Post ILM:10: News and Notes Aplenty

During the 72-hour whirlwind that was ILM:10, several other announcements also came down the pike. Among them:

– Group buying giant Groupon continues its flurry of partnerships. The Chicago-based deal a day inked separate deals with the Chicago Tribune Media Group and JiWire. The Tribune agreement calls for Groupon to power local deals each weekday on the company’s recently launched ChicagoShopping.com site. ChicagoShopping.com wants to add depth to the deal-a-day experience by enabling users to personalize deals around specific shopping interests.

Groupon has several co-branded deals with traditional media companies, including McClatchy and Media General. Typically, it furnishes the publisher with an exclusive offer for its market audience and splits revenues equally. All merchant sales, creative and payment processing is handled by Groupon, which as a result, is able to add valuable buyer information to its database.

The pact with JiWire marks an important step for Groupon in targeting more granular, sub-metro deals. It also opens up new inventory possibilities for a brand that has quickly seen demand outstrip supply. JiWire’s network of public Wi-Fi hotspots (more than 30,000 in locales such as cafes, coffee shops and airport lounges) will allow for hyperlocal targeting of deals at venue level. JiWire users are typically on-the-go and tech-savvy, which may ripen new deals categories such as travel-oriented restaurant and retail chains.

Deal-a-day competitor LivingSocial has also debuted sub-metro deals, but not with such granularity. In related efforts to open up new inventory, Groupon introduced personalized deals over the summer.

– It didn’t take eBay long after its $75 million purchase of Milo to begin incorporating the company’s real-time shopping data into its product line. EBay is integrating Milo’s local store inventory and pricing information into its RedLaser barcode scanning applications.

RedLaser’s single-scan interface enables product and price comparisons at nearby stores. Milo’s data adds yet another content layer. EBay is also expected to incorporate Milo functionality into other online and mobile products, notably its Shopping.com site and perhaps ProStores (an online storefront software company for SMBs).

ComScore released an early wave of holiday online spending stats (Nov. 1-Dec. 3). The gradual economic comeback has triggered a 12 percent increase year over year in total online spend. Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) eclipsed $1 billion in e-commerce by itself.

Large national brands have experienced the strongest growth. The top 25 online retailers are up 20 percent over 2009, and some of that increased market share is at the expense of small and mid-market shops, where sales remain flat.

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