Practical Ecommerce

Shop.org 2009 Summit Round Up

Exhibitors, attendees, and speakers at last week’s Shop.org Annual Summit were encouraged and excited about the future of ecommerce, both in terms of growth and technology.

In fact, walking around the convention center at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas seemed to make everyone feel like the industry was on the cusp of rapid change, revenue growth, and even greater consumer acceptance.

In addition to the sessions and keynotes, several companies had newsworthy products or announcements.

RichRelevance and Zugara Show Off Virtual Clothing Rack

RichRelevance, which offers product recommendation engines for enterprise-class ecommerce businesses, and Zugara, an advertising and marketing firm, demonstrated a prototype “virtual rack,” called the Webcam Social Shopper.

The virtual clothing rack at Zugara.com lets customers 'try on' clothing.

The virtual clothing rack at Zugara.com lets customers ‘try on’ clothing.

A form of augmented reality, the “virtual rack” used a simple web camera and basic motion capture technology to create a human-machine interface, simulating the brick-and-mortar experience of holding a item of clothing up to your chest or waist to see how it might look.

The technology is actually nothing new. Most web cameras have had the ability to overlay graphics and track moving objects since at least 2005, but this was a novel way to use the technique and a good example of what the future of ecommerce might look like.

VeriSign Makes EV SSL Clear

According to VeriSign, two thirds of the browsers in use today can display Extended Verification (EV) SSL’s telltale green security address bar. In fact, leading ecommerce businesses like Zappos, Newegg, and Columbia are all using EV SSL to make it easy for consumers to recognize authentic ecommerce sites and avoid phishing scams.

“It is not enough to just provide your customers with great selection and outstanding customer service, which is why we also offer our customers a pleasant and secure online shopping experience that they can trust,” said Saffet Ozdemir, information security officer at Zappos.com.

At its Shop.org booth, VeriSign used a simple quiz to demonstrate just how powerful the EV SSL can be. The company juxtaposed images of sample “real” websites and phishing sites built to trick consumers into giving up personal or even financial data. The comparison made it very clear that EV SSL is important for transactional websites.

Relevant Searches Makes the Case For Structure Search Submission

Relevant Searches, a search engine marketing firm, used the annual Shop.org summit to give examples of how its structured search submission tools could significantly boost site traffic to ecommerce businesses.

“The industry’s dependence upon web crawlers is changing,” said Charles Hentrich, chief scientist at Relevant Searches. “Most people don’t realize that web crawlers can take up to a month to index new pages, which results in stale information, broken links and expired product offers within search results. In addition, spiders will never be as good as merchants at knowing what content and which pages are relevant to their end users. The way to dramatically improve end-user experience is to embrace a structured data feed model which allows merchants to directly augment content in the index rather than passively allow a crawler to select it.”

For many of its customers, Relevant Searches starts by refining landing pages and topics with actual data gleaned from using Yahoo! paid site submission services.

SLI Systems Uses Search to Boost SEO

At the Shop.org Annual Summit, SLI Systems explained how its search solutions could boost ecommerce conversions and help with SEO. Not only does SLI’s search solution improve the quality and relevancy of results that shoppers see, but it can also help with SEO, generating dynamic landing pages for a site’s most popular search terms. Generating dynamic pages is possible in part because of the fact that SLI’s system learns from consumer search behavior.

Mjedi Social Shopping

Mjedi‘s friendly founder and “chief servant,” Chander Chawla, spoke in a very matter-of-fact way as he described his company’s beta tool that lets brick-and-mortar shoppers scan, share, and monitor the products that interest them.

Using a mobile phone, a shopper scans the UPC code from any item at any store, and shares information about or images of the item on Facebook or via text with friends. Mjedi also keeps track of the item’s price and notifies a user if the item goes on sale. In the future, the shopper might even be able to use Mjedi to compare prices online while standing in a physical store.

Mazooma, Just Like Paying Cash

Alternative payment firm Mazooma explained how its service allows online shoppers to make secure cash or cash-like payments, opening new options for shoppers and shielding merchants from some kinds of potential fraud. Although the service does not include recurring or subscription options, it costs little to implement and does provide more opportunity to close a sale.

Summing Up

Taken together with attendees’ positive attitudes, these product and service announcements contributed to a very upbeat experience at the show. If this experience is indicative of ecommerce’s near future, it should be a very good year.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Mike Darnell October 3, 2009 Reply

    Hi Armando,

    After reading your post I was a tad disappointed that in your opinion the growing trend for using video in product listings didn’t make the cut.

    Sure, it’s not something you can address to any single company or expo booth (even though we’d love to think so… ; ), but IMHO regardless the overall lasting effect this is going have is such that it will change the way we all experience online shopping.

    I guess that’s the type of insight I was hoping to read in a summation of such a significant event…

    : )
    Cheers,

    Mike
    Treepodia.com

  2. Armando Roggio October 6, 2009 Reply

    @Mike Darnell, Sorry to have disappointed.