Can brands — and now Etsy — compete with Amazon?

Amazon launching Handmade to compete with EtsyI am not an Etsy shopper but am pained nonetheless to hear that Amazon is launching Handmade — a marketplace that will compete directly with Etsy.

The truth is that I am conflicted about being pained. In my personal life — and I know this is true for many of my industry colleagues — I buy many things from Amazon.

In my professional (digital marketing) life, though, I prefer to buy from brands direct because I’ve seen Amazon assert itself as a category killer, which is not good for competition and causes lots of angst in the industry. This was a big topic at  IRCE15, same as it’s been in prior years. Continue reading

Beacons: Strong Offers will Drive Adoption

Beacons are coming for mobile marketingThere is much talk about beacons this holiday as another big department store, Lord & Taylor, officially announced that beacons will be rolled out in their retail locations in time for Holiday.

These are clearly early days for beacons, and it remains to be seen how effective they will be at driving sales in the fourth quarter.  The beacons enable offers to be pushed to shoppers while in the store. Continue reading

The Role of Non-Brand Text Ads in an Evolving SERP

Non-brand paid search text ads are decliningThe Google SERP now presents three types of formats when someone searches for a product:  Organic, PLAs, and Non-Brand Text Ads.  These same three options have existed for a few years, but the PLAs used to be buried below the fold and were called Product Search (and Froogle, a really long time ago).

All search marketers know that visibility drives volume, and with PLAs now showing at the top of the page and non-brand text pushed below the fold, clicks to the image-friendly PLAs have soared; whereas, clicks to non-brand text ads are on the decline.  Continue reading

Mobile Display: The Key Ingredients to Success

Mobile-first digital MarketingI truly love what’s new and emerging in digital marketing. I want to learn about it, evangelize it and get tests out in the market right away.

That said, my role as an advisor to brands for the past 12 years has required me to vet new digital prospects, separating the opportunity from the hype.  We need to know where to invest:  no matter how cool and interesting something sounds or seems, I have to consider how viable it might really be.

I like to think I have had more hits than misses when it comes to recognizing the hype.  Continue reading

10 Holiday Marketing Tips For Mobile

Mobile Marketing Tips for HolidayThrough the third quarter of 2012, 20% or more of retailers’ traffic and sales are now coming through mobile devices. Shoppers have discovered that smartphones in particular are a good tool to price comparison-shop while in physical stores.

With Black Friday approaching, people will soon be flocking to retail locations, and if the trend for showrooming holds up through the holiday, as it has done all year, it’s probable that traffic and sales from mobile devices will increase beyond 20% in the 4th quarter. Continue reading