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Small Gains for Small Business

Small business owners aren’t optimistic about the future and they said so loud and clear this past July. The National Federation of Independent Business reports a larger than usual decline in their Optimism Index after what was already a downward spiral going back three months prior.

Given the state of the economy, their dim view isn’t surprising but comScore has some good news to share. Over the last three quarters, small retailers have taken home a larger piece of the e-commerce pie.


Not a staggering gain, but at this point, any gain is good news and this is the first good news since they had a 37.2% share back in Q4 2009.

Retail Takes Top Spot for Online Ad Spending

As you travel around the internet on your daily quest for knowledge, you’ll see a lot of ads and the majority of them will come from the retail industry.

According to numbers from eMarketer, retail will spend an additional $1.3 billion on online ads this year bringing them up to an estimated $6.78 billion. The trend is expected to continue with retail claiming the top spot through with $11.08 billion by 2015.

The up and comer is the consumer packaged good industry, though they currently sit in 5th place for online ad share. In the next few years, eMarketer predicts a rise of 14% to 29% per year. That, combined with a slow down by telecom advertising means CPG will move up a notch by 2015.

Amazon Deals Offered in Groupon’s Backyard

I know, I know. I just asked yesterday whether anyone gave a rip about the deals space. Surprisingly more people than I thought actually did which is good to know.

Today this article from the Wall Street Journal caught my eye not just because of the deals aspect but more from a pure business marketing aspect. Amazon is a monster in the same way that Google is. It has a ton of weight to throw around and it doesn’t mind doing so. It offers local deals in a few markets (Boise, LA and others) just like Groupon does. Amazon invested in Groupon’s biggest competitor. So what better way to pee in Groupon’s corn flakes than to go after their home market of Chicago?

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.)

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.”

Comparing Prices Tops List for Social Media Product Chatter

Hear that? That’s the sound of potential shoppers talking about your product online. What are they saying? According to a new study by ROI Research, mostly, they’re talking about the price.

eMarketer made a nice bar graph that explains it all.

I’m not surprised that “deal” talk is high on the list, but I am surprised that “compare prices” landed so high. I shop online all the time, but I don’t usually go to Facebook to ask if anyone can beat the price of the laptop I want to buy. Apparently, others do, so if your pricing isn’t competitive, you might as well get out of the game.

The big takeaway here, is that nearly half of all respondents are talking about products and services on social media. They’re talking, but are you listening?

Google Offers Goes Coast to Coast (Kinda, Sorta)

Google has floated the Google Offers trial balloon in cities like Portland, OR (which appears to be Google’s guinea pig for all things local) but now it is hitting the true top tier cities with its beta introduction in San Francisco and New York City. So we can say that Google Offers are coast to coast in a “if you ignore most of the middle of the country” sort of way.

This video from the Official Google blog highlights a few of the businesses that are part of this latest offer from Google.

Of course, these classic urban settings are best suited for the on the go offer finder so this is how the cool kids will see offers on their mobile device.