This week’s news: Card payments special

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs and ecommerce.

Today, by coincidence, with a little card payment special – a hot topic for most online retailers.

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Transaction fees can be a major obstacle in retail, both offline and online. Now the European Commission has announced plans to set a ceiling on the transaction fees that banks charge retailers for purchases with credit and debit cards. The move might save retailers 6 billion euros a year according to estimations by EU officials.

Whether consumers will benefit from such a step is far from clear though. The New York Times points out that while the change might motivate retailers to reduce prices, there is a likelihood that banks would try to generate the lost revenue through other channels, such as higher bank and credit card fees or reduced quality in access.

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While we are at it: TechCrunch reported this week that the payment company iZettle – like Twingly based in Sweden – plans to slash transaction prices for card payments from 2.75 % to 1.5 %. To start with only in the UK and only if a small business that uses iZettle’s Smartphone-based card reader to receive card payments generates a revenue of more than £2000 per month. Interesting is the background on this move: The article quotes an iZettle executive saying that the 2.75 % rate which has been widely adopted by most of iZettle’s competitors is a “hangover from the U.S.”, introduced by mobile payment pioneer Square based on local cost structure. That is quite different from Europe though.

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Something that online retailers don’t have to deal with: The question of whether customers authorize their payments by PIN or signature. In most of Europe, PIN has become the prevalent method, whereas in the US signature is being used above certain amounts. Meanwhile, in Australia the two major credit card companies Visa and MasterCard want to see signatures banned by June 30 next year.

PIN authorization requires cards to be equipped with an EMV chip storing that and other information. It’s widely considered being much more secure than the basic magnetic strip. The European Central Bank has just released figures stating that card fraud has been declining steadily since 2007, referring to widespread use of EMV chip-based payments as one reason.

This week’s news: Package delivery, in-store tracking, local commerce

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs and ecommerce.

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Until now, package delivery services were seen as the winners of e-commerce, since they are being used to send products bought online to customers worldwide. But in the U.S. major retailers have now started to experiment with new package delivery strategies that threaten the business of the likes of UPS and FedEx. For Amazon for example, the solution to lower shipping costs is to build warehouses closer to the customers as well as to actually have own delivery trucks which compete with the established delivery services. Major retailers like Wal-Mart on the other hand increasingly ship products purchased by online customers from stores instead from warehouses, removing the need for long-distance delivery.

You can read the full story here.

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But shipping is not the only area where retailers try new things: The New York Times describes the ongoing movement by retailers to gather data about in-store shopper’s behaviour and moods, using video surveillance and signals from customer’s cell phone and apps. With those measures the stores learn how many minutes customers spend in specific sections of the store and how long they browse before they buy something.

It doesn’t come as a big surprise that this leads to a variety of privacy questions, and some customers are pretty irritated about the methods being used.

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Mobile is taking over the shopping experience, now that more than half of the customers own smartphones. Thanks to that trend, commerce is changing, making use of location-enabled smartphones that replace an outdated infrastructure with a digital foundation that finds its roots in e-commerce. Read why local is the future of commerce at streetfight.com.

This week’s news: Traffic boost, conscious consumption

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs and ecommerce.

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No online retailer would say not to additional traffic. But getting it is not trivial, especially since all stores, major and smaller ones, are heavily focusing on search engine optimization. In the end, the top 10 results will always only include 10 results – even if thousands of shops trying to get in there.

Practicalecommerce.com has compiled a handy list of 5 less conventional and less obvious ways to get more visitors to come to e-commerce sites. The article suggests to give away stuff for free to create customer loyalty which will pay off in the long run. It’s also pointing out that there are now a host of sites other than the usual search engines where shops can purchase pay per click advertisement, such as Twitter or YouTube. Two more approaches would be to host contests involving social media channels or actually purchasing traditional advertising. And last but not least, creating entertaining content can lead to a huge influx of new visitors. The best example: the “Will it blend” videos by Blendtec.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAl28d6tbko&w=450&h=315]

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The tech scene is buzzing about a new e-commerce venture by Foodspotting co-founder Soraya Darabi. The site, called Zady, which is scheduled to launch in late August targets consumers who care about sustainability. The goal is to provide users with detailed information about where products come from, who designed/made them, about raw materials and ingredients. The plan is to have every product personally vetted by the Zady crew, in order to only sell products that pass high ethical standards.

Consumers are getting more conscious about what they buy, how products were manufactured and whether they were produced under sustainable, human and fair conditions. It might not be a bad time to jump on the “conscious consumer movement”.

This week’s news: Germany’s blogosphere, Andrew Mason

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs and e-commerce.

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The German blog marketing platform rankseller has conducted a big survey among Bloggers in Germany. It managed to get responses from 2.344 bloggers to a variety of questions. It is unlcear how representative the results are, but due to the significant number of participants they for sure give a clear glimpse into the German blogosphere. Below we are listing a selection of the results:

  • 45,8 percent of the bloggers have been writing on a blog for a maximum of 3 years. That is a clear sign that blogging is growing not only in the Nordics but also in the German speaking region.
  • 71 percent earn money with their blog, but only 38,2 percent planned to from the beginning. Just recently we mentioned how an increasing number of bloggers in Sweden managed to turn their blogs into real revenue machines.
  • 51,3 percent invest less than 20 Euro per month into their blog, e.g. for hosting, themes etc.
  • 15,1 percent have a formal journalism education
  • The most common topics blogged about are “home & gardening” (7 percent), “erotic & love” (6,4 percent) and “health and nutrition” (5,6 percent).
  • 22,4 percent publish only 1 to 4 posts per month. On the other side of the scale, 11,2 percent publish more than 50 articles a month.
  • The most commons ways for bloggers to increase their visibility and reach are SEO (35,4 percent) followed by social media (35 percent).
  • 71,1 percent expect blogging to have an even bigger impact on the media landscape in the future.

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You might remember Andrew Mason, the founder and former CEO of group buying platform Groupon. After having been fired from the Chicago-based company, he now has released a music album of motivational rock tracks. The Verge sums it up like this: “The result is a competent and unremarkable 80s rock record that gains a fair bit of individuality from Mason’s unusual lyrical approach”. “Hardly workin’” is available on iTunes and on-demand streaming services such as Spotify.

If you are founder/CEO of an e-commerce company you now know what your next career step could be.

This week’s news: Returns, Pinterest, Fab

Welcome to our new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the exciting worlds of blogs and e-commerce.

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In the light of the EU Consumer Rights Directive the German Bundestag has implemented new rules for the costs of returning goods. Considering that Germany is one of Europe’s largest e-commerce markets, the changes could affect a huge number of retailers.

The new German law states that consumers will have to carry the costs of returning goods purchased in online shops from Juni 2014. The article on the German IT news site Internetworld (German only) refers to a survey conducted by Trusted Shops according to which 57 percent of 250 German online retailers plan to actually let consumers pay for returns. But that of course also means that there still will be lots of shops that actually cover the costs of returns, even though they are not obliged to. Another survey revealed that 37 percent of German consumers plan to only buy from shops that agree to pay for returns. 55 percent would even stop purchases from their favourite e-commerce sites if they start to require them to pay for returns.

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It’s an open secret that the visual bookmarking site Pinterest with its millions of active users is a driver in e-commerce sales. Now the American fashion retailer Nordstrom wants to find out whether the platform also can drive sales in local stores. In selected shops, products that have been proven to be popular on Pinterest are now highlighted with signs and logos describing them as “top pinned items” on Pinterest. As GigaOm puts it: “It’s one way of telling consumers: ‘This is popular, and here’s how we can prove it to you”.

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Fab, the world’s fastest growing e-commerce site focused on everyday design across, has gotten some bad press this week because of growing pains from its rapid expansion, like massive marketing costs and lower revenues than expected. A Bloomberg article also gave some insights into the special humour of CEO and founder Jason Goldberg, who likes to threaten employees in internal emails not to pay them or to fire them if they don’t follow rules – jokingly according to him. Goldberg later responded to some of the Bloomberg accusations and criticism on his personal blog. To one specific point emphasized by Bloomberg about tough behavioural rules for Fab employees the founder reacted with mentioning a “376-page company manual” which all new Bloomberg hires supposedly are required to study.

Entertaining to read, and informative as well.

This week’s news: Successful bloggers; the future of retail

From now on every Friday we’ll post interesting news from the exciting worlds of blogs and ecommerce here on the Twingly blog – since these two fields are cornerstones of our business and many of our clients are active within online retail.

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This week we stumbled upon a remarkable news piece published in Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri. The paper has done research on who runs Sweden’s biggest blogs, and it also has looked at how much revenue these bloggers generate.

The article concludes that despite the rise of Social Media, in Sweden blogs are bigger than ever. That of course is not the remarkable part – having direct access to the data about blogs we already knew that. But it’s impressive how much income some of the major bloggers in Sweden actually are able to generate from their writing, directly or indirectly, that means through ads and other revenue sources that they were able to access through their regular blogging activities and rise in popularity.

There is for example Katrin Zytomierska who has started to blog six years ago, and whose company now generates about 6 million Swedish Crowns in revenue per year (a bit more than 600.000 Euro). Or “Kissie” who ranks on number 4 in the list of the most visited blogs in Sweden, and who as well has a 7 digit figure income.

The article mentions that Devote, a blog network where some of the leading Swedish blogs are hosted, generates revenue of 16 million Swedish Crowns per year.

So it is safe to conclude that in Twingly’s home country Sweden, blogging is not only growing, but it’s also helping an increasing number of successful bloggers to make a living and to build companies around their self-created personal blogger brands.

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If you want to get some food for thought about the state of the commerce and e-commerce sector, we recommend you to read this short interview with e-commerce expert Gwen Morrison. She explains how retail is changing in the light of the switch to a digital shopping experience, and how mobile is accelerating this trend. The question about the future of offline retailers has gotten more into the spotlight recently, since famous Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen predicted the death of traditional retail.

Link to MQ.se from your blog and get traffic back

The number of e-commerce sites using the Twingly eTrade widget is increasing steadily, and for good reason: The solution encourages bloggers to link to online shopping sites since that creates a backlink back to their blog. Everyone wins, including customers of e-commerce platforms who can access additional information and reviews about products.

mq.se

Today we proudly announce anouther Twingly e-commerce partner: MQ, one of Sweden’s leading clothing stores for women and men. From now on each product profile on MQ.se includes the Twingly widget (like here, click on the Twingly logo to the right) and shows blog posts linking to the particular item. If you run a fashion blog make sure you are linking to products at MQ.se regularly (and to Ping us about it).

For more examples of e-commerce sites that have partnered with us, read “How e-commerce sites use Twingly

Nelly.com integrates with Twingly

We are always very happy when we can announce another e-commerce partner that connects with the blogosphere with the help of Twingly. Only a few days ago we could welcome Yves Rocher to the Twingly family, and today Nelly.com is joining us with its integration of the Twingly widget.

Nelly.com is one of the largest online fashion stores in Northern Europe, offering more than 750 brands throughout a growing number of countries, among them Germany , Austria and The Netherlands.

The integration of Twingly means that on each and every product page on Nelly.com, fashion shoppers can immediately see what bloggers have written about the specific piece of clothing (like here for example, in Swedish). They can click on the links to the blog to read the full post. For bloggers this is a great way of getting additional visitors by covering a product on Nelly.com, linking to it and pinging us. Instead of pinging us, bloggers can also add the link to their blog posts directly inside the widget on the product page.

The Twingly widget at the bottom to the right
The Twingly widget at the bottom to the right

Fashion blogs represent a significant chunk of the whole blogosphere, and fashion bloggers passionately and regularly write about clothes they love. Online fashion stores using our solution can leverage the power, expertise and feedback from the blogosphere and add value to their offerings.

Welcome, Nelly.com!

We welcome Yves Rocher as new Twingly partner

Yves Rocher has recently started to use the Twinly Blogstream widget to show incoming links from blogs to its product pages in the four Nordic countries. We are excited to have this renowned global cosmetics and beauty brand as a partner! Curious to get to know more about the role that blogs and social media play for the company, we spoke to Maiju Romppanen, project manager for social media at Yves Rocher.

You have recently added Twingly to your online shop’s product pages. Tell us what you hope to achieve with showing which blogs have linked to your product pages.
To show links on the product pages is part of our SEO strategy. We hope to attract more links from bloggers when we link back to their blogs. We constantly strive to create interesting content to our product pages. A blog post could give some added value and it can often be the first step to try a new product. Many of the bloggers today have a strong influence on their readers.

What kind of importance does the blogosphere have for Yves Rocher?
Beauty is a hot topic in blogs. Majority of the blogosphere is touching either fashion or beauty. There is no question that being visible is important for any cosmetics brand. By being visible in blogosphere we are able to reach a target group of young females who are interested in beauty. Also, we get in contact with top influencers.

Apart from the Twingly widget – which other activities have you done in the past involving bloggers?
During the fall 2011 we launched a major campaign, The Waterproof Challenge, which involved the most prominent bloggers from each Nordic country. The campaign allowed users to test waterproof make up in a new, engaging and fun way with the help of some of the most popular bloggers in the Nordic countries. We believe that bloggers played a crucial role in this campaign. They are often role models for other girls and they give more credibility compared to traditional marketing methods. Another ongoing activity is the Yves Rocher Review project which involves selected bloggers who has a chance to test Yves Rocher products and review them in their blogs. It is important that the blogger can relate to Yves Rocher’s values and be a good ambassador of the brand.

When opening up to the blogosphere, that means becoming transparent and highlighting both positive feedback but also criticism. How do you prepare for that?
It is important for us to know what our customers think about our brand and products. That is why we are auditing, following and listening what is said and written about us in the social media. To be able to meet our customer’s questions, opinions and even criticism we have created internal processes to manage this effectively. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible towards our customers regarding information and ingredients. Transparency leads to credibility.

Which other social media channels do you use to reach your target group and which are the most important or effective ones?
The most important social media channel for us is definitely Facebook. It allows us to have a conversation with our customers in a totally new way. Today there are almost 300 000 people who are following Yves Rocher brand on Facebook globally. The Nordic Facebook pages were launched pretty recently, so we still have much more to do. However, we can already now see positive results from using social media as a media tool especially when it comes to conversion, viral effects and reaching a new target group.

The Twingly integration is available on your websites in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Do you notice any significant differences between each country’s blogosphere?
The Swedish blogosphere is definitely more developed and larger in terms of the amount of bloggers compared to the other Nordic countries. We can also find more niched blogs in Sweden which is probably the result of the variety and the popularity of blogging in Sweden. However, we can see the same trend in the other Nordic countries that blogging is gaining popularity and interesting blogs are popping up continuously. One thing that for sure is common in all countries is that young girls are dominating!

Yves Rocher is a French company. How closely to you work together with the headquarter in France?
We get a lot of support from the French headquarters and many of the actions are synchronized all over the world. We meet our international colleagues regularly to change experiences and best practices, which is very helpful even though markets often have their differences.

Blog about products on Ginza.se and get linked from a major online shop

Not even two weeks left until Christmas Eve. Maybe some of you bloggers out there would like to show your readers the presents that you are hoping to find under the Christmas tree, and at the same time get traffic from a huge e-commerce site?

In this case we can announce that you now have the chance to do this with yet another online shop partnering up with Twingly to show incoming blog links on its site: Swedish media retailer Ginza.se.

Ginza.se with Twingly integration

On the front page and each and every product page, Ginza.se has placed the Twingly Blogstream widget in the right column, showing you the latest products bloggers have written about and linked to. For consumers it’s a great way to discover products on Ginza.se that are getting attention in the blogosphere. The benefit for bloggers is obvious as well: Visibility on a leading e-commerce site in the Nordics, and thus new visitors.

We welcome Ginza.se to the growing family of Twingly partners.

If you have a blog and want to give it a try, just write about a product available on Ginza.se, link to its product page and ping Twingly (very important!). And who knows, maybe one day you’ll have a nice little present from one of your readers in your mail.