Magazine Article | November 16, 2006

What Can A Blog Do For You?

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

Are you carving a market out of this Web phenomenon?

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, December 2006

I remember the first time I heard the word blog. Not understanding exactly what a blog was, I immediately wrote it off as some strange online fad concocted by and intended for generation Y (which I believe falls a generation or two behind mine). I was wrong and a little bit right. Indeed, blogs (the word itself a contraction of ‘Web log’), which are generally defined as journal-like, frequently updated, online sounding boards intended to express individual and collective thoughts on a specific topic, were made mainstream (and remain primarily used) by those in their mid-twenties. That part I got right. As for the fad part, I think I was dead wrong.

Retail Blog Marketing is a service provider that aims to help retailers tap into what’s know as the ‘blogosphere’ (the greater blogging community).  The company says 75,000 new blogs appear every day, and more than 35 million are currently online, attracting more than 50 million readers per day. These sites are active, generating 50,000 new articles or posts per hour. There are niche search engines dedicated solely to searching blogs. Google, MSN, and Yahoo all have blog search options.

The Most Influential Demographic In Retail Spending Loves To Blog

I thought about the popularity of blogging in light of some stats that online marketing expert Kelly Mooney recently presented. Mooney’s research gives 13- to 21-year-olds the most power of any U.S. age group in terms of influencing their families’ purchasing decisions, especially as they relate to apparel and vehicles. He also said 14- to 24-year-olds have more spending power at a younger age than previous generations. This is a market segment you want to attract. It just so happens to be the blogging generation. Still skeptical? Ask your teen- and college-age kids about MySpace and Blogger. These sites are cashing in on ad revenue from generation-marketing savvy retailers. The retailers, in turn, are cashing in on the sales lift they get by tapping into the blog phenomenon.

Does it make sense for you to begin blogging on your e-commerce site? I think it probably does. It could improve your search engine performance, tapping you into a niche community full of motivated buyers and purchase influencers. A blog also creates a great opportunity for interaction on your site. Product experts, buyers, executives, and spokespeople from and affiliated with your retail brand can all contribute their knowledge of and excitement about what you sell. We know that purchase decisions are increasingly made (if not influenced) by research conducted online. Think creatively about how a blog might influence your consumers’ retail research and purchase behavior.