RSS Made Simple

November 13th, 2005


Originally published in Multichannel Merchant

An RSS feed is merely an XML file that you host on your Web server â?? it kind of looks like HTML code. But don’t let its simplicity fool you; in the hands of a sophisticated marketer, the potential applications for RSS are huge.

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Online retailer and first-time attendee reflects on

September 24th, 2005


Steve Spangler of leapt in — boots and all! First time attendee and speaker on my panel “What Happened when eTailers dove into Blogs, Podcasting and RSS” at in Las Vegas last week, Steve didn’t let the thought of mingling with billion dollar online retailers intimidate him. And he has a message for all those more modest online retailers — be there next year! His head still hurts, because there was so much to learn.

Steve says:

There was so much information that I filled an entire reporter’s notebook. And I also asked myself: “How is it that we are surrounded by people who are so smart?” In a culture where the Internet is changing so quickly, and everybody has got their different spin on what’s happening, I realized there were 1500 people there, 1499 of whom knew more than I did about on-line retail.

To get to have breakfast with the Internet Marketing Director of Best Buy, or the guy from CNET, or, these people were willing to share their best practices in an open and frank way. I learned how to increase clickthrough rates. Conversion rates. Landing pages. I was overwhelmed by what people were willing to share with us. What was so refreshing was that the major players were extremely honest with one another as well!

There is no magic bullet, nor one thing that anybody can do to make their website search better look to their customers. A website is a living breathing being. You have to feed it, nurture and care for it. Just like raising kids. We are all excited when a child is born, and then it grows and we get into the serious business of parenting.

Walking the exhibit hall for the first time in my life, I visited a booth called BillMeLater. They offer a great service, but don’t take on any company doing less than $15 million in on-line retail. We’re a little smaller than that! But it certainly was eye opening.

From the standpoint of finding out what a landing page was, and what caused people to stay on that page – that was the best takeaway from the whole conference. We were in the process of doing a product page redesign, and what I took away from that session changed what we put on that page. What would be the #1 factor on that page? Price? Shipping? Trust? Answer: Free shipping ?Ĭ or some form of shipping discount. An orange “free shipping!” logo or box drew the greater conversion rate. The key is to get people to put their credit card in and drive those sales.

Kelly Mooney’s “Gender Agenda” session provided a great insight into website viewing habits. The guys tend to stay predominantly on one site, 3 or 4 clicks just to compare prices. To women, however, it is an incredibly enjoyable experience, many taking 20 minutes to browse for products other than their initial reason for visiting. That sort of information is important to an on-line retailer. I have got a lot of work ahead of me.

As for my own panel presentation with Stephan, I looked out at that audience and saw people from those huge billion dollar retailers thinking that this blogging lark could be something we are going to have to explore.

Listen to my podcast interview with Steve after for his full and frank views on this remarkable event. And take on board his recommendation: Be There Next Year!

Alternative Marketing Case Study: What Happened When Etailers Dove into Blogs, Podcasting and RSS Annual Summit — Las Vegas, NV

September 13th, 2005

Panel Moderated by

See the results of actual trials and implementations of alternative marketing techniques used to drive online sales. Learn how online retailers,, and Steve Spangler Science have utilized alternative marketing tactics such as blogs and RSS feeds to expand their marketing reach and build customer loyalty. Panelists will share tips on executing a successful campaign, implementation costs, and how to measure the impact of these new marketing tactics. A must-attend session for retailers looking for alternatives to increasingly expensive online marketing tactics such as SEM. Retailers looking for alternatives to increasingly expensive online marketing tactics such as SEM must attend this session.

Stephan Spencer, President, Netconcepts

Pinny Gniwisch, EVP Marketing,
Seth Greenberg, CEO, eHobbies
Steve Spangler,


June 1st, 2005

micronAir screenshotA brand microsite for Freudenberg. Freudenberg manufactures cabin air filters that help remove dust, pollutants and odors from a vehicle’s passenger compartment, enhancing driving comfort and improving air quality. With this site, built by Netconcepts, microAir are able to offer their customers easy access to product information and the ability to purchase products online with no hassle. With the touch of a button the site can add, edit and remove products, view orders and process online credit card payments.

[ database | client admin cms | SEO ]

Visit The Site: micronAir

Blogging for Dollars

June 1st, 2005


Originally published in Multichannel Merchant

Blogging is one of the hottest trends on the web. A new blog is created every 5.8 seconds but, curiously, catalogers and retailers are notably absent from the “blogosphere” — the online blogging world. By lagging behind on this new trend, they’re missing a key opportunity to actively participate in the global online conversation that’s now happening without them.

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REI boosts sales via keywords

May 25th, 2005

Originally published in DM News

Outdoor equipment and clothing company REI used SEO to boost its sales after seeing its competitors achieve consistently higher rankings in the search engines than they were.

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Multichannel Marketing Power Forum

Annual Catalog Conference — Orlando, Florida

May 23rd, 2005


Multichannel Merchant editorial director, Sherry Chiger will moderate. Learn about the latest news, trends, and opportunities in multichannel marketing from a panel of leading-edge experts, and take away tips for improving sales and profits.

Sherry Chiger, Editorial Director, Multichannel Merchant Magazine
Amy Africa, President, Creative Results
Ken Burke, CEO, MarketLive Inc.
Founder & President: Stephan Spencer, Netconcepts

March 2nd, 2005 screenshotThis ecommerce site offers a range of items from cabinet hardware to telephone booths and from rubber duckies to magnificent clawfoot bathtubs. offers original restored antiques as well as flawless replica pieces perfect for any home or office. Visitors are greeted with their own account pages and an easily navigated shopping cart experience.

[ database | client admin cms | SEO ]

Visit The Site: Antique Hardware


February 1st, 2005

DineWise screenshotOur work with DineWise, a one-stop shop for all your online gourmet frozen food needs, focused on building them a successful E-Commerce platform. DineWise offers chef-prepared meals in convenient, individual packaging that are ready in minutes. This required high-level database integration to handle the complexity of the DineWise product line, while offering user-friendly, customized meal planning to online purchasers. The development and launch of has allowed DineWise to become one of the nation’s premier online providers of complete meal solutions, specializing in customized meals and meal planning for diabetic and healthy lifestyles.

[ database | client admin cms | SEO ]

Visit the Site: DineWise

Cracking the US Market: Kiwi Businesses Share Their Secrets

AmCham Breakfast — Auckland, New Zealand

December 7th, 2004


Four speakers from leading companies give you the good oil on how to succeed in the USA!

Speaker #1: Neville Jordan, Executive Chairman, Endeavour Capital
Neville Jordan, CNZM, is the Executive Chairman of venture capital company Endeavour Capital. He founded Lower Hutt-based MAS Technology in 1976, growing it into a $100 million-a-year exporter which successfully listed on the NASDAQ in 1997. Neville was recently inducted into the NZ Hitech Hall of Fame. As an entrepreneur who has “been there and done that” in the US market, Neville will share practical hints and tips on selling into, and doing business with the US.

Speaker #2: Dr Paul Cossum, CEO, Proacta
Dr Paul Cossum is CEO of Auckland start-up cancer drug developer Proacta, which was named Biotechnology Company of the Year in the 2004 Westpac New Zealand Hi Tech Awards. Paul has 20 years of drug development industry experience in the US. He was most recently Executive Vice President of Drug Development at San Diego-based NewBiotics Inc. Paul will offer insights on attracting investment from US companies, as well as outline some of the pros and cons of setting up shop in the US.

Speaker #3: Stephan Spencer, Managing Director, Netconcepts
Stephan Spencer is the founder and managing director of Netconcepts, an online marketing and web development company specialising in e-commerce, website auditing and search engine optimisation. With headquarters in Browns Bay, Auckland, and offices in Madison, Wisconsin, Netconcepts delivers interactive services to US clients such as AOL and Verizon. Stephan brought Netconcepts to NZ from the US in 2000. He has successfully grown operations in the U.S. and is in an ideal position to provide, from an American’s perspective, unique insights for NZ businesses on how to best operate and market themselves in the U.S.

Speaker #4: Nigel Kirkpatrick, CEO, Industrial Research Limited
Nigel Kirkpatrick is the CEO of Industrial Research Limited, New Zealand’s leading industrial scientific research company. Nigel has substantial international business development experience. Before returning home to New Zealand in 2002 to head up IRL, he was the Zurich-based global innovation leader for DiverseyLever.
The US is a key market for IRL and one where it has been successful in winning key contracts.