New Product Launched: Time2Buy

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 17-10-2011-05-2008

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After over a year of testing and iterating we launched Time2Buy, new hosted conversion improvement software. Time2Buy is offered through Conversions On Demand, which is an Exclusive Concepts brand.

Please go here to read my official post on the Exclusive Concepts blog.

Time2Buy helps merchants convert more browsers into buyers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s tested and proven:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more

Quick and Easy Approach to Prioritizing Lists

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 07-09-2011-05-2008

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Step 1: Brainstorm a list

Example: A to-do list

Step 2: Rank each item on the list using a 1 to 5 scale using whole numbers (1 = lowest priority, 5 = highest priority)

Example: Rank the list above based on priority

Step 3: Sort the list, highest to lowest

Step 4: Identify items on the list that are ranked the same, and refine the ranking

Example: I have multiple items on my list ranked “4,” so one may be revised to 4.1, while another may be revised to 4.5.

Step 5: Re-sort the list

Step 6: Repeat Steps 4 and 5 continually, if/as needed

Tax Small Business To Keep Government From Shrinking?

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 27-06-2011-05-2008

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Last week the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, said that small businesses must be taxed more in order to keep government from shrinking.

He defended his comments by saying that only 3% of small businesses would see an increase in taxes, to which he was informed that those 3% created 64% of the new jobs in this country over the past 15 years. Further, the graph below from Heritage shows that 8% of small businesses pay 82% of all small business taxes.

This is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The United States government may be the nation’s single largest employer, but according to the SBA, small businesses:

- Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
- Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
- Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
- Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
- Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007.

Small businesses don’t have the political power that large enterprises do (including the Federal Government), but any policy that creates more impediments to small business success is sure to have a negative impact on the U.S. economy at large.

If the United States government needs to increase taxes on small businesses to finance its payroll, perhaps its payroll is too big. Politicians will essentially be shifting jobs away from the private sector in favor of the public sector. Given that private enterprise gets a greater return on the dollars it invests than the United States government does, it should be clear that policies like this one will hold back the economic recovery in the United States.

And now for a dose of rationality – Milton Friedman

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 05-06-2011-05-2008

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Growth Rate of U.S. E-Commerce Sales Hits 3-Year High

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 26-03-2011-05-2008

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According to data published on Census.gov, the growth rate of e-commerce sales in the U.S. hit a 3-year high in the fourth quarter of 2010 (seasonally adjusted). E-commerce sales in Q4 of 2010, compared to Q4 of 2009, were up 16.1%, the highest increase since Q4 of 2007 when year over year growth was 18.4%. The graph below shows year over year quarterly growth rates for each quarter since 2002.

Growth of Total U.S. Retail Sales versus E-Commerce
E-commerce sales have now grown by double-digits for 5 quarters in a row, following 6 quarters of low single-digit or negative growth in 2008 and 2009.

That’s good news for online retailers, but consider Amazon’s sales growth in 2010 of 40% compared to total e-commerce growth of less than half of that. Amazon has grown due to a number of shrewd strategic initiatives, like persuading its competitors to sell products through its marketplace, launching its own products like Kindle, and mastering the blocking and tackling necessary to outrank and outperform competitors (like conversion optimization, site performance optimization, content optimization, and achieving vast operational efficiencies).

The rising tide will continue to lift all boats in e-commerce, and I expect e-commerce as a whole to continue to grow at an accelerated pace. The long-term winners will be those who go beyond best-practices and recognize that innovation and creative thinking is well-rewarded in e-commerce.

Talking Entrepreneurship at Bentley University

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 16-10-2010-05-2008

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Given how much I dreaded what I perceived to be the slow pace of high school, the idea of spending 4 more years in “higher education” to get my Bachelor of Science was downright sickening. But I knew I would do it anyway because it was an important step in my growth.

So I searched, and I searched – in order to find a College that would allow me to thrive as an entrepreneur. Eventually I found Bentley, a small private business university outside of Boston in Massachusetts, and it was a great fit. I majored in Finance, built my business from my dorm room, and by the time I graduated I had a thriving company with an office in Burlington, Mass.

Going back to Bentley

Every year since graduating, i’ve been invited to return to Bentley by Professor Jeff Shuman (www.rhythmofbusiness.com), to talk to his MBA students about my path to entrepreneurship.

In my most recent visit (Monday of last week), I realized just how valuable these visits have been for me because they give me an opportunity each year to stop and reflect on my entrepreneurial journey. During this year’s reflection, I recalled how excited I was when I started the multiple businesses that created the foundation for my company. The sky was the limit, and creativity, hard-work, and honesty were the only mandates I created for myself.

When I polled the students in attendance to see how many of them planned to join the entrepreneurial journey, either by starting a company, or by joining a smaller company early in its lifecycle (like mine!), 75% of those in attendance raised their hands. I’ve done similar polling in the past and only a handful of students raised their hands. This really fired me up. I wish I had the time to sit down with each one of them to start business planning.

Alignment of Values and Reality

As I left Bentley on Monday I thought that I should pinch myself because every time I walk into my office, I have the opportunity to be surrounded by people who are creative, hard-working, honest, and entrepreneurial in spirit… From our internal team… to our clients. Those are things I learned to value very highly in high school, and today, they are my reality. It was good to know that my values and my reality are in alignment.

I would highly recommend that everyone find time each year to do their own values/realities check-in.

Nordstroms.com gets a redesign… and I am scratching my head.

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 30-08-2010-05-2008

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We’ve done enough conversion testing for me to know that shoppers often behave in unpredictable ways. And yes, I have seen my fair share of “odd” websites that produce astonishingly strong conversion rates…

But the newly redesigned Nordstroms.com really leaves me scratching my head. This does not appear to be a website that has been properly optimized to increase conversion rates or search engine rankings.

For example, the homepage does very little to engage shoppers. No value propositions are offered, and the navigation options are very limited. I support the notion that “simple sells,” but I have a hard time believing that the current homepage benefitted from rigourous conversion testing and analysis prior to its launch.

Here’s another example: Search Google for Jimmy Choo Nordstroms. This is a likely search by a shopper who wants to purchase Jimmy Choos, who likes to shop at Nordstroms. The first result brings you to a product page for one of many Jimmy Choo products, and offers you no intuitive navigation path should you want to look at OTHER Jimmy Choo products:

The category pages are similarly confusing. Let’s say a woman shopper wants to purchase some shoes. They click on “Women” from the Departments tab, and they come to the following page.

If they want to purchase shoes, they will have to do some major sleuthing to find the appropriate link to click. Many shoppers will eventually figure out that by putting their mouse over “Women” in the top left, they will find the option to shop for shoes. But how many shoppers will be lost in the process?

At this point in the evolution of e-commerce i’d like to think that all serious retailers utilize conversion testing for their sites. While it is possible that the new Nordstroms.com has gone through extensive conversion testing prior to its complete launch – I am very skeptical.

I don’t want this post to be all negative. In my personal experience I have known Nordstroms.com to be a solid company that stands behind their products. In addition, I appreciate the fact that they took some risks on their new design. Who knows, the approach they’ve taken may turn out to be wildly successful, and if so, I hope they will publish a case study!

Article on Practical ECommerce…

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 30-08-2010-05-2008

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Each month I will be working with members of the Exclusive Concepts PPC Management team to construct an article for Practical E Commerce.

This month’s article just went live, check it out here:

Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Six Metrics that Drive Performance

Check out my recent Exclusive Concepts blog post…

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 26-07-2010-05-2008

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Title: Christmas in July? Pleeaaazzzeee…

Why Read It: 5 “Should Haves” you (online retailers) might tell yourself when UPS and FedEx pick-up your last holiday shipment later this year

View it here

A Golden Bundle of Joy…

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Misc | Posted on 19-07-2010-05-2008

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Meet Stella!