|Tue June 16 2009 22:50:36|
Recap of Small Retailers Track at Internet Retailer
By: Ina Steiner
The Small Retailers track at the Internet Retailer conference was a great day of interesting sessions. (My writeup of this morning's keynote address with Overstock.com Patrick Byrne is appearing in the AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter.) Here are a few highlights of the day's presentations.
Adele Sage of Forrester Research talked about the importance of web analytics. She said it may sound counterintuitive, but it's best to eliminate unused content - the only caveat is to be sure that shoppers aren't just missing the content because they can't find it rather than because they don't find it useful. And retailers should streamline the "end-of-purchase funnel" - for example, if you make shoppers register, you may lose 23% of shoppers who don't want to go through the registration process.
Interestingly, Au-Co Mai, who founded jewelry site Emitations, said loyal customers do want to register so they can specify shipping preferences and the like. She has created a gift registry, wish list and a loyalty program.
Joel Lederhause of DiscountRamps.com talked about negotiating with vendors. He said don't get stuck on negotiating solely on price - there are lots of areas you can get vendors to nudge on, like terms, leasing versus owning, service and maintenance agreements and more. Most importantly: if you don't ask, you won't get it. He said in today's economic climate, vendors are expecting you to negotiate!
While the conference hashtag was #IRCE for Twitterers, we used a hashtag for the Small Retailers track of #IRCESR. If you go to http://search.twitter.com and search for #IRCESR you can see some of the attendees' comments. If you are ever putting on a meeting, it's a great way to add an extra dimension.
GolfBalls.com co-founder Tom Cox explained in a session on social networking that his employees created a parody site, http://www.golfballwow.com - but he said there were real costs that went into making the site, but no measurable benefits other than making the site more fun.
There were sessions on search marketing, email segmentation, product fulfillment, and a great session from Hangers.com on finding and building a niche.
After a full day of sessions, I headed to the Internet Retailer conference dinner sponsored by Alibaba. I was delighted to meet one of Alibaba.com's founders, Jane Jiang. She had been one of Jack Ma's English students - if you don't know the history behind the company, there's a book called Alibaba that is an interesting read.
Tomorrow I'll be headed back to the exhibit hall floor and also hope to talk to more retailers about how they are faring in these economic times.