Where to find e-commerce shopping cart providers with web analytics, Facebook, and bank integration

eCommerce Shopping Cart Comparison
Thinking of online retail? Use this Free eCommerce Shopping Cart Comparison to see what integrates with an analytics solution and payment gateway easily


Thinking of an eCommerce business? Select a cart that makes digital analytic measurement easy to plan first!

I’ve made this chart of eCommerce shopping cart solutions available. Each offer different capability to integrate an analytics solution. Although some coding effort is needed in general, some solutions provide a plug-and-play capability. The chart includes a consideration of which kinds of banking/payment options are available, whether the sites include Facebook commerce option, and if analytics integration is available.  Having these features in place makes sales easy to manage, and to permit an analytics tools to reveal when customers are dropping out of a cart…and not purchasing your product.

Click here for the full e-commerce shopping cart chart in pdf format.

How Web Analytics Helps Small Businesses – Where to Start with Measurement

Many small businesses think of web analytics as search engine optimization, but that perspective is a partial view. Analytics encourages the organization of a digital presence for a business or an organization. These days such planning is important. It means providing speedy management of marketing content, be it online or off, such that a business can ultimately manage costs.

Some small businesses analyze results from a campaign effort – after a website is launched, a video is uploaded in YouTube, or a Facebook page is launched. This is an understandable step – many businesses see analytics in an application and treat the analysis as an audit. But the real work happens during the preliminary planning of a digital presence. This can consume some time, particularly now with so many options for a small business to choose. A business should review two aspects  first before tweet or a site visit is measured.

1. What is the purpose of the website in the business model? Does it serve as an augment for offline marketing?  Is it for sales through e-Commerce? Is it a way to deliver customer support through online chats and community hosting? Answering these questions will set the tone for what content should be on the site – images, downloads, and which pages should retain visitors for longer than a moment. Even trust badges can be influential (see my Business Agility post Building Trust Through Transparency).  It will also lead to how a site and its subdomains are set. The end result is the arrangement of how a site should be tagged.

2. What marketing is planned? Thanks to QR codes and URL tagging, for example, small businesses can create marketing plans to anticipate how customers discover the company site, and ultimately the business itself.  Experian, eMarketer, and other research firms have indicators that people tend to review products and services online prior to making a purchase.  The ideas is establishing an reasonable assumption of how your business is exposed to leads and customers.  An assumption may change overtime, but that is reasonable given that marketing materials can become outdated over time.

Once these two steps are addressed, a small business can begin to make reasonable adjustments to a marketing plan with few headaches and reduced expense.  There are still some technical verifications needed, depending on the complexity of the site and tagging required – many large enterprises have a team on analytic experts to manage the effort. But for small businesses developing a plan and monitoring as it moves ahead makes any analytics information valuable.


Crain article on digital sites geared for women shows segmentation is essential for savvy business online

Today many online communities court women for lifestyle and consumer interests

Crain’s New York had a great recent article on online media properties and the increase competition among online women communities. The article focused on the relaunch or iVillage — NBC is attempting to make a portfolio of brands — as well as Glam Media’s continued dominance.  From the article:

“Magazine publishers are also getting better at identifying audiences across their networks of sites and delivering them in big numbers, media buyers say. Hearst Digital Media’s network had 17.6 million visitors in February, comScore reports, and Conde Nast Digital had 15.3 million”

These are just the opening salvos — Glam Media has the largest number of unique visitors at 78.0 million (comScore figure).  All hail from the “fragmentation of audiences and the way people now use search engines to travel around the Web.”    You can read more at Crain’s New York (Site has a thing or 2 for Women)

Takeaways for small businesses:

  • Business owners must pay attention to the different sites/properties available to their business, and see if there is an audience that rings true to their goals — to strengthen its position in a market or even extend its audience (long tail).
  • In paying attention, businesses should decide what services and features to focus on the most — the fragmentation that is occurring has made being a jack-of-all-trades a very expensive proposition to maintain.  The cost for marketing to as much traffic as possible may exceed the revenue generated.   See the Zimana blog articles on segmentation and the Orient express as well as the post on the Lexus LF-A launch for examples of how large organizations deal (or not deal) with segmentation.
  • In focusing on a segment, the marketing dollars and effort will be better focus and can yield better results for campaigns and attracting the right visitors who will convert.

What Kick-Ass Teaches Small Businesses About Targeting the Right Market

Kick Ass The Movie
A product can gain buzz, like the movie Kick Ass did initially… but is the buzz coming from the right audience?


USA Today posted an article on the movie box office. Not unusual. In it, the article mentions the anticipation built for the movie Kick-Ass, even with comparison to another comic book turned movie 300. Not usual either. What was unusual was the relatively low box office. Yes there was online buzz. What’s not kicking ass here?

Well, the common belief is that buzz does help for exposure.  But the movie had a risk — The main characters were kids, yet the movie had an R rating.  That meant kids that would have been interested in the movie would be prohibited by the rating.

Takeaway for small businesses:

  • Any ol’ buzz is not equivalent to sales — if the audience talking about the product the most can not use/see/purchase it, then the buzz is worthless. Which means….
  • The target consumers really need to be the ones doing the buzzing to make an event/product launch a success. Otherwise…
  • The benefit of what is being offered is not of value to the intended consumer. In this case, the tough sell was getting adults who could see an R-rated movie interested in seeing an action movie with children as main characters.

The last point is not a light subject in movie making. Even Star Wars creator George Lucas, who admits he likes the R2-D2 character the most, was concerned that the first Star Wars movie (Episode I: A New Hope) may not appeal to moviegoers because the earliest scenes  – between the attack on Princess Leia’s ship and when audience first meet Luke Skywalker – contained no human faces onscreen for the audience to relate to.

In short terms, the benefit of a product may not be of value to a consumer.  In the case of Kick-Ass, the buzz may have been a distortion to whether the movie was marketed to the right audience. But there is some financial hope for Lionsgate (see this article on the box office for Kick-Ass in the LA Times).

What do you think? Offer your thoughts…



How relevant keywords in Facebook differs from those in search engines

Facebook conducted a great Facebook Ads presentation at the recent Search Engine Strategies New York expo in March. I sat in the audience as Sarah Smith, head of Online Operations in Facebook’s new Austin office, spoke about how small businesses and marketers should use Facebook ads. Great timing on Facebook’s part to offer a review to SES goers, given the recent statistics that online users are spending more time on Facebook than Google, and the massive buzz of the Betty White Hosting Saturday Night Live fanpage.

One of the best takeaways was regarding how keywords in Facebook ad content should be selected. Keywords should be deployed such that they connect to lifestyle activity, events, or how a product is used. These obtain the best response results in Facebook. This differs from search engine keyword tactics, where specific words or broad match incorporating a specific word is used. In fact Facebook calls keyword phrases “likes and interests”, similar to the FHTML that is a variation of HTML.

For example, the words “wine” or “red wine” may be used by a winery, but in a Facebook ad, phrases such “fine dining” will help the ad appear to relevant Facebook audience. According to Smith, businesses can use Facebook to find customers before they use the search engines to seek your business, product, or services.

This implies a few aspects that businesses and marketers should keep in mind:

  • Beyond a different keyword strategy, Facebook users are searching differently than those who are using search engines. This means campaign content must be formulated for Facebook with a different search in mind than that for a search engine.
  • Businesses that confuse web analytics for simply keyword performance will have to end. If a Facebook campaign is used alongside a PPC (Adwords, Adcenter, etc.), those business will miss opportunities to optimize their marketing and gain customers because all the channels will be treated the same.
  • Marketers will have to understand the influences and preferences customers more deeply to generate the “likes and interests” for the Facebook ads.

Ok, it’s your turn…how do you see advertising in Facebook being different than in Google or Bing Yahoo?

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