‘Online Stores’ Category

A Clever Viral Marketing Technique: “Fresh Balls”

January 4th, 2010

How would you like people to email your website link to everybody they know — for your site to go viral, as they say.

Think about it: Why do people forward links, pictures, videos, to their friends? How can you create a website or a marketing campaign that would lead people to hit the forward button? Jokes and sex are obvious examples. Check out the internet store link below. This link, with a clever video, has been popping up in inboxes:

http://freshballs.com/

Now, keep in mind: this is only one part of a campaign. You got them to your site. Then you have to convert them and convince then to buy. Does this sales pitch do it? It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s well produced, but will they buy it? We’re just asking. One downside to using humor, is that people don’t take your product seriously; you may not develop the trust necessary. Ultimately, there has to be a market for your product and those consumers have to be convinced — and trust — that your product is what they need (beer seems to be an exception). It’s one thing to get viral buzz; it’s another to convert.

A quick check of Alexa reports that “time on site (in minutes) peaked on Dec 21 at about four minutes. That doesn’t give much time to go through a shopping cart. Now “time on site” is down to two and a half minutes, which is roughly the length of the video.

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Book Review: “The 4-Hour Workweek: Expanded & Updated” by Timothy Ferriss

January 4th, 2010

We originally reviewed “The 4-Hour Work Week” here. As we said, the three chapters on “Income Autopilot” are probably among the best, concise step by step guides to building a successful, profitable, automated internet store. But this book is more than that — it’s how to reboot your life. Reading this book is like taking the red pill and discovering you have been living in The Matrix. It’s about escaping the rat race, yes, but — to use another movie metaphor — “You’re no longer part of the System. You’re above the System. Over it. Beyond it…. We are” the New Rich (NR), as Ferriss calls it. The author says: “How is it possible that all the people in the world need exactly eight hours to accomplish their work? It isn’t. Nine to five is arbitrary.” This and other “rules” are just so much software that has been plugged into our brains. Ferris teaches you DEAL (or DELA if you are currently employed), which stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation. The new expanded edition has over 100 pages of new content, including updated resources and more real word examples and suggestions from members of the NR.  It’s about how to use technology more effectively, but it’s also about making more effective decisions — i.e., applying the 80/20 rule to everything, ruthlessly. Topics include outsourcing, mini-retirements (rather than waiting until you’re older) and the concept of geoarbitrage. We recommend you take this red pill. Here’s the link to Amazon:  The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

(Reviewed by Rich Dog Millionaire.com)

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A Lesson From “The Twilight Zone”

January 1st, 2010

We were watching  “The Twilight Zone” marathon on Sify and saw the stopwatch episode (“A Kind of Stopwatch”) — where Patrick Thomas McNulty gets a most unusual stopwatch that can freeze time. What struck us was the scene — the black and white  office life of the early 1960s. All of the employees — each at his or her desk — each doing seemingly monotonous, repetitive tasks — only to be interrupted by the favor of a breakfast cart, with coffee and a coffee cake. The protagonist, McNulty, is the oddball — in a world where oddballs do not fit in. In his narration, Rod Serling calls McNulty “the biggest bore on Earth.” He fills the office suggestion box with all kinds of ideas — oddball ideas — that have no place in this world (but could perhaps be a fantastic product for an internet store, a half-century later). It’s like this episode is a parable (or fable) in which the stopwatch is the key to escaping this black and white world. Only the story was written by someone from this world, so the stopwatch becomes immoral (McNulty uses it to rob a bank).

But this is what really struck us: Human beings are still doing the same damn thing a half century later — the same habits, the same lifestyle patterns. Of course we have and use the our technology — the internet, email, etc  — but we use it in ways that essentially reinforce obsolete routines. For example, we all get in our cars to sit on the highway during rush hour, to go to and from offices — back and forth, nine to five. We spend hours at our desks and hours in meetings. When we should be harnassing our ideas and dreams, like so many McNultys, using current technology to build internet businesses instead of filling suggestion boxes.

(original content by Rich Dog Millionaire.com)

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Amazon Going Brick and Mortar?

December 6th, 2009

The Sunday Times  is reporting that Amazon is secretly looking for store locations in Britain. Amazon is denying the rumors. But one wonders if there is fire behind that smoke. It may be an attempt to go after the “click and collect” market — where consumers buy online and pick up in-store.

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Cyber Monday Sales May Hit Record

November 30th, 2009

Amazon and Wal-Mart.com are leading the pack to a record Cyber Monday

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Making Money with Porn iPhone Apps

November 30th, 2009

We’ve seen this before: porn is a launch-pad for making money with a new technology:

As reported on Huffington, a company called MIKandi has taken advantage of Apple’s ban on adult content on its iPhone app store and used it as an opportunity to build a profitable business:

As Phandroid notes, MiKandi is tapping into a potentially huge market opportunity:

“There is a reason that pornography leads the internet in traffic and revenue and with everybody going after the mobile web, it’s a wonder that some enterprising adult company didn’t pursue this earlier. ”

 

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Black Friday Counter-Intelligence

November 26th, 2009

Here’s a handy list of what retailers are doing this year. This would be good to put into your intelligence file, for your own internet store. Here’s a summary of the top five: (details at Iteya)

1. Amazon: Free Super Saving Shipping on $25+ orders

2. eBay: Up to 90% off retail for some items

3. Fingerhut: Low monthly payments and six special offers

4. Walmart: Big markdowns on certain products

5. Kmart: $5 off $50 purchase with code KMART5OFF50

Happy Thanksgiving

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Some Facts About Cyber Monday

November 22nd, 2009

Cyber Monday is, of course, the online shopping version or followup to Black Friday. Is Cyber Monday the busiest online shopping day of the year? No. According to Snopes, the busiest day for internet sales occurs around mid-December. Cyber Monday, meanwhile, has only been about the 12th busiest online shopping day. Cyber Monday is a relatively new invention, having been dreamed up as a promotional event by Shop.org in 2005.

It pays to be aware of how consumer shopping habits are evolving around Black Friday. There is now a “2-Day” sale that runs from Friday to Saturday. There are also “Pre-Black Friday” sales that run the four days leading up to Thanksgiving, often advertised in Sunday circulars. So there are many variations, and you can certainly come up with something that might work for your internet store. Here’s another fact to keep in mind, as reported by Snopes: consumers are going online Thanksgiving Day, to plot their strategy for the big day. Mass merchants incorporate their online operations into BF. Cyber Monday is now a secondary priority for the onlines ops of these retailers. They will still take advantage of the Cyber Monday opportunity — but BF and 2-Day are more important to them.

Should you do a Cyber Monday or Black Friday promotion for your site? It’s not an automatic yes but the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when retailers make most of their money. And don’t think you’re too late. While, the big brick and mortars plan for BF a year or more  in advance, we’ve heard from one source that at least one big retailer went into the weekend still making their online plans — ah, the power of digital.

If you want to see what’s going on, check out www.cybermonday.com. The site is run by shop.org, a community of over 700 digital retailers.

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Amazon Offering Up to 15% Commission on Black Friday Sale

November 20th, 2009

Amazon is reminding its Associates (aka affiliates) to link to its Black Friday deals and earn up to 15% . An important reminder: Don’t forget to take down the links after the sale ends.

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Warning: Bad Shipping Deal Can Kill Your Internet Store

November 20th, 2009

Here is a scary statistic as reported by USA Today: “More than 40% of people who abandoned their online shopping carts said they did so because of high shipping costs, according to a recent survey by the online payment company PayPal.” In other words, nearly half of all your customers — that you work to bring to your site, that you work to get a sale from — will dump you on the sole reason of the shipping charge. And that percentage is undoubtedly going to grow:

Increasingly — especially during the holiday period — consumers want free shipping, no strings attached. “While 25% of retailers offered no-strings free-shipping deals during the holidays five years ago, 57% say they’ll do so at some time this holiday season.”

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