Picture video on your ecommerce site.

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If you’re like many online business owners, you’ve probably looked at your e-commerce site recently and have seen room for improvement. You may have even considered doing something drastic, like adding a social media marketing campaign or video content to spruce up the user online experience. Well, if you’ve thought about video, you are not alone. According to a recent Internet Retailer survey ,

“43.3% of merchants will update their e-commerce sites with video this year.”

But having video on your site without a real strategy for having it, does neither you nor your customers any good. While video content can greatly improve the user experience, it is important to have a thought through strategy before implementing your video content on your site. Video content on an e-commerce site should act as a sales tool that serves to nudge the visitor to your site closer to the “add to cart” button. It may help to think of your e-commerce site like a slick auto showroom with lots of product info, video and a non-pushy sales force to help you along the way. As more and more e-commerce sites become like these slick showrooms, multi-media will play a much more important role in the sales cycle of everyday products and goods that you would normally see on the shelf at your local shopping mart or mall. Adding video can be a rewarding option if you can figure out production costs, distribution and management of your content. Oh, and don’t forget SEO for your videos. For Video Search Optimization Tips from Aaron Wall of SEOBook, click on the video below.

Taxi NYC makes ingesting fun again.

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Are you allergic to peanuts? Are you lactose intolerant? Does eating fish give you the hives? If you’re one of the 70 million+ people in North America who suffer from food sensitivities or food allergies, help is on the way. Today, advertising and marketing think-tank TAXI New York announced the release of FoodContentAlerts.com, a free online and mobile tool that allows you to catalog and manage the foods you eat. It’s both a web and mobile tool that you can customize for your particular food sensitivities. You can even design your own custom home page with drag-and-drop style layout elements right on the site. No only do you get to  control the content, you can even match up with other people who share similar profiles so you can share recipes, advice and build a community. Once you’ve got that all set up, you can access everything you create online from your mobile phone. Pretty cool. According to FoodContentAlerts.com, the site’s features include:

My Safe Foods: Allows users to create customized lists of “personally approved” foods and share them. A great way to find new recommendations for people on restricted diets.

My Recipes: Input your own recipes, discover new recipes, share with others, and add ingredients to a shopping list or share with friends and family.

My Shopping Lists: Create and manage multiple lists; update or add items from your safe-foods list; and share with teachers, daycare facilities, camp counselors, friends and family.

Community Forums: Share ideas with other people suffering from food sensitivities.

News Modules: Receive up-to-the-minute product safety alerts or custom information on food allergies, celiac and more – from around the world.

Mobile Access: Many features of FoodContentAlerts.com are designed to be available to anyone with a web-enabled phone, allowing users to access their online account to verify that a product is on a safe-food list, check a recipe’s ingredient list and more. Mobile works on just about every web-enabled phone around the world.

Boun appetito.

Search, social and mobile. Can’t we all just get along?

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could harness the power of search technology, mix it with all the top social media outlets and access it when you’re away from your clunky laptop?  Well if you own an iPhone, your prayers have just been answered. Digital marketing powerhouse iCrossing just announced the release of a crazy cool iPhone app called “Say What?. According to iCrossing, “Say What?” is

“a free iPhone social media monitoring application that enables integrated search of Twitter, Digg, and thousands of forums and blogs. Say What? can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store.

This is the perfect solution for power users on the go who want real-time search data across multiple social media platforms right in the palm of their hands. According to a recent iCrossing press release, here’s how it works:

“Users enter a search term on a simple interface, and the latest conversations from each of the social media sites are returned in an easy-to-read format. Say What? displays the most recent conversations in aggregate, unlike searching social networks or blogs via a mobile browser.

Users have the option to dig deeper into the responses on a particular source, and a search history is saved so users can get easy updates for their regularly-searched terms.”

Between my Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and CNN apps, I may never have to take my face far away from the warm glow of my iPhone ever again.

Tweet this; social media may not be the best way to acquire customers online.

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Social media is all the buzz. Marketers are scrambling to harness the power that sites like Twitter and Facebook offer. So if you want to effectively market online, you had better get on the bandwagon. Not so fast, suggests a recent report from ForeSee Results , a leader in online customer satisfaction measurement headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The report findings are based on data, collected in the spring of 2009, from more than 22,000 respondents who had visited the top 100 online retail sites within the previous two weeks. According to the report, the most effective means by which e-tailers influence purchasing decisions was familiarity with the brand. It makes sense that if you’re shopping online, the first place you will go to buy are the brands you are already familiar with. These findings suggest that branding and brand perception are main triggers that drive traffic and purchasing decisions. That means more traditional forms of advertising and marketing are the primary driver for customer aqcuisition. The next two major factors that drive customer acquisition are tried-and-true online strategies like promotional e-mail and Internet advertising. Sounds boring, but these tactics bring in the customers. But how does that compare with social media? According to the report,

“the most lucrative website traffic is still coming from promotional emails and Internet advertising rather than from the latest trendy social networking sites. It will be important for each individual site to monitor the quality of its own various aquistiion sources in order to get the best return on investment.

This may be because social media marketing strategies are fairly new and is unfamiliar territory for many online buyers. As social media grows, I believe this tactic will gain more traction in the arena of customer acquisition.

To download the ForeSee Results, “Online Customer Aquisition: Quality Trumps Quantity” click here.

This barcode replaces the blog headline.

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You may have noticed that Google has replaced its logo with a barcode. Why? Well, according to The Christian Science Monitor explains that it is to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the first bar code patent. According to the site,

“On October 7, 1952, inventors Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver were granted the first patent for their invention. The only difference between the bar code we know today and the one Woodland and Silver invented was that it was comprised of a series of concentric circles, not the 59 black-and-white vertical lines synonymous with the current design.”

TechCrunch furthers the explaination by adding,

“The barcode on the Google homepage is Code 128 encoded, which is a standard way of encoding ASCII character strings (ie. A-Z, a-z, 0-9, etc.) into a barcode. It would be safe to assume that Google used their own open source barcode project, Zxing to generate the barcode. The same library is used in Android for barcode recognition.”

I’ve used barcodes ported to my iPhone to claim coupons in the real world. One merchant giggled as she scanned my phone and it actually worked. Ah, the joys of the Interwebs.

Want repeat traffic? Digg and Facebook deliver.

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Want repeat visitors coming to your site? New data coming out of Chitika Inc., an online advertising network with over 30,000 sites and over 2 billion monthly impressions, suggests that Facebook and Digg delivered repeat traffic at much greater rate than Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Twitter.  Google delivered overall numbers, but when it comes to driving repeat visitors,

“over 20% of all visitors from Facebook visited the site four or more times per week. Digg came in second place with slightly over 16%.”

Note that Google, Bing! and Twitter came at the bottom of the “repeat traffic” list hovering around 11% each. Google, obviously delivers the most traffic overall. But for loyalty, you can’t beat Facebook. This is why it’s important for brands to engage customers across multiple networks to satisfy multiple strategies. If you want repeat visitors coming to your site, you may want to consider putting a little more elbow grease into your brand’s Facebook effort. To see the data in chart format, visit Chitika here.