submitted by: Pat – West Florida Components
The Internet Merchants Association and its sponsors recently presented eight educational sessions to the ASD trade show attendees. The bi-annual sourcing show was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center with over 30.000 visitors in attendance.
Platinum and Diamond level sponsors including Vendio, Alibaba and MIVA Merchant were among the featured speakers on topics ranging from integrating social media to building effective web sites and search engine optimization.
Most of the speakers have provided their slide decks so that session attendees can review them and download them. The slide presentations are available at slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/imamerchants
The Internet Merchants Association is now accepting applications for the March, 2011 educational sessions. Speaking preference is given to all IMA Platinum and Diamond level sponsors. Interested parties can learn more about the speaking and membership opportunities by contacting Pat Pepe. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
August 30th, 2010
written by Cathy
We all think we are the best person to grow our business. The best person for SEO, the best web designer, the best IT person, the best at everything we do. But the problem is that your competitors think the same. The e-commerce industry moves so fast that it is actually impossible to keep up with all the trends and changes. You need help; we all need help to stay ahead of our competitors.
I have taken my education very seriously the last few years and to be honest, the improvement in my bottom line is the proof that it was well worth it. I have gone to business seminars, web design conferences, SEO conferences and many marketing seminars and to me, the cost of being away from my business and the conference expenses were worth every penny. A conference can cost up to thousands of dollars and when you spend this kind of money, it is important to make sure that this investment is going to help your business grow.
One of my favorite conferences that I look forward to every year is the one from the Internet Merchants Association (IMA) which will be held in Las Vegas, March 2-3,2010. It is presented in conjunction with the ASD/AMD Sourcing Show where IMA offers free business seminars to the attendees. This year on the 1st & 2nd of March, IMA will present titles that include “The ABCs of Web Design”, “Big Ideas for Small Businesses” and “Get Found in Search Engines: SEO 101″ to just name a few.
Rick Wilson, Vice President of MIVA Merchant will present an important topic at the IMA Conference, “Top 10 Tips for Designing a Great Checkout Process.” I look forward to hearing what expert Rick has to say about the checkout process. The checkout process for your customers is so important and if your customers “don’t get it” then you can be out of business quickly.
While I love to blog, I am not consistent with the “other” social media stuff. I really do understand it but there has to be a way to make it more financially viable for my business. “Nine Ways to Make Your E-Commerce Site More Social” will help me pull it all together and complete my 2010 plan for my business. Another title that I am looking forward to attending at the IMA Conference in March is “How 21st Century PR Can Build Your Brand”.
I hope you can attend the IMA Conference, March 2-3 in Las Vegas. If you do attend, track me down and I will be happy to buy you a few drinks in the IMA Networking Suite.
January 9th, 2010
Good morning from San Antonio. It is good to be home, but now I have to get to work putting all this new information to work in my business!
If you missed the last day of the conference, you missed out on some great information. Michael Levit from Vendio was the first presenter “Cross Channel Selling Costs and the Effects of eBay’s New Pricing.”
Mike spoke about the importance of creating and running your own website store. Get your webstore established now, as internet retailing is only going to get more competitive in the future. He gave us valuable information on how to market a webstore through SEO, SEM and CSE’s (comparison shopping engines).
Next up was David Platt from Infopia presenting “Converting Browsers into Buyers”.
David cited a survey done amongst internet shoppers that pinpointed the 6 Problems Encountered Shopping Online. He also gave us several do’s and don’ts on creating a website as well as how we can learn from the websites of the big companies who spend thousands of dollars on research.
The last presentation I was able to attend was presented by Suzanne from AGenius Marketing on “Building a Successful Website.” Suzanne gave a great presentation about keeping your website fresh, how to choose a designer and shopping cart and the importance of continually testing your site.
There was so much information presented in these seminars that I am glad I took detailed notes as I know that I gained thousands of dollars worth of information from just these three speakers. I hope everyone reading this blog will seriously start making plans for IMA’s conference next year. Your investment will be returned tenfold.
March 6th, 2008
Good morning again from Vegas. Day 3 of the conference was a whirlwind of new information and new people. Some of the presentations were very detailed, while others were more basic. I was happy to find out we had registered several new members of IMA as a result of our free seminars for ASD/AMD members on “Getting Started in E-Commerce”! Great job everyone!
The first presentation was on Market Intelligence, by Tim Williams from QL2. QL2 is a company that has helped many very large, well known retailers with market intelligence in order to increase their market share.
Market Intelligence is information relative to the markets you are trying to penetrate. This consists of information you gather inhouse as well as information gathered by third parties. We learned how and why to monitor our competitors as well as how to monitor brand perception. The very detailed information will help us be more competitive in the fast changing e-commerce world.
The second presentation of the day was “Analyze your Business Using Web Statistics” by Sagerock and Engine Ready. They gave a lot of useful information about analyzing your CPC campaigns in order to increase your conversions while decreasing your marketing budget. After hearing all that’s involved in managing your own SEO and CPC ad campaigns, I’ve decided it might be best to hire a professional to do this, unless you are a numbers person and really like working with statistics.
I missed the Endicia Presentation on the USPS changes, however I did talk to the Endicia rep for a little while and found out that the post offices just received the new, larger, flat rate box this week. So if you are interested in these boxes, check with your Post Office as they may have received them.
During lunch we attended round tables with the companies of our choice. This was an awesome opportunity to sit with a representative and ask questions specific to our businesses, as well as make valuable contacts.
The next presentation was “Amazon Best Practices for Selling Online”, which was a good, basic overview of the third party selling opportunities that Amazon offers. These include Marketplace, FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) and Webstores. Amazon stated that 26% of the total units sold on Amazon last year were by 3rd party sellers. Third party sellers are considered a significant and important part of their business.
The next presentation was Expanded Seller Protection by Paypal. I didn’t attend this but did talk to two Paypal Reps. One thing I learned, that I didn’t already know from the announcements, is that Powersellers will be protected against a fraudulent payment if they can show they shipped the item to the address on the Paypal Payment. The key word here is “shipped”. However, INR’s will still require proof of delivery.
Next up was a Q&A with eBay. Many issues were raised about feedback, Best Match and UPI from the audience. What I understand from what the eBay reps said is that all of these changes are evolving. eBay is monitoring the changes to see if they have the desired effect. If they do not, or they have unexpected undesirable effects, they will make changes to the changes.
The last presentation was given by Brian Kane of Microsoft “Microsoft Office – Interesting Elements of Office Relevant to the On-Line Merchant”.
Brian spoke about their small business website available at www.officelive.com which offers free basic websites. In addition, they now offer a program that will list both to eBay and to your officelive website. This includes a robust email marketing program as well. The presentation included many slides on the new Office 2007 products. It was interesting to see all the changes and new features now available in the 2007 version.
The last session of the day was the IMA Business Meeting hosted by Steve Grossberg, President of IMA. Steve pointed out that IMA has reached its 16 month birthday. He thanked the Events committee for all their work in making the conference a reality, as well as all committee members and Board Members. IMA has just begun, but is gaining momentum daily and every member can be proud of their Association.
The Board of Directors Election was held and 3 new board members were elected:
- Kim Wren – Wren Storage
- Cathy Aggelopoulos – Visibility Unlimited
- Cynthia (Cyn) Lizana – Texcyngoods
The meeting was adjourned and the Hospitality Suite was opened. We had a drawing for door prizes. All prizes were donated by IMA Members and most of the prizes were items we used in our TalkMarket videos, so there was a wide selection of awesome prizes given away. The Grand Prize was a complete eBay design package, worth $1600, donated by our Hospitality Suite sponsor, Frooition!
March 5th, 2008
Howdy everyone! Beautiful weather today in Vegas – the sky is blue and the mountains are gorgeous.
Yesterday consisted of walking the tradeshow and meeting up with other IMA members at the Hospitality Suite. I think just about everyone was there, or so it seemed from the roar! The Events Committee did an excellent job making sure there was plenty of food and drinks for everyone.
I met a gentleman from TalkMarket last night and discussed their marketing strategy. It sounds like they have a great concept with video listings being marketed to hotel guests. We will learn more today at their presentation.
Steve introduced me to Kimberly Maul, writer and editor of MerchandEYES Blog, the officisal ASD/AMD blog. We are discussing linking our two blogs in order to bring more information to readers of both blogs.
Today will be a busy day with more tradeshow walking in the morning and then seminars in the afternoon. I will post again tomorrow morning with information from the seminars.
March 3rd, 2008
Written by Cathy
I had the opportunity to go to eBays ecomm program and I want to thank those who were a part of my invitation. And like everyone else, waited patiently for the announcement and I knew my business had to adjust again if I wanted to continue to sell on eBay. As soon as ebay announced the changes that they were going to implement in the next few months, all negative emotions poured out with eBays top sellers. Thoughout the day and evening I listened and observed, the complaints that all sellers had. Speaking to over 50 businesses, only 1 (an IMA member) said the changes would not hurt him. His DSR was so good in shipping that he will receive the 15% rebate on his FVF and this covered his additional fees.
That afternoon there was a Q&A and you can hear the complete session here. Click here to watch video
I am still in DC and sitting in the hotel lobby and had the opportunity to talk to at least 35 stores and asked again, what are you going to do. It was a different attitude and I guess the shock wore off and every seller told me that they have work to do when they get home. And the majority of the sellers said the same thing, communicate with the buyers more.
I feel for the 99cent sellers and when they look at the new changes, their increases are at least 50% higher. I personally witnessed our IMA President go to bat for them and dont quit yet. (I am convinced that the Energizer Bunny is really Steve Grossberg is the pink bunny suit.)
For those that are not 99cent sellers, eBay had no choice. Unfortunately Meg ignored the many problems for many years and the drastic changes had to be made. The good sellers will get through this and to join an organization, like IMA, you have an opportunity to talk to other serious business sellers and guide you through this.
Me? I personally am excited to see the bad sellers not get the top search and if it costs me a little more money, it will come back two fold. I welcome the changes and I thank eBay for FINALLY recognizing the problems and FINALLY taking action.
January 30th, 2008