2017 E-Commerce Holiday Shopping Strategies + 10 Website Conversion Rate Boosters

This article is by Evan Weber, originally published in LinkedIn.

Hello there, and thanks for taking a look. Holiday shoppers are starting even earlier than ever this year than ever before with starting their online holiday shopping, so I’ve put together some information and strategies for getting ready for and maximizing the holiday shopping season for your ecommerce business. Some of the channels this article will be discussing include: website optimization, email marketing, search engine advertising, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, visitor retargeting, effective tools to use, and more.

Key 2017 Holiday Shopping Dates:

November

5 – Bonfire Night (UK)

11 – Veterans’ Day (US)

11 – Single’s Day (China)

23 – Thanksgiving

24 – Black Friday

25 – Small Business Saturday (US)

27 – Cyber Monday

December

2 – Small Business Saturday (UK)

4 – Manic Monday

11 – Green Monday

15 – Free Shipping Day

24 – Christmas Eve, Super Saturday

25 – Christmas Day

26 – Boxing day

31 – New Years Eve

Website-Oriented Holiday Marketing Strategies:

  1. Holiday themed main graphic on the homepage; frequent holiday promotions, best sales of the year. -> Free Shipping is the #1 promotion that motivates consumers to purchase online.
  2. Holiday themed company logo – Adding a little graphical flair to your company logo for the holidays like: garland, snow, pieces of a wreath, and other related touches, is a really nice look.
  3. “Pre-Holiday Deals” Page – add a page on the website that can be linked to, with a graphic on the homepage, in the header, and/or in the side column. And then promoted via email blasts, social network posts, and ads.
  4. Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals Pages – Create pages on your website for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals that can be linked to via email, Facebook, and the home page’s main graphic. Create blog posts for “Top 10” lists for multiple product categories, such as “Top 10 Black Friday Deals on Gadgets.” By including your retargeting cookie on your article/blog pages, it can add to your re-marketing reach during the holidays.
  5. Holiday themed header/footer – Adding some ornaments, garland, or other holiday items can add a nice season touch and make visitors know you’re timely. The header and footer are good places to advertise promotions as well.
  6. Free Shipping Offer – consumers love free shipping, it’s the #1 promotion in ecommerce. Push it in your emails, website graphics, social network pages, live chat, and in the phone sales center.
  7. Server Load – Make sure your website server can handle the influx of traffic very well and is loading as quickly as possible at all times. A NO EXCUSES POLICY needs to be in effect. Nothing kills conversions like a slow loading website. Check into “load balancing” and server error reporting, to keep an eye on it. Use website monitoring alerts so you know when your site goes down.
  8. Abandoned Shopping Cart Follow-ups -Use abandoned shopping cart follow-up emails to convert more visitors. We have a couple of providers for that. It’s a must in high-volume traffic timeframes. See SaleCycle.com for shopping cart abandonment followups and on-site offers.
  9. Mobile Website – make sure you have a great mobile version of your website live. I recommend mShopper or similar tools to create an easily shop-able website for the phone, if you don’t have a true mobile website. But there are other plug and play apps if you don’t have a custom built mobile app. You absolutely need a mobile version of your site this time of year with more people shopping on their phones.
  10. Pro-Active Live Chat – I LOVE this tool!! Pops up from the footer on all visitors with a Holiday themed box stating, “Happy Holidays, can we help you with anything?” It’s an info first, promotion second chat management strategy that adds the human element to your web traffic, tracked with coupon codes. It’s a proven strategy to increase conversion rates! I really like Olark.com but there are others.

Search Engine-Related Q4 Holiday Strategies: Search is still a hugely important factor in driving targeted traffic and revenue during the holidays.

  1. SEO – Blog Posts – post about holiday deals, ex. 10 Top Holiday Gifts for Kids for 2017 (insert product category). Numerous blog posts can be written targeting people searching for the top gifts of the year for various categories. Check your Google Analytic reports from last year and see what search phrases brought people to your website during the holiday season, to guide both your SEO optimization and keyword buying. If you can see which phrases led to sales, even better to guide your content posting and keyword advertising.
  2. SEM – Paid Search (Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Shopping Engines) – making sure your paid search ads are updated with holiday offers this time of year, especially for your branded terms. Expand keyword lists into holiday gift related product and niche search phrases. Add holiday content to your product catalog, titles and descriptions. You will have to revise it back afterwards, but it could be both a way to increase targeted traffic and appear timely to visitors, which should increase conversion rates.

Affiliate Marketing Holiday Strategies:

  1. Add holiday banner ads, text links, and offers/promotions for your affiliate marketers.
  2. Push out more frequent affiliate newsletters with deals and promotions for your affiliates to promote. Affiliate marketing is promotion driven, so make sure to ramp up your sending of promotions to your affiliates. Affiliate marketers love promotions, in fact don’t expect them to promote your company without arming them with frequent, good promotions for their audience.
  3. Recruit holiday-oriented affiliates and publishers, such as gift site affiliates, shopping affiliates, cash back sites, loyalty portals, and other holiday or shopping related affiliates. Contact me if you need affiliate recruiting campaigns conducted, my agency is the best in the business at both recruiting new affiliates and managing affiliates to get them producing more revenue.

Influencer Marketing Strategies:

  1. Influencer Outreach – it’s a good idea to conduct outreach to social media influencers that reach the audiences that you want to get in front of for the holiday shopping season. We use a tool called Cision.com to target influencers, journalists, bloggers and other types of content producers on behalf of our clients.
  2. Dedicated Promotions – giving your influencers dedicated promo codes that they can market to their audience is a great way to track the results. A lot of times they are charging fees to market to their audience so it’s imperative to measure the results.

If you need Influencer outreach campaigns, contact me about it. We can create online press releases and then promote the releases to an influencer audience that we create through Cision. Cision is an expensive annual membership that we subscribe to, so you can leverage their contacts and the influencer outreach strategy by hiring my agency to run your influencer outreach campaigns. Contact me for more information.

Email Marketing Holiday Q4 Strategies:

  1. Email HTML Creatives – Launch a series of beautiful holiday-themed email offers for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and then leading up to Christmas, and then Post-Holiday Deals. (My designer can whip these up in a day or 2 if you need HTML emails turned around quickly). Increasing your email sending frequency is very advisable during November and December. Also, make sure you are using pop-up boxes on the website to increase email collection from your increased holiday website traffic. You should be able to really increase your email list when your website’s holiday traffic increases, which feeds into the following year.
  2. Test Subject Lines – Refine subject lines, include first name in the subject line whenever possible. “Best deals of the holiday season, Evan!” Make sure to emphasize deep discounts and other timely promotions. Keep your subject lines as short as possible.
  3. Responsive Designed HTML Emails – these are mobile friendly emails and a must for the holiday season since more than 60% of email openers are doing it on smartphones. (We are able to design and code responsive emails, just let me know).
  4. Email Platform – Make sure you have a well-performing, well-delivering email marketing platform that segments your database and personalized offers where appropriate. If you send out to a larger size list, you might want to check out Ongage.com which helps companies maximize their email delivery by rotating the ESPs being used to send your email blasts, and keeps the deliverability at the highest possible. Just a couple of percentage points can make all the difference in the revenue from the blasts.
  5. Email Frequency – I recommend daily deal emails and weekly seasonal emails into the holiday season, so you have to plan and design numerous promotional emails to send out in succession. This is the time of year that you can get away with daily email blasts to your lists, so take advantage of it, but with a strategy.
  6. Don’t be shy – Email is the #1 revenue generator for ecommerce, so make sure not to under-do it. Make sure to increase email collection both on the website with pop-ups, sweepstakes entries, and try Facebook Lead Ads to increase email subscribers to your list (inquire with me if you would like an agency to run these campaigns for you).

Social Media Holiday Strategies:

  1. Holiday-themed Sweepstakes or Photo Contest – “Win the NEW iPhone Sweepstakes!” You can do an amazing Holiday Season Sweepstakes or Holiday Photo Contest to increase fans, email opt-ins, conversions, and viral sharing. Typical budget would range between $500-2500 for a contest, depending on how big and exciting you wanted to go with the sweepstakes. Sweepstakes should be promoted on your website, on your Facebook page with Boosted Posts, Sponsored tweets, and to your email databases. Not to mention, when the winners get their prize they can be asked to share a picture on the fan page holding their prize, which is promoted on Facebook and other social networks with ads to increase exposure. It’s great for PR and has great engagement associated with it. Press releases can also be done for the sweepstakes to further market it. You can also run Facebook and Twitter ads to promote it, and re-market website visitors to enter your sweepstakes. You can also add a “site link extension” in your Google paid search ads so it shows up in all of your search ads so people may click on the link and sign up.
  2. Holiday-themed Facebook Page Cover images – to be added in advance of all the main Holiday promotions. It’s good to keep cover images changing and fresh on your Facebook page, and Twitter as well.
  3. Holiday-themed Fan Page profile thumbnail – sure why not add a holiday-themed company logo on your Facebook and Twitter pages.
  4. Facebook Fan Ads – consider allocating budget to advertise for more targeted fans (i.e. Page likes) on Facebook before and throughout the holidays so you can market deals to more targeted people with “Boosted Posts”. Then using Facebook Offers and Facebook Boosted Posts to monetize your fans and track the ROI of your fan advertising. Make sure to track Facebook ad campaigns with dedicated coupon codes, Facebook’s tracking pixels, and dedicated toll free numbers for Facebook.
  5. Twitter Ads – Ads can be run on Twitter to boost clicks, followers, and leads. Don’t forget about Twitter Ads this holiday season. I also really like running ads to your customer databases on Twitter (custom audiences), which always has good ROI. Another winner on Twitter is to run retargeting ads to your previous website visitors. So make sure not to neglect Twitter, especially in retargeting your website traffic and your previous customer email lists, with deals and/or to enter your holiday sweepstakes to build your email list.
  6. Instagram – You MUST be on Instagram with a company page and posting pictures and links to it, with hashtags to gain followers. Ramp up your Instagram strategy now to build your followers for the holidays. Now, when you advertise through Facebook, your ads will run on Instagram automatically, which is a beautiful thing.
  7. Video – make sure to create and utilize videos in your holiday shopping strategies. Videos tend to have higher rates of engagement that static ads. Videos can be created and utilized on your social networks, in your ads, on Youtube, in Youtube ads, and other places as well. (If you need inexpensive video creation services let me know)
  8. Pinterest – Make sure you are pinning all your products from your site and blog to Pinterest in your company account. Create boards for your product categories to make it great. Sign-up for a Pinterest business account so you can run ads through Pinterest to targeted audiences for the holiday shopping season. If it’s going to work, it’s likely going to work during the holiday shopping season when your conversion rate is higher, so make sure to leverage it to the fullest.

Native Advertising / Programmatic Ads:

  1. Native Ads: these are ad campaigns that run as “recommended articles” on 3rd party web properties that typically are high traffic websites. You may have seen these blocks of 4-8 set of stories with an image and a content blurb that link to a landing page. There are a couple of ways to target these types of recommended articles, including targeting your previous website visitors known as “retargeting” ads, as well as targeting “custom audiences” which are databases such as a website’s customer database, or very targeted customers that have either show interest in that same type of product or services, or have in fact made a purchase previously with another similar website. You can run your “recommended articles” which are actually ad units that market an article and an image to these audiences, bringing the people that click on the ads to your website, or to a “landing page” that collects their contact information so they can be followed up with and sold your products or services. You can put a holiday shopping spin on your ad units and landing pages, to make them really timely and more effective. Native advertising is a very popular new form of online advertising, and represents the future of digital advertising because it essentially allows Advertisers and merchants to run ad campaigns to very targeting audiences, which allow what in the past were display ad campaigns that are much easier to generate a return on investment with this more modern and more effective way to advertise on 3rd party websites through display advertising campaigns, and drive a ton more traffic for advertisers. The other amazing aspect of Native advertising is that you can set up several different ad units and drive the traffic to a variety of landing pages, which allows for a higher degree of on the fly optimizations, which improves ad campaign performance over time. Check out Storygize.com for fully managed Native Advertising campaigns, and check out OutBrain and Taboola for self-serve Native Ad campaigns.
  2. Programmatic Ad Campaigns – The difference between Programmatic and traditional display advertising campaigns essentially is just how targeted the advertising inventory is with this new more precise form of targeting that’s used by programmatic ad networks. For instance, if you want to run ads to target women that have purchased from designer boutiques in the last 6 months, you can do that. If you want to target moms with kids in elementary school, you can do that. If you wanted to target plus sizes women that shop for clothes online, you can target just that audience. I think you get the picture. Essentially, you can leverage information on users from 3rd party “data providers,” or companies that know people’s buying behavior and other valuable data points you can utilize to target those people online with various types of ads and videos. You will pay a premium for the ability to target people based on this information, but it makes all of the difference in the world. Let’s say you want to advertise your new iPhone speaker through display advertising campaigns. You can select audiences of people that you know have recently purchased the new iPhone for instance. You can also run a variety of different types of ad units like videos and HTML5 ad units which are interactive ad units which increase the ability to get people’s contact info if they are interested so you can personally follow up and sell to them or market to them in a very targeted way. Another phenomenal aspect of programmatic, is that you can target web properties that have certain content or keywords present on the pages. For instance, you want to target web properties that are discussing hardwood flooring options in their content or blog post. You can target just these pages of content with your banner ads or video ads for a flooring company, and get them to visitor your website or your landing page to get a free estimate. You can see how paying a little bit extra for this type of data is worth the money and in fact worth it’s weight in gold. Now, you have to do a great job with your website landing page conversion rate to make it work as well as possible, but assuming you don’t do a completely horrible job, it has a very good chance of working and producing an ROI. What a great strategy to increase website traffic for the holidays, by using Native ads and Programmatic ad campaigns. (If you need an agency to help you run these campaigns, let me know. We use a phenomenal programmatic campaign platform to get the best ROI on your Native ads and programmatic ad campaigns.)

Read the full article here.

Looking to Do B2B Lead Generation on LinkedIn? Contact Me to Run Your B-to-B LinkedIn Ad Campaigns Today

This article is by Evan Weber, originally published in LinkedIn.

Previously this year, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms for Sponsored Content. Using pre-filled forms, this solution makes it easy for advertisers to collect quality leads from over 500+ million professionals, influencers, and business decision-makers on LinkedIn. However, you might want to bring on an agency like Experience Advertising, Inc., that has a ton of B to B experience and background to manage your ads, otherwise you could overspend and not get the best results from your campaigns. It a good idea to work with an experienced B2B digital agency anyways because they have the experience managing LinkedIn ad campaigns and the time to optimize them so they work properly.

We have been seeing pretty strong campaign performance with Lead Gen Forms, reducing the average cost per lead by 20-30%, depending on the company and the lead types of course. There are many factors involved. With great ROI being shown, LinkedIn decided to expand our lead gen capabilities to more LinkedIn products, including Sponsored InMail and Dynamic Ads. Now those are some good ideas from LinkedIn, because those are the types of ads that tend to produce the best results anyways from my experience.

Lead Gen Forms are Now Available for Sponsored InMail!

LinkedIn just announced that Lead Gen Forms can now be used with their Sponsored inMail campaigns, which is a true revolution in LinkedIn advertising in my opinion, because LinkedIn inMails are the best performing and usually the cheapest type of LinkeedIn campaign you can run anyways, so it was just a matter of time. If you want to run these types of campaigns, contact us today!

Companies looking for quality lead generation use Sponsored InMail to reach LinkedIn members with personalized, one-to-one messages on LinkedIn, which is the most direct approach, very similar to emailing them directly. Open rates are typically 30-50%, but we discovered that some prospects dropped off because of the extra step required to fill out a form on the advertiser’s landing page, which kills the conversion rate in most instances. With Lead Generation Forms for Sponsored InMail, advertisers experience improved conversion rates of their Sponsored InMail campaigns while collecting quality lead data at scale, including a prospect’s: name, email address, job title, company name, and other fields from their LinkedIn profile. Advertisers using Lead Gen Forms for Sponsored InMail have seen their mobile conversion rates increase by an average of 3-4x when compared to standard landing pages on their website, which is a dramatic increase!

Custom Questions Added as Well!

You can now also ask custom questions on a Lead Generation Form to collect lead data beyond the standard fields LinkedIn provided previously, which is AMAZING! You can add up to 3 custom question fields, which can be either multiple choice questions, free-form fields, or a mix of these types. These “custom lead questions” work for both Sponsored InMail and Sponsored Content campaigns.

Also, a new Dynamic Ads format has been added! You can generate leads and content downloads directly within the ads themselves, which is a tremendous upgrade!

Read the full article here.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail – Engage your Target Audiences with Personalized Content Delivered Through LinkedIn Messenger

This article is by Evan Weber, originally published in LinkedIn.

If you have previously been unsuccessful advertising on LinkedIn previously with their text ads or their newsfeed ads, due to the high cost per click or not great click through rates, which has been the case for a lot of B2B companies, or have been thinking of running ads on LinkedIn to reach their 450+ million professional audience, then there’s another LinkedIn advertising option that you should definitely try: LinkedIn Sponsored InMail ads! These are bascially like sending email messages directly to your target audience’s LinkedIn inboxes, which notifies the prospect through their email account that they have a new message waiting for them. And gladly, LinkedIn just reduced the pricing for sending these targeted messages, so now is definitely the time for you to look to make these work, if you’re looking for B2B lead generation or to drive professionals of various types to your website or landing pages.

Too often, B2B marketers are forced to choose between advertising at scale or personalizing content to the individual. And while mobile devices continue to play an increasingly important role in reaching prospects, optimizing for the small screen remains a substantial hurdle for many, according to survey research. 55% of organizations give their personalization efforts a grade of C or lower. And personalization in advertising is what makes it work better, as opposed to mass display advertising without any personalization. With LinkedIn Sponsored InMails, you are addressing each prospect by their name and it comes from you (or someone in your organization) so the personalization is about as good as it can be.

Easily personalize your outreach at scale with Sponsored InMail:

  • Engage your target audiences across mobile and desktop with optimized designs.
  • Deliver personalized messages within LinkedIn messenger.
  • Reach members only when they are active on LinkedIn.

Drive conversions, attendance, and downloads:

  • Boost registrations with personalized invitations to webinars or in-person events.
  • Drive conversions with targeted product and service promotions.
  • Promote content downloads of infographics, white papers, eBooks, and more.

Get Going with LinkedIn Sponsored InMails in 6 Easy Steps:

1. Build your creatives and personalize your message with a strong call to action (CTA).

2. Target your audience by location, company, industry, title, skills, education, and more.

3. Set your bid and campaign budget goals.

4. Launch your campaign and start sending messages directly to your target audience.

5. Measure your results and track key metrics including sends, opens, and clicks.

6. Optimize your impact by A/B testing variations of your content, using scalable campaign management tools.

What can you do with LinkedIn Sponsored InMail? Sponsored InMail is the most direct way to engage your prospects on LinkedIn across mobile and desktop.

  • Tailor your content with flexibility and ease. Craft personalized messages that tell your story without the limitations of restrictive character counts.
  • Drive action with optimized design features. Persistent CTA buttons on mobile and desktop are always visible while a user scrolls.
  • Ensure timely reach with real-time delivery. Sponsored InMail messages are only delivered when members are active on LinkedIn.
  • Avoid formatting headaches. Responsive design ensures your message looks great on any screen, large or small.
  • Engage members in a professional context. Strict delivery frequency caps ensure your message gets maximum mindshare.

Read the full article here.

 

TRELLIAN.COM Parent Of Above.com Acquires Drop Catch Platform DomainShield.Com.au

Trellian has announced its further expansion into the .AU drop catch business with the acquisition of the highly successful drop catch platform DomainShield.com.au.

Having only a handful of auDA accredited registrars that are authorized to drop catch, the acquisition further strengthens Trellian’s February 2017 acquisition of Drop.com.au drop catch platform and registrar.

The two drop catching operations will gradually be consolidated under the Drop.com.au brand, taking the best parts from each platform, plus many other functions from the existing Above.com Domain Portfolio Manager and Marketplace.

David Warmuz, CEO of Trellian stated: “After our drop.com.au acquisition we quickly realized that there was one key component missing: .au drop catch know how. We could learn and fine tune, but this would take months/years. Or we could partner with someone that obviously has the missing piece. So having someone like Anthony on board just made sense. I am eager to see what the future holds and I look forward to working with Anthony on reviving the drop.com.au drop catch platform.”

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/2kYNZyv

FASHION BRAND JIGSAW PRAISES IMMIGRATION IN BREXIT-DIVIDED BRITAIN

British fashion brand Jigsaw is best-known as a favorite of upscale, posh customers like the Duchess of Cambridge. But in a country still deeply riven by Brexit, the brand is taking a strongly pro-diversity, pro-immigration stance in a new campaign that includes a takeover of London’s Oxford Circus tube station.

Jigsaw’s Autumn/Winter campaign features the tagline “Heart Immigration,” includes a “mainfesto” that points out how “British style isn’t 100 per cent British” and highlights how important immigration is to its business.

“As a clothing brand, we couldn’t do what we do if people weren’t free to move around,” an ad says. “Without immigration, we’d be selling potato sacks.”

The creative, by agency The Corner, also includes ethnically diverse models, photographed in a British manor house by Ben Rayner.

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/2gkmxGw

Bryan Roberts of Venrock on Seeing Problems as Opportunities

This interview with Bryan Roberts, a partner at Venrock, a venture capital firm, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

Q. What were your early years like?

A. I was born in Manhattan, and we lived on the Upper East Side until I was about five. We moved after an incident when I was walking my bike to Central Park with my mom, and I got hit by a taxi.

I was fine, but the bike was a bit mangled. I have this memory of looking up at a fender. Soon after, my mom said, “We’re out of here.”

We moved to Alpine, N.J., just north of the George Washington Bridge. It was in the middle of 300 acres of woods, and there were about ten families or so that rented places around there. We were just a bunch of kids rambling around. 

I loved problem solving as a kid. That’s probably the thread through most of my life. How do you build this? How do I get from here to there? The actual content of the problem matters less than the need to puzzle through something.

Tell me more about your parents.

My dad is an infectious-disease doctor, and my mom is in theater. They’re the two most polar-opposite people in the universe. My mom’s broadly intelligent, and my dad is just deeply awesome at diagnosing diseases.

How have they influenced your leadership style?

The biggest thing is thinking about others more than yourself. In my line of work, if you put your company ahead of you, you’re going to do fine. And I try to always interact with people who put other people front and center, rather than themselves.

People who are self-directed generally gather accomplishments and accolades and are very happy to tell you about them. When people are company- or mission-directed, it manifests as humility, and they generally push credit off onto other people.

Read the full article here: http://nyti.ms/2l1KDLt

As the World Tweets, Social Media Chiefs Remain Tight-Lipped

If only Twitter, Facebook and Google could keep their stories straight.

They thrive by mining the private information of the billions of people who use them, many of whom are naïve about the value of what they are giving up with each post or click. But the companies are grudging at best when it comes to being open about themselves.

Their tendency to show more reserve than the people whom they have encouraged to offer up bits of personal data has been especially striking in recent days.

The Rose McGowan episode was a case in point. After the actress posted a series of tweets suggesting that entertainment and media executives had helped cover up allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Harvey Weinstein, Twitter shut down her account. Soon after that, the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter started trending, and Twitter reactivated it. That was followed by an unsurprising apology, in which Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, said there was a need to be more “transparent” in explaining how Twitter comes to such decisions.

Read the full article here: http://nyti.ms/2ypvEjH

50 Questions to Test True Data Science Knowledge

This was the subject of a popular discussion recently posted on Quora: 20 questions to detect a fake data scientist. We asked our own data scientist, and he came up with a very different set of questions: compare his answer (#1 below – 20 questions) with Quora replies (#2 and #3 below – 30 questions). Note that #2 focuses on statistics, and #3 on architecture. The link to the original Quora discussion is also provided in this article. Which questions would you add or remove?

Many other related interview questions and answers (data science, R, Python and so on) can be found here.

Answer from our data scientist (many of these questions are open questions):

  • What is the life cycle of a data science project?
  • How do you measure yield (over base line) resulting from a new or refined algorithm or architecture?
  • What is cross-validation? How to do it right?
  • Is it better to design robust or accurate algorithms?
  • Have you written production code? Prototyped an algorithm? Created a proof of concept?
  • What is the biggest data set you have worked with, in terms of training set size, and in terms of having your algorithm implemented in production mode to process billions of transactions per day / month / year?
  • Name a few famous API’s (for instance Google search). How would you create one?
  • How to efficiently scrape web data, or collect tons of tweets?
  • How to optimize algorithms (parallel processing and/or faster algorithm: provide examples for both)
  • Examples of NoSQL architecture?
  • How do you clean data?
  • How do you define / select metrics? Have you designed and used compound metrics?
  • Examples of bad and good visualizations?
  • Have you been involved – as an adviser or architect – in the design of dashboard or alarm systems?
  • How frequently an algorithm must be updated? What about lookup tables in real-time systems?
  • Provide examples of machine-to-machine communication.
  • Provide examples where you automated a repetitive analytical task.
  • How do you assess the statistical significance of an insight?
  • How to turn unstructured data into structured data?
  • How to very efficiently cluster 100 billion web pages, for instance with a tagging or indexing algorithm?
  • If you were interviewing a data scientist, what questions would you ask her?

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/1Wp2qUI

Citi-Costco partnership shows its strength in Costco’s earnings report

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence “Payments Briefing” subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

In its most recent earnings call, Costco provided another update on the performance of its Citi Visa co-branded card for members, which officially launched in June 2016.

The card is doing well across metrics, and is one of the major gainers in Costco’s margins, which fell slightly overall year-over-year (YoY).

  • New users are growing steadily. In the past year, Citi has added roughly 1.8 million new accounts and 2.4 million new cards — a discrepancy that most likely arises from multiple cardholders on a given account. This includes 270,000 new cards in the past 17 weeks, and represents a slowdown from the initial launch of the card, but still indicates a healthy growth rate.
  • And spend is on the rise. Costco reported that spending on the card is up YoY, not just as a result of new account acquisitions, but also organically. These shifts are reflected in numbers that Citi reported earlier this year — Costco’s $103 billion through Q2 2017 helped increase Citi’s card sales by a third. CFO Richard Galanti also noted that this is a card people tend to keep top-of-wallet, and the spend is coming not just from within Costco, but also from out-of-store, which is helping to propel growth. 

The performance of Costco’s product is a testament to why bigger is better for credit cards. When Amex owned the Costco co-brand portfolio, it was strong, posting $80 billion in billed business in its last full year. But it’s doing even better, and seems to be growing more quickly, under Citi — which is of benefit to Costco. That’s likely in part due to the card’s strong rewards proposition — cash-back offerings go as high as 4% for standard purchases, which is higher than those under Amex, and the firm is also running other promotions, like additional rewards on travel and discounts on Samsung purchases, which can incentivize high spending. But it could also be due to Visa’s wide acceptance network, which beats out Amex in the US, and could make it easier for users to turn to the product more regularly. At a time when credit appetite is high and firms are working to attract and engage customers, the scaling success of the Costco portfolio could be a lesson in how subtle changes that simplify and incentivize usage could make a big difference.

Read the full article here: http://read.bi/2ikfoKC

72 Must-Have Features for E-Commerce Websites [Infographic]

by Laura Forer

Whether you’re just starting an e-commerce website or you’ve had yours up for a while and want to look at it with fresh eyes, today’s infographic by WebAlive offers a helpful guide. The website design and development company has put together a list of 72 features you may want to consider for your site.

Some, such as including a product title and description on a product page, are basics.

But others, such as including risk reducers on your homepage or explanations about product download formats on a digital product page, may give you some new ideas for helpful content to be added to your site.

The graphic breaks down websites into the most common types of pages: homepage (including header and footer), category page, product page, checkout/shopping cart/wishlist pages, and blog; it also has information on backend features and other considerations.

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/2gf0e57