“Sell Out, Online oh yeah, Sell Out, Online Tonight…”

How to get ecommerce success

Successful online commerce means knowing critical new business practices which result in online success. Dawn M. Yankeelov, president and founder of Aspectx, shared these practices and so much more in her session “Customer Retention : Learn Critical Factors for Maintaining Online Commerce Success” at PRSA’s 2010 global conference. Below are the pearls of wisdom I gathered from her exceptional session.

Ecommerce Goal: Customer Retention
Online commerce today should focus on current high value customers because it’s cheaper to upsell than to cross sell.  The key to retention and conversion lies in the customer experience.  Relevancy on search and relevancy on site must touch the user.  Customer retention means micro targeting with calls to action, solicited, measurable feedback, comparative pricing, and ranking well in search.

Ecommerce facts
No more is it a goal to get people to go online and buy. The fact is, Americans love to buy online. Which states have the most online purchase power?  Take a look at North Dakota whose citizens average $7975 worth of online purchases a year. Second are Alaskans who spend an average of $5414 per person.  In third place are those who live in Connecticut spending $5054 annually.  Three states who spend the least online are Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Maine.  Overall, women tend to purchase more than men because they like to research products and don’t have time to go out and shop.  Women prefer deferred payment accounts and auctions.

Ecommerce trends
Mobile ads leading to payments continue to grow in popularity. Incentives and payment cards are back in a big way.  Comparative pricing has become the norm.  Cross channel campaigns are in demand. Companies should be listed in all the right shopping sites.  Personalized communications to top shoppers paves the way to more sales.  Group buying sites are trending up and crowdsourcing, or leveraging a community’s support to grow sales is powerful and effective. Facebook, when used with coupon generating software based on consumer likes, is a successful conversion tool.

Ecommerce roles: PR, marketing, and sales
The advent of social media along with tools that support and track it have blurred the lines that used to separate marketing, PR and sales.  Today, PR and marketing ARE sales. As a result, all three should know how to micro target customers with calls to action, use solicited, measurable feedback, offer comparative pricing, and rank well in search. Dawn Yankeelov recommends marketing, public relations, and sales professionals get to know the following array of software to help with this conversion work:

Digital River
Social Store Builder
Gilt Groupe

Mashable just published  5 Tips for Marketing Online to an International Audience. It’s definitely worth a read.

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About Catherine Lockey

Catherine Lockey @oz2designs | oz 2 designs LLC

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23 Responses to “Sell Out, Online oh yeah, Sell Out, Online Tonight…”

  1. inka October 29, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    I find it absolutley fascinating to read about an aspect of marketing I don’t have a clue about. But it seems to me that the principles apply to every online business whether you sell cars, food or travel news. And you write in a way even a total ignoramus like myself can understand.

  2. Catherine Lockey October 29, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Thanks Inka! Believe me, next to Dawn Yankeelov (the amazing presenter who shared this information with me) I felt like an ignoramus!

  3. Patricia Weber October 29, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    I am not familiar with mobile ads but am presuming, it’s on cell phones?

    Thanks for a look at what IS now. Where is video in ecommerce if it is? It’s so prevalent now but does that mean it is needed for marketing?

  4. Catherine Lockey October 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi Patricia – you bring up a good question. From the session I learned video is a very effective online commerce sales tool. Dawn gave some specifics about video and ecommerce in her session which I didn’t scribble down so I avoided that subtopic. I would enjoy learning more about video’s impact on ecommerce – anyone here with research on it please share.

  5. Keyuri Joshi October 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Your stated “The key to retention and conversion lies in the customer experience.” To me this is the crux of your post and from a consumer standpoint the most important aspect of my consumerism. Whether it is a product or a service, I shop where I have excellent relationships built on trust, reliablilty, and product quality. Anyone who wants to their business to succeed mustn’t overlook this.

  6. Julie Weishaar October 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Great post Catherine. I tend to agree with Keyuri that the customer experience is a huge contributing factor to one’s purchasing decisions. I heard recently that it costs 5 times as much to convert a new customer than it does to upsell to a current one. In other words, keep your customers happy and they will come back for more. People like to do business with people they know and trust – period!

  7. Catarina Alexon October 30, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    It’s so true that nowadays PR marketing and sales are the same thing. Wonder why some companies still employ one marketing, one PR and one sales director?

    By the way for those of you who are trying to sell online you should really focus on Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. They have much more purchasing power per capita than the Americans. And even the Saudis have now started shopping online. Go for it.

  8. Remi Banjo October 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    This is an excellent write up and I agree with you when you said ” key to retention and conversion lies in the customer experience.” Just like in a physical shop, a good customer experience will make us go back and a lousy one will keep us away. I believe the same thing should apply to online company presence.

    I have been trying to learn and use social media to find / push business. Sometimes it can however be overwhelming.

    Video and mobile I am yet to explore. Thank you for this write up.

  9. Catherine Lockey October 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    @Keyuri and @JulieWeishaar – Thanks for your input – it’s all about the customer for sure.
    @Catarina – Thanks for the heads up about the ecommerce possibilities in the Saudi and Gulf states markets. I enjoyed your post about the new middle class.

  10. Paul Novak October 30, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    I find those states with the highest online sales interesting. Perhaps in large part due to geographical layout and poor proximity to commercial areas?

  11. Susan Oakes October 31, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Thanks for the write of the session Catherine. As customers become more comfortable buying online one aspect that they will need to be aware of is how to ensure the customer experience is high regardless where in the world the customer lives.

    Did she cover any international aspect of selling online?

  12. Dennis Salvatier October 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    Catherine, great article. Really. I’m going to be referencing this post this week, because it really helped me to make some decisions on some of my own plans. Those states with the largest buying power surprised me completely. I wonder if local variety is also a factor in why they spend so much online.

  13. Sherryl Perry October 31, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Lots of good points here especially about ecommerce trends. I think we’ll only continue to see an increase in the effectiveness of mobile ads. People no longer access 411 for basic information from their phone. Instead they Google and can easily locate businesses in the exact geographic area that they’re in at the time. The businesses that respond best to this technology are poised to attract customers while their competitors that don’t target mobile applications will be left in the dust. Great article that highlights ecommerce.

  14. Chris Paulsen November 1, 2010 at 8:24 am #


    Thanks for sharing this informative post. It will be critical for business to leverage the on line demand to be successful in the future.


  15. Catherine Lockey November 1, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    @Remi Thanks for the visit. You may find my posts about blogging, LinkedIn, and Twitter to be helpful as you study social media. Yes, it is overwhelming at first. Plus, the hard work required to make it work for you never ends. :)

  16. Catherine Lockey November 1, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    @Paul I’m wondering the same thing.
    @Susan The international market and Ecommerce is a timely research topic. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for information about it.

  17. Catherine Lockey November 1, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    @Dennis That’s great! Your plans sound exciting – can’t wait to hear more.
    @Sherryl I agree – every business should be mobile friendly now.

  18. Catherine Lockey November 2, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    I updated my post and referenced Mashable’s “5 Tips for Marketing Online to an International Audience.” Excellent article.


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