The Tablet, the Hockey Stick and the Future of Online Shopping

First there was the traveling salesman, then the mail-order catalog. Then, TV shopping networks made it even easier to shop right from the comfort of your own home. When the internet came around, we thought that was the ultimate home shopping experience, but it’s about to go one better. Forrester’s new white paper says the tablet is going to be the next big thing in e-commerce, trumping even the much talked about mobile phone.

Though only 9% of web shoppers currently own tablets, Forrester expects to see a “hockey stick” develop for adoption stats over the next five years. A hockey stick. You know, a short, slight rise from the tip to the heel then a near vertical rise four times the size. (I assume that’s what they mean, someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)

Think Women and Tech Don’t Mix? Think Again

Since the invention of the calculator watch, it’s always been noted that men are more comfortable with tech than women. Well, not anymore. New research for Women at NBCU shows that 75% of women disagree with that statement and they have the online presence to prove it.

The survey shows that on social networking sites, women have more brand friends and social friends. “They check their profiles four or more times each day and spend 3.3 hours online daily for non-work related activities.”

Other results include:

  • Proliferation of flash sales: 87% of women prefer a one-day deep discount to a moderate weeklong sale.
  • Privacy: An overwhelming 91% of respondents would give their email for a discount, 50% are willing to give their phone number, and 25% would share their GPS location.

StumbleUpon Tests New Explore Feature

Last week, I made a prediction that StumbleUpon was on the way up again as a useful tool in the online marketing arsenal. Now, they just did themselves one better with a feature called “Explore.”

Currently, the only option for discovering new pages is to choose a general category such as parenting or marketing. With Explore, you can drill down to a specific keyword like “strollers” or “email marketing software.”

The problem with StumbleUpon traffic is that it’s never been highly targeted so it results in a large number of junk hits. But with the Explore feature, the results are so much more relevant that they could actually turn into conversions.

No Rise in Back-to-School Spending Says NRF

Back-to-school is the second largest seasonal shopping event, but this year it’s barely holding its own. New numbers from the National Retail Federation show a very slight dip in the expected spend. This year’s average spend for families with kids in grades K-12 is $603.63. Last year, the figure was 606.40 and that includes apparel, school supplies and electronics.

That still adds up to $22.8 billion in sales for the lower grades alone. When you add in college buying, the number climbs to $68.8 billion.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says,

“Families aren’t opposed to spending on what they need, but parents want their children to take a good look around at what they already have before deciding what to buy for back to school this year.”

Introducing the Google Adwords Card; Buy Now, Regret it Later

Google is always looking for ways to make life easier for the small business owner. They know that the cost of running a major Adwords campaign can be prohibitive for the mom and pop shop but they have a solution.

Introducing the Google Adwords Mastercard! No monthly fee, low finance rate, high credit line and only one restriction – you can only use it to buy ads on Google.

In theory, it’s a good idea. Most people need to advertise when they can least afford it, which is prior to their big season. With the Adwords credit card, you can place your ad during the low income month of August and reap the rewards when the holiday shopper money starts rolling in.

4 Twitter Product Managers Have Left the Building

Twitter is in the news for two different, but possibly related stories. First, sources are reporting that the network is close to “completing an $800 million funding deal that will include a second part in which around $400 million of the total will be used to cash out current investors and also employees.”

Second, TechCrunch is reporting that four of the companies key product managers have been let go. TechCrunch sees it as the final stage of cleaning out those loyal to the old regime, but it does seem like an odd time to give that many top people the boot.

In recent months, Twitter has been on an upswing with new advertising programs and a new design. Kicking out the key people who made it so, just before a round of new funding feels weird. Is Twitter planning some radical change in the near future, like upping the character count to an even 200!

Foursquare Pushes Notifications and Blackberry Update

I just got an email from Foursquare telling me that I am member #4,688,605. They say it’s something I can brag about to my grandkids as they cruise by on their hoverboards. Points for a sense of humor. I like that.

They then go on to tell me about some new features, which I am here to tell you about. First, for all you Blackberry fans, Foursquare 3.0 is now available. It comes with a slicker interface and includes the new Explore feature. Explore is now the best thing about Foursquare. By tapping an activity such as drinks or shops, the app automatically offers up the best choices in your area based on your prior check-ins and those of your friends.

The Blackberry update also includes access to daily deal sites and a leaderboard.