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Sitting On Your Hands…ideas from Jeffery Giesener – CEO, ShoppeSimple

Are You Being Forced to Sit On Your Hands?

Ecommerce Marketers should always be in a position to personalize and distribute relevant content to wherever their consumers are.

But, is your online marketing team handcuffed by legacy technology, stagnant web architecture and aging websites?

Do your IT handcuffs hold back your marketers from doing their jobs more effectively and driving the most revenue for your business?

If you might be suffering from the above…read on…this blog post is for you…

Ecommerce Marketers Unite!

ShoppeSimple can help you build your own Surround-Sound™ Social Business platform that enables you to engage with consumers more deeply creating significant opportunities for your business to grow.

Surround-SoundTM Social Business

We make it easy for marketers to create and distribute relevant content to wherever their consumers are. We enable your consumers to personalize the category content they want to receive. The relevancy and targeting of the ShoppeSimple program increases consumer engagement as proven by client-reported increases in average order values, frequency of ordering, higher conversion rates and new customers.

It’s a Game-Changer for Ecommerce Marketers

ShoppeFetch is at the core of what makes ShoppeSimple so different. The ShoppeFetch toolset provides marketers with the technical ability to quickly respond to the unique needs of targeted consumer groups on their own. They no longer need the IT department or Web Team to making things happen. This innovative IT SaaS solution provides new marketing horse power for your ecommerce team and total control over all marketing touch points to drive more sales.

With ShoppeFetch the marketer essentially “vacuums” all of the relevant data off their site (without the involvement of IT) and then based on their unique requirements repurposes this targeted data on branded landing pages created on-the-fly.

Our patent-pending, content creation and publishing engine writes once and distributes content everywhere with just one click. Imagine if your business could solve many of its user-experience, IT and web infrastructure issues quickly (in weeks not months), at such a low cost (monthly subscriptions start at $500) and without any implementation fees. Now it can!

ShoppeFetch also includes a proprietary analytical reporting package that provides relevant, dynamically generated data so you can drive your own analytical bus. Now, you can grow all of your online marketing channels in ways that may have seemed impossible in today’s business climate.

I welcome the opportunity to visit with you soon about driving new incremental revenue for your Holiday season. And, if you call us in the next week you can even be up and running before Thanksgiving! Just call me at 612-349-2740 or click here to email me and get started.

November 9, 2011 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Social Echoes…ideas by Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

Social Echoes…ideas by Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

As Facebook (at 800 Million users) and Twitter (over 100 Million users) continues to grow at their exponential social pace the concern coming from merchants is that their website analytics are showing an increased level of defection from their websites to social and mobile platforms.

This is not a surprise and at ShoppeSimple we have been speaking about this issue for some time now. We have also been promulgating Surround-Sound Social Business™ solutions that drive social engagement and conversations horizontally through all of your marketing channels. Social shouldn’t be verticalized within your organization.

Social Space . . . The Innovator’s End Run

For those of you who have stayed tuned into my message you are in a unique position to capitalize on a first mover advantage essentially “Taking The Mike™” for your brand and own these social spaces before your competitor gets there. This is a case study in the classic disruptive innovation that Clayton Christenson speaks about in his definitive work called The Innovators Dilemma. In his book, he describes many cases where companies have used technology to do an end run around their bigger, more entrenched competitors. These social spaces now make it possible for you to step up and make this happen for your brand.
For others who continue to be skeptical about social media, now is not the time to ignore that your consumers are already buying in these social spaces. We continue to see these social monetization results every day.
Social spaces are here to stay and make no mistake that your consumer is driving their bus around these conversations. The Genie is out of the bottle and is never going back in.
If you are still sitting on the sidelines or just tiptoeing into the social and mobile waters, I only have to take you back a short 15 years. It was the “Blue Ocean” of the World Wide Web where many marketers had similar reservations.

  • Should I build an ecommerce website?
  • I don’t want to or can’t cannibalize my retail channel.
  • My customer is too old and therefore either not online or they’re certainly not buying online.

I am sure you remember. Today, these or other similar excuses are playing out in the social and mobile space today.
Sidebar: Did you know? Amazon disclosed in last year’s financials that it is already doing $1 Billion+ in mobile revenue or 3% of their total revenue
Now, if you’re thinking you are socializing your business by putting a Facebook or Twitter icon on your website, please think again. When you place these icons and then casually walk away from social (thinking you are doing all you can do) you are frankly just building the Facebook and Twitter brands. This is great for Facebook and Twitter but what is your ROI?
To make my point even further, have you been able to monetize these Facebook and Twitter icons and truly bank money through social for your business? If you are like most of the merchants we speak with, the answer is no (more like NO!) and this is not a surprise.
ShoppeSimple’s patent-pending social sharing tools drive more social business from every one of your marketing channels. So ask yourself, are you socializing all of your Social Business channels?

  • Pay Per Click and SEO Channels?
  • Email Channel?
  • Affiliate Channel?
  • Catalog Channel?
  • Website Channel?
  • Retail Channel?
  • Mobile Channel?

All merchants should be, yet too many companies still neglect some basic Social Business strategies that could maximize frequency of ordering, improve conversion rates for the traffic they already have, increase average orders and add new customers.
Drive Social Horizontally

Surround-Sound Social Business solutions are all about driving social horizontally throughout your organization. It’s about generating conversations and engaging with your consumers wherever they are. It’s about distributing content that consumers want because it’s highly relevant to them and they determine when and where they want to receive it. Giving the consumer control over the content they receive is a paradigm shift. But when they’re in control, they more willingly share content with their friends and family extending your marketing reach (viral).
Surround-Sound Social Business solutions socialize all of your marketing channels and always bring your social and mobile traffic back to your website where the sale is made.
Around The Next Corner
I would love to say that Social Business is easy to build but if it were, everyone would be doing it successfully and making a ton of money. Again, you only have to go back 15 years when most of you were not into serious e-commerce yet. Just think how far your e-commerce business has come today. Now look into your crystal ball and just imagine where your Social Business will be in 3 years.
What are your social projections?
Yes, answering this question will require some intense thinking on an organizational level but if you start tomorrow (actually yesterday) you can begin to make a daily deposit right away from your Social Business into your bank account. ShoppeSimple is here to help you do just that.
Even with the Holiday season only a month away we can still help you bank Social and Mobile dollars yet this year. Your program can be launched without the need of any of your IT resources in less than 10 days. Yes that quick!
To start the conversation simply give me a ring at 612-349-2740 or email me at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com

October 25, 2011 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Is Your Business About to Hit a Speed Bump?… ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO – ShoppeSimple

Is Your Business About to Hit a Speed Bump?

In just the last two weeks we’ve spoken with over 30 different e-tailers including 5 of the “Internet Retailer Top 50″ about their challenges in developing their Social Business. Our Surround-Sound marketing approach to building Social Business is resonating with these merchants so well I thought I would share what the triggers were that made these companies engage with us, want to learn more about it and sign on.

We Listen, We Apply, We Deliver

The question posed repeatedly by many of these merchants was, “How are we succeeding in driving Social Business?” The simple answer is that we are not a cookie-cutter SaaS application. And, we are not all things to all businesses. We listen to your specific needs as a unique business. We apply our extensive online/social knowledge and expertise to your specific situation. And, we deliver your unique Social Business solution with our flexible Surround-Sound marketing toolset.

When you hire ShoppeSimple, you hire a team of experts along with our technology. This tailored approach is the essence of how we help your business succeed. We leverage our unique go-to-market expertise, apply our Surround-Sound Social Business™ solutions to any of your off/online marketing channels and help you maximize your results.

Now, I am sure you are also reading these financial headlines… I am sure your customer is too.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Stocks ended a dismal quarter with heavy losses Friday as investors remain worried about the debt crisis in Europe and the outlook for global economic growth.

Friday 9/30/2011, The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU ) fell 240 points, or 2.1%, to close at 10,913. The S&P 500 (SPX) slid 30 points, or 2.5%, to 1,131. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell 65 points, or 2.6%, to 2,415.

The losses capped the biggest quarterly drop for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq since the fourth quarter of 2008. The S&P 500 lost 14% and the Nasdaq fell 13% over the last three months.

So, how are you preparing for the Holidays? More importantly, how are your customers preparing for the Holidays? Will they regain their spending confidence in time for this critical shopping season?

I posed these questions because, not surprisingly, economic weakness was a common concern that was raised in these discussions. Establishing real alternative revenue streams to fill any projected gap in revenue became a huge discussion topic as these merchants planned for the upcoming Holiday season.

New alternative revenue streams revealed

  • Merchants saw how they can optimize or reduce their ad spend in many of their current marketing channels using Surround-Sound marketing methods
  • Merchants learned how they can socialize marketing channels by building on-the-fly landing pages that give consumers the ability to pre-select relevant content that improves overall performance
  • Merchants saw how they can deploy powerful social sharing tools to capture new social databases for their businesses that create viral sharing potential extending their social marketing reach
  • Merchants learned how Surround-Sound Marketing eliminates the need for any of their own IT resources to implement and maintain. Nor is it necessary to place any code on a website (a critical website lockdown hurdle for marketers in the Holiday season).

From one merchant we heard . . .

“It is so great that I don’t need to ask my IT department to accomplish this. Even putting two lines of simple JavaScript code on the home page is impossible for us to accomplish. I have been waiting for over a year for some of my requests.”

Does this also resonate with you?

Optimize, Socialize and Monetize All Channels

From our seat, social business is not just about conversing with consumers on Facebook and Twitter. It’s also not just about putting a Facebook or Twitter share icon on your website and in your emails.

To build your Social Business with Surround-Sound Marketing you must optimize, socialize and monetize all existing on/off-line channels. This includes Catalog, Retail, PPC/SEO, Email, Shopping Cart and Checkout, Affiliate, Facebook, Twitter, Digital Coupons/Bar Codes/QR codes, MyHome Website Pages and mobile. All channels must to be socialized to effectively maximize the power of your Social Business.

When done correctly, your Social Business should effectively lower Cost Per Order per socialized channel AND create incremental revenue from each channel socialized. Surround-Sound Social Marketing is unique for every merchant but the positive incremental effects are the same regardless of the industry.

A Few Tips for Doing it Right

  • Enable consumers to more easily choose what content they want to see from you and where they want to see it. Surround Sound Marketing is about giving consumers relevant content wherever they are and enabling them to share it more broadly with their personal contacts. Think laser accuracy. Think consumer experience. Think viral.

The age of wetting consumers with a fire hose of unwanted offers is over. It’s time to bury that marketing execution. It’s prehistoric and its days are numbered.

  • Your Social Business needs the ability to distribute any form of content and social conversations with one simple click to any social or mobile destination. This is where most companies struggle as it’s not an IT issue. It’s a Surround-Sound Marketing issue that requires nimble technology.
  • Demand analytics that display results in real time and help you see that your Social Business is providing true incremental gains for your business. Done right, Surround-Sound Marketing will add value to your consumer’s experience so they add value to your bank account.

A ShoppeSimple Offer to Help

Working with ShoppeSimple Surround-Sound Marketing gives your Social Business the marketing agility you have been searching for. Just imagine if you could free up your IT marketing queue AND still give your marketing department the horsepower it needs to drive their own marketing initiatives.

To overcome your speed bump we invite you to protect your Holiday business by testing ShoppeSimple. We absolutely guarantee your satisfaction or you don’t pay us a dime, so what do you have to lose?

To have the ShoppeSimple Team personally help your business for the holiday simply give me a ring at 612-349-2740 or email me personally by clicking here.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

October 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

8 More Facebook Ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO – ShoppeSimple

Surround-Sound Social Business is the next major online marketing opportunity enabling you to grow your business in time for the holiday even if you already locked down your site.

“Social Time” is Ticking …Tick…Tock…

You can’t wait any longer to move your business into social! Here’s why…

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The recession alarm bells were ringing across the globe Thursday 9/22/2011, spooking investors and economists alike. With the Federal Reserve warning Wednesday 9/21/2011 that the U.S. economy is facing “significant downside risks,” and stocks and commodity prices falling around the world, it is clear there are ample reasons for worry.” Next up a 390+ point loss on the Dow.

So as your consumer’s 401K’s value continues to melt away for the foreseeable future (similar to what we saw in the consumer sector in 2008) what is your Plan B for your business when consumers get jittery and spend cautiously for the Holidays?

We all know what the 2008 business climate felt like for business. We all went through it. In fact for many of us we are still feeling the effects of it. Again, history repeats itself so what did your business do in 2008? Did you cut marketing and or advertising spending?  Last week, we learned through my blog post that in tough economic times GE does the exact opposite. They invest in marketing and advertising. And last week IBM advertised it was investing in Social Business. Do you believe these companies have it wrong? Or do they know something we don’t?

With the fact that Facebook has 750 Million users and each user spends an average of 7 hours a month on Facebook it is clear that consumers are spending less time on your site. Add in the additional 100 Million Twitter users and their Tweeting patterns and then ask yourself how can my business think about deferring social plans any longer?

What is ironic to me is you don’t have to look very far to see the answers to these questions. You just have to look at your first social program (EMAIL) and your ECOMMERCE CHANNEL and the success you have had in both. Ask yourself, if you could turn back the clock, would you have pulled these triggers sooner? It is clear (like email and ecommerce websites), the social superhighway will monetize itself for every business and it will happen quickly over the next 1-3 years. This is exactly what happened with email, with ecommerce websites and PPC.  And it will happen here too.  In fact, with ShoppeSimple Surround-Sound Social Business our clients are monetizing social and mobile TODAY.

Plus, did you know Amazon in its recent investor call reported it’s already raking in over a Billion $’s in sales annually through mobile (3% of their entire business)? So how can you not be using social and mobile as the “new” revenue channel to protect your business for Holiday 2011?!?!

The challenge is not when… but how?

Last week, I gave you ideas on how I would build a Facebook Channel.  This week, I will conclude the post with eight more ideas that you can use in your Social Business right away.  My hope is that these call outs will assist your strategy, development and execution of your Social Business. It is also my hope that helping you build a Social Business Channel will offset economic weaknesses and give your business a new incremental revenue stream in time for the Holidays.

At ShoppeSimple we are standing by ready to assist your business. And we can get you going in less than 2 weeks without touching any of your IT resources or needing to add any lines of code to your website.  

Enjoy these ideas and, like anything social, please share your comments with me at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com or leave a comment on my blog post.

 “Key” Social Business things to do…

1.    Deploy a Surround-Sound Social Business Strategy: This is all about socializing all of your current digital assets (for off/online channels) to create relevant conversations on your social pages; online places where your consumers are hanging out and already in conversation with their friends.

For example, have you socialized your . . . ?

  • Website (you have over 90% defection)
  • Emails (less than 10% clickthroughs)
  • Abandoned Shopping Carts (over 70% abandonment)
  • PPC/SEO (integrated social sharing tools and social landing pages that deliver better social results)
  • Affiliate Marketing (Affiliates can sell for you on social like they have been doing in your traditional Affiliate program for years. Ask me about our ShoppeFans program on Facebook)

The point is that it’s just not about social channels but leveraging all of your digital assets and going horizontal across your organization with social connections to your consumers.  The key to Surround-Sound Social Business is “Word of Mouth” which drives consumer activity back to your website to close a sale.

2.    Why are you putting your Social Icons in the Footer? Ask your boss if you can put your email capture at the bottom of your homepage on your site and see what she/he  says? The answer should be obvious.  Are you #$XY& crazy!!. Email (and email capture) is your online marketing golden goose.  For the last 15 years email capture best practices has shown that it should be done in the header of both your website and email. Since 1995, I have been capturing emails and asking consumers to “like” my website by giving me their email address at every online channel touch point. Every single one!

Using ShoppeSimple Social Business solutions we help you not only put your email capture back in the header but with Surround-Sound Social Business we nest all of the Social Icons in the header of your branded landing page that we build for you. This landing page matches your branding and maximizes the opportunity to monetize Social and Mobile across all of your ecommerce channels with socially enabled landing pages. We do not need your IT department to accomplish any of this. We  do it all for you without IT involvement.

3.    Stop Wasting Time Capturing The Wrong Likes: Stop employing desperate strategies like Sweeps, contests with flashy prizes in order to generate hoards of fans. They often attract fans that don’t really care about your business and don’t become good customers anyway. Frankly, you can be more imaginative than that. These are in-effective, worn-out customer acquisition strategies that don’t fit in the new Social Business space.

You just have to look at the new f8 interface just launching on Facebook this week where Mr. Zuckerberg is reducing the importance of Likes and increasing the importance of branded published content. So with f8 launching and changing the way Facebook consumer’s home pages look and feel, where does your business stand with its marketing messaging into Facebook? How do you quickly become a publisher of relevant content to integrate with Facebook?

For years, it has been my vision to help merchants  distribute content and conversations. And this is exactly what ShoppeSimple does but we also up the value-add by enabling consumers to self-select the content they want to see and determine when and where they want to see it anywhere online. This is our patent-pending technology. So we applaud Facebook for moving to a content distribution model.  ShoppeSimple is totally aligned with Facebook’s content distribution mentality.

Instead of thinking now about aggregating Likes, focus on creating an interactive Facebook presence that includes delivery of valuable content, engagement and conversation. Then your Likes will actually care about you and come to you naturally and holistically. They will also buy from you!

4.  Distribute the Right Content: Going down memory lane…just like you did    when you began to capture emails on your website in the mid-90’s, you asked your consumer to “Like” you by  having them give you their email address. Your consumer traded their email address for unique, compelling and exclusive content.

Not surprisingly, our research shows that when you distribute unique, relevant content on Facebook you won’t have to worry about aggregating the number of Fans because at the end of the day it’s not the quantity of Fans you have but the quality that counts.  How they respond and convert into dollars is what will matter most going forward.

5.  It’s Not About You, Baby: Stop posting content that is overly promotional and talks too much about how super-awesome your products/services are. Stop Auto-Posting too. This is not a benefit to your consumer and does not generally come across as genuine. Determine what benefits your consumers are interested in and deliver them on Facebook. Find out what your fans care to hear about from you, and what  makes them want to have conversations with you on Facebook.

We emphatically support that content should drive the consumer back to your website for the completion of a transaction. Privacy, security and credit card protections are already in place here and the shopping experience is totally under the control of the merchant as well.

Last week, a merchant described his vision around Facebook this way . . .  “Don’t think for a moment that in the future there won’t be a Facebook “TAX” on traffic, orders and just about anything they can attach revenue to.”  We agree. We have always moved traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Google and Mobile back to your website to capture a transaction for this very reason.

Similarly, be careful about the frequency at which you’re posting content to the Facebook Wall. There’s no definitive guideline about how much is too much on Facebook, but a general guideline is just a few, high quality posts a day makes sense. We are recommending no more than 3-5 posts a day on average. That said, feel free to comment and react to others’ posts on your Wall freely. Again, focus on quality content that generates new conversations and the monetary results will come.

6.    Social Response Management: Efficient Social Response Management is key to anything done in social. Just like the call activity you have in your call center . . . would your Telco Ops Manager purposely leave people on hold or not pick up the order or service call?  Make sure your Ops people see this channel as much more than an orphan and are willing to support your social connections.

But you may be thinking…how do we put Social Response Management fixed expenses ahead of unknown social order activity? How do we get started when I can’t build a new call center to support my business or add seats to the existing call center in time for the Holidays?  Again, think of this opportunity in the same way as you do your call center during peak periods and cover your consumer’s Facebook posts, Chats, Tweets and any in bound calls from social through a Social Response Management overflow facility. Your brand and social channels need to be  supported and protected in this emerging marketing channel. The ShoppeSimple program fully integrates this capability for you as part of our program.

7. Take a Horizontal Approach to Social: After first establishing a social strategy for content, conversation and engagement, make sure all of the  organizational energy extends this approach horizontally across your organization. Do not establish your social program as its own revenue center (vertical).  Social needs to be integrated horizontally across all channels.  Don’t get caught up once again in the turf battles or silos between tradition online and emerging social. End them now!

Continue to drive social throughout your business by first allowing your staff to manage posting and conversations with your consumer. Doing so is a good thing as it leads to brand credibility. Once you’ve locked down your social strategy, let your social teams engage with your consumer. Let them be your consumer advocates. Let them be your social service agents. In some circles, I hear some claim that centralized control makes sense in social. But, I don’t think so. To me it sets up a huge conflict with what social is all about…. engagement and conversation…so open up and “get real” with your consumer.

8. Track your Social Business progress: Make sure you have social tracking in place that can  track and measure how your social program is working including  what kind of money it’s driving to your business.  Analytics and measurement is key ingredient to any successful online channel and it is no different in Social Business. Make sure you make time every day to check in so you can monitor the level of engagement and conversations going on in your Social Business program. You will develop a more timely view of the sentiment for your brand in the marketplace.  ShoppeSimple provides all your analytics, tracking and measurement in a convenient Analytics and Measurement Dashboard.

Finally the last word… from the Wall Street Journal…  “For a World Where Facebook Is the New Internet”

“Facebook itself, sees content as a way to bring people to the site and keep them there, interacting with each other, buying stuff and getting served ads. At its conference for developers this week 9/19/2011, called F8, Facebook is expected to unveil a new media-sharing platform built for that purpose.” If you think 750 Million people don’t have clout, stay tuned. Your business depends on it.

My hope is you take these ideas and use them for your Social Business.  ShoppeSimple would love to help you by delivering a complete turn-key Social Business program for you in less than 10 days. And we can do it completely without touching your website.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Just give me a call at 612-349-2740 or email me at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com to get into a discussion.

September 27, 2011 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

IBM Launches Social Business..Ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO ShoppeSimple

IBM Launches Social Business

Now with over 750 million members globally, there’s no doubt that Facebook should be a part of your Social Business marketing strategy. At this point, it’s almost insane to think that your own B2B prospects and B2C customers aren’t on Facebook, which is why many businesses are finally realizing they need to create an engaging and valuable Facebook presence for their Fans. In fact the Facebook icon is becoming ubiquitous.

IBM staked a claim in the e-commerce market coining the term e-Business in 1997, which continues to drive 14 years+ of global e-Business success. Last week in a press release IBM is stepping up and again taking ownership of the term Social Business. Hmmm…that certainly legitimizes social.

At ShoppeSimple we applaud IBM for finally formalizing their position on Social Business and frankly it couldn’t come at a better time as you head into the Holidays looking to not only grow your overall business but to navigate the social waters.

So what will the next quarter of your business look like with your Social Business? Is it mapped?

There isn’t a week that goes buy that I don’t have C-Level discussions from both clients and prospects asking me how do we protect our business from all of the “bad” economic news bearing down at us? How do we pull out Plan B’s and C’s and put them in place NOW.Plans that do not require us to make major investments, ones that can be accomplished quickly and do not force our business to take a margin hit should economic conditions go further south and fast.

(For answers to these concerns let’s go offline and I will share with you how ShoppeSimple can assist in providing social and mobile revenue lift to your business in less than 30 days without investment, without margin hit and you’ll get positive results in 30 days. We will put our skin in the game to prove it.)

On the flip side of this discussion, I speak with large Internet and Multi-Channel retailers who want to take the conservative and risk adverse path and prefer to defer jumping into Social Business. For these colleagues I only have to point to online history to debate them. To provide several counter points that support my position which indicates deferring in the social space is a path for them to become a second rate player to be disrupted by a competitor. All of this has been documented before. Here’s how and why… please let’s not have it happen to your business.

How long did your business wait to jump in the online space? How long did you take to start to capture email addresses and then to use them for marketing your business? By the way, now looking back…

  • how large is your current email database?
  • how much revenue do you get from your email channel today? Would you give it up?
  • finally what percent is your email channel to your overall ecommerce business?

How long did it take for your business to move from stores and or catalogs to creating and marketing a full-blown e-commerce website? Yes those of us old enough remember brochure-ware sites (before ecommerce) scary to be dating myself.

  • What percent of your overall business is now done in your e-commerce channel?
  • Would you shut down your ecommerce efforts?

So I sense you now see a parallel here to thinking about growing and monetizing your social channels. Wanting to grow your social channels and doing it today and not somewhere out in futureware?

And to those who have asked me to help or those who have a social block, I call this getting over the Social Divide. Its time for your company to decide where it needs to be with Social and to do it right now. “Social Time” is ticking …tick…toc…

In a book called Resonate by Nancy Duare, Nancy writes about how General Electric (GE) never saw economic downturns as a time for retrenchment. In fact for GE it is just the opposite. “We increase our focus on marketing and advertising”. As a case study she shares how GE, during the downturn of 2008, relied on research conducted by Harvard Business School’s Ranjay Gulati. He observed that companies that relentlessly focus on the customer and invest more in their customer experience can expect to stay ahead of their competition for up to five years after recovery. So one see the power of where GE is today after significantly increasing consumer/customer focused investment spending in 2008.

Like GE’s aggressive marketing spend in 2008 and now by IBM putting its stake in the ground around Social Business during the worst economic crisis of our lifetime what lessons can your business takeaway from GE and now IBM’s position in the Social Business space? What message are they sending to all of us?

From my seat there should be plenty of takeaways. You only have to go back a short 14 years to see how IBM’s first e-Business position has had an amazing impact on the global ecommerce economy. Now with the world shrinking (750 Million Facebook accounts) and the world speeding faster and faster… today more than ever your business must (yes must) jump on the social and mobile superhighways (Facebook, Twitter and Mobile).

With all of these facts at your disposal how can you think about deferring your social moves or waiting just not moving at all. How can you be skeptical that the Facebook platform will not monetize itself over the next several years. To repeat: What revenue are you making with your email database? Now if you jumped into Social Business just think what your Social Business could look like in just 1-5 years when history repeats itself again.

I just can’t image why you wouldn’t want your business to stake its claim on this social superhighway?

You just can’t be left on the Facebook onramp when you hear today, according to Nielsen, that the average Facebook user spends over 7 hours per month on Facebook. So starting with this post and next weeks, I will share some of my thoughts on ways for your business to approach the Facebook Superhighway. Over the next two weeks, I will share 10 Facebook strategies I would do if I would be in your shoes. And my hope is that these call outs will assist your business with Facebook strategy, development and execution. Enjoy and just like in anything social… please share your comments with me  by clicking here.

First and the key to developing

Here are the 10 things I would do if I were in your shoes…

1.  Treat Your Facebook Page as a Business Channel: Start acting like your Facebook page is a unique and separate marketing channel. Dump the company silos and culture that are prehistoric and obviously prohibit Facebook and your other social channels from growing and integrating with each other. You treat your PPC, email, Affiliate, as unique marketing channels and obviously know that they leverage each other and Facebook should be no different. Your Facebook presence needs to instill throughout your company that Facebook is a viable channel for generating traffic, turning Facebook traffic into leads and then monetizing traffic and lead flow into a valuable revenue stream for your business. If you haven’t been able to accomplish this then let ShoppeSimple help you!

Yes undeniably, your consumer is on Facebook an average of 7+ hours a month and if you are not engaging them or conversing with them right now… trust me your competitor will seize the opportunity to do so. In fact, they already are.

2. Embrace Facebook Conversations: Stop being scared of fans posting on your Wall. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Think about it this way. When I worked in Customer Service, I loved an unhappy customer who called in to complain. It gave me every opportunity to fix the issue. Someone who doesn’t complain can’t be turned around. Can’t be resold on the brand and in turn tell others about their positive experience. Handling customer service through social is an exponential opportunity to grow your business and one that your business must succeed with. So Social Business activity should be thought of just like that customer service analogy. I refer to all of this as Surround-Sound marketing. Embracing, engaging with and conversing your consumers no matter where they are is the definition of social and what drives word of mouth, the potential for viral opportunities. At ShoppeSimple we call this Response Management.

However, you must STOP putting your advertising on your consumers Wall. They didn’t ask for it! It is a huge red Stop Sign to blunting consumer conversations. They didn’t permission you to deliver it. And they are already starting to hate it. We have found through our research, when you remove your advertising Wall posts your Likes dramatically increase holistically and organically. They also convert to buyers. Isn’t kind of obvious. What does your personal Facebook Wall look like today? Does your Wall look like you email inbox? YUK!

A good point from HubSpot…in your Facebook settings, make sure comments are enabled so your fans can post to your Wall about things they want to talk to you about and tag your company in their posts, too. Making your Page more engaging and will also encourage brand evangelism that can show new visitors and potential fans of your Page that people love your brand! On the other side of the rainbow, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism or negative feedback. Don’t delete these types of posts. Instead, respond in a way that shows you respect their opinion and appreciate their feedback.

3. Delivering Your Content on Your Consumer’s Facebook Rail: Why notenable your consumers to see your content/offers, conversations and engagements on their own terms and on their consumer pages with just one click. That means by using ShoppeSimple your content/offers resides on the left rail of your consumer’s Facebook page (not their Wall).  

Often we are asked what is unique about ShoppeSimple and the answer is how we enable consumers to dynamically curate offers (self-select offers) and ride them into any and all of the social and mobile rails with just one simple click for both merchants and consumers. We just don’t build social on one platform. Our tools build Social Business for your business on all of the current social and mobile web-enabled platforms with simply one click and there in lies our Intellectual Property and our secret sauce.  

For the first time consumers do not face a fire hose of product offers that they do not want or have not asked for but instead can self-select themselves into content or product offers and have them delivered to their Facebook consumer pages (not the Wall) or any social and mobile enabled platform they want. This means your content/offers get the attention of your consumer daily, which leads to incremental higher average order, new customers, higher conversion, and more frequency of ordering without channel shift. So you don’t pay twice for the same order. We build content and engagement for your business daily.

4. Don’t Start and Stop: Similarly, if you are going to get all excited about social and then do nothing in the channel after starting we would suggest that you are not ready to build a social channel and propose you do not begin. Nothing could be worse than having your consumers believe you are social and then they experience not having conversations with you. Conversations on Facebook and on any social platform need to be engaging and continuing. Otherwise, your fans will have no reason to keep coming back to your Facebook Channel, and your Social Business Channel will suffer. So will your Brand.

I know that many of you have been reading my blog posts on a weekly or monthly basis. But what is also interesting is to watch your behaviors. To understand why you have not kicked the ShoppeSimple program into gear or at least formulated a trial program with us in time for the Holiday to test for yourself the benefits of the ShoppeSimple program. With ShoppeSimple there are no implementation costs, you will be ready to go in less than 10 days with little or no IT involvement from your side and we work off a revenue share program for your first trial. Plus we guarantee your satisfaction. I sense this value proposition is why we are growing so quickly.

What do you have to lose?  We are also not recommending replacing what you are doing in social but we have found a successful way for our clients to increase their Surround-Sound marketing tactics and as a result monetize social in harmony with their consumer engagement.

To get started with a ShoppeSimple Social Business test all you have to do is email me by clicking here or call me at 612-349-2740.

September 20, 2011 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

Surround-Sound Marketing…Ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO – ShoppeSimple

Surround-Sound Marketing

In a White Paper, former FDA Commissioner Dr. David A. Kessler shared how the Food Industry has developed, marketed and promoted products to the American people. One of the stories he describes is how Roger Smith who was the Vice President for Research and Development at Nabisco developed the most iconic cookie brands: Oreos and Chips Ahoy!

Kessler describes the key insight that Smith reached while working at Nabisco – was that “no single aspect of food – neither one ingredient nor one sensory property – gets us to like something. The key drivers are multisensory.”  

Over my online marketing career and my focus around social and mobile, I’ve been promulgating “Surround-Sound” marketing. Surround-Sound marketing is a holistic state where the collective marketing from all online channels support an alignment with consumers and engages them wherever they are on the web or on mobile. This also includes a unified focus on all of your online channels to help monetize social channels by leveraging years of core e-commerce marketing efforts.

Surround-Sound marketing requires that all your channels work as one, especially now at a time when the current economic conditions leave your business little room for margin give-back and/or profit loss. 

Facts that back up the need for Surround-Sound Marketing…

  • A Radica study indicates that nearly 2.4 billion users worldwide have social networking accounts in 2010, with an anticipated growth to 3.9 billion by the end of 2015.
  • In 2010 more than 107 trillion emails were sent, according to The New York Times.
  • Estimates from a recent Morgan Stanley Trend Report indicate that 50% of all ecommerce transactions will be done on a Smartphone by the year 2014.
  • And Gartner says, “For the customer, social marketing and marketing applications that help customers through the decision-making steps of the buying process will be fully accomplished through a mobile device.”

But unfortunately in the last few years’ customer engagement has morphed into a communication form where merchants have disrespected their universe of consumers.

Here’s how and why…have you ever asked your consumer how they would like to have a conversation with your business? Or, what merchandise offers or content they would like to see from your business?

If you would ask, what would their answers be?

Have you asked and have they told you where they would like to see your offers in their online environs including social and mobile? Do you have the pulse on their answers?

Or have you fallen back to what has always been comfortable? To play it safe and do what you have always done. To only focus your marketing that directs consumers back to your website or spray them with a fire hose of product offers that you have decided are the ones your consumers want from you.

With all your different communication channels like email, PPC, Affiliate, retail, online advertising, direct mail and other online tactics driving one to many communications conversations with you consumer, how likely are you to have one unifying voice? How likely have you included your consumer’s wants and wishes into your communication?

It has never been more important than today to take a holistic view of your marketing and dismantle the marketing silos that have been established within your organization.

Like Dolby® Digital Sound in a movie, the experience of the crystal clear sound captivates its audience and drives the user experience. The very same thing should happen with your online campaigns.

When you apply Surround-Sound marketing approaches to align communication across all your channels and speak with one brand voice, you will almost immediately become more effective at reaching and engaging the consumer. These communications are not only effective in engaging the consumer. They will lead to channel monetization too.

So following Surround-Sound marketing methodologies…

  • Remove the clutter of cross-purpose channel marketing
  • Rise above dumping more email volume and frequency at your consumers by enabling your consumers to self-select themselves into content/offers that are of interest to them and allow these content/offers to be delivered where and when they want them (social and through mobile)
  • Rise above the fact that on average you have over 90% defection from your website visits (Yes 9/10+ visitors defect from your home page) by providing a more customized consumer home page experience driven by your consumer
  • Rise above the fact that on average your business is losing 70%+ shopping cart abandons according to MarketingSherpa and stop believing that your consumer enjoys being followed once they leave your site
  • Rise above the lost opportunity cost created by poorly designed PPC/Adword programs and poorly designed landing pages without any social monetization strategies

Consumers need the ability to decide and to tell you what messages they want to see and where they want to see them in any and all of your channels. Today’s consumer demands more control over what communications they receive and where they want to see them.

As Tina Stewart VP of Marketing at Lyris says… “It’s all about developing a message and making sure it is not seen as just noise. With Adblockers Instant blocks, such as spam filters, intelligent inboxes, unlikes, etc., you need to give your audience an easier and faster way to stay engaged with you or you just simply risk disengagement.”

But how do you successfully engage customers in a dialogue so they pay attention to your offers or content? It starts by knocking down and eliminating your program silos and by realizing that you must move to developing only one voice for your BRAND. You must unify your campaigns across all channels with a consistent look, feel, and one voice.

At ShoppeSimple our Surround-Sound marketing system is designed to enable you to RISE ABOVE and move your business to an alignment with your consumers. We enable your consumer to self-select what merchandise offers/content they want to see and where they want these offers to be delivered (any social or mobile platform) with one simple click. We provide an integrated Surround-Sound marketing system for your business, which unifies all of your online marketing into one voice.  The results speak for themselves.

Real Results…

One client, generating $8 Million in sales (annualized) or around 10% of their online sales, has renewed with us twice. Another client just renewed after seeing great matchback results with a rebuy rate lift of 38% and an Average Order Value lift of 32%. Still another recent renewal increased their frequency from 1 order per year to 2X+ on their active customer group.

With ShoppeSimple you can achieve results like this too, by RISING ABOVE these common online challenges and engaging your consumers on their terms using Surround Sound marketing methodologies.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Just send me an email at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com  to start our conversation!

September 13, 2011 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Unlocking Social Keywords…ideas from Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

In an article last week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (home base of Target, Best Buy and ShoppeSimple) – Target executives said “they no longer see their stores, website and mobile platforms as separate entities. A SALE IS A SALE.”

In another Star Tribune article in the same week, Jodi Davis, a Best Buy executive said “It’s an interesting time at Best Buy right now. We’re finding more ways to communicate with customers. We want them to interact with us no matter where they are (store, website, social and mobile) and no matter what device they use.”

Here are two of the biggest multi-channel retailers in the US getting channel agnostic and confirming what I have been saying for months…A SALE IS A SALE.

Hearing the daily tough economic news, shouldn’t your business just be happy to make a bank deposit regardless of channel? Isn’t internal fighting over traditional vs. new social channels getting credit for the order something that needs to be kicked overboard when you are facing economic times like these?

As I was preparing for a recent WebEx presentation around Changing Innovation, I got to wonder about social monetization of online channels. I chose to speak about Google Adwords. Yes, Adwords and not my normal social world. It was a great departure for me.

During the WebEx we discussed Google’s Adwords and how Google has changed the online marketing landscape with its Adwords innovation. I personally started using Adwords when I was building and running the HarrietCarters.com website in the early 2000’s. In fact, Google launched AdWords in October 2000 with 350 clients and Harriet was one of the first companies to use it for our marketing. Yes, you would expect me to be an early adopter of technical innovation and what I loved then and still do about Adwords is the fact that Google provided an innovation for marketers to move away from impression-based banner buys to a more targeted and a relevant consumer’s choice ad model. This was a vast departure from the DoubleClick (where I also worked in the late 90’s)  banner-serving model which was based on an enhanced cookie CPM model.

As you may know Adwords is run by consumers searching for Keyword using Google’s search engine. Adwords is a “bid and ask” pricing model where the highest bid ads are placed at the top and side on the Google’s search page. They are featured in the yellow boxes. Spending is only charged to the advertiser when a consumer clicks on a headline ad link and then the price per click fee negotiated is charged. Adwords is not a revenue share program because it is up to the merchant, on its own dime, to convert the sale.  Adwords is basically a traffic driver to the merchant site.

Unlocking your Social Keyword Strategy

Over the summer of 2011, ShoppeSimple has been analyzing the PPC arena and also working with merchants and partnerships to identify how to improve PPC results. We have also been suggesting to merchants ways to grow their social channels through the use of new Social PPC/Adwords marketing. Now that we have released our SSN4.0 software, we have been analyzing Social PPC marketing that is driven by testing socializing and monetizing keywords, which emanate from conversations that you are having with your consumers on your Facebook Wall and on Twitter and/or through your search query streams along with other pathways.

You should be also be doing this in your PPC program. Start looking for new social keywords in your search query reports. Additionally, have you considered using PPC as a way to capture more Likes and Twitter followers using special exclusive social channel offers/coupons/free shipping or gifts and then using a unique and socialized landing page for this PPC effort? But as I said before, stay away from using Sweepstakes to drive Like growth.

From one of our partners:

“By including the social search phrase into a unique landing page a conversion rate increase of up to 20 percent is possible. Shoppers will see this, which immediately confirms they are in the right place by emphasizing the phrase they used in their searches.”  Tony Tellijohn – Ackmann & Dickenson

You may be thinking, well Jeff we can do all of that so what is special about ShoppeSimple’s Social Keyword approach? Well that is our secret sauce…. Ahh…you believe you are doing this….well you will see what I mean…simply read on…

Are your Keywords Locked…Here’s why and how?

What I just shared is an ideal PPC program scenario. The reality unfortunately is both interesting and sometimes really ugly. What do I mean? Well as a business using PPC, you pay a ton of up front marketing dollars (based on consumer clicks) to Google Adwords and then from my seat, I question why you would allow your user relevancy and consumer conversation to get so bruised because many of you are frankly blowing it on the PPC backend.

Here is what I found in three Keyword cases. And believe me, I didn’t go out of my way to find these examples. I won’t name names but the examples are all from the top paid PPC link for the Keyword on Google. You can easily replicate these experiences for yourselves.

The first search case: I typed Ammo into Google Search. I clicked on the paid link and got to a website landing page which had ammo choices but why am I also being forced to look at 25 product choices 5 of them not being ammo at all (knifes/guns and shooting accessories). From my perspective, the time to show me related search items is deeper in the selling process, not on the PPC landing page. How relevant is this page for me with 20% of the products not being close to what I want?

Search case number two: I typed in Petite Suits. After selecting from among the top PPC links, I found myself on one of the most well known multi-channel merchant sites in the US. Their landing page showed 100 items on the first page (yes 100) and 7 more pages of fashion. All of this made the buying choices overwhelming by any standard. By the way, most of these items were Petites but not Suits. Is this what consumers expected when they typed in Petite Suits?

Search case number three: And with this last case I thought heck I want to search on something very specific, something that I am about to buy. So I did a Google search on “Adidas sneakers originals Samba”. In fact, this is a pair of sneakers I am prepared to buy from one of the Internet Top 50 Internet Retailers. I have these shoes already in my shopping cart on their site but instead I thought I would try testing the shopping process using Adwords. However this time from the flip side of the user experience.

Unfortunately…The result was a total failure for this retailer and the consumer (ME). So what did my search show? For the search “Adidas sneakers originals Samba” a results page from the very same merchant (from whom I have the item in my cart) left me with 12 products on their website landing page.  Worse yet…ONLY ONE of these products was Adidas and none of them being Samba the shoe I want to buy. Is there something I’m missing?

Additionally, where is the obvious social conversation in any of these three examples? None of the results pages had any social conversational tools on them. Does social have to be just about Facebook, Twitter and Mobile to be considered social? From my seat, heck no!

At the core of multi-channel marketing is consumer engagement and this is channel agnostic.  Just like we heard from Target and Best Buy this week  A SALES IS A SALE!

If you are like most of the merchants we speak with, PPC is probably in the top 3 performing channels for your ecommerce business and if your PPC experience looks anything like the above just imagine how much money you are wasting in this channel. And on the flip side, imagine how ShoppeSimple can help you drive down acquisition cost, increase your conversions and deliver new customers.

All you have to do to experience this in your business and in time for the Holidays is test us. If you don’t get results you don’t pay so you have no downside risk!

Now taking this Social Keywords discussion further, where is the social monetization on any of these merchant keyword results pages? Look for them? Absolutely nowhere. My research findings also suggest that virtually none of these Top Internet 100 merchants (and maybe you) in their PPC programs are including social sharing like Facebook, Twitter and mobile sharing icons on the PPC results pages. What a miss.

At ShoppeSimple we make it easier for you to create and monetize your PPC/Adwords program and do it without any implementation costs. We also guarantee that our program will dramatically increase your conversion rate and drive down your order acquisition costs.

Real Proof…

One of our customers, generating $8 Million in sales (annualized) or around 10% of their online sales, has renewed with us twice. Another customer just renewed after seeing great matchback results with a rebuy rate lift of 38% and an Average Order Value lift of 32%. Still another recent renewal increased their frequency from 1 order per year to 2X+ on their active customer group.

With ShoppeSimple you can achieve results like this too by making your Adwords program relevant to your consumers as you remember A SALES IS A SALE. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Just send me an email at jeff@shoppesimplenetwork.com to start our conversation!

Best,

Jeffery

Jeffery Giesener
CEO/Founder
ShoppeSimple Network

PS. Please feel free to forward this to a friend or colleague.

September 8, 2011 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

Gunslingers and Carts…ideas from Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

Last week I had conversations with several CEO’s of the Top 50 Internet Retailers and the prevailing feedback  I received was: “Jeff, we just can’t seem to get social to work for us and certainly haven’t been able to monetize it. We’re also looking for new ideas for the Holidays and ShoppeSimple seems to have cracked the social code. According to merchants I’ve been talking to, you’re making merchants money in social. So, how can you help us?”

A year ago I started writing this blog for executives like you to help make heads or tails of all this and provide ideas to monetize social and mobile commerce. As we move into the months ahead, the daily economic news continues to leave all of us uncertain as to what Q3 and the upcoming 2011 Holidays will look like. Last Friday, when I got the following news feed, it just made me quiver…

Will Bernanke provide relief to our industry?

Bernanke in a terse statement and in inscrutable language of Fed-speak Friday 8/27/2011, “said that he has tools left in his tool kit that could be employed to spur the economy, but he isn’t going to use them now”. In plainest English, that’s troubling in the extreme.

If the Fed really could be taking measures to add vigor to a dismal economy, then what are they waiting for? Joblessness remains at epidemic proportions, housing prices are falling, and homeowners keep sinking into delinquency. Manufacturing seems to be retreating anew, and Europe and Japan are both in distress, snuffing out hopes that our exports can lead us out of the ditch. The only impressive growth is found in the production of dreary economic forecasts and worries that we are headed for a double-dip recession.

So what are your plans to ready your business should your numbers for Q3 and Holiday/Q4 go off forecast?

What’s your Plan B should your consumers pull back from buying?

How do you plan to protect your margins?

In my discussions with CEO’s, not only were they interested in finding alternative paths for protecting their businesses, but they also wanted to find new innovations that would not cost an arm and a leg or take a substantial amount of time and resources to implement. They also wanted to have plans at the ready to protect their margins should the economy continue to go off the cliff.

Social monetization is not a black box that your business can’t crack or unlock. In fact, you have been building your social commerce for years and if you look at social and mobile, they are an extension of your base ecommerce business. To this point most of the valuable components and digital assets for social monetization are already in place for you to leverage.

But what will force you to hit the social wall and socially bruise your business before you rethink, realign and radically change your internal way of thinking around social? We have seen too many cases where businesses have unfortunately developed a “social media mental block”. Everyone knows they need to engage with consumers, but the resistance companies face in moving resources from established areas that work into new areas is tremendous. This is why big companies are so slow to innovate, says Geoffrey Moore, author and venture partner at MDV. In this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture at Stanford University, he explains “that while there are no shortages of great, groundbreaking ideas at big companies… including many that could threaten startups… the established culture at those companies prevents the ideas from maturing.”

I use a different set of words…I call what is going on inside of the Big Company The Gunslinger Effect. When you apply these same standards to social marketing and monetization, you allow mature online marketing channels to stand in the way of your social and mobile commerce development. Here’s how it works:

  • Thinking that every sale that comes from social is just channel shift from other traditional online channels.
  • Forcing the social team to jump through ROI hoops to show that their ROI is stand-alone. How can that be? Social Conversions happen across channels.

You already know that in your ecommerce business orders have multiple channel touches so why would Social not fall into this allocation methodology? I hear about these internal debates/discussions all the time. Unfortunately in more cases than not, social at the moment loses and these social touch orders reallocate back into the traditional channels.

From my seat and hopefully yours, the present value of a buck-in-the-bank is a fundamental financial metric everyone should get in business, especially today. This idea should trump all others.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I get the value of analytics but not at the expense of social monetization. Cash-in-the-bank is cash in the bank.

More on this point…if you are forcing the analysis of social to live up to your mature PPC, Affiliate, email and other well established online channels, why would you want your business thinking this way? If you are expecting your Social ROI to be more than zero before you jump into the water, how will you ever take the first step to grow your social and mobile business? You didn’t do that with email in the mid-90’s and now look at the monetary asset value of your email database. Today, getting started in social provides another future value of several new databases (Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers and mobile text) and what they will be worth to your business just 2-5 years from now. It is so misguided to believe you can’t make an investment in social with this type of future pay-off. I know you didn’t think that way with email capture in the 90’s.  And from 2004-2006 you didn’t hold to this standard when your business started working with Google Adwords. You took early bets on this Adwords/PPC channel and now if you shut off your PPC program what would happen to your online sales?

Your efforts to monetize social and mobile become inherently easier when you look at social through this new lens. What our clients have found is that growing your social business and monetizing the channels is not just a deployment of a Facebook store and pushing a fire hose of products at your consumers. It’s something much more important:

  • The development and implementation of social ideas that integrate with your core ecommerce channel marketing.
  • Two-way communication with your consumer over relevant offers they want to see and where they want to see them.
  • And the ability to monetize social with just one click.

It’s why our client installations include a social road map and execution plan. And, why implementation is quick so you’re making money in less than a month without any implementation costs whatsoever.

To make my point…you have one of your social email assets working for you today. You are banking a ton of cash using it. How do I know? Just answer the following. Where is your email-capture on your site? Now do me a favor…recommend to your boss that you move this email capture to the footer of your home page and see what she/he tells you? I can hear the colorful words now. X@#4Z&*!  Of course, this would never make sense to do.

For many of you, if you want to monetize your social channels, it simply starts with answering this question: Why are your social icons in the footer of your website? And ask yourself:  Who in your organization decided to put them there and why?

In the mid-90’s you had to have the courage to capture an email address. You had the courage to put the capture in the header of your website. And now with social and mobile, who in your organization has the courage to argue the point that social icons need to be placed in the header of your website too? This is one of the easiest things you can do to begin to capture and monetize social. Or, is it for your organization?

Abandoned shopping carts cost online retailers $18 billion/year!
A Comscore/Paypal study found that more than 54% of consumers said the following about the reasons why they abandon their shopping carts:

  • Wanted to comparison shop: 37 percent
  • Wanted to look for a coupon: 27 percent

But wait a minute…you may be asking yourself, why in a post about making your business more social, would I be talking about abandoned shopping carts? Shopping cart abandonment is for those traditional ecom guys. Old School Jeff… you may be thinking. Well that’s just my point. The opportunity to grow social channels falls right on the doorstep of your core ecommerce business.

From my seat it certainly isn’t Old School. The power to monetize social and mobile is in integrating social into every fiber of your ecommerce site and your online marketing. It is also why I don’t believe in giving up your checkouts to Facebook, Twitter and external mobile platforms. My long-term experience and hard fought lessons in ecommerce say your site MUST control the shopping experience along with the CART and check-out process. If someone tells you otherwise…or they want to place your CART on social channels watch what happens to your bank account.

Abandoned carts and check-out issues have been around for as long as ecommerce and social email. They all are linked together…but who talks about them? Unfortunately merchants haven’t invested as much time, resources and effort to defend CART and check-out abandonment according to MarketingSherpa research.

Abandonment within CARTs and Check-Outs is an issue costing online retailers 71% of their ecommerce conversions. What is even worse and more alarming, 22% of merchants admitted that they didn’t even capture relevant stats on shopping cart abandonment.

Another study by a leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) research firm measured the total number of shoppers who actually purchased divided by a far larger number of those who put something into their cart. Turns out that the average cart abandon rate in this study was a whopping 59.8%!

Do you know what your abandonment stat is? Bottom line…Yikes!

So I ask you…would you want to avoid a conversation with someone who puts something in his or her shopping cart or comes to your cash register ready to buy? In your store would you turn your back on that customer who put merchandise on your sales counter? Of course you wouldn’t and neither would our clients.  That’s why we’ve developed Abandoned Cart social tools which help you speak to your best shoppers while they are in your shopping cart wanting to have a buying conversation with you. We help you close a sale because you deliver relevant offers to these consumers while they are engaged and shopping with you. If more than 50% of consumers abandon your cart because they want to comparison-price shop or find a coupon wouldn’t you want to assist them further with their buying decision-making?

This not only flips the current model of how merchants deal with Abandoned Carts but you can actually close more business with your best potential buyers. Having these conversations with consumers over relevant offers/content while they are in the shopping cart, in the mood for buying and before they defect, is a much better solution than drenching them with a fire hose of products offers, chasing consumers once they have defected from their carts and your site, or using retargeting approaches to get them back to your site. It’s better from a privacy and consumer “creep” factor also as you won’t need to chase your best  buyers around the net and have them wonder how you know where they are?

Just like we help you reduce defection from your website, convert your email database into buyers, monetize your Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers, and enable mobile sharing, isn’t it time to mitigate your shopping cart defection?

When your business is leaking sales from your shopping cart abandons it’s a   no-brainer for ShoppeSimple to socialize these shopping carts and minimize abandonments. Our clients have seen through A/B split tests reductions in lost carts by 25% or more. Because we are giving consumers more of what they want, we have also seen carts increase in sales by more than 33%.  Imagine the profitable impact to your business from executing these social possibilities. Imagine the positive margin impact.

Exclusive Abandon Cart Offers

But I am hearing some of you Gunslingers out there thinking ”No”, we would have these orders already. They are in our cart! But that’s not the point…we are talking about the carts that do not get closed.

I know some of you are reluctant to include a limited time offer in your abandoned cart programs. You fear that customers will share the information with friends to the point where soon all online shoppers will abandon purchases and wait for the discount to arrive via email. At ShoppeSimple our program doesn’t work that way or use email. Customers may be looking for deals, especially now with this economy, however, when you present more of what they want when they are in the buying process it’s natural for them to place an additional item or two into your order. In fact, haven’t you been trying to accomplish this with related items on your site for years? But have you ever asked your consumer to self-select themselves into the items they really want while they are closing their cart?

But worst case, let’s say you gave a 10% additional discount on a relevant item. The additional revenue you will bring into the business will significantly offset the discount and make it worth your while. If your average sale is $100, with $50 of that being profit, and you sell 250 items each day online, you’re making a profit of $12,500 every day. However, if you can sell an additional 100 items each day at 10% off, you’re increasing your profits over 30%… even accounting for the discounted price and the cost of deploying any additional marketing.

Real Proof…

When you take the ShoppeSimple program in its entirety and use our best practices we know you will succeed. In fact, we guarantee it. One of our customers, generating $8 Million in sales (annualized) or around 10% of their online sales, has renewed with us again. Another customer just renewed after seeing great matchback results with a rebuy rate lift of 38% and an Average Order Value lift of 32%. Still another recent renewal increased their frequency from 1 order per year to 2X+ on their active customer group.

With ShoppeSimple you can achieve results like this too.

So take the first step. Let me know what your schedule looks like in the next couple of weeks and we’ll get our conversation started with a virtual meeting.

August 30, 2011 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

To Sweep for Likes?… Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post which resonated with many of you, based on the many comments I received. It was a drive down the Internet memory lane and in today’s post I thought I would continue the ride. Isn’t it funny how history repeats itself – you will soon see why. Today’s blog post will share how ecommerce merchants (including me) captured and built email databases in the mid-1990′s and how today’s socially engaged merchants are closely resembling this by capturing Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers.

But before I go down memory lane again, let me make a hard stop. The economic news over the last month is getting really scary for retailers/merchants and today as I write this we had another 420 point drop in the Dow. So I ask you how are your consumers reacting to all of this? Have you thought about how they will react for the Holidays? Are you ready for another bumpy ride?

If your business is sensitive to these consumer gyrations then what plans are you setting into motion if your numbers are not where you need them to be as you go into the Holidays? As you know doing something at the last minute to recover lost sales will always beat the heck out of your margins. So…

  • What are your Plan B’s, should you need them to boost sales?
  • What alternative marketing tools are you putting in place now that will not only boost revenue but also protect your margins and/or give you an incremental lift in business?

If this has been your boardroom discussion over the last several weeks as we watch Washington’s political stalemate and while our 401K’s take a big time hit…

For those of you who have been in and around Internet/ecommerce marketing for years or those of you who are honing your craft, you’re finding that there is no free online-marketing lunch. Ecommerce marketing is getting tougher year after year. Just look at your comps. No doubt about that. And many of you are stymied about how to make money with Facebook and Twitter. But I hope you are seeing these two new social platforms as a new Golden Goose with those golden eggs looking just like email did years ago. In fact, to monetize the Goose you just have to follow the social trails of years past.

Even with the migration of brick and mortar sales to ecommerce, it is no secret that eyeballs and buying is moving to Facebook, Twitter and Mobile and other platforms like Google+. In fact, a Morgan Stanley study indicated that by 2014, 50% of all ecommerce would be done on a mobile smartphone or Tablet platform.

I sense you already know that in order to move your ecommerce business needle you must continually test new innovations and just like when ecommerce began in the mid-90′s those of us who began our online careers during this period knew that email was the preferred and perhaps the only place to find consumers online.

Amazing as this sounds today, there were no emarketing technologies to help build your business. No Affiliate Marketing, No Banner Ads, No Keywords, No Retargeting, No SEO, No PPC, No collaborative filtering engines, No Internal Search, No Personalization technologies but the one thing we had was SOCIAL marketing.

Wait. What do you mean social marketing in 1995+? That’s right, you were socializing with your consumer using email and your consumer engaged with you using email. Your consumer became social with you and they loved it. In fact, email worked so well to socialize your business it continues today to beat out virtually any other ecommerce marketing channel for making you net marketing profits.

As such, merchants at that time quickly figured out more ways to monetize the email “social” channel.

So what did marketers and merchants do to begin to socialize marketing through email?

They started to ask consumers for their email address(es). The key here and the lesson which also translates well today in the social marketing experience is you asked your website traffic to “like us” by giving you their email address and because they liked your brand they chose to get “email only” offers too.

Merchants were happy to trade email addresses for special deals and discounts because they knew the growth of the email database would eventually turn into gold bullion for their businesses. And they were right.

Looking back 15 years or so the cool part of this plan was that consumers did what you asked them to do. They forked over the personal and/or business email addresses in droves. Then you were on your way to building a social relationship with these consumers that of course quickly led to email commerce. Or should we say social commerce conducted through email marketing.

Are you asking your consumers on your website and email to Like and Follow you on Facebook and Twitter? Where are you doing this?

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But nothing is as simple as it sounds. How frequently are you doing a social email to promote your social channels? Weekly, Monthly or sadly not at all?

Next, are you doing exclusive social-only offers? Providing Likes and Followers special social channel deals not available anywhere else? In the 90′s you did it through email promo codes and you still do. Why not do the same with Facebook, Twitter and Mobile?

Consumers in the early days of ecommerce gave you their precious email address but in doing so, just like today’s social consumer, there was a promise made between you the merchant and your consumer. The promise: Don’t abuse my permission.

So back in the early days, maximizing the numbers of email captures was on the mind of every marketer and making them stick (not opting out) was too.

But history should repeat itself…but does it?. Where are your social icons on your website and in email? Don’t tell me…I know…most likely buried at the footer of your website. But why?

With all the speaking that I do and behind that all the research to ready myself, I am trying to track down the “Social Czar” that has suggested that merchants place their social icons in the footer of their websites and emails? Why are you following this approach if you are? You didn’t with your email captures in the mid-90′s, so why with social?

Placing these social icons in the footer flies squarely in the face of the years of ecommerce research on the optimization of capturing emails, not to mention our own A/B split testing research on just this point. Was there a webinar that I missed or some social pundit telling websites “it is best to put social icons in the footer of your websites!” Or is this just a herding mentality where merchants are looking around at each other’s websites and duplicating the placement of social icons.

Positioning social icons in the header of the website and email is simply the Best Practice…Period End…

At ShoppeSimple we have done a host of A/B split tests to prove this point to our clients. We have seen results improving 5X when you move your social icons up to above the fold and 8-10X when you put social icons in the header of your website. It doesn’t get any simpler than that? Why not do your own tests?

But candidly when we did research and asked this question of prospective clients: “Why are your social icons on the footer of your website and email”? Their answers showed us that there is really no good reason to have done so. The answer usually falls into three categories:

  1. Our website real estate is too valuable and we have yet to figure out how to monetize our social channels.
  2. The branding or graphic arts department controls the home page.
  3. We looked at other sites and we are doing what they did. We just started in social so they know better what is working.

Please… do you run your ecommerce/social business the way other companies run their business?

Now let’s also take another pivot in our discussions and ask how are you capturing Facebook Likes? Are there parallels that can be drawn to the lessons of the past in the email capture stated above to help you with your Like captures? You Bet!

To Sweep For Likes is the subject of this blog but strong direct marketers know that Sweepstakes-sourced names are weaker performing names in the catalog and email space. I would suspect that you know that too. When was the last time your business put out an email broadcast with a sweeps offer in it? The same for your Catalog?

Bill Perrizo, a Direct Marketing veteran and currently at Northern Tool gave us these marketing hints around Sweepstakes offers…

“Anytime you entice people with something that will appeal to more than your normal customer, you are sure to see lower results when, and if, they purchase.

The lifetime value (one year payback) of the new names from sweeps will be less than the new names from other sources.”

So what’s the social history lesson for today? Why have I again taken you down the social email commerce memory lane?

It is great to see that many of you are beginning to focus on capturing your new social databases (Likes, Followers and mobile texts). But why do you feel compelled to do it using Sweepstake offers? I am afraid that what you will soon find out also happened in the Catalog and email-marketing world with sourced Sweeps names. Converting Sweeps sourced Likes won’t be any easier to convert in Social than Sweeps names were in Catalog and email.

There’s a better way

If you would put your social icons where we suggest and use our ShoppeSimple Social Consumer Centric™ tools to capture Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers we guarantee that you will effectively monetize these channels and drive incremental business. When you do, you will have a new monetization strategy for your social channels and money in your bank account for the Holidays.

Real Proof…

One of our customers, generating $8 Million in sales (annualized) or around 10% of their online sales, has renewed with us twice. Another customer just renewed after seeing great matchback results with a rebuy rate lift of 38% and an Average Order Value lift of 32%. Still another recent renewal increased their frequency from 1 order per year to 2X+ on their active customer group.

With ShoppeSimple you can achieve results like this too so you don’t have to resort to using Sweeps to grow your social commerce channels.  You can do so much better than that through the ShoppeSimple Network program.

So take the first step. Let me know what your schedule looks like in the next couple of weeks and we’ll get our conversation started with a virtual meeting.

Best,

Jeffery

Jeffery Giesener
CEO/Founder
ShoppeSimple Network

PS. Please feel free to forward this to a friend or colleague.

August 23, 2011 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

Being Social Consumer Centric…ideas from Jeffery Giesener – CEO – ShoppeSimple Network

Imagine if your consumer could tell you what merchandise offers they wanted to see from you!

What if you could then distribute these offers to where your consumer wants to see them (website, email, social or mobile)!

The result: More incremental business!

Hi,

I know you have been around eCommerce for a decade or so and your email marketing is probably your lowest cost marketing channel, but does that mean you should not strive to increase the level of engagement and user experience with your consumers?

This challenge with all that you have on your plate is not a simple one. So have you ever thought about enabling “Social Consumer Centric™” marketing?

A more productive marketing approach for your business

  • Have you ever considered giving your consumer the opportunity to pre-select themselves into merchandise offers of their choosing? These offers then become highly valued and relevant to your consumer.
  • Have you ever enabled your consumers to see merchandise they want daily and on their terms in any social platform of their choice (Facebook, Twitter or mobile)?
  • Have you been able to make it one-click easy to have your consumers share your merchandise with their Likes or Followers or mobile or email contacts?

Now if that’s a change to conventional web marketing, here is another one. Do you subscribe to the thought process that what a consumer has just bought is an indicator of what they are also interested in buying in the near to mid term?

As you read this, you may be thinking WOW this is out of the box and/or flies in the face of all the current web marketing thinking, best practices about CRM and collaborative filtering/recommendations engines. Hmm… but hold on… hear me out.

If you have been reading my blog you know it isn’t unusual for me to challenge conventional Internet marketing wisdom or even dynamite it. Boom!

If you think I am off in my thinking, please just check your ROI on the web recommendations that you are presenting. How successful are your recommendations converting and what is your ROI? Then check further by layering in the investments in CRM tools. Then ask yourself are you getting your expected payback?

If you are successful with your online tools and you are happy with your ROI calculators then there is no need to keep reading. So stop and check out now.

But if you feel you would like to lift your web and email conversions, average order values and order frequency it will be worth it for you to keep reading, as I have some thoughts for you that are guaranteed to put money in your business bank account for the Holidays.

At ShoppeSimple we believe in “Social Consumer Concentric™” marketing. What exactly does that mean? Giving your consumer the keys to drive their buying relationships with your business. We do this in a number of interesting ways using our integrated social technology, but for this blog post I am going to focus on

Social Consumer Concentric-Web/Email, which is finding great market acceptance.

Unlike pushing a fire hose of products at your consumer that they have little or no interest in (irrelevant), we believe in simply asking them what they would like to see!

Now for the first time your business can let consumers self-select themselves into merchandise and category offers that they are interested in. Your consumers’ preselected merchandise then is distributed seamlessly (just one click) throughout the social platforms of their choosing (merchant Facebook Store page, consumers’ Facebook home page (not their Wall), Facebook Affiliate Stores, Twitter Offers page, MyHome pages, merchant branded Hub page) and to their mobile smartphones.

Plus, these offers can easily be Liked, shared, Retweeted, texted and emailed among their friends and family which creates an incredible viral BUZZ about your brand and your merchandise.

What is the result of this unique targeting and consumer relevancy? Your business will see an increase in average order value, a substantial lift in order frequency, and higher order conversion. How much your business will increase depends on your business but you will be amazed at how giving your consumers the choices they want will improve your marketing success. Plus, not to leave this important point for last, we deliver new social customers at less than $2.00 each. Yes $2.00. How does this customer acquisition cost compare to what you are paying for a new customer today?

At ShoppeSimple our entire business is geared towards giving consumers what they want, where and when they want it. It’s really a simple concept, but ask yourself are you doing this with your website and in your email broadcasts?

Since I know you could do this, why aren’t you?

You could do all of this with the database capability you have in house. Or can you?

It’s taken us years to develop our Social Customer Centric™ technology to help merchants like you monetize their website, email, shopping cart defection and social and mobile platforms.

Social marketing is an “old-made-new” approach of delivering your brand communication and pointing your current digital assets to new social and mobile platforms. But to make this work you need new, innovative marketing tools and ideas.

One final example to make my point is a short case study that will give you further understanding behind my vision and explain why we do what we do at ShoppeSimple.

I bought a pair of Cole Haan shoes from a “Top Ten Internet Retailer”. I love this online merchant. I love their products, prices, service, return policy…you name it… I love them. Well that is until 30 days ago. Here’s why.

60 days ago, I ordered the Cole Haans and the very next day and for everyday for the next 30 days…yes one unrequested email per day…I received 30 different email offers.

But what makes this so interesting from a marketing perspective (a lesson for all of us in the business) is that one would think this company would have all the database capability to know who I am and my demographics tendencies from what I just bought. So why are they sending me product emails which are ¼ Hip Hop wear and ¾ ladies’ products? I just couldn’t believe how unsophisticated this company was with their email marketing! And, I’m still scratching my head! None of these 30 emails offered any relevant product that would make me want to purchase again.

What is missing in their marketing? ME!

From the consumer buying perspective they have “toasted” me. From the marketer in me, this is a total marketing quandary. And from the Company side of the isle, this is probably a financial fiasco and unfortunately one that they can’t even see.

I know that if the company were selling its products through catalogs the distribution cost alone would have halted this silliness in a few short weeks. But because email is so cheap to send it is considered OK to waste your customer’s time and energy.

What makes this even worse for me in today’s economic climate, when every dime in costs count, is that your wasted cost for all of this doesn’t get on the marketing radar screen. It’s probably a systemic part of the email-marketing budget. And you know all of this has been going on for years.  So I ask, have marketers fallen asleep at the consumer experience switch?

What did I personally do in my defense to prevent this email barrage from continuing? I simply opted out of the emails after 30 days, as enough was enough. That’s too bad because if they had sent me more relevant offers, I would have bought more. Guaranteed… as I loved this Company.

X (emails)+Y (relevancy) = Z with Z being more cash/profit in the merchants bank account.

I hope this story does not resonate with your business

But if it does, we would welcome the opportunity to help you pivot your website and email marketing to Social Consumer Centric™ marketing. We know this will help you avoid the web and email pratfalls that are happening to way too many merchants. We will also guarantee that our innovative Social programs will succeed for your business because when you give a consumer more of what they want and do it frequently they BUY MORE. It’s that simple.

So take the first step. Let me know what your schedule looks like in the next couple of weeks for a virtual meeting and we’ll get our conversation started.

Best,

Jeffery

Jeffery Giesener
CEO/Founder
ShoppeSimple Network

PS. Please feel free to forward this email to a friend or colleague.

August 16, 2011 at 10:10 am 2 comments

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