Archive for the ‘Amazon’ Category
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Who’s your competition in online retailing? It’s probably Amazon.
With total sales that grew year over year 27 percent to $61.09 billion and North American sales that increased 30 percent to $34.81 billion in 2012, Amazon continues to dominate the ranks of America’s biggest web retailers, according to Internet Retailer’s 10th anniversary Top 500 Guide.
It ranks the 500 leading e-retailers in the U.S. and Canada based on their annual web sales and other key metrics.
Amazon has remained the top-ranked e-retailer in the Top 500 Guide for a decade and built on its market leadership in 2012 by singlehandedly accounting for 15.4 percent of all U.S. e-commerce sales of $225.54 millionand 28 percent of all collective Top 500 sales of $216.17 billion, according to the 2013 Top 500 Guide.
“Besides being the only real growth segment of the retailing business, e-commerce has also changed the very nature of retailing, fundamentally redefining how products are marketed, how markets are defined, how shoppers interact with merchants and how goods are delivered to consumers,” says Jack Love , Internet Retailer chairman and chief executive officer.
“It’s amazing to think of the ways in which e-commerce has evolved since 2003. And the Top 500 Guide has kept its analytical finger on the pulse of the industry the entire time.”
The Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide® is available in a 448-page print and digital version.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Brand experiences matter, but some experiences matter more than others, according to a survey recently completed by hawkeye.
In a national survey, conducted in March 2013, hawkeye compared some of America’s best-known brand “experiences” for consumer awareness, participation, favorability and influence on purchase.
All the programs surveyed were from major brands and have been praised within the marketing community.
The “experiences” surveyed included Amazon Prime, American Airlines AAdvantage, Disney FASTPASS, the Kroger Plus Card, McDonald’s Happy Meals, My Starbucks Rewards, Walmart’s Pick Up Today and others. The results?
As the following chart indicates, the “experience” that consumers view most favorably and most influences purchase was the Amazon Prime loyalty program. For $79 a year, consumers receive free and/or upgraded shipping, free streaming videos and some free Kindle books to borrow.
The Amazon Prime program is unusual for both the affinity and influence it enjoys and the fact that it charges a fee. Clearly, it is a win-win for the company and its customers.
We used Amazon Prime for a year, and while we enjoyed the free two-day shipping and borrowing free Kindle books, it really was not worth the $79 to us. Most, if not all the free streaming TV shows and movies were already available to us though Netflix or other services.
The runner-up programs in terms of purchase influence were Walmart’s Pick Up Today initiative and the Kroger Plus Card.
On the favorability side, McDonald’s Happy Meals and My Starbucks Rewards came in second and third. The grandfather of unique branded experiences/loyalty programs, American Airlines AAdvantage, still enjoys solid customer appreciation, too. Experiences that did not score as well included Progressive Snapshot, Sony Rewards and American Express’ Link Like Love.
According to John Tedstrom , hawkeye managing director of Insight & Strategy, “Brand experiences that are more visibly and frequently apparent at the time of purchase tend to be more valued.
To customers using these winning programs – Amazon Prime, Walmart Pick Up Today, the Kroger Plus Card, McDonald’s Happy Meals and My Starbucks Rewards – there is a strong understanding of the tangible benefit they are receiving or will receive soon. Brands should look to create programs that leverage these characteristics when contemplating ways to build brand affinity.”
Lawrence Kimmel , hawkeye executive director, added, “We’re clearly living in a post-advertising world where brand experiences trump brand expression, so it’s essential that brands seek to develop remarkable experiences that consumers will remark about.”
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Amazon Web Services’ Redshift, a powerful, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud, is now broadly available for use, the company says.
Redshift is currently available in the US East (N. Virginia) Region and will be rolled out to other AWS Regions in the coming months.
With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can launch an Amazon Redshift cluster, starting with a few hundred gigabytes and scaling to a petabyte or more, for under $1,000 per terabyte per year.
Since Amazon Redshift was announced at the AWS re: Invent conference in November 2012, customers using the service during the limited preview have ranged from startups to global enterprises, with datasets from terabytes to petabytes, across industries including social, gaming, mobile, advertising, manufacturing, healthcare, e-commerce, and financial services..
Lowers the cost of data warehousing
Traditional data warehouses require significant time and resource to administer. In addition, the financial cost associated with building, maintaining, and growing self-managed, on-premise data warehouses is very high. Amazon says that Redshift not only significantly lowers the cost of a data warehouse, but also makes it easy to analyze large amounts of data very quickly.
Amazon Redshift uses a number of techniques, including columnar data storage, advanced compression, and high performance IO and network, to achieve significantly higher performance than traditional databases for data warehousing and analytics workloads. Redshift is fully managed, automating all the common tasks associated with provisioning, configuring, monitoring, backing up, scaling, and securing a data warehouse.
Customers discuss its advantages
Hundreds of customers participated in the Amazon Redshift limited preview, and the benefits most frequently cited were significantly lower cost, substantially improved performance, and freedom from having to manage the pain and undifferentiated heavy lifting of operating an on premise data warehouse.
HasOffers records and reports billions of desktop and mobile interactions for performance marketers. “Amazon Redshift introduces a major opportunity to improve the performance of our real-time reporting, allowing us to run queries up to 50 times faster than our current OLAP solution,” said Nick Sanders, VP of Engineering at HasOffers.
“On top of that, Amazon Redshift reduces overhead for managing our own stack and drastically simplifies our sharded schema design through distribution and sort keys. Fundamentally, we believe the combination of price and performance provided by Amazon Redshift will shake-up the data warehousing world.”
Photobox is one of Europe’s leading on-line photo service providers. “We started using Amazon Redshift immediately after it was announced and we obtained crazy performance, especially in loading data,” said Maxime Mézin, Data Scientist at Photobox. “It took just 5 minutes to load a dataset that previously took days to extract on our side.”
Kongregate’s gaming portal provides thousands of free online and mobile games to social gamers. “Kongregate was able to realize exponential gains in performance by rolling one of our largest data tables off our main database and onto the Amazon Redshift platform,” said Jim Greer, CEO & Co-Founder, Kongregate. “Amazon Redshift has enabled us to perform traffic analysis at a scale that was previously impossible.”
Accordant Media provides over twenty billion impressions per day for digital marketing campaigns. “After testing many relational and non-relational database and data warehouse options, Amazon Redshift is our clear winner,” said James Rooney, Vice President of Platforms at Accordant Media. “Accordant requires both speed and efficiency when handling the massive data generated by our advertising campaigns, and we have been tremendously pleased with the performance, price, and ease of use of Amazon Redshift.”
Scribol recommends content to publishers based on their readers’ interests. “Amazon Redshift enables us to rapidly analyze and identify data points across our audience of millions of users and billions of actions,” said Tomek Klas, CTO, Scribol.
Digital marketers see advantages
In the ten weeks since Amazon Redshift was announced, AWS technology software partners including SAP, IBM, Informatica, Tableau, Attunity, Actuate, Pentaho, Talend, Birst, Roambi and Pervasive have joined MicroStrategy and Jaspersoft in enabling customers to continue using the tools they do today.
A growing number of these partners’ solutions that leverage Amazon Redshift are available from the AWS Marketplace for 1-Click deployment with pay-as-you-go pricing. Technology consulting companies including Capgemini, Cognizant, and Full360 have consultants ready to help customers with their Amazon Redshift implementations.
“Digital marketers have seen an explosion in the amount and variety of customer data,” said StrongMail CTO Jeremy Sterns. “Working with AWS to leverage Amazon Redshift with our next generation data model, will give StrongMail’s enterprise marketers enormous cost, performance and ease of use advantages for executing better targeted, more effective, insight-driven marketing campaigns. These technologies open up new possibilities that are unavailable to those offered by legacy email service providers with siloed databases.”
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Amazon is on a roll. In addition to topping a list of 25 retailers with the best mobile satisfaction ratings during the recent holiday shopping season, it also edged out Apple as America’s most reputable company, according to the 2013 Harris Poll RQ Study which engages over 14,000 members of the general public to measure the reputations of the sixty most visible companies in the country.
And companies can learn from how the leaders gain their stellar reputations.
This is Amazon’s first time earning the top ranking, but the fifth consecutive year with a great reputation score. The Walt Disney Company, Google, and Johnson & Johnson complete the top five. This is Google’s eight consecutive top five appearance, an incredible achievement for a fourteen year old company.
AIG and Goldman Sachs return to the bottom two reputation positions on the list of the most visible companies, joined by Halliburton, American Airlines, and Bank of America. With a full six point increase in RQ score though, Bank of America had the highest year-over-year increase in the 2013 study. Best Buy and Honda experienced the greatest decline in RQ scores, 6.76 and 4.73 points, respectively.
RQ measures six dimensions that comprise reputation and influence consumer behavior.
The dimensions and the 2013 leaders are:
- Social Responsibility – Whole Foods
- Emotional Appeal – Amazon.com
- Financial Performance – Apple
- Products & Services – Amazon.com
- Vision & Leadership – Apple
- Workplace Environment – Google
Amazon’s reputation strength runs wide and deep as it ranked in the top five in five of the six dimensions of reputation. Amazon had a five point advantage over any other company in the study in the dimension of Emotional Appeal, despite an entirely virtual relationship with the public. Amazon also achieved the top rating in the dimension of Products & Services.
Amazon earned nearly 100 percent positive ratings on all measures related to Trust. More than 50 percent of respondents also recall discussing Amazon with friends and family in the past year, and nearly 100 percent of these conversations were positive.
“Our results show that Amazon has managed to build an intimate relationship with the public without being perceived as intrusive,” adds Fronk. “
Nine of ten would recommend it
And as the company that is so widely known for its personal recommendations, more than nine in ten members of the public would recommend Amazon to friends and family.”
The results for Apple and Google are equally as impressive as those for Amazon and continue a compelling trend that has been developing for the past few years – companies that begin in the technology sector, which is by far and away the highest-rated industry when it comes to reputation, absorb the reputation equity from the industry, then transcend the industry to become a more multi-faceted business.
Companies that are able to do this are perceivedto “Play A Valuable Social Role,” a characteristic, which according to the RQ study, has become a key driver of reputation.
The Kindle’s eInk technology frees you from LED glare and eye-strain – and you can make the fonts as large as you like.
As a longtime Amazon customer, we can understand why it has such a great reputation, despite moves such as encouraging “showrooming,” viewing products in stores to buy later online.
It’s customer service is beyond first rate. We dropped and broke our first Kindle e-reader when it was out of warranty and they still replaced it free, overnight, and we didn’t even have to pay postage. When a large package of books went awry and never showed up, they simply resent the order.
Banking industry shows gains, still low ranked
The banking industry is not so lucky. It showed some encouraging signs in 2013. Positive ratings of the industry are now 25 percent, a more than 50 percent increase from 2012.
Wells Fargo became the first of the four big banking companies in the past four years to move from negative to positive equity in the dimension of Emotional Appeal. Harris’s fourteen years of conducting the RQ study show that a company cannot build or maintain positive reputation without this positive equity. Wells Fargo also received significantly higher marks on attributes related to its people and work environment, and it is possible that these may be the first signs of a bank once again being seen as trusted.
But in our conversations with sources, the banking industry is still most often cited as having abysmal customer service and is viewed as frequently predatory. The continuing mortgage default problem hasn’t helped.
What can companies learn from the 2013 Harris Poll RQ Study?
Companies need to evaluate and understand the increasing importance that playing a valuable social role has on reputation, purchase consideration, advocacy and positive word of mouth. This is about a business having a purpose, not just checking the box on social responsibility or sustainability.
Additionally, companies need to adapt to a major trend in consumer behavior. More than 60 percent of consumers now “pro-actively try to learn more about how a company conducts itself” before they are willing to consider that company’s products or services. This group, which Harris calls Seekers:
- Proactively engage in conversations with others about what they find out about a company;
- In 60 percent of cases, decide NOT to do business with a company because of something they learn about that company; and
- Actively try to influence friends and family on whether to do business or not with a company based upon what they have learned about that company’s conduct.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Technology companies claimed half the slots on Ponemon Institute’s annual top 10 list of the most trusted companies for privacy. Hewlett Packard ranked second, Amazon, third, IBM, fourth, eBay ninth and Intuit tenth.
American Express (AMEX) continued to reign as the most trusted company among the 217 orgazations rated.
New tech entries on Ponmon’s top 20 most trusted list included Microsoft at 17, and Mozilla at 20.
In addition to ranking the most trusted companies, the Ponemon study reported that only 41 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, down from 45 last year and an overall drop from 56 percent in 2006.
Identity theft a top concern
The survey also noted that identity theft is a top area of concern among consumers with fifty-nine percent of the respondents indicating that fear of identity theft was a major factor in brand trust diminishment, while 50 percent said notice of a data breach was a factor.
That could give impetus to the changes in U.S. immigration law proposed by a bipartisan group of Senators this week, although it’s identity card idea is already meeting with opposition from some.
The Ponemon rankings were derived from a survey of more than 100,000 adult-aged consumers who were asked to name up to five companies they believe to be the most trusted for protecting the privacy of their personal information.
Consumer responses were gathered over a 15-week period concluding in December 2012 and resulted in a final sample of 6,704 respondents who, on average, provided 5.4 discernible company ratings that represent 25 different industries.
Monday, November 26th, 2012
Although Black Friday usually conjures up images of people waiting in long lines at retail stores, this year it was also the heaviest online spending day to date, according to digital measurement service comScore.
In store sale, in comparison, were down as many shoppers avoided those lines to do their gift-hunting online.
For the holiday season-to-date, $13.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 16-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.
Black Friday (November 23) saw $1.042 billion in online sales, making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2012 and representing a 26-percent increase versus Black Friday 2011.
Thanksgiving Day (November 22), while traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 32-percent increase to $633 million.
“Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see this shopping day become more and more prominent in the e-commerce channel – particularly among those who prefer to avoid crowds at the stores,” said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni.
“With Black Friday online sales up 26 percent and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8 percent, we can now confidently call it a multi-channelmarketing phenomenon.”
Fulgoni added that Thanksgiving Day itself, usually a lighter online shopping day, is gaining steam as well.
Today, Cyber Monday, is expected to be the heaviest shopping day of the season with sales approaching $1.5 billion or more.
ComScore says Amazon led the online sales parade so far this year, followed by Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple.
We think this is a bit of a surprise: digital content and subscriptions were the top-growing online retail product category, up 29 percent from a year ago. The proliferation of smartphones, tablets and e-readers is driving the demand for digital books, audio & visual content, says comScore.
Toy are also doing well, gaining 27 percent, followed by Consumer Packaged Goods (up 23 percent), Video Game Consoles & Accessories (up 18 percent) and Consumer Electronics (up 18 percent).
Monday, October 15th, 2012
The Kindle’s eInk technology frees you from LED glare and eye-strain – and you can make the fonts as large as you like.
By Allan Maurer
We received this from Amazon in our email over the weekend:
“We have good news. You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories, including yours.”
State attorneys estimate the credits will add up to .30 cents to $1.32 for each eligible Kindle book bought between April 2010 and May 2012.
The credits are a result of the ruling by a federal judge in September of the US Justice Department’s settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Shuster, which it accused of conspiring in a price-fixing scheme.
The ruling also requires the publishers to drop the pricing system they created with Apple ahead of its iPad tablet release in 2010. The publishers will provide the funds for the Kindle credits.
The Amazon email added:
“Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books.”
It also said, “n addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.”
The credits may not amount to much for many customers, but if you buy as many e-books as we do, they might buy you one or two more – especially now that prices have returned to the lower range Amazon prefers.
There has been a lot of argument in the publishing industry that while e-books may not cost as much as printed books to produce, the major costs of acquiring, editing, and paying writers and staff remain much the same.
Personally, we think ebooks should be substantially less expensive (Amazon’s $9.95 seems fair for most).
Then again, if you read many of the free or really inexpensive self-published e-books out there, you can see the publishers’ side of the argument, because the unedited books are often full of typos and many are barely worth reading past the first page.
What do you think?
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the Kindle Fire HD.
Have you looked at the features in the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet? Amazon is doing some aggressive advertising of the device on TV, but in a survey of more than 2,000 consumers, 45 percent said they were “unimpressed” with the new device.
More than half of those surveyed by couponcodes4u.com already own a tablet: 45% said they owned an Apple iPad device, while 19% said they owned a Google tablet. 16% of respondents who owned a tablet said they’d opted for a Samsung branded device, while 13% said they already owned a Kindle/Amazon branded tablet and 7% said they owned another type of tablet, such as the BlackBerry PlayBook.
Personally, we’re happy with our original Kindle Fire tablet model and Wifi Kindle e-reader, so we’re waiting for the tablet wars to thin the offerings or considerably improve them before buying another. The original Kindle Fire does have drawbacks – no microphone, no memory card slot (it’s not alone there), and poorer screen resolution than more current models of several other brands.
We’re mostly interested in improved dictation features, however – using a virtual keyboard is torturous and even using an external one doesn’t make doing much writing easy on a 7″ screen.
We’re convinced that a tablet (or smartphone) device with very accurate voice recognition is eventually going to change the tablet/phone environment.
In the survey, when shown the features and specs on the new Kindle Fire HD, 55 percent liked the look of it – with the majority approving of the price, 27 percent liking the connection to Amazon’s content library, and less than a tenth (9 percent) citing overall specifications. (See a review of the new Kindle Fire HD.)
Respondents who said they were unimpressed by the new Kindle Fire HD were asked to explain why, to which 45% admitted that they preferred a “larger screened tablet”, while 39% said that the Kindle tablet didn’t blow them away due to ‘not matching up to competitors’. In addition, 11% of consumers said the tablet “didn’t offer enough apps” to keep them interested.
When all respondent were asked whether or not the new Kindle had enough to hold their interest if and when the iPad Mini was released this year, 39% of respondents said it would. However, 54% of respondents said they would be more likely to opt for the iPad Mini when it is released, while 7% of respondents admitted that they would “consider” both tablets.
Mark Pearson, Chairman of CouponCodes4u.com, said, “Another day, another tablet release! With the popularity of Amazon and the Kindle tablet driving the small tablet revolution, it is no wonder that consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to personal gadgets. As the Kindle is very different from other tablets, we wanted to see how consumers have reacted to the latest release of the Fire HD and if they had the chance, and obviously the funds, whether or not they would trade it in for the iPad Mini.”
He added that it’s surprising that even many who like the look of the Kindle Fire HD would consider an Apple iPad mini. ”While many people have voiced a negative opinion about Apple and the products of late, you cannot deny the power of their marketing campaigns and products.,” he said.
Thursday, September 13th, 2012
Brick and mortar stores once had a clear advantage over online retailers when it came to “convenience” purchases of items costing less than $15, and higher priced items tended to be cheaper online. But a new comparison of price points between online and in-store retailers reports a “dramatic shift” from previous findings.
The fourth installment of a bi-annual pricing study (Pdf) produced by Anthem Marketing Solutions sees increased competition between brick and mortar stores and online retailers,
By comparing online and in-store prices of widely available products across a range of commonly purchased categories, Anthem discovered that online seems to have an advantage only for moderately priced goods between $15 and $45.
No advantage for either in most price ranges
For items higher and lower than that range, no clear advantage is evident for either channel.
In an interesting reversal from previous studies, offline stores no longer had a pricing advantage for convenience purchases, defined as purchases with a low ticket price and high need for immediacy.
Another difference from previous studies was identified for planned purchases, those that tend to be infrequent with a higher price tag. Right now, online retailers have an advantage for considered purchases, but Anthem says “this might not be the case much longer,” due to competitive in-store pricing.
Offline retailers successfully combating “showrooming”
Online had always had a clear price advantage in this category, which has now disappeared. This substantiates the efforts offline retailers are making to counter the ‘showrooming’ trend in which consumers use their mobile phones while in-store to find better pricing online.
The report notes that while Amazon has been encouraging “showrooming” via a price-checking phone app, some manufacturers, such as Adidas, Nike, and Asics have said they will pull their products from Amazon and eBay to keep lower online prices from devaluing their brand. Others, such as Best Buy, replace standard bar codes with those that can’t be scanned for comparison purposes.
There are categories in which either in-store or online has advantages, however. Anthem’s researchers say entertainment products have an online advantage, while consumables are cheaper in-store.
Low shipping rates still a draw
Realizing product pricing was not the only factor affecting consumer purchase decisions, Anthem decided to also discuss the implications of shipping costs. Shipping costs remain an important factor in the minds of the consumer for free shipping would entice the majority of consumers to increase basket size.
Some studies suggest that free shipping can entice 93 percent of online customers to add items to their cart.
Thursday, September 13th, 2012
Long considered the standard bearer for online customer satisfaction, retail giant Amazon’s dominance extends to the mobile platform, according to a new index measuring the customer experience of websites and apps on Internet-enabled mobile devices.
Avon and Apple round out the top three companies on the inaugural release of the ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index.
“The mobile platform is maturing much faster than the web in its early days, and more consumers are interacting with companies and brands via mobile devices every day,” said Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee.
“Customers experience the web differently on mobile devices, and companies that do not measure the mobile experience miss an opportunity to solidify customer loyalty and risk losing customers to companies that do.”
Overall satisfaction with the mobile experiences of 20 of the largest online retailers registers 79 on the Index’s 100-point scale, with scores ranging from 76 to 84.
Amazon sets the bar
Almost half of the measured retailers score 80 or above, which ForeSee considers to be a benchmark for excellence. Amazon sets the bar at 84, followed by Avon (83) and Apple (82).
ForeSee, which measures satisfaction across multiple channels, finds that the mobile web experience for retail lags traditional retail web satisfaction significantly. Websites appear fairly uniformly across standard PCs and laptops.
But among mobile devices, there are dozens of different screen sizes, operating systems, hardware specifications, and loading speeds. This reality makes it difficult for companies to provide a uniform standard experience to its customers across platforms.
Top retailers do better on websites than mobile
In a comparison of mobile satisfaction scores to web satisfaction (as reported on ForeSee’s Online Retail Satisfaction Index in Spring 2012), nearly all of the top retailers perform better on traditional websites.
“Consumer expectations of the mobile experience are set by their experience on PCs and laptops. But where there are limitations on screen size and configuration, there are advantages to the touchscreen interface first popularized by Apple’s iPhone and iPad,” said Freed.
“If companies can innovate and optimize the mobile platform, there’s no reason the mobile experience can’t surpass the Web.”
When compared to dissatisfied customers, satisfied customers are 69% more likely to make a purchase using their mobile device, 72% more likely to to recommend the retailer, and 58% more likely to visit the mobile website or app again.
“Satisfaction is the most important customer metric companies can track because it is forward looking and a key driver of behaviors retailers care most about: purchases, recommendations, and loyalty,” said Eric Feinberg, ForeSee Senior Director of Mobile, Media & Entertainment.
“The ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index will be measuring other industries with a strong mobile presence, establishing a uniform benchmark for the mobile experience and indicating which companies need to do more to increase satisfaction that will result in desired consumer behavior that impacts the bottom line.”
Other key findings from the retail edition of the ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index include:
- App users were slightly more satisfied (80) than mobile web users (79). 68% used a retailer’s mobile website, while 32% used a retailer’s app.
- The highest app usage among measured companies was for Netflix (59%), eBay (53%), Groupon (52%), and Walgreens (48%).
- First-time users of a mobile site or app tend to be less satisfied with their mobile experiences as they learn new layouts, navigation, and functionality. First-time visitors score 77 compared to 80 for repeat visitors.
- Customers already familiar with a brand are more satisfied than people who were driven to the company’s mobile site or app via search engines or shopping comparison sites.
- The most popular tasks performed on mobile retail sites and apps were: looking up product details (28%), looking up price information (19%), and checking stock at a store (17%).
- 76% of those surveyed used mobile phones, while 24% used tablets.
The report is based on 4,500 customer surveys collected in August 2012.
Thursday, September 13th, 2012
In the startup world in particular, you hear a lot about Amazon’s cloud services. But according to a new Evans Data survey of more than 400 developers, slightly more than one-third (36%) are using Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Platform.
That’s enough to give it the edge over competing services such as Google Storage (29%) and Amazon Web Services ((28%), in a fragmented market.
Conducted in July, the independent survey also found that more than half the developers who work within a specific cloud service also deploy their apps to that service. Only 27% deploy to a different service, while 10% use a hybrid model that includes an on-premises element.
“Microsoft was very aggressive with its introduction of Azure to the development community a few years ago and that has paid off,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp.
“Additionally, the large established MSDN community and the fact that Visual Studio is still the most used development environment are huge assets to Microsoft in getting developers to adopt the Azure platform.”
She added, “However, Cloud platform use is still very much fragmented with lots of players laying claim to small slivers of share. It will take more time before a clear landscape of major Cloud vendors shakes out.”
Monday, August 20th, 2012
While Apple Inc. is trying to subdue Google’s rival Android mobile operating system the company really worrying Google executives is not Apple but Amazon, says The Business Insider.
Because Google makes most of its money from people searching for potential items or services to buy and many people are starting to bypass the search engine to search directly on Amazon.
According to digital measurement service comScore, for instance, searches on Amazon rose 73 percent in the last year.
As Amazon introduces devices such as the Kindle Fire tablet, more sophisticated Kindle eReaders, and possibly a Kindle phone – all tied directly to Amazon’s store – the situation gets even worse for Google.
So, says Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson, “Amazon scares Google more than anything Facebook or Apple are up to.”
While Google may indeed see Amazon as a serious competitor, we suspect the firm isn’t crazy about the recent patent victories Apple won for many of the basic features of a mobile smartphone operating system.
In fact, Google’s Motorola Mobility unit has has filed a patent infringement complaint against a number of iPhone features, including its Siri voice control.
Google acquired Motorola Mobility’s portfolio of thousands of patents in May amid speculation it would use them to battle Apple and its iPhone.
The patent infringement case seeks a ban on U.S. imports of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. Apple maintains that phones using Google’s Android operating system infringe on its iPhone patents. What a merry-go-round
What do you think? Will Google and Apple eventually end up in a stalemate in the smartphone patent wars?
Is the search giant in danger of losing ground to Amazon?
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Who do you trust with your personal data when you shop online?
Results from a new survey by Atlanta-based ClickFox, show that consumers embrace location services in marketing campaigns but are wary of data use among retailers.
Scroll down to view an infographic detailing the study findings.
According to the survey, they trust the financial services industry most with personal information, followed by healthcare and government in second and third, respectively.
Amazon, Apple and Google were revealed as the most trustworthy organizations with regards to consumer data management.
Retail industry gets poor marks
“Unsurprisingly, the retail industry receives poor marks for consumer trust and this can often be attributed to consumer engagement that tends to solely focus on the sale,” said Marco Pacelli, chief executive officer, ClickFox.
“Companies get customer service right when they begin to analyze every customer touch point to get a clear picture of customer satisfaction — unfortunately, most organizations don’t know they’ve burned consumers until their revenues drop.”
Welcoming location-based marketing and opportunities to improve customer experience
The findings suggest that consumer acceptance of location-based marketing has increased, as 71 percent noted they would share their location for giveaways, discounts or improved service, and 71 percent revealed they are comfortable with companies knowing their location.
The survey also suggests that most customers (84 percent) prefer organizations to use their data to improve their customer experience.
Additionally, the study revealed that 83 percent of respondents expect companies they do business with to know their purchase and retail history, and 82 percent expect companies to know past consumer experiences, which highlights the need for more advanced analytics tools for customer engagement.
Additional survey findings reveal:
- Cell phones emerge as a new preferred personal identifier
- 19 percent of respondents are most comfortable with organizations using their cell phone number as a personal identifier second only to personal security question at 43 percent
- Consumers contradict themselves when reporting preferences regarding shopping behavior
- 59 percent of respondents value personal identifiers such as social security, home address and phone numbers more than their behavioral habits like purchase history, shopping preferences and service history.
- 84 percent of respondents expect companies to know purchase and retail history and 82 percent expect companies to know previous customer experiences.
- Consumers warm up to sharing cellular number and purchase history across businesses
- 41 percent of respondents would provide cell phone numbers for giveaways, discounts or improved service, and 49 percent are comfortable with companies knowing their cell phone number
- 45 percent of respondents would share purchase history from other companies they do business with for giveaways, discounts or improved service, and 40 percent are comfortable with companies knowing their purchase history across organizations with whom they do business
ClickFox recommends the following considerations for improved customer experience and management of consumer data:
1. Capitalize on the capabilities of Big Data to connect and analyze data across informational silos.
2. Use data in a way that visibly benefits consumers, such as providing better service and offering new products.
3. Be open to using new or multiple personal identifiers to keep records accurate.
4. Look to location- and mobile-based engagement as an extension of customer experience.
5. Ensure consistent customer experiences for better customer engagement.
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
Digital marketing intelligence provider AdGooroo says several major retailers such as Target, Toys “R” Us and Victoria’s Secret outperformed Amazon in paid search engine marketing (SEM) in specific categories, including Children’s Products, Fashion and Apparel, and Auto Parts.
The AdGooroo report unveils the secrets of success employed by these brands.
With nearly twice the Google AdWords spend as the next largest retailer (Target) and an estimated portfolio of millions of keywords across a broad range of merchandise, Amazon is considered by many to set the gold standard for paid SEM.
However, AdGooroo’s research into categories outside of the e-tailor’s traditional strong suit (books and other media) found that Amazon is not always the dominant player.
Among the findings, retailers with an established brand and specialized or niche offering were able to reap significantly better results than Amazon in SEM.
How Amazon fared in the three verticals studied:
Despite sponsoring 12.7 percent of the highest spend keywords in Children’s Products, Amazon was outperformed by advertisers with strong brand recognition who garnered more premium ad positioning (American Girl, Lego, Hasbro, Toys“R”Us and Children’s Place) and a much larger share of impressions in the category (Children’s Place – 81 percent; American Girl – 69 percent; Lego – 68 percent; Toys“R”Us – 50 percent).
Even Target, whose offering and SEM strategy resembles Amazon’s more than the children-centric brands studied, garnered 52 percent of impressions on the top keywords in the category compared to Amazon’s 31 percent.
Fashion and Apparel
Although Amazon again dominates the category in percentage of top keywords sponsored (13.9 percent), it is soundly beaten by its paid search competitors.
The top five SEM advertisers in the category based on ad position, Express, Victoria’s Secret, Bloomingdales, 6pm.com and Loft.com, together earned an average of more than 1,600 impressions per keyword per day from the most popular searches compared to Amazon’s 349 impressions.
Further, Amazon had the lowest ad coverage, the second lowest clickthrough rate, and the third highest cost-per-click. Although it fell at the bottom of the pack based on average ad position, Target recorded higher clickthrough rates and a larger share of impressions than Amazon.
Although not traditionally thought of as a provider of automobile parts or accessories, Amazon’s broad set of Auto Parts keywords, second only to AutoZone, demonstrated a concerted effort to compete in the category.
However, its performance was poor compared to its competitors, generating the highest CPC, the lowest average position and only a 13 percent share of impressions on the keywords that it chose to sponsor. AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts and even Target appeared to be competing less with Amazon than with each other.
“Amazon is the world’s preeminent e-tailer and spends nearly twice as much on Google AdWords as the next largest retailer—we estimate their combined total AdWords spend, including their Zappos subsidiary, was more than $15 million per month in the second half of 2011, with more than 19 million clickthroughs generated in an average month,” said Richard Stokes, founder and CEO of AdGooroo.
“Our report shows that even with this impressive spending and results, Amazon is certainly not infallible across the board. The breadth of Amazon’s PPC campaigns is certainly impressive, but when analyzed in categories where it lacks recognition or authority, their SEM efforts fail to live up to some of their most skilled competitors.”
How to compete with Amazon
According to the report’s findings, retailers wishing to compete with Amazon in paid search should consider a key metric used by the search engines, Revenue Per Thousand Impressions or RPM (RPM = CTR x CPC x 1000).
Analysis of the SEM results of Amazon and competing retailers found that paid ad position on U.S. AdWords is highly correlated to the RPM that each competitor delivers to Google, and that the biggest lever for improving RPM is clickthrough rate.
“Search engines are motivated to give preferred positioning to advertisers that generate the most revenue for them, so an advertiser’s best chance of gaining first SERP placement is to offer a higher RPM than competitors who are vying for similar keyword searchers,” explained Stokes.
“Retailers should concentrate on improving their clickthrough rate through best practices such as maintaining fresh creative and delivering relevant ads and landing pages. They should also utilize competitive intelligence to better focus their efforts by benchmarking the strengths and weaknesses of their own SEM campaigns compared to their competitors.”
To download the full report, see: