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Online Merchants, Gaining Trust and Respect
8/21/2008 4:57:00 PM  

We live in a digital age where it is easier to log on to the web to browse the coolest new gear than it is to trek out to the mall. But for the longest time the retail space on the web was dominated by large companies which had invested heavily in brand image and real brick and mortar stores. Often time’s smaller companies would struggle to gain a foothold on the web since consumers would invariably choose to purchase from the larger retail outfit.


The reason consumers choose larger retail outfits is pretty easy to explain. When the web was fresh and new stores like BestBuy and Sears had already built a reputation as being reliable merchants, an image which consumers carried over when they shopped on the web. Consumers felt more comfortable giving a credit card number to a large company they already knew and did business with than a small internet retailer. Brands like Amazon and Ebay advertised fairly heavily in traditional media to establish that brand image, giving them credibility with consumers. This led to a few large online outlets for retail sales but still left the smaller retailers fighting for scraps.


But the internet has changed and grown dramatically since then. Services like PayPal and Google Checkout have given consumers peace of mind when dealing with online merchants. Online merchants may not have a massive distribution network but they don’t have to, they can use any number of shipping options. Online merchants can also operate the cost of maintaining a physical retail store, increasing margins.


To be fair, two years ago I would not have bought anything online unless it came from a large brand which I knew. Now I have both Google Checkout and PayPal accounts and I feel comfortable shopping anywhere on the web that offers those forms of payment during the checkout process.  Buying online is often cheaper for me than actually traveling to the store to purchase a product. I never have to spend on gas, I can compare various retailers side by side instantly, and I can do it all while watching reruns of M*A*S*H.

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Tags: Online Shopping Trends, Online shopping growth, PayPal, Google Checkout, Credibility
Categories: Commerce Insights Blog
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“Talking Pictures”
8/13/2008 5:05:00 PM  

I may only be twenty but I still remember struggling to view sites while on a dial up modem. Web pages took forever to load and I truly hated sites that used fancy images and videos in place of content, sure they looked pretty but it would take me five minutes just to load one page.

But that was then, the darker days of the internet, now with broadband widely available and download speeds increasing exponentially there is no reason not to get a little creative with your site. Nice clean hi-res images will make you site look professional and sites like YouTube are more than willing to host the video you want to place on your site. Now this is not to say that you should stop using text for content, which would just kill your search engine placement, instead use videos to augment the written content on your page. There are some major sites that do this very well, one of them is Cnet. Cnet is a website devoted to reviews of the latest technology gadgets and gear and for a long time these reviews and articles were long pages of text with a few interspaced images. Now with broadband being so available Cnet has begun to include video reviews alongside their traditional reviews. The video reviews often paraphrase the written review but tend to be far more engaging as the viewer can actually see the gadget in question and watch as the reviewer walks them through the things they liked or disliked about any particular device.  An example of this would be the review on this Nikon Digital SLR, there at the top of the page is a video review of the product and directly bellow it is the longer written review of the same product. Visitors to this page can read the full review but the video version offers viewers a chance to see exactly what the reviewer is talking about in a way text never could.

One of ShopVisible’s newest sites Don L Leasing has begun to embed videos directly on their homepage. Visitors have a chance to see some of their distinguished clientele and to receive a guided tour around parts of Don L Leasing. The video itself is hosted by YouTube and embedded into the Don L Leasing site, a simple and easy process that will allow any site to have rich multimedia content.

Nowadays when I am curious about the latest bit of info on some new tech product I don’t read the long two page article on the web, instead I just watch the video which gives me a more visual understanding of the product I am interested in. Watching the video is not really quicker than reading the article, it’s just more entertaining and in today’s world of YouTube and twenty second clips on CNN a short video can be an effective sales tool.

Keep on rockin’


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Tags: Video, Embedded Video, YouTube, Cnet, DonL, Multimedia
Categories: Commerce Insights Blog
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