Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Urban Outfitters on Flickr - Customers in Control

Urban Outfitters is an innovator in using web 2.0 concepts with their brand. YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Blogs. But they take even more "risk" than just the technical. Flickr is a great example.

It's not just about photo sharing. They let the customers take control. Explore their flickr photo pool and you'll see their clothes right alongside their competitors. On real people. Just like us. We don't just wear one brand. How about that?

Home Page Promoting Flickr

Blog Post Directing Customers to Flickr

Flickr Photo Pool
The cool thing is that as you scroll through the pool, you'll find photos with tags and notes that include other brands like Levi's and American Apparel. It takes confidence to let your customers show how your goods compliment what other companies produce. That consumers can love your brand without being monogamous.

USAA Phishing Warning

I usually stick to a retail theme, but I thought this was a particularly good example of a business being proactive. I also think that phishing will matter more to retailers in the future.

Upon logging into USAA, there was a prominent headline announcing a phishing scam targeting USAA members. The link took me to the page below.

1. There are lots of businesses targeted by phishing, and most aren't as forward about telling their customers about the risks.

2. Retail phishing scams aren't that prevalent now, but may be in the future as banks become harder targets and the crooks move onto easier prey.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sharper Image - The Past Year on the Web

Sharper ditched it's CEO after one year in the post. What did he do for their web presence while he was there?

Check out our visual history. The link below will take you to a flickr for Sharper Image home page screenshots - one each week from February 2007 through February 2008.

Click for Flickr Set - Thumbnails

Click for Flickr Set - SlideShow
(If you click on an image in the slide show, it will show you the date of the home page.)

Sharper Image New CEO Is Turnaround Specialist
WSJ 02/15/2008

Sharper Image Corp. hired turnaround specialist Robert Conway to succeed Chief Executive Steven Lightman, hinting it may restructure.

Mr. Lightman, a direct-marketing veteran, held the job less than a year. Sharper Image gave no reason for Mr. Lightman's departure. Reached by phone, Mr. Lightman, 51 years old, said he wasn't in a "position or mood" ...

WSJ Full Article - Subscription Required

AP Story
Troubled Sharper Image Replaces CEO

Friday, February 15, 2008

AA: What were they thinking?

Black text on a blue background? Made me feel like I was in my 90's. I couldn't read a thing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Do You YouTube? Most Retailers Say No.

I remember working on Victoria's Secret email program in the late nineties, and it was SUCH a big deal to get video done. Now individuals, and small companies can get in the mix. YouTube has made it easy. So now retailers CAN do video easily & at low cost, but most don't. Here are a couple of examples I've seen lately.

I looked at about 1000 sites (the week of 1/26), and came up with only two sites where YouTube was a visible part of their home page. The sites were:

1-800-Flowers with their "Greatest Love Story" contest and

Urban Outfitters who has used YouTube for several weeks in different capacities.

Most of the DRTV sites use some type of streaming video as part of their user experience. For example see:

Jewelry TV




YouTube in Emails

Shari's Berries used a YouTube video as the prominent feature of their 2/7/08 email. Subject line: "Watch the Video, New Gund Frog Sings My Girl, Save 20% ".

Email (click to enlarge screenshot)

Landing Page
(click to enlarge screenshot)

Here's a live link to the landing page if you want to watch the video.

If you are interested in using YouTube on your site, see also

STORES Magazine: Do YouTube?

YouTube for E-Tailers: Tips, Camcorder Reviews Blog - Look whos's marketing on YouTube!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Valentine's Shipping Deadlines - Tell Me!

If you look at a lot of the websites who cater to Valentine's shoppers (flowers, sweets, jewelry) - you'll see that most make no mention on their home page about shipping deadlines.

Here are a few that are trying.

Hickory Farms is the most clear - they include the date. (An obvious and necessary fact.)

See's, Mrs. Fields, and Harry & David do mention on the home page, but are not as clear about options.

Some of the bigger retailers did a better job in December. Check out my earlier blog posts

Make It Easy for Procrastinators


Emails Create Urgency with Shipping Deadlines

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Site Abandonment Triggered Emails

There is lots of talk among retail email marketers about cart abandonment emails, but what about site abandonment?

The biggest problem with cart abandonment is small volumes. Let's assume
- 10% of visitors put something in the cart
- 50% of carts convert (50% are abandoned)
- 50% of the site visitors can be identified to have an email address

In this case site abandonment emails will target 18 times as many people as cart abandonment.

The Math
Your cart abandonment email will address only 2.5% of all site visitors. It will convert well, but it's impact on overall revenue will be small. (10% * 50% * 50%)

Consider a site abandonment email. If you sent an email to everyone you could address that didn't convert or put something in the cart (this assumes you have both a cart abandonment and site abandonment email), then your site abandonment email would target 45% of site visitors. (90% * 50%).

An Example - ProFlowers

The travel industry has been doing site abandonment (travel search abandonment) emails for years. I helped create one of the first search abandonment emails back in 2003 with Hotwire, which was recognized by both Jupiter Research and the NCDM for it's innovation.

Isn't it time more retailers evaluated site abandonment email's usefulness?

Friday, February 1, 2008

RSS Feeds in Retail < 1% Adoption

A few sites have started to incorporate RSS feeds on their home pages.

I reviewing about 1000 sites, I found 7 who have an RSS mention above the fold. Each use slight variations of the orange button - there is no standard.

Free People
Uncommon Goods

I also noticed that Zappos had an RSS link below the fold. (There are likely a couple more who have it in the footer, but I didn't check there consistently.)

Images below. Click to view larger.