Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Scot Wingo - nice quote

Nice quotes from Scot Wingo in the NYTimes article on Ebay. Of course, they refer to Channel Advisor as "the market research firm ChannelAdvisor", but if you're going to be quoted multiple times in the Times, that's got to fall into the "all publicity is good publicity" category.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

A tale of two conference sessions

I recently returned from Channel Advisor's Catalyst Conference. Two sessions stood out, one memorably bad, one memorably good.

First, the bad. Staying Ahead of the Pack – How to Evolve Your Brand in a Multi-Faceted Arena by: Chris Shimojima, Nike. Chris had been a CMO at three or four companies, so I was very curious to hear him speak. However, he may have violated one of the cardinal rules of speaking, "know your audience." From the people I talked to, most folks in attendance were merchants, at a different variety of sizes, ranging from basement operations to Internet Retailer 500. No one I talked to was doing much in the way of "brand advertising" and one of the nicest parts of the conference is the high ratio of merchants to vendors. The presentation could easily have been subtitled "We're Nike, and here are some things you should buy". It focused on their Nike Plus (running shoes + Ipod = mileage tracking) and their Nike ID product (unique, customized shoes). It tried to show how these products evolve community - but it was also clear that they had a huge budget for experimentation. And, there never was a message that tied into the audience, beyond "try, listen and learn", which was up on a slide for a minute.

Second, the good. Old School vs. New School – Defining the Life Cycle for a Successful Small Business. Scott Wingo, the CEO of Channel Advisor hosted. This was fantastic - it had different businesses talking about parts of the Internet Merchant lifecycle they'd gone through. There was a fascinating chart that Scott had, that showed the typical level of revenue at different sizes, and the different types of advertising that merchants were doing. It showed where paid search and comparison engines entered the mix. I talked to a number of people who loved the session, and felt it was very inspiring as they could see where it was possible to go.

Overall, the conference had a great mix of attendees, and useful sessions. Hopefully, next year they'll have additional sessions with merchants talking about the mechanics of their businesses.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Channel Advisor Conference

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, 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 / - 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. - 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. - 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.

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