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The Expanding World of Online Video March 2010

Posted on April 5, 2010 by Josh Mc

By far one of the most interesting innovations that is happening in online video is the invention of clickable video. Many companies are quickly adopting this as the next frontier for engaging with customers and convincing them to make a purchasing decision. Watch the video from below to learn more about how it can help your company’s conversions.

    • For anyone who is uploading videos to YouTube, Drew Hubbard’s article on the Five Keys For Creating Viral YouTube Titles is a must read. This article dives into the different tactics you can use to optimize your title and description for the best viral results. I personally liked the idea of using the word video in the title. It makes sense to include this as often when people search for videos they are adding video to their search query.



    • Flimp posted a case study where they worked with the United Way to create a video email invitation to an upcoming event. The event had record attendance and raised over $400,000.00 for the charitable organization due to the success of the digital invitation.





The Expanding World of Online Video January 2010

Posted on February 2, 2010 by Josh Mc

It’s that time again where we review what happened this past month in online video!

Embedded Videos on Product Detail Pages

First off Get Elastic wrote a great post on whether or not to use YouTube embedded videos on product detail pages. Embedding a video is using YouTube's HTML code to put a video on your web page. A pro to doing this is that YouTube hosts the video for your company for free, and has a huge built in base of people already watching videos on that may also stumble onto yours. A con would be that they can run ads on the bottom of the videos, or provide related videos for the customer to watch, which can lead the customer off of your site. Bottom line, it is great for up and coming companies as it can save the hefty hosting costs, but having your video hosted by YouTube gives the customer many outlets to stop buying, leave your website, and easily get distracted.  For instance, you may be hard pressed to keep the attention of your audience if paired with the video of the world’s largest gummy bear (its five pounds).

YouTube Gummy Bear Video

Utilizing Video in 2010

Mashable posted an interesting article on the top five tips for utilizing video in 2010. They offer some great ideas and data on video for eCommerce. One of my personal favorites is the "Help Customers Get More Value Out of Your Product." This tip is interesting because so many companies focus on creating video showcasing the product, but Mashable suggests that you should also create a video on how to use the product. By doing this you can not only be helpful to the customer, but start to develop loyalty to your brand by providing help that gives the customer a reason to come back.  Their end quote is perfect, “Your customers want video, so give it to them!”

Optimizing Video for Conversions

ReelSeo helps you with “10 Things To Test When Optimizing Video For Conversions”. This article helps you with all of the pitfalls you will face when starting to add product videos. Some of the highlights are call to action, length, music and first impressions.

Mashable's Most Viral Videos of 2009

Lastly, check out Mashables 10 most innovative viral video ads of 2009 for a couple laughs, and countless ideas on how you can harness the raw power of viral video in your marketing campaigns in 2010.

Did I miss any video articles you liked this month?


Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of December 4th, 2009

Posted on December 4, 2009 by Vanessa
  • Cyber Monday outperformed Black Friday in online retail sales this year.  This may not have been true for other internet retailers in the past but this was something that we expected and have seen before.  It’s not surprising that “shoppers bought 10% more items per order online” when the online shopping experience is not only convenient, inexpensive, and comfortable.  Not to mention online shoppers don’t have to worry about getting in fist fights over the great deals to be had!

  • Forbes Woman recommended Thirty Women Entrepreneurs To Follow On Twitter.  The list is well rounded; here are a few of my favorites:                                                                                                                                                                                    
    • @BrandYou: Cindy Ratzlaff is a marketing strategist who tweets about how to create buzz for your brand. 9,419 followers.
      @Bernadeen: Bernadeen McLeod is a business coach who tweets small business tips, articles and resources. 3,116 followers.
      @KairaRouda: Kaira is an award winning author who tweets about how to build a unique and genuine brand. 4,510 followers.
      @NikkiPilkington: Nikki owns an Internet marketing company and tweets about search engine optimization. 8,884 followers.

  • CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt wrote a piece opposite the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, calling for the Journal and other newspapers to take responsibility for their own failures.  It’s surprising that the article was printed considering that the article was directed at Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Wall Street Journal, who has openly accused Google of stealing his content.  Here’s some of what Schmidt had to say:

“With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google, whom many executives view as getting all the benefit from the business relationship without giving much in return. The facts, I believe, suggest otherwise.

Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free. In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper's Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.

The claim that we're making big profits on the back of newspapers also misrepresents the reality. In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products. Someone types in digital camera and gets ads for digital cameras. A typical news search—for Afghanistan, say—may generate few if any ads. The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue."

  • Yahoo! has posted their Year in Review, and with that the Top Mobile Searches of 2009.  Topping the list was Transformers starlet Megan Fox.

  • Voting for the Top 100 online marketers of 2009 is open until December 13, 2009.  Plenty of the names on the list should look familiar so it may not be easy to cast your vote…

Kohler is arguably one of the most innovative brands in the home improvement industry. The new Karbon faucet has completely transformed the kitchen and more specifically revolutionized the kitchen faucet. Meanwhile Kohler seems to effortlessly create bathroom fixtures that are not only sleek but save water, like the Escale toilet.

Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of September 25th, 2009

Posted on September 25, 2009 by Vanessa
  • With the $100 million in funds that Twitter is reported to be receiving in venture capital funds the company’s valuation has nearly quadrupled this year to an astonishing $1 billion.

  • The Harvard Business Review has put together five rules that have decoded what it truly means to identify leadership.  Their research concluded that 60-70% of effective leaders share these common traits:

-Rule 1: Shape the future.
-Rule 2: Make things happen.
-Rule 3: Engage today's talent.
-Rule 4: Build the next generation.
-Rule 5: Invest in yourself.

  • Interested in what’s going on with one of the most exclusive online shopping clubs? interviewed Susan Lyne, CEO of the Gilt Groupe, who reveals their 104 job openings, plans for the future and more.

  • Getting Retweeted is scientific.

  • Can your search share help your customers?

  • Since this article came out Lisa Barone has had to defend her position, on Seth Godin’s Brands in Public release.  The crappy thing is I think most people agree with her it’s just no one has ever said anything bad about Seth Godin before.  Someone had to call him out on this and her points are all valid.  Yet when you are Seth you are going to have a faithful following regardless of what you do or how you do it.  If people didn’t call others out just because of previous reputations than where would we be giving former President Jimmy Carter the time of day?  Asking Milli Vanilli for singing lessons?


Kohler is arguably one of the most innovative brands in the home improvement industry. The new Karbon faucet has completely transformed the kitchen and more specifically revolutionized the kitchen faucet. Meanwhile Kohler seems to effortlessly create bathroom fixtures that are not only sleek but save water, like the Escale toilet.

Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of April 24th, 2009

Posted on April 24, 2009 by Vanessa
  • eBay is scheduled to make quite a few changes this Spring.  Scot Wingo of ChannelAdvisor has prepared a White Paper on the changes for those of you still selling on eBay.

  • Chris Barr highlights the importance of consumer trust.

  • Rachel Hirsch reviews a recent eMarketer report and explains why men and women aren’t created equal, especially when marketing to each gender.

  • SKTool, Google’s new search based keyword tool, was reviewed by Practical eCommerce and the assessment looks positive.

  • Search Engine Land’s Just Behave column reminds us merchants that consumers are “more than skin and bones with credit cards”.

Kohler is arguably one of the most innovative brands in the home improvement industry. The new Karbon faucet has completely transformed the kitchen and more specifically revolutionized the kitchen faucet. Meanwhile Kohler seems to effortlessly create bathroom fixtures that are not only sleek but save water, like the Escale toilet.

Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of January 2nd, 2009

Posted on December 31, 2008 by Vanessa

Happy New Year all!  I am out for the rest of the week so the variety is early.  There are some new posts that I wanted to share, but in addition to that let’s take a look at some of our favorite posts, top stories, and some of the biggest developments in the industry from 2008.

  • Google Product Search up 786% in the category of shopping search.
  • The Silicon Alley Insider reports on Digg’s revenue losses and why ad targeting, or the lack there of, could be a major factor in these losses.
  • Have your 2009 wish list ready for Google?  I know Zach does and Matt Cutts’ parents do, but submissions are coming in fast so add yours soon.
  • Jennifer Laycock released her second installment of “Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy”, but I recommend starting from her first post on the subject.
  • A legend about the inventor of chess may provide insight into internet retail growth.


2008 In Review

Internet Retailer released their top 10 stories from 2008, here they are in ascending order:


I know this couldn't possibly be everything, which events in 2008 were most memorable to you?


The User Experience: Do Current Shoppers Take Precedence Over New Visitors?

Posted on December 3, 2008 by Zach

While performing a little research I came across something which both amazed and shocked me. Apparently there is at least one internet retailer out there who can afford to turn away customers in an effort to provide a better user experience for those already on their website. It’s very red carpet. Like a bouncer in front of a gated entrance, with clipboard in hand referencing a list that you may or may not have gotten on.  I am talking about Macy's site governor (pictured below).  The feature keeps new visitors to the website at a temporary holding page until current users finish what they are doing and leave the website. Apparently they have some kind of user or performance based cap that kicks into effect to control the traffic and/or load time on their other pages. I am not sure if they simply don't have the capacity to handle all of the traffic they would normally receive or if there are other reasons to throttle users on their website but I found the solution both annoying and frustrating. If I was a “normal user” I would simply go to another website to find what I was looking for (who has time to wait around?). Since I was interested in this practice I held on to see when I would be let in. After waiting more than 10 minutes I was finally let in and forwarded to the normal Macy's homepage and was able to continue with normal use of the website.

While I am not sure what the reasons or results of such a feature on an eCommerce website might be, I also can't imagine what it might do for their bottom line and conversion rate. I started thinking about it, but was unable to test if the feature restricts visitors to non homepage pages, users from paid marketing channels, organic traffic or just direct traffic like myself? Regardless, it’s hard for me to grasp why an eCommerce website would enable a feature which deliberately turns away shoppers?  Comments are welcomed and encouraged, I would love to hear what others have to say about the subject.

Macy's Site Governor



Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of September 12th, 2008

Posted on September 12, 2008 by Vanessa

Here's my picks for the week:

  • This is a great little piece if you want a laugh.  The media can make anything seem scary, now stories like this want to convince us that online shopping can be dangerous to our pocketbooks.  I think it’s funny that they worded the story in a way that reflects online shopping to be risky because you may not remember it the next day.  Hello!  The reason why these people are waking up and realizing they spent $700 the night before and don’t remember it, isn’t because of the availability to shop for the items online, it’s the overkill of vodka-tonics and wine.  Bottom-line friends: Don’t drink and shop online.
  • Looking at the competition can be crucial to the success of a business.  This week two stories came out about two direct competitors, two competitors that I have viewed as equals in their respective niche, Channel Intelligence and Channel Advisor.  Channel Intelligence announced an influx of new hires, while sadly Channel Advisor was scrutinized for layoffs.  Both companies are known for their data management technologies, but it should be interesting to see if both companies are seen as equals in the future. 
  • Google News snafu leads to airline stock plunge 
  • Linda Bustos gives her take on the new book Always Be Testing.   I was glad to see it as I have been anticipating the book since! 
  • Last week I debuted one of the new Microsoft commercials that feature Jerry Seinfeld.  I wanted to add that his salary for this campaign has been published, and it’s estimated at $10 million.
    Here is the newest commercial where they admit that they are disconnected from the average person.



I Stand Corrected: Blogging is More Than Random Thoughts and Voyeurs

Posted on September 11, 2008 by Jeff

Several months ago, we, the staff of Gordian Project, set out to author a blog. Not that all of us immediately found the prospect as inviting as others, but we generally engage a team spirit; thus the eCommerce and Entrepreneurship Blog.

I understood the blog’s driving purpose to be sharing our personal experiences within our given area of discipline as it relates to all things eCommerce. After several months of participation, I thought I would review our blog.

Caveat: I’d never read a blog going into this project, nor had I any desire to. The actual thought of sitting around reading peoples random thoughts makes me feel a bit voyeuristic. After reading Wikipedia’s definition of voyeuristic, it certainly isn’t that. Still, to this day, I’ve had no desire to read blogs other than for the purpose of this review.

I’m not sure it counts as “reading” but the one key area I check out on our blog each month is the Authors section of the home page. The key here is to identify how many posts I have in relation to other staff. I’m not sure what about life turns everything into a competition. This post will launch me forward to eight posts, however, I know I’ve written a couple that haven’t yet made it past the cutting room floor so this number isn’t hard and fast. But going with eight puts me in a respectable position.

Vanessa’s an over achiever at 40, but in all fairness she administrates the blog. I doubt any of her posts have hit the cutting room floor. If light reading and interesting tidbits is your thing, Vanessa’s Variety for the Week delivers. She shares what’s going on around other blog spaces, here at the office, and perhaps her life more than any other contributor.

Matt is our Development Manager. We’re among the elders of the office so I’ve truly appreciated our friendship. I don’t read his posts. I don’t understand what he does beyond the fact that I know he can fix or improve just about any internal process. Any time I walk past his desk he has a monitor filled with gibberish. I simply figure I won’t understand his posts either. Nice picture of his son in his most recent post though.

You might also notice Zach has 11 posts as of today. I’d read his if you only have a few minutes each day. Scanning through his titles, (that counts as reading I don’t care what anyone says) I find his posts most on topic: They include Website Improvements: Test Basic Usability Before Advancing, Google Sitelinks: Capturing My Proverbial Moby Dick, and Google Search Engine Results Pages Illustrated.

As a partner of Gordian Project I have to say bang up job Brian! I particularly enjoyed your Soft Economy Priorities? Time to Paint Your Parking Spaces; that’s leadership.

I’d like to thank Josh for his most recent post, The iPhone 3G Saved My Life. It truly inspired me to write this post. All this time I’d banged my head against the desk trying to come up with another post showcasing the thrilling world of Supply Chain, when all I needed was an iPhone post. Below, the desk I bang my head on as taken with my iPhone.

Jeff's Desk Taken with iPhone

Over time, you’ll notice that Elizabeth stopped contributing as often. I have mixed emotions on this one. Elizabeth so desired to be a mother and now she is enjoying that gift with her daughter, Kara, as a stay at home mom. Congratulations Liz! However, Elizabeth also worked in Supply Chain and guess what that means, I’ve had to cover Supply Chain blogging without her. Thanks Liz!

I’ve actually loved reading Ellen’s posts for the first time as I prepared for this post. Ellen has taken the reins of a department that everyone loves to hate, HR. She sifts through all the big issues like food programs and political sensitivity. What a fun department to be in. Blog post ideas just shoot across Ellen’s desk, I’m sure. Ellen also manages Accounts Payable but I’ve yet to see a post with any real hard numbers.

Ryan takes his job seriously. He’s building a career, a future. He’s a smart guy who understands this isn’t just a 9 to 5 but an opportunity for him to build a foundation for his future. He’s always learning and looking for how to add value to the company. His posts are read as a “Where’s Ryan?” I just hope he’s not building his resume based on Ryan’s Randomness for the Week of June 20th, 2008.

Tim, as partner, bang up job! Please don’t break your run on providing an image in every post. No one does it better than you.

Our blog was launched just prior to Simon’s moving on to launch his own business. Nice work getting in a post you can use as a business cardSmile.

Before you jump to any conclusions about why Emily posted her first and, to this day, last post May 19th 2008, I dare you to read it (Dealing with Difficult Customers: Best Practices for Addressing Customer Complaints). She is right now over there fighting the good fight. Without her and her team keeping those customers happy there’s no need for this eCommerce and Entrepreneurship blog.

And finally I’d like to say welcome to Arianna. She brings so much to the table: customer service experience, multilingual, eye for detail and now she’s a vital part of Supply Chain. FYI Arianna…I’m going to need at least one post a monthSmile.

So those are my “collective of experiences, thoughts, processes and updates from people that are not only actively working in ecommerce but are also zealous about the industry.”

Identifying and Labeling Inventory at the Product Level

Posted on August 21, 2008 by Jeff

A recent supplier addition provided a strong reminder that the definition of A, B, and C products aren’t always the same from one shipper to the next.

Driving Sales and Meeting Expectations

Generally, and this is what got us in trouble in the first place, manufacturer’s class each unique model number based on some understanding of performance, and the market’s demand for that particular model number. The manufacturer experiences this demand as turns, or total number of units sold in a given period of time.

When adding new product lines, it’s important to clearly communicate reasonable delivery expectations to a potential customer. These expectations can be communicated in a number of ways; in stock, out of stock, quantity on hand, or with lead times to name a few. Customers are then free to make their buying decisions based on their specific project deadlines.

It can be difficult to balance driving sales with communicating availability, especially if the product has an unfavorable lead time.  Don’t shy away from this kind of proactive communication solely for the purpose of increasing sales. Communicated or not, note that every customer has some set expectation for what they consider a reasonable delivery time. Right or wrong if you’re unable to meet this expectation the sale will likely result in a cancellation and likely the subsequent incurred transaction fees. Nothing is gained but a poor customer experience. Framing a customer’s expectation of a reasonable delivery time with availability information serves to curb a potentially out of control cancellation rate.

The A's, B's and C's of Product Classification

As part of a recent supplier addition, we built our availability logic around the suppliers communicated A, B, and C classifications. At the heart of our logic was this understanding that an “A” product should experience greater turns and therefore be stocked accordingly; subsequently “B’s” then “C’s”. In less than four weeks a high cancellation rate was raising its head. In an attempt to positively impact our cancellation rate, a meeting was calendared to sit down with our supplier’s purchasing department. It was quickly pinpointed that a far more complicated definition of A, B, and C was at play. Things such as anticipated turns and current marketing efforts were skewing the historical data from which their classifications were determined. Stocking hadn’t necessarily caught up to these classification efforts.

It was apparent that a more real-time solution needed to be established for determining unallocated on hand as well as next anticipated unallocated delivery dates. Building availability logic around this data should prove accurate, translating into a more positive customer experience with a decreased cancellation rate.

A Couple Key Take Aways 

  • Consider communicating availability clearly pre-transaction for a better customer experience. 
  • When establishing a new supplier relationship, make sure you’re aware of the internal philosophies that establish classifications from which you’ll build your logic. 
  • Attempt to peal back a layer from classifications by seeking real time unallocated availability. 
  • Always keep an eye on reporting such as cancellation rates. Look for nuances that will help you bring efficiencies to your processes before a potential issue is out of control.