By Cliff Ennico
Ever since 2008, when eBay stopped doing its annual “eBay Live!” trade show, Internet retailers – people who sell merchandise either from their own websites or on one of the large online platforms such as eBay, Amazon and etsy – have been looking for its replacement: an annual event, conveniently located, where retailers can learn about the latest marketing and management strategies, meet companies that provide goods and services to help Internet retailers become more profitable, and (hey) just have a heck of a good time meeting and schmoozing with other retailers from around the country.
For the past few years Internet Retailer magazine (www.internetretailer.com) has filled the void with its annual Internet Retailer Conference and Exposition (IRCE) in Chicago. I was privileged to speak at this year’s IRCE conference last week, and my head is still spinning. If you sell merchandise on eBay or Amazon, are serious about building your online business, and can attend only one major conference each year, this is the one (www.irce.com).
As always when I attend a trade show, I spend a fair amount of time wandering around the exhibition hall looking for small companies with unique or different solutions to the problems Internet retailers commonly face.
Here are some companies and solutions I learned about for the first time at the show:
Don’t you wish you could get more favorable reviews for your products on Amazon? Heck, don’t you wish you could get ANY reviews on Amazon? Snagshout, a SellerLabs application (www.sellerlabs.com/snagshout), does it all for you: you list your products on Snagshout, shoppers purchase your product and test it, then write an honest review. There’s no guarantee the review will be positive, but reviews generated through Snagshout stand a much better chance of being taken seriously as it’s clear nobody is trying to “game the system.”
Have you ever wondered what it is that makes consumers really want to buy anything? For years I thought it was all about fears and passions (see my YouTube video on “How to Sell Just About Anything to Just About Anybody”), but it seems Meclabs, a service of Marketing Sherpa (www.meclabs.com) has come up with a mathematical algorithm that analyzes the statistical probability of someone buying something from your Web store. Their formula is:
C – 4m + 3v = 2(i-f) – 2a
where “C” is the probability of conversion, “m” is the motivation of the user (when they will buy), “v” is the clarity of the value proposition (why they buy), “i” is the incentive to take action, “f” is the friction created by the sales process, and “a” is the consumer’s anxiety about entering the information.
Got it? Well, I didn’t get much beyond algebra myself, but their equation may just have solved one of the oldest riddles in all of business.
Need to send a package to Kazakhstan in a hurry? Shiptor (www.shiptor.com) provides expedited shipping services to all of the former Soviet republics, as well as a lot of other places you can’t pronounce. And no, the CEO’s name isn’t Borat.
Do you hate processing merchandise returns, and dealing with customers who refuse or are unable to follow your returns policy? Returnly (http://returnly.com) takes all the hassles off your shoulders, helping you manage your time and avoid customer complaints.
Somebody is looking for something on your site but you don’t currently have it in stock. NChannel (www.nchannel.com) will automatically search 75 Internet platforms and post other listings of the item on your site, enabling you to “drop ship” the item so you don’t lose the sale.
Do you want to create a dynamic Internet marketing strategy but you simply hate – hate – having to write ad copy? BKA Content (www.bkacontent.com) is a copywriting service that specializes in Web retail campaigns.
Looking for “one stop shopping” in a digital marketing agency? A company that can handle anything from content marketing to search engine optimization (SEO) to paid search to social media to lead generation to mobile to whatever is coming down the pike next? With a team of 25 professional digital marketers, Web Talent Marketing (www.webtalentmarketing.com) is poised to take the traditional “Internet marketing” consulting services to the next level.
Are you thinking of sourcing merchandise in India but have no way of finding out if the goods are counterfeit? Valley Point Technologies (www.valleypointtechnologies.com) can not only track down the manufacturer or distributor in India but will check the merchandise in person and give a “seal of approval” if the product is genuine.
Let’s say you have a website offering all kinds of shoes. If a customer visits your site looking for sneakers, they don’t want to see all the dress shoes and stiletto heels offered on your home page. Don’t you wish you could automatically change your home page based on the customer’s profile so it contained only listings of sneakers (and then snap back again when the customer leaves)? Wait no more. That technology now exists, and is offered by Retail Automata Analytics (www.retailautomata.com).
Cliff Ennico (email@example.com) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2016 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. Follow him at @cliffennico..