Mass Customization in eCommerce

The idea behind mass-customization is to create specific products based on the customer’s needs and to deliver that product quickly. Personalization is where the customer’s preferences are aligned with the products being advertised.

Personalization is quite common on Social Media like Facebook or Google. If you mention on FaceBook that you’re thinking about buying a car, you will begin to see ads for cars on your FaceBook site. Likely you will also see those ads on Google as they see what topics I’m searching.  What is interesting about personalization is not that neither Google nor FaceBook really care, nor does the advertiser, who you are, they just care that you’ve expressed an interest in a topic. The advertiser has bought certain keywords from either Google or FaceBook so that when those keywords are used that advertisers ads will appear.  The FaceBook user is unknown to the advertiser until the user decides to let the advertiser know their identity.

Knowledge of your interests can be kept in on a cookie that contains as a user profile and is put on your hard drive of your computer, frequently without you knowing about it or without your permission (Turban, 2012). Some sites do it differently. Amazon, for instance, uses your past buying history to determine the ads or suggestion you see. Google just simply relies on current information as you’re browsing. Personalization also extends to cell phones, tablets, and other forms of digital media (Personalization-Wikipedia, 2016).

Mass-customization is where the customer gets to order a product based on their preferences and it is usually delivered within a short period of time (McCarthy, 2004). Dell Computers is a prime example of a company that has mass-customization down to a science (Mass-Customization-Wikipedia, 2016). The customer will place an order for a laptop that contains certain features they prefer. The customer pays for the order via credit card; Dell sends the order to the factory which produces the ordered laptop. The laptop is then shipped to the customer, usually within 1 week. Mass customization aims to deliver customized products while using the efficiency of mass production (Chen, 2009). The idea is to be to control the costs of production while also meeting the demands of the market.

Amazon’s critical success factors are in its basic challenge: How does it sell consumer goods online and show a profit and decent return on investment. Amazon sells in three basic categories: media, electronics, and other products including Kindle, office supplies, cameras, and toys (Turban, 2012). Amazon has to ensure that it is the innovator in the field constantly staying ahead of the competition in offering a broad variety of products, make it easy to buy from them and even allow the customer to easily return products when not satisfied. This is a good strategy as it makes it a one stop shop online. One just needs to look at Wal-Mart or Target to see the success of one stop shopping. By making it easy to do business with them, Amazon makes it the destination of choice whenever one is shopping, wherever one is shopping. The shopper can access Amazon via their smartphone in Wal-Mart and do comparison shopping right on the spot; even buy it while standing in the store. All of this makes it so that Amazon will continue to grow into the foreseeable future (Amazon-Wikipedia, 2016).

Having recently bought an iPhone 6S+ I was able to go to the Apple website and view the phone, see the different features, and weigh various price breaks. From their website I was able to make the decision between the smaller versions versus the bigger versions by viewing the differences online. But full trust in what I was buying didn’t occur until I went to the Apple store to actually touch and feel the product.

One way that online retailers have solved the problem of trust is by allowing shoppers to buy and easily return, satisfaction guaranteed. Zappos is a prime example of where a customer can buy several sizes of the same shoe, try them on, and return those items that don’t satisfy (Zappos-Wikipedia, 2015). Online trust is difficult to achieve due to the fact that a potential customer cannot touch or examine the product. Without a good return policy, many people will simply not buy the product. Another good policy is allowing customers to rate the product. Amazon encourages and publishes customer opinions on their purchases because they know it encourages others to buy.

References: – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016, February 11). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from
Chen, S., Wang, Y., & Tseng, M. (2009). Mass customisation as a collaborative engineering effort.

International Journal of Collaborative Engineering, 1(1), 152.

Mass customization – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016, January 4). Retrieved February 11, 2016,


McCarthy, I. P. (2004). Special issue editorial: the what, why and how of mass customization. Production

Planning & Control, 15(4), 347-351. doi:10.1080/0953728042000238854

Personalization – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016, February 11). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from

Turban, E. (2012). Electronic commerce 2012: A managerial and social networks perspective. Upper Saddle

River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Zappos – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2015, December 15). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from

6 Essentials for Landing Pages

I think these pretty much speak for themselves…

6 essentials for your landing page:

  1. Provide interesting content
  2. Have a compelling name for your page
  3. Be clear about who you are and what you can offer
  4. Make sure there’s a clear call to action: what do you want the customer to do?
  5. Make sure that the content on your landing page reflects your ad
  6. Provide contact information

Things to Keep in Mind When Doing Keyword Research to Attract Customers

Many people can create a long list of the top keywords manually But the question is: are these the right keywords for your business? You have to choose carefully the terms you are going to use to attract customers and to describe your business to them so they buy. Remember, you only have one shot at this, best to get it right the first time.

Keywords are those words that you want to use in your content that your targeted market uses to find you in a Google search. You want to choose the terms which rank well but have a low competitor rate in the search engines because these are the terms that buyers use. General terms attract tire kickers, specific targeted terms attract buyers.

Many small businesses cannot compete in the world of high competition general search terms for a variety of reasons including being new to the Internet, little time to develop needed content to create links back to their website to name a few. Thus, it is very important to do your research carefully so that the keywords you choose to use in your website and other web content will actually produce the desired result.

You can come up with a list of possible words to use using a number of free keyword suggestion tools available on the internet. You can choose to use one keyword or multiple word keywords and you can get traffic from these words, but these are the expensive highly competitive keywords that will require much time and work to produce results.

Long tail keyword phrases are those terms I spoke of earlier which can effectively target your buying customers. Research will show you that prospects will likely type in these multiple word phrases giving you more and better chances of getting quality ready to buy customers to your site. These people have spent time looking for you and are interested in what you do.

The question is: Are you ready to tell them why you and not the other guy?

There are 4 things you need to do that will make your keyword research more:

  • First: Find out the needs of your prospective customers. This information will make your online marketing campaign successful.
  • Know what you’re about. Define your company, its products/services and find those keywords that are suitable to your mission.
  • From your list of keyword phrases select those that you think are the most fitting and effective words. Only then will your targeting efforts become more specific.
  • Consider your competition when doing your keyword research competition. Your ability to compete will also depend on what keywords you used in comparison to your competitors.

Keep in mind that driving traffic to your website using SEO keyword research is only part of the process.  Getting traffic to your website is only part of the battle. Upon arriving you have to convince.  More on that later.

Yellowbird Marketing Solutions

On-Line Video

Advertiser are shifting funding from standard banners and rich media to online video because it’s bringing major benefits to their companies. But they’re still advertising on television making online video a compliment to TV rather than an alternative to it.

A study by Brightroll is showing that at least 85% of the ad agencies said spending was moving from other types of advertising to online video. Moving funds from television, though, wasn’t happening as one might expect, with less than 65% of all agencies doing so. Companies that were pulling funds from TV were doing so in much smaller increments.

Many companies in the survey agreed (91%) that targeting capabilities are an important consideration when buying online video. Behavioral targeting is clearly viewed as beneficial, even though still not a wide spread practice. Only 40% of those responding indicated they would use the practice when leveraging their advertising.

I found it interesting that 96% of those ad agencies responding in Brightroll’s survey saw research as something of value their clients, yet only 35% actually conduct research for them. When asked which area of online video advertising one would to see an increase in research done 29% said performance vs television advertising, followed by 28% saying they would like to see increased research in  the “Change in purchase intent or brand lift”. Audience profiling research cam in last with only 4% wanting to see increased research done. Research provides invaluable insight into how well a campaign performs and allows for improved optimization of future campaigns.

Media buyers are predicting that this year online video will see the largest increase in spending  with mobile video following closely behind and social media coming in closely in third place this year. Display, search and tv advertising followed with dismal expectations of any kind of increase.

Overall, I think online video is becoming a clear winner in the advertising expenditure race this year and will likely surge further ahead for the foreseeable future. There are many services out there offering top notch technical product and knowledge, so it should be relatively easy to either DIY or have find a qualified professional to help you.

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Have we changed all that much? Some are claiming a transformation has, or is, taking place in the way that we relate to one another. Perhaps they’re right. The way we create relationships sure seems different. The way we create dialogue with potential clients is changing. The way we deliver messages has most certainly changed. But other things seem to be regressing.

Newspapers used to control the message. We saw the world through their eyes. Our thoughts were formed around their thoughts. History shows the first published newspaper was in Rome in 59 B.C.

Newspapers would reign supreme until 1906 when the first radio program was broadcast by Reginald Fessenden from Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock, MA. Even though the telegraph system was an earlier precursor to radio, it didn’t have the same effect that radio would have on how people got the news of the day.

Radio, though, would operate under the same premise as newspapers whereby the listener was as dependent as the reader on which someone had to produce the broadcast. And delivery of each was no small matter either. Newspaper and radio station require major financial resources. Newspaper distribution is a very labor intensive business, from the reporter to the newspaper boy we would be looking at hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to get that newspaper to your hands. While radio would begin a sea of change that allow the distribution of the news over the air waves, it still required a fair number of people to operate. But all one needed to listen was a radio and electricity. These two requirements would mean that initial growth of radio would be very slow. But, as we shall see, not as slow as newspapers. We would hear the first news program, sports radio and entertainment radio in 1920. Many of these stations are still around today, hopefully using much better equipment.

And coming up fast…Television can trace it’s beginnings to 1873 when Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of selenium, to the invention of the scanning disc in 1884 by Paul Nipkow and John Baird’s demonstration of televised moving images in 1926. Regular broadcast TV would begin in 1946 and by 1953 color TV was available nationwide.

But producing a TV show cost a bundle and it required a television set as well as electricity. The user was still dependent upon others to receive the news of the day. Everyone was dependent on reading, hearing and seeing information that was based on what someone else deemed news worthy. As such we didn’t get to read, hear or see everything, only what someone else decided for us.

That would soon be changing.

Next: The big change

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It’s about traffic

Ok, the big question I get from my customers is how can I get more of the right kind of traffic to my website. A very good question. I certainly don’t get someone asking me to lessen the amount of traffic to their website.

Here’s what I do to attract more customers: I consistently try to put engaging content on my blogs, on my website and on my Social media sites that relates to what I do and to who I am as a person. I figure that I love what I do and so I know I’m going to be very passionate when writing about it. I also enjoy a number of others things in my life and I like to write about those subjects, too.

I have a great girlfriend whom I live with. We love taking care of each other.

I enjoy hiking in the local county forest preserves in the area. I love to take long bicycle rides. I like reading, watching a good movie on the TV. We’ll go out to the movies only to watch a flick where it has to be viewed on the big screen…like Avatar for instance. I enjoy BBQ on warm summer days sipping on a long tall cool imported or micro brewed beer with friends and neighbors.

I am very passionate about politics. You will likely see a few posts here where I wax poetically about the issues of the day. I think it’s important that we all are involved. After all, you may have the answer to solving this mess we’re in.

I love to garden. You can see how my garden progresses each year by viewing my Facebook page. I’ll talk more about this subject in the very near future.

Anyway, to get more traffic I know I need to add other things to the mix along with the good content. You see, everyone is saying you have to have good engaging content.

Really? Hmmm, imagine that.

But good and engaging content to one person falls flat to another. For example, my girlfriend hates computers. She uses them, but when I try to explain something technical to her she gets all glassy eyed and tries to change the subject to something else. I do the same to her when she tries to talk about a subject I have no real interest in.

So my subject matter has to be pointed at the right kind of traffic. Someone who is interested in what it is I do.

Getting attention can be easy. Charlie Sheen has been getting tons of attention. But as you can see from his traveling show, some audiences love him and some just think he’s stupid.

In my case, or at least I hope so, I want to attract attention that builds my business. I have to address those interested in what I do by showing them I know what I’m talking about. I have show why I’m the subject matter expert in my chosen field. And do this in a way that provides value and is entertaining. If my writing is boring then people will not read it.

All this means that I have to know who my “A” customer is. My “A” customer is the one I really enjoy doing business with. And it’s not the guy from across town who just wants to pick my brain all the time. Him I need to drop him like a hot rock.

Your “A” customer is the person/company that can afford your product, who will benefit from it, that is eager to buy from you. Those customers make being in business a pleasure.

So, write to your “A” customer.

What I’ve Learned About What Google Loves

As many years as I’ve been developing and programming websites I always realize that what I really love about what I do is…I’m always learning something new and challenging. I’ve been reading Evan Bailyn’s new book “Outsmarting Google” and it’s fantastic. And it validates much of what I tell our customers everyday…to rank high on Google you need to be the most popular guy on the block. If people think you’re important, so will Google.

What Google Loves - linkbuilding

And those customers ask the same question, every time. How do I do that? How do I become the most popular kid on the block, the one everyone goes to to answer the important questions when it comes to what they’re good at doing?

Well, first you have to realize that in order for people to think of you as the subject matter expert, you’re going to have to do a lot of hard work. This is not a if I build it they will come. Doesn’t happen on the Internet, hell, it doesn’t happen in life. So if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort than don’t expect anyone to do it for you.

So when you read or hear that content is king that is exactly right. And it best be original content. Copying someone else’s content is fine so long as you give proper credit. But Google doesn’t give it as high a score as original content. See, your content has to actually show your expertise. You can’t merely say it. You have to prove it. This fact is what makes the Internet the level playing field it is. Even the newest of us can become a recognized popular expert in a given field that drowns out the so-called credentialed expert who doesn’t publish on-line. It’s all about perception. So some kid could outshine a professor with a degree any day of the week and twice on Sunday if he’s been out there sharing what he knows with everyone around the world. And all those folks will be linking to the kid because he’s the only source in town who’s talking. Thus Google likes the kid because everyone else likes the kid.

Tomorrow I’ll start sharing what I’ve learned about building expertise on the Internet. I will be alternating between my personal blog and my company blog at Yellowbird Marketing Solutions.

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How important is the page one ranking position

In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country. The next it was essentially buried.

Likely told in many articles, but this came from a NYT article : “How valuable was that? A study last May by Daniel Ruby of Chitika, an online advertising network of 100,000 sites, found that, on average, 34 percent of Google’s traffic went to the No. 1 result, about twice the percentage that went to No. 2.

The Keyword Estimator at Google puts the number of searches for “dresses” in the United States at 11.1 million a month, an average based on 12 months of data. So for “dresses” alone, Penney may have been attracting roughly 3.8 million visits every month it showed up as No. 1. Exactly how many of those visits translate into sales, and the size of each sale, only Penney would know.”

The article talked about the amount of traffic JC Penney garnered from gaming the system by using a link building scheme. That scheme artificially gave JC Penney a number one rank on the first page in searches conducted during the recent holidays. 3.8 million visits per month for 3 months is a lot of visits.

Google reaction, according to the article:

“On Wednesday evening, Google began what it calls a “manual action” against Penney, essentially demotions specifically aimed at the company.

At 7 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, J. C. Penney was still the No. 1 result for “Samsonite carry on luggage.”

Two hours later, it was at No. 71.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Penney was No. 1 in searches for “living room furniture.”

By 9 p.m., it had sunk to No. 68.

In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country.

The next it was essentially buried.”

Google would do best to preserve the integrity of their search algorithm since it appears they may have been looking the other way during the holidays due to the enormous sums spent by JC Penney on paid search ads. I see that the EU is looking into possible anti-trusts issues with Google.

Any decent Internet Marketer doesn’t need to resort to such tactics like the one Penney used. A good market strategy that includes honestly working the system should be able to put you on page one. You just need to work it.

How’s that keyword list working for you?

How’s that keyword list working for you?

When I sit down with a potential customer to discuss market strategies we get to the topic of keyword research.

And I run into a number who think that because they’re in a particular business, they know all of the keywords someone would use to find them on the web.

And, of course, they use these words in describing their business.

Some of these words may actually be good words. But they don’t know because they used the SWAG method to determine their list.

question mark

SWAG, for those not in the know…Scientific Wild Ass Guess…

…Because these websites still get little to no traffic.

When it comes to keywords, there are plenty of keywords that have
tons of traffic…


…But having traffic isn’t enough if you want to run a PROFITABLE web-site….

…or are they tire-kickers who will ask a lot of questions, expect a lot of free stuff, and then leave not      spending a dime with you?

Your marketing strategy needs to target the buying customers ready to spend and make you money – not the tire-kickers who cost you money.

Unless you’re targeting buyers instead of “tire-kickers”, all of your SEO efforts and thus your market strategy, will be completely wasted on attracting worthless visitors who never buy.