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The Bronto and Something Digital Executive Series


Something Digital has teamed up with Bronto to offer a series of executive discussions surrounding e-commerce and marketing.

The first one was held on Wednesday, MAY 27. Merchants joined us to learn about key email marketing strategies.

Experts touched on key ways to drive traffic, stay relevant, and grow revenue.

Adobe Experience & Magento

SD will be at Magento Imagine 2015

SD’s Jon Klonsky will be speaking on a session called Number Crunching: Dissecting Ecommerce ROI on Tuesday, April 21 at 2:00 PM.

Jon’s experience extends to both major retailers and smaller merchants. He will give an overview on how to dissect digital marketing ROI while accounting for other factors such as; margin, shipping, tax, etc.

MageTalk podcast will also be LIVE ON SITE at Magento Imagine hosted by our very own Phillip Jackson, he is our senior Magento solutions architect. You don’t want to miss this episode!

Lastly, feel free to visit us at booth #222, meet the team, and pick up cool swag!

We look forward to seeing you in Vegas!!

Group of silhouetted people

A Friend’s Insight into Engagement

My old friend Danny Flamberg (@Flamster) published a terrific piece about engagement last week, which can be viewed here.

Insightful as always, Danny’s thesis is simple.  He suggests that “tactics” and “channels” can only enter the discussion AFTER we’ve made an effort to understand how our audience feels in response to what we might give them.

He advises us to focus on five factors:

Creature Cycles – predictable audience behavior
Standing – positioning in the minds of our audience
Posture – approach to delivery
Timing – when we deliver
User Experience Design – the way our delivery is experienced

For Danny, the endgame is genuine human connection.

This message resonates with me.  Conventions tell us where to place a navigation bar or how to best create hover states for buttons.  However, these practices don’t automatically deliver success.  Quality engagement requires rigor—an effort to understand an audience and tailor the experience to them.

We continue to integrate the audience definition into our own engagements with well-defined creative briefs, the development of personas, etc.  The process only works, however, when all stakeholders are aligned on who the audience is and what we expect them to do.

Written by: Jon Klonsky, Principal and Founder

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Cyber Weekend 2014 Stats

It’s no secret that the period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday encompasses 5 of the most important days of the year for online retailers. SD’s Magento portfolio ranges in verticals from stationery to jewelry to cosmetics to furniture. Here are some of the key data points we found while reviewing ecommerce data for that period.

Turn Up the Volume

On average, our clients generated 3.5 times more revenue daily during Cyber Weekend when compared to their average 2014 daily revenue prior to that. That number was even higher with clients who ran aggressive promotions. One client increased sales by 650% during the 5-day period surrounding Cyber Monday.

Mobile Takeover 

Mobile accounted for roughly 36% of Cyber Weekend traffic among SD clients in 2014. This is a 57% increase over 2013 when that number was only 23%.

Consumers are  becoming much more comfortable completing transactions directly from their phones. In 2013, consumers who browsed SD client sites from their phones converted an average of 0.51% of the time, however, in 2014 that number was up to 1.03%.

Generating Revenue

Using a sample of 10 client sites, we identified organic search to be the top channel for 6 sites, email was the second most successful channel, being the top channel for 2 sites.

Wrapping It Up

Business is growing for retailers across the SD portfolio. SD-supported Magento sites pulled in roughly 72% more revenue in 2014.

Since Cyber Weekend 2014 is behind us, contact SD now to discuss plans for 2015!

Written by: Max Chadwick, Technical Account Manager

Ecommerce Trends Around the World

ecommerce trends infographic

In a recent Nielsen report, 44% of Internet-users surveyed said they planned on using a smartphone for online purchases within the next 6 months.[1]

Ecommerce sales are growing and payment options are evolving. Worldwide, ecommerce sales grew over 20% from last year. By the end of 2014, global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $1.5 trillion.[2]  Alibaba – China’s leading ecommerce company– dominates 80% of China’s online sales[3]. September brought Alibaba’s first IPO. In October, Apple debuted Apple Pay, safe credit card storage that eases payments not only in-stores but within apps.

People are using phones to browse and shop online[4] and technology is reaching new markets. It is becoming increasingly important to appeal to mobile users. Apple is expanding its products and exploring opportunities in Iran[5], smartphones are becoming the preferred online shopping device in developing countries,[6] and Pew Internet reports that many low-income adults in the U.S. (upwards of 31%) are mobile-only users. New markets mean new business opportunities, but a mobile-unfriendly site means you are missing out on potential conversions.

Bottom line: your company should have a device-agnostic ecommerce experience. Anything less excludes potential business.


[1] Nielsen Global E-Commerce Report August 2014, pg 13

[2] Nielsen Global E-Commerce Report August 2014, pg 2

[3] What Is Alibaba? Wall Street Journal 

[4] Nielsen Global E-Commerce Report August 2014, pg 14

[5] Apple in early talks to sell iPhone in Iran, report says Apple Insider 

[6] Nielsen Global E-Commerce Report August 2014, pg 2

Trends Graphic

Big Week for Ecommerce Data

Ecommerce Analysis Grphic

As we prep and brace ourselves for the holidays, recent indicators suggest another growth year for online shopping.  Here are some highlights from the early returns:

According to IBM (derived from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark and published here, last week’s online shopping data indicates the following:

Thanksgiving Online Sales Up 14.3 Percent, Mobile Sales Up 25.4 percent

Black Friday Online Sales Up 9.5 Percent, Mobile Sales Up 28.2 percent

New York City Claims Top Spot among U.S. Cities for Online Shopping (a plug for my city!)

While the news suggests growth, it should be tempered by the National Retail Federation survey results.  According to the NRF, “the average person who shopped over the weekend spent $159.55 online, approximately 41.9 percent of their total average budget, down 10.2 percent from $177.67 last year.”  The NRF’s analysis attributes the decrease in consumer spending to the prevalence of early online promotions.  To me, the news suggest a more longitudinal trend.  As merchants spread out there promotions, purchasers are more inclined to spread out their shopping.

When you add the EARLY results from Cyber Monday, however, the activity continues to trend upward.  According to the Washington Post, “(Adobe’s) analysis of Cyber Monday shopping that found that overall sales hit $2.65 billion, a 16 percent increase over last year.”  And interestingly, “as has been the case in previous years, shopping peaked between 9 and 10 PM.” (Nice to know when that peak server is most critical!)

As the national picture becomes more apparent, we have benchmarks on which to judge ourselves.  We can slice and dice the data to compare our own performances.  Clearly, the trend for online purchases continues to climb.  Subjectively, it seems that the promotions, the product assortments, and the buying experiences improve, as merchants become more attuned to the needs of their customers.  Additionally, more people seem to enter the online buying community.

I look forward to seeing how the rest of the season goes, how our clients perform, and what other merchants are doing across the industry.  There is lots to learn.

Happy shopping!

Written by: Jon Klonsky, Principal & Founder

Photography and Web Design


The internet is a visual medium. Visitors judge with their eyes and will only digest the content if you make the whole experience a pleasurable one.

“No matter the images you have in your library they will rarely be suitable for the task.” – Kris Jeary, Squiders


You need photography that:

1. Has been taken by a professional.
2. Has a brief from both client & designer.
3. Shows products in high resolution.
4. Will render well on various devices.


Benefits of allowing a web designer to direct the shoot include: clear vision, images that work with site, obtain images with purpose, and boost sales.


“What about stock photos?” – Your Subconscious


Good photography will show off the product and foster a sense of trust. Make the visitor trust you more than your competitors, let them know you are real people and not machines.


Choose your professional carefully. You want someone who:

1. Ask the right questions
2. Wants to understand your goals
3. Has web photography experience
4. Can balance different types of shots


Give you designer the tools to best meet your goals and present your product in the best possible light.

You won’t regret it. 


Infographic Alert: Cyber Monday


Is your ecommerce site ready for cyber monday?


Start in advance – produce content and designs for promotional e-mail blasts, product uploads, and configuration.
– Content and design approval take time, as well as development.
– Everything should be in place a full week before Thanksgiving.

“Delay always breeds danger; and to protract a great design is often to ruin it.” – Miguel De Cervantes 


Prepare for the spike by analyzing last yea’r traffic vs. this year’s traffic and by testing your server’s capacity.

How many concurrent users can you handle?
– Cyber Monday 2013 web sales hit $2.29 billion, up 16% over 2012. (
– Conversion rates were up 12.6% on Cyber Monday than Black Friday. (IBM)
– Sales peaked at 9 pm EST, with sales in that hour totaling $150 million. (IBM)
– $150 million in revenue came from social media referrals. (

“Deal with the difficult while it is yet easy; deal with the great while it is yet small.” – Tao Te Ching


Attract an audience.
– Design Banners and promotions that speak to consumers in a Cyber-Monday state of mind.

How can you increase revenue?
– Newsletters sign-ups, free shipping, coupon codes, rewards, and discounts.
– Retailers sent 77% more push notifications during the five-day holiday shopping period in 2013 when compared to daily averages over the previous two months. (IBM)

“Success is reliant on standing out, no fitting in.” – Don Draper


Balance the system load.

To avoid all of your traffic to your store on Monday

To mitigate risk of too much traffic impacting your up-time.

1. Most conversion for mobile commerce actually extends through the entire 5 days of Thanksgiving-Monday.
2. Tablet ad mobile grew 31.7% of online traffic in 2013. (IBM)
3. Tablet and mobile conversions exceeded 17% of sales, but tablets drove more than double that of smartphones. (IBM)

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill 

Are Mobile Wallet Providers Getting Closer to Critical Mass

Commerce Mobile Growth Chart

It would be hard to overestimate the role mobile is playing in bridging the gap between ecommerce and in store retail purchases. While the first wave of mobile commerce focused on optimizing the user experience for purchasing from mobile versions of ecommerce sites, the second wave addressed the need for omnichannel solutions that provide consumers with more integrated in-store and online shopping experiences. Today, we approach the third wave of mobile commerce: mobile wallets.

Retailers look at mobile wallets as the missing piece for finally connecting online and in-store behavior, using customer lifetime value to guide segmentation and power even more personalized marketing programs. Consumers, who are looking to mobile wallets for convenience and payment integration, are also aware of the potential benefits of their loyalty because of points programs, exclusive deals, and more relevant offers. So why has adoption of existing mobile payment solutions in the U.S. been low? Mostly because the market is so fragmented and consumers are waiting for a single, generally accepted mobile wallet. And while retailers know they have to move quickly, they too are waiting to see what consumers adopt before taking on financial and operational risks associated with changing POS systems. But some of the biggest players in the industry have made moves recently that indicate the U.S. market will see major changes in the next year.

On September 30, eBay and PayPal announced their separation with PayPal becoming its own publicly traded company sometime in 2015. PayPal has been acquiring mobile payment companies and appears to be positioning themselves more toward in-person mobile transactions than online shopping. Like banks and other financial institutions, PayPal is a trusted brand in online payment that consumers will most likely follow into the mobile payment space. It’s also been rumored that PayPal will be making several more acquisitions to round out their mobile capabilities.

Only a few weeks before, Apple announced Apple Pay, a new mobile payment service, powered by NFC (Near-Field Communication—a set of standards for smartphones and mobile devices to establish radio communication with each other by bringing them into close proximity). Apple Pay is compatible with MasterCard, American Express and Visa credit and debit cards and has 220,000 U.S. retail partners at launch. NFC is not new.  Many countries around the world have already adopted the technology (for things like banking, replacing parking meters, and paying at vending machines), and the technology has been available on Android phones for a while. But like most new initiatives from Apple, U.S. consumers will start feeling a cultural shift in attitude towards mobile wallets.

And just days before Apple’s announcement, MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), a consortium of over 70 of the largest retailers in the U.S., announced a software-based solution, CurrentC, that will work with most existing point-of-sale terminals, giving merchants a cost-effective solution (no additional hardware is required because CurrentC uses a secure paycode to complete the transaction). It is worth noting that while CurrentC will be available to download free through both the App Store℠ and Google Play™ store, it is being billed as an alternative to Apple Pay (although there have already been reports that some CurrentC retailers will be).

So while many are looking at 2014 as the ‘tipping point’ for mobile wallets, it remains to be seen if any one provider can create enough scale in a short period of time or if the industry requires more consolidation. Regardless of when it happens, mobile wallets will create even greater opportunities for data-driven marketing and redefine what it means to be omnichannel.

Compete Amazon

Make your Ecommerce Marketing Campaigns Work for your Business

Infographic Make Your Ecommerce Marketing Campaigns Work

In ecommerce, successful marketing campaigns correlate directly to revenue growth. By keeping an eye on KPIs, you can tell which campaigns deliver for you, which don’t, and where to concentrate effort.

We like to encourage all of our clients—particularly the early stage merchants—to think hard about what might work. Then, start incrementally and measure often. Here are some tips for staying on top of your marketing. Use the tools in your analytics package—in most cases Google Analytics will work fine:

– Set up dashboards to track purchases by time of day, traffic by time of day, and real-time on-site traffic
– Measure time to first purchase and track lurking/browsing behavior
– Analyze the checkout funnel to determine where your audience tends to abandon
– Track goals (e.g., email registration, contact form, add to cart, checkout, success
– Track events (e.g., checkout “edit” button usage, deleted items in cart,  added items to Wish List, zoom/enlarge product

“Goals” don’t typically help you make hard decisions unless you pair them with other data points. This way, they can help you add a dimension to other reports (e.g. “percentage of users with fewer than 2 minutes site who complete a goal” and “conversions who completed a goal”).

Once you gain better awareness of your business, you can fall into a workable routine. When you get there, look for continuous improvement by taking these steps:

– Create reports and commit to reviewing with regular frequency
– Sales – week over week, month over month, year over year
– Average Order Value by customer
– Rolling SKU Report (quantity sold by month over the past 24 months)
– Number of Customers – New, Repeat, Active, Inactive (more than 180 days since last purchase)
– RMA return reasons, condition
– RMA worst offenders (products most often returned)
– Payment method breakdown

Create customer segments and figure out how to target them (or not).

– Guests
– Top 100
– Top 20%
– Best-selling region
– Worst-selling region
– Mobile

After gathering the data, compare your various marketing initiatives and look to increase your ROI. The beauty of ecommerce is that you can accurately measure and adjust with significantly less effort than with other channels. If you focus on continuous improvement, and you have the people, platform, and tools to execute; you’ll see revenue growth. We promise.

By: Pillip Jackson, Ecommerce Evangelist