Ecommerce Revolution – Why The New Ecommerce Will Convert Better

By Martin Smith
Director of Marketing, Atlantic Business Technologies, Inc.

Sometimes your reach exceeds your grasp. As a former Director of Ecommerce for a multimillion dollar B2C site my reach exceeded my grasp daily (lol). You know you are an ecommerce online merchant when the disparity between grasp stops being unusual or strange. You know you should go to a conference like the Conversion Conference in ten days in Chicago when your “Keep Calm, Carry On” genes are tested, worn like an old boot and easy to hear or feel.

As Director of Marketing for Atlantic BT I face different challenges. Unlike most, I don’t see B2B as different than B2C in tactics or strategy (mostly). B2B’s relationship time frames are different, but the tools and tactics feel the same including:

  • Great, authoritative content.
  • Email Marketing.
  • Social Support.
  • Content Curation about half the time.
  • Content Marketing (tell great stories)
  • Video Marketing.
  • Mobile Marketing (because the Tsunami is here).
  • Cause Marketing (important to save the world even if only in a small way these days).

I rack these pool balls into the 4 C’s: Content, Community, Campaigns and Conversion. For the sake of the Conversion Conference Scholarship Contest, let’s work backwards. As a Director of Ecommerce my team and I performed an exhaustive analysis of our shopping cart. We concluded a half a point saved from the maddening HELL of cart abandonment was worth a cool million bucks.

A million bucks THIS year, and, on further analysis, we discovered such a gift would keep on giving since the Lifetime Value (LTV) of those new customers rescued from the jaws of our competition would contribute another million by our second year of cart improvement. Here were the A/B conditions we set:

  • Addition of Trust Marks vs. No Marks (Trust Marks won).
  • Color of trust marks (strangely blue won, strangely because other button tests had red and orange as winners, but the cart was a slightly different design environment so we chalked it and moved on).
  • Stacked Sequence On Page vs. Appearance of Movement (movement surprised us by winning)
  • 4 Step vs. 3 Step (no surprise here as 3 Steps crushed 4)
  • Finally additional, new and unrelated offer on the thank you page vs. no offer (Offer crushed no offer)

We had a problem. The mechanics of the cart could only pull so many customers back. We needed to create a cart abandonment drip campaign. Just as we were lined up to conduct this test I left to ride a bicycle across America. Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer was an amazing experience, but one thing I wanted to happen didn’t.

I expected, somewhere on this 3,000 mile ride, to have a vision for my next company (I’ve started 4 already:, PoetrySlam, DadaBox and StoryGlasses all now RIP). Surely somewhere in Utah some pointer would appear or a loud booming voice would say, “Martin, you are to build an arc,” or something. Believe me if something like that was going to happen the beautiful and all Utah’s almost deserted mesas, plateaus and God’s sculpture Garden would have been where.

We left God’s sculpture garden for the long, dry, hot plains of Nevada without a clear director for after Martin’s Ride. Working for a brilliant entrepreneur back home crystallized a vision – CONVERSION and RELEVANCE. C&R go well together. I’d tested a “read the cookie, fire the site” tool called Baynote back in the day. Now Jon wanted to use behavior tracking and predictive modeling to achieve Asimov’s Foundation Dream of predicting the future.

Granted it is a tiny future of what is about to happen between website and visitor, but Jon’s idea, after I’d had a chance to think about it for a bit, was cool and sounded like fun. Jon wanted to find a way to mashup marketing automation, Google Analytics and predictive algorithms we create to predict the future in real time (or near real time). COOL right, only what tools should be part of this new idea. What could we borrow from companies like Marketo and what did we need to create for ourselves?

With NO IDEA how to fully answer this question I used some personal savings to head to the first Agile Marketing Conference followed by the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco. Found cool stuff there I will write about soon, but did not configure our future predicting mashup crystal ball.

Personal savings spent, two things have to happen at the next conference or it is my ass :):

  • We need to know the other pieces of our conversion engine (we are now partnering with Marketo and are talking with SiteCore).
  • We need to understand the conversion landscape better (a lot has changed in the 2 years since I was a Director of Ecommerce)

Can both of those questions be answered in Chicago? Not sure, but short of winning one of the 20 Scholarships there is no way I can afford the trip back to my old stomping grounds (worked for M&M/Mars and NutraSweet in Chicago). Rest assured, if ScentTrail wins a special pass I will live blog the event just like the Agile Marketing Conference.

Stay tuned.



Editor’s note: This guest post is an entry to our $750 2-day conference pass promotions. Want to score a Conversion Conference Chicago pass at this unbelievable rate? Check out how to get one here


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