May 14, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce

Information overload. The phrase barely scratches the surface when it comes to the mass quantities of data available for gathering. Take the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, for example. In 2000, when the star survey project first took off, the New Mexico telescope had collected more data in its first few weeks than had ever been collected in the history of astronomy. Since that time, it has accumulated more than 140 terabytes of information.

And if that’s not enough to blow your mind, according to the Economist, Chili’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is predicted to draw in that much data every five days. But it’s not just the great expanse that holds an infinite amount of information. Even the retail world has mind-boggling amounts of data to collect.

“Wal-Mart, a retail giant, handles more than 1m customer transactions every hour, feeding databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes—the equivalent of 167 times the books in America's Library of Congress,” reports the Economist.

Regardless of the size of the business or the amount of information it takes in, it’s essential for retailers to remember that collecting the data is just the beginning of the process. It becomes big data when each piece of information is analyzed, sized up and put into context.

In the video above, IBM expert Jeff Jonas explains why data matters. What it equates to for retailers is that when individual transactions (individual pieces of data) are placed into the bigger picture, so much can be learned about consumers and their shopping habits.

May 06, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
Conforming to the web standards that matter – W3C Despite the ongoing joke about Al Gore inventing the Internet, few actually know who did. And there’s really no excuse for it. After all, it’s been around for more than 20 years, becoming a ubiquitous part of life for more than 2 billion users.   So although Tim Berners-Lee, the brains behind the information highway, would probably appreciate a little more acclaim, he seems to be more interested in improving and enhancing the system that he built. That’s why he’s the...

May 02, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
4 tools for cross-browser testing Keeping an eCommerce website fresh and full of new information will tickle online shoppers’ curiosity and inspire them to check back often. So, when a company strategizes to develop new web pages or update pre-existing web pages, expectations are high – and rightfully so. Repeat visits are prone to becoming online purchases. But what happens when all of that hard work doesn’t reap the benefits of increased revenue? Better yet, why isn’t the new content producing the anticipated attention or sales?...

April 25, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
How to bounce back from high bounce rates There’s a big difference between simply sending out a newsletter and sending out a newsletter that employs best practices. The latter requires a lot of time and thoughtful planning while the former might not. The main differentiating factor is, of course, the success rate of each.   The benchmarks for a newsletter’s success vary from industry to industry, and the traction achieved is dependent on a variety of factors. Mail Chimp, one of the leaders in e-mail marketing, sends out billions...

April 22, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
10 stunning eCommerce facts The eCommerce landscape seems to be in a state of constant transformation. New technologies and trends emerge on a near daily basis – many of which are in response to the ever-changing ways that consumers shop. And staying agile in regard to their capricious ways is easier said than done. To find success in that endeavor, the following statistics may serve as a guiding light. To get the details on each, click on the percentage highlighted in each sentence.   1....

April 17, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
You asked and the eCommerce experts responded After our first NetSphere Strategies newsletter went out in March, we received a handful of questions in response to our invitation to “Ask an eCommerce Expert.” One of those inquiries, submitted by Rob S., immediately sparked our attention.   Q: Is there one specific tool that I can use to directly increase my online store's capabilities, conversion rates and sales?   A: Rob’s question is a good one. Not a day goes by that etailers aren’t constantly hit over the head with...

April 12, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
Cashing in with Dynamic Cache For anyone who’s ever stashed away a few chocolates or saved their pennies for a rainy day, they’ve created their very own cache. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a cache can be defined as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions or implements. In the tech world, web caching is incredibly similar. It’s a method for storing previously visited web pages to the server for quick retrieval. When website visitors hit the back button on a website that has enabled...

April 09, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
Learning online lessons from retail giant, H&M It’s not all that uncommon for a shopper to cruise past an intriguing storefront and think, “I’m going to check them out online when I get home.” In fact, those same consumers might just pull out their smartphone right then and there to bookmark the website. But what happens when they’re a block or two away – or at home later that evening – only to discover that the store doesn’t offer online shopping?   As you can imagine, there are...

April 04, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce

For anyone who’s noticed the dog-eared “view summary” paper icon located at the bottom of a tweet, you’ve probably wondered how it got there and why it only appears on some status updates. The same goes for the staggered “view image” icon.

As it turns out, the expandable content is what Twitter refers to as a card, an added-value feature that makes it possible for Twitter users to attach additional media to their tweets. To include a card on a status update, it’s necessary to add a few lines of HTML to the web pages where the original content can be found.

Twitter rolled out its cards in mid-2012, initially delivering summary and image offerings. This week, however, the social media giant revealed three new cards – one of which that will have a substantial impact for online retailers active on Twitter.

“The product card is a great way to better represent retail items on Twitter, and to drive sales,” explains the Twitter development site. “This Card type is designed to showcase your products via an image, a description, and allow you to highlight two other key details about your product.”

The video above walks users through the process of adding Twitter cards that will appear every time a tweet references some aspect of their website. Currently, however, Twitter doesn’t allow for just anyone to use the product portion of the service. Businesses and individuals will need to apply for the ability to do so. In the meantime, the video does a good job of explaining how to add meta tags to tap into the pre-existing portion, which will be similar to the functionality of the product cards when they become available system-wide.

April 02, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
Amazon market share shrinks amid emerging etail superstars Since its inception in 1994 and its web launch in 1995, Amazon has been an online retailing force to reckon with. It is, in fact, the world’s biggest online retailer. Year over year, its growth rates have been through the digital roof. But despite nearly two decades of streamlining and perfecting its operations, Amazon realizes that now is not the time to rest on its laurels.   In an article published by Internet Retailer, Amazon’s market share is slipping due to...