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Linda Bustos of Elastic Path Featured on Latest Ecommerce Podcast Interview

Author of Top Ranked E-commerce Blog Discusses Viability of Mobile Commerce and Social Networks, and How to Optimize a Site to Generate Higher Conversions

SAN JOSE, CA – October 6, 2010 – SLI Systems announced today that Linda Bustos, director of ecommerce research for Elastic Path and author of its award-winning “Get Elastic” blog appears on the latest Ecommerce Podcast interview.

In the podcast, host Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems, and Bustos, who pens the number-one e-commerce blog (according to PostRank), discuss various topics related to e-commerce, including how much retailers should focus on mobile commerce in the near-term, and how viable social networks are in driving retail purchases. Bustos also discusses ways online retailers can improve site conversions, including optimizing the check-out page, and she reveals part of her list of the top 10 things to improve in the online check-out process – which were recently posted on her blog at http://www.getelastic.com/10-worst-things-that-can-happen-in-your-checkout/.

“As technologically advanced as e-commerce is, there’s really not a lot that’s new,” said Bustos. “Mobile applications are emerging, but we’re waiting for consumers to catch up and to start preferring the mobile channel, and to start using social media for shopping, which I’m not convinced that they’re doing yet.”

Bustos said she feels if companies are going to go to the expense and effort to build a mobile application, they need to put a lot of marketing muscle behind it to make it succeed. “There’s so much choice, that it really should be a customer-driven initiative. If you really think mobile is right for you, you need to think of who your customer mix is and if they’ll really use your application.”

She also explained that non-transactional mobile applications, such as looking up prices and store locators can be inexpensive to produce and add value to customers, although they may not have much ROI value.

On the other hand, she said that retailers who do get involved with mobile commerce now give themselves an opportunity to learn about what their customers like and what will work, and will ultimately have a lot more experience. “Before it becomes critical and before everyone wants to be on mobile, you can make your mistakes now, you can learn now, you can build up expertise and take risks, especially if you have money and resources to play around with.”

On the social networking front, Bustos pointed out some interesting approaches that chains like Best Buy and the Gap are doing with sites like FourSquare and others. “These are neat things to have for national chains with a lot of locations, but I don’t know if they really drive sales. You have to be willing to say that if this completely fails we’re all going to laugh and go for a drink. Social really is for people to be social with each other, and I don’t think it’s really proved itself to be a retail driver yet,” she said.

Still, she says there will likely be some exciting social networking campaigns that come out that will get some headlines and drive brand awareness.

Bustos offers advice to online retailers to focus more on optimizing their check-out page as a way to maximize the potential order value of customers already planning to make a purchase, rather than spend so much effort on converting new customers.

“Site testing is really important now. Starting out with check-out is the best bang for your buck if you’re going to test something. Get your check-out vastly improved and then you can start looking at other areas like the home page, and how things are laid out,” she said.

“Another area that’s a good candidate is site search because it’s so important to find the items you’re looking for. A lot of people are abandoning because you’re carrying items but people can’t find them – so that’s another high-impact area that should be looked at.”

About EcommercePodcast

EcommercePodcast is a series of interviews with experts in e-commerce on a range of topics, including marketing, site design and usability, search, and merchandising and promotions. The podcast interviews are hosted by Shaun Ryan, president and CEO of SLI Systems, a provider of hosted learning-based search and navigation technology. EcommercePodcast can be found at www.ecommercepodcast.com.

About SLI Systems

SLI Systems is the leading developer of Software-as-a-Service learning-based search and navigation solutions for corporate Internet sites, content publishers, e-commerce destinations and consumer Internet portals that Searches, Learns and Improves the user experience. SLI Systems’ SaaS-based site search and user-generated SEO solutions empower businesses to enhance customer satisfaction while increasing sales, reducing costs and yielding valuable customer information. Unlike traditional search software, SLI Systems’ patented technology continuously “learns” from the behavior of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in Silicon Valley, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information, visit www.sli-systems.com, or see the company’s blog at blog.sli-systems.com.