Google Sued for Tracking Chrome Users While Incognito

Google is facing a class-action lawsuit for tracking people who used the Chrome browser's Incognito mode. Law firm Boies Schiller Flexner filed the complaint on behalf of people who used the privacy mode during the past four years. “Google tracks and collects consumers' history and other Web activity no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” it states. “Indeed, even when Google users launch a Web browser with ‘private browsing mode' activated … Google nevertheless tracks the users' browsing data.”


Starting a Retirement Business: How This Former Teacher Became an Alpaca Rancher

Bolivian Alpaca on the background of blue clouds South AmericaThe sedentary life of beaches and golf might suit some as a reward for years of hard work, but it might actually detrimental to the health of others. What if retirement looked more like work and less like leisure? Learn how a former teacher found happiness in retirement—as an alpaca rancher and sock seller. And, find out how to start your own business after you retire.



SEO: Search Console Is an Untapped Source of Keyword Data

In October 2011, Google made a significant change that impacted search engine optimization. To improve security, Google updated its SSL, encrypting search queries. The result was much less info about searchers’ organic keywords, the blue links they clicked, and the subsequent landing pages. In analytics, the keyword stated, “[not provided].”

Search optimizers erupted. How could we know which keywords to focus on? Which keywords drove profits? Our anger turned to conspiracy since Google passed similar keyword data to advertisers, suggesting that if you want data, you have to buy Google ads.

How could we know which keywords to focus on?

The months after that update were tough. SEOs had to explain to their bosses and clients why new organic-search campaigns took longer since the targeted keywords were unavailable. Instead, we looked at rankings data assembled by third-party tools — which, incidentally, Google has always discouraged because of the scraping methods used to obtain this data —  and organic traffic and conversion metrics. We had to loosely correlate the missing middle component: the keywords that produced the traffic and conversions.

But several years ago, Google’s Webmaster Tools (now called Search Console) began adding performance reports — giving search optimizers some organic data. Later, the reports became more robust. Then the share of keyword data increased. Google even created an API to obtain hundreds of thousands of keyword metrics. (I addressed this API in a Moz post.)

Search Console now has more than enough data to return us to the glory days of natural search keyword data. But many businesses are not aware. I use the Search Console report often, more than Google Analytics and my rank tracker.

I’ll explain the Search Console data in this article.

Search Console

Google Search Console is a free portal to help webmasters understand how their sites appear in (If you’re not on Search Console, follow Google’s instructions for creating and verifying.)

On the left rail of your Search Console account are links to reports and tools, including sitemap submission, mobile usability, and more. But for this post, click “Overview” (or, for some users, “Performance”), which produces a report called “Performance.”

Once there, click the “Open Report” for “Search results” for more information.

In Search Console, click "Overview," which produces a report called "Performance."

In Search Console, click “Overview,” which produces a report called “Performance.”

By clicking the colored boxes you can add layers of data to this report.

Click the colored boxes to add layers of data.

Click the colored boxes to add layers of data.

Also, clicking the date range can provide even more analytics data — as shown in the following video.

To dig even further, click the sub-tabs of “Queries,” “Pages,” “Countries,” and so on.

The resulting report is incredibly powerful. By first choosing the page to review, you can then click “Queries” and see the keywords that are driving traffic to it. Moreover, you can see the average ranking position, the clicks Google recorded, the impressions of your page, and the click-through rate. And the data can be exported.

Useful Data

When focusing on specific products or content pages, the Search results “Performance” report is very helpful. Some of the keywords you are targeting. But others you’ve likely never heard of or knew you ranked for.

You could find a term with high visibility, a high conversion rate, and an average rank of 15. That’s page 2 of Google search results. Now, with this insight, you can begin pushing to page 1 with some targeted optimization.

Conversely, you may find that your target keywords are ranking well but have low clicks. You could improve clicks by updating your title tags and meta descriptions to stand more on the results page.

This report is one of my favorite sources for keyword research. Dig deep to find previously unknown keywords. Export the data and append with estimated search volume (which you can obtain from Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and other SEO tools). You can see the high volume keywords that Google associates with your site. Now it’s time to target them with organic search campaigns.

Data Is Back

I have been doing SEO since the 1990s. I have used many related tools. None are as helpful as this free Search Console report. Take a few minutes to get accustomed to the interface. Our data is back, like the old days.


News Cart for June 5th

Hey ECF readers,

This week in the podcast version I share some important thoughts I hope you'll listen to first here followed by this week's eCommerce and tech headlines below.

– Andrew

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

In the News

U.S. small firms leave $150 billion in coronavirus stimulus untapped

  • A total of $660 billion was allocated to the PPP program
  • Demand for PPP loans has significantly declined over the last few weeks since the start of the pandemic

‘Digital by default': Shopify is letting employees work from home permanently (Hat Tip to Forum Member Katrina McKinnon)

  • This shift will impact more than 5,000 employees
  • Shopify will keep physical offices closed until 2021

Social media giants take different approaches to presidential messages

Amazon plans summer sale for June 22 to ‘jumpstart sales’ after coronavirus crunch

  • Amazon’s “invitation only” sale is said to be in response to the pandemic and the subsequent delay of Prime Day
  • Sellers were asked to submit deals for items with at least a 30% discount

Slack partners up with Amazon

  • Slack will use Amazon AWS more broadly and replace its lackluster video conferencing tech by integrating Amazon Chime
  • Amazon agrees to roll out Slack to all employees

Amazon reportedly considering $2 billion stake in Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel

  • Bharti Airtel is the third-largest telecom operator in India
  • Comes on the heels of Facebook and Google's interest in the Indian telecom space with previous talks and/or investments

Alibaba expands its US presence with new programs designed to help businesses struggling with COVID-19

  • Includes longer payment terms, a more unified shipping/fulfillment platform and and additional trade shows
  • U.S. buyers have increased by 70-100% year over year

Stitch Fix to Lay off About 1,400 Employees in California

  • Stitch Fix closed two distribution centers in march due to COVID-19.
  • The company says it plans on hiring 2,000 employees in lower-cost cities like Dallas, Austin, or Minneapolis.
  • All California-based employees will be given the chance to relocate and keep their job

Pinterest adds a ‘Shop’ tab to its Lens Camera search results to showcase matching in-stock products

  • Take a picture of something and see similar items that are in-stock and available for purchase on Pinterest
  • Pinterest reported seeing 3x the number of visual searches compared to 2019
  • Follows Pinterest’s announcement of its partnership with Shopify

Top Forum Discussions

(Membership required to access. Not a member? Apply to join our vibrant community of 7-figure store owners today.)

Looking for Capital and/or Mentorship?

If you're interested in long-term funding from a team that also has the skills, eCommerce rolodex and battle-tested knowledge to help you grow, you need to check out eCommerceFuel Capital.

The post News Cart for June 5th appeared first on eCommerceFuel.


Listening to Change in CX – and Other News

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape.

Oracle CX Social Content:

  • Here’s what experts say are 3 of the most important elements that will provide insights for driving positive #CX:
  • Augmenting the #Service Center with Conversational. How to leverage #chatbots and other conversational interfaces to drive dialogue and value: #CX #webinar
  • Check out how @trinelarsen found her passion in support using Oracle #B2C Service: #custserv #OSvC
  • If you’ re looking to further automate your business processes & reduce manual work and errors, you are really going to like the Enhanced Business Rules feature: #custserv #CX #B2B by @ppaulsam
  • Here are five areas where companies should focus to ensure they’re ready for the next emergency so they can continue delivering outstanding #customerservice: #CX


Industry News:

How Artificial Intelligence Can Lighten The Load For Customer Service Representatives – Forbes, 6.2.20

  • The simple truth is that an AI colleague is, in many ways, better equipped to be a customer service agent, and that is a good thing for people.

Listening to change: Customer experience execs share insights on navigating COVID-19 – Marketingdive, 6.3.20

  • Setting up your organization with the capabilities and tools needed to harness the data that serves as the voice of customers in this digital age, is vital.

Why Customer Experience Pays Dividends In Times Of Crisis – Forbes, 6.3.20

  • Great customer service is a no-brainer. Every company should put their customers first.

The Path to CX Data Excellence

Excellence is a lofty goal. With that in mind, we’ve been publishing a series of blog posts on CX excellence. We started in January with The Path to CX Excellence (very aptly titled), and followed that in March with The Path to CX Excellence for B2B Marketers and The Path to CX Excellence for Sales Professionals.

In April, we featured The Path to CX Excellence for Field Service and The Path to CX Excellence for Service Organizations, and then May brought Path to CX Excellence for B2C Marketers and Path to CX Excellence – Commerce Edition.

These posts provide a roadmap for B2B and B2C companies of all sizes and industries to navigate the challenges and opportunities of providing great customer experiences. This blog builds upon all of the preceding ones and stands on its own.

Data proficiency will help a company excel across multiple functions of marketing, sales, service, and commerce. Brands that lack this can create embarrassing public relations disasters. Whether winners or losers, contenders or pretenders, every company has a chance to mine and refine their data to drive improvements in the speed and accuracy of doing business with their customers.

The Path to CX Excellence Requires a Solid Data Foundation

Per Gartner, 90% of CX leaders agree that if they don’t improve their customer experience, their organization will lose business to more customer-centric competitors! It was noted by Forrester that the brands most successful at differentiating on customer experience are seeing 5X revenue growth relative to their competitors.

Data is the foundation of CX effectiveness. This foundation is built upon solid data collection, management and activation capabilities that produce intelligence, enable better decision-making, drive better customer outcomes, reduce churn and maximize customer lifetime value.

Today, there’s more data customer data available than ever before, and it’s important for companies to try to get customer data management right. Customers expect more from your brand than ever before. They want consistent experiences across every touchpoint, while also expecting you to remember your past interactions with them. They demand that you respect their privacy… but also wish you would understand and treat them as unique individuals.

The traditional, linear customer journey is extinct. Therefore, the congruence of messages your customers receive is more important than ever because today’s consumers engage whenever and however they choose. They always expect a relevant and timely experience.

A single view of the customer is necessary to delivering a consistent, exemplary experience across the entire customer journey.  This view is based upon a deep, meaningful understanding of the customer. However, every customer touchpoint – sales, service, marketing, commerce – produces siloed data that makes a single view of the customer impossible at the moment it’s created. What to do?

Convert Strangers into Friends

CX leaders can start building in-depth customers insights by understanding their priorities, needs and preferences. This begins when your audience is anonymous, well before they’ve developed a relationship with you as a brand. This relationship continually evolves as they engage across various channels throughout their customer journey.

To accomplish this, CX leaders need a data-first approach to unifying all customer data. After all, customers don’t care that you have various marketing, sales and service departments.  These systems should be invisible to the customer while anticipating their needs. At the moment when the customer is about to engage with the brand, all these systems should be orchestrated to serve the customer whatever they need, whenever they engage with the brand – on their terms and channel of choice.

Just as with the other CX areas where we published a Path to Excellence post, the idea is that each company is at their own, unique spot and can make incremental progress. We want to help you demystify this path to excellence, identify where your company is and what can be done to make progress.

The path to data excellence in what Oracle calls “The Experience Economy” relates to a company’s actions in several areas of data maturity;

  • Data collection and connections,
  • Customer data management,
  • Intelligence and decision-making, and
  • Data utilization and activation.

Step 1: Different functions in an organization, especially large enterprises, are siloed. Different technologies work separately from each other and often draw on and potentially maintain their own separate data, assets, and other repositories.    

CX professionals who operate at this level seek to improve results and move to the next stage.

On average, companies use 17 technology applications for customer data with an average of 28 different data sources for customer insights and engagement. – Deloitte

Step 2: The cross-channel stage key focus is data enrichment for better usage. This propels a company to a more accurate data set factoring in 2nd and 3rd party data.  Customer data management is now an area of focus.

According to Gartner, the average annual cost to an organization due to poor data quality is ~$15M!

A move to the next stage of data maturity, the data-driven stage, means that a company is utilizing automation when working with data. This stage features segmentation and activation of data, typically across marketing and at least one other function of the company. An underlying  concept is data being used to drive decision-making.

86% Of customers would pay up to 16% more for better customer experience. – PwC

Step 3: In this data-driven stage, data accuracy is no longer an issue. Decisions are based on historical as well as real-time data to understand what happened in the past and why it happened with diagnostic/casual/ad hoc analysis with some individualized data.

The next step toward data maturity, the intelligence-driven stage, means that a company has intelligence truly activated, with the data used to make predictions across the entire ecosystem. The data impacts all functions within the company, towards the goal of delivering a consistent and responsive brand experience at each customer touchpoint.

91% of customers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. – Accenture

Step 4: In this data-driven stage, data accuracy is rarely an issue to perform identity matching for centralized IDs across the enterprise. Decisions are based on historical and real-time data and intelligence to understand what happened, why it happened and what will happen in the future.

In the Experience Economy, a brand’s experiences matter more to customers than the products or services that are sold. Brands who collect real-time data signals, and use that to build the most authentic and relevant experiences, will be the ones creating emotional connections and lost-lasting relationships with consumers. Now is the time for CX leaders to position themselves at the forefront of the longer-term shifts in consumer behaviors that result from this crisis. Data is the foundation that can allow you to orchestrate a truly consistent, connected brand experience for customers and achieve the type of long-term hyper-growth that the elevated experience makes possible.

Click here to read about Oracle Unity, Oracle's customer intelligence platform for real-time customer experience.

We’ve developed an assessment tool to help companies determine where they’re at on the path to data excellence and we encourage you to check with your Oracle CX sales representative to discuss where you’re at on the path to data excellence and what steps could be taken to progress.










‘New Normal’ Security Era Begins for US Agencies, Cloud Providers

U.S. government agencies and cloud technology providers are heading toward a reset in how they cooperate on cybersecurity challenges. The expected growth of cloud use will create a more complex federal security landscape, according to a recent report from Thales Group. Federal agencies actually have moved ahead of businesses in cloud adoption, with 54 percent of agency data already embedded in the cloud. Furthermore, cloud technology is central to a broader “digital transformation” goal in the federal government.


Five Shipping Strategies to Keep Customers Happy While Protecting Profits

Please customers and protect margins: here's how to determine the perfect eCommerce shipping strategy for your store and the right tools to accomplish it.

The post Five Shipping Strategies to Keep Customers Happy While Protecting Profits appeared first on WooCommerce.


Introducing Hearing Scheduler – A Seamless Way for Public Planners to Schedule Hearings

Urban Planners manage multiple responsibilities. They review planning applications and meet with the public to provide them information regarding zoning ordinances and the preparation of planning reports. What they do daily varies from planner to planner but their main motivation is their sheer passion for making their community a better place.

Cities and counties in the United States host public hearings in which the residents of a neighborhood are informed of any new residential or commercial development in their city. This forum allows residents to voice their concerns, if any. Planners schedule these hearings to achieve their overarching goal to serve community needs. Making sure they do this seamlessly became our goal.

Using Oracle Public Sector Hearing Scheduler, planners can view the hearings scheduled for planning applications quickly. Each application is displayed as a card. Applications that need to be scheduled are listed in the left pane. Planners can easily drag and drop an application card to the date slot of their choice.

From our research, we discovered that hearings are not scheduled on all days. Hence the scheduler displays only the days when the hearings are conducted as configured by the city/state agency.

Applications can be rescheduled as well using drag and drop. More details of the application can be viewed by expanding the card. Related actions are also available for planners to take quick action for the application.

Aside from Hearing Scheduler, Public Sector Community Development also supports the management of additional hearing activities such as Hearing Decision Updates and Appeal.

Interested to know more about the Planning and Zoning solution? Click through here to watch this Quick Tour.





Blueprint for Building a Global Commerce Site

Building a successful global business is a never-ending juggling act. With what can seem like an unlimited number of moving parts, compromises feel inevitable. Efficiency is traded for simplicity. Optimal long-term solutions are traded for quick and dirty fixes. These tradeoffs can be especially problematic for e-commerce businesses. For companies aspiring to go global, what initially might seem like a sensible decision to ramp up a new country on its own platform can snowball into 10 different websites running out of 10 different codebases.