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Multi-channel retailers are mounting a challenge to the online dominance of their pure-play rivals despite tending to offer a lower level of site functionality, according to research.
The study, by eDigitalResearch, which uses mystery shoppers to rate UK shopping websites, found Play.com and Amazon.com continued to generate the best overall response from consumers.
However, multi-channel players like Tesco, John Lewis and M&S were seen to have stronger customer service.
Steve talks about the challenges of multi-channel retailing, especially for a well-known brand in the fashion sector and one that has both wholesale and retail businesses to think about.
E-consultancy estimates that the UK market for e-commerce solutions will be worth around £400m this year, up from £268m when we last valued the market in 2005.
According to our E-commerce Platforms Buyer's Guide 2007, the market has continued to show healthy growth over the last two years, growing by an estimated 22% in 2006. We estimate that the same 22% growth rate will apply in 2007.
More than half the people that apply online for various financial services abandon the process before completion, according to a new survey.
The study, by comScore, suggests many of these abandonments occur because consumers want to find out details about the services on offer, but that information is hidden behind the application process.
Technorati has released another update of its homepage, shifting the site's emphasis back towards blogs, rather than videos, music and podcasts.
E-consultancy has just released its Travel Website Benchmarks Report - an interesting insight into the good and not so good practices being adopted by travel agencies, car rental firms, hotel aggregators and airlines on the web.
Compiled by Adam Goodvach of Global Reviews, it looks at ways travel sites are enabling users to search for and book products and services, while minimising abandonment rates.
We've listed some of its recommendations after the jump....
Another nugget of wisdom from Jakob Nielsen - website visitors will often ignore heavily formatted areas of a website as they look too much like advertising.
The usability guru says surfers have trained their brains to ignore 'fancy formatting', in a form of banner blindness. This suggests that ads should be made to look more like actual content in order to attract attention - something Jakob also covered recently.
Best practice was a great safety net for marketers when campaigns cost tens of thousands of pounds to execute due to physical print, production and distribution costs.
If sales plummeted, the marketer in question could point to a text book or previous campaign performance and the directors would settle back down again.
Publishing brands Penguin and Dorling Kindersley, both part of the Penguin Group, recently completed a project to relaunch their websites and improve interaction and navigation for users.
The revamp was pretty far reaching - the team took a user-centred approach, with extensive usability testing and planning, and found new ways to think about marketing books via the site.
The group is also set to launch new sites to increase its engagement with customers - one is a youth-oriented site called spinebreakers.co.uk, which is employing teenagers in its development.
Here, Penguin and DK's online development manager Jeanette Angell speaks about the reasons behind the project and the techniques it used.
James Balmain is the founder of Webtogs, a new outdoor equipment and clothing retailer that’s set to launch a shop and very professional looking site in the autumn.
We asked James, who has little previous retail experience, how the Webtogs team is coping with the various challenges of launching an e-commerce start-up, especially in a sector that’s not as web-savvy as others.
For any budding etail entrepreneurs, it's well worth a read...
Jakob Nielsen has released another eyetracking study that throws unethical advertising techniques into the spotlight. Only this time, it is from a publisher's perspective, and while interesting it's nothing particularly new.
The study investigates the effectiveness of 'making ads look like content', and concludes that more users will take notice of such an ad.
Just under 50% of online customers abandon their purchases during the checkout process - one of the biggest causes of lost revenue for online retailers.
While many of the reasons for this are beyond the control of the retailer, such as comparison shopping by users with no intent to buy, there is still much that can be done to reduce abandonment rates.