Posts Tagged blog

E-Mail Commerce: An Old School Beast

Look at this.

Source: Forrester

Not only is e-commerce growing – projected to hit almost $300 billion by 2015 – it is growing as a percentage of overall retail.

How? The easy and obvious answer is that people are finding shopping online easier and more convenient than going to the store.

The same analyst firm that projected this growth also did a study recently (with my current employer GSI Commerce) looking at holiday 2010 shopping data from 15 online retailers representing about $1 billion in gross merchandise sales.

One of the primary takeaways is that email and search remain the most influential channel to moving shoppers from browsing to buying.  Yes, you read that right – old school e-mail can still bring it.

Source: Forrester

That inflamed a huge tidal wave of boos from the Mashable and social media faithful (I consider myself both) – but when you really dig into the numbers, study and where we are as a social media using country it really makes sense.  Think about it.  Most people who are the breadwinners and decision makers on discretionary spending in the U.S. have been on e-mail for 15 to 20 years.   The early adopters of that group mayyyybe have been on social media networks for a 2-3 years.   When you factor in the difference in dynamics between these two mediums it really makes a lot of common sense why email is still more powerful in e-commerce than social.

E-mail is very private.  It’s a true 1:1 medium that we’ve been conditioned for most of our adult lives to keep to ourselves and guard with legal disclaimers like “this transmission is meant solely for the recipient and is confidential” blah, blah, blah.  Email has spent the greater part of the last generation becoming the closest thing to our digital identity or our virtual Social Security Number.  So, if a retailer can get to me there – odds are I’m primed to buy from them.

Social networks on the other hand are very public.  Every major social network’s product settings are defaulted to share everything you do on the network.  Most people rarely ever switch those settings to something other than that.  So, while finding and sharing good deals on underwear, vacations and massages is great fun.  It doesn’t seem likely that people like my father or middle aged buddies would show the world they’re buying these things.

This is my semi-professional opinion.  I live in e-commerce and make a living as a social media guy.  But kick my tires.  Walk across the building in your office and show a total stranger your Facebook wall.  Then hand the him your BlackBerry or iPhone and ask him to thumb through your email.

It’s this sense of intimacy with our emails that explains why Groupon and LivingSocial are growing so fast while true social networks like Facebook and Twitter are still finding their legs in e-commerce.  I get into cold sweat at just the idea of even my mother reading my emails.  Groupon and LivingSocial aren’t so much social commerce companies but at their core are email marketing geniuses that buy and sell local deals with the leverage of their members (that’s the social part) to push down prices for the individual consumer.

E-mail commerce.  Maybe it’s not a popular headline, but email still works and will likely remain a big part of that $300 billion market.  It’s no wonder why all favorite social networking sites update me on new features, product news and privacy updates on my email.  I still read them.

– Jose Mallabo

, , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

An e-commerce company going social

Since moving back to Philadelphia, I’ve only eaten one cheese steak.  Hard to believe.  But the day is young and Geno’s is always open.  I’ve been more focused on working to get my company’s social media strategy up and running.  And, yes, Hillary it does take a village.  Thankfully my village at GSI is full of talented people willing to take my lead on it — especially our own Web dev guy we like to call Kevin.  Holla.

Ironically, guess what social platform is most used by our clients and employees? Nope. It’s not Facebook. Not Twitter. @GSICommerce we are big time LinkedIn.

Soon we’ll be able to thread our blog through our company pages and other channels.

Blogs are dead. Long live the blog.

, , , , , ,

No Comments

A work rant

Occasionally I share some thoughts with my teams and colleagues.  This was an 11 item rant.  Why 11?  I was in a This is Spinal Tap kind of moment.

11 things in my head

  1. Media coverage is not a panacea. If it were, Monica Lewinsky would be president of the U.S. and BP would be company of the decade. I subscribe to the doctrine of agenda setting when it comes to media relations. The media doesn’t tell people what to think, it tells them what to think about.
  2. I’ve launched more than 100 products, announced more than 125 acquisitions, 50 partnerships and dozens of events across North America, Asia Pacific and Europe – two or three were memorable.
  3. The best PR campaigns are those that are experiential and drive activism at the grassroots or customer level.  Most of these can then elevate into media coverage.
  4. TiVo was the worst press launch I’ve ever worked on. It was 100% focused on the technology and never considered the lifestyle play. It remains my biggest learning lesson. HP’s “e-services” launch was the second worst project I was involved with.
  5. One of the brands I admire most for its resurgence is Lacoste. Once a brand for preppy suburban teens that died with the advent of hip-hop and grunge culture – now transcends both demographics and two generations of consumers while maintaining its niche appeal. I own no Lacoste clothing.
  6. Everyone in the company does PR and will tell you how to do your job — until there is a crisis or someone asks how to measure PR. The best PR people are prepared for both.
  7. My favorite quote is from the late great John Wooden: “Don’t mistake activity for achievement.”  It’s both a memorable sound bite and universally applicable for anything.
  8. I am frustrated by the fact that we agreed on what our number 1 priority is months ago and we’ve done a total of 2 tactics worldwide to address this in the first half of the year.
  9. Your biggest challenge as an in house PR person will always be staying focused. See #6 above.
  10. PR people train spokespeople on the fact that audiences remember very little about a message and are impacted mostly by the visuals and experience of the communication event – yet we spend most of our day-to-day time spinning on messaging.
  11. Occasionally I hear a PR person say something and I think, that’s bang on.  This is bang on – and Nick is one of the best PR people I know.


, , , , , , ,

1 Comment