Highlights from the Channel Advisor Conference in Pinehurst, NC this week.
Opening keynote from Davis Ridley, retired Southwest SPV.
Key takeaway " Happy employees mean happy customers."
New Shopping engines were exhibiting: Major change in their models, they crawl merchants, so they have a complete product list vs. sites like Shopping.com, where many merchants have pulled any product under $25. Jellyfish, CPA model, and TheFind - crawl w/pay for top 2 premium placement are two I'll be checking out.
Notes from a very full day on Tuesday:
From Scott Wingo, CA CEO: Commerce Trends - Up to 75% of traffic comes through search, CSEs and Marketplaces.Your site may not matter as much as you think.
Google Checkout - Early results are at least 10% bump in CTR; (I'd love to know if there's a corresponding increase in sales).
Many retailers when they first work with them have an SKU to keyword ratio of less than 1, they generally try to get to 5 keywords per SKU.
MSN ADcenter - low volume - Vista may change.
14 CSE's with over 2mm unique, 2 that are growing are Become - 0 to 2 mm uniques and MeziMedia / Smarter.com - 0 to 6 million.
JellyFish- prices keep going lower till it sells out...ZeeDive is similar.
Ebay Express - slow start - slowing growth on Ebay.
CA - Ecommerce Connectors - to different platforms - one button Ebay to Google Base...
I was on the search panel. Main points were that brand terms drive huge volumes, but at the same time, long tail terms, managed well, can provide substantial gains for a campaign.
View from WallStreet - Fascinating panel.
Justin Post, Merill Lynch - 20% growth, 3 big opportunities, growth of search, user generated content, and payment services
Anthony Noto, Goldman Sachs- very important to have a unique selection. Google 50% growth, Yahoo 20% growth. Search queries growth slowing, will only grow 10-15%
ROI best on search
Anthony - Shopzilla slowing, must be a technology - inability to arbitrage issue
If you don't own the inventory, you can't set the price.
He wouldn't partner with Amazon, they can see what turns quickly, they can ultimately cherry pick and buy themselves. Eg, toyRUs, they know what sells, what doesn't sell.
Ebay conversion rates growing, not new listings growing.
Brian Smith - Comparison Engines - Significant work on the part of the engines to be done. Huge landscape. He's very skeptical of Google Checkout for large merchants; two years out Google may own the customer relationships.
Shopping.com - Trent Scoffield was very dismissive. Participate if you want, or don't, essentially we don't care. Almost seemed like he'd hit his threshold, and acted like a man leaving the company.
Overstock.com - 60% of sales are from partners. They're agnostic. 3rd parties know more than buyers who are spread thin, they partnered with Channel Advisor, you can be on their site. Fees are negotiable, depending on category; you'll need to include an Overstock packing slip, but you can use your boxes. Looking forward to working with the community, major areas are apparel and sporting goods.
Common issue I heard was figuring out who gets credit for a sale. No one has cracked how online drives traffic to physical stores; with catalogs, it's usually either a measurement of if someone is new to file and/or catalog gets credit for a 60 day period. Usually depends on the orientation of the company.