The Rise and Fall of Flash Sales

This past week, made news once again after its co-founder Bradford Shellhammer stepped down. The departure is a bookend to the ecommerce store’s pivot away from flash sales and into the territory of standard online retail, a la Amazon. In its flash sale heyday, the company raised over $150 million in funding and was valued at around $1 billion dollars. Since the beginning of the year, has been going through some rapid downscaling in an effort to be profitable. Flash sales used to be the next big thing in ecommerce, but somewhere along the line, the business model’s wheels started to fall off. Surprisingly enough, Zulily, an ecommerce flash sale store for apparel designed for kids and mothers, is trying to launch an IPO north of $200 million total value. This seems to be an outlier though, as there’s a lesson to be learned from the Groupons, Fab.coms, Totsys, and the others out there. How did the flash sale business model fall apart? Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Flash Sales

8 Tips to Minimize the Abandoned Shopping Cart Phenomenon

8 Tips to Minimize the Abandoned Shopping Cart Phenomenon

There are many excellent business lessons one can take from Michael Taylor’s “Moneyball”.

Moneyball is a terrific book (later made into a movie starring Brad Pitt), about the Oakland Athletics (The A’s) – the cash poor Major League Baseball team that, between 2000 and 2006, revolutionized the game with the way they evaluated players, finding value where other teams did not, and consistently fielding a team that could compete with large market teams, such as the New York Yankees.

For perspective, at the time the story takes place, the Yankees had a budget of well over $220 million to spend on player salaries. The A’s? Around $40 million.

Every year, many of the A’s best players would either leave through free agency, or be traded away because the team knew they could not afford to re-sign the player for the upcoming season. Each season, however, a new crop of players were brought in – seemingly from nowhere – and the team consistently competed at the highest level. Continue reading 8 Tips to Minimize the Abandoned Shopping Cart Phenomenon

3 Tips to Optimize Product Pages

Product Page Optimization

The goal of any online store is to make profit. If you’ve already set up your ecommerce website or even if you’re doing the invaluable research necessary before any virtual building begins, surely a certain 90s pop-culture reference, in the form of a Jerry Maguire quote, has popped into your head: Show me the money!

And while everything that has been covered here on Ecommerce Rules––from finding the perfect store platform to drop-shipping advice––is vital to a successful online store, when it comes down to it, no money will be made if your product pages aren’t top notch and enticing to consumers.

Product pages are where customers go to not only find your product but all the answers to their questions––it’s the final stop before check out and point of entry for purchases. Product pages should reassure buyers through the wealth of knowledge and information displayed––if done correctly, they strengthen the potential for conversion (when a customer goes from browsing to buying) whereas when product pages are done poorly, they serve as a deterrent for any business transaction to occur. Continue reading 3 Tips to Optimize Product Pages

5 Plugins That Every Magento Ecommerce Store Should Start With

Magento Plugins

So you have done your research and chosen to build your store in the ecommerce platform Magento, but now you’re left asking, “What next?” Surely there are simple tweaks you can do to your online store that will not only make the shopping experience more enjoyable for your consumers, but encourage them to buy more.

Well, there are––whether it’s a more intuitive shopping cart, cross-selling similar products, a newsletter informing consumers about new or promotional sales, a loyalty system, or mobile tracking capability, here are 5 basic plugins that every Magento store should start with. Continue reading 5 Plugins That Every Magento Ecommerce Store Should Start With