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E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
Improve Your Conversion Rate With 'Intelligent Selling'

A report by a Web development company defines techniques that can improve the performance of almost any e-commerce, a series of concepts it calls "intelligent selling."

Intelligent selling, as described in the report by Multimedia Live of Petaluma, Calif., is about more than merely selling. It requires turning visitors into buyers and turning buyers into repeat customers. The concept is built upon three pillars:

1. Acquisition: Finding customers

2. Conversion: Selling to customers

3. Retention: Getting the customer to come back

The paper describes favorably a technology called Art Matcher that was developed by a site called Art Matcher uses a questionnaire to narrow a visitor's preferences to a manageable number of artworks to be considered for purchase. This site recently merged with (and is now known as), but a service similar to Art Matcher continues in the new location. From the home page of NextMonet, pull down the "Browse by Category" box and select "Style." This takes you to a new page that displays 11 different thumbnails, each of which is an art subset designed to help the visitor find something to buy.

Another example is, a site associated with the famous plant and seed direct marketer. Multimedia Live notes, "If you choose Regional Gardening News, the site may display information on what to do now in the garden. An Autumn article about bulbs (selecting, planting, tending) may not contain any direct sales information, yet could easily drive the reader to buy bulbs, especially since Burpee has just provided -- at no charge -- valuable information about raising them successfully." Burpee's Gardening Wizard is the current implementation of this kind of interactive selection tool.

The "Intelligent Selling" report is ultimately a sales tool for Multimedia Live's own Web development services, but there's nothing wrong with that, and the information concentrated in the report's concise, 15-page format is free and well worth a look.

"Intelligent Selling" (PDF, requires Acrobat Reader): (in "Browse by Category," select "Style"):'s Gardening Wizard:

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E-Business Technology Review: Largest On-Disk Cache Ever

Western Digital now has the largest on-board hard disk cache in a 7200-RPM desktop EIDE drive, and it's currently available only from the company's Web site.

The drive, known as the Western Digital Caviar 100 GB Special Edition, features an 8MB cache. This has the potential to substantially improve throughput for Web servers and other data-intensive environments.

Western Digital Caviar 100GB Special Edition:

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Livingston's Top 10 News Picks O' The Week

1. Anti-anthrax drug marketed aggressively by Web sites

2. Sales of music, ring tones to cell users are growing

3. Music giants may be banned from Web sales in Europe

4. eBay moving quickly to absorb fixed-price

5. Click-rates high, cancellations low in HTML e-zines

6. How order tracking affects good customer relations

7. Things aren't looking too exciting for Excite@Home

8. IT Alert: Some CPUs improperly handle overheating

9. HTML Tips: Free tools for your first e-commerce site

10. Times are tough: Job-hunting pointers from The Onion

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E-Business Secrets: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

About The Author: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld Contributing Editor Brian Livingston. Research director is Ben Livingston (no relation). Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets:

Windows 2000 Secrets:

Win a book free if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints:

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