Posts tagged with Amazon

Q&A: Nick Usborne on writing sales copy for websites

Nick UsborneNick Usborne has been a copywriter for thirty years, and worked on direct mail campaigns before moving exclusively online in 1997. He has just written a guide to optimising online sales by writing better copy.

He believes that this is an area where many e-commerce sites have plenty of room for improvement. In his new e-book, he talks about how websites could use proven sales copywriting techniques to improve their conversion rates.

I've been speaking to Nick about why he feels that some sites need better copy, and the challenges of online copywriting...

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Amazon fuels 2008 ecommerce increase

shopping cartIf you're looking for some good news beyond social media, check out ecommerce. Internet Retailer’s forthcoming 2009 Top 500 Guide reports that sales for the 245 retailers reporting actual 2008 numbers have grown by 15 percent to $55.6 billion from $48.3 billion in 2007.

Before getting too excited, understand that Amazon's $19 billion in 2008 sales wrecks the curve a little bit. Without Amazon online sales, the remaining retailers increased by 8.82 percent to $36.47 billion last year from $33.52 billion in the prior year. During a year when overall retail sales are expected to decline substantially when the numbers are all in, even an 8 percent increase shows that consumers will spend money online.

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Q&A: Kieron Smith of the Book Depository

The Book Depository is a fast growing business which sells books internationally from its UK base. Last year, its sales grew by 160% to £40m, enough to take the number five slot in The Sunday Times' Fast Track 100 list.

I've been talking to MD Kieron Smith about the site, the reasons for its success, and the challenges of running an international e-commerce operation.

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How Amazon made $2.7bn with one small tweak

User reviews have proven to be an effective sales driver, but there is more to it than just adding them to product pages. Once you start to get large amounts of reviews you need be able to sort them in a meaningful way for customers.

Usability expert Jared Spool has a great example of how Amazon managed to solve this problem for its customers and add $2.7bn to its bottom line.

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Ebay bets with its head, not over it

ebayBack in the days when OffTrack Betting was popular in New York City, the ad tagline said "bet with your head, not over it." It may be uncool to say, but eBay's recent conservative retrenching is a solid strategy. A little boring, maybe, but at least the company is betting with its head.

CEO John Donahoe told a group of analysts Wednesday that the company is going to focus on its original mission, which is ecommerce auction. No more eBay Express. No more plans to compete with Amazon for the overall ecommerce business. Donahoe was roundly trashed in the blogosphere. While it might not spike its short term stock price, it's the right move. With Skype and PayPal in its tent, eBay is positioned to play very well in the most active markets. It has communication infrastructure, payment infrastructure, and auction infrastructure. Right now anyway, no one is a serious threat to that trifecta.

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Barnes & Noble makes a move, finally

B&NIt would be easy to feel a bit sorry for Barnes & Noble. It is the biggest brick and mortar bookseller in North America, fighting the good fight for literacy against a tide of economic disaster. It has been laid waste by the internet and in particular, Amazon, one of the most innovative companies ever. Competing against Amazon in the 90s was kind of like playing Michael Jordan in his rookie season. You just didn't know how good he was until you lost to him. Then, after the B&N business model was hit hard, the printed page is being attacked by eBooks.

But this here is business, young man, and it's no time for the faint of heart. No longer is B&N employing the  the "if you can't beat 'em don't join 'em" strategy. It has finally, and admirably, made a move that doesn't involve closing stores. Late last week it purchased Fictionwise, an eBook retailer that is rumored to be developing a Kindle-competitor, hand-held eBook reader.

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Q&A: Quillp founder Alexander Braun

Alexander BraunBased in Berlin, Quillp is a social network centred around books, which launched last year. It provides users with the chance to connect with other book lovers, recommend good reads, as well as allowing new authors to upload their work and get some exposure.

I've been talking to founder Alexander Braun about Quillp, providing product recommendations, and his experiences at last year's Seedcamp, at which Quillp made the finals...

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Site review: The Book Depository

UK online book retailer Book Depository launched a new version of its site recently, aiming to make it 'best in class, in e-commerce terms'. 

It's a pureplay e-tailer, and has certainly been performing well recently, with sales of more than £40m in the last twelve months, an impressive 160% increase on the previous year, and enough to make the Sunday Times' Fast Track 100 list.

Book Depository homepage

I've been taking a closer look at the site...

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US Census Bureau: ecommerce slumped in Q4 2008

We all know the 4th quarter was a tough one for retailers. Despite the holidays, the global economic crisis had consumers pinching pennies and retailers were forced to discount heavily in an effort to entice them to spend.

Some online retailers such as Amazon.com reported 'record' holidays but many weren't quick to quantify what those 'records' meant to the bottom line and according to new numbers, Q4 2008 online sales in the United States were disappointing.

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Retailers need to look to mobile internet - survey

Mobile shopping25% of shoppers are using mobile phones as part of the buying process when in retail stores, using phones to compare prices and look for reviews or recommendations from friends.

A recent survey suggests that retailers have an opportunity to get more mobile users shopping instore by providing them with mobile apps and more mobile-friendly websites to allow customers to access this information to help make a purchase decision. 

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Amazon bows SMS shopping

262966 spells A-M-A-Z-O-N on your dialpad. It's the shortcode for TextBuyIt, the online retailer's new SMS shopping system.

Just type what you want - iPod Nano, for example, text it to that number and numbered search results appear on your handheld device's screen. Respond with the number of the item you want, respond to the prompt for your email address and postal code, and you'll get a call from Amazon to complete your purchase.

It's all so instantaneous, except for the waiting for it to arrive in the mail part.

Amazon TextbuyIt

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Did free delivery work this Christmas?

More online retailers than ever chose to entice customers with free delivery offers over Christmas. It's something that web shoppers have pointed to as a major factor in their purchase decisions.

Retailers who hadn't previously done so, started offering it, while others like Amazon dropped their threshold for free delivery. We have previously advocated this as a sales driver, as well as being useful bait for marketing campaigns, so did it work for etailers in Xmas 2008?

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