§ § permalink
Establish growth from abroad
Is your eCommerce business multi-national? If it isn’t, you may want to reconsider your options for utilizing new markets to establish an eCommerce revenue stream. Numerous countries are growing at a stronger rate than the U.S. – which is no surprise considering our early adoption patterns.
Brazil is one area to look at. Forrester reports that by 2016, Brazil eCommerce will grow at a rate of 178% – a healthy compound for sure that bodes well for South America commerce. India is growing fast as well, as this fast growing nation was expected to reach 47% growth in 2011 – although a definitive metric has not been released.
The clear cut winner though is China, as growth from 2010 to 2011 was a whopping 66% as reported by International Data Corp.
66% in one year! In the country that is growing GDP at one of the fastest rates on the globe. As eCommerce and marketing executives ponder how to continue improving overall net income – one can not ignore the positive impact that establishing a Chinese eCommerce presence would bring to an innovative brand.
If the current eCommerce platform that you utilize provides the framework for establishing a “mirror” site within an alternative language, getting a roadmap developed for China makes business sense.
Certain challenges will come of course. Translating your content, nailing payment processing, dealing with any government challenges, and establishing a staff and distribution location are some of the potential roadblocks.
Master Baidu - The Google of China
Also your business will need to be on Baidu, the “Google of China”. With 83% market share of search within the world’s most populated country, with the majority of the country yet to go online, the ability to out-execute Chinese national companies from a marketing perspective exists. The key: Getting the right talent. Look to re-locate U.S. based eCommerce directors – assuming they speak Mandarin and are familiar with Chinese merchandising patterns.
If you are interested in discussing Chinese eCommerce opportunities and how to migrate your store within this new market, contact us – or learn more about our eCommerce consulting.
§ § permalink
As your eCommerce business reaches scale and your physical store operations reach levels of greater than 50 locations, the need to integrate geographical targeting solutions becomes more important to maximizing your multi-channel retail sales.
You can probably decipher what these solutions achieve, but, in a nutshell, geographic targeting allows a website to render dynamic content that is tailored to the web location of a user.
Ultimately the focus of geo-targeting solutions is to create more macro conversions for the business. A macro conversion does not always take place on the website, but rather, may take place within physical store locations and communications with the brand that convert within varied channels.
Over the last 8 years, during the period of true multi-channel retail, we have learned that when customers engage with your brand in multiple channels, their overall value rises dramatically. This is not a new concept.
But building brand loyalty in an age in which consumers are flooded with product and value messaging becomes more and more challenging, but by using geo-targeting, your company can help accelerate transactional progress in creating more location messages within your retail enterprise.
So when can you use geo-targeting?
Are you a multi-channel retailer with hundreds of locations…or just 20? Do you have a product mix that factors into situations for which seasonality affects demand? Do you have a merchandising strategy that takes into location for promotional calendars? All of these questions need to be answered when properly structuring a geographic targeting plan online.
How can a retailer or web business use geo targeting to drive both on-site and in-store conversion?
Use Case #1 Show your physical stores
This is a no-brainer and a project that senior management will likely embrace whole heartedly. This is essentially the dynamic insertion of physical store locations into website templates based upon the geographic location of the user.
Forward thinking retailers put mechanisms in place to render the “3 closest stores” to users, complete with pictures and door to door directions. This is done by integrating solutions that reference user IP addresses to back end databases that match to user zip codes.
Automatically the solution references business rules and current physical locations to decide what to render within a website template. In situations for which a user may not be living close to a store, the system renders “default” creative.
By showing the closest stores, either within a homepage only or global template module, the user now has a clear idea of the closest locations for which he or her can transact with the brand directly, without having to notice or utilize the store locator button or link.
Use Case #2 Create more relevant spotlight promotions
I have talked about this opportunity within this blog in previous posts and I am still surprised that the retail sector seems to be lagging behind other eCommerce sectors with this tactic. Weather and physical location can be great cues to drive more relevant promotions within the first three seconds of a user visit.
Think of these possible scenarios and retailers:
The Home Depot: Do you want to show the same homepage to Florida users versus users in Maine in February?
NFLShop.com: Why would the business not tailor homepage spotlight products to a local team (ex. Jerseys, hats, shirts etc to a hometown team)?
StubHub: Spotlight the local events happening on the homepage that correlate to a physical location
Use Case #3 Use geo-targeting to show your shipping value proposition
Shipping is a key factor when consumers make up their mind of if they want to purchase or not. Large retailers have complex business rules and are limited to certain states for free shipping or even free overnight shipping (which customers love!). Why not be proactive with this messaging to customer segments. Geo targeting can help immensely.
The location of your distribution centers and the corresponding ship rates may lead to having certain states having 3-5 day free shipping versus 1-2 day. This is a BIG difference in the mind of the consumer and if you are not conveying this messaging throughout the user experience then your store is missing a key opportunity.
In this user case, Geo-targeting solutions will again take assessment of the user IP address, map that address to the database of zip codes, and ultimately decipher what type of shipping option, free or otherwise, that corresponds to the user’s location. Embracing this tactic will allow your eCommerce store to be proactive to a key question in the user’s mind and help take shipping out of the equation as a potential roadblock to conversion.
Take a step back and think about your business. Do you have customer scenarios that would be positively impacted by the integration of geographically tailored content or promotions?
Ecommerce businesses are frequently mired in the order management and “blocking and tackling” functions of service and fulfillment. As your store looks to create an innovative gameplan for your 2011 roadmap, take a step back and think about how geo-targeting can enhance your user experience. Doing so can produce great gains, both in the online and physical channel alike.
If you would like more information about Trinity Insight’s eCommerce geo-targeting consulting, please contact us online.
§ § permalink
I must admit, I’m a bit of a kid at heart as it relates to playing video games. Being a child who grew up in the 80′s, I was immersed with Nintendo and Sega and fascinated by spending hours trying complete Super Mario 3 or Ninja Gaiden.
We get older and with age comes responsibilites. Time becomes scarce. I have less time to play video games but try to bust out the XBOX once a week for a little R&R. My interests these days lie in sports games and within a new sports game release I observed the intersection of eCommerce integrated within the online gaming experience.
When playing FIFA 10 (a killer soccer game) within the menu of the game there is the ability to go to the FIFA store. When there, users have the ability to use stored payment options to purchase additional gaming components among other things. It makes a ton of sense to personalize the store based upon user preferences and with the millions of consumers who use video games daily, this can be an interesting channel to watch in the years to come.
Lets say I am a Liverpool fan. For those in the U.S., Liverpool is a popular football (not soccer in Europe) team that has a devoted following in the Premier league of England. When configuring the game upon my first play, I select Liverpool as my favorite team. Imagine the possibilities and potential revenue share potential that can take place.
Within the store, I could be presented with Liverpool apparel, memorabilia, ticket offers, and other items that passionate fans love to buy. Essentially, it could operate as an affiliate marketing relationship, but instead of the publisher getting paid by the retailer, the video game company, in this case Electronic Arts, would get paid a revenue share from the retailer or wholesaler that ships the item.
This becomes simplistic because payment info (Credit card data) is already stored within most user accounts. Online gaming has led to users purchasing subscriptions etc online and most users have their info stored. This leads to an easier transaction and higher conversion rates.
Video games and eCommerce is an emerging channel and one that should be watched. Take a minute and think about your assortment and target demographic. Maybe this opportunity is closer than you think.
§ § permalink
One of the most neglected aspects of all on-page search engine optimization is the integration and usage of XML site maps.
An XML site map allows a website to be better represented in the eyes of a search engine, and provides an automated file that resides on a server.
This file tells a search engine which webpages have been updated and outlines the full scope pages that should be included in their index.
Search engines, by nature, are trying to get the most up-to-date view of the web when they crawl the Internet. However, certain pages are not reachable from what’s called the “public” linked web. Pages that are stored in databases or stored behind Web forms etc are sometimes called the invisible web.
The site maps protocol, which was a uniform agreed-upon specification from Google, Yahoo, and MSN, allows webmasters to follow a certain agreed-upon file type to publish their websites within search engines and eliminate the problems that sometimes exist within the “invisible” web.
Search crawlers face two prominent challenges, both of which site maps solve.
One is the ability to get an accurate representation of new webpages, this is sometimes called “freshness”. Because users use search engines to find current events and information that is happening immediately, it is imperative that search engines have an index that includes webpages that were recently updated.
How can a webmaster help search crawlers discover all new and modified URLs of a website in a timely and efficient manner? XML site maps are the way to solve this problem.
The XML file also provides information into when the webpages were last updated, how frequently the page changes, and the relative importance of the page as it relates to other pages in the site.
By using this sitemap protocol that’s agreed upon by the search engines it does not guarantee the inclusion of your pages in an index, but rather, provides them with clues and information to make sure web crawlers do a better job of assessing content on your website.
A great tool to help you in generating XML site maps is a website called XML-site maps.com. This site provides a very low-cost piece of software that allows you to crawl your own website and generate XML file, while providing instructions for you to place this file on your Web server.
Super Easy! To get this piece of software up and running on your site usually is a process that takes 10 minutes.
If you are looking to maximize SEO performance and do not have an XML sitemap, now is the time to create one. Look for a video soon from Trinity discussing this topic in much greater detail.
It can’t be stressed enough how important how important a site map is in the ability for product pages to get the right amount of penetration within organic search.