Dynamic Pricing Strategies Help to Increase eCommerce Profits

By Joel Rosen

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Arie Shpanya explains in a recent article that eCommerce brands are increasing their profits by 25% when they use a dynamic pricing strategy.

Dynamic pricing is a strategy that involves a continuous changing of prices due to the demand for a product at that moment. For example, Amazon changes its prices, on average, every ten minutes to stay competitive with the rest of the market place. As a result, they saw an increase of 27.2% in sales from 2012 – 2013. Additionally, Walmart, Best Buy and Sears have also been known to use this strategy when determining the prices of their products.

For marketers, this means that we have to start thinking about the prices of our products a little differently. No longer can we just determine a price for a product and essentially set it and forget it. We have to have a real understanding of the market and the demand at a current time.

To do this, there is software that can be purchased that will scan Amazon’s prices every ten minutes and set our site’s prices accordingly. This might be a worthwhile investment as research has shown that this type of pricing strategy increases gross margins by 10%.

Google Present: Website Call Conversions

By Jamal Anderson

Google AdWords has been an amazing resource for those companies that have chosen to take advantage of its offering. Furthermore, based on a report from Google, 70% of all people who have engaged in mobile searches have made a call directly from the results ads.

With this information in hand, the search browser King has rolled out its new feature: website call conversions. To sum it up, a phone call option will now accompany your search results. This forwarding number will be present on both the search page and generated on the merchandiser’s website. When consumers use this number, whether they call it directly, or click on the icon, conversion numbers will be tracked and contributed to the searched term.

What does this mean for marketing directors? With this new addition, businesses will be able to develop new strategies, track ROI and understand which keywords are truly valuable on multiple levels. Moreover, this new feature will be the first step in uniting search results with phone call conversions. Furthermore, with an informed staff, the dollars invested in AdWords can be even more specific and valuable.

Lastly, Google makes setting up this addition very easy. Simply read the directions available here to start optimizing your business.

A Patent From The Panda That Almost Was

By Jason Bauman

The Panda update took aim at low-quality content on the web, promoting sites that Google deemed to have high-quality content while penalizing those that didn’t.  Like other algorithm updates, Panda shook up the SEO world by shifting site ranking unpredictably, but a recently approved patent points to a Panda far more aggressive than the one finally released.

The benign sounding “Processing web pages based on content quality,” inventors Brandon Bilinski and Stephen Kirkham outline how Google’s algorithm would index a site and decide if the site contained high quality content, or if it was one of low quality, such as a content farm or a parked domain page.  This portion of the algorithm, at least, seems to have made it into the final Panda update, but the patent goes further.

If the site was determined to be low quality, instead of merely penalizing the site, Google would allow it to continue to rank but instead insert a warning should a user click on it.  This warning would inform the user that Google had determined the site they selected to be one of low quality or a suspected content farm.  Google would then offer to redirect the user to more relevant search results, or allow them to bypass the warning and continue to the site.

While allowing a less-relevant site to rank may seem counter-intuitive, the resulting warning would potentially be more damaging to web developers who utilize these tactics.  Google already uses a similar warning for sites it suspects to be infested with Malware, so it’s likely that users would accept one of the redirects the search giant offered them.

This would deny the website traffic while highlighting websites that went astray of Google’s guidelines.  Google spam guru Matt Cutts said that the goal of his team wasn’t merely to discourage those who participated in “Black Hat” SEO Tactics, but to break their spirits, and this form of public shaming could certainly go a long way towards accomplishing that.

By the time Panda launched, it didn’t feature this warning system. Perhaps Google felt the potential damage done to legitimate sites through false positives outweighed the benefits of punishing black hat tactics.  After all, a penalty is far easier to recover from than a public shaming.  But hints of this technology remain.

In a recent blog post, Google outlined a plan to warn users, particularly mobile users, if the site selected was not optimized for their device.  Google also used Panda’s algorithm to penalize low-quality sites instead of publically shaming them.

While this warning didn’t make it into Panda, it does give us a glimpse of where Google is headed.  Google’s reputation and revenue depends on users trusting them to provide relevant, high quality search results.  With their algorithm improving every release, it may get accurate enough that Google chooses to use this patent, or a similar one, to publically shame developers who do not adhere to their guidelines.

This is why developing relevant, high-quality content should be the goal of every web developer.  Google is constantly updating their algorithm in the hunt for relevant results for their users, so sites built to please the user and not ones that exploit Google’s algorithm are the ones that will survive Google’s next “Panda,” no matter how aggressive this one turns out to be.

Source: Moz

Google Trials New Approach To In App Advertising

By Jason Bauman

Google may be the industry leader when it comes to ad targeting on the desktop, but the search giant knows that the future is mobile. According to a study conducted by Flurry, users of the popular Android and iOS operating systems spend up to 90% of their time on the devices within mobile apps and not the browser.

This presents a problem for Google, which relies on browser habits to target relevant ads to consumers.  Mobile applications don’t have cookies or other tracking scripts, which means that user actions within an app are largely hidden from Google’s analytics software.  This is very valuable information for Google, a company that still relies on advertising for a majority of its revenue.  To try and fix this blind-spot, Google is testing a new method that combines data from their DoubleClick network with mobile identifiers such as Android ID and Apple’s Identifier for Advertising (IDFA).

Newer, mobile-first ad companies recognized the trend towards mobile apps years ago and use a very similar approach to the one Google is trialing now to create relevant in app advertising. Others, such as Facebook and Twitter, use a “deterministic approach” to try and track usage patterns for their growing ad networks.  A deterministic approach is when a company uses your login information, email, or phone number to track your usage across your desktop, tablet, and smartphone.  This allows the companies to serve customers relevant advertisements, even within mobile apps.

Using the deterministic approach has proven invaluable for these social sites, but it can present problems for Google.  Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Most services offered by Google can be accessed without the user signing in.  According to Piyush Shah, vice president of the mobile ad network InMobi, up to 90% of Google’s mobile traffic comes from either a search box or from YouTube, both of which do not require the user to log in or enter any identifiable information.

The deterministic approach also raises privacy concerns because companies can potentially track users outside of their apps or networks.  Google’s new method will circumvent these concerns by allowing users to easily opt-out of the tracking in their mobile browser or apps (or both) if they wish to, as well as respecting users established privacy preferences they already have on their device.

On the desktop, Google is the undisputed leader in user analytics, but the changing paradigm provided by mobile applications are proving to be more difficult for the search giant to adapt to than they likely originally anticipated.  Companies that chose to take a mobile-first approach are discovering innovative ways to position ads to a growing mobile app user base, but none of them have Google’s historical data to correlate these new patterns to.

Once Google successfully combines this mobile information with their existing database, they’ll be able to use it to update their powerful adwords network to take advantage of app-based user data.   This new information should allow ecommerce sites to make sure that relevant products are displayed to users, even within mobile apps, which will help to further improve transaction conversion rates. Google might be late to the party of mobile app advertising, but the end result should prove profitable for both their own coffers and ecommerce retailers to rely on the network for customer traffic.

Source: Clickz

Amazon Enters the Mobile Payment Game

By John Nicholson

You know those little on-the-go payment devices that connect to a smartphone or tablet? The ones local business owners use to take credit and debit card payments? Well, just a few days ago, Amazon released their own version: the Amazon Local Register Secure Card Reader.

Like the Square, the Local Register connects seamlessly to your phone or tablet and processes payments through a free downloadable app. Sounds the same, right? The kicker is that Amazon’s device is less expensive for local businesses than its competitors.

Featuring a 1.75% payment process fee on all major cards, the Amazon Local Register costs business owners significantly less than Square (2.75%) or PayPal (2.7%). Amazon’s fee will increase to 2.5% after October 31st, but even then it’s the most affordable option.

Furthermore, the Local Register device costs just $10 to purchase, but the company covers your first $10 in processing fees — so it’s essentially free. What’s more, reports and customer reviews say that the Amazon processor has a higher success rate when it comes to reading the card. Where it may take the Square four swipes for a proper card read, for example, it takes the Local Register just two.

On the other hand, most customer reviews haven’t been so hot. Still new, the product only has two stars. In regard to the free app, one reviewer said, “The app still feels like its in beta form.”

The initiative is young yet and I have no doubt that Amazon’s developers will quickly smooth out each and every problem – and probably come up with some new features in the mean time.

Data-Driven Marketing Fuels Analytics Trends

By Jessica Herbine

Econsultancy’s latest case study is calling it: data-driven marketing and content personalization are the insights that marketing professionals are most interested in receiving.

Businesses are fixated on getting to know their customers and visitors better – their demographics, behavior on and off the website – in order to retain a loyal consumer base. Just as Facebook is now treating users to personalized advertisements of products recently viewed, marketers want to tailor the online experience to better fit visitor’s needs, whether it’s their first or hundredth time on the site.

If you’re in the analytics business, Econsultancy’s report highlights these two areas as weak points to be further strengthened and developed. The primary goal of marketers today is to be able to track consumer behavior across different devices and channels; and secondly, to glean insights on personalization and targeting.

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Personalization can play a huge role in ROI, as 63% of respondents of Experian Data Quality’s 2014 survey reported that cross-sell/upsell offers were the top processes improved by personalization. The use of consumer data to enhance content personalization also had a similarly positive effect on loyalty offers, brand integrity and internal routing.

Those who can jump the hurdle of delivering accurate and timely data to clients will find themselves far ahead of the game, as this is one of the biggest challenges marketers and data management professionals face. However, the endeavor offers plenty of rewards: according to poll from June, cross and up selling have increased industry-wide by almost 70%. If you’re looking to become indispensable to your client’s digital marketing efforts, customization and data-driven analytics are what’s currently trending.