Ecom Revolution
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Can free shipping help truly compel your customers to buy more often? Here is how the psychology of free shipping can encourage customer retention and boost sales.

Read More at Jeff Bullas:

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Free Shipping in 2019

I have a few thoughts about free shipping for next year. 


  • More Work
  • Less Work
  • Much Less Work


More Work
My team and I have done a lot of Free Shipping tests. We found the best offer in the 4th quarter is $10 above our sweet spot. Our average order values were $55 in all but the 4th quarter and $64 in the 4th. We set our free shipping triggers at $60 and $70 making customers work to earn the best deal. 


Less Work

Free Shipping on any and everything lowered AOV but increased dollars to the bank, number of orders and new customers. Loyal customers weren't nearly as turned on by free shipping without a trigger as newbies. 

We used the less work option strategically. Dog Days of summer with a new customer outreach to build the file before Christmas and we used no trigger free shipping. We used it in spots during 4Q too. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and day after Christmas were examples of days we used one-day-only no trigger free shipping. 


Much Less Work - free out and back

The trend is free out and back. We never tested this option since my C level managers were paranoid about COGS and the chance we would raise return rates. I think the additional profit and bigger file from free out and back more than pays for any COGs increase but never made that sale. If anyone has done free out and back testing I'd love to hear about it.!
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Beware the CRAP list -- and other things for CMOs to know about the e-commerce giant Amazon.
Martin (Marty) Smith:

Yes, Amazon is a blood-sucking vampire, but sometimes you have to work with blood-sucking vampires or perish.!
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Is YouTube part of your 2019 digital marketing strategy? Here are some tips on how to use the online video leader for eCommerce marketing.
Martin (Marty) Smith:

No question VIDEO continues to be as close to e-com killer app as we are likely to get. This infographic shares 7 great tips for monetizing Youtube in 2019.!
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"When you have rising monetization, rising growth and rising data collection, it drives a lot of regulatory scrutiny whether it’s related to data privacy, competition or safety in content."

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Meeker is as close to Nostradamus as we are likely to get.!
Farid Mheir's curator insight, May 31, 2018 5:13 PM

WHY IT MATTERS: this is the annual presentation to level-set everyone on the Internet, mobile, ecommerce, cybersecurity, epayment, personalization, etc. She covers everything and shows that digital transformation is in full swing. Just WOW. Again.

Shimona Mehta, Head of Revenue Acceleration for Shopify Plus, talks about the future of e-commerce and the key trends that are shaping the space. She talks about the three key trends shaping e-commerce today: Constantly shifting consumer behaviour, the need for retailers to innovate, and the rapid growth of direct-to-consumer sales. Watch the video for insights from Mehta on what these trends mean for your business.!
Farid Mheir's curator insight, October 16, 2018 8:59 AM

WHY IT MATTERS: another point of view from an ecommerce pure play shopify. Interesting tidbits although there are a few commons grounds.

Anthony Siegle's curator insight, April 4, 2020 3:38 PM
Trends in today's marketplace show a decline in traditional ways and a shift towards online shopping and e-commerce.

Death of Money

Money is changing fast and so too must online merchants. It's possible to see a "closed box" in the not too distant future where transactions happen thanks to a series of chatbots, blockchain, and Bitcoin. If nothing in that previous sentence makes any sense start by reading this article about Bitcoin and money. 

Also check out our Curagami on Flipboard where we curate posts about chatbots, blockchain and the death of money (a.k.a. Bitcoin et al). 

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Confused by the death of money? Read this excellent Mashable summary of what the heck is going on and why you need to care.!
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Stealing From Video Game Developers

Video games can teach e-commerce merchants many lessons. Video game developers can teach even more valuable lessons. This Curagami post shares five tips online merchants should steal today including:

  • Create Great Products
  • Develop Community and then Listen, Learn, and Change
  • Give customers chances to collaborate
  • Forge badges, banners, and other rewards
  • Define how rewards are earned but don’t forget serendipity and surprise


With such great marketing is there any wonder why Blizzard Entertainment has more than thirty million Overwatch players? Doomfist is a new brilliantly named Overwatch character and gamers are talking about little else this summer. Doomfist is more important than Game of Thrones to gamers. 

Stealing the community, gamification, and engagement tips from video game developers will help any online merchant move from "website" to "platform" and from "us" and "them" to we: 


Martin (Marty) Smith:

This Curagami post continues a conversation about appropriating video game developer's brilliant marketing ideas, strategies, and tactics to online commerce.!
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Other Retailers Take Prime Day Shots
Finally, other e-commerce retailers are getting it. They aren't allowing Amazon to create a "Christmas in summer" event all by themselves. 

Better late than never, many major e-retailers are willing to compete for the first time this summer by offering competitive deals and similar "Prime Days" campaigns. 

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Amazon Prime isn't just for Amazon anymore.!
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Code School Problems

This Curagami post shares five problems we experienced at The Iron Yard coding school in Durham, North Carolina. The post places code schools in the context of problems we would have had hiring a graduate when we ran an e-commerce web design shop. Problems such as:

  • They teach “academic” not business coding
  • No Student Vetting or Skills-Based Placement
  • Value/Benefits Proposition is Off
  • Can't Keep Great Teachers
  • More Than Ten Year Discrepancy Is Almost Impossible to Overcome


In our class of more than twenty students, we doubt more than five are working in a web design shop today. So more than $100,000 was spent, tuition then was $10K for twelve weeks of class, with little return, chance to change the student's career or provide value $1.50 in late fees from the library or other online classes couldn't provide. 

Read our warnings about code schools before you buy their promises: 

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Our Curagami post summarizing problems we experienced during our tenure at The Iron Yard in Durham, North Carolina. Hopefully, you read our code school problems piece before paying for the broken promises most will receive.!
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Oracle on Social Listening Analytics
Have you heard the wise saying, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason: what we hear is always at least twice as important as what we say”? Listening, truly understanding what others are saying, has become such a rarity in today’s world. Consumers are constantly bombarded with hyperactive, in your face media; desperate to grab their ever-shrinking, yet coveted attention span.


As a brand, rather than force the majority to hit the metaphoric mute button, wouldn’t you rather figure out how to play the perfect tune for your various audiences? If this is your company’s pursuit, then I suggest you (literally) listen up.

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Social listening analytics was a new idea for us and we like it.!
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9 Actionable E-commerce SEO Tips

We like the straightforward simplicity of this list of e-commerce SEO tips. Writing better product descriptions seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many online merchants walk by the obvious. 


Nothing in SEO is complicated as these 9 tips show despite their "advanced" claim. Tips such as the create "versus" posts will occur to anyone who sees what controversy does to visits (it increases them). Visiting isn't conversion and many new to-e-commerce make that simple mistake.  

Our advice is not to do that. 

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Good list of SEO tips for e-commerce though not as "advanced" as they make out.!
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5 Digital Marketing Tips To Steal Today

After purchasing two pairs of Robert Rauschenberg inspired frames from we came away with admiration and five digital marketing tips other online merchants should steal. 


  • Create Limited Editions
  • Keep Content After Events
  • Have and Share VALUES
  • Start with WHY not HOW
  • Tie Purchases To A Related Cause

Learn more about why we love our Rauschenberg frames and other ideas to steal from at Curagami: 

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Our summary of how much we enjoyed buying new eyeglasses frames from and ideas every online merchant should steal today.!
Robert Moore's curator insight, August 25, 2023 2:44 AM

E-Com's Future is MAYA In 5 Inescapable Trends
MAYA is influential designer Raymond Loewy's Most Advanced Yet Acceptable idea. If there is a better description for the future of online commerce and web design we don't know it (and would like to learn it so please share). 

The Made To Stick rules says too new is BAD. Sell the new from versioning the old and that is what MAYA is all about as we share in this Curagami post: 

Martin (Marty) Smith:

Raymond Loewy's ideas live on. If there is a better description for the future of web design and development than MAYA we don't know what it is. What do you think?!
Robert Moore's curator insight, August 25, 2023 2:43 AM

Start with Why
Our recent Curagami post - Think Different the Gravity of Digital is an important read for e-commerce merchants. Most "new to the web" merchants we work with want to jump right into the HOW of constructing a website. 

That's a mistake. HOW can only be effectively communicated once a brand's WHY is understood and shared. Knowing WHY you're doing things creates actions based on core values. WHY creates great and flexible brands like Apple, Nike, and Facebook. 

Join the conversation about your WHY on Curagami:!
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Great Cyber Monday Sale
Friends at, sellers of the best sounding headphones in the world (with their Dragon cables),  are having a great Cyber Monday sale. Check it out:!
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Holiday Shipping Tables
Successful e-commerce is about 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. We use the old cliche for a reason. To win in a crowded world you need to have some cool ideas, but you also need to pay attention to the basics. 

Things like creating an easy to understand Holiday Shipping Calendar is e-commerce gold. Whenever you share a feedback lop you collaborate with visitors who may become customers since you clearly CARE. 

Amazon will beat you on price, but you can beat them on CARING and, unless you sell highly commoditized things, caring matters. This Curagami post shares a tips likely to anger some of our readers and clients, but just because Amazon is a vampire doesn't mean they don't have something for Small to Medium Sized Merchants. See if you don't agree with our contingency and multi-channel ideas.!
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Global e-commerce revenues continue to grow, and brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the heat. There’s plenty of evidence pointing to their survival, so why the anxiety?


Despite all the buzz surrounding electronic and mobile commerce, 85 percent of consumers say they prefer to shop in physical stores, a 2016 study by TimeTrade (registration required) found. Even when the same product can be ordered online or purchased at a nearby store, according to TimeTrade’s data, 71 percent of us will still schlep out to the brick-and-mortar retailer to get it.!
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E-commerce Themes
Many of these themes feel more like portfolio themes than online stores, but we like the Bronx theme enough we may steal from it for our Holiday set ups.!
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Symphony of Feeds
One trend that feels clear but confusing is the future of content and e-commerce. Clear that merchants will need more content. Unclear and confusing because no merchant can afford to create enough quality content despite what Mark Schaefer says in Content Shock. 

We agree and disagree with Schaefer's math too. Content Shock is about using content as advertising and we agree those days are gone. We disagree because content is still KING for merchants. 

Without content traffic doesn't convert. And no conversions means you are a nonprofit and didn't know it. Feeds and content curation are the answer. 

We wrote that last sentence like we know what the future holds. No such luck, but we know merchants can't create all the content they need. We also know content curation creates more awareness and engagement faster than anything else we know about, so ipso facto content is important and we must curate it faster, better and with ever lowering not escalating costs. 

And that all sounds likes feeds and Anthony Musselwhite's tool to us. What do you think?!
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The New E-commerce Game

The new e-commerce game shares a video, haiku deck and 5 of our favorite online marketing tools all ahead of a keynote address at a FedEx sponsored conference in Raleigh, North Carolina today.!
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E-commerce is not for the faint hearted. Want to get natural links to your product pages? Try e-commerce content marketing!
Martin (Marty) Smith:

Going to riff a long post on these e-commerce content ideas on Curagami.!
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Google Rankbrain SEO's New Math
Google Rankbrain Artificial Intelligence (AI) SEO killer will surely scorch the earth. Dogs and cats living together was the only, “Machines Take Over” reference Larry Kim left out of RankBrain Judgement Day: Four Tactics You’ll Need To Survive for SearchEngine Watch.

Quieting the hyperbole a tad doesn’t mean Kim’s post isn’t..


.Read More!
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Hacking Happens - 5 Security Measures shares the death, taxes & websites get hacked as life's new certainties or maybe not if you do these 5 steps today.!
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Epic Ecommerce Journey –
Leveling Up
Epic Ecommerce Journey – Leveling Moon Audio Up shares the “virtual team” journey to find the next million dollars. Drew and Nichole Baird, founders of Moon Audio, knew their website needed to catchup, it needed to “level up” to a current Magento, responsive design and re-align to Moon's 80-20 Rule.!
maximumcoda's comment, March 22, 2016 1:49 AM
Google issues new best practices to bloggers who receive free products. Is Google about to send out a new manual action for paid links in exchange for product reviews?
Martin (Marty) Smith:

Google Vs. Federal Trade Commission? Take Google & Give the points (everytime).!
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Scoop it Creator

Martin (Marty) Smith