Freakishly Narrow Shoes on eBay and knowing your MARKET…

I like shoes, nay…I am obsessed with shoes so I end up buying lots on eBay.

A friend of mine sent a link through from a Chinese seller of seemingly fabulous looking shoes and this was the link: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Show-Story-Shop

Oh dear, I thought – I am supposed to be saving money…oh well just one pair….

So I took at look at the size 7’s. I have wide feet as a general rule so always look for measurements on width and got a bit of a shock..

All of the shoes have a width of 7cm, regardless of being a size 3 or a size 7.5.

Unfortunately in the UK, length is the only standard for shoe size but these dimensions are crazy, but being a scientist I need to make sure this wasn’t just MY assumption. So upon going shopping I decided to visit Next and measure the width of a ‘normal’ size 7 shoe.

It was 9cm.

So upon getting home I started to madly measure shoe widths and yes, the smallest shoe width for a size 7 was just over 8cm for my rocket dog wedges.

Now, if this seller (and sellers similar) wanted to clean up with their cut price fancy shoes they really need to think about the product and sizing. These shoes are too narrow for the western market after a size 4 and they are limiting themselves to people with very narrow feet. My sister is one such person, however at a size 6, 7cm width is still too narrow to be able to feel comfortable or not stretch the shoes.

For comparison Japanese Zori at 23.5cm long (UK size 4) are about 8cm wide, smallest I have seen have been 7.5cm wide. Japanese kimono zori are suppose to be smaller as it is ‘iki’ or fashionable.

The moral of the story is to check your product is fit for your target market. No marketing strategy or SEO techniques will gloss over that one. If it looks like a shoe, it doesn’t mean it will function like a shoe for you. Another one is always read the description, I would have been red mad if I had brought a pair and missed the width sizing.

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Should you employ a SEO expert????

Here are a list of claims from a random SEO site and my opinion:

  • specific advice direct from our experts – Are you an expert really?
  • monthly submission to 400+ search engines – Why? When really you only need to focus on the big 4?
  • guaranteed Google placement – Google says this can’t be done. You can set up a site map with Google using one of its free tools as thats almost a guarantee. You can also use Google Adwords for easy and quick inclusion. Hey Google will find you anyway in the end!
  • meta tag generation – yah, try this for size
  • customised search engine optimisation – OK, this might be good – but how customised, have we not customised it with the keywords and meta tags?Do you mean writing page copy to ensure high keyword density? I bet you could do that.
  • competitor website comparisons – Try Popuri.us or Compare in Alexa
  • keyword recommendations tailored to your site – Go Wordtracker Go
  • free phone consultation – yeah ok a £2 call?
  • ranking and link popularity data – http://popuri.us/ and http://www.compete.com/
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) – Google Adwords is the most documented PPC ever, try it you can manage it.

If you have time, read a book and tackle this area yourself. You can spend alot of money on companies that also use various tools (free or paid for) and you can save oodles of cashola!

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The word on social shopping

Social shopping sites have hit the US by storm and also search engines. An item placed on Crowdstorm will be indexed on search engines within the week. Unfortunately no link is provided by Crowdstorm to the item but if it is Brand awareness and customer appreciation you want then Crowdstorm is for you. More specialist sites have cropped up like Stylehive where you can provide a link and tags for the item. Most of the items on style hive are fashion orientated, but again heavily optimised. If you are struggling for a particular keyword ranking then a site such as stylehive (as long as the products match) is for you. Other sites to include in this post are Kaboodle, ThisNext and Wists. When you join any one of these sites you are given an array of free widgets to show off your choices and recommendations on your blog or site. A smart retailer will make sure that he or she has some of her products on these sites to make sure certain keywords are covered.

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Search Engine Optimisation Tools

This is a nice post written by Micheal Burns, my froo buddy.

OK, so over the last couple of years, I’ve been asked many times what our clients can do to further optimise their ChannelAdvisor Stores, their eBay Stores and listings, and alas their existing ecommerce websites and blogs. Not a bad question, but there was a catch.. they all wanted this for FREE.

I found myself giving out the same websites and useful tools over and over, and realised there wasn’t an up-to-date reasonable list out there to suit this purpose, so decided I’d start one here…

What is it?
“A tool to check at-a-glance the link popularity of any site based on its ranking (Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, Technorati etc.), social bookmarks (del.icio.us, etc), subscribers (Bloglines, etc) and more!”

OK, so why would I use it?
I like this site as it’s very fast at giving you an overall “popularity” view of any site according to a whole host of different sites. This is great to find out how your site performs against your competitors too!

Overall Rating: 9/10

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What is it?
“SnapShots are smart profiles of the websites we visit. Simply enter a domain (e.g. amazon.com) and SnapShot will provide traffic history, a trust assessment and a list of all available coupon codes.”

OK, so why would I use it?
A product from Bill Gross (founder of GoTo search engine, which then became Overture, created paid search and was acquired by Yahoo), which allows for an ‘alexa-like’ experience of site ranking and traffic data for both single sites and site comparison (again good for competitor analysis).

They also have a couple other features thrown in which I like:

First, it shows ‘Deals’ that a site may be offering. (Coupon Mountain who specializes in finding and collecting promotion codes and they gather the majority of deals available every day)

Second, it shows a ‘Trust’ element for websites, which is based on community trends and third party secutity services.

Overall Rating: 7/10

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What is it?
“Website benchmarking is a score of your website’s performance within a large range of tests. The EC-Plus website benchmarking test is a free online website benchmark utility that allows anyone to quickly assess the performance of their website, without extensive knowledge of website development.”

OK, so why would I use it?

If you’re looking at taking out some form of SEO service, I’d recommend checking this out first to find out; whether you need it; what areas your current site(s) are falling down on.

The report is very detailed and will give you a good indicator of website strengths and weaknesses, and of course again it’s very useful to find out whether a competitors site scores higher than your own (i.e., if a competitor uses the same shopping cart software, and they’ve taken an SEO package to gain traffic, you could test to see whether it has made a difference..)

Overall Rating: 8/10

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What is it?
“A sitemap is a data file which references pages of your website, and assists search engines in indexing / storing your pages in their databases faster and more easily. By placing a formatted xml file with site map on your webserver, you enable Search Engine crawlers (like Google) to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly.”

OK, so why would I use it?This is a great site, very fast to use, and of course totally free. I would recommend you invest 3 minutes in getting this done and dusted! Totally automated and makes creating a sitemap almost too easy.

Overall Rating: 10/10

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What is it?
“The Keyword Tool generates potential keywords for your ad campaign and reports their Google statistics, including search performance and seasonal trends. Start your search by entering your own keyword phrases or a specific URL”

OK, so why would I use it?
A fantastic tool from Google that allows you to find relevant, high traffic keywords and key phrases for.. well, any form of online advertising, oh and of course maybe your Adwords campaigns?

Overall Rating: 9/10

This post was written by Mic Burns of Frooition

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