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Jane Reports on E-tailing

We like stories. Stories make everything more real. More tangible. People relate to stories. Unfortunately for us, we seldom take our own advice and tell stories. This is another case of not telling a story. We have updates on e-tailing, and a reminder that the Carnival of the Capitalists (which we sent a post for, but...maybe too late??) is live today.

Let's look at the state of e-tailing -- that's as opposed to re-tailing, which is a dirt-world effort. E-tailing is what you do online.

Not too long ago, (sounds like the beginning of a story, doesn't it?) we received a report from Internet Retailer on their 2005 Conference and Exhibition held this past June at the Chicago Hyatt Regency.  According to the report, e-tailing is "...large, healthy and fast-growing -- fueled by the emergence of a precision shopping machine--the multi-channel consumer."

We like that description: precision shopping machine. We hope you know what "multi-channel consumer" means; it means consumers who shop online, offline at physical stores, via TV (think home shopping channel and QVC), through catalogs using an 800#, and at garage sales. (we threw garage sales in there to be funny, but...that's another form of shopping, and very popular with the ladies. Maybe you should have a garage sale online...) All being led by the advance of broadband into...well, just about everywhere.

The report also noted that the echo boomers are a force to be reckoned with. Doug Akin, managing partner of Mr. Youth, a marketing agency focued on youngsters born between 1982 and 2002, is quoted saying, "Echo Boomers are "an extremely powerful" force, representing 35% of the U.S. population and $180 billion in annual spending."

We aren't sure, YET, how many of them are girls, but...we suspect, girls are the majority. Here's the key: these kids are more independent and more aware than their parents were at their age. Need we remind anyone that these kids are the first generation to grow up on the web? And, that they want to interact with the sites they visit? However, they still rely on Mom's judgement when it comes to buying -- clothes, health and beauty aids, shoes, food, and more. Conversely, they are apt to be consulted by Mom when she is in the market for a car, or electronics, or lingerie (yes, boomer Moms like to get sexy and may ask a daughter -- or a son! -- what's just right -- we leave the discussion to your imagination and yes, we know the son thing is a long shot, but...it could happen.) A stat on Mr.Youth notes that 70% of college students have their own credit card, but don't be fooled. The $$ to buy still often comes from their boomer parents.

More importantly, the report noted that "e-commerce is in a rut," and that, "merchants need to find ways to differentiate themselves." Jane was impressed by the comments from David Fry of Fry, Inc, and Ken Burke of MarketLive, Inc. According to these gentlemen, too many emails with badly written copy are alienating customers. Additionally, it was said that product-comparison data was becoming more and more essential. The result: give customers the information they need -- and want -- in order to make a purchase. Be creative -- but do it in response to customer request, not for creativity's sake.

Unfortunately, Jane did not see any mention of blogs. We are left wondering -- are these experts living in a cave! They tout personalization but don't mention blogs. They note that echo boomers want an interactive experience, but don't mention blogs -- or podcasting. They talk a good talk, but...while we think they are on the right track most of the time...we're afraid they're walking down the wrong side of the street. Fancy websites with e-commerce ability are so last century! (although, we do think they have their place...it's just that they are so much more powerful with a blog, IOHO.)Miracle_34th_street

That's our report on e-tailing. Just in time for...you know what.("oh by golly have a holly, jolly...")

Don't forget to check out the Carnival of the Capitalists today. Regardless of whether or not Jane's post made it in, this is a fantastic way to find new blogs with powerful content. Content we know will make you sit up and take notice. Be forewarned -- you will want to spend all day at the Carnival, but... pace yourself. You can always click back later in the week.

Until tomorrow, when we will have a Fit by Five to die for, we wish you a good Monday.

What's not to like about that?


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