Marketing Pilgrim's "Shopping" Channel

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LivingSocial Flexes Amazon Muscle

It’s interesting here at Marketing Pilgrim to watch what our readers will push out to their social network through retweets and what they comment on. One thing I noticed is that whenever we talk about Groupon there is great interest but crickets if we talk about LivingSocial.

Well, here’s something that will catch your attention. Remember the $183 million investment that LivingSocial received? Did you notice that $175 million of it came from Amazon? Do you think that Amazon might have the muscle to make Groupon flinch? If they make offers like this one today they will (Hat Tip to Business Insider).

You may miss the deal but it might be worse to think Groupon will continue to have no real competition. I suspect Amazon might have something to say about that, don’t you?

Will Groupon CEO Video Apology For Deal Gone Wrong Be A Regular Deal?

The “Can’t do anything wrong these days” company is Groupon. With the talk of a $15 billion IPO in the offing and the fact that they have been handed the crown of the “Next Big Thing” (or “Greatest Indicator of a new Bubble” depending on who you listen to) the video below from CEO and co-founder Andrew Mason can give some insight into what many feel is happening with Groupon deals more often than we know.

The background is that a ‘Groupon’ went pretty poorly in Japan and Groupon is trying to silence the storm in Japan and get everyone back to ‘Groupon normal’. Right now it’s not. Here’s Mason’s apology.

Don’t Count Out LivingSocial As It Buys Majority Stake In European Deal Site

In the online deal space there is no doubting that Groupon is the 800 lb gorilla of the bunch. They have just received a whole lotta cash for their operations and their shareholders and are busy buying up competitors.

Every space, however, has its initial competitors that put up a fight for a piece of the pie. In the case of location based services, Foursquare has (or better said had?) Gowalla to push them. In search, there is Ya-Bing trying to play the well-funded David to Google’s Goliath. In social there is Facebook and….well, forget social. So anyway, in the online deal space LivingSocial is trying to stay in the game against Groupon. They have received a healthy $183 million investment themselves and it appears they are putting it to use.

Google Goggles Upgrade Now Recognizes Print Ads

Google Goggles is a smartphone app that allows you to use an offline photo to search for items online. Point your phone at the Empire State Building and zoom, your phone delivers a list of websites with everything you ever wanted to know about the landmark. Take a photo of a brand logo and you’ll be wisked to the company’s website.

Nifty, huh? But it gets better. Now you can take photo of an ad in any major newspaper or magazine and Google will return search results for the product being advertised. Picture it. So there you are in the doctor’s office, flipping through People magazine and you see an ad for the latest Glee CD. Snap a picture, follow the links and thirty seconds later you’re listening to peppy cover of Toxic on your iPhone. Talk about impulse buying.

Best Buy Gets Friendly with Online and InStore Magazine

Advertising has always been about making a connection with your audience, but thanks to social media, being conversational has become even more important. Best Buy is embracing that concept with the official launch of “Best Buy On,” a chatty tech and entertainment online magazine that will also provide in-store video content.

The tricky part of this whole venture is providing interesting content that doesn’t come across as advertising. Best Buy says they’re also straying away from traditional reviews, lest they get themselves in trouble with their suppliers.

Here’s how they describe the venture:

Online Spending for the Holiday Up 15.4%

Now that Christmas 2010 is behind us it’s time to look at just how well the holiday shopping season was for the online crowd. If we are to believe the numbers reported by the Wall Street Journal and MasterCard Advisors it was very merry indeed.

According to a WSJ article there are more than one source reporting an increase

The current year’s increase is “a very healthy growth rate and one of the positive stories of 2010,” said Michael MacNamara, vice president of research and analysis at SpendingPulse.

Sales over the Internet now account for about 10% of all retail sales, excluding purchases of automobiles and gas, according to SpendingPulse.

Facebook and Google Expand on Social Shopping

I don’t think of shopping as a social experience, unless it’s a day at the mall with my friends. But when I’m online trying to fill a particular need, I’m not all that interested in sharing my choices with those who follow me on Facebook. Apparently, I’m alone in this because Google and Facebook are both working hard to make shopping a big part of their business.

Back in November, Google bought Boutiques.com. This site groups high-ticket fashion items by celebrity then uses a Likes and Dislikes algorithm to determine which tops, dresses and shoes are good for you. There’s an option to follow each of the celeb boutiques and every item has a share button so you can show those sweet $800.00 shoes to your boss on Facebook to explain why you need a raise.