Ecommerce Week


Motorcycle Superstore seeks an SEM Manager (Medford, OR)

Last week, search marketing blogger Navneet Kaushal published an excellent article called, Search Marketing Trends of 2014. As someone who creates a fair amount of his own content, I read quite a bit of this type of material. But Navneet’s article was unusually spot on.

As I read the article, I asked myself “Why is it that more search marketing candidates don’t have a teachable point of view on the future of integrated search marketing?” Seriously. I speak with search marketing candidates all the time, and relatively few of them can put the future of integrated search in the context of what’s happening in their own business. And that’s really too bad …

Google, Big Data, and the Identification of Leaders (NY Times)

The NY Times interviewed Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google.  Turns out, Google was wrong about many aspects of its famed recruiting and interviewing process.


  1. Leadership is a perennially difficult, immeasurable problem. The challenge with leadership is that it’s very driven by gut instinct. Worse, everyone thinks they’re really good at it.
  2. Based on extensive research, Google has discovered that brain teasers are a complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything.
  3. Behavioral interviewing works very well. Questions like “Give me an example of a time when you solve an analytically difficult problem.”
  4. Leadership is very ambiguous and involves an ever-changing set of characteristics. Management, on the other hand, can be reduced to checklist.
  5. Google has discovered that for leaders, consistency and fairness are incredibly important. If a leader is consistent, their team members experience tremendous freedom.
  6. Twice a year, all Google managers are surveyed by their direct reports. This is called an upward feedback survey, and it is based on 18 factors.
  7. The survey makes it harder to be a bad manager. Among other things, Google managers are ranked on the clarity of their goals, their tendency to share information, and their evenhandedness towards team members.
  8. Google has also discovered that GPA’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, as our test scores. Neither predicts anything.
  9. One’s ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how well they performed in school. Perhaps this is because academic environments are artificial: Professors usually seek specific answers to tame questions. Real life involves complex questions for which there is no obvious answer.
  10. There is a limit to what Big Data can teach us about who is a leader.  Big Data cannot measure human insight, a critical determinant of organizational success.
  11. Success is very dependent on context. What works at Google or Goldman Sachs will not be the right answer for everyone.

Warby Parker CEO: "The term ecommerce will be obsolete in 6 years."


  1. Warby Parker closed on a round of financing worth $41.5 million including funds from Mickey Drexler of J. Crew. Currently, Drexler sits on the board of Apple.
  2. Warby Parker’s CEO believes that the term “ecommerce” will be obsolete in 6 years.
  3. Industry giant Luxottica is vertically integrated and controls a retail network of 7000 stores, Including Pearle Vision, Sunglass Hut, and LensCrafters.
  4. The eyewear industry is ripe for disruption by companies like Warby Parker who can reduce prices by cutting out middlemen.
  5. The majority of WP’s eyeglasses sell for $95, a price that was carefully studied. The company could have sold classes for $45, but that price was too low to be seen as credible to customers.
  6. Wharton professor David Bell conducted an independent study about pricing models and demand analysis and uncovered several social psychological reasons for staying under $100. Yet $99 didn’t feel “classy,” and $93” sounded like a Walmart price.”
  7. The price had to be right because for every pair of glasses the company sells, it gives a pair to someone in need. Great marketing ploy: 46% of consumers are willing to pay extra for products from companies that have programs that give back to society.
  8. This “buy one / give one” strategy became unimportant addition to the backstory about Warby Parker that helped it get market traction against Luxottica.

Wal-Mart’s E-Stumble With Amazon (WSJ)

Great article in this afternoon’s Wall Street Journal indicates that after years of giving short shrift to the web, Walmart is playing catch-up to Amazon.


  1. Amazon has become the runaway leader in online sales thanks to a network of more than 40 US warehouses.
  2. Walmart is creating a vast new logistics system that includes building new warehouses for web orders, in addition to using workers in stores to pack and mail items to customers. Extensive analysis has determined that it is faster and cheaper for Walmart to send some shipments from its 4000 US stores.
  3. Amazon posted Web sales of $61 billion, compared to an estimated $7.7 billion for Walmart. Last year, online sales rose 16% in the US to $224 billion, and today account for roughly 5% of overall consumer goods sales. According to Forrester Research, that number is expected to double by 2017.
  4. Ecommerce at Walmart is run as a distinct business, with its own headquarters, CEO, merchants, and P&L. Having said that, e-commerce is a rounding error in the US market. Walmart will manage $10 billion in online sales this year, which is only 2% of its $469 billion in annual revenue.
  5. Walmart’s online shipping can cost $5-$7 per parcel, while Amazon averages $3-$4 per parcel – a cost differential neck and make a huge difference given the low average order value of an online sale for Walmart.
  6. Still, ecommerce is now a top priority for Walmart. Two thirds of the US population lives within 5 miles of a Walmart, and trucks arrive daily to replenish these stores.
  7. The article maintains that the concept of filling ecommerce orders from stores is not entirely new: Macy’s expects 500 stores to be able to fill online orders by this fall, up from 23% when it began the program in 2012.
  8. For Walmart, ecommerce investments this year will cost $430 million, or approximately $.09 per share. However, executives feel that ecommerce is the future of the company.

Napoleon Hill’s “30 Major Causes of Failure”

  1. Unfavorable hereditary background. Little if anything can be done for people who are born with a deficiency in brain power – other than to associate with highly intelligent people.
  2. Lack of a well-defined purpose in life. There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a definite goal at which to aim.
  3. Lack of ambition to aim above mediocrity. We offer no hope for the person who is simply not willing to pay the price to get ahead in life.
  4. Insufficient education. This is a handicap which may be overcome with relative ease. Experience has proven that the best educated people are often those who are known as self-made, or self educated.
  5. Lack of self-discipline. Before you can control conditions, you must first control yourself. Self mastery is the hardest job you’ll ever tackle.
  6. Poor health. No person may enjoy outstanding success without good health. However, many of the causes of poor health are subject to mastery and control. These include poor diet and lack of exercise.
  7. Unfavorable environmental influences during childhood. “As the twig is bent, so the tree shall grow.”
  8. Procrastination. Do not wait. The time will never be just right. Start where you stand.
  9. Lack of persistence. Most of us are good starters, but poor finishers. There is no substitute for persistence.
  10. Negative personality. There is no hope of success for the person who repels people through a negative personality.
  11. Lack of controlled sexual urge. Sex energy is the most powerful of all the stimuli which move people into action.
  12. Uncontrolled desire for “something for nothing.” This gambling instinct drives millions of people to failure.
  13. Lack of a well defined power of decision. People who fail to reach decisions will be hogtied to failure.
  14. One or more of the six basic fears, including the fear of poverty, the fear of criticism, the fear of poor health, the fear of loss of love, the fear of old age, or the fear of death.
  15. Wrong selection of a mate in marriage. A very common cause of failure. A poor marriage can be marked by misery, unhappiness, and destroy all signs of ambition.
  16. Over caution. The person who takes no chances generally has to take whatever is left when others are through choosing.
  17. Wrong selection of associates in business. We emulate those with whom we associate most closely. Pick an employer who is worth emulating.
  18. Superstition and prejudice. Superstition is a form of fear, in addition to a form of ignorance.
  19. Wrong selection of a vocation. No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like. Pick an occupation into which you can throw yourself wholeheartedly.
  20. Lack of concentration of effort. Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.
  21. The habit of indiscriminate spending. Money in the bank gives one a very safe foundation of courage.
  22. Lack of enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm, one cannot be convincing.
  23. Intolerance. Intolerance means that one has stopped acquiring knowledge. The most damaging forms of intolerance are those connected with religious, racial, and political differences of opinion.
  24. Intemperance. Overindulgence is fatal to success.
  25. Inability to cooperate with others. More people lose their positions and their big opportunities in life because of this fault than for all other reasons combined.
  26. Possession of power that was not acquired through self effort. Quick riches are more dangerous than poverty.
  27. Intentional dishonesty. There is no substitute for honesty. There is no hope for the person who is dishonest by choice. Sooner or later, his deeds will catch up with him.
  28. Egotism and vanity. Fatal to success, both.
  29. Guessing instead of thinking. Most people are too indifferent or lazy to acquire the facts required to think accurately.
  30. Lack of capital. A common cause of failure among those who start out in business for the first time.

Ecommerce Executive Job - Madison, WI

Job Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • 5-7 years of experience eCommerce
  • Current Bicycle industry experience required
  • Travel domestically and internationally
  • Thorough understanding of e-commerce, product development, project management, advertising and promotion, brand management, public relations, and market research
  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills. Strong written communication skills (written and verbal) with great attention to detail.


Interesting mid-level ecommerce job in Madison, Wisconsin. Lots of excellent, reasonably priced candidates in that market, however some may not apply because this spec is unnecessarily tight. Note the job requirement “current bicycle industry experience required.”

Note to ecom hiring managers:  Think about the size of your candidate pool before you write a job posting. With each requirement, you are shrinking the size of the pool.

Remember the Venn diagram from high school? Here you have a Venn diagram with 6 overlapping circles, the most constraining of which is the requirement for bicycle industry experience.

All the company is doing with this requirement is suppressing response.


PS – The company would have been much better served by listing a position title in the headline, such as Director of Ecommerce, Ecommerce Manager, etc. The lack of specificity will be a turnoff to knowledgeable candidates, as it indicates that the company isn’t sure of how much of a priority ecommerce should be to the business.

Bad News for Insurers …

The AMA voted to recognize obesity as a disease, thereby defining 33% of Americans as ill.

3 Things Great Social Marketers Do That the Rest of Us Don't


  1. Great social marketers track for conversion. 90% of brands measure social in terms of likes, number of followers, etc. But only 31% ever measure it against sales. Potential reach, when it comes to ROI, doesn’t mean much. Clicks are awesome, but they are not themselves an indicator of ROI.
  2. Great social marketers uncover the reasons for low engagement. Lack of engagement doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your users, or even your content. Only in-depth research and analysis of users uncovers the who, what, how, and when of user engagement.
  3. Great social marketers remember that personal brands are at stake. Users engage with brands that reflect favorably upon them personally. Additionally, users tend to care more about whom they are sharing with versus what they are actually sharing. Every social action is a reflection of a user’s personal brand, and few things take precedence over users own image. If you are brand or your campaign are lame, users won’t share for fear of looking lame.

4 Reasons Content Creators Should Celebrate Google Penguin 2.0

Key takeaways:

  1. Marketers who produce valuable, problem solving and / or entertaining content, both earned and owned, have nothing to worry about.
  2. If you don’t have a linkable asset, now is the time to start working on one. Consider e-books, guides, studies, and white papers as starting points.
  3. Google is doing a better job of detecting when someone is more of an authority in a specific space. Google maintains a very short list of these websites, called Hilltops. To earn a link from a Hilltop site requires link bait that is remarkable, entertaining, or problem-solving. It must also be relevant.
  4. Google’s stated objective is to promote authoritative websites. If Panda slammed your website, there are some ways to reverse its effects,  including social mentions; mentions from news curaration websites; inclusion from news aggregation websites such as Huffington Post; and citation by certain print publications.

Earned media and digital PR can help you recover from Panda.

Mobile PPC Advertising: 25% more calls, 103% more conversions using these 5 tips

Use of search engines on desktop computers may have peaked. Mobile search is exploding. Marketers are positioning themselves by buying more mobile paid search ads.

Mobile Devices Now Make Up About 20 Percent of U.S. Web Traffic (AllThingsD)


The Spiral of Silence According to the Spiral of Silence media theory, people tend to remain silent when they feel that their views are in the minority. The model is based on three premises: 1) people have a “quasi-statistical organ,” which allows them to know the prevailing public opinion, even without access to polls; 2) people have a fear of isolation and know what behaviors will increase their likelihood of being socially isolated; and 3) people are reticent to express their minority views, primarily due to fear of being isolated.

The closer a person believes that his or her opinion is similar to the prevailing public opinion, the more they are willing to disclose that opinion publicly. As the perceived distance between public opinion and a person’s personal opinion grows, the more unlikely the person is to express their opinion.


Why Quora Won’t Scale - SocialTimes

SEO - SEO 101: The 23-Point SEO Checklist - Bruce Clay

Jun 7

ATTEND CONFERENCES: "10 Ways to Revitalize Your Blog" (Fathom Delivers)

Jun 6

PPC Q&A: "What are some keywords (positive or negative) and/or messaging that you find work well during the summer?" (Matthew Umbro)