Thursday’s With Tom: Top Selling Groups of 2010

January 27th, 2011 by databot

Thursday’s With Tom: Top Selling Parts of 2010!!

January 20th, 2011 by databot

A couple of weeks ago I posted a  question on our Facebook fan page asking if there was any interest in knowing what was the most successful selling part in the RPMWare database.   We got some instant feedback and wanted to compile a top 10 list of the top selling parts in our RPMWare database.  I was definitely surprised by some of these part #’s.  How about you guys?

Part Number  ///    Group Name
32009-BN001 /// HKS Hi-Power Exhaust (Nissan 350Z)
24-6110C /// AEM V2 Intake (Accord/TL)
32009-BN002 /// HKS Hi-Power Exhaust (Infiniti G35)
30-4100 /// AEM Digital Wideband UEGO Gauge (Universal)
401-A917 /// APEXi Electronics – SAFC NEO (Universal)
ST-SXE10-GR /// Stance Coilovers – GR+ (Lexus IS300)
116-KH01 /// APEXi Exhaust – WorldSport 2 (92-00 Honda Civic)
BC02-NP06FG /// Buddy Club Coilovers – N+ Spec (06+ Honda Civic Si)
208-4303 /// ARP Head Stud/Bolt Kits (94-01 Acura Integra GSR/Type-R)
412-05-0930 /// Skunk2 Mega Power Header (06+ Honda Civic Si)

Be on the lookout for more metrics going forward.  Next post will highlight a list of our Top 20 Groups.  What other data would would you guys like to see?  Please comment below with suggestions.

Thursdays With Tom: Email Marketing it's all in the details

January 13th, 2011 by databot

I stumbled upon this post over at and found it pretty cool.. Sometimes we take for granted small tasks like sending email blasts out and the impact of choosing the best subject line can pay off big time. Check out this small sample of the article.

Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” showdown – nearly double the conversion rate!

“So how does emailing customers with one or the other impact conversion rates?

We selected a 100,000 customer list for a client who tested these subject lines:

A few additional notes on the test:

  • The client is a large retailer, their customers mirror a general sample of the USA.
  • The email mirrored the subject line’s message; all other elements were the same.
  • We sent the email on the 21st of December.

The results show a HUGE difference . . .

“Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” showdown nearly double the conversion rate!

As you can see the “Merry Christmas” subject line drove nearly double the click through rate of the other subject lines.

While we haven’t included the “buy rate” in the chart above due to client confidentiality, the results were similarly impressive.

Nearly doubling the number of transactions by changing an email subject line fairly well illustrates why if you’re not rigorously testing every facet of your online business you’re throwing money away.”

Something to think about.. next week I plan on posting an article on a/b split testing for dummies.. stay tuned!

Thusday’s with Tom : Going Vertical!

December 16th, 2010 by databot

I know that I have discussed in past I have discussed nailing your niche in regards of the sale of to Amazon for a Half a Billion dollars.  This post is more focused towards someone thinking of getting into the e-commerce game.  The easiest way for the average person to make money online is with an ecommerce site that sells unique and hard to find products. If you have thousands of dollars to stock a wide variety of products, and a practically unlimited budget for advertising, then a niche ecommerce website is not for you. If you are looking to start an ecommerce site with low start-up costs that can compete with large established online retailers, a niche ecommerce site is your best chance for success.

Your first step is to find a niche that you are familiar with and can capitalize on. Think about your expertise is in the automotive vertical. For example, if you are a Honda fanatic or an expert on EFI Tuning or a turbo junkie base your RPMWare store of that expertise.  This will allow you to take advantage of the SEO tools that RPMWare has to offer and really get your page ranks up.  In terms of just starting out it’s a great way to gain success and then to build into other niche sites.  I have included a clip of an interview that I found very compelling.

PeC: Your growth is amazing. You mentioned that you operate currently 20 different sites, niche sites, with more likely to come. Roughly how many products do you run across those 20 different sites?

Montague: Total individual SKUs between all the sites are probably close to 10,000 at this point and every site is different. That’s the collective sum of all the sites, but we have sites with less than 50 SKUs and we have sites with several thousand SKUs. I always believed it’s not really a question of SKU count. I mean you see a lot of other e-tailers out there just throwing as much as they can at the wall and see what sticks.

I think there’s a real loss of quality there which is unfortunate. Although more SKUs I guess result in more lines in the water that could potentially lead to sales, there’s a real fine line there to cross between putting together a quality site and accurately representing these SKUs and just mass uploading whatever you can, however you can and hoping for the best. We don’t stress too much on our SKU count, but I believe at this point we’re probably right around 10,000.”

I also would check out the success of they have over 200 niche sites listed here.  Take a look and it will give you an idea of how to really attack a certain niche inside our market.  Here is a list of just a few.


If any of you have any ideas for niche RPMWare store hit me up and I would love to get you setup and running!

Techy Tuesday – Do you "Like" Facebook? You Should..

November 10th, 2010 by databot

It seems like we have been on a facebook kick lately.. but the social juggernaut doesn’t look close to slowing down on it’s race toward a billion users.. I saw this post in regards to a little know feature that uses Facebook’s api to leverage user data to let friends see what their freinds like online. Bottom line is we are data guys and you guessed it here is our pie chart to prove my point :) .  There seems to be some pretty decent traffic that is coming directly from this application.   Have you tried implementing the Facebook like button on your site?

Thursdays with Tom – Gearing up for Holiday Sales?

November 4th, 2010 by databot

The guys over at SearchEngineLand posted this great resource on gearing up a great marketing strategy for your online holiday season. In my opinion the holiday season is perhaps the most missed opportunitity in our market. We all know how big the spring and summer is but somehow we lose focus on a great opportunity during the holiday’s. Check out these 5 tips

Streamline Campaign Management

Automating many of the daily time-consuming campaign management processes reduces labor and saves valuable time, freeing advertisers to focus on more strategic issues. Managing multiple brands over several search engines and social media channels using the same system streamlines campaign management for additional efficiency.

Through automation and mass management one retailer increased the number of accounts that they were able to manage by a scale of 6 and the number of campaigns from 34 to over 140. Another retailer reported a 300% increase in workflow efficiency.

Keep Ads Relevant With Real-Time Inventory Updates

For e-retailers managing hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of SKUs, the ability to keep online ads in sync with specific daily or hourly sales objectives and actual inventory availability is challenging. What good is it to drive someone to buy an item if it is sold out? And why waste advertising spend on items that are mispriced against the competition?

Continuously updating on-line ads with feeds from back office systems enables retailers to advertise the most recent prices and promotions while ensuring that all available stock is advertised. The added bonus is the low cost per click and higher conversion rates that result from more relevant landing pages.

Use Automation To Make Quick And Easy Campaign And Promotion Changes

Year-end holidays follow one another quickly. The ability to update or pause ads on multiple campaigns and distribute those changes across various channels at one time can have a significant impact on performance. With automation solutions, advertisers can push or pause an ad across all engines at once, or can select the channels or networks of their choice and reduce the amount of heavy lifting traditionally needed to adjust to seasonal changes.

Using bulk editing across search engines and campaigns, one retailer managed the updates and changes required from Thanksgiving to Christmas through New Years in a matter of hours vs. weeks, while reaping the benefits of fully synchronized promotions.

Experiment With Conversion Attribution Models

Understanding the path to conversion is key to ensuring proper ROI measurement. Capturing that knowledge across multiple advertising channels will help in minimizing skewed data and avoiding the mistake of under estimating the value of contributing keywords. Potential customers can reach you across a variety of touch points. Why should the last click always be given total credit? Attribution models can include equal distribution to all keywords in the path or assigning equal weight to the first and last. Having the ability to test and report on these and other attribution models will allow a retailer to create campaigns that reap the most conversions and to understand which keywords are contributing to each sale.

With a more sophisticated attribution model, one retailer was able to create campaigns and keyword lists that resulted in a 100% increase in click through rates.

Optimize Generic Keywords To Attract And Convert The Most Targeted Prospects

For some retailers, generic terms can be the most effective if managed properly. By analyzing not only the last click but also each stop across online sessions and search engines, retailers can have a clear picture of each keyword that brought in new customers, including generic terms that were part of the initial search.

For example, last Christmas season one retailer added “holiday gifts” to their keywords, which contributed to a significant boost in end of the year sales.

The Bottom Line

Paid search marketing program strategies which incorporate a combination of automation, experimentation and real-time inventory intelligence can enable marketers to achieve remarkable results this holiday season. Taking into consideration that some retailers can bring in up to 80% of their yearly revenues over just these few key months, the impact of on annual sales can be significant.

If online shopping continues to grow as predicted, adding a level of sophistication to campaign management can pay off more than ever, making this a bright holiday season for savvy retailers.

Thursday’s (ok…Friday) with Tom: Seven Steps to Managing Your Online Reputation

October 29th, 2010 by databot

Sorry for the lateness on this one.. .but I wanted to make sure you guys had a chance to check out this article from the NY times regarding this topic with the owner of B&H Photo .  I especially loved this qoute from the article ”

“That sort of no-nonsense, no-hard-sell advice is one reason the store, B&H Photo in New York, is to the cameraphile what L.L. Bean’s Freeport, Me., store is to the outdoor crowd. Of course, if you’re not close enough to New York to make that pilgrimage, you’ll have to settle for the company’s Web site — but maybe that’s not so terrible. B&H’s online sales arm gets mostly great reviews in forums and rating sites.

Yes, you read that right — a New York camera store Web site that gets good online ratings. Anyone who has hunted for a camera online knows that’s a feat that defies the very physics of online reputation management. There are few categories of product outside of porn and Viagra that have a worse reputation than the camera-sales world, with New York-based camera stores seemingly setting the standard — to read the reviews — for apparent dishonesty and shoddy customer service. “

Here is the good stuff from that article that is a MUST READ!

So how does B&H keep its ratings clean? It starts with two words: Henry Posner. Mr. Posner is a former professional photographer who started handling online customer service for B&H 15 years ago and now has the title “social media coordinator.” He is a ubiquitous presence on camera-oriented forums, blogs, ratings sites, Facebook, Twitter and wherever camera people share info and complain. If you Google any combination of “Henry Posner” “camera” “post” “complaint” and “B&H,” you’ll see much of his time is spent addressing perceived wrongs with B&H customers — with remarkable success, to judge by the ratings.

I called the ebullient Mr. Posner and asked him for advice for the business owner struggling to build a great online reputation. Here’s what he told me, boiled down to seven key points.

Henry Posner’s Plan for Positive Posts

1) If a customer complains, confirm, confess and correct:

“When customers go online and complain, the first thing I do is research what happened. I don’t open my mouth online until I have the facts. If the customer is right, I apologize immediately, and I ask what I can do as a gesture of my concern. I’m always willing to be generous when I’m wrong, and most customers are looking for something modest.”

2. If you’re not at fault, calmly make your case:

“I’m always honest with the customer, and that includes defending myself and the store if we’re right. I disagree 18,000 percent with the saying that the customer is always right — not in retail, he’s not. If he’s wrong, I explain why, speaking with confidence and authority but without being hostile or aggressive. There’s nothing I can say online or even by e-mail that’s just between me and the customer — I’m really talking to everyone who ends up reading or chatting about it. Even if the customer is terribly misguided or purposely malicious, I believe he deserves a cogent, mature response. If a dissatisfied customer’s emotions get the better of him, I just stop and wait for someone else who’s following the conversation out there to jump in to tell the customer to tone things down and refocus. It’s not that no one ever gets to me — I might mumble something while I’m typing, and sometimes I even jump out of my chair and blow off a little steam here. But I don’t put it out there.”

3. Go the extra mile for a trying customer, but not the extra hundred miles:

“You just can’t please everyone, you learn that here quickly. One customer will complain that our deliveries require someone to be home to sign for the package, and the next customer will thank you for it. In every business there are customers that make themselves expensive to service, someone who wants too low a price, or too much special attention. Every company has to decide what the threshold is for keeping these customers. Sometimes I have a frank conversation with a customer. I say, ‘This is how far I can go to help you. Now, are you going to help me by compromising?’”

4. Customers appreciate useful info, not blab:

“I try to give the overall impression that we’re not just a box house but an interesting place to do business with. I’ll let people know that the Met” — the Metropolitan Museum of Art — “is doing a photo contest, or Adobe is offering a free seminar. But I don’t try to fill Facebook pages with endless chatter or send something out on Twitter every 15 minutes — they’ll start seeing it as spam. The name of the game is quality of comment, not quantity. There’s a sweet spot, and if you hit it, the sales will come. I never forget that there’s a bottom line in this place, and everything I do has to eventually come back to it. If I’m going to ask for a raise here, I need to be able to say where it’s going to come from.”

5. Customers only think they know what they want:

“My job isn’t to help you buy something just because you ask for it. It’s to help you find a product that in my experience meets your wants and needs. It’s not about making the most profitable sale, it’s about leaving the customer satisfied.”

6. Keep your friends close, but your competitors closer:

“I dialog online with competitors all the time. That’s good for the industry and good for us. Manufacturers listen to us more closely about what we need when we’ve compared notes with other dealers. And we can help each other avoid some real customer traps out there. I get warnings about customers who place orders, make demands and then badmouth dealers in the worst possible way all over the place. And if I see a fellow retailer unfairly taking a lot of heat online, I’ll step in and try to help. Then I know they’ll do the same for me.”

7. Speak softly and carry a big rep:

“I can pat myself on the back online all day long, but nothing will have the impact of a good review on a ratings site. And then when a customer asks me to match someone’s very low price, sure, maybe I can come down a few dollars. But after that, I’ll just say, go ahead and Google that store’s name, let’s see what comes up. I never have to badmouth a competitor. If they’re sleazy, the word will be out on them online.”

Techy Thursday – Google gets Weppy (WebP) with Images

October 7th, 2010 by Matt Gold


I caught an interesting article on a blog the other day about Google’s new photo format; WebP.  Currently, JPEG rules the image market as far as file formats goes, but Google is looking to improve on that with their new file format called WebP.  Basically, WebP reduced files 40 percent as compared to JPEG.  That means faster loads, more content and quicker transfer on cell phones and handhelds.

Now, Chrome is the only browser currently supporting WebP, but expect that to change.  As WebP becomes more widely used, you can be sure RPMWare will adapt.  As for being ahead of the trend, Google is offering a free conversion tool to allow designers and developers get a jump on the trend.

Check out Google WebP for more info

Thursdays with Tom: Social Media Ninja Tools

September 30th, 2010 by databot

I thought you guys and gal’s would digg a couple of tools we use here at RPMWare to distrbute content to our blog , twitter and facebook pages quickly and effciently.  This is all done through one of the older technologies on the web call Real Simple Syndication or more well known as “RSSrss_logo .   This technology allows sites like Twitterfeed and RSS Graffitti to grab our content and distribute one blog post to multiple desitinations without us having to make separate posts to Twitter or Facebook.   Saving time help’s you spend more time making sales!



Thursdays with Tom – Facebook App Bistro

September 23rd, 2010 by databot

Just wanted to throw this link out to you guys who use Facebook as community tool for your business via your Fan Pages and Group Pages.   AppBistro is a marketplace that has really cool and mostly free facebook apps that will not only make your Facebook hub cooler but more importantly a more efficent tool to engage with your customer base.

Some of these apps include Poll, Word for Us, Newsletter, Weclome Tab, Youtube Channel, Coupons etc.  It’s a quick and easy process that should help you out on Facebook :)


For more info, and to get your Facebook page working for you, check out AppBistro

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