8+1 principles that guide Lexity (aka, why we are the way we are)

We founded Lexity two years ago to build a different kind of an advertising/marketing company. While we’ve iterated our product, tried different pricing models, and watched experiments become full-fledged products in their own right – the core principles underlying Lexity haven’t changed.

We’re a fat startup – not measured by dollars in the bank (though we have a few), but by the grandness of the ambition, rigorous thought process, and relentless progress towards a clearly articulated goal. We believe that fundamental disruption in an industry as huge and well-established as advertising can’t come from feature companies (Dave McClure be damned).

In this post, I lay down some of our guiding principles – not only what we do, but as importantly, what we don’t do. All out in the open – for your feedback!

The complete list

  1. Small retailers first
  2. eCommerce first
  3. Simple, simple, simple
  4. Fair, affordable, upfront pricing
  5. Full transparency on ROI – and in real time
  6. Complete solutions for every ad channel
  7. Customized multi-channel marketing
  8. Relentless automation
  9. Bonus: Global ground-up

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Amazon’s sneaky trick for instantaneous search results

Ever wonder why Amazon search results seem to load so fast? Turns out they are employing a cute trick when loading paginated results. Now, this technique is probably patented up the wazoo… so, use at your own risk!

Simply put, each results page contains data for more results than are displayed; so when the user presses next, the ‘extra’ results get shown immediately, and an AJAX call is then dispatched to load the rest. As a result, the user feels as if the search results appeared instantaneously.

Note how the first image requested for the second page of search results is for result #16, not for result #13.

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Google’s shipping program for retailers – it’s all about offline conversions

Surprised by Google’s move to offer quick shipping for retailers? Don’t be. This is all about getting offline conversion data.

In eCommerce, almost all optimization is done with actual conversions in mind (Companies like Lexity also use funnel metrics, but that’s uncommon). When Google Product Search lists products from large retailers, they are unable to get this information – all they know is that someone clicked off from their site to go to, say, Macy’s – they have no idea if an actual conversion took place.

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Google takes its first step in competing with Alibaba

Is there any other way to interpret this ‘test’?

Google launches Google Supplier Director Beta to connect companies with suppliers in China

Alibaba’s core business is all about B2B commerce, especially China-based B2B commerce. Given how aggressive Google has recently been about shutting down businesses that are not core to its long-term strategy, it’s instructive to note that this project got greenlighted.

It’s perfectly within their MO, of course – build a basic version of a competitor’s core product, and make it free. Have they bit more than they can chew this time? Is this really just a test? Time will tell.


How eCommerce gets done in India – some anecdotes

I recently spent a few weeks in India, and this time stayed there long enough to experience first-hand how desi ecommerce gets done. Here are some anecdotes.

FlipKart – Cash-on-Delivery and Courier Networks

The largest eCommerce companies in India don’t work like Amazon, where you pay for products upfront – in many cases, the model is ‘Cash-on-Delivery’. You order a product online, the courier company deliver the product to your door – and you get to decide then if you’d like to pay for the product. You are perfectly within your rights to refuse delivery, and if you do accept, you can pay cash, instead of whipping out your credit card.

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