The Seven Deadly Sins of “Buy Now!” Links: Sin #4 – Violence

In this series of the Seven Deadly Sins of Buy Now! links, the first three — impatience, ignorance, and fatigue — make you think a little, but not gasp in horror.  Now, onto sin #4 — VIOLENCE!

There is something satisfying about completing an article with your final sentence. You’ve met the deadline, or the extension to the deadline, and perhaps its well after midnight, or the baby is about to wake from her nap. And, tthe thought of having to go back in and fiddle with HTML links and affiliate codes is sometimes just too tedious.

I was speaking to one influential blogger who has a strong opinion about adding Buy Now! links to her posts. She explained in an almost eerily calm and serious tone: “I’d rather shoot myself than spend another minute looking up and adding another link.”  It’s a shame that Buy Now! links can bring an otherwise gentle blogger to the brink of self-destruction.

Redemption
ShopAdvisor has millions of products in its catalog, constantly updated from thousands of online and local retailers. When you’re done writing a product review, you’re done. ShopAdvisor automatically reads your article and recognizes the product by name. A team of ShopAdvisor product curators checks for accuracy, and the ShopAdvisor watch button appears automatically as part of your review. No need for violence. :-)

Next: Foolishness

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The Seven Deadly Sins of “Buy Now!” Links: Sin #3 – Fatigue

So far in this series of the seven deadly sins of Buy Now! links, I’ve focused on how un-ready most readers are to make a purchase after they’ve just been introduced to a product for the first time in your review. Buy Now links jump the gun a little in pushing the reader to the checkout line, and they don’t provide much space in which a reader can gain more knowledge and think about the product before deciding to purchase it.

Now, when 1% of your readers actually do click the link in your article to an ecommerce site, nine times out of ten they don’t even put it in the cart. Instead, they have come to the site to get basic information, such as the price; and from their they often leave the ecommerce site to do some Internet price comparison, and the connection between your article and any eventual purchase has been lost.

Some review sites have taken steps to pre-empt that price-shopping click away from their pages by including the current price at one or more online stores. Some of those Learn More clicks are really the start of a price comparison search. Some review sites try to pre-empt a jump to a comparison shopping site by including a selection of Buy Now! links, each one with the price of the item displayed.

Now, when you think about it, very few readers actually want to see all of these deals. Instead, they want to know the basic price of the product (“does this air conditioner go for $200? $500? or $1,000?”) to see if it is within their range. And they also want to know the lowest price currently available. And, while it may be useful once in a while to see just how many sites are selling the item, the result of including all that data is a seemingly information rich page — which comes at the cost of site design.

Button fatigue plagues so many sites. There is already a bevy of social network buttons in most blog posts and reviews. And, no matter how neatly Buy Now! buttons can be arranged, many readers would quickly consider them distractions. Your content begins to shrink in size relative to Buy Now! links and buttons that threaten to clutter your site and steal from the value of the reviews themselves. That may be a high price to pay just to capture 1% of your readers.

Redemption
ShopAdvisor recognizes the difference between informing a reader of the lowest current price and leading the reader to the checkout line. When a reader clicks the ShopAdvisor watch button, he sees the current lowest price, and can decide to dog-ear the product review for later consideration. The quick price check lets the reader know if the product is in his budget range. When he’s ready to give it more thought, or when the price drops, ShopAdvisor notifies the reader — and remembers that the lead came from your site.

Next: Violence

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The Seven Deadly Sins of “Buy Now!” Links: Sin #2 – Ignorance

So, you’ve got a pretty good blog with well-written, informed reviews of outdoor gear, or cookware, or large kitchen appliances. The editorial takes work, but it’s a labor of love; and if all goes well, the reviews might put some cash in your pocket.

But, maybe not so much.

Those Buy Now! links in your article — they sometimes assume a little bit too much knowledge on the part of your readers. Most people still need to educate themselves a bit more before they are in buying mode, no matter how enthusiastically you may have honestly praised the product you’ve reviewed.

On a very good day, your article leads some 1% of readers to actually click a link and go to the ecommerce site where they can buy the product. But, your commission isn’t secured. Not yet. There’s a great yawning gap between going to a store and buying a product. Studies show that in the brick-and-mortar world, fully 72% of shoppers who go to a store for a specific product leave the store without buying it[i]. In the online world, it’s even harsher, where a mere 10% of visitors put your reviewed item in the shopping cart, and only 3% actually make the purchase.[ii]

The problem is actually very easy to understand.  You have caught your readers in the early portion of the consideration process, maybe even at the very beginning. They started out ignorant of the product, and your article for sure has made them less ignorant. But, most people take a little time before they pull the trigger, especially on a high-ticket item. Your “Buy Now!” link is actually a Learn More link. So, you’re looking at a 3% conversion rate of the 1% who clicked on the link in your review. That’s cutting it pretty thin.

Redemption
ShopAdvisor recognizes that many shoppers — the majority — will need to do a little more research before they decide to make a purchase. When readers of your site dog-ear one of your pages using ShopAdvisor, they are writing a note to themselves to take a deeper look later on. ShopAdvisor provides your readers with more information about the product to move them more confidently through their consideration. And everything ShopAdvisor does includes a link back to your site, so your part in the eventual purchase is not not lost.
Next: Fatigue

[i] 2010 Retail Holiday Study, Motorola Business and Market Intelligence

The Seven Deadly Sins of “Buy Now!” Links: Sin #1 – Impatience

There are some 50,000 bloggers today doing product reviews, from camera review sites to gamer blogs to technology gadgets to mom-tested-and-approved reviews. Good bloggers are highly prized by brands and retailers, and a well-crafted product review by a blogger is a coveted marketing win. There’s $180 billion of media-influenced ecommerce, and blogs and reviews sites are an essential part of that ecosystem.

Almost all product reviews include a link to a retailer that brings a reader to an ecommerce site where the reviewed product can be bought. It’s a good service to the reader, and it’s a nice monetary reward for the blogger who influenced the purchase.

Or is it?

What looks like a sure-thing way to leverage an honest and labored-over product review is often more work than it’s worth. Buy Now!! links may seem to wear an angel’s halo, but they actually commit quite a few sins.

Sin #1: Impatience
You’ve written a review about a home appliance, or a computer accessory, or a new fashion item, and your readers love the information they get. They eat it up. They get jazzed by your keen eye for what’s new and your discerning sense of what’s worthwhile. Your product review has stimulated the buying urge. In marketing terms, you have moved your readers through the sales funnel – from Awareness, to Interest, and maybe even to Desire. Chances are, though, you haven’t moved them all the way to Buy. So, that Buy Now! link at the end of your article isn’t likely to get clicked. Not today. “Buy Now!” buttons try to do too much, too soon.

Industry statistics vary for the clickthru rate on ads and links, but all of them usually begin with the number zero followed by a decimal point. As in 0.1%, or 0.5%. At that rate, you will need a lot of readers – a lot – to make that less-than-one-percent become a money maker for you.

Redemption
ShopAdvisor was designed with the understanding that most of the time shoppers — and blog readers — are not ready to Buy Now! The ShopAdvisor watch button lets readers dog-ear your page and save it for later, when the time is right.

NEXT: Ignorance

 

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Tool-Rank.com finds the tools; lets you watch them

There are two types of readers of Tool-Rank.com  One type comes to the site as a result of a search while looking for advice on a new worm drive circular saw, where he or she will learn the “many professionals consider the Bosch 1677M Worm Drive 7-1/4″ Circular Saw to be a good upgrade from the classic Skil 77 Worm Drive and is comparable to the Skil Mag77.”  That’s awesome.

The other type of reader is a lover or tools, and simply enjoys the prose of a true professional talking tools. Tool-Rank.com editor Chris Rodenius is a finish carpenter from Southern California with over 10 years of experience in the trade. He has done work at some of the top resorts in the state, where absolute perfection is a must. When you are working in such detail, you need tools that will match. Chris’s experiences in working with poorly designed tools on the job lead him to start Tool-Rank.com, a tool community where everyone can voice their opinions about the tools they own, and rank them accordingly.

Chris keeps a fascinated eye on new tool upgrades and introductions, and shares his finds with his avid readership. Within just the past month Chris has focused his attention and shared his opinion on a Kreg multi-purpose layout tool, the Mini-Ductor II (loosens up seized bolts by heating them), how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse with a WORX JawSaw, and how to repurpose a kitchen cake mixer lift into a tool lift. He also sniffs out rumors about forthcoming designs based on patent submissions and other industry chatter.

And, Chris has a fine appreciation for a deal, spotting good discounts and somewhat rare sales events. As part of that commitment to helping his fellow handymen (and women) keep track of tools they’d like to get someday, and at a time when the deal is right, Tool-Rank.com has incorporated the ShopAdvisor watch button. Tool fans now can spend a quick coffee break reading up on the latest tool find by Chris or a member of the Tool-Rank community and simply click the ShopAdvisor watch button, ensuring themselves a timely reminder without having to leave the comfort of the Tool-Rank.com website.

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Cheapism Uses ShopAdvisor To Watch the Best Cheap Products

One of our favorite experts for product advice is Cheapism, whose mission is “We find the best cheap products out there and tell you what they are.” I have kept Cheapism on my short list of review sites for a wide variety of products — from refrigerators to exercise bikes to living room furniture to pots and pans. And they know their audience: “many people these days are looking for inexpensive products but want to buy the best available products in the budget price range.”

There’s no better place for the ShopAdvisor watch button than a site where consumers go to learn more about high-consideration items. People don’t always move fast when they are in the market for the best and cheapest item. Time may be the enemy of all deals from a retailers perspective, but watching and waiting often works best for the consumer.

Cheapism helps consumers find the right product in the right price range, and ShopAdvisor keeps an eye on it to remind the consumer when the price has dropped or when the time has come to make the decision.

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Laptopmag.com: Watching the Pulse of Mobile Tech

Laptopmag.com is one of the most respected and trusted brands in mobile technology, providing executive decision makers, IT professionals, and tech enthusiasts with product reviews, news and tips, trusted buying advice, and helpful how-to information. The site’s 2.7 million monthly visitors are interested in smart phones, tablets, eReaders, notebooks, and generally all things new and innovative. Laptopmag.com offers daily commentary and insight into the breaking mobile tech news of the day for the informed and engaged tech shopper and owner.

Laptopmag.com recently added the ShopAdvisor watch button to its product reviews, adding deferred purchases as a valuable new aspect to the buying process for the research-intensive products its readers love.

 

As summer wanes and college and high school students (or their parents) begin to think about the return to school in the fall, Laptopmag.com is featuring 5 of the top tablets for the season. “A number of textbooks are available in interactive, digital versions, which will save room in your backpack. And, with a plethora of advanced apps now available for students, a tablet could be your ultimate study companion.” As parents and students alike seek to make their school dollars go far, it pays to “watch” these tablets during the dog days of summer. ShopAdvisor will wake you from your hammock when the price is right.

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Photo.net uses ShopAdvisor to watch cameras

Photo.net is an online community with hundreds of thousands of active members and many more casual viewers visiting daily. Since 1993 they  have made it their mission to be the best peer-to-peer educational system for people who wish to become better photographers. Their audience consists of photography enthusiasts ranging from newcomers to experienced, successful professionals; and includes includes anyone interested in becoming a better photographer, plus many folks who show up just looking for great images.

Purchasing a high-consideration item like a camera is not something most people — beginners or professionals — rush into. They typically do some research, look at different models of cameras, lenses and accessories, and talk with other knowledgeable (or more knowledgeable) photographers. Photo.net’s peer forums are a great place for newbies and experts to find each other and help each other out.

Photo.net recently added one more service — the ShopAdvisor watch button — to its site to help its community find the right product at the right time. Now, with each camera review, visitors can watch an item and be reminded of it later — when the price goes down, when they think they might have the cash-flow to make a purchase, or when they’ve gathered enough research. ShopAdvisor keeps track of the items for them, reminding them at a later date, or when there is a price shift.

You can check out how Photo.net uses the watch button in a recent roundup review of ten top waterproof cameras for underwater use. The ShopAdvisor watch button accompanies each review, and provides the reader with the current lowest price, the price history for the preceding 3-9 months, and the ability to ask for a price alert or for a reminder at a specific date in the future.

 

New Fridge: It’s Hotter’n the Hinge on the Gates to Hell!

Like my mother-in-law would say, “It’s hotter than the hinge on the gate to hell!” On sweltering days like we’ve had this summer, there’s a mad rush in my house for the ice tray in the freezer and the cold lemonade in the fridge. If your refrigerator is due for a rehaul, now may be a good time to look for one. According to the appliance-watchers at Cheapism, “July is ideal for appliance shopping; watch prices drop this month on refrigerators, microwaves, and stoves.”

It’s pretty easy to spend a month’s salary (sometimes 2 months’!) on that food monolith that always beckons me to open its doors. In my house, there are four kids, so the fridge door is often open. Our kitchen is on the small side; the fridge is on the large side. We actually stopped calling that room the kitchen, and instead refer to it as the refrigerator room: it dominates the landscape. When it’s time to look for a new model, here’s are the advisors I turn to:

I’ve gotten more home design ideas from the editors at Apartment Therapy than any other place – except perhaps from their legions of loyal readers who comment and contribute. Man, those people are not afraid of sharing their opinions. A few cycles ago, they did a roundup of “techie” fridges that included the Kenmore Elite Trio, which scored well due to its LED interior lights and its full LCD display. I’m a techie too, but what really lights me up is the peaks-and-valleys price history on this food locker. Hey, if you buy the Elite Trio when the price is up around $2,400, don’t go complaining in the comments section of Apartment Therapy about how expensive it was. Just watch it, and let ShopAdvisor let you know when you can find it for $1,999 or less.   

RefrigeratorPro. Now, where else would you go to learn about refrigerators than a site called RefrigeratorPro? Not dishwashers. Not cake mixers. Just. The. Fridge. Now, you get that close to that many fridges, and I would think picking the best one out of the hundreds of models would be like picking one child out to be the favorite. It’s just not fair to all the other refrigerators. But, RefrigeratorPro is nothing if not PROfessional, and without any guilty feelings crowns the LG French Door fridge the king of them all, wieighing in at $2,950. But, the curators of cool have a warm side to them, and they also found a couple LG siblings that are similar, and somewhat lower in price. Now, can’t we all just get along?

Our go-to guys at Cheapism understand that their audience is budget-conscious, so they leam towards fewer features in their picks – but they’re not “cheap refrigerators are available for less than $850. Although you get lots of bells and whistles with upmarket models, you aren’t guaranteed better dependability. Cheap refrigerators keep fresh foods fresh, frozen foods frozen, and penny-pinching users content. Hey, it keeps your beer cold. And it makes ice. You want a special cheese drawer? Gimme a break. The editors’ pick at Cheapism is the Maytag M1TXEMMWW.

Way back when, Cool Hunting got all excited at the imminent US arrival of a European favorite, the Smeg Fab 28. Five years later, what gets me all riled up is a price history chart with regularity like this one. Seems that every six months, like clockwork, the Smeg drops in price by $500. I don’t care how hot it gets, I will wait for that narrow window when the price drops 10 $1,500. Happy watching!

Curator of cool stuff Materialicious gives its stamp of cool approval to the Marvel refrigerated drawers. This is a departure from the fridge-as-monolith style, and tucks the appliance under a counter. Clearly, this is more suited to the man-cave than to the kitchen for most homes. Could have used this in college. Probably good I didn’t have it, though. ShopAdvisor shows that the price used to be above $2,800, and has been around $2,300 for a few months now.

And, if all else fails in your search for a fridge, Random Good Stuff always has something worth looking at. If you are hanging onto your sub-$1,000 model, you can slap this refrigerator upgrade magnet on it to impress your guests. I’m not sure a French fry dispenser in the fridge door is appealing, but I am intrigued by the LED panel that greets me as “Welcome, Master…”

Stay cool!

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10 Chairs That Make a Grown Man Cry

According to our reliable source at Cheapism, July is a good month to look for deals on furniture. “Come August, the second semi-annual wave of new furniture models will hit stores. To make room on the showroom floor, furniture retailers must rid themselves of current inventory. Look for big discounts on furniture this month.”

Now, people sometimes LOVE their chairs. Who knew a chair could evoke such passion and emotion?

Katja Prensal, decorator extraordinaire and curator of Skimbaco Lifestyle, has been furnishing her new home since this spring. “I have a feeling it’ll be a while before we have this new house decorated. Like with any house, it is better to live in first and then see what you really want to do with your space. Already now some of the things that I thought I like are not working too well, and we have already moved some furniture.” And now for the emotion: “The IKEA couch we ordered came, and while I LOVE the Barcelona chairs, I actually like it better now when we separated the two Barcelona chairs and added the couch in the living room.” The ALL CAPS exclamation is working for me, so I found a few different styles of Barcelonas to put on my ShopAdvisor watchlist.

Barcelona LOVE #1     Barcelona LOVE #2     Barcelona LOVE #3 

Our good friends at Remodelista are always on the lookout for something functional that is also pleasing to the senses. Janet, one of the Remodelista’s six curators, made the Tolix A Industrial Chair the top entry in one of her recent tried-and-true Ten Easy Pieces collections (Colorful Outdoor Dining Chairs). Janet refers to the Tolix A as legendary. That’s fairly emotional, for a chair, no?


Legendary!    Epic! 

A similar industrial style has caught the fancy of Joel Pirela (a graphic and industrial designer and edged weapons expert) of Blue Ant Studio, where the Emeco Chair is a favorite. Joel bestows the chair with the title of “aluminum icon.” You can almost hear the baited breath in the review: “Several things come thru my mind once I admire the greatest aluminum chair of all times…” One characteristic the former Navy man particularly admires: “spot welds on the top of the back bars are visible as a constant remainder that this chair is bomb proof.” Sounds perfect for my place. Time to watch.
Aluminum icon!  

Over at Bliss – the name alone conjures a racing heart – Traci French “shares her idea of pretty” and “hopes you think so too.” If the effusive comments on her site are any indication (e.g., “Oh man….heart, heart, heart!”), she has succeeded. One of her popular features, i heart monday, puts some love in the start of the work week with an always stunning collection of clothing, jewelry, shoes and household items. One find this past Monday was the Blu Dot Toro Lounge Chair. Traci’s taste is not governed by price tags, and this piece runs over $1,000 most months. According to ShopAdvisor, it can dip down to as low as $900. I’ll watch it, and will let Traci know when it drops. That ought to get a few more hearts on her site. <3

i heart this chair 

Another trustworthy source for the off-the-beaten path is BlessThisStuff, where the curators have discovered the Tip Ton chair, “a solid plastic chair that has a forward-tilt action that will help your health apparently, it straightens the pelvis and spine and thus improves circulation to the abdominal and back muscles.” Hey, anything that strengthens the pelvis, I’m all for it. I’m watching this one.

Strong pelvis, here I come! 

At Home Designing, the editors ask “Beautiful Recliners: Do They Exist?” – a dead giveaway that the usual emotive response to a barcalounger is yecch. And, indeed, the article does dig up some, uh, unusual pieces of furniture. It’s not too often one hears the words bizarre, precarious, unsettling, and collapse to describe something the observer otherwise considers beautiful. And, at almost $2,000, other vocabulary comes to mind. But, worth watching.

Beautiful, precarious and unsettling… 

The staff at Casual Living named the Mod Lounger the product of the day back in March. The designer “started with organic shapes intended to promote a fun and engaging form for children, and added to it adult ergonomics and scale.” Fun and ergonomic! According to ShopAdvisor, the price on the Mod Lounger has dipped to $400, so if you are patient, watching may pay off. Meanwhile, if you want to see emotion, catch me when one of my kids moves from lounging to cavorting on my $499 chair!

Offi Mod Lounger 

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