Last week, Forrester released a new report that detailed the rate of growth for the eCommerce industry for the next five years, estimating a compound annual growth of 9%. This increase in online retail sales, which closed out 2012 at $231B is anticipated to rise to $262B in 2013 and continue through 2017 where Forrester predicts it will hit $370 Billion. There are two factors cited as the drivers of this growth...

In a recent article by Kivi Leroux Miller, "You Might Need New Tech More than New Staff," she shares her research for an upcoming book and makes the assertion that, "organizations that are most successful at using content to engage their communities consider the combination of a good CRM (customer relationship management software), CMS (website content management system), email and e-commerce technology to be just as important to their success as having thoughtful and creative staff members who can write well." In our work developing content management platforms for nonprofits, we have found this to be true. Talent is definitely essential, but a strong, highly integrated platform from which you can manage communications and membership data will ensure that even a limited staff can reach their goals. 

There has been a lot of talk about Cyber Monday for online merchants, but the eTail holiday season truly kicks off right after the Thanksgiving dishes are put away on Thursday and continues through the weekend in what has been dubbed the Cyber Five. This year, eCommerce sites saw a significant increase in sales over last year during that time with comScore reporting a 32% increase over 2011 for shopping on Thanksgiving day. As an online retailer, it's important to take note of this upward trend and consider the drivers of online spending as well as what people were buying to help increase your profits for this and coming holiday seasons.

The holiday season is upon us again and the important day that kicks everything off is close at hand – Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving has traditionally become the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Retailers all over the country capitalize on this traditional day by heavily targeting shoppers with advertising and discounts. For an online retailer, this is one of the most important days of the year. Below are some tips for preparing your store for the rush and making the most out of Black Friday.

It's not yet Halloween and the first holiday commercial has already hit the air waves. Though you're still six weeks out from Thanksgiving, now is the time to ensure that your eCommerce website is ready for the spike in online activity that typically commences on Cyber Monday.

The usability and perceived security of your checkout process can be the difference between abandonment and sales. A recent study by Smashing Magazine explores the current state of eCommerce checkout design for the top 100 grossing eCommerce website. They uncovered some interesting findings that will help you to determine if you need to make some changes in order to reduce your abandonment rate. Here are some of the highlights:

Too often when people think of developing their websites for mobile, they limit that thinking to smartphones. In fact, tablet use is not only on the rise, but for eCommerce site owners out there, online shopping via these devices has risen significantly in the past year while desktop use has dropped. In March 2012 alone more than 40 million Americans visited Amazon via tablet or smartphone. A recent Adobe study showed that one tablet generates as many website visits as four smartphones.

I recently stumbled upon the following infographic from http://visual.ly/. It gives an overview of the history of eCommerce from the first electronic transactions to today. eCommerce come so far since the days of teleshopping and Netscape, with online stores now offering everything from bagels to a zombie apocalypse survival kit. So, what's next?

Out of the box, Magento is one of the most powerful ecommerce platforms available. There are many tools available with a base Magento store that make online retail simple for stores all over the world. The added value with this platform is the amount of extensions available to a store owner. Most of these extensions are low in cost and easy to install. Several extensions available for the Magento platform today can drastically alter the shoppers’ buying experience and increase conversions. Below are just a few extensions that will bring an inexpensive boost to your Magento store.

Late last night I was doing my regular educational search when I found myself at the latest article by Luke Wroblewski on the continually evolving e-commerce checkout - which I highly recommend you read. The best part about the post is that it provides strong data to prove that certain standards that online marketing managers adhere to aren't worth drawing a line in the sand for. It also showed how, based on skill set, people tackle getting conversion rates up very differently from one company to the next.