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Everything eCommerce

Friday, February 18, 2005

Don't Miss Out on Sales - Optimize for both Generic and Brand Specific Terms.

Are you maximing your site's search engine potenital. If you are optimizing for brand specific searches and ignoring more generic terms, you could be missing out on a large portion of traffic and sales.

A joint study by DoubleClick and comScore Networks suggests that many consumers conduct product-related searches weeks in advance of purchase and they prefer generic, non-branded, search terms.

According to the report, approximately 77 percent of keyword searches conducted by buyers across all four categories are generic, compared to 23 percent that are brand-only or a branded word plus another item.

Many online marketers measure search marketing campaign effectiveness based on clicks that lead to a purchase in the same session or within a few days of purchase.

However, the study finds most buyers complete their relevant search activity well in advance of the online purchase. In the travel category, 64.7 percent of buyers' final searches occurred at least two weeks before the purchase; 21.6 percent searched a week or more before buying; and 23.8 percent bought during the same session.

Try including more generic terms in your site's search engine optimization strategy and track the results.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A New Internet Explorer Is On the Way

We have been talking about the browser wars being renewed with the increasing market share of FireFox. Things are really heating up now that Bill Gates has announced the development of a new browser. Originally, the next version of Internet Explorer was supposed to come out with Microsoft's next OS "LongHorn". It appears that they have decided to speed up the release in order to shore up lost market share as well as gaping security and usability issues. We can only hope that the new browser is fully standards compliant, although I doubt that will be the case. If you are a site owner or designer, look to a new browser that your sites will need to be tested against.

Here's the official release, no mention of standards compliance or the addition of features like tabbed browsing that so many Mozilla, Opera and Firefox users have been enjoying for over a year.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MISFIT - news) will release a new version of Internet Explorer, the world's most popular Internet browsing software, with new, built-in security features, Chairman Bill Gates (news - web sites) said on Tuesday.

In a speech at a major security conference here, Gates said Internet Explorer 7.0, with new anti-spyware features, will be released for preliminary testing this summer.

The move comes three years after Microsoft, the world's biggest software company, launched a major initiative to improve the reliability and security of its software, which runs on about 90 percent of all personal computers.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Off topic - I have a Bunch of Gmail Invites for Everything eCommerce Readers.

I have a bunch of Gmail invites. If you are interested, just email joshualwood@gmail.com with a little note that you'd like an invite and I'll send one on its way.

Big update coming soon, check back in the next day or two.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Ford Sold Over 210,000 Cars Online in 2004

I ran across an interesting article today about FordDirect.com. That site is a partnership between Ford and its dealers that sells cars directly over the internet. In 2004, FordDirect sold over 210,000 cars via the web. I think this speeks volumes about the state of ecommerce and the acceptance of doing business online.

Here is the full article for your review.

Ford dealers sold 210,000 cars via the web last year, FordDirect reports Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers sold more than 210,000 vehicles from FordDirect Internet referrals last year, FordDirect reports, accounting for 9% of total Ford Division sales in 2004. FordDirect is a joint effort of Ford Motor Co. and its dealers to sell cars via the Internet. Formed in August 2000 with 15 dealers in New Jersey, it now represents over 3,900 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers nationwide.

FordDirect.co hosts more than 3.5 million monthly visitors and delivered to dealers more than 1.5 million referrals on new vehicles. FordDirect allows dealers to sell new and used vehicles online and track online customers. "The primary objective of FordDirect is to deliver quality sales opportunities by providing a superior online research experience for consumers of Ford Motor Co. vehicles," says president Steve St. Andre, who will be a speaker at the Internet Retailer 2005 Conference and Exhibition June 7 & 8 in Chicago. FordDirect also announced this weekend at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in New Orleans that it is rolling out a new technology platform, FordDirect 8.0, that will enhance customers’ ability to build vehicles without constraint and to compare inventory at participating dealers. "

The FordDirect web site is evolving toward providing consumers with a customized and personal online shopping experience," said St. Andre. "The first applications on our new platform will make building a vehicle and finding it in a dealer`s inventory a faster, more intuitive process.

The goal is to eventually customize the entire process based on a consumer`s needs and preferences." FordDirect’s new features include:

• Visual Build and Price – An interactive vehicle configurator that replaces the typical linear step-by-step process of most auto sites. Shoppers will be able to see how their choices look on the vehicle with an updated photo in real time.

• Fast-Filter Inventory Match - An inventory matching function that Ford says makes it easier for consumers to find the vehicle they are looking for in a dealer`s inventory. The customer will be able to evaluate vehicle attributes and make trade offs. The system will allow users to compare against both in-stock inventory and inventory that is en route to the dealership.

• Virtual Lot Search - Virtual Lot Search visually depicts a dealer`s inventory, similar to a bird`s eye view of the dealer`s lot. Consumers can indicate their requirements and filter through a dealer`s inventory. Consumers can also adjust their price range to view vehicles that fit their budget.

• Interactive Quick Quote - Consumers who simply want to contact a dealer immediately to get a price quote will have a visual, interactive quote page that will enable them to quickly contact a dealer and still have the opportunity to select options and view their selections. FordDirect 8.0 is the result of a partnership between FordDirect and software and services company Trilogy.

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