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Monday, December 31, 2007

What will 2008 Bring? My Predictions...

On New Years Eve I thought I would also throw my hat into the ring with my predictions for 2008:

1. Social Shopping will become an even more important component to eCommerce sites, those sites that do not embrace community, reviews and consumer generated content will see their business begin to slide.

2. Canada will see a year of unprecedented online media and eCommerce growth. Consumers will continue to shop online at a greater rate than ever, pushed by the strength of the Canadian dollar consumers will move wallet share to online shopping which will benefit both Canada and US based etailers. Traditional agencies and businesses will open up to online media at a level unseen before as Canadians continue to drive the Internet as the #1 consumed media, further widening the gap on television.

3. Google will enter into the mobile marketplace offering free Wi-Fi in major North American markets using the spectrum they purchased in the auctions in both Canada and the US. (Or they partner with another winner). This coupled with the continued growth of iPhone, Blackberry and the launch of Google Android enabled phones will cause a market shift in wireless use for online interaction catching most internet players off guard leaving consumers with sub par mobile web experiences.

4. The Google / Double-Click acquisition will be finalized and in late 2008 the combined business will really shake up how we advertise. The online offerings and targeting of the combined business plus the continued improvements of Google Print, Radio and TV through the Google platform will allow businesses and agencies to use Google as a central source for advertising, starting Google on a path to a dominate position in the overall advertising space, not just online media.

5. A new forum of site performance will emerge, conversion, just like page views, will become of less importance and the idea of site / brand interaction will be key. Business will measure how their online properties are interacting with consumers and the greater community.

6. Viral Marketing will continue to be a buzz in 2008 but it will be targeted viral campaigns that takes everyone by storm. Building sites, tools and functionality that allows highly targeted consumers to share and experience your brand will be the success viral story of 2008.

Now all we have to do is wait and see how these all turn out. Here is to a great 2008 for everyone.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Seth Godin Box set - A Must Have for your Marketing Toolbox

A couple of months back Seth Godin let his blog readers know that he was putting together a box set of presentations that he had given last year. If you have never seen Seth live you really need to put this on your to-do list but the video is the next best thing.

I've had the chance to skim through the 8 hours of content, challenges and mind altering ideas he pours out over the video and trust me it is well worth it even for the most experienced internet professional.

But the real value of this, for people that work with traditional marketers, is that Seth can explain the new world of marketing in about 45mins like no one can and everyone gets it. So having this in your toolbox will only help make 2008 an even bigger success. If you want a copy you can get it at his squidoo page.

Also, don't forget about his new book Meatball Sundae, which was shipped last week (at least they did ship it to me even though it now say preorder on the site) and after reading the first little bit it is vintage Seth really challenge you to rethink how we do business / marketing.

As I was writing this I noticed this post over on Mitch Joel's blog about the item for the ultimate Seth Godin fan - the Seth Godin action figure, have fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Just When You Thought you Had it Figured Out

I saw this over on Techcrunch earlier today. It pretty much speaks for itself but it must point to the void in this space if Wal~mart thinks they can make a play.

But in all seriousness if you are in business online (informational or eCommerce) and are not making use of SEM services you really need to make this a resolution in 2008. You are just leaving business on the table and it is really easy to start a simple campaign up (and it is very cost effective vs. the traditional advertising you are doing).

I think this also shows that the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) also have a long way to go in developing the SMB space, it always shocks me when very successful businesses don't have an understanding of search engine marketing. But I guess it shouldn't as there really isn't a voice / resource for them in the Canadian marketplace.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Group about eCommerce in Canada

One of the things that frustrates me most with eCommerce in Canada is that we don't really have a voice or association like in the US. So one of my goals in 2008 is to do something about this!

To gauge interest and at least start a conversation I started up a Plaxo Group (kind of like a Facebook group but a bit more professional). So if you work in, with or are interested in the Canadian eCommerce / Interactive Marketing industry come and join at

Please pass this along to anyone who you would think it would be of interest to and lets work together to take the industry to the next level.

Google Reader adds Sharing with Friends

If you use Google Reader for your RSS feeds you will notice a new feature next time you log on. Now everytime you share a post it will be shared with any of your other contacts that use reader. It seems to still be in the initial stages - as it would be nice to be able to define your friends in groups (Business, Friends, etc, etc) so that your feeds could be targeted and more relevant to the people you are sharing it with but this just again demonstrates how Google is continuing to evolve their offering of services into a community based platform, which extend out across the web with OpenSocial.

It should be an interesting year in 2008 as this continues to evolve across the full Google platform and with their partners in OpenSocial.

Did you Take Enough Risks? 2007 Year in Review

The rate of change in the past year continues to evolve at an incredible rate, consumers are continue to demand more and more from their shopping experiences and the continued growing relevance of social shopping and the consumer to consumer conversation in the purchase cycle pushes us as online retailers to give more control over the consumers (we were only tricking ourselves that we ever had any type of control).

But the purpose of this post was not to go over what happened in 2007 but to challenge everyone that when they look back over the year to understand the misses that were made and how many of these misses where because of pushing it to the next level.

Missing by taking risk isn't a bad thing. You should do whatever you can in your organization to encourage that you and your team are taking these challenges. By taking these you are better understanding the size and limits of your sandbox, learning from how your consumers react and challenging the team to always be pushing and evolving the business. The most important piece is that you are always learning from the misses and mistakes, I'm not suggesting that you want to be making these all of the time but a few misses and mistakes, as well as the learnings from these, ensures that your business is taking the risks that will improve the likelihood of success.

How many risks did you take in 2007?

Travel and the power of Customer Reviews

I recently just got back from a last minute trip and one of the big surprises was the influence that reviews had on consumers choosing their destination.

It seemed that whenever we met a couple and the talk would turn to the resort every single person would bring up how they used Trip Advisor in making their decision. In fact most people, including me, pretty much relied on the information provided on the different resorts to make the final decision.

This having been the first time I booked a last min vacation I was surprised on how quickly my shopping methods changed as I narrowed down our selection. It was pretty much that I would find something that looked interested then off to Google and Trip Advisor to see what everyone was saying. The only time I used the travel or resort site was to get pricing (and compare vs. everyone else) and book the trip.

So what does this mean to all of us that sell online: First make sure you have some type of consumer generated content on your site, a forum where consumers can voice their opinions and share with each other on your offerings. Second, make sure you are doing everything possible to foster these conversations as it will have a bigger impact on conversion and overall value to the site than pretty much anything else you can do. If you are not willing to do the above you risk your site / business becoming a price check stop instead of a valued resources in the purchase cycle.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Yeah! The Interweb thinks Evolving Shift is a Genius Blog

Either that or I write so incomprehensibly that nobody can figure it out.

Give your blog a try and see where it ends up, just a little bit of fun for today.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Google Lauches Mobile Updater

For all of you that love those Google apps they have now launched a Google Mobile Updater that will load and update all of the mobile apps they currently have. Go to from your phone and you will be able to get started. It will download Search, Gmail, News, Google Docs, Picasa and Google Maps onto your device.

What is also really interesting is the new feature they have in Google Maps. If you don't have GPS Google Maps will now uses the cell towers in your area to estimate where you are on the map, it isn't 100% accurate but it certainly can give you a good idea of where you are.

Just another reason to keep your eye on mobile and how it is becoming a common tool in our everyday lives. Google through this and many of the other steps they have taken recently in the mobile space are positioning themselves as a leader.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Fun Perspective on web 2.0

Saw this on TechCrunch today, the big difference now versus the last bubble is that companies are becoming profitable online and that is what makes this time so exciting.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Knowledge Can be a Dangerous Thing

I was in a meeting today where we were reviewing some customer interactions with and some of difficulties that were occurring with the shopping cart as well as with registration. I think the eye opener was not that issues were present but that it took customers telling us "internet professionals" that something was wrong.

We run so fast on a day to day basis, looking for that next great feature or improvement that will send interactions and sales rocketing but because of this we miss the simple things, the link in the suboptimal spot, the error messages that are not always treated the same and a process flow that might not make sense for the first time user.

The difficult thing is that we are so entreched in our products and business, we know how the internet works (and sometimes even profess to think we know where it will go next!) that taking a step back and looking at the site from a causal internet user or first time visitor site is almost impossible but critically essential. You need to be doing this on a regular basis.

Use your call centre to understand what consumers are struggling with and ensure that your UX and development teams are using and acting on this information. Ensure you have new blood in your teams and that they are given the chance to share their thoughts and, where you can, use listening labs or focus groups to watch how consumers are interacting with your site, these can be painful but they are more than worth it.