Forrester TechRadar report on Social Commerce cites TurnTo

March 23, 2010 by George Eberstadt

Forrester retail guru Sucharita Mulpuru recently published her latest TechRadar report on Social Commerce.  Available from Forrester here.  And for free download from ATG here.

We were pleased to be included as one of a select group of vendors profiled in the report.  It’s a great resource for retailers in planning their approach to social.  Here’s the chart that summarizes it all in one place:

Jan and Feb conversion lift numbers

March 2, 2010 by George Eberstadt

These charts compare the conversion rate of shoppers who open the TurnTo widget to that of those who don’t on the largest sites in our network.

First announcement of TurnTo performance data

January 26, 2010 by George Eberstadt

This will sound like self-promotional hyperbole, and I’m going to say it anyway.  When we started TurnTo a bit over 2 years ago, it was clear that the viability of the business hinged on delivering measurable, positive business results for the ecommerce sites we planned to have as customers.  But, of course, there was no way to know for sure what the numbers would look like without building a product and finding customers to really use it.  So we plunged in, built the product, brought merchant partners on board, gained experience, and put in place the systems to measure if we were really doing any good.  And today, in conjunction with three of our partner merchants, we announced some actual results.  So this is the self-promotional, hyperbolic part: it truly did not occur to me when we set out that we’d be able to deliver numbers this positive.  I thought if we would able to show a conversion effect of 10% or 20% we’d be doing pretty well.  And here’s the data from over the holidays for these three sites:

Conversion rate of shoppers who opened the TurnTo widget vs. the baseline (shoppers who didn’t):

  • (IR #209) Watches and luxury goods: 6 X the baseline (i.e. 500% higher)
  •, Christian-themed DVDs: 8X the baseline
  •, gifts and party supplies: 8X the baseline

To be sure, we know we’ve got a lot more measurement work to do before we fully understand the effect the TurnTo system is having on shopping behavior.  But still, after 2 years, it’s very nice to be able to announce numbers like these.

Use social merchandising online to affect purchases in your store

January 18, 2010 by George Eberstadt

There’s a session at the next ANA Shopper Marketing Committee I’d really like to attend.  (But I’m not a member – sigh…  If you are a member, you can find it here.)  The point of the session is so important for multi-channel retailers, I’m copying the description here.  I’d put it this way: don’t just use your web presence to sell; use it to create a connection to your brand that will bridge from your site all the way to your store.  One of the most powerful ways you can do this is with social merchanising tools (like TurnTo) that show visitors that their friends are also customers.

11:30AM- How Shoppers Shop: The vast majority of shoppers conduct research before they go to store, with an increasing proportion of them spending time online, not only looking for deals, but also getting recommendations from friends, looking at product reviews, and comparing product information. Moreover, online research and recommendations are having a greater impact on what makes it onto shopping lists. With roughly half of women indicating that they have purchased products based on recommendations from friends, viral marketing represents an important opportunity to engage shoppers before they go to the store. While significant attention has been paid to the roughly two thirds of brand decisions that are made in the store, the growth in digital shopper marketing represents a major opportunity to increase preference and purchase intent earlier along the path to purchase.

A great perspective on what social commerce really means

November 10, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Paul Dunay, The Global Managing Director for Services and Social Media at Avaya, gave this description of social commerce in an interview in eMarketer:

Social commerce is working with or using your social graph, which is defined as your followers or your friends, and allowing them to help you make buying decisions. Social commerce can be anything from a buying suggestion or recommendation—perhaps a tweet from a Dell outlet saying, “Hey, we have a special on this”—to something like Facebook Connect. Facebook Connect would allow you to go to a Website like and authenticate yourself using your Facebook profile, allow your identity to be known and access your friends so you could spark up a chat. So I could say, “Hey, Jeff, I’m looking at this new fancy laptop or this netbook. I heard you bought something. Would you recommend this to me?” So you could almost take your friends shopping with you. That is the potential with this example.

Hey Paul, come look at the sites using TurnTo.  Your vision is alive today!

Business Week on the merging of social and shopping

October 20, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Business Week just published a piece on the potential for Facebook in online shopping.  They focus on the role of Facebook Connect in enabling shoppers to post questions to their Facebook network before making a purchase.

It makes sense that this is the primary way Facebook Connect has been used so far in online shopping, since it’s the easiest to implement.  But it’s just scratching the surface.  The real potential is in bringing the social network to the shopping site (not the other way around).

For one thing, many people are hesitant to blast questions that they know are only relevant to a small portion of their network out to everyone.  No one wants to be a spammer.

Also, most shoppers don’t think of Facebook as the place to go when researching a purchase.  The primary research destinations are merchant sites and content sites that address the product category.

Combine those two considerations and what you get is a requirement for a system that runs on the merchant (or content) site and tells a shopper which particular people can help them with their purchase decision, so only relevant people receive the shopper’s questions.

If you sell online and this makes sense to you, check out the way TurnTo’s merchant partners are using the TurnTo system to achieve exactly this.

See you at Shop.Org next week.

September 15, 2009 by George Eberstadt

TurnTo will be in booth #212 at Shop.Org in Vegas next week.  Come by and see us.  Or shoot us a note at and let’s schedule a time to talk while we’re all there.  Oh, and we’re giving away a Kindle!

TurnTo welcomes 17 new partner merchants, travel sites, and non-profits

August 18, 2009 by George Eberstadt

We’ve just released an announcement welcoming 17 additional partner merchants, travel sites, and non-profits that have recently gone live or will be shortly. These new partners include:

  • Intrepid Travel: offering over 650 trips in over 100 countries, specializing in ‘off the beaten track’ adventures, organizing trips for 20 years, with over 70,000 travelers joining them each year.
  • Jomashop: No. 209 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has been in the wholesale and retail trade of upscale luxury brand name goods such as watches, fine writing instruments, handbags and luxury crystal since it was founded in New York in 1987.
  • Stylin’ Trucks, a (sister) company of JC Whitney: a 20-year leader in providing performance products for sport, off-road and pick-up trucks, as well as SUVs. Parent auto parts retailer J.C. Whitney & Co. is No. 115 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
  • EyeBuyDirect: A leading online eyewear seller and an Internet Retailer Hot 100, EyeBuyDirect is a global prescription lab and optical retailer specializing in the volume production of affordable prescription eyeglasses.
  • Overstock Art: the Internet leader in hand painted oil painting reproductions at clearance prices.
  • BeyondtheRack: a private shopping club for men and women who want designer brands at prices up to 70% off retail.
  • The Watchery: No. 278 in the Internet Top 500 offers brand name watches at substantial discounts to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
  • F+W Media: offers community, content, and connectivity to focused markets of highly passionate enthusiast communities.
  • Country Pet: a producer of all-natural pet food and treats, running on a NetSuite platform.
  • The Mountain Fund: dedicated to achieving the Millennium Development Goals at the grassroots level, The Mountain Fund and its global network of partners span every corner of the globe eliminating poverty in mountain regions.
  • with an ever-expanding product line includes coffeecakes, whiskey cakes, rum cakes and travel mugs, distinguishes itself from other Internet retailers because of its obsession with providing superior customer service.
  • Accessory Geeks: delivers high quality cell phone & iPod accessories while providing information with geeky expertise.
  • Jamestown Distributors: an industry leader in marine and building supplies for over 30 years.
  • a national Canadian Floral company.
  • Christian Cinema: a motion picture production and distribution company founded in 1999, born out of a desire to connect independent Christian filmmakers with consumers.
  • Black Helmet Apparel: founded by a fireman for firefighters, Black Helmet Apparel designs are hand drawn, and unique.
  • Wireless Emporium: provides consumers and on-the-go professionals a one-stop shop for cellular phone and wireless device accessories as the leader in wireless accessories.

We’ve just released a major upgrade to the TurnTo Social Shopping Widget

August 18, 2009 by George Eberstadt

The enhancements in this release improve both the user experience and the value for sites that use the system. Here’s a summary:

The widget now shows basic social shopping content to all users without requiring any sign-up:

  • Items recently recommended by other shoppers
  • Popular items
  • The number of neighbors who also shop at the store and the items those neighbors have purchased (based on zip code matches)

Users can now import their friends list without ever leaving the widget and immediately see how many of their friends are also customers of the store and what those friends bought. All the information is anonymous, but shoppers can request the store to send a connect invitation on their behalf to those friends. This new approach has a number of benefits:

  • Shoppers see more first-degree friend reference information
  • Shoppers have a way to connect to friends who have not yet opted in to the site’s “trusted reference system” while still preserving customers’ privacy
  • The sign-up flow for shoppers is cleaner and more intuitive

We’ve made a slew of visual and usability improvements.  Please go to one of our partner sites and have a look.

Sites currently using the TurnTo system will get this upgrade without any action required.

AuctionBytes podcast from the Internet Retailer Conference

June 19, 2009 by George Eberstadt

I had fun during the Internet Retailer Conference this week chatting with Ina Steiner, Editor of the AuctionBytes blog.  We covered a lot of topics in a short time.  She has posted the conversation as a podcast.  Enjoy.

Stop by and visit TurnTo at the Internet Retailer Conference

June 16, 2009 by George Eberstadt

If you are in Boston today or tomorrow, please come by and visit us at the Internet Retailer Conference.  We’re in booth #947.  And in case the pleasure of meeting us isn’t enough incentive — we’re giving away a Kindle.

TurnTo is in the Wall Street Journal today

June 2, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Here’s the full article:

And here’s what they have to say about us: New York-based TurnTo Networks Inc., for example, which was launched in September, helps retailers link their customer accounts with social-networking accounts and email accounts using Facebook Connect and other tools. TurnTo charges retailers a percentage of the revenue from sales attributed to the system.

Tea retailer Teavana Corp. is a TurnTo client. Jay Allen, Teavana’s vice president of e-commerce, says the conversion rate—a measure of how many shoppers make purchases—for people who use the application is 20% higher than the rate for others, and their average orders are slightly more expensive.

TurnTo founder George Eberstadt says preliminary data for the company’s first 20 clients show that using TurnTo tends to increase conversion rates 20% to 50% and builds traffic to retailers’ sites. Some 700,000 new users, for instance, have come to computer retailer CompSource Inc.’s site through its TurnTo application since July. TurnTo is “a lot better than average” in terms of price per new customer compared with pay-per-click advertising, says Dean Bellone, CompSource’s president.

Vote for TurnTo for the Silicon Alley Awards

May 6, 2009 by George Eberstadt

In addition to the very nice recognition we just received from AlwaysOn, TurnTo has been nominated for the Silicon Alley Awards in the “Most Loved Product” category.  If you like what we’re doing – or even if you just appreciate the potential – please vote for us.  It’ll only take a moment.

Thank you thank you!

TurnTo wins 2009 AlwaysOn East 100 Award

May 6, 2009 by George Eberstadt

There are many stellar businesses on this list.  We’re honored to be included in their company.

The AlwaysOn East 100 Award is given to private, emerging technology companies creating new business opportunities in high-growth markets. TurnTo was selected by the AlwaysOn editorial team based on demonstration of growth, market opportunity, quality of innovation and customer traction.

“It’s no secret that technology and innovation are vital to bringing our country out of economic recession,” said Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn.  “The companies on this year’s list have not only created innovative technologies that solve real business problems, but have stimulated economic growth through the generation of new jobs. I congratulate every winner selected for this year’s award and wish them all tremendous success in the future.”

You can read more about the award here: The AlwaysOn East 100.

Nonprofits, especially, can benefit from Trusted Reference Systems

April 23, 2009 by George Eberstadt

We’re looking forward to the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTEN) this Sunday – Tuesday in San Francisco.  If you’re there, please come by and see us in Booth #42.

And on that topic: here’s a link to a press release Earthwatch just put out on their expanding use of TurnTo to increase volunteer recruitment though their website.  We’re thrilled, since Earthwatch provided the inspiration that led to TurnTo.

Facebook Connect can have dramatic benefits for online merchants

March 24, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Here’s what Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti told the New York Times last week regarding their recent trial of Facebook Connect:

In the four months the site [Citysearch] has been testing Facebook Connect, 94 percent of reviewers have published their reviews to Facebook, where an average of 40 people see them and 70 percent click back to Citysearch. That has translated into new members: daily registrations on Citysearch have tripled.

If you are an on-line merchant, don’t leave all the Facebook Connect fun to the publishers!  With tools like TurnTo, a Facebook Connect implementation is far easier and quicker than you might imagine.  And results like those from Citysearch show the benefits can be dramatic.

TurnTo presentation at OnMedia – Part 2

February 4, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Here’s our second presentation from day 2 at the OnMedia conference.  This one is a straight-up product demo and company backgrounder without the “theory” from yesterday.  The TurnTo part runs from min. 36-46.  (As with yesterday’s, we’ll swap in the individual video once we get it from the conference.)

TurnTo presentation at OnMedia – Part 1

February 3, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Here’s the TurnTo presentation from the OnMedia conference today.  This talk focuses on the whole idea of “Trusted References”.  The TurnTo part goes from roughly minute 1 to minute 10.  (I’m hoping the conference will provide a version of this without the side-bar.  I’ll upgrade if we get one…)

TurnTo Selected as an OnMedia 100 Winner

January 27, 2009 by George Eberstadt

Always nice to be recognized, particularly in such good company.  Thank you to AlwaysOn for the honor.  (Sounds like a long list, but we are one of just a few in the social commerce area.)

The full announcement and list.

Plus, we’ll be speaking at the OnMedia conference on February 3rd at 3:00pm here in NYC.  Agenda.

Presentation from the Social Networking Conference

January 23, 2009 by George Eberstadt

I just got back from the Social Networking Conference in Miami.  Here’s the presentation I gave, titled “Ecommerce Meets Social Networks: A Different Approach to Driving Online Referrals”.  The usual caveats about slides-without-accompanying-commentary apply.

View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: trusted references)