Our recommended blogs that every retail and E-commerce professional should be following to use the latest innovations and grow their sales
Considering the growth in importance of E-commerce, contributed to both by pureplay online-only businesses and multichannel retail businesses, it’s surprising that much advice on marketing best practices is ‘vanilla’, simply covering advice that could apply to any type of business. While some fundamental marketing concepts such as the marketing funnel and lifecycle marketing do apply across different businesses, many of the success factors for E-commerce businesses are specific to this sector. So, it can be difficult to find the best advice to inspire your improvements if you are new to working in the sector, or just want to expand your knowledge.
At Smart Insights we’ve been covering E-commerce and retail since we launched, and have a specific E-commerce toolkit for members, relevant for the main types of transactional businesses of retail, travel and financial services. We keep our E-commerce content up-to-date and we review a range of specialist E-commerce sites so that we can share the latest innovations and best practice advice on topics that matter to retailers, like merchandising and conversion rate optimization.
In this article, we’ll look at what we see as the must read sites if you work in retail. We’ve structured them by different types of advice starting with general E-commerce sites.
General E-commerce sites
- The E-commerce Times News Network. We start here since this is the Granddaddy; some of us remember it from the dot-com boom days of 1998 when it focused on tech stories, and it’s still running. These days it’s really broad, covering retail marketing techniques, but it’s still got the latest on tech issues like security and payment.
- Digital Commerce 360. This may be a new publisher to you, even if you’ve worked in E-commerce for a long time. The reason is that the venerable Internet Retailer (IR) has recently rebranded. As before, it’s US focused and covers developments by the main marketplaces and in different sectors.
- Internet retailing. The similarly named Internet Retailing focuses more on UK and European suppliers and examples, with the latest merger and acquisition news on European providers. It doesn’t tend to have so much analysis on practical best practices these days (plenty of these examples to follow).
- Econsultancy. Like Smart Insights this blog covers a range of sectors but recognizes the importance of retail and E-commerce, with examples of best practices in this sector.
- Smart Insights E-commerce marketing strategy channel. We’re well-qualified to write about this one. Our focus across the whole blog is on digital strategy and optimization. It’s perhaps no surprise, given our name, that we also share compilations of KPIs on performance benchmarks that are of interest to retailers, such as Desktop vs mobile E-commerce conversion rates.
Best practice advice on E-commerce
Many of the best sites on getting better results from E-commerce are from vendors. Here’s our pick.
- Practical Ecommerce blog. We naturally thought of this blog first in this section. It’s been around, nearly as long as the E-commerce Times. We like its main channels which are Marketing, Conversion, Management, and Design and Development. Be warned though that some of the articles can be quite thin and aren’t necessarily specifically on E-commerce specific issues.
- Shopify blog. This is a well-known E-commerce platform and well regarded practical blog for retailers to learn from. Naturally, it does tend to focus on smaller SMB retail topics and examples of using its own platform.
- Big Commerce. This is one of our favourite blogs on this list. The reason? In-depth content on retail growth strategies, with examples. Its categories tick all the boxes of the topics that matter: E-commerce design, E-commerce marketing, how to sell online, online payments, and shipping and fulfillment.
- Practicology blog. We’re recommending this since it has a firm focus on retail improvements, from a consultancy specializing on E-commerce.
- Blue Leaf blog. This is another specialist, in this case a design and platform implementation vendor. They have relatively few blog articles; instead, here I’m recommending them for their quarterly ‘Inspiring Great Retail’ series, available in print, which we find useful for examples of the latest trends.
Operations-focused blogs on cross-border commerce, marketplaces, payment and fulfillment
- PayU blog. As an alternative payments provider, PayU naturally covers the topic of payments, with a strong focus on best practices for cross-border eCommerce. (Note that PayU is a content partner of Smart Insights and commissioned us to compile this round-up, but all viewpoints are our own.)
- E-commerce Expo Insights. This blog covers topics from one of the largest European events on E-commerce, including payment, fulfillment, and marketing.
- Flex E blog. With discussion and examples of the latest models in fulfillment, this blog focuses on the US market.
- Tamebay. This blog has intelligence and news for all businesses and business people who want to improve their use of online marketplaces.
Stories to inspire start-up retail entrepreneurs
In this final short section, we look at a different type of blog which is more personal since they’re from owners of businesses explaining how they have grown them.
- E-commerce Fuel. Different from many of the other blogs we have featured, E-commerce Fuel is described as a ‘private community for 6 and 7 Figure store owners’. It also has a blog covering how to manage the growth of SMB E-commerce blogs.
- E-commerce Nation. This is also a community with different writers covering conversion, design and other advice including fulfillment, cross-border and M-commerce.
- A Better Lemonade Stand. This blog has a nice domain name and in-depth articles with strategies owners can use to grow their retail store.