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Facebook offering e-retailers sales tracking tool

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc wants more credit for making online cash registers ring.

Facebook will begin rolling out on Friday a new tool which will allow online retailers to track purchases by members of the social network who have viewed their ads.

The tool is the latest of the new advertising features Facebook is offering to convince marketers that steering advertising dollars to the company will deliver a payoff.

Facebook, with roughly 1 billion users, has faced a tough reception on Wall Street amid concerns about its slowing revenue growth.

"Measuring ad effectiveness and outcomes is absolutely crucial to all types of businesses and marketers," said David Baser, a product manager for Facebook's ads business who said the "conversion measurement" tool has been a top customer request for a long time. More...

11-17-2012 18:59

If Google’s target is Amazon, watch out

Amazon Prime is like a club where you pay $79 a year, and all your qualifying Amazon purchases get free two-day shipping or one-day shipping for $3.99 per item. See related story on Wall Street Journal site .

This service is so convenient that many subscribers say they always check with Amazon before buying anything.

I could go into a longer exposition regarding the service and why it works for Amazon so well, but the idea itself has a checkered history. The overarching question: What’s up with Google doing this?

You have to wonder whether Google is planning to put up a branded online store. Investors can easily conclude this to be the case. The writing, in fact, has been on the wall for some time. Google GOOG -0.07% has long had a popular shopping engine originally branded as “Froogle.” That’s one clue. More...

12-04-2011 02:32

Retailers adapt as mobile holiday shopping booms

(Reuters) - When it comes to holiday shopping, more people are phoning it in, forcing retailers to embrace new ways to connect or else lose sales.

Lowe's Companies, Best Buy and Toys R Us are among retailers making big changes to prepare for a wave of holiday shoppers who will use smart phones to research products, check rivals' prices and make purchases.

"The shopping experience is in the consumer's hands and you can't fight where they're going," said Gihad Jawhar, vice president of Lowes.com, the website of the second-largest home-improvement company. "Retailers can either hop on the bus or get left behind. We are choosing the first option."

Lowe's is issuing more than 42,000 Apple iPhones to employees in more than 1,700 stores.

When shoppers are in Lowes stores scanning bar codes with their phones, reading product reviews and checking prices, employees can engage them better using iPhones to track down similar information.

Staff can also check quickly if products are in stock or if items are available on Lowes' website or another store nearby, and can often match or beat a price a consumer finds elsewhere via a smart phone.

Best Buy has 63 so-called connected stores in which employees have been given mobile devices and are encouraged to use their own smart phones to help shoppers research products and check inventory. More...

11-20-2011 19:55

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