September Ecommerce Digest

It’s the end of the September, which means it’s time for us to recap our blog posts of the month. Following the recap we present several challenges facing global digital vendors in our September Ecommerce Digest.

This month, Building Keystones:

For our Ecommerce Digest, we’ve highlighted articles from the New York Times, Forrester Research, CNET News and Venture Beat. These articles cover digital rights management, how the US presidential election affects the tech market, and the trouble with selling software through Google and Amazon.

Google Charges Retailers to Appear on Shopping Site | “In 2009, nearly a quarter of shoppers started research for an online purchase on a search engine like Google and 18 percent started on Amazon, according to a Forrester Research study. By last year, almost a third started on Amazon and just 13 percent on a search engine. Product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year while searches on Google Shopping have been flat, according to comScore.”

Google and Amazon are vying for the title of King of Product Search. This battle affects both merchants and consumers. Merchants must pay for product displays while consumer product selection becomes less dependent on relevant results than on which businesses can afford to pay for search results.

But as someone who spends most of his time investigating ISVs I have to wonder if paying for Google Shopping ads even matters. Software merchants stand to benefit more by drawing visitors to their own stores instead of locking themselves into the restrictive policies of Amazon and Google. As this article from Pracitcal eCommerce and this article from Search Engine Watch indicate, selling products through Amazon and Google seems to benefit Amazon and Google more than it benefits software merchants.

Grooveshark’s HTML5 app goes international | Internet & Media – CNET News In the New York Times article above, we noted that independent software vendors struggle as they try to sell products through Google. Grooveshark is no exception. After being booted from Google Play, Grooveshark decided to forgo the Android and App stores in favor of an HTML5 version of their product. This allows Grooveshark to market directly to consumers, without being locked into the Google and Apple marketplace policies and restrictions, and it presents a compelling alternative to app stores.

Ubisoft shifts its digital rights management stance from stick to carrot | VentureBeat The first lesson in this article is that companies need to be upfront and clear about their DRM policies. As a digital consumer, I expect to be able to use any software I buy on any device that I carry. If I can’t use the software on multiple platforms, I prefer to be informed upfront.

Ubisoft, makers of Assassin’s Creed and other top-selling video games, had created a lot of bad blood in the past.  “We realized we haven’t always been clear and consistent about communicating what our DRM policy was in the past, and that has led to a bunch of misunderstandings,” says a Ubisoft VP. The situation was so bad, that their DRM solution was causing compatibility issues and preventing licensed users from playing their games.

By offering free-to-play and offline versions of their games, Ubisoft is attempting to improve their customer relationships. While it is true that “the point of DRM … is to establish with the consumer that they are getting value,” it’s also important to establish usability for your customers.

What A Romney Presidency Would Mean For The US Tech Market OutlookWhat An Obama Reelection Would Mean For The US Tech Market Outlook | Forrester Blogs Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels examines how the upcoming US presidential election will affect the US tech market through 2016. While elections affect businesses “only around the margins,” Bartels says, “marginal tech decisions can mean the difference between a tech market that grows by 3% to 4% or one that grows at rates of 5% to 6%.”

Bartels points out that both party’s platforms are similar in terms of tech policies. The factors affecting the tech market, therefore, will reside in the winner’s ability to grow the economy through their fiscal policies.

Leave a comment telling us your thoughts on selling through Google or Amazon, or any good stories about DRM fiascoes your software company has had to handle.