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Archive for the category “Retail”

The Genius of Amazon.com

I have been watching the travails of a mum trying to buy her son a Beyblade stadium on her Facebook Page. After perhaps visiting at every possible brick & mortar store in town, she descended on eBay and triumphantly declared that she had found the item. Not too soon though. A few weeks later another post informed us that eBay had returned her money because they ran out of stock. Aggarhh!

Having a young son myself, I have been making discrete enquiries of the said item. I browsed through eBay, found the stuff and left it for another day. Yesterday, after eBay returned the money, I searched the web and found some stocks available on Amazon.

Once again, I did not buy the item. Browsed around and left. I have done this tonnes of times on many online sites including Amazon. But yesterday was different. A few hours later, there was this email in my inbox from Amazon. With a full listing of all the available Beyblades and accessories. With a pointer to more.

Now we are all aware of search marketing and contextual advertising. I think this is the next level. Dynamic content delivered discretely into inboxes the moment a marketer discovers that someone is looking. Once again this is not new. There are enough services that track clicks and nurture leads. Just that I had never received such an accurate and timely eMail from anyone like this. And I have been logged into Amazon like forever.

It somehow felt new. A lot more intuitive and personal. Perhaps a lot of us have experienced it better. Yesterday I did.

And I may just buy the Beyblade stadium my son’s been dreaming about.

Apple. The Consequences Of Making Good Products

One of those rare moments when you get to look at what happens at Apple. Jonathan Ive Apple’s head of design since 1996 spoke of what makes Apple the company it is. Ive was insistent that the key to Apple’s success was that it was not driven by money but by a complete focus on delivering just a few desirable and useful products.’ For a large multi-billion dollar company we don’t actually make many different products,’ he explained. ‘We’re so focused, we’re very clear about our goals.’ Ive had bad news for anyone looking to foster a design or innovation-driven culture within an enterprise that doesn’t at heart "get" it. Unless the disciplines are acknowledged and embraced as core values by every employee, they won’t gain traction. "We don’t have identity manuals reminding us of points of philosophy for why our company exists," From Businessweek

A Great Customer Service Letter

Jackie Huba at Church of the Customer blog writes about her recent experience with Apple customer service and how this once again proves why the company is such a great brand. She has reposted a follow up letter that she received from Apple service:

Dear Jackie,

This is Stacy, with a courtesy follow-up. I haven’t heard from you and wanted to make sure that your request was handled to your satisfaction. You’ve truly been a remarkable asset to the iTunes Store Family and as such I don’t want to leave you without any type of resolution, so if you do not respond, I will be closing this request. I hope that you continue to enjoy the iTunes Store and would like to thank you for being such a wonderful member of our family.

Please remember if you require any further assistance I’m only an email away. Have an awesome day!

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Stacy
Tier 1 iTunes Store Support

While she thinks it may be a form letter, she is impressed at the use of emotional words; truly remarkable, family, wonderful, awesome. More on the Church of Customer blog.

Stories From The Aisle. Boom Time For Shopper Marketing.

Not the first time are we writing about shopper marketing. And there’s good reason for doing so. Because the dynamics in the media landscape have changed, and now the one place you can still aggregate a mass audience is in-store. If 35 million Americans watched the season ending finale of American Idol, the most watched show on television, some 150 million Americans pass through the revolving doors of WalMart, Costco, Walgreens, Safeway and Kroger to boast weekly shopper counts of 20 million, 30 million, 44 million and 68 million, respectively. Point of sale is probably the most important point at which shoppers makes choices, and if you can hit them with a message, you can measure it with a sales lift. A study by Booze & Co found that over the next three years, in-store marketing activity will grow at a higher rate than any other marketing tactic. One of the key inflection points in this space has been WalMart’s decision to start an instore TV channel. With over 2600 locations around the US and hundreds and thousands of TV screens the network will rival the reach of traditional TV network. The IPTV based network is capable of delivering a precise message at the moment of purchase, down to one single screen. In India too such networks are beginning to proliferate. Future Group’s Future TV is one such player connecting up 10 million customers a week. Although there is a lot of buzz surrounding these latest in-store shopper marketing strategies, there’s still an ailing economy driving decisions. That could cause companies to pause before jumping into the newer in-store networks and rely on the tried-and-true shopper marketing tactics. More in AdWeek.

Shopportunity

Katie Newlin helps consumers understand how the biggest retailers in the world use information about people who shop in their stores to sell them more.

Credit Crunch Christmas. What Will Retailers Do?

Will retail advertising prudence prevail this Christmas? Retailers famous for their big-budget, glitzy, celebrity-led advertising campaigns will face a difficult choice: toning them down to reflect the gloomy economic situation with value-for-money messages (see Mother’s campaign for Boots’ where office goers buy each other gifts); or urging consumers to splurge with the usual festive fanfare. Media Guardian looks at how some of UKs biggest retailers plan to advertise this year.

Is Your Brand On Twitter?

Like SecondLife in 2007, Twitter seems to be the talk of the new media marketing world in 2008. There are a lot of interesting experiments going on out there using Twitter and its microblogging platform. Dell it seems has been able to sell half a million dollars worth of products using a twitterfeed. In a wonderful use of the medium, characters of the American TV series Mad Men are using a twitterfeed to run a parallel storyline. Other interesting ideas on Twitter include measuring how social a brand is by using a social index. And FlixPulse’s attempt at rating movies using data coming out of the Twitter servers. Also of interest a post on the church of the customer blog on how brands can use Twitter to connect with their community.

Coupons Make A Comeback

Clipping little pieces of paper to save 50 cents here and a dollar there just seems out of step with the contemporary high-tech mechanics of consumption. And indeed, coupon redemption has been falling steadily for more than a decade — until, it turns out, relatively recently. Of course, it’s the sluggish economy that’s inspiring this return to thriftiness — along with a newer digital iteration of coupon culture. Read more in NY Times.

Windows That Track Eye Movement

If it wasn’t bad enough that stores were already tracking the purchase decisions and buying patterns of their customers, it now seems that Philips is developing a way for stores to track the interests of people who haven’t even come inside. Using a set of video cameras and eye tracking software the system will be able to tell what someone looking at a window display has been staring at the longest, and will then provide more detailed information about the product via a passive, or even interactive, video display, in hopes it will push them towards making a purchase decision. From OhGizmo.

The Nau Way.

Nau takes a new route to retailing their high-performance outdoor apparel. They do everything backward. They designed their Web site before building a single store; they encourage customers to buy less; and they market themselves by not talking about themselves. An interesting aspect of their stores is that while customers can walk into stores to touch and feel products, they can’t buy the stuff right away. They go online using computers available in the stores, just like they would do from home. Read their story on the HBR site.

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