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Google Premieres Checkout

Apr 1, 2007
by Christopher Heine

Google unveiled a series of aggressive money saving promotions over the past few months, intended to hasten the adoption of its new Google Checkout feature among online retailers and consumers.

As an example, a few select retailers were offered $20 off for every $50 purchase made with Google Checkout. Once the $20 off a $50 purchase promotion ended, Google introduced a new one offering $10 off to consumers signing up for Checkout for the first time and making a purchase of at least $10.

Google's transaction processing feature was introduced last summer, with the goal of driving ecommerce sales across industries by addressing two of the reasons why online sales are not growing at an even faster pace: shopping cart abandonment and consumers' fear of sharing personal information online.

"Ecommerce is still growing and we are trying to accelerate that," said Gavin Chan, products marketing manager at Google Checkout in Mountain View, CA. Since Google Checkout is available to any consumer based ecommerce site, Google is positioning the service as one that consumers have to register for only once. This is supposed to make it more convenient and faster than a site's typical checkout process and as a result, could cut down on shopping cart abandonment.

In addition, the fact that with Google Checkout a consumer's information is stored with only one company, it may alleviate the concern that some people feel about sharing their personal information online. So far, the company has signed up thousands of merchants for Google Checkout, including Linens & Things, Starbucks, Zales and Toys R Us.

Later this year, Google plans to introduce Checkout internationally.

Viral Equals Sales For Kettle Chips
In 2004, the executives for Kettle Foods had just given their marketing department what might be called a yellow light in doing a multifaceted web campaign. The potato chip maker had not done much emarketing outside having a website, and upper management was not sold that the medium could translate into retail sales.

"The brand has been around for a quarter of a century, but we had surprisingly low awareness," said Michelle Peterman, VP of Marketing for Kettle Foods in Salem, OR. "Because our company has been so focused on distribution, resources to support awareness building have been fairly constrained. So we had to be very creative."

In a rather unique turn of events, Peterman went looking through bags of fan mail and found letters holding fun, product inspired things like haikus, art projects and amusing or touching stories. While scouring the letters, Peterman would every now and again see a suggestion for an interesting new chip flavor, until one day she had a bit of an epiphany. Why not an online contest letting fans pick a new Kettle Chips flavor? Add in the idea of pushing it with serious PR support towards traditional newspapers and magazines and online media (blogs), and Peterman believed that she had a solid plan.

One of Peterman's keys to encouraging viewer participation/viral was the ability for customers to buy a party pack and taste all five chip flavors in the contest. In other words, Kettle Foods was going to have to launch an ecommerce initiative. But the company learned to see this as an advantage; at least there would be tangible results to go along with the contest entries and traffic.

Since then, the ecommerce aspect of the campaign gave Kettle Foods some hard evidence, rather than just site traffic or clicks, that the viral campaign was spreading. The $19.95 party packs sold out of the original 500 units, and they eventually sold more than 1,500 during the seven month 2006 campaign. One of the choices in the campaign, called Spicy Thai, has become one of Kettle Foods' top five chips products. "They really sell. They are not just little cutesy one off products," Peterman said.

Cash Based ePayment
Consumers without access to credit/debit cards are discovering more and more legitimate ways of making purchases online. So, add another intriguing, "Credit/Debit Card Not Present," service to your list of payment solution providers.

Retail Expansion Network, Oakland, CA, recently debuted PaidByCash, a nationwide system that lets shoppers pay for online purchases with a temporary MasterCard debit card, acquired for cash at any of 60,000 participating stores, including Safeway supermarkets, Circle K convenience stores and Walgreen's drug stores. To use the system, Internet shoppers enter their ZIP code during the online checkout process, then receive a payment code on the same site from PaidByCash, while saving the transaction in their online shopping cart. They then take that code to a participating store in their area and pay the store for the value of the online purchase, plus a fee of $4.95 for the virtual debit card. Next step is to return to their saved online shopping cart and enter the debit card number to complete the transaction.

Shoppers can purchase a debit card valued at up to $350, and use any remaining value for additional purchases. The debit cards, issued by the First Bank of Delaware, have expiration dates within a two year period. Companies in this article:

Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Tel.: 650-253-0000
Fax: 650-253-0001

Kettle Foods
P.O. Box 664
Salem, OR 97308-0664
Tel.: 503-364-0399
Fax: 503-371-1447

Retail Expansion Network, Inc.
1212 Broadway, 16th floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel.: 800-975-8605
Fax: 757-299-9304

Topic: Wholesale News

Related Articles: google  ecommerce 

Article ID: 118

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