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Google AdWords Announces New Shopping Campaign Type

Ever since Google Shopping transitioned to a paid model, Google has been releasing new features constantly. Yesterday, they announced that a new campaign type will be rolled out called Shopping Campaigns.

The new campaign type will give you the ability to better manage your campaigns from a product and category level. Some of the new features are:

  • Retail-centric way to manage your products
  • Advanced reporting to measure product performance
  • Competitive data to size your opportunity

Read More →

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Shopping campaigns are currently available to a limited number of advertisers. It will be rolling out gradually in the US, with full global availability by early next year. API support will come in 2014 as well.

How do I get access? Fill out this form to request early access.

Shopping.com Holiday Pricing Update Goes Into Effect November 1st

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As we get closer to the holiday season crunch, the comparison shopping engines are getting ready to raise their prices. A few days ago NexTag lead the charge with their new tiered pricing and holiday pricing surcharge. Today, eBay Commerce Network (Shopping.com) sent out the following notice:

Dear Merchant,

With the holiday season approaching, we anticipate increased shopping activity across many categories. eBay Commerce Network will implement the following holiday pricing adjustment and temporarily adjust CPC rates only in select categories from November 1st to December 31st, 2013.

  • 79% of the rate card will reaming flat (no rate increase)
  • 6 categories will increase by 15%
  • 48 categories will increase by 25%
  • View updated Holiday Rate Card

We will automatically adjust your CPC bids during the holiday pricing period; therefore no action is required on your part. On January 1st, 2014 we will readjust your bids to your pre-holiday amounts.

While some rates are increasing, most campaigns will not see a significant shift in cost of sale as we will continue to leverage Value-based-pricing, our network management tool, to sustain your ROI goals. This allows us to more prominently advertise your offers on the highest performing publishers to increase sales.

We recognize this is an exciting time of year for your business and we look forward to our continued partnership.

Sincerely,
Kristy Troup
Director, US Business
eBay Commerce Network

Amazon Launches ‘Login & Pay With Amazon’ To Challenge PayPal Checkout

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Amazon announced the launch of a payments system to rival PayPal Checkout called Login and Pay with Amazon.

By using Amazon Payments, mercahnts can tap into the hundreds of millions of Amazon customers with credit cards on file and provide them with an easy and safe checkout.

Amazon Payments include many features such as:

  • Identify Amazon buyers at login. When they login with Amazon, you get the customer’s name, email address and zip code so you can create an account and personalize their checkout experience. Hundreds of millions of online shoppers can now register with your site using their Amazon account.
  • Mobile-ready. Let your customers buy easily on their phone. Offer them a hassle-free way to pay on smartphones and tablets with no extra set-up for you. Offer a seamless mobile payment experience across devices including Kindle, iOS and Android. Learn more >
  • Help increase conversion with fewer clicks. Capture sales you might otherwise miss from buyers reluctant to register for an account or enter credit card information. Your customers can breeze through checkout without ever leaving your site. Help increase sales by offering them a familiar payments option they know and trust.

The pricing fees are pretty simple too:

Monthly Average Transaction Volume Percentage of Transaction Per Transaction Fee
$100,000 and more 1.9% $0.30
$10,000-$99,999.99 2.2% $0.30
$3,000-$9,999.99 2.5% $0.30
$0-$2,999.99 2.9% $0.30

Find out more about Amazon Payments here.

NexTag Implements Tiered Pricing By Category

NexTag sent out a notification this weekend announcing a few changes to their pricing structure. Effective October 14th, 2013 the CPC rate will be based on the actual price of the item. See the tiered chart below for more information.

In addition, the annual holiday surcharge will go into effect at the same time. The holiday surcharge will be in effect from 12 AM Pacific on Monday October 14, 2013 through 11:59 PM Pacific on Sunday January 5, 2014.

Read the full email from NexTag below:

Dear Valued Merchant,

As the marketplace evolves, we continuously adjust our advertising approach to help maximize traffic to your site. As we enter into the busiest shopping time of the year, we wanted to inform you of two important changes to our pricing structure to help you optimize your traffic opportunity for this holiday and beyond.

  1. Tiered pricing by category: To be more responsive to your needs, we’re introducing a tiered pricing model that helps align CPC pricing with merchant cost of sale. Essentially, you’ll pay less for clicks on lower-priced products and more for higher-priced products. This change will go into effect on October 14, 2013 and will continue unless the rate card is subsequently modified. The new tiered pricing is shown in our Rate Card.We believe this change will improve your overall COS for lower-priced products and ultimately allow you to list more products. With this change, we’ll be able to bid more for valuable traffic, and so will you.
  2. Annual holiday surcharge: At the same time as our tiered pricing update, we will also rollout our holiday rates to help deliver expected traffic volume during the most critical time of year for traffic and sales. The surcharge for each category is shown in our Rate Card. The surcharge will be in effect from 12 AM Pacific on Monday October 14, 2013 through 11:59 PM Pacific on Sunday January 5, 2014.

You do not need to take any action for these changes to take effect. If you do not agree to the changes described above, you must suspend or terminate your account. Termination or suspension of your account will be effective two (2) business days after receipt by Nextag. Please contact your Account Manager or email our Seller Support team should you have any questions regarding these changes.

According to CPC Strategy, we remain the #1 independent comparison shopping platform for driving high volume and quality traffic. Wize Commerce is committed to helping merchants achieve significant volume of traffic and expected performance goals. We now offer a number of sites to maximize opportunity in the marketplace Nextag (with the widest selection of products) to Price Machine (for price-conscious shoppers) to Wize (with expert product recommendations) to ApplianceShopping (for specs-heavy product shopping).
We thank you for your business and look forward to a busy and productive holiday season!

Best wishes,
The Nextag team

Important Note:
For products where you currently are bidding the minimum: All minimum bids on active products will automatically be adjusted up or down to the new minimum rates for the appropriate tier on October 14, 2013. Should you wish to bid above the new minimum rates for products where you currently bid the minimum, you will need to manually adjust your bids.

For products where you currently are bidding above the minimum: Bids that are above the current minimum but below the new minimum will be automatically adjusted to the new minimum bid for the appropriate tier. For price tiers where the new minimum CPCs are equal to or higher than the current minimum and your current bid is above the new minimum rate, your bid will not be changed. For price tiers where the new minimum CPCs are lower than the current minimum and your current non-minimum bid is above the new minimum rate, your bid will be automatically reduced to the new minimum CPC.

The holiday surcharge will also be automatically applied. The price tier changes described above will be applied first, and the holiday surcharge will be applied to the adjusted, price tiered bids. The surcharge applies to your total CPC, which includes standard CPC plus any CPC increases you have selected for the Logo or Marketing Message programs.

HOW TO: Plan An Effective Social Media Strategy

Becki Chester, CEO, Digicrab – a former journalist, Becki wrote for four national magazines before joining a leading digital marketing agency. She has extensive experience in managing SEO, PPC and social media campaigns.

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Digital Marketing Services are an essential part of the expansion of all businesses in the current climate. However, of all digital marketing services, social media seems to be the most widely used, due in part to the huge amount of traffic that social networking sites receive, and the ease to which a social media can be used to promote a brand. But in order to maximise the effectiveness of such a strategy, you have to take a structured and conscious approach, otherwise your project will be lost in the tidal wave of other media on these platforms.

So here are my five general steps for a comprehensive social media strategy.

Step 1: Understand your customer

This is your first port-of-call. Who are the customers you want to interact with on social media? What do they like? Brainstorm around five ‘hot topics’ which your customers might be interested in, and remember to keep them in mind whilst constructing content: because with content marketing you promote your brand by sharing similar interests with your customer.  These topics should come from an understanding of the psychographics, the influencing factors and the behaviour of the types of people you’re after. The more specific you are about this ‘marketing persona’, the easier it will be to construct content for them.

Step 2: Set a Goal

First of all: what’s the point? What are you hoping to achieve with this? Try and base your goal on the number of leads generated over a period of time, or a certain number of ‘shares’. Achievable and measurable goals are a must. Also, make sure you only have one area for your objective. Most digital marketing services plan to achieve one of the following aims:

  • Attracting new customers; This is probably the most common use of social media. Because of the sheer number of people on social networking platforms, one objective could be using your page to direct traffic to your company website.
  • Building your brand; Give your customers a reason to talk about your brand. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most sought after type of marketing, and is often difficult to achieve. If you have a product that could work well in a social media context, use that advantage and get your customers to begin having a conversation about your brand.
  • Engaging with your customers; By creating a dialogue with your customers, you have the potential to create loyalty. A repeat customer is the foundation of almost all successful companies, so if you want to make your brand one that is interactive, and bring people in that way, then social media is a useful tool.
  • Supporting sales; Similar to the above, supporting sales is about creating content that feeds into your products. If people have queries about your products, you can answer them on social media, by supplementing your products with other information.

Step 3: Put It into Practice

To put your ideas into practice, create an editorial calendar that works alongside your promotional calendar; planning content and thereby keywords based on promotional offers. By doing this, you make the next aspect much easier.

By creating content keywords, and a calendar, all you need is to assign an individual (or team, depending on the size of your digital marketing services) to keep the sites up-to-date. Now you’re up-and-running!

Step 4: Evaluate

This is a hugely important step. Once you’ve started, make sure you are well-versed in the huge variety of social media. Select your success metrics well, and keep an eye on them, as the instantaneous nature of social media marketing feedback is one of the major advantages of the format.

There are plenty of online monitoring tools, such as Klout or Edge Rank, that you can use. Google Alerts is also useful in this regard, as it can help keep you aware of your brand keywords, and what people are saying about your brand.

Step 5: Repeat!

With any marketing strategy, it is important to keep it up-to-date, and that you react to your market and how well previous strategies have gone. So, once you’ve evaluated the metrics that are available, go through the cycle again. Make sure you keep building on what you learn, reacting to fresh assessments by laying out new plans with new objectives.

Will M-Commerce Continue its Gigantic Increase in 2014?

Brianna Wills works at Perception System as a content writer. She is interested in all things eCommerce and related stuff. In her spare time, she also likes to communicate with her readers. If you have a tip or news story to share, please contact her through her Twitter account: @briannawillsss.

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As per the technology research firm, Gartner, mobile commerce will see a 44% increase in sales worldwide reaching $235 billion this year. By 2017, this increase will continue by reaching a $721 billion market with 450 million mobile commerce users. In this article, you can find more information about mobile commerce and its latest trends, so go through it.

Mobile commerce is a contributing a large chunk of the e-commerce industry as more and more businesses are looking to optimize their websites for mobile devices. Today more than 70% of people are surfing the internet from their mobile phones.

In the year 2010, mobile commerce was only 3% of e-commerce, but this percentage is increasing constantly. At the end of the last year’s holiday season, the number had increased to 11%, so we can imagine the accomplishment of mobile commerce.

As we all know, websites are inexpensive and easy to build, so at this stage of the game, every business should have a website to give their customers an ultimate shopping experience. If your website is optimized for mobile devices, it is like icing on the cake for your customers.

Recently, TransFirst and ControlScan released a new report known as Small Merchants and Mobile Payments: 2013 Survey on Technology Awareness and Adoption. According to this report, only 31% of multichannel businesses have mobile-optimized websites. This is a bit hard to believe but it’s true.

On the web, approximately 49% of ecommerce merchants know that their websites are not optimized for mobile devices and 17% of merchants don’t know or unsure about their websites’ status. These percentages really shocked me. Businesses need to realize that more and more customers are shopping on their phones.

When asked why these merchants had not optimized their websites for mobile devices, 43% said it was because their customers never asked for this service. Providing more information, currently 54% of adults in the US own smart-phones and approximately 25% own tablets, so we can imagine how many people are using the Internet from their mobile devices and tablets. By 2014, we can expect mobile commerce will reach the maximum market share of the e-commerce industry.

By 2014, m-commerce is growing at faster pace because the combination of smartphone adoption and a growing confidence in using mobile devices for purchasing things online. Day-by-day, more and more consumers are getting confident and using mobile phones to research products and purchase them.

Today, mobile commerce is boosing eCommerce revenues due to the availability of smart-phones and tablets, which are new and modern shopping mediums. Today’s generation is fond of using gadgets for different purposes, so it is really vital for businesses to optimize their websites for mobile devices.

If you do not have optimize your site for mobile devices, you run the risk of getting left behind and missing out on various opportunities of growing your business on the worldwide level.

Magento Releases 1.8 Community Edition With Performance, Security & Tax Calculation Improvements

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I’ve been following Magento since the early alphas. Today, Magento released Community Edition 1.8 with improvements to security, tax calculations and overall functionality.

Below is a breakdown of the key improvements in this release.

Enhanced Tax Calculations

Magento Community Edition 1.8 improves tax calculation accuracy for VAT merchants and eliminates potential rounding errors that can be confusing to buyers. Knowledge Base updates also provide more guidance on tax configurations and Canadian tax requirements, enabling you to more fully benefit from the native Magento tax engine.

Functional Improvements

We made approximately 350 functional improvements that boost product quality in key areas, including the web store, shopping cart, admin order creation, import and export functionality, web API components, and payment methods.

Performance Improvements

Magento Community Edition 1.8 enables a better shopping experience through faster page-loading in the checkout process and optimized cache adapters for single server systems, which minimize the number of cached pages that must be refreshed when product updates are made. The performance of the 1.8 administrator panel is also improved for those of you with large product or order databases.

Security Enhancements

Through a number of enhancements, we also strengthened the security of Magento Community Edition. A full list of enhancements is available in our release notes.

Updates to the Alpha Release

A few new updates were made to the alpha version of Magento Community Edition 1.8. We removed the requirement to have globally unique category and product URL keys, giving you greater flexibility in your URL structures. We also incorporated the recent USPS API patch, DHL code updates, and the latest Redis backend cache code, now called Cm_Cache_Backend_Redis. We have also included Cm_RedisSession, a Redis session storage module.

Read More Download Magento 1.8