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ShopLocal Adds Wish List Component

Have you made your holiday gift list yet? Not the list of things you need to buy for others, the list of things you want other people to buy for you. ShopLocal is making it easier with a new gizmo they’re adding that connects their Smart Circulars to Facebook, natch.

I couldn’t find a picture of the “Gift Me This” widget in action, but it’s likely just a rebranded version of the graphic you see right here. When a consumer flips through the online version of a ShopLocal circular, they have the ability to choose items and send them to Facebook. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to spread the word about a bonus offer on a DVD from Best Buy or a cool deal on recyclable paper at Staples.

Cause Marketing Creates Consumer Loyalty

Ford announced yesterday, that it’s teaming up with Web radio station Pandora for a new cause marketing campaign involving Jewel and John Legend. The program surrounds Ford’s new Sync system that allows you to stream audio from a mobile device through the car’s speakers. When consumers visit Pandora they’ll be asked to share songs from either of the two artists and for each song shared, Ford and Pandora will make a donation to charity.

According to a survey by Cone LLC, as reported on by Adweek, this move will help endear Ford to car buying consumers. 41% of the people surveyed this past July said that they’ve purchased a product or service because it was associated with a cause. 85% went so far as to say “When a product or company supports a cause I care about, I have a more positive image of the product or company.” More than half the people said a donation to a cause would make them willing to “try a new brand or one they’ve never heard of.” That’s a huge kick to brand loyalty.

Retailers Seeing Social Media Value

Retailers have been using social media to their benefit. It seems, however, as if they took this path not because they could lure more people to them but because that’s where the people were already. Not exactly cutting edge thinking (since reacting to a situation rather than creating a need is less desirable) but it is what it is.

eMarketer reports on a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group that gives some insight into retailers and their use of social media. First, a look at why they are there in the first place.

comScore Ranks Top 10 Gaining Site Categories

Back-to-school and the approaching football season helped books, sports and apparel gain a foothold in August says comScore Media Metrics. The new report takes a look at US web activity in the month leading to a list of the top 50 web properties and the top ten categories.

Retail book sites were the biggest winners in August with an 11% percent increase of July as folks left the beaches and went back-to-school. While Barnes & Noble continues to close brick and mortar stores, their online site was the most visited in this category. 8.3 million people stopped by, up 13% from July.

Staples.com rose 5% which they attribute to school supply shopping. Office Depot rose 20% and OfficeMax rose 32% but is still well behind in total shoppers.

Deloitte Says Non-Stores Will Rule This Holiday Season

A 2% increase in holiday sales may not sound like much, but with unemployment still running rampant through the US, it’s good news for retailers. Financial consultants Deloitte, are joining those that went before them saying that there will be an increase in spending this year and that much of it will be due to the online sector.

Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist says,

“Should consumers receive good tidings later this season in the way of falling energy prices or additional stock market gains, they may be able to lend retailers a bit more holiday cheer. However, given the unsteady pace of economic recovery, retailers should expect only a small uptick in holiday sales this year.”

For Those Who Abandon Shopping Carts

Tell the truth. Have you abandoned a shopping cart this week? I’m not talking about the people who leave actual carts in the middle of the parking lot when there’s a corral two feet away. (Though they annoy me, too.) I’m talking about the 70% of shoppers who load items into a virtual cart on a website only to walk away without buying anything.

We all do it. Ironically, I was going to do it today simply to see if the online store I was buying from would offer me an incentive to come back and finish. I decided not to count on it and it’s a good thing. According to an article on eMarketer, only 35% of marketers send out a remarketing email to people who showed an interest but didn’t follow through. Odds are the small site I was buying from wasn’t part of that 35% but they might be in the future.

New Report: Making the Most of Transactional Emails

According to a new Experian Marketing Services report, transactional emails that include relevant and related products and services have 20%  higher transaction rates than those without.

Blown away, aren’t you? Okay, probably not. It’s no big marketing secret that suggestive selling and cross-promotions work, so why doesn’t everybody do it?

Let’s go back to basics. A transactional email is one that a customer expects. Could be an order confirmation, a shipping notice or information on returns and exchanges. Experian analyzed more than 1,800 emails of this type that were sent through their CheetahMail system and found that more than 100% of the time (how is that possible?) these emails are opened by the recipient. You won’t find anywhere near that kind of open rate on bulk emails.