\Ex-boyfriend leaks video of anonymous celebrity

Studies have shown that mobile devices are influencing points of purchase for consumers more and more, while shopping online or in-store. During the 2011 holiday shopping season, 41% of consumers made purchases directly on their smartphones, 46% noted that they picked out their item on their smartphone, and completed the purchase in-store, and 37% said they researched their item on their phone, and bought it online. In light of this evolving form of business, a new survey commissioned by MasterCard has shown that consumers generally demand a more simple shopping experience, mainly when it comes to checkout.

The survey of over 2,000 U.S. consumers was conducted by Harris Interactive, and reports that the main concerns of shoppers are as follows:

U.S. consumers identified “entering payment, billing and shipping information” as one of the main pain points of the online shopping experience, topped only by not knowing how an item fits or looks in-person.

Almost three-in-five (58%) of online shoppers indicated they would prefer one place where their account information can be safely stored and easily accessed to simplify the online check-out experience, no matter where they are shopping online.

Among Americans who shop online, whether from a computer or mobile device, nearly one out of every four acknowledged having abandoned a shopping cart at least once a month before completing their purchase.

It would appear that the main concern shoppers have lies in slow and complicated checkouts, which at times prompts them to change their minds while in the middle of a purchase, whether it be not clicking through at Amazon while online, or leaving their cart near the shampoo aisle at Wal-Mart. It would appear that a good solution to some of these consumer concerns would be the adoption of MasterCard’s PayPass system, which the company says will likely work with Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5, which is rumored to incorporate near field communication technology. As more and more merchants install NFC capabilities, systems like MasterCard’s Tap & Go will come to solve some of these consumer issues.

Overall, online shopping has not been adversely affected by the slow economy reports. But that good news isn’t extended to Web-only retailers, the majority of whom are experiencing flat or declining sales.

According to a survey by Forrester Research and Shop.org, online retail sales rose by an average of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2009 with the bulk of the increase benefiting consumer brand manufactures and multichannel retailers.

Change In Online Search Sales

The study, which examined 80 companies, found that 71 percent of consumer brand manufactures saw a sales increase in the first three months of the year, and 68 percent of multichannel retailers also saw increases. In contrast, 61 percent of Web-only merchants saw flat or declining sales.

Search-Driven Conversion Rate

Overall that’s seen as a boost in consumer confidence. Concurrent numbers from Compete show that consumer electronics search conversions are up slightly over this time in 2008 as well. So why are Web-only retailers trailing?  

There could be a number of reasons, but some seem to me more likely than others:

  1. Smaller retailers often swing the bulk of their marketing budget toward the holiday season and let up in the off-season. Plus, many companies cut marketing budgets first in tough times, but the right move, if one can afford it, is to increase marketing to find new customers and entice old ones.
  2. When money’s tight, consumers may be more likely to trust brands they know. Branding is traditionally a larger retailer’s domain while smaller shops concentrate solely on direct sales.
  3. A weak economy makes the consumer extra price-conscious and bigger retailers more aggressive for fewer available dollars. If you have more room to slash prices or better ability to incentivize, you have a better chance at capturing those dollars.
  4.  A weak economy extends the online purchase process. Another set of Compete data shows that across the board, consumers aren’t buying right away. They’re researching longer and buying later. Web-only retailers may not be adjusting the longer buying process effectively, and may less effectively retargeting customers.

Timeline of Search-Driven Conversions

There’s been much discussion in the advertising world lately on the topic of retargeting—regaining a potentially lost customer’s attention during the research or buying process. Aggressive marketers find ways to reach the consumer who clicks but doesn’t buy, who places items in a shopping cart but then bolts.

Retargeting is likely the next big focus in online media. Yahoo recently introduced tools for this purpose. Retargeting company FetchBack is bragging up to 112 percent higher ROI from its paid search retargeting technology. Another study showed that 76 percent of online shoppers want the chance to chat with a representative during the checkout process.

Seth van der Swaagh, with Google’s Retail Team, posted some advice for retailers struggling to succeed among more cautious, cost-conscious consumers. Here’s a brief summary of those tips:

  1. Choose the right keywords and expand keywords by including more generic and research-based words.
  2. Give incentive through good ad copy with charged up words like “affordable” or “great deals,” etc.
  3. Expand your conversion cookie, study your traffic data.
  4. Visiting a second time is a signal for looking to buy. Be there for them when they come back.
     

An online posting of a sex tape featuring a well-known female celebrity has prompted the female star to file a lawsuit against the distributor.
 
On Dec. 4, a Web blog containing the entertainer’s name made its debut online featuring a sex video that ran for 2 minutes, 52 seconds. In the video, the female celebrity can be seen engaging in sexual activities with a man identified as her former boyfriend. The site’s owner said that as the two parted ways, the ex-boyfriend was threatened, beaten and forced by thugs hired by his former girlfriend to sign agreements to not reveal information about the star. The reason for uploading the video, according to the site, was because the ex-boyfriend wanted to reveal the duplicity of the female entertainer.
 
In addition to the sex tape the blog posted scanned uploads of the star’s passport, nude photos and a medical certificate verifying an abortion, among other documents.
 
On Dec. 5, the star took legal actions by hiring a lawyer to sue the uploader for the damages to her reputation. A representative from Sungdong District Police told Ilgan Sports, “An anonymous female celebrity has filed a suit for a libel case. We will start the investigation once we receive a statement from the celebrity with the damages she’s suffered.” The items on the blog were removed on Dec


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