All Blogs and News (284)

3294932462?profile=RESIZE_480x480Amazon recently announced Launchpad a custom program that helps start-ups “launch, market and distribute” new products on Amazon.  The program is really a re-skinned version of Amazon's Vendor Express, but it's goal is to let smaller manufacturers sell directly to Amazon.  The reason for the re-branding?  Simple - it's cooler and let's them position it as an option for business that were funded by Kickstarter, Circle up, or just an old fashion invention.

Their pitch is that you get to tap into Amazon's massive presence to quickly build your brand leveraging their platform to grow. They are correct - Amazon is the largest online retailer with over 1.4 billion sessions last Christmas.  A recent Forrester survey noted that 50% of American's search for product on Amazon regardless of whether or not they're going to buy on the site.

Any Company needs a presence there and Amazon is positioning Launchpad as the way to do it for start-ups. But is it worth it?   Here's the details you need to k

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Who doesn’t love a good “trends” article at the beginning of a new year? At Yeoman, we’re always glued to the latest tech news, and we’re pleased to present our in-depth trends report for 2016 as a three-part series.
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3294932750?profile=RESIZE_320x320The week between Christmas and New Year’s is often the quietest week for manufacturers and publishers.  Most sales reps are off, warehouses are doing physical inventories, and any retail partners are busy with returns.  If you’re in the office, you’re likely killing time chit chatting or hanging out on LinkedIn. 

However, this is a great week to knock off some key web-centric tasks that every manufacturer or publisher should do at year end.  We’ve compiled our top list of ‘slack week’ clean-up items:

1. Check the ‘Street’ Price for Your Products:  This is a perfect time to take a look at your true online pricing.  We all know that MSRP and List are gamed to support our channels, but very few organizations truly take the time to learn their ‘street’ price.  A great first step to do a price sweep of Amazon, the behemoth engine that B2B, B2C, and institutional buyers now rely upon for price reviews. 

2. Review your Web Analytics:  Google continues to make major updates to their analytics

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3294932487?profile=RESIZE_320x320What if, as a manufacturer, publisher or IT company, you could predict the future? You’d probably start off by predicting how much inventory you need to carry, followed closely by predicting the next products your customers are going to want to buy, so you can have them ready and waiting the next time they hit “search.”

 

Magic? Not really. Impossible? No. Mining the data you already have access to about your customers and web visitors can give you amazing insight into their future behavior and preferences – but only if you capture it and use it.

 

Case in point: Netflix cashes in on their own crystal ball

When Netflix went looking to produce its own TV show to compete with cable, they – like any other business – wanted to be as sure as possible it would be a big hit. But unlike a lot of other businesses, Netflix captures and mines enormously detailed data on their customers. That’s how they predicted that their new series “House of Cards” would be a huge success before they even taped

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, so most manufacturers have 'checked out' on the holiday season.  If you walk around a manufacturer's or publisher's office this time of year, you wouldn't think it's the busiest time of the year. Most organizations are focused on 2016 budgets, new product plans, and 2016 forecasts, with the occasional glance at the POS reports. 

To quote one manufacturer: "all of our heavy activity is leading up to the holidays; our partners take it from there. We don't sell direct." That may have been true in years, past, but original manufacturers have a major impact on holiday sales - regardless of whether or not you sell direct.

A recent study of 5,000 shoppers found that 65% of have visited a manufacturer's website as part of researching a product over the last year. Not presenting your products in a clear, salable, format is just a mistake. Key things you can do this week to help sales include:

1. Polish the product details on your site:  Yeoman

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3294932478?profile=RESIZE_480x480Sometimes even Big Data needs a hand. The latest release of Google analytics has added some great new options for data analysis that every manufacturer and publisher should configure.   For those living in the 80s Google analytics is the #1 web analysis tool used by almost every major manufacturer and ecommerce site.  The product is part of Google's 'suite' of 'free' products designed to bolster their paid search revenue; every tool makes it easier to spend on paid search...

The main benefit to every organization is Google makes this tool available no matter how small your paid search program is.  When properly configured web analytics is truly a window into the behavior of your online visitor.  If configured correctly it can even give statistically relevant insights into their offline behavior too.

The newest features to note:

  1. Custom Brand Term setup:  You can now segment out all of your brand names into their own bucket.  This will filter organic as well as paid search.  This is a
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3294931537?profile=RESIZE_320x320Google has confirmed it - a Buy Button is “imminent.”  The button is expected to be rolled out on mobile devices, and will enable people who click on product ads in search results to buy those products without navigating to a third-party site.  The button, following similar moves by Facebook and Twitter, are a significant departure for the search giant, which has built its business based on ads that link to other websites.

"The rationale is to reduce friction for customers'" said Omid Kordestani, Google’s Chief Business Officer, "making it simpler to complete online purchases."  Trust us, there's another reason - Google is facing significant competition from Amazon and others when it comes to people searching for products and has been steadily moving to be more "direct."  Recent examples include:

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Google > Alphabet

3294932994?profile=RESIZE_180x180Google is restructuring and making a new parent company called Alphabet to manage all its subsidiaries This will allow Google to ‘be more Google’, and will allow all the companies it has acquired to continue to focus on what they do best (technology, life sciences, longevity, drone delivery...). All while still making the company all kinds of money.

I’m no business expert, but it seems like a smart move to me...all the parts working together to make the whole even better.

Plus they’ve got a pretty cool url (of course!): https://abc.xyz/

What does this mean for the rest of us? Time will tell...

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Just Do It - living your motto.  Can a manufacturer sell direct and not kill their channel?  It's a question every manufacturer or publisher asks in every industry  You've heard all the objections:

It will cause too much conflict with our existing channel
We can't fulfill small orders
We won't be able to generate any sales
It will cost too much


Nike had the same questions too, but dug in and took their own logo to heart.  They started a 'direct model' a few years ago; combining online and a retail presence to engage customers directly.  Stores are hard; but online clothing is one of the toughest ecommerce transactions to support; size, color, and fit all require great data or you'll be swamped with massive returns.

How have they done?  How does a 50% increase in online sales sound?  And that's not 50% of 10 million. E-commerce sales surpassed the $1 billion mark last fiscal year.  In fact, their entire direct-to-consumer sales topped $6 billion this year—a full 20% of the company’s t

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3294932413?profile=RESIZE_480x480Any B2B manufacturer or publisher involved with public sector bidding and RFPs knows the model for finding these opportunities has dramatically changed over the last 5 years.  The traditional methods of 'formal' postings in local papers or state publications has vanished.  So too, has been the time honored tradition of keeping a 'bid list' to mail out formal documents.  

Blame the economy and the web.  All states now recognize a 'web posting' as a legitimate public posting that meets the fiduciary responsibilities of the city/town or state.   While this makes it simpler to get the bid out, it creates a mess for those trying to find and respond.

Federal bids have a standardized format and set process for posting, however, when you move down to the state and local level the wheels fall off.

Yeoman tracks over 50 different bid and RFP sites and all of them have slightly different formats for posting and  actively block deep Google crawling of their web.  For these sites, you can't just '

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It’s summer! Are you protecting your skin from the sun? A cool new smart phone accessory that can detect skin cancer early is on the market. The MoleScope is a melanoma-detecting device for your smartphone. It’s a tiny microscope which attaches to the camera on your phone. It then takes a picture of a mole and sends it off for analysis with a team of doctors. If there's any concern, they'll let you know right away. The benefit? Detecting skin cancer early can increase survival rates by 98%. It’s far faster than waiting for a dermatologist appointment, and quite affordable, starting at $100.
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Amazon Tries for B2B Again

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If at first you don’t succeed try, try, again…

Amazon this week announced its "new" Amazon business. The service offers B2B level ecommerce to any qualified business. If that's sounds vaguely familiar it is. Amazonsupply.com was launched back in 2006 after the acquisition of smallparts.com. That was Amazon’s initial entrance into the world of B2B ecommerce.

Unfortunately, the specialty site never really gained traction as a true B2B site when compared to its primary competitors, Grainger, ULine, Global Industrial, etc.

To put these numbers in context, Amazon.com had 2.4 billion visits during this same time period. Therein lies the problem.

It's important to note that Amazon has been successful growing B2B sales, just not Amazonsupply.com. Industrial and Business categories have grown double digit for the last several years.  Yeoman's B2B clients have seen doubling and tripling of sales over the last 5 years.

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The reality is the sales of industrial and B2B goods are being done on Amazon.com n

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3294932022?profile=RESIZE_320x320Join Yeoman's Mike Healey at the 2015 Chief Learning Officer Spring Symposium on April 12th for a review of the major digital trends impacting the education market.  The session is part of a pre-conference event sponsored by our higher education partner Mindmax.  This session is designed for high-ed execs looking to better understand the digital transformation that is impacting their enrollment and recruitment initiatives.  

Institutions continue to struggle with their online presence, often creating a silo'd series of sites that don't integrate with backend systems and ignore the critical 'offline' touches that occur as part of a student's enrollment journey.  The "web" is often dropped onto Marketing without any plans to coordinate activities with enrollment, admissions, or financial aid.  IT is often out of the loop intend to focus on back-end systems that need to be updated for the modern student.

The result?  A disjointed user experience that hinders enrollment.  But there is hope.

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3294932428?profile=originalMarch 20, 2015:  This week was a very rough one for manufacturers and their relationship with Amazon.  Amazon announced they will be ending the 'Amazon Webstore' service in July 2016.  Many people may not realize that Amazon offered a private label web hosting, but Yeoman estimates they host almost 2,000 sites.  Many of these sites are original manufacturers like Fiskars, Cuda, Black and Decker, Eclipse, Lacoste, Remmington, Sesame Street, and Isaac Mizrahi to name a few.

For a manufacturer, the appeal was clear:  A world class hosting platform that uses the exact same product data they have to create to be successful on Amazon.  Amazon leads B2B and B2C when it comes to product details online, an area that all manufacturers have struggled with since the internet evolution started.  They have to create high quality data to get on Amazon, why not leverage it for their own site.

A recent UK study found over 67% of buyers visit branded pages to find out information about a product BEFORE

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Recently the US Commerce Department released estimates that Web Sales for 2014 were up 15.4% from $264 Billion to $304 Billion. This is the 5th year in a row that online sales growth has been right around 15% or more each year.  Online sales continue to grow and gain momentum year after year and bear in mind that this is a very conservative estimate. This number does not reflect B2B sales, music downloads or movie purchases, just to name a few big number$ that are omitted from this total.  For more on this: http://bit.ly/1AkWS3r .

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Amazon Re-positions for B2B

3294931437?profile=RESIZE_320x320Amazon wants more B2B and used their holiday boost to try and jumpstart the program.  Many Amazon visitors (mostly businesses users) started seeing new ads for Amazon for Business service.  This is a re-labled version of their existing Amazon Supply (www.amazonsupply.com) service that has been around for a few years.  The Company has seen some of its fast growth in traditionally B2B categories - industrial supplies, office equipment, basic medical supplies, etc.  The issue for Amazon has always been their inability to support what a business wants - purchase orders, multiple users, and a phone number to call.

Enter Amazon Supply.  Launched back in 2012 it was positioned as a 'Grainger killer' and would woe the industrial world. The separate site even has a phone number for users to call.  Flash forward two years later and the site still says "BETA" and it's monthly traffic barely cracks 100,000 visits (source compete.com data)  So is the push to B2B and industrial a failure?  Hardly. 

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3294931953?profile=RESIZE_320x320 This post was originally published 5 years ago.  Today JC Penney announced they were bringing back catalogs.  It took them almost 5 years to realize what Yeoman has always said; customers shop in a multi-channel way and can't be forced into 'online or offline' mode. 

Original Post: JC Penney may now join the list of retailers, manufacturers, and publishers who have mistakenly assumed they can go 'all in' online and abandon one of their traditional channels.  In this case, JC Penney has opted to exit the traditional catalog business to focus on e-commerce.

Big mistake for several reasons.  First, as all Yeoman customers know, the web is not an 'either or' type of situation.  There are multiple studies that prove all types of purchasers move seamlessly between online and offline purchasing options, often using the web or a catalog for research, then purchasing in completely different manner, whether its a sales rep or retail outlet.

Traditional sales tracking simply doesn't have the cap

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Upgrading Your Car's Technology

3294931604?profile=originalFor those of us who have older (technologically challenged) cars, there are now plug-in touchscreens that work like the built-in systems in newer cars.

One example I recently came across is the Parrot RNB6. This 7-inch touchscreen, shown at the 2015 CES, allows owners of ‘older’ cars to update their vehicle’s technology without having to purchase a new vehicle.

This infotainment system offers features like hands-free calling, on-board diagnostics, GPS navigation, built-in dash cam, satellite radio inputs, climate control functionality and much more. What makes it a standout is that it works with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with the simple push of a button.

Price and release date are still unknown, but this is definitely one worth checking out!

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To Sit or To Stand?

3294931601?profile=RESIZE_320x320We’ve probably all read the articles that tell us how bad it is to sit at our desks all day long…how it slows our metabolism, increases the risk of heart disease and cancer, and that excessive sitting can even be lethal.

Companies are starting to pay attention to this and are creating products to help us minimize the amount of time we spend sitting. One such example is the Ikea Standing Desk.

This desk is designed so you can use it in the standard workplace mode sitting in a chair, but it has the added feature of a push button to raise the desk to various heights so you can also stand and work. This is an interesting take on the design because it can be used both ways, rather than just sitting or just standing like other desks. This way, you won’t be confined to sitting at a desk all day long, and you can put it back down when your back and feet get tired from standing. Not to mention it’s quite affordable at less than $500.

If you’d like to read more, or see a product demo, click here

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