Monthly Archives: February 2013


February 27, 2013 by wizeblogmin

Wize Commerce regularly hosts expert talks on topics of interest to our internal global staff, and external partners.

One of our recent talks features experts Jijoe Vurghese, Platform & Infrastructure Manager, and Julian Ong, Principle Engineer UI Platform, talking about the Wize Commerce technology platform.

The edited notes and video for this talk are below.

How we’ve built our Services Platform

Wize Commerce is a platform for acquisition and revenue optimization of e-commerce traffic. We have been profitable for the past 10 years and Nextag is now the #2 paid comparison-shopping site on the Internet.

We’re evolving from a shopping-comparison engine, to offering our Wize Commerce platform to businesses outside of our company. To accomplish this, we have to make it easy for customers to leverage our platform. We think the best way to do this is to make this platform a set of services.

The work at Wize Commerce is progressing along two tracks. First, we are building a framework to support services with features like request prioritization, controlled rate of service requests, and automated generation of documentation to make it easier for people to consume these services. The second track requires developing and deploying the actual services themselves.

Having an SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) helps our partners achieve their goals by having all the heavyweight business logic, such as billing calculation, user personalization, search results customization , etc., go to the back-end of the website. So the front end of the website just has to worry about presentation. 

Some of the services we’ve developed for our shopping comparison sites:

  • Product search service, which allows us to access our vast catalog of millions of products.
  • Our visit and click servicewhich allows us to track users across our site and allows us to bill merchants based on what features the user is seeing.
  • Our Buzz Score service (a Buzz Score is basically a measure of the social buzz around a product), which will help a site create much more compelling social features.

Next on our roadmap is A/B testing services. Over the years, we’ve developed a very robust and highly optimized A/B testing framework in Java.  We’re exposing this experimental framework as a service and creating a Ruby client for it.

How our clients use our Services Platform

When a client wants to sign up for services provided by Wize Commerce, the first thing they do is set up and provision their account. Secondly, they provide their catalog. We support several different formats for the catalog to make it easier for our customers. We call this our import service, which ingests a customer’s catalog and makes it available for search. Then, we agree on the specific products and categories we want to bid on. 

When a user comes to one of our client sites, the first thing that will happen is our visit service will be called. This will create a visit, which will begin the process of tracking the user throughout the site. Next, the client site will call our experimentation service, which will determine which side of the A/B tests the user will be on – for the hundreds of tests we have going on at any given time. The user will then browse around the site for a bit, and when the user makes a significant click, they’ll call out to our click service which will record the click information into our data store.

In front of these three services, we have a shared externalization layer, which handles authentication, throttling, and json translation. What this allows us to do is control access to our services, as well as translate our thrift responses (Apache Thrift is the language in which our services speak) into whatever format the client wants.

Final thoughts

In its end state, the Wize Commerce platform exposes millions of events that occur inside the platform in near real time to our clients, calling our traffic acquisition and revenue optimization services.

Subscribe to the Wize Commerce blog to get news on Wize Commerce expert talks and other events, as we launch them.

Wize Commerce regularly hosts expert talks on topics of interest to our internal global staff, and external partners. One of our recent talks features experts Jijoe Vurghese, Platform & Infrastructure Manager, and Julian Ong, Principle Engineer UI Platform, talking about the Wize Commerce technology platform. The edited notes and video for this talk are below….

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February 8, 2013 by wizeblogmin

Given how important mobile is becoming to the future of shopping, we decided to quantify mobile shopping conversion and mobile shopping influence across a number of retailers. To do so, we conducted a study of mobile shoppers who used the Nextag mobile site over a 10-week period from June to September 2012.

The results were surprising. Here’s what we found:

  • Two-thirds (65%) of mobile Nextag users who are linked to a seller’s web site eventually purchase the exact or similar product they were shopping for
  • Almost one-quarter (22%) of these purchases are made from the linked merchant:
    • One-quarter purchased immediately via their mobile device
    • Over one-third purchased from the merchant’s retail store
    • The remaining purchases were made later via computer or mobile device
  • Customers purchase, but they often delay
    • Of the customers who buy the exact product, half purchase within 48 hours and half take longer than 48 hours to buy
    • More expensive products take longer to buy
  • Mobile Nextag customers are typically at home when they are linked to the merchant, reflecting a shift from computer to mobile usage, even at home
  • Mobile Nextag customers who do not purchase immediately are serious shoppers who intend to buy
    • More than half are checking prices
    • Half say they are seriously considering buying the product

(A “Linked merchant” is a merchant link on Nextag.com. “Another online merchant” means they purchased the product online from a different online e-commerce website.)

 

 

 

 

 

Implications

When measured by clicks alone, mobile may not appear to be that important. But looking at the way people actually use their devices to search and make purchases makes it clear that mobile is more important than meets the eye.

Recommendations for retailers:

  • Develop your mobile website. If you don’t already have one, you’re missing out on significant revenue.
  • Track your mobile conversion rates, as well as your mobile-to-retail conversion rates – and spend compensatory dollars driving mobile traffic.
  • Develop your website using responsive design so you can easily communicate your product and your catalog on a mobile device. Spend money on improved mobile interfaces and mobile checkouts, allowing for a simplified checkout process as much as possible.
  • Get to know your mobile customers without asking any personal information. Capture user history and actions based on the device id without requiring consumers to enter any personal information.
  • Make it easy for your customers to sign up for your loyalty program and employ techniques for strong customer engagement on your mobile website or mobile app.
  • If you have physical stores, make use of your customer’s existing location to target specific products.
  • Capture the mobile shopper within the first 48 hours to close the sale. Continued contact after their first visit is vital to closing the sale. Experiment with:
    • Personal emails
    • Retargeting ads
    • Live chat/calls to answer shopping questions
    • Displaying countdown clocks to push conversion
    • Communicating the benefits of online shopping with free shipping and free returns
    • Offering price matching guarantees

Wize Commerce is in the process of integrating mobile into our Silhouette revenue optimization services. If you want to be one of the first to implement and test a mobile Silhouette, please contact us.

Given how important mobile is becoming to the future of shopping, we decided to quantify mobile shopping conversion and mobile shopping influence across a number of retailers. To do so, we conducted a study of mobile shoppers who used the Nextag mobile site over a 10-week period from June to September 2012.

The results were surprising.

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February 7, 2013 by wizeblogmin

Today’s online shoppers are getting savvier, and it is increasingly difficult for retailers to draw their attention to traditional banner advertisements… let alone get them to take the next step and actually click through.

Given this, we’ve developed a new type of online banner ad we’re calling Real-time Social Data Ads and we’re excited to share the results.

First, here’s what’s different: these personalized ads showcase constantly-updated, relevant information, including social data like the number of times a product has been tweeted or liked on Facebook, as well as recent drops in price, available coupons, special offers like free shipping, and how many recent purchases have been made.

The results: Real-time Social Data Ads increased click-through rates by 10 percent on our shopping site Nextag. And these ads will be made available for all our Wize Commerce customers in the months ahead.

The results so far show that potential customers are more likely to be interested in a product if they see that it is popular and being shared via the social media channels they trust and use on a daily basis.

Examples of Real-time Social Data Ads below.

realtime_socialdata_ads

Real-time Social Data Ads are made possible by our proprietary Wize Commerce Social Analytics System which we wrote about recently on our blog.

These new online ads are the next step in our ongoing efforts to show how the smart use of social data can lead to better, more effective digital marketing strategies, and to provide merchants with better results for the same marketing spend.

Contact us and let us know you’re interested in hearing more about how we can help you improve your retargeting banner program.

Today’s online shoppers are getting savvier, and it is increasingly difficult for retailers to draw their attention to traditional banner advertisements… let alone get them to take the next step and actually click through. Given this, we’ve developed a new type of online banner ad we’re calling Real-time Social Data Ads and we’re excited to…

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