Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tomorrow starts a new year and I am looking forward to kicking it off with my family and friends this evening. Every year we have all the kids bring their friends over and we celebrate together.

Alright, so really this is my way of being selfish and knowing where my kids are :)

So back to business...

We want to help our customers kick off 2009 in style!

We have launched our new Product Ratings and Reviews. This feature can greatly increase your sales and conversion rates.

Check out our interview with Rob Snell on the Power Hour where he describes how adding product reviews to his website made a HUGE impact. In fact, Rob told us that sending customers to a page with Product Reviews increased conversions by 50% on his website.

Rob also discusses how you can use Yahoo Web Analytics to increase sales too. AWESOME STUFF!

Because we know how much it will help your business, all new packages purchased today and tomorrow comes with Product Ratings and Reviews at no additional cost! Just add the following statement to the comments section of your order:

"Please add product ratings and reviews!"

Plus, you can use coupon code new-year-2009 for 15% off all services on our Build Your Own Package page or a new design. Hurry the coupon expires Sunday Jan 4th.

And yes... the new Product Ratings and Reviews is on that page and available for 15% off!!

And.... we have design packages starting at $650!!

Plus if you purchase today, you can use the purchase as a business expense for 2008 :)

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am not sure exactly where I came across this magazine the first time, but after reading it I became hooked.

Website Magazine has a lot of really great information and it is free to subscribe. In this months magazine they had an article called 2009 Web Predictions - Website Magazine on Social Media, Ecommerce, Internet Advertising, Affiliate Marketing and SEO.

One part of the article really struck my eye:

"SEO (As You Know It) Will Change: Personalization and customization of search results will send the majority of SEOs into a tizzy, as Google makes major adjustments and tweaks to its search results to place more emphasis on how consumers use the search results."

So why would the majority of SEO's go into a tizzy?

Simple. The old tricks in the SEO hat are not going to work. It will not be all about the links to your website or whether you have Meta Tags or not...

It WILL BE focused on the user experience that YOUR website provides for your visitor.

Hopefully there will come a day where the ugly website with no information who can afford to pay for links will no longer stand on top of the other websites that seek out to provide valuable information to their visitors.

Hopefully there will be a day where website owners that take the time to build relationships via their website or even social networking... will be able to see their efforts pay off.

My prediction for 2009:

The search engines WILL get smarter and begin to look at the whole picture. It will be about the experience that the website provides to the user and websites will no longer be able to "cheat" their way to the top.

What does that mean to you?

Focus on content and value for your visitors not because you want to rank number 1, but because you want them to find everything they are looking for on your website. You do not want them to leave. You want them to stay, purchase, join your mailing list... you want them to do anything BUT leave.

So give them what THEY want... Not what YOU want to give them.

by: Shawna Seigel

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This is a sponsored post. The opinions are my own.

I admit it. I multi-task ALL the time. I am a mother, daughter, granddaughter, girlfriend, business owner, dog owner, home owner, full-time student, blah blah blah blah blah.

You get the idea.

I have too many things going on at one time, but I also LOVE to write. I love to write blog posts, e-books, twitters, text messages on my cell, and any other place that will allow me to write my thoughts and ideas.

I probably get most of my ideas when I go for a long drive. All of sudden clarity hits me and these ideas just start swarming around in my head and I need to write them down NOW or I will forget them.

I am willing to bet there are other people in the world like me. When I saw this really great discount on the software that I personally use, I thought...

"Ok now I have to tell the world my secret!" *laughing*

Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 Basic with Discount Coupon Code

I use Dragon Naturally Speaking and have used it for at least 5 years. The program has changed DRAMATICALLY over the years and just keeps getting better!

It helps me to multi-task... that is my super duper secret.

So anyway, the reason for this post...

Right now you can get 10%-25% off this software, but have to purchase by December 31st because that is when the coupons expire.

The good news... you can use the purchase of this software as a tax deduction for your business for THIS year :)

Here are the coupon codes for you and I hope you enjoy the software as much as I do!


$50 Coupon Code- DNSMSBG -Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday I wrote, "Do You Need Products To Sell Online?"

In my article, I wrote how a search in Worldwide Brands could bring up the following information:
  • Suppliers - Dropshippers, Light Bulk Wholesalers, Wholesalers
  • Analysis - How well will this product sell online?
  • Demand - How many people are searching for this product online?
  • Competition - How much competition is there for this product?
  • Advertising - Who is advertising for this product?
  • Auction Pricing - What are the current auctions on Ebay and what are they selling for?
  • Retail Pricing - How much are these products selling for?
Personally... I like to see how things work before I purchase something. I figured our readers and customers would as well. So we got together with Worldwide Brands and created a fantastic tour of their website!

Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Amazon's Kindle has come a long way since it was first introduced. Although Amazon refuses to tell how many they have sold, there is currently a wait of 6-8 weeks to get your hands on one.

Of course that wait could have something to do with the Oprah telling the world how much she loves the Kindle as well *laughing*

New York Times posted an article called, "Turning Page, E-Books Start to Take Hold."

The article explains how popular e-books are becoming thanks to the popularity of Amazon's Kindle

“E-books will become the go-to-first format for an ever-expanding group of readers who are newly discovering how much they enjoy reading books on a screen,” said Markus Dohle, chief executive of Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer books.

So how can you make money from the Amazon's Kindle?

You need to write an e-book that can be found, purchased, and read on the Amazon Kindle.

Wait, that is way too hard... right?

Wrong! It is actually very easy!! Check out the Amazon Quickstart Guide

By writing an e-book that will be listed on the Amazon website, you have the potential for creating a great source of traffic and sales.

But what do you write about?

Write about things you are passionate about. Write about things that you know about. If you sell dog supplies, then write an e-book on how to properly train your dog. If you sell children's products, than write a guide on the variety of toys available to help stimulate a child's learning and why it is important to do so.

Don't sell them on you or your website. Provide them with education that will help them. Earn their trust and respect and they will come and visit your site or store. If your e-book reads like a used car salesman pitch, you might as well not waste your time.

Most importantly, show your personality in your writing. People want to learn and purchase items from people they like. Let your personality shine and be yourself!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last night I watched my first Pay Per View Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event. UFC fighters use a mix of martial arts to fight each other and let me tell you... it is fascinating to watch!

As I watched the fight last night, I was probably the only person in the world thinking...

"WOW There is a lot that business owners can learn from watching this!"

I know. I am weird. I even consider myself to be quite a nerd as well!

I look at everything in life and try to learn something from it. If I can learn how to improve my business from the experience, even better!

So here it is, the Top 10 Business Lessons Learned from UFC

  1. Know Your Competition - These fighters knew whom they were facing, what their strengths were, and what their weaknesses were as well. In business, you have to know your competition as well. Learn all that you can about them, as well as from them.

  2. Never Give Up - When these fighters gave up, they were taken out of the fight. If you give up in business, you are taken out as well. You will lose your business. Yes, you will have setbacks. In fact, you may get knocked to the ground. As long as you keep trying, as long as you keep fighting, your business will continue to fight as well.

  3. You May Be Down, But You Are Not Out - Pictured below is Frank Mir fighting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir was in a horrible motorcycle accident in 2004 and doctors thought he might not fight again. Last night as he made his victory speech, he admitted that he never thought he would win the fight.

    "To come back and fight the best heavyweight to ever fight in the UFC and get a win over him after what I've gone through, it just shows … I'm proof you can do things."

    Don't give up on yourself or your business just because you don't think you will win or make the most money, especially in this economy.

  4. Study From The Masters - These fighters study with Masters of their craft. Do you know why they are masters? Because they have done it for a long time and they know what they are doing. It does not matter what type of business you own, there is a master that you can learn from.

  5. Learn Constantly - Always be learning and keep your eyes and ears open to learning new things every minute of the day. In order for these fighters to win, they have to continue learning new things every day. Tomorrow a new fighter will come out who knows how to do things never heard of before. In business, you need to learn so that you can be ready for tomorrow. Technology changes hourly... stay on top of it!

  6. Work Daily On Your Craft (Business) - These fighters have to be in top shape in order to fight. After the main event, they showed a fight from the beginning of the evening. One of the fighters could have won, except he became tired and seemed like he could not fight anymore. Well with your online business, you need to work on your site daily. If you do not, Google will assume that you have become tired and will not crawl your site anymore. Remember, Google wants fresh UNIQUE content!

  7. Build Your Brand - This lesson came from the advertisers. As you can see in the image below, placement of your brand is crucial for the best results. Spectators are focusing on two main areas on the fighter. When you look at those areas, you see the Full Tilt advertising. Now why would Full Tilt want to advertise on a fighter? Full Tilt is a poker site, the fight was in Vegas where people love to bet, and bets are typically placed on fights. So where does your brand need to be in order for your customers to see it?

  8. Be Passionate - These fighters love what they are doing. You can tell by the way they talk, walk, move, and fight. You have to be passionate about your business as well. If you are going to spend hours upon hours working on something... it makes it that much easier when you are in love with what you are doing. I absolutely LOVE what I do. Perhaps that is why I am here writing on a Sunday. I am passionate about helping people and if I can help one person succeed by using fighting as an example, then this post is worth the time!!

  9. Keep Your Guard Up - When the fighter let their guard down, the other fighter went in for the kill. I let my guard down in business and well...another company went for the kill. I had an order to fulfill ($10,000 in software) and I tried to find another supplier for the product, one that would give me better pricing. I found one. I was going to make a nice profit....$5,000! I sent them a cashier's check and never heard from them again. I let my guard down and that business went in for the kill, protect yourself and your business.

  10. Always Wear Your Cup - No explanation necessary

by: Shawna Seigel

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Friday, December 26, 2008
You know how much I love Worldwide Brands. This is where I found all of my products to sell when I opened my online stores. Their website has been through many changes since I first joined almost 10 years ago.

When you find a product that you think you want to sell, Worldwide Brands gives you data so that you can make an informed decision.

For instance, let's say I want to sell pet supplies.

I do a search for pet supplies and I can find the following information:

  • Suppliers - Dropshippers, Light Bulk Wholesalers, Wholesalers
  • Analysis - How well will this product sell online?
  • Demand - How many people are searching for this product online?
  • Competition - How much competition is there for this product?
  • Advertising - Who is advertising for this product?
  • Auction Pricing - What are the current auctions on Ebay and what are they selling for?
  • Retail Pricing - How much are these products selling for?
10 years ago I had to do all of this research by hand. Now Worldwide Brands has all of this information within the search!

Do you realize how much time this saves? HOURS AND HOURS.

I remember doing all this research just to find out a product wasn't worth anything special. So all of that time was wasted. I had to start over from scratch.

Remember, we have to work smarter...NOT HARDER.

Anyway, Worldwide Brands is doing something special for the next few days and if you are looking for products to sell online...

Now would be a great time to join!

They have broken up the fee into 4 monthly payments of $85.

Trust me, it is worth it and you will not be disappointed!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Many of you may not know this, but my Daddy is a retired Marine. He taught me many things growing up, but today I remember one lesson in particular.

Always support our troops.

Supporting our troops also means supporting their families as well.

You see, I grew up and married a Marine. I remember what it was like to have my husband overseas while I tried to raise our two young boys. One time while my husband was away, the three of us had to go through hurricane Bertha and Fran within a two month period of time. During Bertha, we were unable to get back to our home for a few days and stayed with another military wife that lived on base. After the hurricane, many people donated food and other items to help all the families that needed help.

Well, our military families need our help today. Sears has put together the Heroes at Home Wish Registry that is absolutely amazing.

1. You get to help support our troops
2. You get to help our military families in need

Please visit the website and learn how you can help our heroes at home.

I have made my donation to help our military families. This post is a sponsored post and all proceeds have gone right back into the Heroes at Home Registry from

If you have even just $1.00 to spare, I urge you to do the same on this wonderful Christmas day.

P.S. Pass this information along to your friends and family. Let's use the power of the web to help our military families in need!

Although this donation is not tax deductible, we are still doing a great thing!


by: Shawna Seigel

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Well I have been putting it off long enough. I have not bought one single present for Christmas yet and I guess now I need to go shopping.

I just got my $500 gift card that I won from Izea and Kmart!

Couldn't have come at a better time. It has been a rough year with the divorce and well... let's just say it has been a rough last couple of months.

But it is going to be a new year soon and I am excited about all the wonderful things that are going on now, coming out soon, and well stuff that I will tell you as soon as I can *evil grin*

I hope you all have done a much better job than I have getting ready for Christmas, which by the way is TOMORROW. Geesh how did I put this off for so long......

Ok who is coming over to my house to wrap presents tonight?

by: Shawna Seigel

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I watch the Weather Channel quite often. Storms and weather... it all excites me! Mother Nature is so mysterious and interesting.

Lately we hear about one snow storm after another and for online store owners...


According to comScore, all this winter weather is increasing online spending!

"Online spending over the most recent weekend was clearly substantially heavier than the corresponding weekend nearest Christmas last year, which suggests that many consumers opted for the cozier confines of online shopping rather than having to brave the severe cold and snowstorms affecting much of the northern half of the country."

Even though today is Christmas Eve, you still have an opportunity to increase your sales with the help of Old Man Winter. Just last night I heard ads on the radio for the after Christmas sales that will be going on.

Will your store have a sale? Have you told your customers about your sale?

Don't forget your email marketing to bring customers into your store. Remember it costs you more money to acquire a new customer then it does to market those customers that have already purchased from you....

And trust you already!

Happy Holidays everyone from the 1 Choice family to yours!!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I absolutely love Twitter!

In fact, I won $500 by using Twitter!!!

More on that in just a second.....

Recently my son went into the hospital to have emergency surgery. I posted live updates on Twitter for family and friends.

But something else magical happened.

All of these social networking angels came out of the woodwork and provided me with strength, love, prayers, and support. It was truly amazing!

The first night we were in the hospital, I posted how the nurses kept waking us up and needing sleep. I felt all alone in that hospital room watching my baby hurting. I was tired and cranky. But my Twitter angels sent me the funniest messages and made me have a wonderful giggle just when I needed it most.

Twitter has also helped my business!

I was on a phone call with a potential customer over the weekend. They were asking questions about our services and then they said to me,

I was already planning on using you before I called. I have been following your blog and Twitter for some time now and I already feel like I know you and I can trust you.

WOW! That is fantastic.

I love that people feel that way. Especially when I have shared so much of my life online, from divorce to my baby in the hospital! But to be honest, I wasn't sharing my life to get more sales (although that is a nice benefit).... I was sharing my life so that maybe one person who was going through the same thing did not feel quite so alone. When I left an abusive ex husband and became successful... I wanted to share my life so I could help at least one woman leave and know that life will be ok.

I am currently writing an ebook on how you can use Twitter to help your online store get new customers, but in the meantime....

I wanted to tell you how I won $500 on Twitter and maybe this will be the extra incentive you need to get on Twitter too!!

Izea and Kmart held a contest giving away a total of $3,000 in Kmart Gift Cards. One of the ways to enter the contest was by posting a message in Twitter.

So I did.

And I won!

Now that is 500 reasons to start using Twitter today!

Oh and if you haven't heard of Izea, they have some pretty cool stuff going on that I am going to be posting about in the new few days, including their Social Spark and PayPerPost

Just to give you a general idea, you can use these two programs to pay bloggers to write about your products or website. You can also go onto these sites and earn extra income writing about products and services on your blog. It's a pretty neat idea!

By the way, when you sign up for Twitter....

Please follow me and I will follow you. This is how we communicate to each other and learn more about each other.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Justin is now home from the hospital and doing much better.

The messages of love and support were overwhelming and I promise to say thank you personally to each one of you over the next coming days.

Your thoughts, prayers, and love meant more to us then words could EVER say.

To all of our friends on our blog, Twitter, Facebook, and more....

You are all angels that helped to look over my baby...

Thank you.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The results are in...Free Shipping is more important now more than ever!!

"With free shipping becoming an increasingly important incentive for online shoppers, comScore conducted an analysis to determine the effect of free shipping on online consumer behavior this holiday season. The results show a clear correlation between consumers’ use of free shipping and both the dollars spent per order and the overall growth in online spending versus last year.

However, when some retailers pulled back on free shipping deals during the most recent week (week ending December 14), average order values declined and the week experienced negative growth versus year ago."

Check out the full press release for more information!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 15, 2008

My 14-year-old son is in the Emergency Room with stomach pains. We went to see our doctor and he told us to head over to the emergency room as Justin might have appendicitis.

The doctor was right. We are waiting for him to have surgery.

As I sit here watching him try to get a nap, I think about how important family is to me.

I know that right now things are crazy for Yahoo Store owners. There is so much stress with the economy and the holidays, just remember to take a quick pause and look at the loved ones around you. Make sure to let them know you love and appreciate them.

It's things like being in an emergency room with your baby that reminds you how quickly it can all be taken away.

by: Shawna Seigel

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If you remember correctly, back on December 1st we told you that Cyber Monday is not the busiest online shopping day of the year.

Mike Ober from Yahoo twittered to us watch out for December 8th, 9th, and 15th. He was right!!

According to a new press release by comScore, December 9th has turned out to be the largest online spending day on record!! This is very exciting news!

"Look for online retailers to continue to offer enticing last-minute deals, including discounts on expedited shipping, to spur a final wave of spending. In fact, some retailers are even willing to offer free shipping as late as December 18 this year with a guarantee that the shipment will arrive by Christmas Eve. It will be interesting to see the impact that this offer has in terms of pulling additional spending from retail stores to the online channel.”

Looks like Apparel is quickly growing online followed by books, flowers, and sports & fitness.

Message to Yahoo Store Owners - Shoppers are looking for deals and they are wanting to make sure they get their products on time! Today will be a big shopping day so make sure you give them the best of both worlds.

Remember... don't make them think!! Give them the information immediately so that they can purchase from you immediately as well.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Friday, December 12, 2008

So you might remember a few days ago that I said, "Shawna Screwed Up." Ron from Top Right reminded me that if you want to increase your conversion rates or get more sales... you need to remember your e-mail marketing.

Shortly after our post, comScore released a new press release with some very interesting information regarding e-mail marketing!!

"While search remains the dominant referral activity, accounting for 55 percent of referred dollar sales during the season-to-date, it is down slightly from 57 percent last year. Meanwhile, e-mail has accounted for 16 percent of referred dollars, up 5 percentage points from last year, reflecting retailers’ heavier use of e-mail marketing programs this season."

This is mentioned along with some other great news - ONLINE SALES ARE UP!!

It's not too late to start marketing to your customers via email. There are several programs out there that will help you develop simple and easy marketing emails that WILL bring you in more traffic!

The point here is.... SEND THOSE EMAILS and increase your sales NOW!

Don't forget Ron has a great tool for Yahoo Store owners that will help you to create your email marketing letter for FREE!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Did you know according to Forrester Research that 11.2% of adult's blog? 24.8% of adults read blogs and 13% comment on those blogs. Those numbers double when we look at young adults.

When companies are looking to tighten up their marketing budgets, a blog is a great way to communicate to your customers as well as reach out to new ones!

As Jennifer Evans Laycock from Search Engine Guide explains, why a recession makes blogs essential:
  1. The consumer has less money to spend, so they research purchases more.
  2. They turn to the web to listen to what customers want, desire, and demand.
  3. They turn to friend, family, and trusted sources for purchasing advice.
Now a company does the following:
  1. Companies see profits falling, so they put more effort into understand customers.
  2. They turn to the web to listen to what customers want, desire, and demand.
Somewhere in the middle they meet in Social Media.

This is where blogs can have a huge impact on your business.

Jennifer explains there are 5 ways to benefit from having a blog:
  1. Showcase your personality
  2. Create a feedback cycle
  3. Build a loyal community
  4. Create an emotional investment
  5. Increase your credibility
If you want to boost your blog, ask your customers to get engaged. Ask them questions and when they comment, comment to them back. You want to build trust within because people do not trust ads, but people do trust friends and even total strangers that seem like friends online.

Make sure to get out there and comment on other blogs as well. Comment early so other readers will be able to see your posts. Get real with your conversations and actually think about what you are writing. This will help bring more people to your blog as well.

The web is all about getting social and getting together. Times are changing and your business needs to change too.

If you would like help setting up your blog for your Yahoo Store that matches the look and feel of your store, we offer different plans that include content as well!

Blogging For Business Panel

# Moderator:
Matthew McGowan, VP of Marketing, Incisive Media

# Speakers:
Jennifer Evans Laycock, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Guide
Bill Balderaz, Webbed Marketing
Paul Woodhouse, Director of Organic Web Strategies, Direct Online Marketing

by: Shawna Seigel

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Thursday, December 11, 2008
Shopping search engines are being utilized now more than ever. Yesterday's press release from comScore shows, "Comparison shopping sites and coupon sites also represent a larger contribution to retailers’ referred dollar sales than they did last year."

Consumers are looking for the best deals online so they can save money in this extremely tight economy. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to the panel at Search Engine Strategies this year discussing shopping search engines.

Before we get into the information that was shared, let me share with you some numbers provided by comScore. I believe after you see these numbers, you will be just as interested in this panel as I was!!

"Cyber Monday saw significant visitor gains at most of the top retail resources, led by Sites with nearly 2 million visitors (up 98 percent versus the November base period), followed by Yahoo! Shopping with 1.9 million visitors (up 81 percent) and Google Product Search with 1.1 million (up 59 percent).,’s online round-up of the best Cyber Monday deals, attracted 1 million unique visitors."

So now that I have your attention, let's get to the nitty gritty!

Shopping engines bring merchants 15-20% of their sales (more during holidays) and have over 10,000,000 unique visitors a month. Price is only one factor; others are brand, optimization, right category and content.

Greg Hintz, General Manager for Yahoo! Shopping stated that their product submit gets 25,000,000 visitors, 70,000,000 products and 200,000,000 page views. Yahoo product submit is very easy to use and can increase your traffic. The good news, you only pay when the user clicks.

Here is where the important information comes in... Before you send the data to the shopping search engines:
  • Optimize your data feeds.
  • Make sure they provide relevant and comprehensive data.
  • You always want to provide a fresh feed with the latest products.
  • Favor factual information instead of marketing language. So instead of selling fashionable clothes you need to say "Brown Leather Jacket"
  • Make sure to include product specifics.
Now that we understand what we need in order to get into Yahoo Product Submit... how does the rankings work?
  • Relevance
  • Merchant Rating - The higher your rating, the higher your ranking will appear.
  • Finally, if two websites have equal relevance and the same ratings by their customers... it comes down to the amount of your last bid.
It is important to remember that your ratings are an important factor when it comes to your rankings. So make sure to ask your customer for reviews. Make sure to follow the basic rules of good business - good customer service and easy fulfillment!

Finally, look at shopping comparison sites that may be highly niche. For instance, is a small player, but you can hit big you are appealing to the right market.

Next up on the panel was Aaron Shear with Partner Boost Search Marketing who explained that 90% of e-commerce sites are not crawlable. *Note from Shawna - This is why we love the Yahoo Store platform! They are crawlable!!*

Aaron also shared that sites with poor organization (products that are 8-10 clicks in) are not going to get ranked well in the shopping search engines.

**Important** Your chances of selling your products increase as you have multiple access to products. For instance - Shop By's, Christmas Gifts, Holiday Gifts, etc. Also, if you have a product that can be found multiple ways.... create duplicate product page changing the product title and description. Then place these pages in multiple areas in your store under different categories.

For instance - Let's say you sell Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm

You could create the following two pages:
  • Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm
  • Canon Rebel Digital Camera
REMEMBER TO CHANGE THE DESCRIPTIONS!! You do not want to have duplicate content!

Google looks at site performance. Make your site faster! Reasons for slower sites include:
  • Poor database
  • Not enough capacity
  • Poor coding
  • Poor network routing
  • Too far from Google Crawler
Also make sure to use clean URL's. Invest the money and time and pay attention to your product URL's. It will pay off!

Has your store seen an increase of traffic from the shopping search engines?

# Moderator:
Brian A. Smith, Analyst, ComparisonEngines

# Speakers:
Greg Hintz, General Manager, Yahoo! Shopping
Jonathan Ashton, VP of SEO & Web Analytics,
Dave Moran, Senior Manager, Data Feed Practice, Performics
Aaron Shear, Partner, Boost Search Marketing

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008
So I sent you out an email about the Top 5 Tips to Increase Conversions Fast...boy oh boy did my dear friend Ron at Top Right email me right away.

He reminded me ever so gently (NOT) that I forgot something SOOOOOOOOO important!!

Email Marketing! Duh me.

So I told him, write something up for our blog dang it and tell people why it is so important.

He did :)

So from Ron - The Number 6 Tip To Increasing Your Conversion Rates Fast

If you aren't getting your marketing emails out during the holiday season, you are leaving money on the table.

The old saying goes, “it's always cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one.” Don't believe it? Check out these stats:

For every email recipient, you can expect an average of 16 cents in revenue.

For these top forms of online marketing your average cost per order is:
- $71.89 for Banner Ads
- $26.75 for Paid Search
- $17.47 for Affiliate
- $7 for Email

Need more info? The DMA reports that $1 invested in Email returns $48.29. Internet Retailer states that 37.4% of retailers say Email generates between 2.5% and 15% of sales.

And, if you increase the percentage of repeat customers by just 5 percent, you can boost profits between 25 percent and 95 percent.

Ok, the data support is staggering.

So, why do we neglect email? Most of the time it’s because we are just too busy and the "powers that be" have you convinced that every email has to look like Neiman Marcus created it. Well, Ron over at Top Right has seen that simpler and (almost) anything is better than nothing.

Just for Y! Stores, they've released a free tool that saves you so much time creating emails that you have to take advantage of it.

Did I tell you it's free?

What it does is pull your product information directly from your store and place it into a simple HTML template. It includes your names, images, product descriptions, and prices.

Then you simply paste the HTML it creates into your email marketing tool - whether that's Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Got or AWeber. Or, of course, you can sign up for Top Right's advanced email marketing system

You can get more information on this amazing tool at

by: Shawna Seigel

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First of all, I thought this session was really fascinating! When you look at how much search engines have changed over the last 10 years, it is truly amazing!

That is when you really realize, search HAS changed. You realize it. You see it. Then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Universal search is here, but is your business there?

It's no longer just text links on a screen. Its images, its videos, its sound, its ratings, its news, and a lot more.

For instance, Microsoft put new technology into their search engines. They know where people are when they do their searches. So give this a try:

Lets go to Msn Search

Now type in weather

Here is what I got:

Notice that it gave me my local weather, plus related searches, sponsored searches, and my very own weather!

This is the new way of searching. Getting what we want as soon as we want or need the information.

Now let's go to Yahoo Search

I love country music so I put in Faith Hill.

Very cool! I get her official site, videos, sponsored search, natural search, and wait...what is this...

I can listen to live tracks from the search page!

Ok so let's cover some of the great material!

comScore shared with us that 48% of people searching online were shown blended search results like you see above, but 85% saw at least one type of universal result. Organic search strategies need to focus on landing pages so that you can help lend to your credibility. Paid search is going to get a lot more competitive and you need to remember the consumer is in control.

**Most important** Provide exposure to other types of relevant content for their query and richer search experience.

Next up, Google who stated that they are going to keep improving relevance which will help users to explore. They want to also work on improving the results summary. This means that webmasters need to make sure they are putting out the best and highest quality of content. Also they need to take advantage of new verticals.

MSN was up next and showed off their universal and blended search results including user ratings and reviews. MSN also stated that 80% of search is done over a period of 10 minutes or longer. This means people are really doing their homework. The sad part - 40% of those searches go unanswered.

Yahoo also stepped up to tell us about improving the user experience when they are searching and opening up SearchMonkey to developers so that they can create applications for people to use to make their search results more personalized. Basically you can create your own type of search engine....COOL!

You can check out an interview with Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search at Web Pro News that offers even more fascinating information!

Kevin Ryan, SES Advisory Board Chair & CEO, Motivity Marketing

Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search
Mike Grehan, Global KDM Officer, Acronym Media
Chris Blakely, Director, Client Services, comScore, Inc.
Todd Schwartz, Group Product Manager, Live Search, Microsoft Corporation
Jack Menzel, Senior Product Manager, Google

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 08, 2008

The good news - people are shopping again!

The better news for Yahoo Store owners - they are shopping online!!!

The even better better news (hehe) for Yahoo Store owners - today is your day!

Today is Monday the 8th and this should be an excellent day for you. Tomorrow and next Monday will be as well! Trends show that these days are very busy for Yahoo Store owners.

So why am I so excited? Well, I got a little scared this year. You see, every single year online sales grow and grow and grow... especially around the holidays.

Yet this year, all we have seen... sales are down from last year. Sales are down. Sales are down. Sales are down.

Then something amazing happened. Sales caught up with last year.

Big deal right? We are doing the same as last year. No growth.

Well yes and no.

Look at this deeper. This means that we were way behind and then a new report came out just yesterday from comScore stating that in the last 6 days...we caught up with last year.

"For the five days beginning with December 1 (Cyber Monday), the kick-off to the heaviest part of the online shopping season, sales totaled $3.74 billion, up 9 percent versus year ago."

WOW right!!

"Monday, December 1 (“Cyber Monday”) with $846 million, and Tuesday, December 2 with $823 million."

See why you should be excited about today, tomorrow and next Monday??

By the way, it looks like the two fastest growing categories over the last 6 days has been Sports & Fitness (35% growth) and Electronics (24% growth).

I am off to get a few hours of sleep before SES Chicago :)

Have a great and profitable day everyone!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

1 Choice is looking forward to attending Search Engine Strategies in Chicago again. We get to come back with great information for our readers PLUS we get to make great partnerships for our customers as well.

We will be providing live updates next week! Make sure you are signed up for our updates!

Yahoo! is also making a big showing at Search Engine Strategies as well.

Below you will find all sessions where a representative from Yahoo! will be speaking:

Monday, December 8th

Time: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Session: Universal & Blended Search
Description: This panel will discuss the idea of search multiplicity and recent advancements that will change the world of search and marketing. The talk will also include research data available only at SES.
Yahoo!: Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search

Time: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Session: Is There Life Beyond Google?
Description: This session will delve deep into the search engine market and explore a variety of alternative and specialty search engines that provide innovative features and attributes not readily available on Google.
Yahoo!: Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search

Session: Search and Packaged Goods
Description: An eye opening discussion as we examine the profile and online behavior of CPG searchers and explore the high-growth opportunity and untapped potential of search marketing for consumer brands.
Yahoo!: Matt Wilburn, Senior Director, CPG, Yahoo!

Time: 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Session: Semantic Search: How Will it Change Our Lives?
Description: This panel will explore the new generation of semantic technologies and projections for how it will change the future of search. Additionally, the session will cover how consumers will benefit directly from new sets of Internet destinations.
Yahoo!: Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search

Tuesday, December 9th

Time: 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
Session: Link Building Basics
Description: This session will discuss link analysis as an important component for ranking web pages and go over how Webmasters can increase traffic by building quality links.
Yahoo!: Sharad Verma, Senior Product Manager, Yahoo! Search Technology

Time: 4:15 - 5:30 p.m.
Session: Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues
Description: This session looks at the issues of duplicate content and explores solutions for best practices.
Yahoo!: Sharad Verma, Senior Product Manager, Yahoo! Search Technology

Wednesday, December 10th

Time: 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Session: Shopping Search Tactics
Description: Learn how content from your e-commerce or merchant site can - and should! - be included in shopping search engines.
Yahoo!: Greg Hintz, General Manager, Yahoo! Shopping

Thursday, December 11th

Time: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Session: Think Local: Online Marketing Tactics for Small and Medium Sized Businesses
Description: This session will cover how advertisers can navigate through the sea of local marketing options to most effectively get in front of users.
Yahoo!: Atif Rafiq, Director of Strategy and Business Development for Yahoo! Local

We hope to see you there too!

Don't forget, you can get a free pass into Search Engine Strategies. Now it will only get you into the expo area, but you will get to meet some great people and make some connections. You can also get 1 day passes and more. Register now for SES Chicago!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Friday, December 05, 2008
The biggest shopping days of the year have not even happened yet.
You still have time to make changes today to increase conversions
tomorrow and be ready for December 8th, 9th, and 15th. Studies show
that these are going to be your best days!!

But... if you think I am going to give you a short list of 1, 2, 3's.... sorry
that is not going to happen. Why? Because you won't see that much of
a return on your investment of time.

What I am going to do is give you the best resources available that
WILL increase your conversion rates up to 50%.

Let's face it, we all need to increase our conversion rates. The
economy sucks and people are getting laid off everywhere we look.
Even MTV is laying off employees! I grew up with these guys!!

So let's get to the heart of this email...let's increase your
conversion rates.

1. Listen to Rob Snell & Yahoo! Web Analytics - WOW! You will learn
more information in one hour then you will know what to do with!

2. Read Giving Your Customers A Good Deal

3. Add Video and Increase Conversion Rates 40%-50%

4. Learn lessons from Black Friday

5. Check out this months newsletter with more great tips and updates. Plus, you can check out tips 1-4 as well!

I guarantee you will not be disappointed with any of the
information above. Our goal is and always will be to provide you
with the latest information and techniques to help you succeed.

In fact, we are heading to Search Engine Strategies next week in
Chicago to do just that! So make sure you sign up for our updates!

Take care for now and Happy Holidays to you all!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Hi Guys!

Shawna here :)

We are working on our Social Networking eBook, but in the meantime....

Let's get social together! Ask your questions, let's get to know each other, and have a good time!

To connect on Twitter, you can find me at

Or we can connect on Facebook

Oh and if you just want to follow our blog posts on Twitter and nothing else, no problem! We have that too :)

Just follow

I look forward to getting to know you better!


by: Shawna Seigel

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People are shopping on a budget and they want to think they are getting a good deal.

A recent article in New York Times called This Season’s Must-Have: The Humble Coupon states:

"THE faltering economy could mean renewed interest in coupons as shoppers refocus on the cost of the products they buy — that is, if they do actually buy anything these days."

What if you are a small retailer that can not afford to cut prices or offer large coupons?

Then you need to focus on what you can offer to your customers.

Can you offer them overnight shipping?
Can you offer them one on one service?
Can you offer them gift wrapping?
Can you offer them the ability to ship directly to their loved one?

These are just different ideas to help you stand out in the crowd.

When you can't beat the Wal-Marts of the world, you can still get personal with your customers. Socialize with them, care about them, and they will shop with you.

Which brings us to our question of the day, "How do I make a coupon in the Yahoo Store?"

First, go into your store manager and look over in the bottom right corner. You will see "Coupon Manager."

Next, click on the "Create Coupon" button. You may have to enter your security code with Yahoo! at this point.

Now you get to make your coupon! You can give it a name, decide which products you want it to be for, when you want it to expire, give a certain amount or percentage, and much more.

Once you are done, click update and share your coupon code you created with your customers.

That's it!

Thanks Leah for the great question!!

If you have a question you want answered, get social with me and let's Twitter or Facebook together. I love meeting great people!

To connect on Twitter, you can find me at

Or we can connect on Facebook

Talk to you soon!


by: Shawna Seigel

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

We recently had Rob Snell, author of Starting a Yahoo! Business For Dummies, on the Yahoo Store Power Hour radio show and let me tell you, this guy did not let us down!

We told everyone that he would provide top notch education and he did, for the full hour!!

Did you know that 98 percent of viewers on your Web site are not purchasing from your site?

Yahoo! Web Analytics has been released and Rob explains how the power of this software can help you gain valuable information with one click of a button. Analytics is an important part of your Yahoo! Small Business success. Rob explains why this information will help your conversion rates.

Rob explains why you need to know which channels are the best to drive traffic into sales on your site. Rob uses real Yahoo Analytics numbers to explain the importance of utilizing this new tool. Education is powerful and this data will allow you to educate yourself and help your Yahoo! Store.

Analytics and trends go hand in hand. Rob tells you which trends are what you need to be looking at with your analytics data. Rob set up a special Web page for Power Hour listeners that is packed with information on Yahoo! Web Analytics.

Listen now to Yahoo! Web Analytics with Rob Snell and access this unbelievable free educational information.


P.S. We also heard a rumor he was up for Sexiest Man of the Year!

Gotta love it!!

Awesome interview and awesome stuff! Thanks again Rob. You are da man!!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Before I give you the awesome information on video thumbnails, you have to check this out!

I want to share with you the power of social networking on the web.

We put out a blog to help our customers. The blog post is fed to my Twitter which gets fed to Facebook. So now Facebook shows the name of the blog post with a link.

Still with me?


Remember the book that I keep telling you guys about on our radio show time and time again called "Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results?"

The author, Bryan Eisenberg, saw the post on Facebook and told us about an amazing article to help you guys even more.

1st - Love social networking. Which is why we are working on it as an e-book for you :)

2nd - Love Bryan! If you haven't read his book yet, why the heck not! It will help you increase conversion rates with your Yahoo Store! I think I have read it at least three times if not more!!

Bryan has an awesome site and great blog as well with LOTS of information. You can check out his website

So back to the original subject...yeah yeah yeah I am getting there. Just got excited!!

VideoRetailer has this really helpful article about eCommerce Video Thumbnails

Not only does the article explain why you want to use the thumbnails, but how to choose the right thumbnails for the best success!

Make sure to read it! Great stuff and thank you again Bryan!

by: Shawna Seigel

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We have seen it time and time again. Adding video to your website can increase your conversion rates by 40% - 50%. That is HUGE.

Just check out this statement in the most recent Internet Retailer article:

"Video is an increasingly common feature on retail sites, and it’s proving to be an effective selling tool. added 100 videos that show how a shoe looks on a model’s foot and boosted conversion rates on those products by 40%; PetsUnited reports a 50% increase in conversion on the 1,200 products that have videos on three of its sites"

Still not convinced?

Let me tell you a story.

I was looking through Amazon one day and I came across The Dangerous Book for Boys. I read the description that started like this:

"Equal parts droll and gorgeous nostalgia book and heartfelt plea for a renewed sense of adventure in the lives of boys and men"

Blah blah blah.

Then I watched the video!!

I had to have it NOW!! I ordered it immediately!!

The power of video!

So our dear friend and customer Ed wrote to me and asked,

"How do I get my YouTube video on my Yahoo Store?"

So let's figure this out.

1st - Log into your YouTube page and next to your name in the top right corner is a blue arrow. Mouse over it and click on "My Videos."

2nd - Click on the video that you want to put into your store and it will take you to the video page.

3rd - Look for the embed information. Copy this embed information so we can paste it into your store.

Now go into your Yahoo Store and paste the code into your caption field if you want to add to an item page or the message field to add to your home page.

That's it!

Thanks for the great question Ed!

If you have a question you want answered, get social with me and let's Twitter or Facebook together. I love meeting great people!

To connect on Twitter, you can find me at

Or we can connect on Facebook

Talk to you soon!


by: Shawna Seigel

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tim has asked us:

How many people use Google to search online?

According to comScore October 2008 press release here is the break down:

Google Sites - 63.1%

Yahoo! Sites - 20.5%

Microsoft Sites - 8.5%

Ask Network - 4.2%

AOL LLC - 3.7%

Thanks Tim for your question!

comScore Releases October 2008 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

by: Shawna Seigel

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In a press release just put out by comScore "E-commerce Spending Jumps 15% on Cyber Monday to $846 Million, the Second Heaviest Online Spending Day on Record," they give e-commerce owners good reason to look forward to December 8th, 9th, and 15th. Remember, Mike Ober from Yahoo! told us that these are typically the busiest shopping days online.

So what happened this last weekend? According to comScore:

"The four-day period from Black Friday through Cyber Monday saw e-commerce spending jump 13 percent as both weekend days and Monday all achieved double-digit gains."

What are consumers responding too? According to the chairman of comScore Gian Fulgoni,

"Consumers are clearly responding positively to retailers’ aggressive online discounts. With Cyber Monday promotions beginning in earnest over the Thanksgiving weekend, consumers have finally begun to open their wallets, setting off a streak of four consecutive days of extremely strong growth, and culminating in a Cyber Monday that racked up an impressive $846 million in online spending, up 15 percent over last year and ranking it as the second heaviest online spending day on record. This is an extremely encouraging development for retailers and we can but hope that their aggressive discounting has still left room for profits.”

Shoppers want to see that they are getting a good deal. Don't forget, they also want to make sure they are buying from someone they can trust and that will deliver the product on time.

Make sure you have your phone numbers highly visible and make sure you have any and all shipping questions answered on your website where it is easy to find.

Don't make them think!! Don't make them wonder!!

We just want them to purchase your products so that you can have your own Happy Holidays as well.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

These are the types of headlines your customers are seeing. A little scary right?

First everyone says shop online, you will save gas money. Shop online, it is easy.

The next moment they tell people, "With everyone shopping online, be careful!"

So what type of warnings are they giving? What type of warnings are your customers hearing and how can you use this information?

Let's take a look at my local paper Sunday paper for 11/30/08. The article is called "Protect Yourself Online"

"Check a company's privacy policy before doing business with it. A company should allow you to know what personal information its Web site collects, why and how it will be used. If you can't find a privacy policy — or if you can't understand it — consider taking your business to another site that's more security-conscious and accommodating to customers."

Now look at this information and take action! Check your privacy policy page right now and look at this page as a customer; a customer who just read the above paragraph. Does the information look scary to a newbie? Does the information clearly explain your privacy policy? Take action from the information!!

Lets take a look at another part of the article:

"Consider using an online payment service, such as PayPal, or your credit card, which protects your transaction under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Many companies do not hold consumers responsible for unauthorized charges made online, and some card issuers may provide additional warranty, return and/or purchase protection benefits. Regardless of your payment method, always insist upon a receipt."

First thing I think of, if you are using a merchant account like Emerchant Discount, are you also offering your customers the option of using PayPal? If not, why not? It only takes moments to set up in your Yahoo Store. If customers see PayPal as a safe buying option, then you need to offer it!

"Know what you buy. Read the product description closely, especially fine print. Words like "refurbished," "vintage," or "close-out" may indicate the product is in less-than-mint condition. Name-brand items with "too good to be true" prices may be counterfeit."

Finally, do your product descriptions explain what your customer is buying. Do they know it is new? Do they know all the details of the product? Can they make an informed decision? By now you should have been working on those product descriptions for SEO purposes. Now as you can see, it also helps with conversions as well!

Now, find other articles that your customers are reading. If it states be careful of A, then check your A. If it states beware of things like B, then check your B.

Always remember the golden rule of retail...

Never give your customers a reason NOT to buy from you!

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Now that we have data available from Black Friday, we can have fun looking at the information.

For instance, a comScore press release titled "Black Friday Sees $534 Million in E-Commerce Spending, Up 1 Percent Versus Year Ago" gave us a lot of insight to how people shop online the day after Thanksgiving.

The article states the following:

"The early morning rush online – between the hours of 4:00-8:00 AM – accounted for just 11 percent of the day’s total online retail sales, while the period after 8:00 AM saw 84 percent of online sales take place. The 12:00- 4:00 PM segment represented the highest share of Black Friday online sales (24 percent), with the hour of 12:00-1:00 PM being the heaviest individual hour of spending with 8 percent of sales."

Why is this information important? You need to know when your customers are shopping on your website so that you can provide better customer service.

Yahoo Web Analytics provides this information for Yahoo Stores on a consistent basis and let me share with you why it is so important.

Let's say you answer your phones from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. That is great!

Now you look at your Yahoo Web Analytics and you see that a majority of your customers are shopping from 5:00 - 7:00 PM. You also notice that between the hours of 7:00 am to 9:00 am you get barely any traffic.

What can you do with this information?

You have a couple of choices.

You can still decide to come in at 8:00 so that you can have an hour each day to catch up on emails while the phones are slow.


Start at 9:00 am or 10:00 am so that you can stay an extra hour or two for your busiest time of the day.

Either way, you need to be there when your customers are. We often forget this fact when we own online stores.

Let's take this theory and make you into a customer. You are off of work and heading to Wal-Mart. Everyone else is off of work and heading there too to pick up last minute things.

However, Wal-Mart doesn't pay attention to when they have the most customers and they send people home at 5:00 every day. Now you have to stand in line longer to check out. You cannot find anyone to help you when you need it.

What would you do?

Shop somewhere else.

What will your customers do if they can't check out or need help and nobody is there?

Shop somewhere else.

by: Shawna Seigel

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We were all a little scared when comScore put out a press release stating:
"Monthly retail e-commerce sales estimates, which showed that online spending in October 2008 grew by only 1 percent over October 2007, the lowest monthly growth rate since comScore began tracking e-commerce in 2001."

A new press release issued yesterday from comScore stated the following:

"For the holiday season-to-date, $10.41 billion has been spent online, marking a 4-percent decline versus the corresponding days last year, while Black Friday saw $534 million in online spending, up 1 percent. For the combination of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, online sales were up 2 percent relative to last year."

Today Shawn Collins Affiliate Tip Blog shared interesting statistics for retailers:

"More than 172 million shoppers visited stores and sites over Black Friday weekend this year, which was up from 147 million shoppers last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey.

The survey also indicated shoppers spent an average of $372.57 over Black Friday weekend, an increase of 7.2 percent over $347.55 in 2007."

So everyone wondered.... what would Cyber Monday bring to online retailers?

So far, the news has been good!!

In fact, The Boston Globe posted an article on their website at 11:33 am this morning called "Akamai: Cyber Monday is off to a promising start." (Thanks Mike Ober at Yahoo for sharing!)

Next, Rob Snell shared with us via Twitter:

FYI: I'm seeing a CyberMonday 30.5% increase over same first 12 hours 2007 on my "index" ;) Sweet Christmas!


According to Sacramento Business Journal, even Paypal is seeing a huge increase:

"PayPal, the online payment service owned by San Jose-based eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), said Black Friday transactions were up nearly 34 percent compared with 2007."

Plus we have read reports all weekend long that many online sites have had problems staying online or were extremely slow. Websites like Amazon, Sears, Home Depot, Victoria's Secret, and many more.

Why? Too much traffic! It is like gridlock in LA traffic (thank god I do not live there anymore)

This is GOOD news if you think about it. This means shoppers ARE coming online and according to many reports, they are buying!


Don't forget Yahoo Store Owners...this is not your busiest day!

Watch out for December 8th, 9th, and 15th according to Mike Ober via Twitter.

More info to come!

by: Shawna Seigel

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