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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Sync with Google Base

Pixallent released their latest Shopify addon Synctobase.

We’ve built is a little, hosted Ruby on Rails app which uses the Shopify API to sync your products with Google Base. All you need to do is signup for a basesync account and the rest is automated. We check for any changes to your Shopify inventory (add, edit or delete) on a daily basis, then inject them to Google Base. The best part is that it’s completely FREE!

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, they also built Fetch to allow Shopify users to sell digital goods and have them automatically delivered.

Pixallent sure does put their early access to the Shopify API to good use :-)

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Spare Change, 04/01/08 edition

Welcome to the latest version of Spare Change, the rebranded “ecommerce roundup”. As usual, here’s where I bring you all the latest interesting ecommerce news on the vast Web.

Tech News World has posted an article on E-Marketing: Cashing In on MeCommerce. They see “a mashup between ecommerce and social networks as the Holy Grail for members, advertisers and social networks.

“The demographics of the social networks are changing; the relationships between the members are changing; and thus, the applications from the developer communities on social networks are changing. New breeds of social networking widgets are giving social network members the opportunity to instantly participate in ecommerce without the headaches of back-end fulfillment such as payment processing, fulfillment and customer service. People naturally seek out products and make buying decisions based on recommendations from their friends, not necessarily from third-party banner ads and advertising placements. The ability to create a fully ecommerce-enabled site for total transaction management, all without any involvement from the user’s perspective, is a new way to conduct ecommerce. It’s more like MeCommerce, from me to you, with a plethora of vendors’ products to recommend on your social networking profile.” Read the rest at Tech News World.

Credit Crunch is a Boost for ecommerce, according to Simon Crisp, director of Shopsafe.co.uk, who notes that consumers are “increasingly searching for bargains online in a climate of restrictive lending conditions.” Consumers are “looking to squeeze every penny out of their budget”, and ecommerce vendors are responding with discount codes and vouchers “that cut prices by ten or 15 per cent, he explains, noting the importance of such strategies as funding conditions grow increasingly stringent.”

HeroTurko.net has come up with a list of "20 of the best ecommerce websites". They list their picks for “well designed, standards-compliant Ecommerce stores. These are a tricky site to get right and design can give way to conversions, which is after all, the reason they are there – to make money.” What do you think of their picks?

Finally, ecommerce guide has published a very valuable guide for this time of year: a Guide to Making Online Sales Tax Compliance Less Taxing. For those of you in the USA, this may be an exceptionally useful – and well timed – article.

Got any recommendations for Spare Change? Email me at shannon at jadedpixel dot com!

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