Spare Change, 04/22/08

Welcome to the Earth Day edition of Spare Change. And you, online merchants, can pat yourselves on the back this Earth Day: According to an article from Green Living Online, online shopping has a slight edge over shopping at storefronts, environmentally speaking. While shipping can be a concern, the reduced requirement for physical space for online stores, as well as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when consumers don’t get in their cars to go the mall, means that online shopping is a bit healthier for the planet. When you further consider that online shopping reduces the requirement for printed materials (if your entire inventory’s online, who needs signage, flyers, a catalogue?) ecommerce is definitely on the side of a planetary “win”. As far as Shopify goes, one of the steps we take to be planet-friendly includes lake source cooling at our data center, using water from lakes to cool the building, saving tons of carbon emissions each year.

In other news, an article on ashop commerce talks about Using Shopping Comparison Sites as a New Sales Channel. “Shopping comparison sites serve as a powerful tool to connect buyers with products. Additionally, these sites enable merchants to feed a list of their products and prices, which are displayed alongside similar products from other merchants when a buyer searches for an item online. For instance, if a buyer visits Digxa.com and types in “Cell Phones,” he’ll see various styles of Cell Phones from a variety of vendors—from major retail stores to smaller players. A buyer can easily compare products, prices, ratings, and shipping costs before settling for the best deal.”

One of the biggest challenges for the online vendor is the issue of the customer wanting to touch or try on or inspect a product – so far not possible online. Read about one company’s innovative approach – sort of a combination of ecommerce and Mary Kay parties.

InternetRetailer.com talks about the decline in growth of Google’s paid ad clicks and what it really means.

And finally… Shopify was in the news yesterday. “This system, designed using the dynamic Web language Ruby on Rails, is designed with simpler sites in mind.” Read more at the Globe and Mail. Great work, Shopify gang!

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Reminder: Submit your Web Design for ROI questions

Just a reminder to submit your questions for our Feature Interview with the co-author of Web Design for ROI, Lance Loveday.

As an added bonus, we’re giving away copies of this very useful book to two people who submit their questions by by tomorrow, April 22 via comment or email to shannon at jadedpixel dot com. Don’t miss your chance to ask an expert about what you can do to help turn your browsers into buyers.

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Spare Change, 04.16.08 edition

There it is, in your pockets, jingle jangle… the April 16 edition of Spare Change!

A new report from Shop.org and Forrester Research called The State of Retailing Online 2008: Marketing Report says that Online Sales are still set to climb despite the struggling economy. “From higher shipping costs to changes in consumer shopping habits, online retailers are not immune to the current economic climate,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org. “But the fact that online sales will increase substantially this year demonstrates the resilience of the channel and is a testament to the value and convenience most customers find when shopping online.” This summary touches on the two different kinds of shoppers that access the web; the most effective way to reach prospects, and the initiative that online retailers are most apt to use in 2008. The bad news: The full report costs $995. The good news: If you’re already a Forrester RoleView™ client you will be able to access the report as part of their subscription service starting on May 7, 2008.

Do you use e-mail marketing? Practical Ecommerce has some advice for you – make sure you ensure your list is up to date. It’s even a good idea to delete any addresses over a year old – find out why!

For the UK folk, there’s an interesting seminar coming up on ecommerce analytics: Pindar Graphics to host ecommerce analytics seminar. This seminar is designed to help online retailers understand the performance of ecommerce activities using Google Analytics, and will be held June 3 in London.

Just across the Irish Sea, the Irish Independent tells us that “online clothes shopping has become the cornerstone of the eCommerce revolution”. This article talks about the advantages – and disadvantages – of fashion shopping from the couch, and gives a few helpful hints to the consumer for making their online experience as satisfying as possible, including ways to help overcome the inability to try stuff on (know your measurements, since a 10 in one store is a 12 in the next!). It also has links to successful Irish stores, with tips on how they make the online shopping experience more attractive to female shoppers, such as net-a-porter.com: “I’ve often thought it would be wonderful if girls could flick through their favourite fashion magazine, instantly order whatever designer shoes or dress they fancy and have it arrive at their home beautifully wrapped. That’s exactly what this site does.”

Finally, don’t forget: We’ll be doing a feature interview with the author of Web Design for ROI and we want you to ask the questions. Submit them to us by Tuesday, April 22 and you could get a free copy of the book!

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Spare Change, 04/09/08 edition

Welcome to this edition of Spare Change, valuable information for your ecommerce world. In today’s post:

eMarketer.com has posted a comprehensive and thought-provoking article on The Growing Influence of Online Social Shoppers. Compiling the results of several studies including the Edelman Thought Barometer, the Jupiter Research “Social Networking Sites: Defining Advertising Opportunities in a Competitive Landscape” study and their own research, eMarketer asks “Who do consumers trust?” and finds the answer is increasingly, “each other.” Online social network users were “three times more likely to trust their peers’ opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions.”

Staying on the social media theme, hey, ecommerce store owner, do you have a blog? Are you wondering why you need one? Palmer Web Marketing lists 6 Reasons e-Tailers Need A Blog. This informative post helps reinforce the value of blogging for an e-store, from giving a voice to your company, to giving a voice to your customers, to even helping your search engine ranking. Check it out. Palmer has also posted a cool guest post from Linda Bustos from the GetElastic blog on Ways to Improve your International eCommerce Usability. As a Canadian who often browses American websites, I can attest that all of these tips are bang on.

Local exposure but global subject matter: there was a fantastic article in the Ottawa Citizen last week discussing an issue that you’re probably all familiar with: Shopping Cart Abandonment and what one Gatineau company, Sitebrand, is helping people do about it. Sitebrand followed up with an article on their Blog: Shipping Pains to Blame for online cart abandonment, which highlights one major reason why Canadians aren’t buying online in Canada: “When shipping becomes a pain point due to lousy check-out procedures, strict delivery options and exorbitant fees, the odds of cart abandonment increase.”. Read the whole article at Sitebrand. Is abandonment a big issue for you? What have you done to address it?

Finally, do you use PayPal? Have you ever had a customer dispute a payment? Then you should read Practical ecommerce’s short interview with Colin Rule, PayPal’s Director of Online Dispute Resolution. Or even join in on the lively debate that resulted.

Any comments, questions or backtalk? Leave a comment or email me at shannon at jadedpixel dot com!

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Moving Day

Good news: Shopify has a new PixelPlex!

Today seems very far from the days when the Shopify team used the local Bridgehead coffee shop as their virtual office. After several months of bribing the baristas to look the other way as they took up tables for hours on end, Scott, Tobi and Daniel moved into a charming office space in late 2005. The office was conveniently located on Elgin street in Ottawa, the right price, and perfect for three people – you can see the original “moving in” pictures here. And when jaded Pixel grew, the space was even perfect for four. Then five. But when we hit nine, well, things got a little tight:


Tobi and Cody at close quarters

A day wasn’t complete without blowing a fuse from using too much power, without pushing your chair back and knocking the person behind you over, or without having to make your phone calls in the hallway (much to our neighbours’ dismay!) We were bursting at the seams and definitely ready for a change. We’ve been searching for new office space for several months now and finally, as of yesterday, we’ve moved in! Our new digs are at 185 Rideau Street in Ottawa – right in the heart of the ByWard Market. Our new space is about four times the size of the old one, with lovely exposed stone walls, shiny polished concrete floors and best of all, plenty of room for everyone without having to trip over each other.



Chairs to distribute and desks to assemble


Working around the ladders


First things first – set up the TV


Wide open spaces til we get the new walls in

We’re still putting on the finishing touches – such as installing cool, funky Starwalls to create a boardroom and meeting room, finishing the light fixtures, getting some new furniture in and getting everyone settled into their new roomy spots. We’ll be uploading more photos to the Flickr stream as work progresses, so keep checking. Once we’re finished, we’ll definitely be celebrating and inviting everyone – so stay tuned for the details!

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