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  1. #1

    Default Interesting article on trends in Online Retail Marketing

    Interesting article on some of the trends in online retail marketing. Sounds like companies are interested in moving more toward social media since it is more cost effective than paid search marketing, especially in this down economy.

    Social Media can be free but is certainly time consuming posting on Twitter or Facebook etc... Although there is no formula, I think a healthy mix of social media and search marketing is good. You certainly pay for campaigns like adwords but you may acquire a customer faster.

    Thoughts from anyone that uses online marketing techniques?

    Date: 5/5/2009 12:01 AM

    AP-US-Online-retail-Study/693
    Recession forces new focus in e-commerce marketing
    ANNE D'INNOCENZIO
    AP RETAIL WRITER

    NEW YORK (AP) Online retailers are shifting their marketing from traditional advertising to less expensive tools like Facebook.com and Twitter and e-mail as they seek market share or just work to retain customers, according to an industry study being released Tuesday.

    Conducted by Internet analysis firm Forrester Research for Shop.org the online arm of the trade group National Retail Federation the survey found that merchants believe online business is better suited to withstand an economic downturn than physical stores or catalogs, though they acknowledge challenges for both.

    The study involved 117 online retailers polled between Feb. 18 and April 1.

    The companies, which Shop.org didn't name, reported scaling back hiring and their increasingly expensive search marketing programs, which include paying for top billing in the results consumers see for their Web searches. Online merchants whose business is beating expectations will likely fuel much of the e-commerce investments in the coming months, the survey found.

    "Online retailers want ... to be more efficient in getting a bigger bang for the buck," said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org.

    Developing social media marketing requires some investment in personnel, he said, but many merchants see big opportunities to spread a positive message about their brand for relatively low cost.

    A growing number of stores and manufacturers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and General Mills Inc., for example, are encouraging bloggers to test their products and write about them on their sites.

    "They're like ambassadors," Silverman said.

    Silverman said businesses active online remain optimistic.

    "It's safe to say that it continues to be a bright spot in the economy," he said.

    They have seen their average total purchase decline, he said, but shoppers are increasingly turning to the Internet for deals.

    Forrester Research forecast in January that total U.S. online sales, where growth has been slowing for a few years, will increase 11 percent to $156.1 billion in 2009, compared with a 13 percent gain in 2008.

    For 2010, Forrester projects 13 percent growth, and then 10 percent growth in 2011, 9 percent in 2012 and 8 percent in 2013. The figures exclude online travel sales.

    About 30 percent of the surveyed retailers expect to cut their spending on Web operations for the year, while 24 percent said they would increase it and 46 percent said they would spend as planned, according to the study.

    Online retailers said they are focused on e-mail marketing, which almost 90 percent listed as a top priority. But that doesn't mean shoppers should expect to be bombarded with even more spam in coming months.

    Silverman said retailers are getting more sophisticated about using e-mail to attract and retain specific customers already known to them. Almost three-fourths of the surveyed retailers plan to send targeted e-mails based on customers' stated preferences or past purchases.

    With questions lingering about the sales potential for marketing in social media like blogs and social networks, the study found that companies that are growing faster than expected are more likely to embrace such initiatives. Of 20 retailers whose business has beat expectations, 12 said they were going to invest more in social marketing initiatives this year.

    Among retailers that expect to cut spending on their online business this year, only 24 percent plan to cut spending on social media, indicating a willingness to experiment in this emerging area, the study says.

    "Everyone feels that there is a lot of potential, and they want to be in the game," he added.

    As for overhauling technology or developing programs where customers can pick up items ordered online from stores, half the retailers faring well said they would pursue such large initiatives this year.

    Retailers faring less well said they plan to seek "quick wins" instead and delay large initiatives, according to the study.
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  2. #2
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    I'm not sure exactly how it works, but someone recently told me they "worked for" a certain bead company, blogging for them.

    encouraging bloggers to test their products and write about them on their sites.
    So one can't assume the blogger hasn't been paid in some way to endorse a product. Seems like that defeats the purpose--of an independent review--guess there will soon be no such thing-------
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by pattye View Post
    I'm not sure exactly how it works, but someone recently told me they "worked for" a certain bead company, blogging for them.



    So one can't assume the blogger hasn't been paid in some way to endorse a product. Seems like that defeats the purpose--of an independent review--guess there will soon be no such thing-------
    Yes, exactly. I stumbled upon this company "Smorty" that you can pay to do a blog review for your company. Definitely takes away the independent voice of bloggers reviewing a product for the sake of an actual un-bias review.

    http://www.smorty.com/?gclid=CNOt6vfEpZoCFQZqswodKUry9g
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    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    There are a lot of "Pay for Post" blogging services out there. But there are also a lot of bloggers who review products and post on their blogs. The companies send the product to the blogger, but the company has no control over the message. In other words, if the blogger does not like the product, or does not believe the product is a good deal, that is what they will write.

    I think the latter option is very worthwhile - if the company believes in their product. It is very similar to sending product to a magazine for an editorial review. Sometimes the product comes back, other times it is part of an upcoming giveaway.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd View Post
    There are a lot of "Pay for Post" blogging services out there. But there are also a lot of bloggers who review products and post on their blogs. The companies send the product to the blogger, but the company has no control over the message. In other words, if the blogger does not like the product, or does not believe the product is a good deal, that is what they will write.

    I think the latter option is very worthwhile - if the company believes in their product. It is very similar to sending product to a magazine for an editorial review. Sometimes the product comes back, other times it is part of an upcoming giveaway.
    Agreed, certainly a viable approach to send product and have the blogger decide.
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  6. #6
    Pearl Girl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Ashley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWP View Post
    Agreed, certainly a viable approach to send product and have the blogger decide.
    I think that really, really depends on the blog in question... the detective work vis-a-vis traffic, page views, links etc isn't hard to do, but it can be time consuming. also, is the product on consignment or are you gifting the writer with your pearls? that can get expensive fast- and every penny counts!
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley View Post
    I think that really, really depends on the blog in question... the detective work vis-a-vis traffic, page views, links etc isn't hard to do, but it can be time consuming. also, is the product on consignment or are you gifting the writer with your pearls? that can get expensive fast- and every penny counts!
    I certainly wouldn't send every blogger a set of pearls for simply doing a Website review. I would expect them to run some sort of promotion with their readers, like a giveaway or something of that nature. Sending purely as a gift for doing a review would definitely get expensive.
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    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    It can get expensive, and I would not post this sort of thing on PG if it were not in the "hidden", other-stuff forum, but I don't mind helping out other vendors on this site.

    This has been up for just over a day (http://www.blisstree.com/articles/gi...earl-necklace/).

    Over the course of a week, it will receive about 5-800 comments. The best contests for us are the contests where readers of the blog choose their favorite piece from our site and comment about it. We get to see what people like, what they don't, why or why not, which are the most popular ... all for the price of a pearl necklace.

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    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    It is very similar to sending product to a magazine for an editorial review.
    Usually this (editorial review) is a more transparent process? Don't read many blogs, but receiving gifts of product would have some influence on the blogger--I would feel mostly positive!
    Pattye


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    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Jeremy,

    That one seems straight-forward, can no one else read the comments? I think at the rate you are going, you will receive at least 800 comments!
    Pattye


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    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattye View Post
    Usually this (editorial review) is a more transparent process? Don't read many blogs, but receiving gifts of product would have some influence on the blogger--I would feel mostly positive!
    You would think, but that's not really the case. Bloggers can be very opinionated and if a company does submit a product to a blogger for review, it's very important to spend time reading the blog and understanding the blogger's likes and dislikes. On the Internet, any press is not always good press.

    Quote Originally Posted by pattye View Post
    That one seems straight-forward, can no one else read the comments? I think at the rate you are going, you will receive at least 800 comments!
    I am not sure why that one keeps the comments hidden. Most don't. But we've worked with them in the past with good results.

  12. #12
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    LOL! Most of the time I feel like I am running as fast as I can, but still being left in the dust! LOL!
    Pattye


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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd View Post
    It can get expensive, and I would not post this sort of thing on PG if it were not in the "hidden", other-stuff forum, but I don't mind helping out other vendors on this site.

    This has been up for just over a day (http://www.blisstree.com/articles/gi...earl-necklace/).

    Over the course of a week, it will receive about 5-800 comments. The best contests for us are the contests where readers of the blog choose their favorite piece from our site and comment about it. We get to see what people like, what they don't, why or why not, which are the most popular ... all for the price of a pearl necklace.
    Interesting approach. Could you also benefit from an SEO perspective if comments were displayed? I was wondering why you don't have the comments displayed.
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  14. #14

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    Commenting at the same time
    Steve and Jacqui
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  15. #15
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWP View Post
    Interesting approach. Could you also benefit from an SEO perspective if comments were displayed? I was wondering why you don't have the comments displayed.
    We have no control over the blog.

    We would not benefit (SEO wise) from visible comments, but they would. Links from blog comments always have no-follow attributes in place to prevent astroturfing, which is an old, black-hat SEO technique.

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