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Ecom Tips Magazine Starts 11.2 on Curagami

Ecom Tips Magazine Starts 11.2 on Curagami | Ecom Revolution |

Ecommerce Tips Magazine
How did we make over $35M in online ecommerce? Sure we tell you then you tell five people and before you know it everyone knows our secrets (cool with us). That's why we will be sharing our favorite ecommerce tips every day next week at  

Be there or don't make as much money this holiday selling season as you could.  

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Holiday Ecommerce Design THEN and NOW

Holiday Ecommerce Design THEN and NOW | Ecom Revolution |

Kudos to every ecommerce team breaking their backs to feed our online needs. The winner in this group of merchants is TIFFANY. TIffany's amazing animation sets a new stunning standard for holiday design.

Macy's shows the least design growth, but they were solid in 2012 at least in that PORTAL category they play in. Urban Outfitters got MUCH better but shouldn't have been shown up in COOL as bad as they were by Tiffany.

Two years in web design is like 10 in real life as Tiffany proves.

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An American Christmas: How Much Are Shoppers Spending This Year? | Infographic

An American Christmas: How Much Are Shoppers Spending This Year? | Infographic | Ecom Revolution |
The 2013 holiday season (Thanksgiving to Christmas) is the shortest since 2002. Analysts had predicted slower sales than in recent years over the post
Martin (Marty) Smith's insight:

Fascinating infographic showing how Americans ae spending their money and time online this holiday season.

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Best Holiday Website So Far? Williams-Sonoma [37 top online merchants rated]

Best Holiday Website So Far? Williams-Sonoma [37 top online merchants rated] | Ecom Revolution |

Wanted to find 5 Top Holiday Websites and had to look at 40 websites to find five A grades. Here is critera used to evaluate 37 top ecommerce retailers:

* Free Shipping (easy to find, clearly communicated, easy to use).
* Holiday Look and Feel.
* Holiday categorization.  

Here are trends rapidly becoming standard:

Free Shipping All Orders.
Free Returns.
Deal of the Day.

Free Shipping = Half A Merchant's Grade
If Free Shipping was easy to find, clearly stated and didn't require a code then half of this holiday rating was positive. Surprising how many websites are poor about communicating their free shipping or confusing (see Crate and Barrel for one of the hardest free shipping offers to understand).

Another misstep is to tie up free shipping with credit cards or loyalty programs (Amazon's prime means free shipping is not easy to understand at this time of year). 

Free Shipping with a $50 or $99 set point was common. Daily deals seem to be wedging its way into many leading ecommere websites.

Foodie Websites Lead In November
Not surprisingly foodie websites led in November since this is their Christmas. The top site with amazing hero photography, a real holiday feel and a lot of offers clearly communicated is Williams-Sonoma.

See all 37 ratings  

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2013 The Year The Never Ending Sale DIED

2013 The Year The Never Ending Sale DIED | Ecom Revolution |

End of the Never Ending Sale
What happens when we cry WOLF too many times? The villagers stop caring and wolves eat you. Our collective villagers are sending clear indication they are tired of the absurdity of the never-ending sale.

Content Marketing Benchmark Study

Vision Purpose & Value Define New Social Media Marketing (via @BrianSolaris)

These two studies make it clear. Simply transferring brick and mortar's SALE SALE SALE online is a sure prescription for disaster. Content is KING and shouting SALE at the top of our lungs doesn't work anymore.

New Approach
Our new e-commerce approach must be consistent across channels, instantly relevant to a variety of customers, fun, easy to share and engaging.

Is saving money online important? Of course, but so is entertainment, knowing what my tribe of friends thinks (about anything especially as either price or novelty go up). So too is Save The World Marketing, that thing your brand does for the world that only it can do.

Today's Holiday E-commerce post is about how to create "Like Me" tribes (personas and segments) and then use your customer classifications to create great "Mobile First" marketing. 

The E-commerce teams that keep their content fresh and relevant will find mobile is a huge HELP to their marketing. Marketers whose emails look lousy on mobile or who aren't thinking like App Developers (i.e. lots of small cool games all relating to a goal and everything connected like Lego blocks) will find the holidays tough and not very rewarding. 

Turns out thinking like an App Developer is a good idea for every e-commerce merchant. Think small, fun and connected and your holiday marketing will win. Listen carefully and curate the winners and your holiday sales may set new records. 

THINK LIKE AN APP DEVELOOPER and diversity your holiday marketing, listen more than you talk, curate more than you create and make sure to share cool things across your entire ecosystem and your Holiday 2013 sales will set new records even if you aren’t/t screaming SALE at the top of your lungs :).

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Top 10 Holiday Ecom Website Designs Inspire

Top 10 Holiday Ecom Website Designs Inspire | Ecom Revolution |
Top 10 seasonal heroes and homepage decorations for Christmas 2012.
Martin (Marty) Smith's insight:

Graphics for this holiday were not strong. Someone needs to tell web teams a popup doesn't count as holiday decoration. Popups were everywhere. I understand they work, but geez you could give a fella a minute to take in your website before blowing a popup in my face.

Even given the strange black and gold Christmas decorations on some sites there were solid seasonal Heroes. The Hero is the largest image on a website. Here are my picks for the best holiday heroes a week before Christmas:

1. L. L. Bean
You always feel festive and like you need a sweater on to look at Bean during the holidays.

2. Lands End

Simple, clean and to the point Lands End knows how to create a Christmas spirit and still get their deal across.

3. Talbots roll gest more festive with each roll

4. Pottery Barn

Love the old woodie they open with and the simulated snow but it doesn't stay on screen nearly long enoug.

5. BlueFly

Nice hand drawn Christmas lights bordering the hero. Well done.

6. Amazon

Amazon did a nice job of dressing up for the holidays this year.

7. Macy's

Enough red and green here to choke.

8. Nieman Marcus

Great food shot, easy to forget how important food is this time of year. Nieman wasn't as over the top as I expected, but not bad.

9. Urban Outfitters

Has that strange young thing going for them.

10. Vermont Country Store
Not as good as Bean but good enough to capture #10 on Best Holiday Heroes.

Scrooge Awards Go To:

(didn't dress up much if at all or were dressed strange) (black and gold for Christmas?) (another black background with a single bow)

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Holiday Web Design KUDOS To Tiffany & Co. For Setting New Standard in Web Design

Holiday Web Design KUDOS To Tiffany & Co. For Setting New Standard in Web Design | Ecom Revolution |

Tiffany & Co. has been the world's premier jeweler and America's house of design since 1837. Shop creations of timeless beauty and superlative craftsmanship that will be treasured always.

Marty Note
WOW the Tiffany animation sets new standards for "interactive" web design and storytelling. #toogood!

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5 Holiday Website Design Tips - A @HaikuDeck by @Scenttrail

5 Holiday Website Design Tips - A @HaikuDeck by @Scenttrail | Ecom Revolution |
This holiday selling season (2014) will happen as close to real time as any thanks to the social / mobile web. Listening and curating are going to be important, but so is tapping the nostalgia and spirit of the season in creative and collaborative ways.

Martin (Marty) Smith's insight:

add your insight...

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Why Is Holiday Ecommerce Website Design So BAD?

Why Is Holiday Ecommerce Website Design So BAD? | Ecom Revolution |

I'm not sure what to blame such a poor showing on basic holiday ecommerce design on, but this year's November crop is flat, uninspiring and junky.

L. L. Bean usually sets the holiday standard. This year their November offering is marred by an obnoxious animated image that includes their great Free Shipping Offer. I HATE putting such a great free shipping offer on a roll because it is easy to miss in the 5 to 9 seconds most visitors give a webpage before moving on (granted this is BEAN so maybe 15 seconds). 

Bean has the tough job of competing with themselves and, in past holiday selling seasons, they define how to create great holiday look and feel. Holiday look and feel can be tough. I like Patagonia's approach - put up snow scenes AND a surfer on a massive wave (hey its Christmas in Hawaii too). 

The other faux pas that is unforgivable after all these years is Free Shipping obfuscation. Many leading retailers are going free shipping all orders and some are going the Zappos route and offering free returns too. Of the 37 websites reviewed only 6 earned A ratings on three criteria:

* Free Shipping.
* Holiday Look and Feel. 
* Holiday merchandising via categories such as For Him, Her, Kids. 

The other big miss is websites who think they are too cool for the holidays (, Restoration Hardware). Black on black at the holidays is expensively too cool and self absorbed. 

If you know smaller websites who know how to do the holidays right please share in comments or email Martin.Smith(at) 


Randy Ksar's curator insight, November 13, 2013 7:40 PM

interesting topic on #ecommerce UX design. any other websites that you know are doing innovative desktop or mobile ecommerce design work?

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3 Christmas Ecommerce Marketing Strategies

3 Christmas Ecommerce Marketing Strategies | Ecom Revolution |

Holiday Ecommerce
Good article on Holiday marketing strategies. Most Ecomerce retailers are putting finishing touches on their plans. I like the way this post organizes RETURN first. Always easier to sell MORE to people who already love you. I would add these tips for returning:

* Ask for advocacy.

* Gamify something.

* Curate something.

* Pad or Phone something.

Find a way to take some direction from your customers. When we ran out of sale inspiration we asked our best customers what we should put on sale when I was a Director of Ecommerce. We got great suggestions and sales. One great rule to ecommerce Internet marketing is when in doubt ASK.

This year I would make it a point to ASK for advocacy, create a game (or two or three) make sure you make your holiday gig MOBILE and curate something of THEIRS to your site.

Inbound Marketing
Some of the same advice, especially the mobile part, goes for inbound B2B marketing during 4Q. Create a cool User Generated Content (UGC) contest and curate content, ideas, comments and visuals from your visitors, customers, advocates and friends.

I wouldn't buy anything NEW during 4Q despite the incorrect belief that MORE can help if numbers start to dip. PPC is a TIMED and REPUTATION activity so double down on what is working but don't buy NEW until after 1.1.14.

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Your Ecommerce Sites Are Ready For Christmas When YES Is Answer To These 20 Questions

Your Ecommerce Sites Are Ready For Christmas When YES Is Answer To These 20 Questions | Ecom Revolution |

Holiday Ecommerce 20 Questions
If your Internet marketing team can answer YES to the 20 content marketing, social marketing, email marketing and cause marketing questions then wax up your board and hit the beach. 

Better to SURF now with solid plans in place than even think about time off once the October tsunami hits. This time of year it took 2.4 visits to make a sale when I was an Ecom Director. In October it took 1.3 visits and in November and December a little over one.

Those numbers mean NOW is the time to test and create plans so you don't have to THEN.  Plan now, DO THEN :). 

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