen in the next year, 85% say they will spend the same or more online in the next year.

Half of online retail sales in 2007 came from five categories: apparel, accessories and footwear; computer hardware and software; autos and auto parts; consumer electronics; and home furnishings. The apparel category, which surpassed computer gear for the first time in 2006 as the top online sales category, is projected to hold onto the top spot again in 2008, accounting for $26.6 billion in sales, up 17.2% from $22.7 billion last year.

53% of marketing budgets will be devoted to online customer acquisition and 21% to online tactics for retaining customers, according to the survey of 125 retailers. Search engine marketing is the leading acquisition method, accounting for 35% of new online customers, followed by organic traffic 18%, affiliate programs 7%, e-mail to prospecting lists 7%, and comparison shopping sites 5%.

Other highlights of the report include :
- The retailers surveyed manage an average of 31,839 paid search terms, on average pay 50 cents per click for a search ad and realize $8.47 in revenue per click.
- Cost per order for online banners averages $84.21, compared with $50.74 for deals with traditional web portals, $50.11 for social network ads, $32.12 for e-mails to prospecting lists, $27.45 for comparison shopping engines, $19.33 for paid search, $12.24 for affiliate programs, $8.63 for natural search and $6.85 for e-mails to house lists. The average order value is highest for social network ads at $168.80, followed by online banners $133.01, affiliate programs $122.51 and e-mails to house lists $120.27.
- While 85% of retailers say they offered free shipping on certain orders, last year, only 33% plan to increase such promotions this year. 57% plan to increase use of offers in outgoing packages from web orders, 45% online-only sales and 40% gift with purchase. - Daily News for Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Video merchandising features coming up...

Now that broadband access has become the norm in major e-commerce markets and CDN/bandwith pricing has come down (thank you Amazon services), clothing online retailers enrich their product pages with video merchandising.

A couple of cool examples:

Saks Fifth Avenue (USA)
Saks has just launched its 'Fashion in action' video catalog, where 17 selected looks from this Spring's collection are spotlighted. Videos are short-length, with a classic TV-style narration and background music. Kudos for the jewelry cross-selling by the narrator while describing a dress.

They've been doing it for quite a while, with their 'Catwalk' video feature, directly accessible from the product page (under the product picture area). Great stuff: extra-short length video of a model wearing the item and walking back and forth on a runway, with a current radio hit song playing in the background.

Videos of models wearing the clothing pieces are really a plus: consumers can see how the item is worn, how it fits and flows on a real person, and from all angles. Also a great way to suggest outfits and full looks, from tops to bottoms to accessories...

Next up I hope: an interactive video, where users can click each piece worn by the model in order to directcly access the product page?

PPR's fashion pure play has just launched its 'Fashion Week' online runway video feature. Select a theme/style and check out men and women models sporting this season's latest fashion. Very nicely done and enticing.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Small changes but big impact on Amazon product pages - from

You probably didn’t notice, but Amazon just made it easier to quickly glance at the product you want and get all the information you need in order to buy.

Some small tweaks that really improved the ability to 'skim' product pages, and most probably their already great conversion rate (up to 17.6% in December) ...

Big Impact, Small Changes on Amazon

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Top 10 lessons learned by Toney Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Really great stuff. Powerpoint of presentation given by CEO Tony Hsieh at the 2008 SXSW Interactive conference.

SlideShare Link

Lipdub : Digitas France featuring Partenaire Particulier

Online sales continue to trample catalog sales at Foot Locker - Internet Retailer

E-commerce was the sales leader for Foot Locker Inc. in 2007. Internet sales at the multi-channel athletic footwear and apparel retailer increased by 6.3% to $287 million in 2007, up from $270 million the prior year, whereas catalog sales fell by 30%, or $33 million, to $77 million in 2007 from $110 million in 2006.

A trend also identified in 2007 at numerous catalog companies in the US who have launched their e-commerce business in the early 2000s. - Daily News for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

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