Friday, August 28, 2009

Tracking E-mail Growth

DM News reports: The recession has driven down budgets and made CMOs even more responsible for their bottom line. It is no surprise that e-mail is flourishing in this environment, because it is relatively cheap and measurable. Forrester predicts that e-mail marketing spend will grow to $2 billion in 2014, with retention e-mail, e-mail client services and ad-sponsored acquisition newsletters all potential growth areas.

This week, e-mail service provider Responsys has followed predictions and reported growth across its global operations, with a 60% revenue growth in Europe in 2009, as well as a new office opening in Sydney, which has opened to help expand Responsys' client base in the Australia and New Zealand region. “E-mail is becoming a power channel for any business that has some sort of online presence,” said Scott Olrich, CMO at Responsys. “Not only is it an effective channel, it is an efficient channel.”

New client wins for Responsys in the US include the Build-A-Bear Workshop, Chico's FAS,, PayPal, the Sears Holdings Corporation and Title Nine Sports.

Olrich said that the growth of e-mail has focused on conversion and retention. Responsys has been focused on automating services and lifecycle marketing including developing welcome messaging, and implementing triggered messaging, shopping cart abandonment and transactional messaging. In addition, Olrich said that e-mail is at the center of emerging interactive channels including mobile and social media. “The whole interactive marketing space is gaining a lot of momentum and the e-mail marketers themselves sit at a pretty powerful place at the table,” added Olrich.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sears Victim of XSS Attack

URLs using Search-Spider-friendly real words pose a security risk for a Cross-Site Scripting or XSS attack, if your Website also uses cached pages (for speed) and no database confirmation of the URL wording when posting the pages online.

Think those three conditions wouldn't co-exist in the real world, at least not on a high profile site? Think again! Storefront Backtalk reports on the spoofing of the Sears eCommerce site, where hackers turned a page for a gas grill into a "human cooking" device!

Using URLs that mimmicked the "breadcrumbs" on site search, the cached pages were accessible to spoofers who figured out how to grab them and change their URLs. This then changed the wording of the items shown on the page.

“Someone visiting our site defaced a couple of product pages on last Thursday,” Sears spokesman Tom Aiello said on Monday, Aug. 24. “At no time was any of our data [on the back end] compromised. We’ve already taken steps to prevent this from happening again. We sincerely apologize to any customers who may have seen this on our site.”

Reported Strorefront Backtalk: "The person who claimed credit called himself gfixler and said that he noticed that the text displayed on Sears’ site was taken from the URL and that made it pretty simple to change category names by altering the URL and hitting 'send.' The site responded with a page that displayed the altered labels.

"The mistake Sears made," said another hacker, was that instead of having look “at a local database to determine the category and subcategory of an item, they put the category string and subcategory string into the URL” and assumed or trusted the strings would not be tampered with by users before the URL is loaded. “A more severe form of ‘trusting data from the user’ makes Cross-site scripting or XSS attacks possible. In an XSS attack, not only is data from the user trusted enough to display, it isn’t sanitized before it’s used, allowing someone to execute arbitrary code or arbitrary database modifications simply by sending data the programmer didn’t anticipate.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1-800-Flowers Selling Home/Children's Gift Units

According to Multichannel Merchant magazine, said in releasing its fourth-quarter and fiscal year financial results that it has divested its Home and Children’s Gifts business segment.

The company aims to sell the Home and Children’s Gifts category titles, which include Plow & Hearth; HearthSong; Magic Cabin; Wind and Weather; and Problem Solvers. CEO Jim McCann said in a statement the company will focus its efforts and investments on its key Floral and Gourmet Foods and Gift Baskets business categories which it believes “better leverage our business platform and offer the greatest opportunity for top and bottom-line growth in the years ahead.”

As a result, McCann said, “we have classified the segment as a discontinued operation.” But he noted that the Home & Children’s Gifts segment’s day-to-day business activities “will remain unchanged while we work toward a potential sale.”

New Systems Forum

I set up a new Direct Commerce Systems Forum on Ning.

It doesn't replace this blog -- it supplements it, giving systems managers, merchants, and vendors a place to communicate interactively. Please visit, and join!

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Unwelcome Mat

Sherry Chiger, Editorial Director of Catalogue & eBusiness in the UK, writes in the Cross Atlantic Insight newsletter :

"It must be nice that so many American ecommerce sites can afford to turn away business from overseas—and even from across the US-Canadian border. But having struggled to purchase, from England, a gift card from several US retailers for my sister in the States, that’s the only conclusion I can draw.

"I won’t go into the details here (though if you’re interested, you can check out my Catablogue e-business post at The upshot: Several fairly upscale retailers would not allow me to make a purchase from a billing address outside of North America, and one would not even allow Canadians to order.

"The Manhattan outposts of those particular retailers are favourites with tourists from abroad. Is it really wise to make it impossible for those visitors to continue shopping from the brand once they return home?"

Marketers Collecting Too Much Data?

Tom Lacki, a senior advisor with Peppers & Rogers Group, says in 1to1 Weekly that "The lack of having a data strategy is driving companies to collect more and more data needlessly.... Rather than thinking about what they'd like to know to support their marketing, or which touchpoints are most important, they collect everything."

The Peppers & Rogers Group viewpoint on customer data is that every piece collected should help answer one of two questions: what is a customer's value, or what are a customer's needs. "Anything outside of those two objectives may have a legitimate reason to be collected, but more likely than not it's superfluous," Lacki argues.

Data can expand in three distinct ways, the newsletter points out. The amount of detail on individual customers can expand, the number of total customers can increase, or the length of time the data represents can be extended. "That third piece is very important," Lacki says. "Data decays rapidly, so it's counterproductive to collect data if it's not current." When companies decide how much information to collect and store, they need to remember this increases over time.

It seems to me, however, that this ignores the value of tracking customer migration based on behavior over time. However, simple RFM/P migration summaries can reduce the amount of data maintained on a customer dramatically (down to just a few bytes) while still maintaining a record of historical behavior.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feds Charge Heartland, TJMaxx Hacker

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a former government informant with the nation's largest theft of credit and debit card data, accusing him of swiping 130 million accounts on top of 40 million he stole previously.

"Albert Gonzalez, 28, of Miami... who is already in jail awaiting trial in a hacking case, was indicted Monday in New Jersey and charged with conspiring with two unidentified Russians to steal the private information. Prosecutors say the goal was to sell the data to others.

"Prosecutors say Gonzalez, who is known online as 'soupnazi,' targeted customers of 7-Eleven Inc. and supermarket chain Hannaford Brothers Co. Inc. He also targeted Heartland Payment Systems, a New Jersey-based card payment processor.

"According to the indictment, Gonzalez and his two co-conspirators would hack into corporate networks to place 'malware,' malicious software that would allow them backdoor access later to steal data" which they allegedly sent to computer servers in California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

"The Justice Department said the new case represents the largest breach of credit and debit card data ever charged in the United States.

"Gonzalez faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the new charges. He is awaiting trial next month in New York for allegedly helping hack into the computer network of the national restaurant chain Dave and Buster's. He also faces charges involving the theft of 40 million credit cards of retailers including T.J. Maxx, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority and OfficeMax."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seminar: Managing the Social Enterprise

Technology on Tap: The Social Enterprise - Are you ready for it?

Are you ready for the opportunities social technologies such as Facebook and Twitter
bring to your Enterprise and Contact Centers?

Avaya is piggybacking on ITExpo in LA for a look at how social networks and social media transform the conversations your employees and customers have, creating richer, collaborative experiences and more intelligent interactions.

  • Get a glimpse into the Social future from Paul Dunay (blogger, speaker, and author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies) on how the adoption of social tools will change your enterprise and customer interactions.
  • See demonstrations of the latest Avaya Labs innovations, merging social networks, contact centers, and interactive video and voice response services to differentiate and enhance your customer service experiences.
  • Hear about the latest developer tools and offers from Avaya to help you turn communications into a strategic tool for driving growth.
Join Avaya and other ITExpo attendees with a little food for your brain, and stay to "socialize" with a selection of handcrafted ales on the rooftop patio at the Bonaventure Brewing Company.

Pre-register and attend, and you'll receive a free signed copy of Paul's book, Facebook Marketing for Dummies (publish date Fall 2009).

Westin Bonaventure
Bonaventure Brewing Company
404 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California 90071
Phone: (213) 624-1000

Click HERE to pre-register for this event.

Tough Questions on Tokenization

Tough Questions on Tokenization - A Leading CEO is in the "Hot Seat
Tues, September 1st, 2:00 pm ET; 11:00 am PT - With Paymetric

Is Tokenization Really the “Waterproof” Answer to PCI Compliance? What's the reality behind all the market hype?

Dave Taylor, Founder of the PCI Knowledge Base puts Larry Wine, CEO of Paymetric, in the "Hot Seat" on credit card Tokenization. The folks at the PCI Knowledge Base have assembled some of the toughest questions related to tokenization that have emerged from their research and Dave is going to ask those questions of the CEO of one of the leading companies offering payment tokenization products and services.

Attendees will be encouraged to ask their tough questions during the Webinar as well. The goal of this Webinar is to get all the issues and challenges to credit card tokenization "on the table" for all to hear, and to get answers from Larry, who has helped some of the largest companies in the world implement tokenization solutions, dealing with many top executives in the merchant and financial services industries.

Questions / issues covered in this Webinar include::

• What are the differences between tokenization and encryption?

• Is tokenization a "lock-in" solution?

• Does tokenization take systems "out of scope" for PCI?

• How are tokens generated - what are the options?

• What are the different types of tokens out there?

• Do applications have to be changed or upgraded for tokenization to work?

• Can I build my own tokenization solution?

• Is tokenization ever going to become a mandate for PCI compliance?

• Is tokenization really proven to work - and for what types of companies does it work especially well or especially poorly?

Duration: 60 minutes Click HERE to register.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RBS, Verifone To Offer Data Encryption

VeriFone Holdings, Inc. has announced that RBS WorldPay, which they call the fastest growing top ten payment processor in the US, has agreed to work jointly and expeditiously with them towards marketing VeriFone's VeriShield Protect end-to-end solution for encrypting payment card data. With end-to-end encryption, even in the event of a breach of the retailer's system, any stolen data would be unusable.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Roots Canada Selects iCongo

iCongo, Inc., a provider of eCommerce and cross-channel systems, today announced it has entered into an agreement with Roots Canada Ltd., Canada’s leading lifestyle brand, to implement its cross-channel systems and a selection of eCommerce modules to enhance its current online store.

Leveraging iCongo’s expertise in cross-channel technology and systems integration, Roots will be able to offer its entire stock of inventory through stores and online channels regardless of the location of the customer. This will increase sales conversions through universal product availability at and at all Roots stores across Canada and the United States.

Orders and shipments will now be able to originate easily at any Roots location to better serve its customers. The system will also provide reporting required to properly attribute credit for the sale to the location of the purchasing customer. This will allow Roots to provide incentives to store employees to convert single channel customers to become multi-channel customers and reduce the concern of cannibalization between stores and online.

By taking advantage of iCongo’s “endless aisle” capabilities to capture in-store sales for out of stock items, and broadening the available assortment at smaller locations Roots is better positioned to capture lost sales opportunities. Additionally, by using iCongo’s technology, Roots will be collecting valuable analytics for strategic assortment planning and replenishment and benefit from a much higher level of integration between its eCommerce website and its back office systems.

“Once we roll out the new system, Roots will be able to achieve faster inventory turns by breaking down the barriers between and their individual physical stores,” says Steve Kramer, President of iCongo. “The impact on the Web channel will allow Roots to provide its full collection online and give customers the power to buy anywhere by fulfilling orders from either the online warehouse or any physical store, greatly increasing conversion rates.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Facebook Acquires FriendFeed

Facebook today announced that it has agreed to acquire FriendFeed, the innovative service for sharing online. As part of the agreement, all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed's four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook's engineering and product teams.

"Facebook and FriendFeed share a common vision of giving people tools to share and connect with their friends," said Bret Taylor, a FriendFeed co-founder and, previously, the group product manager who launched Google Maps. "We can't wait to join the team and bring many of the innovations we've developed at FriendFeed to Facebook's 250 million users around the world."

"As we spent time with Mark and his leadership team, we were impressed by the open, creative culture they've built and their desire to have us contribute to it," said Paul Buchheit, another FriendFeed co-founders. Buchheit, the Google engineer behind Gmail and the originator of Google's "Don't be evil" motto, added, "It was immediately obvious to us how passionate Facebook's engineers are about creating simple, ground-breaking ways for people to share, and we are extremely excited to join such a like-minded group."

Taylor and Buchheit founded FriendFeed along with Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh in October 2007 after all four played key roles at Google for products like Gmail and Google Maps. At FriendFeed, they've brought together a broad-based team of engineers and designers.

"Since I first tried FriendFeed, I've admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. "As this shows, our culture continues to make Facebook a place where the best engineers come to build things quickly that lots of people will use."

FriendFeed is based in Mountain View, Calif. and has 12 employees. will continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine the longer term plans for the product.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not released.

Target Taking eCommerce In-House

From Econsultancy: Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, has announced that it will bring its eCommerce website,, in-house in time for the 2011 holiday season.

Since 2001, has been run in partnership with The eCommerce giant's platform powers the website and handles much of the call center and fulfillment operations.

But a lot has changed since 2001. eCommerce has matured significantly and in this case, Target wisely realized how important the multi-channel experience is to its customers and decided that bringing its eCommerce operations in-house was the best way to deliver the desired experience.

According to Steve Eastman, president of, "To deliver a customized multi-channel experience for Target’s guests, we believe it is in Target’s best interest going forward to assume full control over the design and management of Target’s eCommerce technology platform, fulfillment and guest services operations."

With almost 7% of Target's non-GAAP profit coming from eCommerce, it's no surprise that Target wants to take control of its eCommerce platform, and as Sam Black of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal notes, "Target's decision mirrors a similar bring it in-house strategy that Target initiated last year when it decided to distribute its own food and groceries rather than rely" on a third-party partner. Such moves make sense, especially in these tough economic times.

For, the loss of Target won't really hurt the bottom line as accounted for a small fraction of its total revenues. But one has to wonder how many of's other customers, which include Marks & Spencer and Timex, are at risk of leaving too. Target isn't the only customer to leave; Borders and Toys R Us are amongst those who have moved on, and not all have left on good terms. That's not exactly a surprise; could be looked at as a competitor by many of its retail customers.

If there's any take-away from this, it's that more and more traditional retailers are getting smarter and more comfortable with the internet -- enough so to bring their eCommerce operations in-house. While is still going to be a dominant force in online retail, pure-play pioneers don't have a monopoly when it comes to platforms and supply chains.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Shipping Options for Residential Deliveries

Writing in MultiChannel Merchant, Tim Sailor, founder of Navigo Consulting Group, which specializes in contract benchmarking, distribution analysis, and carrier negotiations, identifies shipping options with UPS and FedEx that rely on these carriers' partnership with USPS to save direct merchants on residential deliveries -- plus some of the options USPS offers by itself.

With USPS facing financial challenges, we'll see if these arrangements have "legs." For the time being, though, they are certainly worth considering.

Pulicis Acquires Razorfish

Publicis Groupe SA and Microsoft Corporation jointly announced that they have signed an agreement under which Publicis Groupe will acquire Razorfish, a leading digital marketing agency, in a transaction valued at approximately $530 million, expected to be provided in a combination of cash and Publicis Groupe treasury shares.

"The acquisition of Razorfish is another step forward in realizing our strategic vision of building a world leader in digital communications, a critically important space for our clients," said Maurice Levy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe....

"Razorfish is known for extraordinary digital customer experiences and brings with it a robust suite of tools that will enhance the current portfolio of capabilities we are building to keep our clients connected to people in an increasingly digital world," added Mr. Levy.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are grateful for the contributions Razorfish has made to our online advertising business since joining the company as a part of the aQuantive acquisition in 2007, and are pleased that they have found a new long-term home with Publicis Groupe. We look forward to continuing to work with Razorfish as one of our agencies, and we're confident that as a part of Publicis Groupe, Razorfish will build on its success to date in the digital advertising industry."

Razorfish will continue to operate under its brand name and be organizationally part of VivaKi, the new Publicis Groupe entity created in June 2008 to leverage the combined scale of the autonomous operations of Digitas, Starcom MediaVest Group, Denuo, and ZenithOptimedia. Major clients of Razorfish include Best Buy, Ford, McDonald's, Microsoft, and Starwood Hotels.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Genco Adds Service to Reverse Logistics

GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, North America’s second largest and a Global Top 50 third-party logistics provider, today announced the expansion of its reverse logistics solution to include test, remanufacture, repair and refurbishment of consumer electronics and IT equipment.

Genco markets the R-Log software application for returns management. By aligning itself with strategic test, repair and refurbishment partners, Genco creates a margin-recovery service for its customers, the company says.

Listrak Offers Event Triggered E-mail

Listrak, an e-mail marketing solution provider, has announced the release of its Event Triggered Messaging (ETM) system called "Listrak Conductor," part of Listrak’s Professional and Enterprise solutions that help marketers automate e-mail responses based on respondent behavior.

Event Triggered Messages may be generated from almost any customer or subscriber touch point and can be used by e-mail marketers to automate a range of different e-mails, either triggered by consumers or subscribers when they submit a form online or click a web site link for example, or triggered by their response to an initial e-mail sent from an e-mail marketer. Automatic e-mail conversations can be programmed to take different subscribers down different paths, according to their actions and responses.

The most basic form of ETM is a simple one-step autoresponder, which could be a welcome message in response to someone subscribing to a newsletter for example. Date-based triggers such as birthdays or anniversaries are another common use for triggered e-mail messages. More complex, multi-step, multi-path transactional messages that integrate profiling and dynamic content in response to subscriber actions, such as shopping cart abandonment emails, provide e-mail marketers with the ability to get very granular in segmenting their lists and subscribers.

Listrak has positioned ETM primarily for small to medium-sized direct marketers.

Inside Netflix

Here is a quick peek inside a Netflix warehouse. The accompanying photos are actually more interesting/revealing.

Web Analytics Shopping List

Shopping for a web analytics provider? See the checklist from Coremetrics— a provider of online marketing solutions— in the Insight newsletter from Catalogue & eBusiness magazine.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Mobile Payment and PCI

As mobile payment gains traction in Europe and Asia, and soon in the US, merchants have a responsibility to ensure that by implementing it they do not “poke a hole” in their otherwise PCI-compliant and/or secure infrastructure, warns columnist David Taylor in StorefrontBacktalk.

"Another issue is whether a phone that has a stored 16 digit card number, even if encrypted, is in PCI scope. I expect to see the credit card number tokenization made into a critical part of mobile payment, so that the only thing the NFC phones have stored is a token, with the card numbers centrally stored and mapped by the TSM (Trusted Service Manager). That would be a more secure implementation, IMHO."

Taylor also notes: "Another organization to watch when it comes to mobile payment security is the FSTC (Financial Services Technology Consortium), a group of financial institutions and technology providers, which recently announced that is has formed a working group to develop mobile payment security standards. Since the PCI SSC has committed to an “every other year” cycle of releasing standards, I’m expecting the FSTC to come out with a draft of their standards before the PCI SSC’s next release in the Fall of 2010. Whether (or when) the FSTC standards are reconciled with the work of the PCI SSC will likely be a gating factor to widespread mobile payment adoption by either Ecommerce or traditional retailers. Speaking of retailing and standards, I expect that the National Retail Federation’s ARTS (Association for Retail Technology Standards) group’s UnifiedPOS standard will also be impacted by the need to support mobile payment at the POS."

Analyze E-mail with Web Analytics

Writing in DM News, Steve Webster, Chief Strategy Officer, iPost, says "You can only improve what you can measure. Unfortunately, most email marketers measure only what their e-mail service provider (ESP) supports, like email open rates, click rates, bounce rates, and list size. These e-mail-centric metrics are certainly valuable, and can lead to improvement in your email-centric results.

"But e-mail marketing isn't an end in itself. It's almost always used as a driver for response in another channel, particularly the website. E-mail-centric metrics are a leading indicator of overall e-mail program success, but you shouldn't stop there! When e-mail marketers focus attention downstream of e-mail outreach to where customers are actually buying, new and highly actionable insights come to light."

Click HERE to learn how to use Web Analytics for downstream e-mail analysis.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pay Google by Conversion

If you're an old-school Google AdWords advertiser, you may remember that you originally set bids based on ad impressions (cost-per-impression, or CPM). Later, AdWords transitioned to a model in which bids were set based on ad clicks (cost-per-click, or CPC).

Now, as technology has become even more advanced, we’re seeing the next phase of search engine advertising: bidding for ads based on conversions (as defined by the advertiser, such as a website visitor purchasing a product or filling out a form). With Conversion Optimizer, Google does all the heavy lifting and complicated analysis, letting you bid simply based on how much a conversion is worth to your business (cost-per-acquisition, or CPA).

Each time someone types in a search, AdWords runs a new keyword auction. Advertisers who are still bidding on a cost-per-click basis will be using the same bid in many different auctions, so sometimes their bid may be too high or too low. However, for advertisers using Conversion Optimizer, Google will automatically adjust the bid for each of these auctions so that it can hit the sweet spot more often, helping the advertiser to make more money.

Click HERE for more details.

Digitalis Media Hires Five

LONDON - Online reputation management firm Digitalis Media is expanding its UK office with five new hires, including a former branding head from Starbucks and Nintendo and former Mindshare/Starcom digital lead.

The company, which also offers affiliate marketing and customer acquisition strategies to large firms, has hired:

  • James Sundstad as head of branding, who has US experience working on brands including Starbucks, Microsoft and Nintendo.
  • Nigel Sheldon, the former head of digital at Mindshare and Starcom and associate director of the Henley Centre has been named head of strategy and advocacy.
  • Nathan Tait-Hill will direct Digitalis planning - formerly of Altogether Digital and Kenshoo.
  • Graham Broomfield, will lead its affiliate marketing business - formerly head of product merchandising at Kelkoo and ran affiliate marketing at eBay.
  • Former head of digital marketing at Bauer Media Carlos Rodrigues has been appointed as Digitalis Media account director.

More On Search

From Chief Marketer's Big Fat Marketing Blog: Spending on search engine marketing (SEM) may be nearing the bottom of the decline that has plagued the channel for several quarters now, according to a new quarterly analysis by SEM agency Efficient Frontier of a fixed basket of the accounts it manages.

The Sunnyvale CA-based firm found that spending on pay-per-click advertising “stabilized” in the second quarter of 2009 at only 3% less than the spend in Q1 2009, adjusted for seasonal variances. While year-to-year spending levels for the quarter were down 21%, that was a “mild improvement” over the 23% year-to-year drop of Q1 2009.

Search ROI Up, Costs Down

According to Chief Marketer, same store online retail sales from search engine marketing (SEM) rose by four percent year over year (YOY) in May 2009, a significant increase versus May 2008, which was a relatively strong month:

· In May, the average order value increased YOY by more than $5 a transaction among the retailers tracked
· From January to June, the average cost per click (CPC) declined by $.05, reflecting current market conditions and advertisers more focused on efficiency versus investment
· Search campaign ROI has improved four percent through June for same store online retailers

This is based on data from campaigns for more than 200 paid search programs under the management of search marketer Performics.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sigma Announces

Sigma Micro, a software and outsourced eCommerce services provider for direct retailers, has announced the launch of, an online shopping destination for discount clearance items in specialty product categories.

The website is designed, owned, and operated by Sigma Micro as an inventory liquidation channel for Sigma customers and retailers of unique niche brands. For online shoppers, offers merchandise at deep discounts below original retail prices.

The site has launched with a collection of hundreds of different products and many more are scheduled for release in coming weeks. Sigma expects the variety of products available for purchase on will more than double by year’s end. Product categories include Electronics, Home & Garden, Sports & Outdoors, Tools & Automotive, Travel & Entertainment, and more. merchandise is supplied by niche retailers with unsold and overstocked inventory. Liquidating these products through minimizes retailers’ valuable occupied warehouse space. Sigma Micro offers as a merchandise liquidation channel for all interested direct retailers of quality products, including over 100 current client companies. is powered by Sigma’s flagship order management, fulfillment, and eCommerce solution, SigmaCommerce. Sigma Micro serves small to mid-sized direct retailers with comprehensive software and professional services, along with complete outsourced fulfillment services.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cashback on Bing

Internet Retailer reports that as the back-to-school and holiday shopping periods approach [and have already started in some stores!], ad spend increasingly will focus on encouraging consumers to try the Shopping section of Bing — one of six areas highlighted on the Bing home page, along with Images, Videos, News, Maps and Travel — according to Dave Wascha, senior director of Bing Shopping and Cashback, Microsoft’s year-old rebate program that prominently promotes participating merchants in Bing Shopping results. He also says Microsoft promotions will encourage consumers to try Cashback.

Bing and Cashback

Musician’s Hut has announced that it is going to try Cashback, a result of the 10% jump in traffic from the Bing engine that the e-tailer registered in June. That persuaded them to commit to the expense of feeding data to another marketing program, an investment that hadn’t been a high priority before Bing.

Microsoft, which launched Cashback last year based on technology it acquired when it bought Jellyfish in 2007, pushed to recruit merchants to Cashback in advance of the Bing launch, says Microsoft’s Wascha. He says more than 800 merchants now participate in the program, in which retailers set a percentage discount on each product, and Microsoft sends a check for the discounted amount to consumers who buy through Cashback.

A problem that bedeviled Cashback was fixed in advance of the Bing launch. When a consumer clicked on a retailer’s Cashback offer the next page he saw was a Cashback sign-in screen. Confused consumers often abandoned the purchase. Now a greyed-out image of the retailer’s page appears behind the sign-in box, cueing consumers that they are on the right track.

“The initial interstitial page had a pretty poor performance,” Wascha says. “Now performance is significantly better.”
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