Saturday, August 02, 2008

eTail 08

I'm speaking at eTail 08 in DC next week. I'm excited about the show, the speaker lineup looks much improved from last year. Anyone attending and want to meet up?

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Final thoughts from eTail:

Dynamic speakers with a message are the ones that tend to get remembered. You don't have to be dynamic to get a great idea across, but it helps. Zappo's CEO talking about getting pizza restaurant locations from customer service, Bath & Body's marketing VP talking about meeting their customers are ideas that stuck.

The most valuable conversations were those with other retailers. The two best sessions for that were the card swap (aka, speed-dating for retailers) on Tuesday night, and some of the private gatherings organized by Bill Me Later.

Site search was a very hot topic, with more vendors than I would have expected exhibiting.

And, three organizational thoughts: Holding a conference's main session in a room without WiFi or cell phone connectivity is a bit counterproductive. Some forward thinking vendor could have hooked up a few WiFi repeaters to offer branded WiFi service and garnered a great deal of goodwill.

It's clear that sponsors paid for their sponsorship. Starting each day with six straight speakers, with many of them from those vendors, starts to make it appear that you really don't think much of the audience, or their ability to notice it. There's generally a balance that conferences try to strike, and this was pretty far off to one side.

Promoting a $5,000 giveaway, at maximum volume through the exhibit hall is a bit much. Requiring a randomly drawn attendee to hit two consecutive 45 foot putts, that sloped uphill at the end is silly, and makes the people promoting it look foolish.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

More notes from eTail yesterday: One of the compelling presentations was by Brian Beitler - VP, Bath and Body Works:
Multichannel customers are 3x the value of a single channel customer, not just self selected, value goes up 60 to 70% when someoneuses a 2nd channel.
Very important to know value of customers and communicate it...each address is worth $25 in sales, each eamil is $18.. Communicate to store staff.
When a sales associate "touches" a customers hand with a sample, conversion goes up to 65% from 30%.
Important to go out and view in realtime your customers, and what they're doing, and talk to them. He had a lot of great examples; even if you're online only, make sure you use your tools to do this.
Coincidentally, Marketing Sherpa has a post on how Bath and Body works improved their converstion rate on the site.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm attending the eTail conference in DC next week. I'm looking forward to seeing Steven Johnson, who wrote "Everything Bad Is Good For You". There's also a panel on affiliate relationships that looks like it should be excellent, with some good speakers, like John Lucey from Brookstone, and Veronica Katz-Smith from David's Bridal.

On the downside, apparently WBR, which puts on the show, has given vendors a list of attendees. This has resulted in dozens of phone calls and emails. The folks who manage to email me have clearly done some research (my contact info isn't that hard to find online), as many of the phone calls have asked for my email, indicating they hadn't gotten it on their list. Some of the outreach is genuinely interesting (we have an application to manage search marketing that saved 3 Fortune 500 retailers 13% in last Q4) or quirky (our CEO lives in Napa Valley, and if you come to our dinner, you'll enjoy a 93 point, Robert Parker rated wine that has been aging in his wine cellar).

There have been a few vendors, however, who have clearly hired an outbound telemarketing firm, with minimal knowledge of the product. The typical call of this variety has been along the lines of "Hi..I'm with Company Y, we provide Ecommerce Solutions... Do you use ecommerce solutions? [Why yes, yes we do. We run an online store. We've probably got one of those in the back room]. If you could just answer this list of questions, including some highly proprietary metrics, we'd be thrilled to have one of our salespeople prepare some information for you, to give you when you stop by the booth. I'd bet the response rate is pretty low on that tactic.

If I'm unavailable, several people have decided that if they can't get me on the phone, they'll leave their entire script on my voicemail, ensuring that even if I am interested, it's going to be inconvenient to get to the phone number.

I'll post next week on how the conference itself is :)

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