Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pinterest But Were Afraid to Ask

These days Pinterest, the fastest-growing social media network in history, has everyone eyeing it with curiosity and just a little trepidation. They wonder if it will settle down or become another in a long line of drifters who pass through town.

  • http://jimgardner jim gardner

    right on! great blog.

  • http://michellewiarda michelle wiarda

    Great info! So true! Unfortunately, too many people aren’t willing to take an experts advice, they think they can do it their own way-even if they know nothing about cataloging! What a costly mistake. Cataloging has been around for many years, follow the proven methods, listen to Jim and you will succeed!

  • http://bob bob

    Great article, keep it coming.

  • http://Eric Eric

    Good article Mr. Gilbert! Enjoyed your class, best of luck!

  • http://Anonymous Anonymous

    Funny how even in Fortune 500 companies, executives not schooled in fundamentals of cataloging)assume that "because I (or my spouse) shop catalogs, I know how cataloging works." If I’ve learned anything in 20 years of cataloging, it’s a healthy respect and understanding of the fundamentals goes a long way.

  • http://Renee Renee

    With the incredible boom in internet sales don’t you think that catalog circulation will decrease over time?

  • http://keith keith

    A great read!

  • http://MayraMartinez-Spencer Mayra Martinez-Spencer

    Thank you for remembering your former students. You are one of the best teachers at MIU.

    I really enjoyed your post.

  • http://Rob Rob

    Internet marketing also has a push strategy – namely e-mail blasts. These have a call for action as most are time sensitive as far as the offer goes. Good for special sales, new products, and cashflow over slow periods.
    And I do agree printed catalogs are here to stay. The internet and the catalogs both feed off one another.

  • http://MicahBoaz Micah Boaz

    I couldn’t agree more. But, I’ve seen it as a "pull" strategy to generate sales to my website. I have tested this theory using web analytics software (Webtrends) along with a media-specific URL. For example, copy your homepage to a new location, but name it http://www.yourbusiness.com/summer06. (Have a special offer to entice them into using the extra text on the URL). Since you’re only using this URL for people who specifically find it in print media, Webtrends can track back orders originating from that landing page. This helps distinguish prospects from print material aside from regular click-thru traffic.

  • http://odette odette

    I just started a cosmetic business. I did my first catalog and the feedback was very poor. Your tips are great apreciated.

  • http://MikeDelano Mike Delano

    Well said-very informative!

  • http://Lauren Lauren

    Jim, I can relate first-hand to your article, as I lived through the same situation. A true "horror" story.

    Sadly, the ego of upper management (and their belief they can write better copy than the copywriters, choose better product than the merchandisers, design better layout than the art directors and handle the photography better than the photographers)more often than not takes precedence over ensuring ROI and the proper metrics of "cataloging 101."

    If every catalog followed the 40/40/20 rule, and actually listen to the catalog professionals with regards to lists, circulation and offers and then design, their sales would increase and their production costs would go down – a guaranteed recipe for success!

    Keep up the great work!

  • http://Robespierre Robespierre

    On the off chance that you might need an idea for a blog at some point … how about doing one on the kinds of products you think lend themselves to cataloging? How might you look at a product and decide whether or not it would lend itself to catalog sales? Just a thought! People are reading ….

  • http://Michelle Michelle

    Unfortunately some of those new to cataloging and in a management position can get all caught up in the glamour of creating a catalog. They micromanage the art directors, stylists, photographers and writers, rather than give direction, bringing the team to the point of suffocation, and re-do?s become the norm.

    Sadly, this complicates everyone?s jobs as the experts in their fields are then forced to explain why ?things just aren?t done that way?, over and over again. Meanwhile the novice manager just doesn?t understand why the experts already know that his great idea won?t work. He then gets annoyed that things aren?t in his control and he feels he must take control and dictate.

    This kind of management can really destroy a production schedule. When all aspects of the catalog creation become a ?what if? scenario, the time to produce the catalog spirals out of control – press dates and mailing schedules are lost, costs skyrocket and the team?s momentum is lost.

    If you are new to cataloging and have been put in a position of leadership, the best thing you can do for yourself is to align yourself with the experts in each of your departments. Meet with them, listen to their input, learn from them. No one person can be good at everything.

    Take a lesson from Jim?s Halloween blog! Cataloging is not rocket science ? it?s incredibly simple, especially when you rely on those you pay for their expertise.

  • http://BobRoth,Ph.D. Bob Roth, Ph.D.

    Actually, Jim, it is the CUSTOMER who drives marketing and determines the success, or failure, of any product or brand or channel.

    The leaders of different functions may debate that; but ProcessPowered Marketing methods get them all on the same page. More at http://www.BobRothPhd.com.

    Dr. Bob

  • http://EdHoland Ed Holand

    Good/tough question. We subscribe to the product driven company theory along with a hope and prayer that the customer will easily see that our product is the best for their needs and will purchase. We are constinly improving our product (footlockers/trunks/luggage) season to season…more colors, better features at substantial investment to us. We also design our own products and have them built specificaly to our needs instead of simply selling an existing product that doesnt have our spin on it. An example; We sell to rugged steel trunks to the kids summer camp market. We saw( through our call center) that many camp parents were asking for a shoe tree…yes the kind that hang on the backs of doors to hold shoes. I am sure Amelda Marcos had scads of them. The kids hang them from their bunks to keep stuff in; flashlights, water bottles etc. Instead of finding an existing vendor’s product that "sorta" worked, we designed our own that fits and attaches perfectly to a camp bunk bed. I just got back from China where I approved the prototypes for production. To us that is being product driven and hopefully the customer will see that and buy( the marketing part).
    Let’s hear what you think?
    Ed Holand
    C&N Footlockers Inc.

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    To Ed Holand. You are customer focused when you build products that your customers request. Thanks for reading! Jim Gilbert

  • http://MicahBoaz Micah Boaz

    Don’t forget to use non-promotional, consumer white papers to drive traffic to your catalog and web site. For example, "10 most dangerous holiday toys" (with a subtle link to the safer ones). Or, simply use the postcard idea listed above to redirect to a PDF version of your white papers. When used with authoritative sources, white papers tell the consumer exactly why they want one product over another based on factors like comsumer safety, environmental friendliness, and many other non-feature benefits of purchasing that product. These are soft-selling keywords that can’t be explained in a newspaper ad or banner graphic. Having a gripping title and supporting graphics indicates that you are the authoritative source on the topic.

  • http://TonyCox Tony Cox

    Larry, how long is the typical term of the licensing agreement in these deals? Do they go on forever, as long as either party does not breach? What’s the risk to Blue Sky of investing in these deals and then losing the license in 5-7 years?

  • http://Suzannah Suzannah

    Thanks for a piece on this unique market. As a small business that uses direct mail and serves government markets at local, state, and Federal levels, it is always a challenge to find the best lists and the right point of contact. I’d be interested in sharing ideas with other small businesses.

  • http://DickShaver Dick Shaver

    Hav eyouheard about the new Database-Marketing methodology that insures "Always-Relevant" E-Mails by using Database-Loading Research to completely eliminate Permission Spam?

  • http://LaurenD Lauren D

    Welcome back Jim!

    I agree, Microsoft/Internet Explorer is going a bit too far with the color coding. To protect consumers it is a good idea in theory; however, too many well-intentioned smaller companies who are not designated LLC’s could get shut out…

  • http://LindaHuntoon Linda Huntoon

    It’s hard to disagree with Tracy’s reasoning here, and cetainly the Postage Increase this year fuels the need to prospect more cost effectively. I would caution her, however, to be very cautious with her cuts (as she appears to be) because in past experience, we’ve learned that there is a number that stands as the most efficient number, and going below it hurts sales dramatically.

  • http://JoshuaUebergang Joshua Uebergang

    If offline catalog is still effective, why cut back on it? Why not just up the anti in ppc and other online campaigns instead of having a scale-like approach?

  • http://KarenReynolds Karen Reynolds

    Jim, have you tried a GameStop location for your Wii? They carry the consoles as well as the games – the one up the street has the Wii, X-Box 360 and most of the other types.

  • http://EricJ.Ophoff Eric J. Ophoff

    I disagree with your premise. I have been in paper and printig business for 40 years. To advise people to buy their own paper at the levels you suggest is not efficient. 40 tons x $750/ton = $30,000. Saving 3 percent is $900. This is hardly worth the time, risk of getting screwed by a broker/merchant, handling charges the printer rightfully may impose along with storage and inventory costs. I believe your article was not great advice.

  • http://NateKuchera Nate Kuchera

    I am wondering if Eric in the comment above works for a printing company? The reason I say this is our catalog does three printings a year with about $25,000 in paper for each printing. Our print sales rep basically told us the same thing (we are not using his company anymore). At the end of the first year we were able to save 12.5% on paper by switching to a paper broker/merchant. They even added 10% PCW for free.

  • http://SteveLett Steve Lett

    I appreciate and respect the opinion offered by Mr. Ophoff from Abitibi, a
    paper manufacturer. I wrote my article for the end user, i.e., the cataloger
    and not from a paper supplier’s point of view. To the best of my knowledge,
    Abitibi does not manufacturer papers in the #5 through #3 range that
    catalogers mostly use. They produce primarily uncoated and SCA paper (which
    is usually bought by catalogers in the "multi thousand tons" area anyway).
    In addition, the 2% cash discount is not commonly offered on these types of
    paper. If someone offered you a $900 savings on a $30,000 car would you
    take? I would think every dollar would count, especially for the smaller
    mailers. I feel the inventory can be a good thing because excess paper can
    be rolled into following jobs if you continue to use the same paper.

    From my years of experience, it is not worth purchasing your own paper on
    such a small order as he is suggesting. The barrier should probably be
    closer to 500,000 lbs. to consider buying your own.

  • http://MarkAmtower Mark Amtower

    One more reason Catalopg Success should publish a "Best/Timeless Articles" book!

  • http://StephenFuller-Rowell Stephen Fuller-Rowell

    By way of clarification: We do use email for marketing … but only to our own lists. We do not use email to prospect for new customers. And, while we’re on the subject, we very rarely use coupon code deals to prospect for new customers.

  • http://JamelJohnson Jamel Johnson

    Do you need any license to start a catalog or can you make up the catalogs and mail them out to people. In other words would I go to jail for salling things I made.

  • http://KellyKoehn Kelly Koehn

    That sounds familiar to me. I had a similar experience with a Dell Latitude D600. It was three days after the first year of warranty (I had three) and the technician wouldn’t replace the battery under any circumstances. Now I have an Inspiron 6000 that I refused to buy an extended warranty on for that reason and what do ya know… the battery died literally days after the warranty expired. According to the BIOS the ‘battery was exhausted and needed replaced. Please call Dell’ .. how convenient. My money says theres a timer in the computer and it flicks on the day the warranty expires 😉

    My next purchase will definitely be an Apple … but only because I can run Windows on it! 😉

  • http://AlanHume Alan Hume

    Great post for transaction email. You should share it on Dot Email http://www.dotemail.com

    It is a free online community for email marketers.

    Alan H.

  • http://KenSponsler Ken Sponsler

    As a telemarketing and CANSPAM compliance consultant, my view of the marketing world is cluttered by the regulatory requirements. While your approach would likely result in more open e-mails, it also requires that transactional e-mails might have to meet the commercial solicitation elements of the CANSPAM rules (physical address, opt out mechanism, honor opt out in 10 days, non-deceptive subject etc). Dual purpose e-mails often become so commercial that their primary purpose can become more commercial than trnasactional. If transactional e-mails become more commercial, it also means that transactional communciations would have to be capable of being delivered as purely transactional or dual purpose (with commercial content) due to opt out rules. This is often a bridge too far for many companies.

    Ken Sponsler,
    GM, Compliance and Audit Services

  • http://jonny589 jonny589


  • http://NormBeauchesne Norm Beauchesne

    Congratulations! You are the first publication to bring this horrendous increase to the industry’s attention. I’ve been wondering where the outrage was. Please urge everyone to write to Commissioner Miller (wendy.a.hocking@usps.gov – his assistant) before it is too late.

    Thanks again,

    Norm Beauchesne
    President & COO
    Herrington Catalog

  • http://AlanTooraen Alan Tooraen

    If this rate goes increase goes through it will put many catalogers out of business. It would be counter productive to do this and would drive many companies to abandon bulk mail forever.

  • http://AlanTooraen Alan Tooraen

    This rate increase will destroy many bulk mailers. I think it should be withdrawn at all costs.

  • http://PaulBrideau Paul Brideau

    The PRC recommendation would be devastating to our business. Small catalogers will not survive the +19% increase in our largest expense line item on the P&L. The board of governors must reject this recommendation which most adversely impacts the "flat category" mailers.

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    You can also FAX a copy of your protest letter to the
    Govenors to the Postal Regulatory Commission at (202)

  • http://RC RC

    Fix the link to the PDF document.

  • http://JeromeM.Zaslow Jerome M. Zaslow

    One of the best catalog interviews I ever read. Keep up the good work.
    Your old brother,

  • http://PrestonLawrance Preston Lawrance

    The whole rate increase is a sham and will drive more commerce on the web to the detriment to the USPS and it’s employees. The USPS is not market driven by any stretch of the imagination. When will the USPS wake up and smell the coffee? They tout three dimensial mail and then make it so costly nobody will be able to use it in their marketing efforts. Too damn many bean counters working for the USPS

  • http://Shemalemovies Shemale movies
  • http://MichelleWiarda Michelle Wiarda

    I agree with you completely. Initially I would have been concerned with sharing my precious customers with the competition too. But, hey, it’s not like many of my customers haven’t seen the competition for themselves. Might as well share and get some of their customers to look my way.

  • http://joeyanick joe yanick

    test 2

  • Anonymous
  • http://JonathanStarets Jonathan Starets

    The one thing I think that is missing from all the talk about multi-channel marketing is the now proven communication tool of text messaging. With a little program branding in catalogs & online combined with some compelling messages (they have to be – 160 characters or less) we now have allowed a distinct percentage of our customers the ability to be reached directly if they choose with the very latest & best happenings at a retailer they shop with. For more on this visit: http://jonathanstarets.typepad.com/

  • http://carolWorthington-Levy carol Worthington-Levy

    is there any shortcut measuring device or software that is faster than manually measuring each item for use in square inch analysis?

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    Sal’s right. Cataloging and Direct marketing is about accountability and measurability. Be passionate, but after you run the numbers. Also, try to surround yourself with vendor partners that are there to help you. And remember the 40/40/20 rule: spend 40% of your energies on lists, 40% on your offer (and merch), and only 20% on creative. Check out my article on it… http://www.catalogsuccess.com/story/story.bsp?sid=36121&var=story

  • http://NickLaRosa Nick La Rosa

    Can I get Tom Haugen’s contact information? Thank you.

  • http://LaurenD Lauren D

    Great blog! I have found everything you have written to be very interesting and informative. I am looking forward to learning about co-mailing in your next posting. Perhaps for a future column, you could discuss mail/circulation plans? Thank you, Lauren

  • http://Akela_gay Akela_gay

    Nice! Happy New Year!


  • http://Elaine Elaine

    I’m interested in starting my own country catalog, not sure who to contact about mass production, providing customer orders.

  • http://Byron Byron


    Thanks for publishing those tips from LifeTips. I wrote those some time ago, but they seem to be timeless, at least for now. We would enjoy a link back to LifeTips which is our policy with content reproduction. We actually have a page in our Business Solutions Section that has a lot more information and advice, and additional resources like a Page Strength Tool that I think your readers would find interesting. Thanks.

  • http://LynneNault Lynne Nault

    Apprantly from the looks of your February 2007 catalog, you need to pick a better team to produce your own catalog. Our copy arrived cut entirely (or misprinted and cut wrong LOL) entirely on the bias. It is crooked and narrower at the top than at the bottom. If we were sending out such a BAD piece, I would hope that someone someplace would let me know.

  • http://FredBroughton Fred Broughton

    I am seeking information about catalog design and cost for a direct sales business. You help with this request will be greatly appreciated.

  • http://Rochelle Rochelle

    The article is interesting but I would really like to be able to read Part 1. It would be nice if there were a link to it. Thanks!

  • http://Jake Jake

    Jim Keep up the good work and stop give so much info out.

  • http://RonColeJr. Ron Cole Jr.

    excellent Article. Alot of truth in in. Thks

  • http://MarkyfromCT Marky from CT

    If you’ve got so much juice, how come we can’t hear from Hebert directly? Even the great LJW can’t get him on the phone?

    And what’s "a lot" of money?

    I’m sure it’ll take a few renditioins to iron out the kinks..so i’ll keep reading for your insights.

  • http://JosephPych Joseph Pych

    Hi, Jim,

    I just wanted to let you know we at NextMark do track the update schedule for each list. In an effort to simplify the website, we removed that field and some others that seemed to add more complexity than value and this was one of them. However, that information is available in our list broker tool.


  • http://PrestonLawrance Preston Lawrance

    use lighter weight paper that is readily foldable so that you can get your mail piece from a flat size down to a letter size for greater Postal discounts

  • http://PrestonLawrance Preston Lawrance

    Do more prospective via email marketing and only send out catalogs, brochures, etc to those that have requested them. Don’t send out expensive catalogs for prospecting.

  • http://sossibagham sossi bagham

    i have my web site for 8 months and i spend way over $30,000 and have not seen the conversions. please advise me check my web site and let me know what i am doing wrong. http://www.mybargainjewels.com

  • http://garth garth

    Using my pinkfrog ebay auctions I ship a lot overseas but i’m unaware of a global priority flat rate box only global flat rate envelope there is a priority flat rate box but it’s domestic US only.

  • http://dougweeks dougweeks

    Catalog mailing rates just went up 40%. How can you promote a service from the company that did that to us?

  • http://JohnJohnson John Johnson

    Jim –

    I have a question not related to any of your current posts that I think is worth some discussion.

    Abacus was bought by Epsilon who in turn is owned by Alliance Data Solutions. Alliance Data Solutions was recently bought by a private equity firm, The Blackstone Group. The Chinese government then bought a $3 Billion position in The Blackstone Group.

    My question is: Who has my data?

  • http://RobertCue Robert Cue

    You wouldn’t happen to know of someone who publishes a book on Imperial pocketknives. I realize that for the most part they are inexpensive;however, I’m 72 yrs old and when I was a kid we all had small Imperial pocket knives. Now I can’t seem to find a reference book on Imperial. I receive your catalog and enjoy it. The metal pointed tweezers I got are the handiest thing going. Thank You, Robert (Bob) Cue

  • http://HamiltonDavison Hamilton Davison

    The following is a statement from Hamilton Davison, executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) regarding the Postal Regulatory Commission?s (PRC) decision to grant postage rate relief to catalog mailers but asked that it be of longer duration. ?Today, the Commission responded to the US Postal Service Board of Governors call for a more gradual transition to shape based rates,? said Davison. The PRC decision comes on the heels of potentially devastating rate increases of up to 40% that would have caused significant economic damages throughout the catalog industry including significant job losses and reduced mail volumes. The PRC recommended a 3 cent per piece reduction on Standard Mail Regular Flats. This proposal will help mitigate the rate increases and economic waste posed by such a rapid increase in postage for catalogers.

    ?Given the circumstances, we would hope the USPS Board of Governors finds it appropriate to set a very near-term implementation date to provide immediate support to catalogers who are already scaling back their mail plans,? noted Davison. ?Catalogers are reeling with mailing costs now in effect; getting relief to them quickly is critical to the economic health of these firms as well as those who benefit from their mailings, including the US Postal Service. We also hope to work within the rate setting framework in the future to seek more reasonable rates that do not drive catalogs out of the US Mail at the busiest mailing time of the year,? he said.

    ACMA was formed in response to the postage cost increase originally levied by rate case R2006-1 and immediately sought relief for catalogers. By joining the Coalition of Catalog Mailers (CCM) in a motion to intervene before the PRC, the catalogers were able to bring representation to a group previously not heard from in postal policy decision making. In a short time, catalogers have highlighted the punishing postal rate increase and resulting economic impact.

    ?While not as we had hoped, nevertheless this is a victory for the catalog industry,? said Hamilton Davison. ?While we sought longer term rate relief, the PRC?s acknowledges cataloger concerns with this ruling. Catalogs are an important part of the mail both in terms of dollars contributed to running the nation?s postal system and in terms of value to mail consumers who routinely await the arrival of their favorite catalogs. The PRC has recognized the roles of catalogs in this decision.? Catalogs make up more than 50 billion pieces of mail each year and contribute more than $11 billion to postal operations.

    ACMA was able to support and mount an effective late-in-the-game strategy to help ameliorate the disproportionate cost increases for catalog mailers. Although catalogers did not participate in the rate case directly as a group, if adopted by the Board of Governors this decision translates to an $84 million ?win? for the catalog industry and helps keep catalogs in the mail. ?We believe that the ACMA will help restore parity to a diverse field of interests within the mailing community,? commented Mike Muoio, CEO of Lillian Vernon.

    ?The catalog interests have been under represented in postal policy decision making for a long time. I am glad to see they are coming together to advocate for their specific needs,? commented Jim Treis, Executive Vice President for Arandell Corp., a large printer who has been following postal affairs for many years. ?The system only works if each major mailer group is represented and has a voice in the process, both with the US Postal Service and at the PRC,? Treis said.

    ?The outpouring of support from catalogers interested in joining the ACMA has been outstanding,? added Neil Sexton, ACMA Chair. ?There is an emerging industry consensus that catalog mailers must unite to have their voice heard in the process. Many catalogers are seeing the cost of postage cross into territory that is driving them to reduce their forward mailing plans. We want to work with the US Postal Service, PRC and mail related associations to keep catalogs a growing segment of the mail,? he said.

    ACMA is a Washington-based not-for-profit created to advocate for unique collective interest of catalog mailers in regulatory, public and administrative matters where the shared impact transcends individual company interests. ACMA participates in rule-making or commercial proceedings of significance where a single collective voice increases influence and effectiveness. ACMA is a cataloger only group; membership is open to any party with significant interests in the catalog industry. Its members represent a broad variety of catalog mailers including some of the finest and most recognized names in consumer and direct business marketing. More information can be found on the web at http://www.catalogmailers.org.

  • http://DaveCrofoot Dave Crofoot

    Johnson Smith Company’s official position:

    (1) The "transitional" nature of this is pointless, since the Board of Governors will not even decide on this matter until June and it lasts only until the end of September. The time period is entirely too short to have any meaningful value for anyone.

    (2) ECR flat rates were also impacted significantly by the PRC decision. For larger mailers, the ECR rate is the most critical cost cell. As you probably know, many smaller mailers like us co-mail with other catalogers through partnerships arranged by the printers. Through that mechanism, smaller mailers enjoy the benefits of ECR rates just like the larger mailers. Many mailers, such as us, had used the co-mailing mechanism as a primary method of mitigating the impact of the rate case. Now, those efforts, although not in vain, will not begin to cover the impact.

    (3) We are concerned that this proposal, if adopted, would be the end of the discussion as far as the Post Office is concerned. Nothing short of permanent relief needs to be granted for flats. We strongly believe that either the contingency should be adjusted or the flats/letter differential should be narrowed, or a combination of both.

  • http://LesGore Les Gore

    Hi Paul,
    Only time and solid marketing efforts will determine this concept’s success. I like it, it just might work.

    Nice to see you in Boston.


  • http://WendyWeber Wendy Weber

    I can?t say that I concur with your blog regarding salaries in direct marketing. Nor, I would assume, would your friend?s son. After slogging through 3 years of law school (and may I assume a Northeastern law school implies very competitive, if not Ivy League?), I would certainly think that he is entitled to greater compensation that a Catalog Manager, who may or may not have even completed college. Rewards are generally allotted in proportion to risk. Your friend?s son gave up 3 potentially income generating years, and incurred an expense of easily $100,000 to earn that degree.

    I have a friend who received a similar starting salary at a law firm, and came to learn that you ?give blood? for that salary. He consistently worked 15 hour days, and never had the opportunity to take advantage of the generous vacation package that was dangled in front of him with the offer. It was essentially as though he was working 2 jobs.

    If direct marketers are not being equitably compensated, they don?t seem to think so. In a free market society, we are always free to explore other options if we don?t feel as though we are getting a fair shake. I am not seeing that happening. While I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t rather make more money, most folks I encounter are happy to be direct marketers, and feel that they are fairly compensated.

    Wendy Weber
    Crandall Associates, Inc.

  • http://FrankJohnson(norelationtoJohnJohnson) Frank Johnson (no relation to John Johnson)

    Is there a point to this column other than to humiliate your reader and to show how marvellously clever you are? Why didn’t you answer the man’s question? He raises a legitimate point. The federal government forbids the sale of classified technology to China, and it also passes laws intended to protect our data and identities. So why does Mr. Johnson’s question merit such snarky, sniveling ridicule?

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    Thank you Frank for commenting on this week?s post. First, evidently I touched a nerve. The goal of this column is for it to be a forum for the readers, and I truly appreciate the reaming Frank gave me. Second, I?m not given to being snarky. Vocal yes. Critical sometimes. Humorous, I try. But usually I?m earnest about following the principles of catalog marketing and thinking inside the box. (to be continued in next response)

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    (Part 2 of my response to Frank Johnson’s comment):
    I felt the ?who has the data comment? that started this week?s article was less than serious. Maybe I misinterpreted it. You be the judge. It sounded disingenuous to me. If it was serious than I apologize to John Johnson the comment?s author. I plan to contact the folks at Abacus, and pose to them the ?who has my data? question and will post their response as soon as it comes in. Fair enough?

  • http://Lauren Lauren

    I for one, think you are "marvellously clever." Keep up the good work!

  • http://DaveBusch Dave Busch

    All good points, but the title doesn’t really fit the content.

  • http://JimGarlow Jim Garlow

    #5 Is my #1. If your marketing is not targeted and you don’t understand the nuances of a niche market, your campaigns will be off target. I’ve known Mark Amtower for years and you really need to see his presentations in person to get the total value. Not only are they entertaining but educational. Jim Garlow, CDW

  • http://ElaineHaddan Elaine Haddan

    This is a good documented description of this facility. I believe it is imparative for the success of our company to continue to educate ALL customers in the processing and distribution of the mails. Mail design analysts are critical to the business communies and television advertising in the major makets should be used for the general public which in turn would also educate our postal employees.

  • http://Sheri Sheri

    How gratifying to hear a note of appreciation in the midst of so many complaints about the latest rate increases! Thank you for "walking in our shoes" for a short while and being brave enough to be complimentary!

  • http://GeorgeHague George Hague

    Paul,<br />
    <br />
    Great article on Zappos.com. Thanks for sharing.<br />
    <br />

  • http://SherryChiger Sherry Chiger

    I’ll take you up on your offer about not getting at least one good idea from the article. For starters, "the e-commerce business is built on repeat customers" isn’t an idea–it’s a fact…and a trite, even-Homer-Simpson-knows-this fact at that. Just about alll long-term businesses are built on repeat customers, no? <br />
    And wow, word of mouth really works? Gosh, now that I know this, I can come up with some really novel ideas–like maybe building a website where people post articles that they think are noteworthy and invite others to do the same…or invent a website button that lets people e-mail whatever web page they’re on to a friend with just one click…or create an online community where friends and like-minded strangers can bond…<br />
    The details of Zappos’s success are fascinating and worthy of emulation. It’s just a shame one can’t find out what they are from this article.<br />
    ? Sherry Chiger, former editorial director, Multichannel Merchant, current editorial director of Catalogue/e-business (U.K.)

  • http://Aaron Aaron

    Very informative article. I’ve been a big fan of Zappos’ commitment to customer retention and even have their growth chart posted above my computer as a daily incentive to do the right thing. My business is currently in the same position as Zappos was in its early days in that we have no inventory. I was wondering if Zappos gave you any insight into the steps they took from a merchandising standpoint to move themselves from a non-inventory business into a company that stocks thousands of SKUs?

  • http://NancyRe Nancy Re

    Considering that "High School Musical" was only designed as a Cable original movie ? filmed in 30 days after 3 months of rehearsal the following ? it’s amazing. There was a countdown to the premier of "High School Musical 2" with contests, online communications about what the viewing audience wanted included. <br />
    Kids planned home events around the premier ? sleep-overs and parties. That followed the premier with two additional airings, 1 of which was a singalong. They also had chats with the stars who responded to your e-mailed questions. Talk about paying attention to what your client wants! They also released the rights to perform it to schools and community groups when it took off so outsiders where feeding the frenzy as well.

  • http://VernonWyatt Vernon Wyatt

    Thanks for writing an article about my presentation at eTail. I just have a couple of comments.<br />
    <br />
    The questions regarding "How big is my CPU?" and "Do I have enough capacity?" were questions to help distinguish the Performance Management product category. I went through each product category with questions and examples to help distinguish each product category (Performance Management, Web Analytics and Customer Experience Management). They are not questions that I would ask multi-channel marketers to ask themselves.<br />
    <br />
    I believe the last slide of my presentation best summarized what I recommend multi-channel marketers to do:<br />
    <br />
    #1 – Put the same effort into removing the obstacles that keep people from converting as you did in driving them to your site in the first place.<br />
    <br />
    #2 – See your business through your customer’s eyes; you need the same visibility of your online customer as you’d expect from any other channel or form of business<br />
    <br />
    #3 – You can be the hero. This is found money; you have already spent all the dollars to drive these people deep into your buying process, converting them has a huge payoff.

  • http://LisaGittleman Lisa Gittleman

    Just what I love to see – the realities of marketplace evolution in the wake of Web 2.0. Catalog retailers are not alone with the steep learning curve – the retail environment is changing so rapidly its hard for anyone to keep up. The good news is that the resources are available to help get a handle on marketing in a Web 2.0 world from media like Catalog Success to other successful businesses who have been able to keep abreast of the changes or even anticipate them. Web 2.0 gives retailers new ways to communicate with and market to their customer and prospect bases. Yes, it is a "just trust me" kind of thing but the ROI potential in terms of customer relationships, brand equity and sales is incredible.

  • http://al al

    Jim<br />
    many of our customers ask why do they continue to receive more catalogs from us. "I just throw them out" or "Take me off your mailing list" are two of the usual comments they hear. The especially savvy ones will also say they know they are just getting the same book with just a different cover.<br />
    <br />
    Do you have a good answer to give back to these loyal catalog buyers to keep them happy and loyal?

  • http://SalesDept; Sales Dept;

    Hi Terry, Great Article. Additionally, you should note; A more diversified competitor to Guided Voicemail, known as Voicemail Courier. The advantage is you can deliver messages to both B2B, and B2C voice mail boxes. Rates are as low as $250 per 1,000 calls. Probably a price rate more applicable to the Catalog industry. You can also get assistance with your script, and recording your message.<br />
    Website: http://www.VoiceLogic.com<br />

  • http://DavidSchwalje David Schwalje

    Sherry Chiger made one valid point, and I as a reader of your publication, would like to know more about how Zappo’s success can be implemented by smaller start ups. I enjoyed reading what Mr Hsieh said and I thought you did a very good job with the article, an excellent job. And I look forward to reading more in your publication about the details of building / emulating Zappos level of service.

  • http://TomBramik Tom Bramik

    Why am I not surprised? This issue has been a concern for every mail order company for a number of years now. However, what once was thought to be a potential "bad dream" now has the making of a full-blown nightmare in reality. Let us all hope for a more feasible solution.

  • http://Palani Palani

    Hi Jukes,<br />
    All the points are very useful for business peoples. It gives more idea about how to handle the customers.Thanks for this tips.

  • http://BillWest Bill West

    How elementary! Maybe that’s why it’s such a problem. All too often my dad’s wisdom is proven valuable. "Sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees," he would tell me. This is another example of why we need to lookdeeper. How deep? Why not go to the man or woman on the front lines. They may the answer. Thanx for the reminder to include the guys and gals whose shoe leather or dialing finger is in the middle of the battle.

  • http://linda linda

    Nope, there’s 2 global flat rate boxes. USPS.com

  • http://Lauren Lauren

    Jim, congratulations on one year with your Catalog Success blog. <br />
    <br />
    Keep up the good work!!

  • http://TysonVanLannen Tyson Van Lannen

    Yes! I found a tool called Scale Master Classic from Calculated Industries (www.calculated.com). It is actually for measuring blueprints and drawings. It can be programmed to measure square inches. It has saved me a lot of time and aggravation.

  • http://SusanFitzgerald Susan Fitzgerald

    That was a breath of fresh air!<br />
    Common sence + respect = Success!

  • http://MichaelTiernan Michael Tiernan

    Jim, Your suggestion needs a disclaimer like "cigarettes may cause cancer." Yes, you can increase sales buy mailing another catalog, but if you are not careful this can easily decrease earnings, because of additional costs and contact cannilbalization. It’s probably better to test before you jump into a pool without any water.

  • http://peggyjanneck peggy janneck

    I was very disappointed in your magazine. I could’t believe that there were real fur in what I thought was a sophicated catalog. But I was wrong. Your stylist are not so bright this tells me. Faux is in, real is out. Actually that has been the trend for some time. You caught me at a great time, because we have come into a great deal of money and I have been buying up a storm. I took one look through your catalog and seen alot of things I would have ordered. But I could’t throw it away quick enough after seeing fur and lamb skin . The leathers are also hard to handle. But FUR that takes the cake. Sorry you lost a customer forever. PEGGY

  • http://DavidSchwalje David Schwalje

    Not knowing the source code, and then attempting to matchback has a cost. Another option is to create purl’s for each customer, a personal landing page for each individual customer. Depending on your knowledge of each customer in your database, you could flow in custom offers that are relevant to specific customers. Each custom purl (personal url) is printed on the catalogue as it is mailed.

  • http://BertStein Bert Stein

    You mention using CognitiveData as an advanced hygiene solution for the database. We have been using their technology for 3 years and found it to be superior to anything else on the market.

  • http://TashaKidd Tasha Kidd

    Make sure if you’re going to be buying a domain name that it’s what people naturally search on in your niche. There are plenty of tools that can help you do look this up.

  • http://AnneSterling Anne Sterling

    Great article, but a little hard to reconcile with the demand the copy now include "searchable tags". Any thoughts?

  • http://MicahBoaz Micah Boaz

    I took your advise to heart in a recent interview. We had 4 candidates that were closely matched, but only one was left standing once we put them in front of a computer with a task. <br />
    <br />
    Even more impressive is this new practice in our customer service department. We have them simply forward phone calls for a few minutes, then they run into an upset customer (which is actually one of our managers). How they react to this shock is generally consistent with their professionalism after the hire. Those people that have no clue how to talk through a difficult situation are easily parsed from the fold.<br />

  • http://Susan Susan

    Thank you for your story. I manage a call center in the united states and I have to say that when I call a company who used outsourced centers I either ask to speak to someone in the US or I hang up and call back until my call is rerouted. It is frustrating enough to have to spend 10 minutes hitting prompts, saying voice commands which are never understood or sitting on hold forever. I understand that outsourcing saves larger companies money, but COME ON!! What happened to good old fashioned CUSTOMER SERVICE!! It goves new meaning to support our troops, but employ over sees.

  • http://DavidSchwalje David Schwalje

    THE lesson learned here is NOT TO OUTSOURCE customer service. Why? Because customer service is a key differentiator / reason for customers to choose your service. Human employees should be citizens of the same nation that your primary customers live in. <br />
    <br />
    If your company wants to really do a good job, assign every customer who has a complaint with an incident #, link that customer’s multiple incidents together referenced by that customers’ multiple incidents (losing bags once is bad, losing the same customers bags multiple times is really bad). Wow the customer once the incident is resolved with communication that admits the problem and keeps that customer abreast of improvements to the system. Involve the customer in follow up "secret customer" critique of the system and direct communication to management.

  • http://SarahFletcher Sarah Fletcher

    Go get ’em Mr. Moore!<br />
    You should have a go at Quark next!<br />
    Sarah and Jeff

  • http://AlBessin Al Bessin

    Paul:<br />
    <br />
    I think every one of us who has to fly regularly can relate to your experience (at the same excruciating level of frustration). Complaints go unheard, and many companies somehow continue to survive without changing (although it make take a bankruptcy reorganization periodically to "reset" their financial position).<br />
    <br />
    The most effective solution is to encourage consumers and readers to "vote with their dollars". You would think that this would be common sense and consumers would prevail. However, it is clear that consumer apathy (or maybe, in this case, the lure of FF perqs) prevails.<br />
    <br />
    The lessons for those of us trying to build sustainable businesses (and those of us with a shred of compassion and decency) are clear. <br />
    <br />
    …and, if you want change to take place, please avoid patronizing companies that have such consistently terrible service.<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for spreading the word Paul.<br />

  • http://SimonPeterAlciere Simon Peter Alciere

    Too bad we don’t have decent train service in this country, to provide the airlines some competition. It would be better for the environment too.

  • http://MichaelTiernan Michael Tiernan

    Paul, Great story. I love the fact you went to the United headquarters. No wonder private aviation is soaring. Bad service creates business opportunitities. During the 80’s and 90’s the growth in catalog shopping was helped by the decline in service from department stores. Companies like LL Bean set a new standard in service and just about every reputable cataloger developed an unconditional quarantee. The industry needs to keep emphasizing the convenience of catalog/internet shopping and outstanding service.<br />
    I feel you pain but complement you for turning it into something positive " a good discussion on the culture of service"

  • http://ShariAltman Shari Altman

    I don’t think the problem is in-house versus 3rd party call/service centers. The real issue in my mind is speaking the language of the customer, caring about customers (by management) and TRAINING. <br />
    <br />
    In-house reps can be bad too if they aren’t trained. The whole system is broke if customers aren’t valued and treated as such. I’ve sen 3rd party centers work fabulously with good training and ongoing management and interaction by the marketer.<br />
    <br />
    So often when 3rd party centers are hired, the marketer steps away and leaves them to fend for themselves, At the core this shows a lack of caring and concern for their customers.<br />
    <br />
    I will conclude by saying that the language barrier is a real one, and that I haven’t seen an off shore situation work well yet.

  • http://BarryMcCann Barry McCann

    Terry’s right: Knowledge and people move too fast to keep a complete e-commerce team in-house.<br />
    <br />
    However, I’d suggest keeping one key position close at hand: a business analyst who can translate those great marketing ideas into actual working user interfaces and Web site functions.<br />
    <br />
    Without such an interpreter, the business owners often aren’t able to know what’s possible, and the programmers often don’t understand the customer experiences needed for success.<br />

  • http://RyanHealy Ryan Healy

    I think it all boils down to writing like you speak. Most of the phrases Lewis recommends are what we would say if we were talking to another person.

  • http://CorinneWalker Corinne Walker

    Put your mind to ease about mass emailings and use myemma.

  • http://RichCook Rich Cook

    I agree, though I would point out that we should speak they way our intended audience speaks, not merely as ‘we’ speak. <br />
    <br />
    As always, it is so important to know our audience – who we want to buy products from our catalog – and this is one more reason why. <br />
    <br />
    If we speak their language, use their slang, their phrases, we have a much better chance of creating a connection. If they see we are legitimate participants in their world, they will be more open to buy from our catalogs.<br />
    <br />

  • http://Lauren Lauren

    Great job, Jim. You should be glad you didn’t get the job with a company that has no sense of humor! I also enjoyed your article on linkedin — I am going to use it more and more for networking, now.

  • http://JP JP

    How does any of this qualify as news?

  • http://Lauren Lauren

    One thing I have to say about your "overpaid employees don’t leave"<br />
    Jim, great article as always — however, just wanted to comment regarding your statement "overpaid employees don’t leave." Where I work, we are losing one of our key employees — she is very well paid yet leaving to take less money to do a job she is passionate about. She’s had enough of marketing and working in an office. Life is too short!

  • http://Michelle Michelle

    In response to #7, Never be cheap with your employees. More money can make a real difference as to how far an employee is willing to go for an employer. Feeling appreciated generates a desire to do more, to take more of an interest. If an employer wants to keep a valuable employee he must pay. An employee will find it difficult to stay motivated and work hard to increase his employers sales without hope of a decent raise himself. One starts to feel used, and abused, and will eventually decide to move on. If your employee provides you with a valueable service, compensate him accordingly!

  • http://DinaObita Dina Obita

    My website covers every point in your report but we are still not receiving the traffic we should be getting.<br />
    <br />
    What should small companies like http://www.funlingerie.co.uk do ? worst still we have not go the funds to contact companies like yours to help.<br />
    <br />
    What should we do?

  • http://MichelleWiarda Michelle Wiarda

    Jim- <br />
    You are right on! <br />
    <br />
    I too used to enjoy shopping at the mall. Now, I won’t go near it unless absolutely necessary. Especially on "Black Friday"! <br />
    <br />
    I can get anything I want online or through my favorite catalogs, although I usually shop the catalog web sites once I find what I’m looking for, it’s easier than making a call to order. Free shipping is the icing on the cake and I will actually pay a little more, just to get the free shipping.<br />
    <br />
    Now if we can only find a way to provide instant gratification to our cyber shopping experience, I might never leave the house to shop again!<br />

  • http://StephanSpencer Stephan Spencer

    Hi Dina,<br />
    <br />
    Not to worry. There’s a lot you can do without having to spend a fortune. A good starting point is the Netconcepts learning center (www.netconcepts.com/learning-center/). The archived webinars, podcasts, and articles should provide you with a wealth of info and how-to advice. I can already see with a 2-minute cursory review of your site that your product page URLs are way too complex, many of your pages have the same title tag (see http://www.google.com/search?q=site:www.funlingerie.co.uk&num=100), your meta description is the same across the whole site, etc. <br />
    <br />
    In particular, I suggest you review my "SEO Report Cards" in http://www.netconcepts.com/tag/seo+articles because many of the recommendations will be pertinent to your site as well. Good luck!

  • http://jorjevio jorjevio

    Very informative thank you for the tips

  • http://MikeRoberts Mike Roberts

    Paul, <br />
    <br />
    Great article.<br />
    <br />
    As you know, during the 80’s and 90’s Fingerhut was a very promotional company, and I learned some key concepts that you touched on in your article.<br />
    <br />
    1. Sense of urgency. Always place an expiration date on the promotion, it drives customers to take action. Having a 5am to 11am window is very interesting and should be compelling to the customers.<br />
    2. Change up and rotate promotions so they don’t get boring. Fingerhut actually had a "Hype Bank" team working exclusively on promotion development, analysis and slotting.<br />
    3. Most important – Have a reason for being. Don’t just promote a 15% discount. Promote that we are having a 15% discount because our warehouse is overflowing and we need to make space for new arriving product (a creative person can come up with a better reason for being, but at least it was an example)

  • http://Fred Fred

    As a long-time Lands End shopper (20+ years) I feel Sears is ruining a good thing. Dress shirts are almost all going to wrinkle-free, color selection is cut way back . . . the brand is being dumbed down and "Sears-ified." Oh well . . .

  • http://KevinStecko Kevin Stecko

    Hickory Farms does offer the option to ship to more than one person. Although their layout could definitely use some tweaking (as could my own website’s so this is not a put down in any way).


    I ordered 66 cases of popcorn. I have had to beg and plead to get any answers about my orders. The first 46 were to be delivered 12/5 and didn’t arrive until 12/7-They were late for a Christmas Party. I have 20 ordered to direct ship to customers. I’ve been asking for confirmation of the shipments for over a week now and can’t get anyone to answer my emails or phone calls. This is the worst customer service I have ever experienced and I plan on letting everyone that has ever said nice things about this company about the poor service. Just a response back would have been nice – IGNORE seems to be the trademark!! I am in an extremely embarassing situation not knowing if my customers that we send presents to every year have received or are going to receive them this year. HORRIBLE – HORRIBLE customer service.

  • http://Renjith Renjith

    I am also one of those unfortunate ones who happened to have a similar experience. I came to United States for a business meeting and the United Airlines lost my baggage (which contains my formal shoes and other important documents) during the flight from Chicago to Nashville. <br />
    <br />
    Experience is very frustrating like yours and did similar calls to the 1800 number and heard people apologising on their personal behalf and on behalf of every body around thr. Next day, I had go to my meeeting in that very inapporpriate dress.<br />
    However, after two weeks, they delivered my baggage. When I asked them for compensation for the distress I had gone through, customer service personnel said he will issue me travel certificate for $125 (which has never come). I said to him I donot belong to United States and may not use it at all, then he asked me to gift it to any of my friends who I find here. I was surprised and told him that I have flied by no frills airlines (read cheap airlines) during my student days, but never in my life have I found an Airline which is at the rock bottom of customer service. I thought United States has a better customer service standards, but I find India (I belong to India) a much better place. At least there is some one who is going to take some responsibility of what has happened. Here people ask u to call some body who is sitting in New Delhi or Philippines (Who doesnt have any power) to sort out the problems which have happened in United States. <br />
    <br />
    I totally agree with what you have said, the customer service reps dont have any power, they just will apologise for no fault of theirs. They will send urgent messages, with out any use. Had I been there in Chicago, I would have gone to their office and asked for the status. Experience was frustrating again, when I had my medications in the baggage. I am still not sure what is going to happen about the receipts which I have submitted. <br />

  • http://JackMcCarthy Jack McCarthy

    Mr. Gilbert-<br />
    <br />
    Bravo! Your comments are right on point. There are too many companies that operate from the belief that they have no moral or social responsibilities to either the public at large or to their employees in particular. <br />
    <br />
    They’re wrong.

  • http://TerryReeg Terry Reeg

    Jim,<br />
    I am with you that with LV letting people go right after the holidays is dispicable! Unfortunately, I think we are going to see a lot more of this happening to small and medium sized catalogs. With the postage increase last year and the tight supply of paper this year, I think a lot of catalogs will be down-sizing and some may even fold this year. <br />
    <br />
    With the rising price of oil and with a possible recession on the horizon, the near future for a lot of the smaller catalogs doesn’t look good.<br />
    <br />
    I know that I am fearful of a round of layoffs happening here at my company.<br />
    <br />
    Terry Reeg<br />
    Sr Marketing Analyst<br />
    THT Designs<br />
    10917 Harry Watanabe Pkwy<br />
    Omaha, NE 68128-5734<br />

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    Thanks for your comments. <br />
    <br />
    This may sound like aggressive statement, but downsizing is the last resort of the unskilled or politically challenged. There are many things that can be done pre-downsize. A good consultant (not a shameless plug here) can spot ways to save $$$ way before the first person gets kicked out. <br />
    <br />
    And good business acumen means that a company should be able to see the trends before they happen and drastic measures need to be taken!

  • http://Don Don

    So do we know how much LV has attempted to reduce their costs through other efforts?<br />
    <br />
    It was nicer to wait until after Christmas and probably was timed consistent with the seasonal reduction in workload.<br />
    <br />
    And how much do we see catalog management thinking proactivly to the postage rate change. <br />
    <br />
    Funny how post bindry co-mailing has been around for 15+ years and yet demand really become significant since the last rate case.<br />
    <br />
    How many mid-sized catalogs are thinking outside the box of trim size, paper weight, etc., perhaps to granular personalization. <br />
    <br />

  • http://MarionFerguson Marion Ferguson

    Blue Sky is most likely to bite the dust in this industry. They over extended themselves and the vendors are paying the price. Slow pay and only then after threatening these people. What a bunch of crooks!

  • http://creature creature

    they’ve let Mr. Herbert go, which wasn’t part of his 5 yr. plan…

  • http://Steve Steve

    I agree with the other comments. Blue Sky has eaten the dust. They don’t pay their vendors. They are going down the tubes.

  • http://Raj Raj

    <br />
    upselling or cross selling is great tools and we have been live with in contact center environment, where we do provide IVR set up/support to our client if they do sign up for customer service. <br />
    <br />
    Some of our research based clients have been used our in house team for non voice (analytical work) along with voice service which cost them lower than other and they get all services under one roof.<br />
    <br />
    It is good tools which work with any practice

  • http://Raj Raj

    The exercise really helps to get down escalations and improve csr from each other experience and quality analysis, managers should come up with good and worse conversation recording to mark everyone correct.<br />
    <br />
    List down all the questions during exercise and come up with appropriate answer in follow up meeting.

  • http://Raj Raj

    Thanks Jm, I?m regular reader of your posts, the last post (PI) was good and we used to follow that exercise however some tips were missing which added value. <br />
    <br />
    Some of companies name suggested by you, they are good in service but not sure can they be customize as per need, we do follow own set up (End to End cisco baed IP network) where we control and customize as per requirements. <br />

  • http://JohnGenthner John Genthner

    We have had to similarly train ourselves to get "front end" address information and make sure we cover all the bases before we even take the customers’ orders! We ask the customers whether they have a suite, lot, or apartment number, and whether their delivery address is USPS, or UPS compliant or otherwise delivery restricted. Some addresses, while readily accessible to UPS carriers are not accessible to US mail carriers – so we ask if the customer has a Post Office box <br />
    if they have an address that doesn’t meet regular street address delivery requirements – like a house number or even a mailbox. So the front end information is essential and if you can train yourself and your staff to ask the right questions consistently up front you can save yourself costly errors in advance!

  • http://SharonNeuenfeldt Sharon Neuenfeldt

    I tell my clients it is always better to get the information right at the front end rather than try to correct bad data later. There are some wonderful data hygiene products out there, but if you neglect critical data entry they are handicapped. The more the data is "filled in" the less accurate it becomes. I also recommend periodic training refreshers for employees – with huge emphasis on the "why". By getting employee buy-in to the critical function of building a better customer record you are more likely to get good data and satisfied customers.

  • http://SuccessStrategies Success Strategies

    With the growing popularity of internet, it has become an attractive option for business1. Excellent success strategies about how to expand business overseas, I will be implementing these strategies in expanding my business, thank you.

  • http://MichaelKrisa Michael Krisa

    Great Ideas. Great checklist for writing copy. I know it will improve my websites and sales letters.

  • http://Rebecca Rebecca

    I love shopping online. I created my website over 3 years ago selling my product, detox foot pads. They are becoming very popular now and as a result I have been able to increase my sales with just a few marketing tactics, (i.e. SEO marketing and google ad words).<br />
    <br />
    This is a great idea for someone like me who got bored one evening and started a side business. I still have my day job as marketing manager of an electronics company which I love.

  • http://JB JB

    Thanks for making a SIMPLE checklist anyone can follow to write good copy.

  • http://BettyCamenzind Betty Camenzind

    I’m suprised that THT Designs/Tenderheart Treasures has not been on this list for the past 2 years. Our circulation department has done an outstanding job at increasing our 12 month house file. In 2006, our growth was 17% and in 2007 it was 29.1%. We should have at least been listed at #49. Just wanting to give credit to the ones who worked so hard this past year.

  • http://Chari Chari

    Please post a link to the 2006 CS 200.

  • http://JohnSchulte John Schulte

    What I would like to see brought to the debate when there is talk about direct mail consuming trees and polluting the environment is all those free newspapers and tabloids on street corners and in the doorways of stores. <br />
    <br />
    There are millions of them printed every month just in my city alone. <br />
    <br />
    Let’s have a law there too. No more free newspapers on racks. Paid subscription only. <br />
    <br />
    What about all those phone books dropped on everyone’s doorstep that people just toss out. Millions of these too. Get rid of them. I’m for a no phone book law. Subscription only.<br />
    <br />
    Those that care about trees and the environment better have these two mass polluters on their list too.<br />
    <br />
    John Schulte<br />
    NMOA<br />
    <br />
    <br />

  • http://UnemployedatAB&CGroup Unemployed at AB&C Group

    Blue Sky Filed Chapter 11 and stut down AB&C at 5 today

  • http://howdy howdy

    They have shut down the company…that wasn’t in the plan either.

  • http://unemployedalso unemployed also

    rich hebert single handedly caused the demise of Paragon, Winterthur Direct, National Wildlife catalogue & the AB&C fulfillment ctr. 100’s unemployed, no severance, no vacation. I bet he got his severance.

  • http://TerriJoBoyer TerriJoBoyer

    BlueSky Brands and Richard Hebert & Mike Lutz are a joke! They had a reputatable company & profitable company close down because they are crooks! Employees did not get their pay. These are Conniving people at BlueSky Brands. Not trustworthy! They fail the companies and the people whom work for them!

  • http://unpaidbyab&c unpaid by ab&c

    When will the employees get paid the wages. If you only new what i really think of Blue Sky Brands Inc.

  • http://ScottPerry Scott Perry

    Congratulations to all the hardworking folks at X-Treme Geek. Job well done!

  • http://anonymus anonymus

    Bunch of heartless con artists who take advantage of their employees by filing bankrupcy without giving anyone a heads up with what was going to happen to the company then not paying their workers for three weeks worth of pay. I’d be ashamed to show my face anywhere!!

  • http://TerriJoBoyer TerriJoBoyer

    I am infuriated with BlueSky Brands, Mike Lutz and those crooks who done these hard working AB&C employees dirty. How can these people sleep at night. These are people, not machines. I saw a broken BlueSky Mug on the Westerly Sun, and I told myself "This is a good idea" I recieved a BlueSky Mug from Mike Lutz when he first took over AB&C, it felt good detroying it today! That is how I feel about BlueSky Brands and those people who treated AB&C employees the way they did.

  • http://DavidSchwalje David Schwalje

    RFM analysis is easy to do on a spreadsheet, as is the movement of each customer up and down their individual quintile rankings. The interesting twist here with what Yankee Candle is doing is with adding in the complexity of which channel / channels each individual customer uses, combined with a 9 month time frame to determine return on their investment for each customer.

  • http://SusieWimer Susie Wimer

    Mike O’Hara, Elaine Looney and other honest, competent employees spent 35 years building AB&C Group and these crooks destroyed it in just 2 years!

  • http://Orangeemployee Orange employee

    I cannot believe what Blue Sky Brands has done with an honest hard working call center like AB&C Group. Where is the president and ceo in all this? They need to face it, not hide.. these crooks!

  • http://Orangeemployee Orange employee

    I would like to know if President Gary Kazmer who left AB&C Group in Aug. 2007 left b/c of what was coming. He is now president of a company in NY. Was CEO Mike Lutz really clueless about Blue Sky Brands crooked ways?

  • http://RajKanojia Raj Kanojia

    We can ask the IT or telephony dept. to take out the list of numbers which were marked by CSR with specific disposition (we can dispose those call under ?call back?)<br />
    <br />
    Handover task to good sales executives and ask them to make cold calling for them whenever there is new business requirement because they are free leads which come to your business with some interest.

  • http://RajKanojia Raj Kanojia

    Jim, I would like to add following to get customer?s numbers from database instead to ask CSRs to note manual (it saves time and provide accurate data)<br />
    <br />
    We can create specific disposition at agent desktop application (from where csr accept and dispose each call) and instruct them to dispose these calls under defined disposition.<br />
    Telephony or IT dept. can get these ANI numbers (Automatic Number Identification) which got disposed in specific disposition. <br />
    <br />
    In our center we do get these calls from ICM server (Intelligent Contact Management) thru help of in-house build up CRM.<br />

  • http://karen karen

    Blue Sky are totally low! I have been waiting for a refund of an order through Winterthur in January which was returned and received by their warehouse on 2/8/08. I was told I would get my $114.98 in the beginning of March. Nothing yet!

  • http://PaulMiller Paul Miller
  • http://Anotherformerorangeemployee Another former orange employee

    No pay …no insurance…and no recourse…BRAVO!!!!! How long did they plan this for?

  • http://frustrated&angry frustrated & angry

    my 83 yr old deaf mother placed an order on 3/4/08 and was given a PO # and charged on her credit card. When trying to trace the shipment they were closed and no one at NWF helps with any info and take no responsibility. Now we have to fill out forms and letters to her credit company to refute the charge that was immediately charged but never shipped. I have a good mind to report them to Shame On You Channel 7 News. And also Better Business Bureau. How dare you National Wildlife Federation to misrepresent your company under your name in a catalog that was under a subsidiary and now do not even offer any information to why they were still taking orders from customers. We should have been advised by Blue Sky Brand of their situation before taking the call, charging it and then closing shop without any trace!

  • http://BruceDetweilerBreckbill Bruce Detweiler Breckbill

    I appreciate Alan’s insights and agree with many of them. However, I also remember the first Catalog Conference I attended in 1999. I had just gotten into the cataloging business with Lehman’s, and after that conference I thought I had boarded a sinking ship. The overriding theme that year was that catalogs are dinosaurs and that in a few years only the internet will matter. Rising costs, internet pure plays, and ecological issues were all reasons given at that time. <br />
    <br />
    Here we are almost 10 years later and, although some catalogers have fallen on hard times, there are still quite a few catalog companies who are doing well, while lots of internet pure plays have gone the way of the dinosaur, or, interestingly, have started to mail catalogs in order to reach potential customers through a different channel. They discovered what many of their customers already knew; there is something special and pleasurable about sitting down with a catalog as opposed to staring at a computer screen.<br />
    <br />
    I’m sure that the movement to eliminate unwanted catalogs will continue, but let’s remember that we are only mailing catalogs to proven mail order buyers. These people, for the most part, like to get catalogs. Do they get some they don’t want? Certainly. Are they happy when the stumble on to a new one that they never heard of before and has products in which they are interested? Indeed. Will they still order on the web even though they got the catalog in the mail? Probably. <br />
    <br />
    In the end, many of Alan’s statements come down to things that we have all known for years. It is all about giving customers good service, a good value, and unique products that they want or need. The cost of doing business will likely increase, but diligence will allow us to continue to be in business and still be profitable. I don’t think the final bell has tolled yet. And, it may not toll as soon as we may think.<br /&

  • http://Tara Tara

    Thanks BlueSky for leaving all 400 employess without Jobs,no notice we weren’t going to have a job,no paychecks,no insurance tho you were taking it out of our pay as a deduction and not even paying people’s child support…oh and not to mention,robbing people of the 401K money you were taking out of their checks.I give you the gold medal for dirtiest companies ran by crooks.

  • http://MarionFerguson Marion Ferguson

    Remember me Larry? I had a bet with you that BlueSky was going Belly-Up. You didn’t believe me.<br />
    <br />
    How is YOUR business today? Are you in this also? BTW: when do I collect my thousand bucks?

  • http://CindiAnderson Cindi Anderson

    Item 8 is shameless self-promotion, and item 9 is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Of course free shipping gets worked into the product cost. How else would it get paid for? By the free shipping fairies?

  • http://SharonNeuenfeldt Sharon Neuenfeldt

    Unwanted mail is more like unwanted email than unwanted phone calls. Many consumers use "report spam" buttons to opt-out if they feel they are getting too many emails from a company or if the message isn’t relevant to them. In the same way, direct mail that isn’t relevant or is repetative is what consumers think of as "junk". <br />
    <br />
    Catalogers and other direct mailers need to develop contact optimization strategies. Not only will your customers thank you for reducing the mail burden but your actual profit per mailing will go up because you’re not wasting money mailing to people who don’t want to hear from you. <br />
    <br />
    If reputable companies start showing they care enough to listen to individuals, the radical "destroy the industry" groups will have less ammunition.<br />
    <br />
    One more note: it’s funny that these groups think they are somehow protecting the USPS – for the past several years the USPS has kept first class stamp costs down by using standard class (ie advertising) postage to subsidize costs. If advertising mail were to disappear, consumers would be paying a lot more to mail that birthday card to Grandma.

  • http://AlanRimm-Kaufman Alan Rimm-Kaufman

    Hi Cindy — <br />
    <br />
    With all due respect, I really do believe #8, and it wasn’t intended to be shameless self-promotion. My agency doesn’t even provide SEO services. And we’re not the only SEM firm out there by any means. <br />
    <br />
    As per #9, no, the pureplays aren’t rolling shipping into their product cost, they’re taking it out of their marketing cost. Think Amazon.<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for the comments, much appreciated!<br />
    <br />
    :)<br />
    <br />

  • http://RajKanojia Raj Kanojia

    The company that knows how to sell customer service; knows to follow procedure where if they are making customer on hold quite long time then they make CSR?s responsible to keep update to customer in each or couple of minutes about the situation which keep customers in more patient. So I would mark to company for it.<br />
    <br />
    I would mark CSR?s to went out of que to understand your concern and connect to appropriate dept. to get your query solved.<br />
    <br />
    You got something which was not expected, its credit goes to Apple and you both, because you?re the loyal customer of Apple and company does understand it.

  • http://anonymus anonymus

    So Mr. Rich Hebert got himself another CEO job at another company, I bet he’s not having trouble sleeping at night, unlike some of us that are without Health Insurance, missing lost wages, and having trouble getting our money out of our 401k.<br />
    <br />
    How about the other crook Mr. Phil Wax, I wonder if he’s having trouble sleeping at night.<br />
    <br />
    They distroyed five companies in three years, this must be a game to them distroying peoples live.<br />
    <br />
    What these guys did is criminal in my book. The courts should go after them, Reliant Equity and the banks for not paying attention to what really was going on. Who’s suffering here are all the employees with no one to call to get answers.

  • http://Rebecca Rebecca

    I remember years ago playing EverQuest — I would be fighting with 2 characters in a raid, and chatting with 3 people at once, all the while studying for my next school exam (grad school). I can see how someone who is used to that would be good at this.<br />
    <br />
    However, the pay s*cks. I couldn’t imagine working in a job with such low pay — why would someone who has those skills settle for something like that?

  • http://mring m ring

    The Paragon sends me a refund check for $29.98 which took 6 weeks to get. I deposit into my grandson’s savings account and was returned today "unpaid" and charge me a fee of $10.00 also.<br />
    How can you do this to your customers?????

  • http://MichaelABrown Michael A Brown

    Hi Paul! Very interesting post. A couple observations if I may:<br />
    <br />
    First, in my experience, all call center reps must demonstrate the ability plus the WILL to listen. The latter appears in short supply. <br />
    <br />
    Second, both spoken and written call center interactions are most successful when reps ask before telling and learn before responding or selling.<br />
    <br />
    Catalogers can discern both these aspects in a well-crafted hiring interview, best conducted by phone of course.<br />
    <br />
    Michael A. Brown<br />

  • http://MichaelABrown Michael A Brown

    Hi Terry! Good post! A couple observations if I may:<br />
    <br />
    Astute product marketers usually try to surround their main offerings with services, to add value and revenue. Indeed, the catalogers you mention are quite good at such cross-selling. Offering services the customer may not have even thought about seems a fine idea.<br />
    <br />
    However, I urge readers not to call it outsourcing. That term carries too much baggage, especially the offhsore variety. Better to call it what it is: an easy and worthwhile extension of the business customers already do with you.<br />
    <br />
    Michael A. Brown<br />

  • http://LINDA LINDA

    do not get mad at national wildlife, winterthur, bits and pieces and paragon. i worked at paragon in westerly, ri and we knew we were closing our doors but what we did`t know that they were closing all those other companys. we were very shocked and i`m sure they were to. all those people waiting for refund checks that we had promised them that was going to be mailed and some were and they bounced. so if your going to be amd at someone it should be the people who run it down the drain

  • http://Afriend A friend

    Very sorry this happened to all of you. CEO has a history of doing this (and of being completely incompetent as a leader). I am saddened, but not surprised.

  • http://alankossoff alan kossoff

    I read with great interest your "Corner View" on the NYS sales/use tax that NYS is trying to impose on internet sellers. We all know that other states have tried this before…let’s hope that this is killed off fairly quickly. I live on Long Island and know what the costs of higher and higher taxes are doing to the average homeowner and businessman. Even when the politicians say the are giving us a tax break somewhere…you know they’re just gonna take it back somewhere else. The sales/use tax is just one more thing that the small business person has to worry about…losing customers and dealing with another bureacratic act of stupidity.

  • http://Justme Justme

    Jim, what do you drive? What mileage do you get?

  • http://Rebecca Rebecca

    A lot of these ideas are great, but they seem to be targeted to the consumer marketing arena, vs. the B2B arena. True, some are universal, but consumers and businesses are very different beasts and they need different agendas. <br />
    <br />
    Just my observation!

  • http://BarbBizub Barb Bizub

    Mad as hell, yes, but not at you! <br />
    <br />
    Thank you, Jim Gilbert, for interrupting your regularly scheduled column to allow your opinion on the oil crisis to be heard. Did it make you feel any better? It should, and following are some reasons why. <br />
    <br />
    First, I have already forwarded today?s column to 3 people I know who are not in the catalog industry and otherwise would have never read your passionately written column. Second, I have saved the link you?ve provided in point #1, and have every intention of pursuing it the first chance I get. Next, for nearly 2 years my 8-year-old girls have been requesting the action you suggest taking in point #2; they do not like to ride in a car. It?s time I listen and comply. I’ve heeded point #3. Lastly, I currently am, and have been, an advocate of point #4: taking a stand and letting oneself be heard.<br />
    <br />
    Contrary to what you suggest, I DO want to read your column again, and again, and again. Your style of writing is captivating, motivating and alive. Your column is concise and to the point. <br />
    <br />
    You possess the vehicle for taking a public stand on an extremely important matter, and I thank you for using it.<br />

  • http://JonathanFishbein Jonathan Fishbein

    Refuse to sell into NY State. Tell all potential consumers that your company cannot afford to comply with the new law. If enough big companies refuse to sell into NY, the legislature will have to yeild to the pressure from constituants.

  • http://R.G.Piovesana R.G. Piovesana

    Personally, I don’t see the difference between an ad in the Times vs. a PPC ad since both are transactions. Why would one be acceptable but not the other?<br />
    <br />
    The big picture here is the precedence that will be set if this policy is allowed to become permanent. How can we get involved in this fight?

  • http://RajKanojia Raj Kanojia

    Barb, I bet you to read and you get used to as I am, I leave my footmark behind to prove <br />
    <br />
    Thanks Jim to creating the space

  • http://BestAmericanArts BestAmericanArts

    Even though our ecommerce web site been operating for a while this is a great list to pull the team together and step through each item. You can have some positive stokes for what you’re doing well and you’ll surely pick up some things to get working on. Thanks.

  • http://TomReidy Tom Reidy

    Thank you for some specific to-do’s and for real life examples. Those of us in the business end of small businesses need this grounding to appreciate what our technical people are telling us about. It’s a great way to market your seminar because it makes me think, "Wow, look what i learned in a few minutes. Imagine what my web folks would learn in a couple of days." Thanks from BestAmericanArts.com

  • http://RodFord Rod Ford

    I agree with your sentiments about ACCM. We always attend and exhibit, but always with mixed emotions. I love the friendships but question the actual benefit to our business. My thoughts are expressed in more detail in my blog at http://blog.cognitivedata.net.

  • http://BobSellers Bob Sellers

    Very insightful Jim. Particularly your comments/?: Do you have COMPLIMENTARY PRODUCTS . . . As the fulfillment and (upSell) Call Ctr for Guthy-Renker’s ProActive and HD’s vitamin lines, we can attest to the success of continuity programs.

  • http://RodFord Rod Ford

    This is the most comprehensive article I have seen framing the problem. I also think do not mail is not about the environment, but rather is about the perception of invasion of privacy. My blog goes into further idea of this concept at http://blog.cognitivedata.net

  • http://Rebecca Rebecca

    I disagree with #2. Customers most always will look for the best price. Service and quality are expected already, so at least my customer base in my B2B marketplace, look solely at price. It may be different for B2C, and I do notice that a bit with my side business, but I still have extremely low prices AND good service. So I am guessing for this, it still is also about price. <br />
    <br />
    That is the way I shop, too. When I find a product I like, the brand and model I like, I then search for the best price on that model. I don’t care who I purchase it from… just care about the lowest price. I am sure many people are like that as well, not just me.

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    Couple of other things. regarding item # 2, don’t forget things like IM and SKYPE addresses. Texting is also a way to communicate during a disaster.<br />
    <br />
    Regarding item 4, while I lost 3/4ths of a terabyte of data, I had almost all of it backed up to DVD’s. I lost a little, not a lot. I forgot to add that.

  • http://tomromano tom romano

    Jim, <br />
    In theory your comments sound fine. However, The postage is at a record high (with the PMG addmiting"You guys got hammered last year"). Paper has incurred 7, that’s right 7 increases in a row. As far as print vendors giving you a deal that’s true but it doesn’t make up for the other costs that we cannot negotiate. We are, as many of my associates are, pushing business to the web with SEM, SEO marketing, e-mail campaigns. <br />
    Now, I don’t say you are wrong but if you do jump in you had better have a lot of CAPITAL to sustain yourself for a long haul or the product line better be something that no one has <br />
    seen and cannot live without<br />
    <br />
    Tom Romano<br />
    Whales & Friends, Nurses Station and Homeroom Catalogs.

  • http://Debbie Debbie

    The average telecenter job only pays 1/3 to 1/2 of the local cost of living, perhaps in addition to the below cost of living wage of these workers, incentive in the form of commission based on individual and group volume is in order. I know and feel this way only because I worked at one of the largest office supplier’s telecenter in the San Francisco East Bay Area following business and family hardship. My production level and position description for the years 1997 to 1999 was as follows: Customer service and sales of office equipment, <br />
    supplies and accessories to individuals, small and large <br />
    businesses for the largest office supplier worldwide. <br />
    Consistent top sales and top 10% CSR representative with <br />
    consistent gross retail sales of between approximately $ 117 and $320 per hour. My pay rate was $9 per hour; no bonuses were given, only what I call ‘bubblegum’ prizes such as plastic necklaces, candy and plaques and to add insult to injury, they were out of ergonomic compliance and using every organizational psychology tool in the book to maximize production. Your ideas are among those used. Eventually over 50 workers were work injured including me after simply not complaining until the pain became excruciating and the supervisor immediately recognized it-the company Dr. even asked me ‘Why do they keep hurting you people?’ My claim was denied, a small lawsuit ensued and their insurance carrier representatives visited and let me know they would be losing their coverage for ergonomics compliance issues. Shortly after the telecenter was closed but I was able to finally find a long awaited career match. To this day I recall the horrible misuse and crass lack of consideration of hiring employees and compensating them without the reality check of the local cost of living simply because they could easily get away with it.

  • http://TashaMcCartha Tasha McCartha

    Is it harder to start a prison mail-order catalog? How would I get Started?

  • http://Lauren Lauren

    Jim, <br />
    Wow, what an idiot your client was. Not to listen to you, the paper merchant, printer or service bureau and to just go ahead on a whim is not smart business. Not to mention, who UPGRADES paper anymore? The trend (finally) is to Go Green with using recycled or mostly post-consumer paper. Besides that, any direct marketer worth their salt knows to TEST, TEST and TEST again! <br />
    Keep the good articles coming!

  • http://JohnH John H

    Good info…<br />
    <br />
    There are many choices to clean addresses. I like to use Duoshare.com, because I only have to pay for what I use. We have also customized our CRM to check addresses when they are entered which has reduced our mail and shipment problems the most.

  • http://JeffreyPierce Jeffrey Pierce

    I have developed custom software for this purpose, but presently not available commercially. But I could be talked into it!

  • http://MooreSaals Moore Saals

    This blog was very helpful as I am in the process of starting my own catalog shipping company, http://www.mtsads.com. These are great factors that help determine how cost efffective different delivery venues will be which enables us to determine, cost to ship profit ratio and develop a profit margin. <br />
    <br />

  • http://Jason Jason

    I believe that the two points regarding the percentages of men and women who will spend more or less are misstated. <br />
    <br />
    From the Data Source: ?A minor 4.7% indicate they plan to spend more on gifts this year compared to last, lowering from 6.9% who said the same one year ago…while two in five (39.0%) intend on spending less (v. 30.9% last year).?<br />
    <br />
    ?Retailers hoping to make the most of a likely less-than-stellar holiday selling season will benefit from knowing who the likely ?Big Spenders? and ?Penny Pinchers? are?this season’s spenders are more likely to be male, younger, and maintain higher household incomes than their penny pinching counterparts:?<br />
    <br />
    Thus the graph appears to be breaking down the 4.7% of ?big spenders? into categories of men and women while also breaking down the 39% of ?penny pinchers? into the same two categories. So, slightly less than 3% of all consumers (2.89%) are men who plan to spend more this year and 1.81% are women of a similar attitude. <br />

  • http://VcareCallCenter Vcare Call Center

    Dear Terry,<br />
    <br />
    I have read the article. It is now esy to know about the order and the excet profit. Cross-selling issue can also be resolved easily by call center reps to give the good performance.<br />

  • http://Mark Mark

    Brilliant as usual Jim – Thanks!

  • http://Maria Maria

    Dear Mr. Gilbert,<br />
    <br />
    great article. Very practical and does not offer any dreamy solutions. I am from Brazil and definitely we are suffering the consequences of the crisis here too. Thanks for your expertise.<br />
    <br />
    Maria Alves

  • http://DonBenson Don Benson

    Great to see active promotion and acceptance of co-mailing. <br />
    <br />
    I wonder why it took over 10 years for significant numbers of catalog owners to begin to take advantage of co-mailing to reduce costs. <br />
    <br />
    Will it take another 10 years to begin to take advantage of personalization to increase revenue? <br />
    <br />

  • http://BarbBizub Barb Bizub

    A note to Catalog Success"…my comment to Terry seems to have been cut off at the quick! Can you edit and/or re-post? Thank you!<br />
    <br />
    Terry, In these "tough times", your articles are both morale-boosting & hopeful. While you lay out the cold, hard facts, your acknowledgement of how widespread the effects of the economic downturn are, along with somewhat philosophical ideas of how to keep one?s head above water, is just the type of reading we all need right now. You can put yourself on that list of positive leaders to follow in tough times. Thank you for your forward-thinking journalism.

  • http://catalogshopping catalog shopping

    I like this article, No. 9 is true!

  • http://PaulChaney Paul Chaney

    Jim, a colleague sent me the link to this post. It’s inspirational to say the least and I appreciate your encouragement for companies to take the high road and think of their people first. From all of us in the trenches, many thanks!

  • http://JohnFlynn John Flynn

    Thanks for the post. I am in advertising sales and telling my bosses that this quarter and next quarter is tuff. But I see no choice but to tell them the truth, not what they want to hear.

  • http://PamelaMayer Pamela Mayer

    I completely agree with you Jim. Management reacts out of fear instead of good reasoning. Instead of driving out of a car wreck they slam on the brakes. Never a good idea. Your list is brilliant and I wish more people were as knowledgeable & calm and confident as you are.

  • http://PoojaAjmera Pooja Ajmera

    Yes, I think Company did go far to satisfy the customer and maybe that is the reason people trust this brand blindly. This company surely knows how to keep its customers happy. <br />
    <br />
    I appreciate the efforts put in by the CSR. When I was reading this article, i thought just like the CSR’s in India, She would never return and would refuse to help you point blank. But thankfully, you are one of the lucky few.<br />
    <br />
    This article has definitely strengthen my trust in Apple and its employees.

  • http://Raymond Raymond

    Jim – really…you called 4 years after? You didnt notice your laptop was short on RAM? <br />
    <br />
    I own my own company, and in this situation I would take care of you simply because you are a repeat customer….<br />
    <br />
    I understand courtesy towards a customer, but what about the other way around?

  • http://TimHoerrner Tim Hoerrner

    One of the core responsibilities of management is ensuring that their company is appropriately staffed. If management is responding to tough economic times with layoffs it is almost certainly for the wrong reasons. I once worked for a very smart executive who said ?You can never save your way to profitability?<br />
    <br />
    Two things I would add to your list above?<br />
    <br />
    First, when looking at LTV don?t just focus on acquisition. In a prior life I saw that the performance of our best customers, while profitable, was declining. By digging deeper, it turned out that increased contacts to these customers (before I came on board) had merely been spreading revenue across more campaigns. By reallocating marketing spend across all customer segments I was able to reduce marketing spend by 25% with only a 5% hit to revenue. <br />
    <br />
    Second, fanatically empower your employees with the responsibility to test. Early on in my career I was given responsibility for a program that had been on auto-pilot for several years. I tried a lot of different ideas, but always on a very small scale. If I was dead wrong, it wouldn?t have a significant impact on the company or the program. When something worked, I tried it again on a larger scale. If it worked twice, I jumped in with both feet. The end result was a 60% increase in revenue over a 12 month period. Encourage your employees to try new ideas on a small scale. Provide guidelines, but let them learn from both success and failure. <br />

  • http://PaydayLoans Payday Loans
  • http://MarcS Marc S

    What a great article.<br />
    I worked with Frank for 16 years and he made me what I am to day.<br />
    Thanks Frank for all the great advice.

  • http://Mike Mike

    Mark,<br />
    Very nice article. As one who has most recently worked with Don at C&H, his presence is already missed! I’m honored to have been able to work with someone who truly loved what he did, and was open to share from his vast pool of experience.

  • http://TimShier Tim Shier

    Thanks for the mention about Search Status – its amazing how this little tool which was designed to scratch our own itch has grown!<br />
    <br />
    Cheers,<br />
    <br />

  • http://reizit reizit

    e-commerce is getting more and more popular. this creates the need of having good tools to help shoppers make right decisions while buying online. reizit.com is a place where shoppers can recommend or bury a product, share experience and discuss shopping deals.

  • http://JamesJohnson James Johnson

    Many Direct Merchants or other businesses using the discciplines of direct marketing, forbid releasing their identity of use a particular list or list select. The source of new customers is a key business information asset.

  • http://greydood greydood

    Grey House Publishing’s Directory is so outdated, they should pay you to receive it.

  • http://Michael Michael

    I don’t think the USPS ever listens to a word catalogers say. They aren’t too smart and they wonder why they’re losing millions upon millions in mail volume! Good luck but don’t expect them to listen to you now.

  • http://Jones Jones

    Best Buy does NOT do a good job of understanding and treating their customers the same regardless of channel. They may have spent a lot of money but from a customers point of view, the brick and mortar and the website are completely different companies.

  • http://MLS MLS

    I am getting lot of information from this topic …<br />
    It is useful for me…<br />
    <br />

  • http://gregcurry greg curry

    I wondering if this is the same company that has a sale every week ..hits the public with direct mail featuring deep discounts on the same item types; making one feel like you should have waited and not purchased last week,because it even cheeper if you buy for 2-3 day sale from 8-11 AM if you wear a bunny rabbit outfit This marketing method make JC looking like they could care less about the clients.How about low prices evey day opps thw Big W does that and hey their stocks do a lot better than most

  • http://JoeMacDonald Joe MacDonald

    Suggesting that people who didn’t request a catalog should recycle misses the point that is angering so many (and I think it is getting worse). If I don’t specifically ask you to send me a catalog why do you just go ahead and assume I am interested? Just because I shop in your store once at Christmas why do you think I want to get something in the mail from you every few months. If the catalog companies would just practice opt-in rather than opt-out then the people who want the catalogs would get them and the people who don’t wouldn’t. I haven’t purchased anything from a catalog in years, yet I continue to receive them from companies I have never even heard of! I have even had to call up and beg Lands End to stop sending me 3 catalogs every month, just because I purchased some merchandise from their website (hint, maybe I prefer to buy online, why not ask me).

  • http://Colleen Colleen

    I too have used Wal-Mart’s Ship-to-Store as well as Best Buy and Sears. Each time I found the process to be easy and in addition to saving $ on shipping, I also saved $ because I wasn’t lured into those impulse in-store purchases. <br />
    The best part for me personally, is all these stores are Market America partner stores. So when I shop through my Market America web portal, I am earning a commission on every purchase. What a concept…shop online and save money while you are making money – for things you are already buying!

  • http://SusanFranko Susan Franko

    I hear that the "magic" words " free, save, sale, new" are losing their effectiveness in today’s benefit-driven market. Based on 02/09 Wizard of Ads on the Road seminar held in Denver from which I just returned. We—the cultural "we"—are very much into benefits, "What’s in it for me?" However there is definitely a civic side to it…concern about helping others. Your on-going info is valuable to me. Thank you, Suzy. PS: check http://www.wizardacademy.org for source; no, I’m not part of their organization.

  • http://MichelleWiarda Michelle Wiarda

    Having worked with Jim in the past I have had the pleasure of learning from him and seeing him in action. He really knows his stuff. If you’re letting fear drive your decisions, stop and stop now. Contact Jim. He will help you make sound, rational, informed decisions that will propel you forward regardless of the economic mess we’re in.

  • http://CarolaE Carola E

    Can’t agree more!

  • http://LaurenDevine Lauren Devine

    Well said, Jim. In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to step back, review processes and look at all areas of your business with fresh eyes. Finding a good consultant to do this is an investment in the business — there is nothing like objectivity from a person outside the business "fresh eyes."

  • http://DonLibey Don Libey

    Mr. Gilbert:<br />
    <br />
    Regarding "Kumbaya . . . ." Excellent article. Excellent wisdom. Excellent advocacy. Excellent council for all CEOs and Senior Managers<br />
    <br />
    Thank you.<br />
    <br />
    With regards<br />
    <br />
    Don Libey<br />
    Libey Incorporated<br />
    <br />

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    Don’t forget to send the under performing housefile segments out to one of the coops to optimize. Great way to get past customers and prospects to order. Optimizing your older housefile will perform at a higher response rate than many of your rented lists.<br />
    <br />

  • http://ADD ADD

    USER-FRIENDLY? How is it user-friendly? There is no way to opt out of every catalog; in order to use it the "user" has to go through a very cumbersome process. I’m sure catalogers love it; no one would do this for any number of catalogs. They get to keep mailing to people who don’t want their junk.

  • http://Whohalist Whohalist

    Hello sir, that’s exactly what I needed. It helps learning how to market on social networking sites. Thank you! If you don’t mind I would like to add it to my website.

  • http://HamiltonDavison Hamilton Davison

    I just re-read this and noticed it contains a figure for the total postage spend by catalogers that I do not agree with. After this presentation at the ACMA Forum, I questioned David Mastervich about where he got his number for the total catalog postage spend and he admitted it was their marketing department estimate. The number ACMA believes is accurate is $5.6 billion in 2006. We have come to that number through independently-derived but mutually confirmatory methods. We have also run this figure by our contacts at the USPS finance department and they agreed we were "in the ballpark." Sadly, the USPS does not track catalogs separate from other flats so it is not easy to tell but if someone is doing research and picking up this number, I wanted to make sure the record was complete. <br />
    <br />
    Hamilton Davison<br />
    Executive Director<br />
    American Catalog Mailers Assn<br />
    hdavison@catalogmailers.org<br />
    <br />

  • http://MichaelToernan Michael Toernan

    Quality products that are distinctive trump deals and or promotions. Discounting damages the Brand by training customers to buy beacause of lower prices rather than developing an emotional connection.

  • http://Maria Maria

    Alan, great info. Very useful.<br />

  • http://Jennifer Jennifer

    If you’re interested in furthering your green initiatives, you might look into digital publishing. Digital publishing is a low-cost marketing and communications tool that allows you to lower your publishing costs, while simultaneously letting you increase circulation and reach customers across the Web. Digital editions replicate your print online, but better engage customers with audio, video, search functionality and note taking. Want more information? http://www.dirxion.com

  • http://HamiltonDavison Hamilton Davison

    I’ve been very involved as the USPS crafts a "Summer Sale" and have been impressed by how fast they’re moving. Their willingness to try new things to drive volume is smart and it is in our interest to show we will respond to pricing incentives. If we do not react, fewer will be offered in the future.<br />
    <br />
    Right now, "fixing cataloging" is a major priority for the Postal Service. We have a lot of potentially good ideas on the table. The USPS is taking a business approach to problem solving so our time is not being wasted. <br />
    <br />
    If you get the ACMA e-newsletter, you also are aware the PRC has telegraphed another major rate increase for catalogs is looming on the horizon unless we get in gear. Have you seen Bank of America’s or Val-Pak’s attack on catalogers?<br />
    <br />
    This industry has a poor history of coming together to advocate on its own behalf, preferring to delegate this to others that are not in a position to represent it fully. It is time to change this. Both offensively, and defensively, more companies need to engage to reach critical mass. A great first step is to come to Washington May 20th and 21st and participate in the National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum to find out what is going on, what the catalog industry has learned in the last two years, and what we need to do now before calamity hits again. More information is on http://www.catalogmailers.org. The deadline is this month for discounted admission and hotel to the ACMA Forum. <br />
    <br />
    The time for action is now. We must make sure we have affordable access to the mail system that has served us so well for hundreds of years. Please help spread the word so we can have more incentives and fewer 2007-style increases in our future. <br />
    <br />
    See you in Washington! <br />
    Hamilton Davison<br />
    Executive Director<br />
    American Cat

  • http://SeannMc Seann Mc

    The part I’m not getting is how the opt-in would work in the first place? Do you run them through an initial page that gathers that info?

  • http://Duey Duey

    Fantastic Work John<br />
    <br />
    Keep it going!<br />
    <br />

  • http://SharonRogers Sharon Rogers

    Great article, Paul. You hit the nail on the head on all accounts: attendance, location, exhibit hall, seminars and hotels. ACCM has been one of my favorite industry conferences for years, but the past couple have been far less than what I had grown to expect. I haven’t entirely given up on next year, but hope that the rumours of a combined NCOF/ACCM prove true and help rejuvenate both events. <br />
    As for your point about opportunities, I’ve seen recent success stories as well. Generally as a result of smart marketing, combined with great customer service to build loyalty in their customer base.<br />
    <br />
    Thanks again for sharing your insight.<br />
    <br />
    Sincerely,<br />
    Sharon Rogers<br />
    Business Development Executive<br />
    Midco Call Center<br />

  • http://LarryKarkos Larry Karkos

    This show has long been my most informative. This convention (which I call the catalog conference) is much more information-dense than the fall conference, especially for veterans. I am no longer a generalist, so concentration on catalogs is specifically welcome. <br />
    <br />
    If the DMA offered price-sensitive hotel accommodations, these events would no doubt be better attended. But the price of attending is measured in ROI not in expense.<br />
    <br />
    This year, I had several meetings in off-site suites. These host firms attended the event, but did not pay for badges nor booth space. The DMA lost out because it drove the vendors away.<br />
    <br />
    The cost of exhibiting at has gotten out of hand while support for exhibitors has eroded. Floor hours seem more limited than ever, while the hours the hall is open without competing sessions has dropped. <br />
    <br />
    In a sense, the ACCM is its own enemy. The sessions are informative and generally of high quality. I choose to attend sessions for ideas which occurs at the expense of browsing the hall. If vendors are to attend, they need to sell. Attendees need time to browse the floor when no high quality sessions are offered.<br />
    <br />
    Along the same lines, while I personally enjoy the keynote presentations tremendously, I’d be in favor of cutting these down or having the exhibit hall open concurrently.<br />
    <br />
    Finally, well informed vendors help us survive. My first conference was within weeks of being hired into this industry. Then, exhibitors got two full-conference badges plus several exhibitor badges. Having limited booth duty, I used a full-conference badge to attend sessions. Over the years, conversations with attendees while waiting for sessions to begin frequently became the most productive moments for me and, I believe, also for the mailers with which I spoke. I would encourage the return of givi

  • http://FrankStrong Frank Strong

    What a great story! It’s good to see small businesses being able to tap outlets like FB. If FB ads work so well and are cost-effective, is that all they need to get to profitability?

  • http://ManishGupta Manish Gupta

    This is wonderful article.. and the best line is "Consultants are like plumbers". The article tells the expectation of the clients and what consultant faces when on project. My experience is while on consulting role, anyone can come to you expect to do plumbing, fitting, design, validation, testing, coding, procurement.. and bla bla bla.. The base line is its all prostitution like job… today what you are, would not be tomorrow.. Downsize and upsize is part of job..so consultant could be hawked by any one any time…be ready for all..

  • http://JohnForgit John Forgit

    Are there any reports on increased response rates for going up from a slim-jim to a full size book? My customer has always been a slim-jim and now entertaining a jump to full size. This is an upscale product line, not a sale or off price book.

  • http://NeilOKeefe Neil OKeefe

    Jim,<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for clarifying some facts around catalogs and direct mail.<br />
    <br />
    The primary purpose of http://www.DMAchoice.org is to allow consumers to remove their names from prospect mailings. In fact DMAchoice.org states that "if you request to stop receiving mail for an entire category (for example, you don’t want to receive catalogs anymore), companies are required to remove you from their prospect list."<br />
    <br />
    It is not the intent of DMAchoice.org to have mailers use this file to suppress customer names or inquiries. However, DMAchoice.org does provide information for consumers to contact the mailer directly if they want to be removed from a specific list and here we do ask that the mailer suppress these particular names from all commercial mailings. At no time do we expect a mailer to impact their billing or order communication mail.<br />
    <br />
    We do see some mailers using the suppression file against their customer files in situations where they are mailing deep. Perhaps catalogers should consider testing this against names that are 24 months or older in recency of last purchase. We also recommend that catalogers consider an opt-down strategy where a customer can opt to receive fewer mailings as opposed to none at all. This worked well in the email environment and I’ve heard good reports from those mailers who have incorporated these options into their policies.<br />
    <br />
    Providing choice is becoming more important in everything we do. And allowing a customer to choose fewer is a better option than only letting her choose NONE.<br />
    <br />
    Neil<br />
    V.P. Catalog & Multichannel Segments, DMA

  • http://TomMorrison Tom Morrison

    What exactly did these 2 envelope companies do to recieve mention (free advertising) in this article that has to do with mailers qualifyingh for the Summer Sale?

  • http://SusanMcIntyre Susan McIntyre

    Dear John,<br />
    <br />
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my column. ROI (formerly Catalog Success) passed your question along to me. You asked:<br />
    <br />
    "Are there any reports on increased response rates for going up from a slim-jim to a full size book? My customer has always been a slim-jim and now entertaining a jump to full size. This is an upscale product line, not a sale or off price book."<br />
    <br />
    There are not any reports specifically of going from a slim-jim to a full-size that I know of but here’s what I do know.<br />
    <br />
    1. Almost any redesign will increase response. A bigger trim size tends to act like a redesign. But higher response from a redesign (and presumably from a "redesign" that results from an upsize) won’t hold up year after year. That increase will be lower the following year, and in year 3 or 4 will usually drop back to the pre-redesign response rates.<br />
    <br />
    2. A cataloger I know tested an upsize from a DIGEST to a full-size. But they kept per-square-inch density exactly the same. So a 48-page digest turned into a 24-page full-size. Response was just about the same, with a minor increase for the full-size (possible due just to the newness of the look), but not enough to pay for the extra postage.<br />
    <br />
    3. Another cataloger went from a digest to a full-size and response went up dramatically (I don’t have the numbers, and this was years ago). What they did differently from #2 above was to keep the SAME number of pages but just make all the product images way bigger. Since copy length didn’t change, this also made the image-copy ratio way heavy on the image side — always good for getting attention and having graphic impact.<br />
    <br />
    4. A B-to-B cataloger I know did an extensive test of slim-jim (test) versus full-size (control) over a 6-month period. The initial results had the slim-jim ah

  • http://ChrisChamberlin Chris Chamberlin

    Very helpful, Jim. We don’t take our newsletter requests nearly as serious as we should. Some nice "To Do" steps here. Can’t wait to read more. Keep it up. Chris Chamberlin, http://www.thecleanbedroom.com

  • http://HeidiMiller Heidi Miller

    Thanks for posting this, Melissa! I usually advise against Facebook ads because they do hit such a broad audience, but I’ve already forwarded your case study to several clients. Thanks for providing the story and metrics to show how we can use social media for targeted campaigns!

  • http://StephenShooster Stephen Shooster

    Today I was sorting through my dads old files wondering why they were not digitized. Yet I have only had a scanner and document software for about 3 months. Here was a lifetime of interesting documents and my expectations were they should be electronic and thrown away.<br />
    <br />
    Then I touched a few of the files and saw a coffee stain, a wrinkle, some aging and realized their was so much more… pencil marks in the margins. These were not static papers but living knowledge. <br />
    <br />
    I picked up the phone and called him. He answered. It was a joy.<br />
    <br />
    No matter how digital we make our world the purpose of this is to create a better world with better conversations, unfettered… relaxed. A joy.<br />
    <br />
    An 800 number will give your eCommerce depth, your Sales a heartbeat and a voice, and your customers appreciation that you care enough about them to give them a multi-channel experience allowing them to choose what they prefer. On every level it is the right thing to do.<br />
    <br />
    This is what my company does everyday for hundreds of clients and thousands of calls daily. The bottom line, we are cost effective and brand aware.

  • http://Anna Anna

    Interesting findings! We have recently started a blog and it has been pretty successful. However, getting upper managment’s attention has been difficult. Do you have any suggestions for me? How can I get upper management to see the potential of social media?

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    That is so sad. RIP Alan!


    This article is great! I have just started a company too and facebook has got me in touch with the niche group I am targeting. Thanks to target marketing offered by fb that allows me to choose the gender, age and even key interests!! Its been an awesome week with over 250 fans in less than 2 weeks from all over the world! check out my fan page at http://www.facebook.com/farashati#/pages/FARASHATi/107304456986 <br />
    <br />
    …and the cost is so nominal, its really a blessing for start ups.

  • http://LarryKavanagh Larry Kavanagh

    I didn’t know Alan personally, but always made a point to see him speak at conferences. <br />
    <br />
    He was one of the smartest and most innovative direct marketing professionals in our industry.

  • http://Sam Sam

    Many more things that Sal does too, but they are not listed here!

  • http://Chad Chad

    Love the Becker Group Direct. They helped me get all the items I needed for the hoilday.

  • http://JeffreyP. Jeffrey P.

    Seems to me it is mostly the consultants talking about square inch analysis, not the catalog merchants. Is it because squinch is boring, difficult to do, or misunderstood?<br />
    <br />
    Great post.

  • http://Webdesignseodevelopmentcompanydelhi Web design seo development company delhi

    A good amount of business can be lost if the website is not well designed and even a well designed website wont be able to serve the purpose, if it does not hold a good search rank. Web SEO Development companies in India provide 360 degree solution in web designing SEO optimization.

  • http://TomFeaster Tom Feaster

    I have known Frank since college and He was always and Entrepreneur. His success does not suprise me. He was on the Crew in college as well and was a credit to the program.

  • http://xtina xtina

    Good info Mr. Jennewein!

  • http://MarkStanding Mark Standing

    True. While some couldn’t be in Washington D.C. for the August forum, there were some of us who listened in on a pre-event webinar and sifted through post-event dialogue and presentations. <br />
    <br />
    Our company will be joining ACMA in 2010, and from our viewpoint, find that the ACMA has tackled tough issues head-on with tenacity, tact, and with surprisingly few voices.<br />
    <br />
    So agreed, the more the merrier. And perhaps a more manageable postal partnership and postal entrepreneuring ahead of us. Keep up the good work Davison and the ACMA! <br />
    <br />
    Mark Standing<br />
    Director, CRM<br />
    Deseret Book Company<br />
    <br />

  • http://DeaneBonavita Deane Bonavita

    I have noticed customers mailing in orders for example from LA7 catalog for the jumper and see the mock turtleneck shown with the jumper, however this item is not offered on the same page, another top is on the opposite page and they enter that number thinking they are ordering the mock top and are willing to pay a higher price for this than what we are offering the same top in the catalog jumper on page 10 mock tops on page 8 sometimes tripping over pennies to save a dollar adds up in this case I can see an opportunity to trip over dollars to add up to several thousands. If items are presented in a certain way specifacally it could add up for Blair in the bottom line total its all in the presentation, convenience and sometimes the dollar amount in this case a few dollars doesn’t matter to them if its what they want and we have it. Just a thought i had to share. thank you for your consideration.

  • http://marymezzo mary mezzo

    Why does no one address the larger size women’s market. I play golf and wear a size 18women. I am a 20 handicapper when the average woman is a 36 so I get to travel to other courses and see many women who do not fit into the regular size products. That does not mean we larger women don’t want options. It is very hard to find sizes even on the internet. Many clothes manufactrurers think larger women want garish prints or stripes when all we would like are options that regular size women have available. <br />
    <br />
    If women control the market then there are many women who are poorly served or not served in this world.

  • http://MarkAmtower Mark Amtower

    Paul – good piece! While I did not attend, I get feedback from many who did. Not only are exhibitors vacating the premises, the attenders I spoke with will not be returning either. Good things you guys have a growing audience for your virtual shows!

  • http://JeffreyDobkin Jeffrey Dobkin

    Nice inside tips. Thanks. <br />
    <br />
    Here’s a tip. Try testing smaller quantities: test cells of 4,000 instead of 5,000. Statistics analytics aren’t as precise, but results are often similar if not exact, and the savings are real – get five tests for the price of four. Jeff Dobkin

  • http://BarryDennis Barry Dennis

    In the end though, David, "social" media is the medium AND the message.<br />
    <br />
    Social Media User product and service Testimonials are of as much or more value in this venue as they are on the Home Page and the Order Page.<br />
    <br />
    The most successful marketers will be those who can develop "social" products that fill the needs of the audience AND who can deliver the message in the correct way.

  • http://Jen Jen

    Miles Kimball now offers digital editions of all of their catalogs; proof that they’re modernizing things. View them here: http://bit.ly/lITwd.

  • http://DavidCarter David Carter

    I agree Barry. In social media each piece of content carries the endorsement of the person sharing it with their friends. For example, The very act of "sharing" in my FaceBook tells my friends this is worthwhile reading.. or maybe a product I endorse.

  • http://JoePych Joe Pych

    You think you missed the boat? In the late 80’s, I was a student doing research work in Cornell’s computer lab. I turned down the opportunity to work on text search algorithms because I thought it was boring. Instead, I chose operating systems (yes, I am a geek). As it turns out, those text search algorithms at Cornell were a basis for the PageRank algorithm developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin years later at Stanford… which was the basis for Google!<br />
    <br />
    Every so often I ask myself, "where would i be now if I picked the search engine project?"<br />
    <br />
    Hindsight is always 20/20.

  • http://RichardSexton Richard Sexton

    Larry, Great Article and some very practical advise. Clearly the objective of all online marketing is to drive conversions and not just create a presence that demands upkeep every day, for dubious objectives. These are practical, actionable items that should be on all of our "to do" lists

  • http://Melissa Melissa

    Personally, I completely and totally loathe having strange companies send me their catalogs. I throw them away after registering them on Catalog Choice and then calling the catalog’s toll free number and specifically and directly request having both my name and address removed. Sure, I’d like to save the environment, but mostly I’d like to save my sanity and time.<br />
    <br />
    I rented a post office box, and have to do that with a dozen different catalogs a week, and I NEVER WANTED THEM, and THEY ARE NOT ADDRESSED TO ME, yet the post office will not do anything about this, it’s MY time being eaten up to ensure that I don’t have to deal with all that catalog crap.<br />
    <br />
    So, yes, I’d love to see a Do Not Mail bill passed. I’d love to have a way to keep from having all that crud shoved in my face.

  • http://bestmom-in-law best mom-in-law

    nice work!!!!<br />
    <br />
    Of cause I may be a little prejuice. Nah!!!<br />
    <br />
    I have not been pleased in what I find in the dept stores,<br />
    and again I only shop with coupons at sales.

  • http://NancyEvins Nancy Evins

    I have ordered from Abbey Press for many years and really loved the nice big cards with the lovely thoughts of Christmas.<br />
    <br />
    I especially liked that I could add my own message. These cards went out to my clients of many faiths. <br />
    <br />
    However, when the company began adding Bible verses, I quit ordering. I am a Christian and, in fact, have a masters in theology, but while I send my CHRISTmas cards to my friends, I did not want to do so with clients. I regret that I could not have a choice. One of my favorites was that of a sled standing against a barn with some message about days of old.<br />
    <br />
    I think had you not done that, your catalog would still be operating. I wish I could order more of those older cards.I have a few left over from twenty years ago.

  • http://ShakiraBrown Shakira Brown

    The sales tax laws are very tricky when it comes to ecommerce. Check with your local state tax authority to make sure that your goods or services are not subject to sales tax.<br />
    <br />
    In some cases, you may need to only collect sales tax on products or services sold in the state in which your business is domiciled. Conduct your due diligence so you will not be burden with outstanding sales tax bills.<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    Shakira Brown, Co-Founder http://BestBusinessMastery.com <br />
    Award-Winning PR and Marketing Expert<br />
    FREE AUDIO DOWNLOAD – "7 Notorious Deadly Sins of Small Business" <br />
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  • http://TimHennings Tim Hennings

    You make a very strong case about the value of wish lists for converting buyers who will not make an immediate decision to buy. You are absolutely right that the trend is for consumers to do their browsing separately from their purchasing. There is still a big problem for the online retailer, however: How will the consumer remember that the wishlist even exists, or what was in it, or how to find it again? One solution is to give the consumer a way to convert the wish list into a custom PDF flyer or brochure. Now the wishlist can be easily shared with family, friends, and colleagues. It can be stuck to the fridge door or dropped on someone’s desk. When viewed online, one click will take the consumer straight to that product online to make the purchase. Catalog-on-Demand is an inexpensive web service that does just this. We are now entering into partnerships with e-commerce providers who want to make this service available to their customers. Please visit Catalog-on-Demand.com and contact us for further information.

  • http://RobertGreen Robert Green

    Good stuff. I really like the mechanical approaches you suggest on page one. Now continuing to page two, where I’m sure I’ll be properly engaged and have more comments.

  • http://WilliamKent William Kent

    I like articles like this they are helpful to the information staarved and oppressed world..this type article boost the economy through edjucation with out fee….thanks so much I need help with the above mentioned site to get it seo and marketed

  • http://JeffreyDobkin Jeffrey Dobkin

    Nice article. Don’t forget, though – when you are offering a FREE article – always use all caps to make the word free stand out. Would you rather have a free article, or a FREE Article.<br />
    When offering this FREE article or special report, it’s the TITLE that generates the response. The better the title, the better the response – simple as that. To create the best title you can, use the Jeff Dobkin 100-to-1 Rule. Write 100 titles, go back and pick out your best one. Hey, I didn’t say you’d like it – I just said it would help.

  • http://TimPhillips Tim Phillips

    There are vendors that offer a variety of options to online catalogers like CDs, downloadables, and kiosks. They also have unique feature sets such as Social Networking and Facebook Apps. Check out http://www.dirxion.com

  • http://Sheri Sheri

    "Print still powers many companies? engines." Frankly, with so many firms abandoning print to chase cheaper digital and social media strategies, it’s never been so easy for smart marketers to stand out in the mailbox or executive office inbox as it is today. Much of the mailbox clutter we fought in years past is now gone. Given the right list, offer and creative approach, mail can be quite a winning proposition. (Particularly when paired with PURL or other interactive call-to-action strategies.)

  • http://JackKreber Jack Kreber

    Virtual catalogs will undoubtedly be an important selling tool for retailers and catalogers going forward. However, I strongly believe the model of putting flip-thru PDF’s of the print catalog on-line will prove to be a failure, just as it has in the magazine world. Why? Because consumers expect a greatly enriched experience when they "shop" a virtual catalog. This means: more product information, more images of the product, integrated video of the product where appropriate, and customer reviews. If you want to get a glimpse of the magazing and I believe, the catalog of the future, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntyXvLnxyXk. This is a clear example of the enriched experience consumers are going to demand.<br />
    <br />
    And ultimately the retailers will want more tracking out of their virtual catalogs like real-time reporting of how their consumers are shopping and navigating their catalogs. This can only be done when those virtual catalogs sit on top of a platform that can provide the retailers valuable information that can be used to tweak the virtual catalog while it’s still on-line at any time.<br />
    <br />
    My company, Kreber, has recently helped Sears and Dick’s Sporting Goods create virtual catalogs that answer the emerging realities mentioned above. If you would like more information, contact me at 800.775.3801 or at jack.kreber@kreber.com.

  • http://inboundcallcenters inbound call centers

    Thanks for posting this very interesting article on call center productivity. It is very important to know that simple tips can be productive.

  • http://LeslieLinevsky Leslie Linevsky

    Hi Jim,<br />
    <br />
    Your sentiments are exactly on target. Excessive use of multitasking of electronic devised puts ALL executives at risk for 1) dropping the ball 2) completing assignments that are rapidly finished and not necessarily well thought-out 3) being a recipient of ?open mouth-insert foot? syndrome and 4) coming across as aloof and lacking social graces.<br />
    <br />
    I serve on a philanthropic board, and recently attended a 6:30 pm board meeting with approximately 35 board members in attendance (both men and women). The CEO of the organization was behind the podium, and when I tell you that 75% of the eyes in the boardroom were not looking upon the CEO, but rather were staring down at their Palms and Blackberry?s. <br />
    <br />
    I agree with you, this is not a good balance.<br />

  • http://KristinaAllen Kristina Allen

    Great post Kevin! In the online marketing world I’m always talking about audience segmentation, and this is a great example of how it works with a more traditional medium.<br />
    <br />
    -Kristina, @ion_interactive

  • http://CallCenterOutsource Call Center Outsource

    I agree. One of the most important traits to have in sales is enthusiasm. Customers can detect the ones who are genuinely selling their product. A pretentious tone will certainly turn off the potential client.

  • http://DebbieDoherty Debbie Doherty

    OMG almost every time I hear a directive from the executive level, it has a unilateral overtone and I think … I wonder if my Emperor had no clothes on … would he want to know? Maybe not! so I don’t tell him. But I once asked the President of the company “If you ask me a question .. do you want the my true answer, or diluted jibberish, like what I think you want to hear?” He answered “I want the truth.” But I still lhesitate to march upstairs and say anything. But I hav eon employee questionaires always written that the CEO should spend a day in my shoes … to date he has not!.
    In defense of my company … I do work with some amazing people and we ar doing quite well! We listen to our customers, but not always to our employees. You’d b e suprised what not only the little people know, but what the Middle people know!

  • http://Louise Louise

    This topic “5 Creative Catalog Techniques That Save Paper Costs” can be expanded to include the technique of targeting your product offering to match your intended customers’ needs.

    Is it time to do away with the very large one-size-fits-all catalog? Consumers and Procurement departments are far too busy and distracted to leaf through the entire product offering. They want targeted catalogs that meet their requirements.

    In the end this will save even more paper costs.

  • http://Louise Louise

    Companies who find their catalog is in a rut often perform a complete overhaul in strategy. They realize consumers and procurement departments are far too busy and distracted to leaf through the entire product offering. They want targeted catalogs that meet their requirements.
    Is it time to do away with the very large one-size-fits-all catalog?

  • http://CarolWorthington-Levy Carol Worthington-Levy

    Good suggestion from Louise. Keep in mind, though, that for many years in the industry they’ve tried to figure out how to do cost-effective custom pagination for catalogs (“selectronic binding”), without a lot of success because it adds so much to the cost.

    It also may eliminate showing products to people who you may not realize were actually good targets. For example, if you were a specialty catalog who sold high end furniture, accessories and jewelry all with western/Texas flair, (we have a client exactly like this), you might give up too early and start sending your furniture customer ONLY the furniture and accessories – and miss out on some pretty good opportunities to sell jewelry as gifts.

    Often catalogs are niche by theme rather than by product, and paring down the merchandise too much will lose you sales.

    In addition, the most successful catalogs these days are already niche in product selection. if they’ve done a good job of merchandising, and then they start paring it down to under 48 pages for the sake of economy/ efficiency/ less paper, they won’t sell as much and sales will go down per catalog! This is what statistics have told us. You’re better off stretching what you show your customers to keep them informed and interested.

    In the B2B world, the ideal thing is to have one big sourcebook that gets kept with competitors’ sourcebooks – and then, if you are able to target your market accurately, send smaller more targeted offerings in additional catalogs. This is certainly better than sending out a huge sourcebook a few times each year — but very few companies do that anyway. And the ones that do need to look more carefully at their mail strategy because as you point out, they are probably spending too much on paper.

  • http://BarbRiley Barb Riley

    I agree that the mail sales are a great idea and I hope they continue – But not having final approval from the PRC until 6 weeks prior to implementation does nothing to encourage a mailer to change their plans.

    By not approving the project until this late date, as a mailer I have little time to develop alternate plans. What ends up happening is I pay less for what I was planning to do anyway. Not that I’m complaining, but wouldn’t it work better for everyone involved if I had the opportunity to ADD something to what I was planning to do?

  • http://CharlieMcAlpine Charlie McAlpine

    First thing is what the printer will charge you for using different weights and grades of paper in a test on press. You can’t just go from one roll to the next without adjusting ink levels.
    Bill Fitzgerald of Hanover House Industries did this test probably twenty years ago and saw no difference in response from #3 free sheet to #5 groundwood coated. Hence, they chose the #5 in most cases.
    Personally I do believe an upscale jewelry or fashion cataloger would benefit from an upgrade in paper quality

  • http://ron ron

    Very interesting and I’m excited to learn more!

  • http://inboundcallcenters inbound call centers

    I really think that it is a very good idea in order to keep your customers very enthusiastic about their work despite some problems or challenges they face everyday. Thank you for this idea.

  • http://inboundcallcenters inbound call centers

    Using Social media is a good thing. Taking this as an advantage will certainly help you have a better advertisement on your products and you can also receive some feedback already.



  • http://BPOManila BPO Manila

    The CSRs are indeed the voice of the company so they must bear in mind that great customer service should be given at all times. Most companies tend to oversee this. They should know very well that it’ll be the company who’ll suffer in the end when the customers decide to give up on them.

  • http://BPOManila BPO Manila

    Great tips. These should be applied by various call centers as it seemed like the quality of customer service is going down.

  • http://philippinecallcenter philippine call center

    USA 800 was able to fully launch the program three weeks ahead of schedule. The program is improving the customer experience through the utilization of USA 800’s proprietary eCRM tool, which gives the agent the needed information to deliver on their expected metrics.

  • http://mathew mathew

    Can you tell me the source document for the following statement in your artcile?

    “Forrester Research says 58 percent of online marketers who delivered targeted content to customers reported conver­sion rate lifts of 5 percent or more. ”


  • http://PaulFaust Paul Faust

    Great article. One thing to add is to make sure your company has emergency and survival kits that your employees can use if a disaster happens and they need to evacuate or shelter-in-place. I would also encourage them to have kits and supplies for their homes and cars. Your employees are your most important asset and must be personally prepared and safe.

    Our site has some great info as well as pre-made kits and supplies.

    All the best,

    Paul Faust

  • http://AntoneBraga Antone Braga

    People automatically disconnect or go into a trance when they hear the mention of insurance. It is now time to pay close attention, you already have a lot at stake. When it comes to your property, what do you expect in case of loss (hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, etc.)? The disaster itself is news. What happens after the dust settles is the story: the aftermath shock. Here is something you should know. With a little curiosity, you the insurance policyholder can mitigate that shock.

    You can now have access to your basic rights and vital information—even footing, equality—the security of knowing what to expect! The internet reaches far more people than anyone would have ever imagined, though it takes a rare person to pause, to inspect…to grasp the unknown. And yet, much is available gratis! I hope you’ll have a look: http://www.disasterprepared.info

  • http://LiveAnsweringservices Live Answering services

    Thanks for the article

  • http://Elden Elden

    I recently came across your post and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that it caught my interest and you’ve provided informative points. I will visit this blog often.

    Thank you,


  • http://DallasRomanowski Dallas Romanowski

    Ditto on the comment: “Hiring virtual reps is a good idea to support your call center.”

    We’ve placed several virtual assistants for tasks like this from http://www.virtualestaff.com — $5.50 per hour from the Philippines. Screening helps make sure you have great English speaking skills with minimal dialect.

  • http://RhondaPerry Rhonda Perry

    good article

  • http://OrionFowler Orion Fowler

    Its simply no longer a matter of if, but when. The reviews process should begin right away, ask customers to write reviews, or e-mail follow ups to be sure that they know you have invited them to give feedback. Most find it flattering if not standard. Be sure to ask if you can repost it online.

    Orion Fowler

  • http://DylanBoyd Dylan Boyd

    We have been experimenting in NYC with some clients that have retail locations of tying in location based services into the emails and social campaigns.

    They are working out great, but still a groundswell challenge with the adoption rates of the target audiences. We think that Facebook’s Places is going to help push these services to the mainstream, but fine tuning the actions you need in order to entice your audience to “check-in” are going to be an on going process.

    There is a lot of opportunity here and we are excited to see how multi-challenge campaigns work with location based networks.

    Here is a wrap up of one eROI NYC did recently with some video covering how it went down.


  • http://alisha alisha

    I thinks its good suggestion for everyone. A paper playing a very important role in our life so we have to save it. Like when you are design your catalog and other design it should be fit in paper sizes don’t try to waste your paper. Save paper save tree.

  • http://TariqJackson Tariq Jackson

    I assisted a Marketing Manager at a well known Software company for a year or so. We switched our guided voice-mail providers from Boxpilot over to Voicelogic.com. Voicelogic has been around since 95. They helped us promote our web events, and we definitely achieved a significant ROI!

  • http://PaulMiller,AmericanCatalogMailersAssociation Paul Miller, American Catalog Mailers Association

    Hello there Jim. As the former editor-in-chief of ROI/Catalog Success, I wanted to be the first to comment on your wonderful column since it now hits me so close to home in my role as VP/deputy director of the American Catalog Mailers Association. Jim, I’d like you and ROI’s readers to be fully aware that the ACMA has been working very closely with the USPS throughout 2010 on ways the USPS can develop more sustainable and farther-reaching catalog prospecting incentives (than the summer sales) to encourage more catalog marketers to mail more books. Earlier this year, we offered up nearly a half-dozen postal incentive ideas to Postmaster General Potter, and I can assure you that they’ve all been given close scrutiny on L’Enfant Plaza. We don’t yet know when any will pass muster internally and then be filed before the Postal Regulatory Commission, but we at ACMA remain optimistic that at least one of them will come to fruition in the near future. More mail volume, especially from the catalog community, will lead to a healthier Postal Service. And that’s what we all need.

  • http://callcentreindia call centre india

    good call center software with a scripted environment can be beneficial, but even the best scripting can’t beat a well trained CSR’s instincts.

  • http://AkiTamura Aki Tamura

    How do we calculate back office staff requirements factoring in allowable Turn Around Time (TAT)

    For example..

    There are 100 information orders that take an average of 300 seconds to complete..

    Now, these information is actually requested thru a third party vendor..

    Some info we get a response quickly. some needs several follow ups..

    The order should be delivered 10 days upon the date of request..

    how do i compute for staff requirements?

  • http://victoriasvage victoria svage

    Really really enjoyed this article and await the next! as a very new business and doing it all on my own, sometimes its a struggle but this helped, thanks!

  • http://RicHansen Ric Hansen

    Macy’s on the West Coast take advantage of local DJ entertainers to bring energy and fun to holiday promotions. Live and local the store connects well with the community. Radio Parties (my company) has done well over 50 Macy store events. We manage local DJ talent in most major cities across the country.
    http://www.radioparties.com. Shameless self promotion, I know.

  • http://QualityLogoProducts Quality Logo Products

    I enjoyed this article, Andrea! We’re often exposed to the “need” factor in marketing – give customers what they NEED – but the WANT factor is sometimes overlooked in product lines. Frivolity becomes an issue if it’s indulged too much, but what’s wrong with giving in once in awhile?

    As much as I hate it, now and then I find myself grabbing one of those impulse items in the checkout aisles…just because it’s convenient, inexpensive, and I can justify it at that moment. The pet clothing is an example of that: consumers probably don’t NEED them for their dogs, but if they’re cute enough and priced well enough, they just might want to purchase it!

    –Jill, Quality Logo Products, Inc.

  • http://andrea andrea

    Exactly, Jill. A little fun goes a long way! Merchants have to turn wants into needs…and make their products irresistible!

  • http://Jonathan Jonathan

    I’m pretty sure your definition of bounce rate is not accurate. Also, isn’t a high bounce rate is a bad thing.

  • http://JibranIlyas Jibran Ilyas

    Great write up. Learned some new stuff! Thank you

  • http://MushtaqRehman Mushtaq Rehman

    Excellent article about the 6 steps to improving e-commerce sales. Using latest technology with extra care can make a huge difference to the turnover.

    I totally agree that going an extra mile to make the customer’s shopping experience more informative, simpler and enjoyable pays huge dividends in the form of more sales, customer loyalty and hence repeat business.

    We will be using these tips in our marketing campaigns in the near furture.

    Looking forward to more interesting marketing advice from Mr. Kamal Tahir.


  • http://ZeeshanShamsi Zeeshan Shamsi

    A very well researched and current content write-up. Many business leaders who maybe struggling with their eMarketing strategies should benefit from it. Keep it up Mr. Tahir, and hope to hear more from you in the future.

  • http://jeff jeff

    The employees are probably getting paid time and a half for working Thanksgiving… in this economy, I’m sure there were plenty of hands raised to work the holiday shifts.

  • http://Seean Seean

    Agreed! I remember the first time the mall I worked at decided to be open on Easter Day. It ruined my family plans. And now Thanksgiving… and even Walgreens is now open on Christmas Day so “you can get those batteries you forgot.”


    Look at Chic-Fil-A as a great example of a company that has stuck to their guns about giving their staff Sunday off.

    Of all the fast food chains in the country, they have the best employees. Coincidence? I doubt it.

  • http://sheri sheri

    I find it very sad. This is one of the few holidays all year that every American gets to celebrate wholeheartedly… without anyone feeling left out due to religion, personal beliefs, lack of gift-giving funds, etc.

    I truly wish people had the character and maturity to stay out of the stores and show retailers we don’t want to lose yet another holiday to the almighty dollar. Sadly, that’ll never happen. Convenience and greed will win out every time.

    I have never shopped on Thanksgiving..and never will. If the deal’s not still there on Friday, there are plenty of other things to buy. I won’t contribute to this trend.

  • http://Gigi Gigi

    I agree! I think it’s sad that retailers feel that they absolutely must be open on this holiday just so they can make a couple of bucks. I feel sorry for those forced to work. Nothing is that important that stores can’t remain closed for Thanksgiving. They’ve been doing it for hundreds of years — why stop now!

  • http://Jessica Jessica

    The buzz is growing. I did call two PA TJ Maxx stores and they did have the iPads, but sold out (before black Friday) and do not plan to restock. I don’t think folks know that .

  • http://AdamTaylor Adam Taylor

    I like the practical nature of advice in this article where all ideas could be implemented without having to redo existing work. There are many articles which are too theoretical and conceptual or point to a large undertaking. Not here.

    Kamal, I will be following you on Twitter

  • http://KamalTahir Kamal Tahir

    Hello Mushtaq

    Thank you for your comments are reaching out to me. I am excited that you feel these will be of use in your new service offering.



  • http://KamalTahir Kamal Tahir

    Thank you Jibran and Zeeshan for your kind comments. if there are any areas you have an interest in, let me kow and my team can cover those in future.

  • http://KamalTahir Kamal Tahir

    Adam- Thank you. Indeed the intent was to provide tips which could be acted on right away.

    There are other ideas on what could be some differentiators long term, which I am writing right now.

    Thanks for the follow on Twitter as well.


  • http://JoeKeenan Joe Keenan

    Thanks for the feedback, Jeff (as well as all the others). And it’s a fair point that you make. But my counter argument would be what’s wrong with the retailers making Thanksgiving a paid holiday for their employees? Take the decision out of their hands. This is just a guess, but I have to believe Big Lots’ CEO wasn’t trekking into the office on Thursday, but rather at home enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Why should his lower-level employees not be afforded the same opportunity?

    P.S. I haven’t heard or read anything about employees receiving extra pay for working on Thanksgiving, but if that’s the case, I would applaud the retailer for doing so.

  • http://matweller matweller

    Great. Could they just have people swipe the mag strip on their driver’s license? Oh wait, they instituted that a decade ago but use it for nothing. Nevermind.

    Serious thought, though, why haven;t they been doing this already? Commercial shippers have account reps, couldn’t the account reps see to it that everybody allowed to send stuff be given an ID that the driver could easily scan each time and be on his way?

  • http://EdHarrisberg Ed Harrisberg

    Let’s see if Joel Kier drives this one into the ground like all the others!

  • http://CanadaEmailLists Canada Email Lists

    Amazing how Google is constantly refining their offerings. This will really support retailers.

  • http://Bill Bill

    I agree, there is a reality here that the different ages and buyer makeups lean towards different values placed upon social and mobile media. There is great potential but you must match the media and the message to the audience.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    Good article. I think clarity of policy is a good starting point but without a doubt a fair policy can improve customer relations.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    There is growth outside of the USA but trust, payments and delivery are everyday challenges. Good article.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    Striking the correct balance between email and social marketing is an evolving challenge and different between customer groups. Thank you for the insight.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    There is no doubt in my mind cross channel marketing is a great opportunity but a challenge at the same time. Sending the right information to the right group through the right channel will be interesting.

  • http://USAEmailMarketingLists USA Email Marketing Lists

    Fun in business is so important! I cannot agree more! Tension actually causes ideas to stop, whereas fun brings them on!

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    Humor is an excellent two edged tool. I have seen top salesmen use it to break the ice and warm an otherwise bad situation. However, in the wrong hands it would destroy a long term relationship. It is an art and works for those who are gifted in using it. It is a wonderful part of the human expression and can be useful in business.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    All good ideas. I would only add as seen through the customer eyes since the different generations seem to have different ideas of “polish” and “speed”. Good article. Thank you.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    This validates my thinking and I expect this overall trend, with a few exceptions, to continue.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    5 Per cent seems low to me based upon what I read overall. However, it is an emerging area so perhaps that is where it is today. It is still big enough to warrant attention.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    I was just listening to a taped interview with a respected macro-economist who talked about how when you tax you inhibit business and when you subsidize you promote. What are they thinking?

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    At the least this will be interesting to follow.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    In an ever changing world this only makes sense. I expect more of it. Good article.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    It is fascinating how there is just no holding this organization back. I have no doubt the mobile wallet is on the way. If it can be secured it will make things convenient.

  • http://BillGustafson Bill Gustafson

    Medical manufacturers have often subsidized new equipment sales through creative buy backs but this idea, if it develops, could change many markets.

  • http://Molly Molly

    Good article! I was surprised to see that Live chat is the most important customer service feature, however i do understand why it is so important to customers. The use of live chat shows customers that there is support available 24/7 not just during the 9-5 work day. Live Chat is a feature that is available to retailers of all sizes so even small businesses can consider adding the feature to their websites!

  • http://ToddWilliams Todd Williams

    Why didn’t she just accept cash?

  • http://JoeKeenan Joe Keenan

    Thanks for the question, Todd. She had a gift receipt, so taking cash wasn’t an option (not sure if getting cash would be an option even if she had purchased the item herself).

  • http://Necie Necie

    If her return was a gift, she probably didn’t have a receipt which means a cash refund wasn’t an option. I am a frequent shopper at NY&Co and I have noticed that their customer service has gone down over the years.

  • http://Tammy Tammy

    Sounds to me like the company wised up to post-holiday returns and just short-changed their store loations’ store-credit cards.

  • http://joant22 joant22

    Catch up with LivingSocial deals together with other daily deals from dependable deal sites all placed in one spot at http://www.GroupBuyUnited.com.:-)

  • http://FranceyNathan Francey Nathan

    The same thing happened to me with the Gap. I didn’t realize how quickly the thing expired, and lost $25 of a 50 buy from Groupon. I called them, and they said they couldn’t do anything about it! I was furious. I will never use Groupon again! Will have to find out how to become a part of the lawsuit.

  • http://RStewart R Stewart

    Why didn’t you read the coupon? The Expiration date is always front and center, and Groupon’s policy is clearly stated in the info you read when you signed up, You did read the details, right? I’m sure you didn’t just click through to “ACCEPT”. Only an idiot would do that.

  • http://charlescrookenden charles crookenden

    Can you give us some examples of the type (and names of!) “Third party Resources” you refer to in Point 4 of your articleon shipping costs please?

    We use UPS for all our domestic shipments and would love to figure out a way of reducing the expense.

  • http://RobMartinez Rob Martinez

    Charles, I’ll ask someone on my team at Shipware to telephone you. You can also use the “email Rob” link under my picture and bio and we’ll email resources. Thanks, Rob Martinez (Author)

  • http://LaurieWood Laurie Wood

    I made a decent sized purchase at thier outlet in Gaffney SC during December. It was several items for my daughter’s Christmas. 2 pairs of pants did not fit & a purse was found to have a sizable slash in it that must have occurred when being unpacked for store display. I had all the gift receipts. My daughter tried to exchange/return in a location closer to her Greenville SC home, but was told she’s have to travel to the outlet. That is over an hour, 1 way for her. We also found their customer service to be lax, & got a very strong “too bad, so sad” feel from them. As much as my daughter loves their clothes, I am not anxious to shop with them in the future.

  • http://MarkLeventhal Mark Leventhal

    I think it lost a lot when the website was unavailable from Friday before the game to during the game. I had coupons for pizza I had paid for but could not redeem. I had planed to use them for a super bowl party.

  • http://cd cd

    Never heard of buying FB fans?

  • http://Martinize Martinize

    The Groupon spots were meant to be parodies. They didn’t offend me in the least because I ‘got’ it. But there are plenty of people who stay poised to be offended, much less lazy journalists itching to start a story by initiating controversy. (I don’t mean you, ROI! Thanks for asking our opinion.)

  • http://TomBazarov Tom Bazarov

    Besides paying it’s many employees, Amazon.com and Walmart have help millions of people generate an income in a variety of creative, economic and easy ways. Without knowing the details of tax-code in CA the general principle a true capitalistic enterprise best works under is not to be overly taxed (i.e. burdened) for being such generous economic help to it’s clients. The idea of taxing every online transaction is too burdensome and abusive. The government should look for ways to tax less, instead of seeing every human behavior as a possiblevehilce for more tax revenue.

  • http://Dydacomp Dydacomp

    Great article. You would be surprised to know how many retailers seem to neglect inventory management even though it is usually the largest asset for a business. Here at Dydacomp, we have seen many clients not only turn their business around, but grow into multi million dollar businesses with accurate and effective inventory planning and management. Thanks for sharing this article!

    Molly Griffin

  • http://MatWeller Mat Weller

    I’m confused… how is it a “magalog” if it has no magazine content? It’s a nice catalog, but it’s still a bunch of products on pages with prices. I guess my company has a ‘magalog’ too — sign us up for an article next week. 😉

  • http://MatWeller Mat Weller

    I would hope they would do that for any customer with legitimate beef. If not, I’m glad they helped you out, but (I’m not talking about you specifically at all here) let’s be honest. In most customer service cases, the ones who yell the loudest are the ones that need the help the least. If they don’t serve the guy that only calls once the same, then this is nothing more than a bright anecdote to a still-crappy policy.

  • http://Joan Joan

    I am a “Joan Everywoman and can tell you that wothout the media, we are pretty much lost.

    I recently was discouraged by a company that I had been associated with for nearly a year. Rather than go on a blog or their FB page, I sent a email to who I thought could assist. I never received a rply. Then sent it again – no reply.

    You would think that a long term customer would at least receive a “we are sorry and trying to improve”. But…..nothing. Very poor customer relations.

    I am not the type to put down a company openly in a blog or on FB or on Twitter.Is that the only way to get reults?

    Just call me Joan

  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    Joan, I understand your plight. The question is whether you want to be persistent or not. In the above case, I was persistent in making sure that I did not get burned. My suggestion to you is to keep the pressure on. Call, email, contact them via social media (maybe you don’t want to mention the issue, but at least get them to respond to you).

    Many customer service departments are ruled by organized chaos. You have to yell to be heard.

    Jim Gilbert

  • http://JoshMoore Josh Moore

    Great Post here Jim-

    We too leverage our online “Klout” at times to get service that we otherwise wouldnt receive (VERIZON:)). I also wonder when the shift will come where social listening will move from a small group of individuals answering only to the folks like us with large platforms of audience, and start to serve as you say “Joe Everyman”.

    I have seen the social listening tools, and most are based on a score per user. So, You, or Pam with tens of thousands of Twitter followers would have a higher alert score than me, with 7K followers, and I would get better response than someone with 100 followers and a Facebook page.

    The tools are there for companies to use and follow up, I just believe it comes down to the customer service channel catching up with the audience they are talking to or engaging with. The big ones are catching up quick. The companies it will hit the hardest are small to mid size business. There are some great, reasonably priced tools out there to listen (see http://www.argylesocial.com), and I believe everyone will need to in the near future.

    Again, glad to see your face and hope all is well.


  • http://JimGilbert Jim Gilbert

    Thanks for the comment Josh. Hope all is well and say hello to Pam for me.

    Jim Gilbert

  • http://Dean Dean

    President Clinton should go back being “past” president. Traveling the world and leave our economy alone. Fortunately for him he had lots of help on the economy when he “was” president. Or maybe he wants to take the country down more in order to get his wife in the White House.

  • http://rushinred rushinred

    Another step in the government’s run to put businesses, OUT OF BUSINESS! How about shifting some financial responsibility to those who don’t contribute anything to start with. Stop paying COMPENSATION for not working. Compensation, by definition, is something that is EARNED.

  • http://Charles Charles

    Classic politician thinking.
    See a succesful business? Oh I got to have a piece of that!
    Let’s taxem, but for what SALES! thats their bread and butter, never mind that pesky constitution.
    and the limitation of interstate taxation.
    We will make all of our brick and mortor retailers happy because they can’t compete.
    OK so they will tax Amazon and other online retailer out of existance then who are they going to tax?
    You and Me thats who.
    Whats next a breath counting device so they can charge an air consumption tax.
    Or how about a flatulants tax for poluting, never mind they would never do that one as they are full of it and that would cause a self funded project.

    I say don’t buy from retailers pushing this insanity and don’t vote for a tax mongering politician either.

  • http://williamloeber william loeber

    I didn’t see the ad at all, but from what I hear it was in questionable taste. A bigger sin I think was it was simply stupid and off-strategy. The TV audience is not known for its good taste (remember godaddy ads a few years ago?) but will forgive if the ad entertains or gives the viewer a reason to consider the company. The GoDaddy ad clearly was about pure entertainment (for men) but I would never have considered GoDaddy for websites or hosting based on that ad. Was that the same year that the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” happened? and caused Congress to go into special hearings? Sheesh!

    Groupon let their agency get confused on the main message they were trying to deliver, at least it appears that way to me. Groupon is an amazing success, and provides real value to consumers…I have used them a couple times and have business friends that swear by them. Their ad should have focused on the native human desire to “get a smokin deal”, know something that others don’t, the “insider” we all want to be. There is so much material here that the agency could have worked from. It’s sad that they focused on Tibet? They should be fired. And the VP Marketing at Groupon should be next. Don’t blame the agency completely. Sounds like a scapegoat to me

  • http://Greglongmuir Greg longmuir

    I guess this shows that the economy has not recovered much, the lower cost retailers seem to be doing well while the bigger ones are struggling. I was in a dollar store the other day and noticed the increase in food being stocked as opposed to the norm we are used to seeing. Just reinforces how people are squeezing every penny out of a dollar these days.

  • http://thomasrundquist thomas rundquist

    Often M&A activities are at near the top of the Stock Market prices rather than at the lows. I’m Editor
    of the Psychological Index of the Stock Market and was a Registered Rep (Nat’l Assoc of Securities Dealers) while
    in grad school in the Ann Arbor area.

    One can get my publications on google ebookstore , barnesandnoble.com and amazon kindle under Thomas Rundquist and known on the net as (novamantom)

  • http://Lindsay Lindsay

    12? Seriously? 12 year olds are still children, and do NOT need padded bras. Sexualizing 12 year olds so they look like 16-17 year olds is one of saddest marketing choices I’ve heard in recent years. You’d think A&F would have learned from their underwear fiasco, but apparently not. Sorry to say, their lagging growth is a good thing — hopefully they will vanish from the scene entirely.

  • http://DianneMuldowney Dianne Muldowney

    Jim, I am not sure how I even found this, but this is such a prevalent issue. I have been saying this for years, after a battele of egos with a good friend. My interpretation of the emails….
    NO…. YOU’RE WRONG…. apples are red

    This arguement is brought to you by 2 “stellar communicators.!

  • http://Karen Karen

    It’s about time that clothing sizes become consistent among manufacturers. Shopping should be fun, and if it is people will buy more.
    At the moment it is more of a chore.

    Ah, consistency in sizing! What a divine idea !!

  • http://Joseph Joseph

    During my brief stint as a salesperson a few years back, my manager at the time taught my colleagues and I the old “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask…” trick. To be honest, it actually worked. The prospective customers to whom I presented this friendly line of dialogue were the ones I’d usually end up selling to. The moral of the story? It’s a solid tip–one that any salesperson should try, if they haven’t already.

  • http://JosephG. Joseph G.

    This is the perfect summary of Apple’s model for success. The phenomenon of the iPod and the iPhone is the ideal example of the halo effect at work.

  • http://TerryScheller Terry Scheller

    Article doesn’t have much information.

  • http://Nandha Nandha

    Thanks it helped me in my project

  • http://Shelley Shelley

    Do you have any examples of companies successfully integrating social media into DRTV spots- short form or long form?

  • http://JosephG. Joseph G.

    I’d also add the question, “Is It Superior?”

    Oftentimes, companies will market their brand image in terms of its perceived superiority. The usefulness of their product or service or the notion that the number of benefits that their brand offers greatly outweighs the competition comes into play here.

  • http://JosephG. Joseph G.

    If Amazon can rake in nearly half a million visitors, then there’s really not much room for debate. Sounds to me like a Father’s Day page is the way to go for e-tailers. Sure, the amount of work necessary to create an optimized page of this sort is nothing to take lightly, but I’d imagine that the potential ROI is incentive enough.

  • http://Mike Mike

    I will not judge how people want to live their lives. I personal do not belive in this. It is a personal decision. But when this is thrown at me and makes a “statement” you must accept this agenda, I tend to get angry. As a large Corporation to set this type of action is gear is narrow thinking and if that Marketing person worked for me…..he would not be as it would impact Sales/revenue/Business. Bottom line is that I am through with doing business with Old Navy as their are other places that my kids will shop. If enough people take offense, I hope you can stay in business with just the Gay Customers. What a poor marketing move!

  • http://Walter Walter

    We’ve been using USPS from the start for our business, NewLeaf Chocolates. The Postal Service is also a green choice since the trucks are going through the residential neighborhoods six days per week anyway. With perhaps 80% of our customers using residential addresses, this only makes sense. We rely heavily on Priority Mail 2-3 day service since the chocolate needs to move quickly (especially in the summer). There is no comparable service at UPS or Fed-x and the closest thing – 2 day service – is usually more than 2x the cost. We just hope that they will continue the Saturday delivery.

    As for free shipping, it is a bit of a problem since we can’t sell a single $5 chocolate bar and then pay $5 in shipping (the lowest possible cost for Priority Mail). So, we’ve got to set some guidelines by product or minimum order. Thanks for the heads up on the consolidators!

  • http://bec5009 bec5009

    Are you kidding me? Who comes up with this stuff? These retailers can’t sell sexually explicit apparel but they get away with this!??!

  • http://DonZiegler Don Ziegler

    I didn’t even know they had a Union. I will no longer shop at Macy’s because of the Union

  • http://glennstewart glenn stewart

    I worked for 30 years at all levels for several major retailers—Why would anyone be surprised at yet one more method for diminishing the workplace for the largest group of exploited workers in the country? In this same newsletter is the Macy’s strike story—but for retail workers the strike is of no consequence. Only 4.7%—1.7 million of the 30 million retail workers are unionized, and that’s dropping fast. For them there is no lobby, no professional association, and really no Union.

    When I began my career in the 70’s no one was indispensable—‘fair enough’ I said back then. When I got out a year ago, retail workers had by design become wholly disposable. Share price is the reason for existence. It is all meaner by many multiples than it used to be. It’s a disgrace. And while we cut pay, increase workloads, and take away benefits, who will be left to buy the widgets? It’s economic treason. Working on Thanksgiving? What took them so long?

  • http://JosephG. Joseph G.

    Great point about typos, misspellings, and slang terms–all are necessary in keyword generation. And I hadn’t even thought of “regional dialects.” It’s seldom that a person will insert additional letters into their search terms when browsing online for a product or service, but you just never know. That’s the whole point of keyword optimization: to account for all possibilities.

  • http://Agent99 Agent99

    It couldn’t happen to a nicer company!

  • http://JonDanzig Jon Danzig

    Readers may be interested to watch the short documentary I wrote and directed, “People Power for Staff”. It’s now free to view on my YouTube channel at EyesEars.com


  • http://ScottW Scott W

    I believe Google will adapt. If they haven’t already they will soon identify this as a weakness of theirs and I’m sure they will either come out with thir own offering or aquire a young company. There’s no way they would let this sneak past them. Google is working on becoming a more social place and it is already way more then just a search engine. From my understanding of chatter search engines (which is honestly very little) this would fit as a perfect tie in to Google+.

  • http://ReggEmordi Regg Emordi

    Great article on product and service differentiation. Particularly like the points made on the East-West divide and references on the emerging markets cities.

  • http://lizrdesign lizrdesign

    I LOVE this!! I was wondering where the social marketing was going and it’s GENIUS to be able to appeal to chatter rather than this autonomous structure we have now.

  • http://apalalahirichavan apala lahiri chavan

    Thanks Regg. It is also quite interesting to see how several of the emerging market countries have many diverse ‘worlds’ within each country. This heterogeniety also impacts product / service design and positioning very significantly.

  • http://GuyHarvey Guy Harvey

    Hi Regg,
    I work with Apala. Thanks for your comment. You can also connect with Apala on Twitter @FuturistApala
    Guy Harvey

  • http://wfwe wfwe

    WHo cares? Just cut me a slice of those KK cakes.

  • http://Steve Steve

    Good stuff! This information really helps.

    What isn’t mentioned enough is the complete return on investment for nearly any inventory system be it a fully tech driven system, consistent product counts by employees or just better management of inventory numbers. I have worked in retail accounting and inventory control for years and these systems pay for themselves in the end.

    Watch your shrinkage and control your inventory!

    Keeping updated with industry blogs like this one is very beneficial.

    Great content Joe!

    ~ Steve
    “The Inventory Dude”
    from theinventoryblog.com

  • http://AlanIAlford Alan I Alford

    Lord protect us from the Protectors. Won’t someone please step in and get the government to stop protecting us.

  • http://Geem Geem

    A pretty interesting article, but with 2 exceedlingly glaring flaws. First, no photos of the ads being analyzed, but links to the company’s general sites instead? That makes sense to someone?
    Secondly, “the reveal” at the end, only, that the author is also the subject, in essence. Again, an interesting “review” of this eye-tracking tech and its results…but I didn’t expect it to be written by the Sr. VP of Client Services at the company itself. Why wasn’t that revealed in the lead-in, which came across as, “I’m reporting on this.”

  • http://billmarsh bill marsh

    Excellent post — for small to medium business (but for any size business really)
    BIll Marsh – PBBI

  • http://IdelleDear Idelle Dear

    I’m at a computer where I can’t have ‘print to pdf’ available. I signed up for and downloaded the Mobile Marketing pdf (10 Tips for Success’ or something like that) but had to leave it without reading it due to time constraints. I would like to read it. Can you email it to me or send me the link so I can download it when I can save it and read it at a later time; I have’t been able to find its link again. I would very much appreciate it since I believe mobile marketing is important for our rural area.
    Thanks in advance,
    Idelle Dear
    Positive Christian Singles

  • http://JDP JDP

    Strong points about starting small and building up. We live in age where complex interactions need to be simple and seemless to the customer. A bad initial experience in socializing a business, especially globally, will severely limit growth opportunities.

  • http://DByers D Byers

    On-line global retailers, take a look at what Market America and Shop.com are doing globally!

  • http://PaulHughes Paul Hughes

    Why should we hope they didn’t go to another store? What if that would fulfill their needs? If you really want to help, it should be your goal for the customer to get what they need from any source whatever.

    How is it *necessarily* a “disservice” to do exactly what someone asks? Maybe Sue found out that the woman was a little short on cash this month, or trying to save for a new car, or not feeling well. So *not* buying anything else *was* her need. And Sue fulfilled it.

    If the point actually IS to serve the customer, there’s no problem with the customer going to another store — especially if that’s what they actually want to do. Otherwise you’re just putting a sweet-sounding spin on “I didn’t make enough $ off of this person.”

    But we know *that’s* the truth, so your phoniness shines right through. I’m not saying it can’t or never happens that a business serves a customer. I’m calling your bluff that it’s your goal to do so. Because if it were, you wouldn’t care if I was served at your store or someone else’s — as long as I’m getting what I need.

  • Susie Greenwald

    This is the worst proposal ever. If jurisdictions must collect tax, the only realistic way to do so, is to do it in the state and location where the sale takes place (the jurisdiction of the seller). This proposal represents not only death to any small to moderate sized business, which is the vast majority of businesses in the U.S., but it also adds a new industry of those who process the taxes, just like a new middleman such as merchant services for credit cards. In the credit card instance, the credit card companies (Amex, Visa, MasterCard, etc.), can legislate increases in their charges for their services at their own whim. It is literally impossible for merchants or end users to impact the validity of increases, and it is unfair that the only means by which any merchant or end user can object is to not use those cards. This is an unfair and severe impediment to businesses and customers.

  • Bob Martin

    What business does the FEDERAL government have intruding on STATE matters?

  • Mat Weller

    I’ve long said that what would make the most sense would be for there to be one tax on all internet sales that could be paid to the Fed and then distributed to the states based on where the sales originated. From a business perspective, it would be the easiest to manage. My question is, where does this leave individual online sellers and small, net-only businesses that don’t have the capacity or knowledge for handling taxes? Is it going to become too difficult to sell my stuff on eBay now?

  • Donny

    what gives the government, state or federal the right to collect a fee for a transaction between a company and an individual ?

  • Chris DeMartine

    What is the true economic impact of this legislation in terms of direct, indirect, and induced consequences? If you consider the online sales impact due to elasticity of demand, and the economic implications for employment in states with a high dependency on revenue from direct marketing (online and offline), then the end result may actually be a decrease in tax revenues. Unfortunately, politics get in the way of an objective review of legislation.

    Show me an objective study that shows how this will help vs. harm the U.S. economy. It has already been proven in the state of Vermont, that the negative consequences outweigh the benefits, but who has done the research at an aggregate level (all 50 states)?

  • JenMarieFahey

    This is a great article!

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  • Naomi Chi

    It is really an art to figure out when your clients are most likely not just to check e-mail but to respond!

  • DZig

    So it’s okay for Starbucks to print their liberal idealogy on their cups but Lululemon can’t print idealogy on their bags. Wow, what a double standard. Free Market thinkers are going to have to get forceful just like the liberals if were going to save the country.

  • CLA

    I agree. This is not proper reporting of a story, which would give both sides. This is a reporter with an agenda.

  • buckeye

    What would people say if the AFA site (the hate mongering group referred to in the story) was the source for this story or others. Stupid judgement by ROI to allow this story. For one, I don’t want any man in the dressing room with my young daughters who could be changing in there just because he claims he is a woman. Please talk about the implications of allowing any man into woman’s dressing room at a retail store not a biased story from a hate mongering website that hates and mocks Christians.

  • iProducer

    Even though I do not agree with what the Macy’s employee did, the author of this article has proven herself to be quite disgraceful in her hypocrisy.
    In this article, the author has accused the employee of: "enlisting the help of a hatemongering conservative organization and is claiming that Macy’s discriminated against her religious beliefs by denying her the right to harass whichever customer she chooses?"
    Is it just me, or does that entire sentence seethe "hate mongering?"
    To write that a person (whom the author, apparently does not know) is "harassing a customer" just because she asked a male dressed as a female to use the male side of the dressing rooms, is laden with bitterness and slander.
    I am disappointed,,, and to think ROI finds this acceptable, is embarrassing. If it becomes obvious ROI condones this type of reporting, I would not think twice about canceling my account.

  • beach941

    Who decided we need to be subjected to the American Family Association’s version of ANY news story, as if they are a credible source of news reporting? I hope this is a one-time faux-paus on the part of your editors.

  • Kace

    Lowes actions, while the sign of an internal marketing decision not well thought out, are covered under the 1st Amendment. This knucklehead #TedLieu must have better things to do then think about drafting legislation to slap Lowes hands given that the state of California has 110 stores, 2 of which are in his own district of Torrence. Wouldn’t he be better served to moderate or convene a conversation between Muslims in his district and Lowes corporate vs. risking the tax revenues these locations provide to his constituents? #TedLieu is what’s wrong with the state houses in Sacramento. Lieu needs to get a clue!!

  • Cristen

    I’d still shop at Lowe’s, especially in this economy.

  • martyk1026

    It is ridiculous that our country has come to this. Lowe’s is in a no-win situation. Of course, Lowe’s could have stayed clear of all controversy by avoiding advertising on this program altogether. That they caved to a bunch of bigoted, right wing extremists is unfortunate. What we have seen, however, with this so-called "Florida Family Association" and the ignorant hatred and bigotry it espouses is the worst of America.

  • Bob Martin

    Lowes or any company has the right to advertise where it chooses without accusations, whining and complaning from Liberals. The company chose to pull its ads from this "Religion of Peace" show, a terrible politically-incorrect act which we should ALL applaud!!! This isn’t bigotry- it’s good sense!!!

  • brutusbuckeye

    It was their response to the outrage over them using an equally poor source (Jezebel.com) in the other direction. Apparently they didn’t get the point that people just wanted to see a neutral valid media source not an advocacy group from either side that would have an openly biased opinion.

  • kca

    Sorry, I almost forgot, girls and boys are considered exactly the same now, without any differences.

    Were just all one human kind, like minded, no individuality.

    I think the safest bet would be to replace all the toys in the toy department with just one size square block and let the kids (oh I almost forgot human kind) figure out which side is up.


  • Ian3005

    An important part of retailing that is often pushed into the background and forgotten about until it becomes a problem and requires immense resources to clear.
    Customer returns should be monitored weekly and if a trend emerges then the vendor has to be made aware of a potential problem and new returns terms negotiated or the product recalled.

    In one company I worked at there was a "Reverse Flow" inventory system that monitored the status of customer returns at SKU level so all merchandise could be accounted for. Especially at year end inventory.

  • Ian3005

    This is an integral part of any business that is often overlooked or swept under the carpet as the analysis results are not what merchandise teams want to see.
    As a new member of a marketing team in one company I introduced a means of measuring returns from our marketing media and the results were very revealing and caused many a heated debate at marketing post mortems.
    In my books everything has to be measured for improvement to take place.

  • Ian3005

    Another subject close to my heart.
    During my retail career I looked at this issue from a customers point of view.
    As a customer there is an expectation that something that is advertised will be available on the go live date through the whole advertised period.
    When I took up positions in either marketing or logistics/supply chain this customer expectation was foremost in my mind and there were plans in place to ensure that all retail locations were adequately stocked with inventory to support the marketing plan and customer expectations.
    Part of my quest was to educate the people in logistics/supply chain and marketing to understand the importance of the required focus on customer expectations.

  • Ian3005

    Nothing beats the old trusted 80/20 rule.

  • halcyon

    Your weblinks aren’t working today!

  • Joe Keenan

    This link has been fixed. Thanks for the heads up. Sorry for the inconvenience!

  • Ian3005

    Music to my ears.

  • Robert Piller

    Great comments. Never compete on price. So true.

    I am constantly preaching to my clients to do a "value-add" rather than a discount because it maintains price integrity while improving profits. Gift with purchase, free gift wrapping, bundling and gift sets or baskets are some of the best ways to increase sales without reducing price. Once an item gets discounted, it is often hard to bring it back to full price, as customers continue to search for coupons and better deals.

  • Bob Martin

    Just got back from SHOPPING AT LOWES!!! Just as I have the freedom to shop anywhere I choose, LOWES HAS THE FREEDOM TO ADVERTISE WHEREVER THEY PLEASE!!!

  • Paul

    good ideas

  • cedric@shopdescreateurs.com

    Finally, an honest article about social shopping and Facebook. Thanks!

  • Jim

    Get over it, beach941. All news sources carry their own particular bias. I’m glad the editors are willing to give equal time to AFA to state their view on it. After all, it was a Christian who was fired… why shouldn’t a Christian group be able to respond? What would the media response be if it had been a Muslim, Budhist, Jew, or Atheist (or any other "religion") involved in the incident. Where is your "tolerance"?

  • Bert

    Big surprise. IT IS FRANCE!!!!!!!!

  • John

    Great Article, Eric.

  • Ann McCartan

    Finally, retail technology has caught up to what we marketing consultants have advised for the last 5 years!

    Ann McCartan, DBMCatalyst.com

  • Anonymous

    Oakland County Business Association Inc Michigan
    Box 222 Walled Lake, MI 48390 (248) 396-0396

    Sears Holdings Corporation
    3333 Beverly Road
    Hoffman Estates, IL 60179


    Edward S Lampert, Chairman Of The Board

    Lou D’Ambrosio, Chief Executive Officer

    Ron Boire, Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, President Sears & Kmart

    Save Sears and Kmart! We have the plan.

    We have developed a totally unique, creative, imaginative, visionary Advertising, Marketing, Merchandising program that will drive millions of customers back to Sears and Kmart stores.

    At one time, one of every two houses in America had a Kenmore appliance. Now it is far less.

    Customer service at Sears and Kmart is totally non existent. On December 10, 2011, I went into Sears in Waterford Michigan. Six associates walked by me. Not one of the employees smiled, greeted me or asked if I needed help. At the check out counter, several people waited and there was no one to ring them up.

    To quote Tom Cruise in the 1988 Academy Award winning movie: Rainman. "Kmart Sucks". That is the general consensus of American shoppers that vote with their dollars and when they shop.

    Recently, Kmart began marketing kitchen products under the Chef Gordon Ramsay name. Sears began exclusive marketing of Kardashian Kollection clothing and accessories. These marketing programs are the best new promotions either company has begun in well over 20 years. This past spring and summer, Sears advertised they beat Home Depot and Lowes for lawn equipment. This was also a great marketing program. However, sales and profits continue to slide at Kmart and Sears.

    We have sent certified letters to Edward S Lampert, Chairman Of The Board, Sears Holdings Corporation and also to Lou D’Ambrosio, Chief Executive Officer. In addition, we sent first class letters to many top executives of Sears Holdings Corporation.

    Advanced Creative 2012 Advertising Marketing Merchandising programs will get customers into the stores and spending millions of dollars. A significant increase in sales and profits, while reducing shrink.

    Remember Montgomery Wards, Hudson’s, Marshall Fields, Korvettes and many other defunct department stores?

    Mr Lampert, Mr D’Ambrosio and Mr Boire, call us, we want to help. Tens of thousands of employees jobs are at stake. Investors and stockholders will lose their investments if Sears and Kmart close or file bankruptcy.

    Your next! Fast, friendly service, quality products at discount prices and making shopping fun, consumers will shop and spend millions of dollars at Kmart and Sears stores. .

    All investors and stockholders of Sears Holdings Corporation, contact the company and tell them to implement our Advanced Creative Advertising, Marketing and Merchandising programs now. By summer 2012 sales will increase substantially. This will be one of the biggest corporate turnarounds in American history.

    Save Sears and Kmart! We can do it!

    Michael Spector
    Advanced Creative

    Oakland County Business Association, Inc Michigan

  • Country Outfitter Customer

    Having a horrible time with the entire ordering and return/exchange system doing business with Country Outfitter / Acumen Holdings – so I wouldn’t say those robots are are so great. Then again, the entire process for ordering online, to updates on the order, to exchanges has been a nightmare.

  • SadieMHarris

    Good grief! What ever next? :)

  • RickTooley

    Great interview. Guy knows his stuff. Best Buy should be head hunting at that company.

  • mccartanann

    Good comments on the advent of Big Data. It is daunting to many companies, retailers included. And also daunting is the question of whether to mine the data looking for trends or to pre-define the data you want to collect. That’s where your loyalty program comes into play in which a retailer can ask for certain data that will be useful not only in the analysis of the program, but in analysis and response to customer preferences.

    Both approaches to data make sense if a retailer has the staff and knowledge to utilize both types of data.

    Ann M.

  • S W

    Technology today can calculate shipping costs in seconds for almost any location in the world. Ebay, Overstock and many others including NetChoice all maintain that multi-jurisdictional interstate sales tax calculation is too difficult, however all maintain vast computer infrastructures capable of keeping track of millions of global transactions including commissions, cost of goods, and even incredibly complicated Value Added Taxes, Provincial Taxes and many other taxes and fees across many different country borders. I assure you sales tax calculation, collection and remittance for online sales tax legally due is easily accomplished.

    The Main Street Fairness Act will assist many businesses of all sizes to realize unknown profits making them more competitive. The online component of my business is in its infancy. After examining possible avenues of growth I was immediately confronted by the tremendous burden of tax collection and remittance in my own state as well neighboring states. I said to myself, "there has to be a better way!" So I turned to the Internet.

    There is a simple solution: TaxCloud.

    The statements by large Internet merchants and others continue to confuse me. My company now utilizes a PayPal checkout button seamlessly integrated with TaxCloud. Now my business is enabled to calculate, collect and remit sales tax for any jurisdiction in any state. It is simpler in most cases for my business to calculate and remit sales tax than to deal with shipping. If my business can manage to collect legally due sales tax simplifying my customer’s lives, why is it so hard for Ebay, Overstock and their affiliates as NetChoice claims?

    Technology available freely on the Internet (like TaxCloud) is more than capable of seamlessly handling sales tax calculation and remittance. Sorry everyone, the "too burdensome" argument carried merit in 1967 and in 1992 (when SCOTUS last ruled on this matter), but in the era of modern computing where Ebay maintains a dominant position, multi-jurisdictional sales tax calculation and remittance is easily accomplished

    So what is the real reason Ebay and other companies choose to evade supporting our schools, hospitals, infrastructure, libraries, public parks and so much more by refusing to easily collect and remit sales tax legally due?

    It is clear that the real burden of sales tax falls upon the consumer, and there is no burden to business of any size. Any business can easily calculate, collect and remit sales tax legally due utilizing modern technology while simultaneously realizing greater efficiencies and profit. Consumers truly benefit by eliminating the burden of having to track and remit sales tax due on Internet purchases.

    Federal legislation enables states rights to collect sales tax legally due while maintaining states individual rights to tax independently. Remember the Boston Tea Party. Origin based sales tax fails to maintain state’s Constitutional autonomous taxing authority.

    Unrealized to most consumers are the true costs of permitting and embracing the illegal practice of tax evasion. This year Connecticut enacted the largest tax increase in it’s history. The increase included eliminating clothing exemptions, raising the sales tax rate %.35, %1 on all luxury goods over $1000 and tax on alcohol went up %20. CT is not alone. West Virginia now taxes groceries to make up for lost sales tax revenues resulting from increasing convenience of online shopping. Rhode Island as well as doubled, that’s right a %100 increase, on all park entry and parking fees. Property taxes in states such as NY have increasing at an alarming rate to maintain funding primarily for education.

    Lower income wage earners are actually the hardest hit. Without the means and available credit to participate in online sales their only option is to shop locally paying increased sales tax rates, such as in CT, paying the tax bill for those who selfishly continue to evade their tax obligations. More interesting is the fact that for every million dollars in sales a brick and mortar company provides 3.8 jobs, while large online merchants provide only .8 jobs for the same amount of sales. Tax policies are not created or imposed to provide segregation of businesses. The passage of Federal legislation will level the playing field benefitting many businesses and workers in every state.

    Sales tax is a fair and impartial tax billed directly to the consumer and in no way harms businesses when applied fairly and equally. Mall vacancy rates are now over %20 nationally and increasing as more brick and mortar stores continue to close their doors. As more stores close jobs are lost, homes are lost and…. you get the picture. The real burden is now upon the millions of small businesses who provide many more jobs and opportunities to find ways to compete with the large Internet retailers.

    The real burden today is upon the consumer and the many small to medium d businesses being

  • S W

    Part 2:

    The real burden today is upon the consumer and the many small to medium d businesses being consumed by misinformation. I discovered that by progressively employing modern technology my small start up business is now able to compete in any state without fear of nexus laws or affiliate relationships, and is more efficient and profitable. Federal Legislation will enable states rights to collect sales tax legally due providing much needed revenue, create and save many jobs, and most importantly permit states to eliminate other harmful taxing methods while simultaneously removing the many burdens confronting businesses today.

    I applaud Amazon for their integrity publicly supporting the Federal Legislation and strongly urge Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act.

  • David Campbell

    @SW – wow. but how do you really feel? I agree completely that technology makes this a non-issue, and absent action by Congress more and more retailers will migrate to primarily online operations.

    To provide an analogy… if Congress were to say that anyone driving red cars would not have to obey speed limits, you would rapidly see everyone buying red cars, and entire industries would develop to paint cars red.

    Come on Congress – protect our local retailers and fix this out-of-date loophole for mega retailers.

  • Bill

    Why shouldn’t these remote retailers collect sales tax from thier customers while local retailers selling the exact same product must charge sales tax?

    It is a bit out-dated to suggest computers can’t manage the "challenge" of keeping track of all of the rates and possible exemptions. A brief Google search yields dozens of software systems that do exactly that – and one of them (taxcloud) is even free.

    Certainly Mr. Isaacson, general counsel for L.L.Bean (a major beneficiary of this loophole), is sophisticated enough to know his argument ignores the many advances in technology since the 1967 Bellas Hess ruling.

  • PHK Corporation

    Very good idea! Could see more sites adding this feature.

  • Bianca C

    This title has nothing to do with the article you linked to, except for the word Groupon.

  • Andy Catsimanes

    Your headline says "Groupon Does Damage Control for Business it Almost Sank ," yet in the linked-to article, I don’t see any mention of actions by Groupon to mitigate either the damage to the business owner, or to Groupon’s already sullied reputation.

  • Greg Hutchings

    I’d forgotten how much small businesses like to blame large companies for their own poor decisions. The article doesn’t establish any basis to blame Groupon for the troubles of this struggling small business, which I would expect would be struggling in any case.

  • RobinW

    This is a really interesting read. I did not know Tuesday was the best time for sending email

  • teacher supplies

    I remember Michlle Obama being on the Tongiht Show somewhere around the time of Pres. Obama’s election, and she was touting J. Crew then, too. That’s a little weird, don’t you think?

  • teacher supplies

    i knew it! she was on the tonight show in 2008 and she touted J. Crew then, too. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/27/michelle-obama-tells-leno_n_138401.html

  • John Schulte

    I wonder what residents would do or say if the state sent them bills for unpaid sales tax for purchases made. That’s where the burden is suppose to lie. Residents are suppose to pay taxes on purchases they make, that’s the usual law anyway. So maybe Amazon should provide their customer list to the state of all the people that made purchases, then the state could send each of its residents the bill.

  • Eleme Erdelyi

    Greetings, and Thank you!
    Elemer Erdelyi

  • Retail

    Great Article Eric… Very insightful point of view on personalization practices. Appreciate you providing the industry with some of your unique experiences.

  • CoupSmart

    Great article. I like the Twitter-only coupons, but I would go a step further. Getting customers to come in and purchase is great, but keeping them after the purchase is the key. I work for a company that creates trackable online coupons to shop owners know EXACTLY who your true fans are.


  • Kathy McCabe

    Love this, particularly since I am an LA metro (red line) rider these days!!

  • Deb Tocco Burgo

    I am a busy working woman who tries to keep up with coupons and sales, however, I would much rather go in to a store that offers the lowest price everyday….when you work full time and only have a limited amount of time left to shop, as opposed to someone who is a shopaholic, it is worth it to know you are getting a good price.

  • Cynthia

    On the flip side, I hate coupons, hate searching through the latest flyers and was always frustrated when I walked into Penney’s and saw everyone else using a coupon. I thought why even shop there if I don’t use coupons. Now I will definitely shop there. For me personally, it was a great decision.

  • Joe

    This policy will appeal to the shopper who doesn’t spend the time looking for the "best deal" or "lowest price". They will be more loyal customers if as long as they feel prices are competitve (not necessarily the lowest).

    The shopaholics who look for sales and coupons all the time are not loyal customers (Groupon is a perfect example, although maybe extreme). Why should a company spend so much effort and money trying to win over this demographic? It’s not going to happen.

    As long as there is a significant % of shoppers who like convenience and hate devoting time to best deal finding, then this policy can work.


    Our local JCP was a messy – aweful store BEFORE the switch. I avoided that store, the coupons were never really a deal – marked up price then coupon= never felt like a deal. I am an avid shopper of TJ’s, Outlets, Target and Mall sales. I love the new pricing and the store is so much better organized! I have acutally shopped there 3 times in the past month and bought stuff! The prices are amazingly low, comparable to Target and the clearance is dirt cheap! Now I don’t have to wait for towels to go on sale, or wait to buy new bras, walk in and get a great price! EVERY shopper knows merchandise every where is marked up 3 or 4 times to compensate for the sales and coupons. Personally, I don’t have time for that, that is why I used to shop at TJ Maxx all the time, now JCP! A REAL shopper will see the values, not a coupon queen of course, she only wants to spend her days and nights clipping coupons!

  • RRT

    Customers want to feel like they’ve "earned" a discount not available to the general public. Special coupons feel exclusive, and people like they’re getting someone no one else is. For me, it’s the joy of using a coupon at the register that amounts to unanticipated savings. Take away the game, and your hard-core deal seekers will find their thrills elsewhere.

  • guest

    While people who have more time than money might like the new pricing structure, those of us who live below the federal poverty level need all the help we can get. I, for one, have more time than money. I graduated college in the top 5% of my class, and I have a masters degree, but I could never find a real job. I now make $8 per hour substitute teaching. Saturday morning sales were perfect for me, and the extra two minutes it took to print out a JCP coupon from the Internet was more than worth it to me given that a 20% off coupon could EASILY save me more money that what I would make working for a couple minutes at my job! I agree with your wife that most people like sales and coupons, and the deals were DEFINITELY better before the switch.

  • Walter Wrazen

    Walmart keeps growing and they will never stop. They have hurt the little guys and don’t care. They sell items that break in less than a month. But I guess you get what you pay for.

  • Anonymous

    Your profile photo is nice but too blurry. :(

  • gordonlindsay

    I would second the ‘back to basics’ approach; focusing on the elements that are simple to implement and understand – ultimately building good data quality piecemeal.

  • Aja

    Refuse to shop at Kohl’s until this cruel practice comes to an end.

  • Annette

    OMG are you kidding me???????? I can hardly take any more of these types of ridiculous lawsuits. People are expected to be paid for their stupidity and lack of taking responsibility for their own actions. And personally when things like this goes to court and the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, everyone of them should be slapped with a "stupid stick" also.

  • Leslie Hartsock

    I shopped JC Penny for my family of 9 (many of them wearing big and tall clothes). I knew prices and what I could get them for. The "fair and square" prices are at least a THIRD OVER the price that was offered at the store or online, and that is without coupons, just their 40 percent off of upped prices. Tried to shop there recently, but could not find anything at a price I was willing to pay! And their expensive color coordinated catalogs, nothing attracted me to go to the store anyways!

  • MSC

    So, how does this impact mobile/tablet websites? Can existing imaging products/services automatically generate higher-res images or will the retailers need to keep different image sets?

  • mabl0628

    Love that you are promoting our content, but can you please change the source to Integrated Solutions For Retailers or our website which is Retail Solutions Online?

  • MarketingMark

    I agree with Joe and with VeryMary Jewelry below. JCP is very well aware that they may alienate the die-hard coupon-clipping shoppers. But that may be a sacrifice worth making if they can gain a loyal following of those of us who have always been too lazy to pay attention to all the latest retail gimmicks and coupons. Yes, I admit, I am not a professional shopper. But that’s okay. I am obviously now in the segment of shoppers that JCP is trying to target with their everyday low prices. Let’s see if it works.

  • Aditya Jayaram

    Good to read about the growth In US retail sales and the key drivers behind it. Read an informative Commentary on Consumer Products with insights from surveys which you may find useful @ http://bit.ly/HKJ0q0

  • jcpemp

    I love the new pricing policy. As a customer, I do not have to wait for sales or coupons in order to buy something as inexpensive as possible.

    For the people who only buy things when they have coupons: JCPenney would mark the "sale" prices higher during times when a coupon was being offered, so essentially you still paid the same price. For example, a particular pair of shoes would always be "on sale" for $49.99. Then when the $10 off $50 coupon was being promoted, the "sale" price would become $59.99. Still only $49.99 after the coupon.

    Now for the people who say all of the prices are higher: A particular sheer (for windows) was originally $28, and it would go "on sale" anywhere from $13.99-$17.99. Most of the time the sheer would cost $13.99. Occasionally (maybe once every two to three months), that sheer would go on Doorbuster for $9.99. If you happened to buy the sheer on Doorbuster, that was the best price possible but you still had to wait until it went on sale and dropped in price. With the new pricing policy, that sheer is only $10 everyday. And there are more instances for window curtains when the older original price was $80-90, and now the new regular price is only $30.

    Yes, some things may be marked a *little* higher than what they used to be marked. I would say that a majority of the prices of the merchandise is marked much lower, not higher.

  • whatev

    This is OLD news

  • Josh Linder

    They’ve turned into Wal-Mart. EDLP, Roll-back, and other sales.

    Just not the Wal-Mart "stigma"… yet.

  • Billy B

    You have provided a real value add with you thinking on the specfics demensions of the imformation governance that wiil be needed to not only to bring some order to retailer use of big data, but also to help protect against problems that could slow or even halt progress in efforts to unlock the tremendous value that can be produced from this increasingly abudant new raw material

  • mlj

    So 1100 stores…1-3 people per door, conservatively….sounds like 3300-10.0K jobs. No wonder they dont want to comment

  • Delicia

    Saturn tried this tact. It didn’t work for them, either.

  • blue

    I used to love JC Penney and its sales and $10 bonus coupons with frequent purchases. I refuse to shop there anymore, there is no incentive, I can by their products at Macy’s, Target or Kohls with a discount. I will not return there until they go back to the old pricing. Everyone wants an incentive to buy, such as sales and coupons. Sales and incentives also bring you back to spend more.

  • Parent

    Good parents are good parents and I feel this is the message that should resonate. Now I do feel it would be very confusing and illogical to show how these two parents could celebrate "Mother’s Day". That is quite impossible. It woujld be nice to have a "Parent’s" day to encompass all parents, and not by gender. I do not mean to replace Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but to add a day that celebrates all parents.

  • Ricardo

    Good for Target! Companies are being bullied by Gay groups. Their goal is not equality, their goal is the submission of society to their agenda and non-sustainable conduct. Imagine if the Gay Community (not race) were given one big land mass, then we check back in 75 years later. If they stayed with their "values" the society would be dead. This is the true definition of a parasitic group; it needs everyone else to sustain but cannot sustain on its own. That’s what parasites do. They know they can’t survive without society "approving" and this is why they are desperately trying to force everyone into submission. They need us, we don’t need (and many don’t want) them. Again, good for Target for not bowing (at least for now) to their parasitic pressure.

  • LGSciencesLLC

    Excellent testimonial…

  • Devan Meyers

    The Sears Love/Hate project is down to the final three charities and which will be in the run-off for $100,000 is decided by public vote this Thursday. Vote now! http://budurl.com/searscharity American Cancer Society, St. Jude, and World Wildlife Fund need your vote before Thursday!

  • Manmohan Manu

    Informative article. Readers may also be interested in this http://bit.ly/JDHmUU Retail White Paper that describes several issues impacting retail sales, closures and acquisitions.

  • Alan

    I see the point of your post, but suggest anyone looking at this take a step back and look at the site, SEO, and more in a wholistic manner. If they get the CEO on board, so much the better. Note the date of Bills post…

  • Calendar Man

    I use Amazon because they usually have everything I want and being a Prime Member I get most items shipped for free and shipped using their 2 day service. With the price of gas why drive to Wal-Mart 10 miles ways when Amazon will deliver it to my door in 2 days. Besides, being a Prime member I also get free movies I can watch instantly on my Kindle fire.

  • Peter

    I am with you Joe and I like JC penny as my go to store for my own clothes and for my kids when they were growing up. The pricing was confusing but I just went with my gut feel that it would always be less than I had figured and it always was! I like the new system! I had many $10 off coupons and other incentives but just never remembered to use them. They may lose some customers, however if they give me good service when I get there and have a good choice of product I am sold and I am sure there are others like me. You can never please everyone, so you just need to analyze your metrics and make your best call. i think they have done this so let’s see how it pans out.

  • Wholland

    One aspect that is often overlooked during a web redesign is analytic history. A site will often have a wealth of statistics about consumer interaction with a site over time. Those results shouldn’t be ignored during a site redesign but rather used as a guide. You never want to change elements proven to assist in conversion.

    Wendy Holland
    Marketsmith Inc.

  • Bob Webster

    You have to step back even further. One of my primary challenges in a website redesign is to get clients to proceed with well identified business objectives. You can’t identify risk factors without knowing where they fall in their objectives which feed marketing strategy and into key conversion metrics.

  • JSF

    As a small business owner for over 40 years, I fully support the Affordable Healthcare Law and fully agree with Martin’s comment. I also find the Republican position opposing the Healthcare Law shocking because the law requires personal responsibility – a Republican Mantra – and effective bans freeloading, which the Republicans rails about. Put another way, the Republicans opposition to the Affordable Healthcare Law supports freeloading and does away with personal responsibility. Now that the uncertainty has been removed, I will be hiring 2 more workers.

  • Martin

    Typical comment from Retailers, who only view employees as a necessary evil. Take a page from Starbucks, and learn how to treat employees with respect and oh yeah – healthcare. These comments are from people who regularly want to lower the minimum wage as it it a barrier to them making higher profits.

  • Ronald Nixon

    Lets make this simple.

    Seperate health care from employment. That way anyone could get healthcare without having to be employed. Those working could change jobs or lose their jobs without losing their health care policy.

    Employees would buy their own policies based on their needs and situation. Employers would no longer be involved; they would decide how much additional money to pay their employees. If followed to its logical conclusion businesses could drasitcally reduce the size of their HR departments and concentrate on running their business.

    Unions would offer health care plans and various groups like the AARP would offer plans to their members. Plans would be portable since they would not be tied to employment.

    Those unwilling or unable to take care of themselves would go to the government and the rest of us would pay for them like we are doing now.

  • Miroslav Mitev

    Thanks for this useful thinking
    This E-Commerce Button may be useful for facebook retail, but as many applications on Facebook, I think it would be paid. Facebook is not what it was before. Of social media, it becomes a commercial media! Many users do not agree with that. I am a shoe merchant in facebook and I am skeptical!

    Ps here’s a useful graph that helps me plan this area

  • Miroslav Mitev

    Thanks for this useful thinking
    I agree that people like to watch what is available in Facebook, but not all love to shop on Facebook. Facebook retail is becoming more difficult process. I give my comment on the face of the retailer in the Facebook of sports shoes.

  • mbrcurenci

    Though the examples you give are good for causes and merchants and I would never discourage them, there is a much better and sustainable model and it begins by allowing the customer to decide which cause they want to support by shopping at a store. Think of it. How many people will not identify with the cause that a store chooses? If customer’s choose the cause the merchant is getting participation from 100% of shoppers and spreading money to corners of the community that may not have the influence or money to get noticed, except by the few people who share their mission. It’s all about the customer. A program that rebates equal amounts of cash to the shopper and her cause should also connect all of the merchants…a coalition program allowing more opportunity to earn and redeem. Back it up with a stored-value card and now everyone can participate…even unbanked and kids. Cause groups gain a new fundraising tool and can mass and direct advocates to shop at these stores to raise unrestricted funding. Merchants, who choose the rebate amount, can leverage this to drive traffic at off-peak times, lure people in for fundraising events and if the POS is centralized can run the program by SKU allowing them to push information back to suppliers even on gift card purchases. Talk about causes, stores and people working to help each other to succeed!

  • TweetCMF

    Great article on retail cause marketing – love the examples you provide (several of the campaigns you mentioned have won Halo Awards – an annual cause marketing awards program that recognizes the best in class campaigns).

    Macy’s spoke at our 10th Anniversary conference this past May about how critical it is to get employees involved in these types of campaigns. Without support of these important "ambassadors", cause marketing tends to feel flat at best, inauthentic at worst…no matter how passionate the CEO is about an issue. Macy’s has also gone to great lengths to really incorporate these causes into local stores – having nonprofit representatives make store visits to share their mission in person with employees.

    We follow these types of campaigns on an ongoing basis at our website (causemarketingforum.com) and Cause Update blog (causeupdate.com) – for those interested in cause marketing, both of these sites are full of wonderful information, most of it free.

    Thanks again for such a fantastic look at these important initiatives!

    Megan Strand

  • Michael

    I read your artcile with great interest saying to myself yes, yes, yes. Then I ran across some terms I am not familair. In the third paragraph from the end, what do you mean by "hotline" buyers? I have been designing catalogs for over 25 years and never come across that term. Also in the fourth paragraph from the end, what does "A catalog marketer would only have up to six "partners" for an in-line co-mailing, while they can have up to 30 partners when they offline co-mail. Does this mean inline is in house and offline is jobbed out? Who are all these partners?
    Regards, Michael

  • scoot71561

    I just don’t understand how a company that is printing 20 million catalogs per year is going to stop cold turkey and do a few digital catalogs. Yes I support e-commerce, digital catalogs and mobile solutions. I sell all three, but you have to go in with eyes wide open, you can’t totally pull the rug out from under your print catalog, it is still your main source of revenue that drives traffic to your website. If you don’t believe it see Frederick’s of Hollywood case study. Less catalogs….less revenue…..downward spiral. I am just sayin’….

  • marketsmithinc

    We actually just wrote a blog post with our opinion on the issue: http://www.marketsmithinc.com/2012/08/can-you-be-omni-channel-without-catalogs/

  • Lis Slattery

    Home Depot e gift card program=smart, fast, flexible tech usage that meets customer needs efficiently

  • Mark Ceaser

    These guys need all the help they can get. Overpaid and underqualified, especially in their customer service and Geek Squad support. BB screwed me on my wide screen tv and they’re doing the same thing with my girlfriend’s laptop repair. And they wonder why they had to declare bankruptcy.

  • David Arnedo Villanueva

    It’s funny to see some storefronts in China with the Taobao adress in much bigger font than the actual store name. Certainly a huge market to tackle, but us foreigners always have to take baby steps in China, it is a different market in so many ways that it can be overwhelming.

  • Alicia

    So let me see, over the years………
    Dirty panties being re-sold, formaldahyde in their bras, sweat shops and now hoisery knockoffs, sounds like an ethics problem to me. Shame on Vickies for not taking care of people in a better way. There is more to life than the bottom line, care for people, Vickies!

  • Manmohan Manu

    Informative article. I work for McGladrey and there’s a white paper on Retail on the website ( http://bit.ly/JDHmUU ) that describes current trends in US retail sector with insights from industry experts.

  • CMMgr

    I believe "shoopers" should say "shoppers".

  • Mark

    All points are true but the author fails to mention that the best lighting for retail is that that has a high CRI, some good sources of high CRI lighting are from CREE and Sylvania, as shown here: http://store.earthled.com/collections/high-cri-led-lighting-90-cri-led-lighting

  • Joe Keenan

    Thanks for pointing out this error! The spelling has been changed.

  • Scott Conway

    Don’t take this personally, but it took retail in US a really long time just to figure how to use QR Codes and most are not really very good at that yet, so "no" I don’t think QR Codes are on there way out because it is going to take a long time for US Retailers to figure out the new tech and how they can use it.

  • Robert Saunders

    The Aurasma app being demonstrated has so little content right now. It comes across in the demo like a visual search tool, but it isn’t. Currently, more phones can utilize QR codes than AR technology. Maybe someday AR will be more pervasive, but I think that is many years off. I will admit AR is more visually appealing and unobtrusive than QR because the object is its own tag.

  • Alan Lambert

    Uhhhh—what’s a QR code

  • Tim Hennings

    Both image recognition and QR codes will have their place. One helpful thing about a QR code is that it serves as a call to action. People understand that it is a gateway to more information. Also, it is simple to aim your phone at a QR code. It may be trickier to teach people how to aim their phone at a business card, newspaper, billboard, or catalog page. Will the phone focus on the right thing? There’s no question that image recognition has a very promising future. And QR codes have a bright future too. One is not a replacement for the other. Connecting the physical world to the online world is a huge opportunity that will be served by many technologies. Marketers will need to experiment and see which works best for their requirements.

  • Jill Tooley

    I still see QR codes everywhere, so if they’re on the way out I think they’ll gradually fade instead of disappearing overnight. Last year, I even saw QR codes at the Renaissance Faire! Augmented reality is cool and everything, but it’s not as easily accessible as a quick scan. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these methods vanished in the next 5 years, to be honest…

  • Bam

    Hollister is lame. A&F has repeatedly offended in the past particularly
    to non-blondes and Asians. They are closing more than 100 stores domestically,
    have done poorly since 2008, so now they go abroad as a solution, but forget to
    leave their racist corporate culture at home. Are they complete morons? Yes,
    they are. They need to just go away. Here is a response to that model.
    http://1bamblr.tumblr.com/ Do the public a favor and spread it around. Drop thousands
    of copies of it at their stores. This is the real image of Hollister and

  • Manmohan Manu

    Informative article. I work for McGladrey and there’s a white paper on Retail ( http://bit.ly/JDHmUU ) that describes current Challenges faced by US retailers.

  • Eshe Riviears


    They were thinking that a good ole’ fashioned catalogue is better than any type of Pad and some folks, especially those with the money to buy from this big ole’ book , remember Sears, Penney’s and other tomes, that people would keep and refer to and use to buy and compare everything, EVERYTHING…this is the solution to "ShowRooming", it is pre-SR, its’ called a good catalogue…
    I love them and had never heard of "Restorations Hardware" until the mocking of this catalogue, I just ordered each and every one and am excited for their arrival, plus I sent out a big email telling all of my friends, with a link..
    Ummmm…good business decision…old fashioned marketing still works!

    Eshe Faizah

  • Karen Lau

    great article

  • Manmohan Manu

    Informative article. I work for McGladrey and there’s a white paper on Retail ( http://bit.ly/JDHmUU ) that describes current Challenges faced by US retailers.

  • PromoMan

    Deciding which VS outfit is offensive is sort of splitting hairs, isn’t it?

  • oobinoobi

    "such as out-of-network ATM withdrawals by consumers that don’t have direct deposit…. "

    "such as out-of-network ATM withdrawals by consumers who don’t have direct deposit."

  • CPC_Andrew

    "With Amazon offering the same services for free, retailers might shy away from Google Shopping at first." – What services are these?

    Also I think some key details were left out of the Google Trusted Stores program you mentioned above, namely the fact that all revenue data from each transaction is data that Google has access to if you’re part of the program.

    Just something to be aware of.

  • Abbas Javed

    Oh yes! It is certainly important for your business as live chat has become the prime necessity for any business. There are so many other surveys available emphasizing on its benefits. Well i know it very well as i am using one live chat app named Banckle Chat. Very interesting and useful app and very economical too. Please check!

  • pavlicko

    Knowing Google, I expect that it’s only a matter of time before they’ll offer a nice fat ‘featured placement’ for an additional premium price in the Google Shopping store, in addition to the fact that we’ll already be paying for clicks.

  • StoreYaCom

    This is a Great move by Facebook!

    There’s no doubt that F-commerce is the next step in the eCommerce evolution!

    We at StoreYa (http://www.StoreYa.com), see an enormous traction, there’s an amazing daily growth of merchants, creating their own Facebook shops.

    Duplicating your eCommerce store to Facebook will not do the trick..You must provide the merchants with engagement tools, such as: Fans-firsts, Fans exclusive deals & discounts, this adds an important added value to the social shopping experience.


  • LLW

    I was in my local JCP two days ago. I HATE the new layout. It is unattractive to me. The store was understaffed and untidy. I even took a photo of a display that was in total disarray and posted it to my Facebook page because it was so out of character for the store I had previously shopped in. Prior to the ‘transformation’ this was a beautiful store. Today it is awful. Definitely not MY favorite store.

  • Organicshopin

    Nice informative article for a start-up. Very useful tips.


  • Cindy Weber

    I was in a JCP this evening and thought it looked great – loved the visuals throughout the store, merchandise looked fresh and was reasonably priced. spent 4x as much as I was originally planning too!

  • Tried and True

    Tracking is not a very expensive option to begin with, so to raise rates 9 percent and then say it’s included free and try to make it appear as a value that is added is not really appealing. As it is, it’s cheaper to ship FedEx for medium to larger packages(and I’m not a fan or employee of FedEx) and they include the tracking already.

  • Brian Ruther

    Thanx for this blog, because my uncle and I are thinking about starting one after we make some extra funds from real estate sales.

  • Howard Fites

    They haven’t removed anything, they jet removed search terms but everything is still there. In fact it’s much worse as it’s not anti black and homophobic using the foulest terms and images. They also break copyright laws in allowing the use of the Obama campaign logo without permission.

  • Robert Piller

    What a shame that retailers have brainwashed consumers to only shop when there is a sale. In this day and age of scanning for best prices, web coupon code sites and a proliferation of constant discounts-both from brick & mortar and web-only stores, now is a terrible time to be a retailer.

  • Mark Graham

    I thoroughly agree with premise of your article. Small business owners ought to adopt a more analytic approach in figuring out how to drive sales.

    That’s how the big boys (walmart, amazon and co) play the game. They use sophisticated business intelligence (BI) tools to analyze the numbers and come up with decisions backed by data. ie. Figuring out high selling but low competition products, competitor monitoring, price/sales rank monitoring, etc..

    Some tools I have found useful are:
    Birst.com (http://www.birst.com/)
    Zoho reports (http://www.zoho.com/reports/)
    Semantics3 BI (http://bi.semantics3.com) (catered towards Amazon sellers)
    Terrapeak (http://terrapeak.com) (catered towards Ebay sellers)

  • DeeDee12

    There are too many grouos that want to control everything. Macy’s stand strong and don’t be bullied! I belive in the Magic of Macy’s, with Donald Trump affiated with your wonderful store!!!!

  • Jeannine Fitzgerald

    I would like to get this guy on the phone… and then leave him on hold like his company does. I have been recently purchasing clothing from Northstyle. Seems like there is always a problem, but can’t get hold of Customer Service – or I do, and they transfer me!! I sit on hold, 18 minutes, 7 minutes then transferred for another 18 minutes – last time, 34 minutes – before I hung up. How sad. The clothes are great casual styles – but one sweater they sent me had no opening for your head – honestly – no opening!! I couldn’t call to speak with any one cause… you guessed it, I was put on hold – forever!!

  • arudger

    Here’s another tip: Speed up your website! Walmart has found that 100ms improvement drove 1% incremental revenue. Don’t forget about site performance and availability. If you aren’t measuring and monitoring performance–especially mobile Web performance–get started today!

  • andrewkordek


    I respect you as a colleague, but you should note in this post that your idea around the Grandma and Grandpa test is not an original idea. I have spoken and blogged about this concept for years. Here are some examples:




    I would appreciate it if you would give attribution for this idea.

    Andrew Kordek

  • Liz

    I threw the catalog away before my teenage daughter could even see it.

  • Eric Johnson

    This is a very good plan if Google can implement this. They are taking online retail and shopping to the next level. I think these products pretend play toys also needs to be displayed in 3D.

  • JackJCotter

    You know I’ll be there! #ROIchat

  • Melissa Campanelli

    Looking forward to it! #ROIchat!

  • Yankees

    Has Polaroid announced the other retail locations? I wonder why they wouldn’t put the flagship store in New York.

  • andrewkordek

    One last comment and then I will let this go since i have invited the 3 of you to email me to get details. I find it interesting Your fan…, Bob and Jerry that you are quick to comment, judge and come to conclusions on something all without being able to identify who you really are. Hiding yourselves behind persona’s only speaks to your character which is one to quickly jump on something and not reveal who you really are.

    Certainly you have either a Twitter, LinkedIn, FB, Windows Live or Yahoo account to show who really are.

    Again..willing to discuss offline or in email, but my guess is that you can’t or wont actually do it since it would of course reveal the real you.


  • andrewkordek

    I had made a comment on this post on December 5th and have a screen shot of the comment that indicated it was awaiting moderation. Can I ask why it was not approved?


  • Bridgette Culpepper

    Where would you find third party companies that provide the no obligation assessments of rates. I am abou to begin negoiations with FedEx over our current contract. This information will help me tremendously.

  • dlripley

    When you return a item any time of the year and you don’ t have a "receipt" you get the sale price if it has ever been on sale. Every store does this. Get real people, if you don’t like Wal Mart don’t shop there.

  • Al Cannistra

    Walmart is doing the right thing (this time) – if a customer has a receipt, they get the full price – if not, the sale price. If not that way, some folks would be scamming and the rest of us would be paying for it in higher prices. YEAH WALMART!

  • Todd Julien

    I use a lot of essential oils from doTERRA. The founders of doterra were actually employees of young living. I love the essential oils. I use them pretty much everyday. Both young living and doterra are amazing companies. You can try a complimentary oil sample at calmingessentialoils.com

  • BtoB Wholesaler

    The BtoB customer has different needs than a BtoC customer. They want to be able to develop lists of items frequently purchased – like Staples BtoB site. They want to see their pricing, when they enter their order, so they can prepare a PO. BtoB customers are all about ease of ordering. Once you make it easy for them to do business with you, then you can grow the business, so they will use you for all their needs. A BtoC shopper is very different than a BtoB shopper, and until the real needs of the BtoB shopper is understood and met, the success will be limited.

  • Marty Kenney

    What the attorney general in the various states should require is for the store to have the goods on display at the regular price for a minimum sales period each month. Only THEN can they call it a regular price. If they are asking their suppliers to come up with suggested retails, then that is misleading. The only regular price is what the retailer has sold it for. If the store marks it down for a limited period, then it is truly a "sale," and the customer will know exactly how much he or she is saving. The way it was described in the article is fraudulent and dishonest.

  • Ziv

    A cool analogy and a relevant one. instead of fearing amazon, traditional consumer brands should outdo them with well-designed digital customer engagement strategies…

  • joshwi1984

    I was never a JC Penney’s customer until I visited my parents over the holidays.
    Their stores are very nice looking and the clothes (men’s – I don’t do drag) are of nice quality and priced well, especially their sale items. I’ve seen designers such as Joseph Abboud in their stores, so it seems like they’re trying to do something to attract more customers.
    Since then, Penney’s has made my list of stores to frequent when looking for clothes/merchandise.

  • BrianSilverman2

    Great column. What I’ve seen as a great challenge, among many, is the need to normalize data so that you can have access to global inventory across platforms. Often, especially with established retailers, the .com inventory data is not in sync with the bricks and mortar inventory data, so information on size and color, for example, is not represented exactly the same in both worlds. As a result you can’t necessarily pull up a product online and determine what the in-store inventory is. Normalization of data across the online and B&M environments is a critical and complex undertaking.

  • Tim Odom

    This will do little to stem the tide for Penneys. They have alienated their customer base on many levels. Penneys failed to recognize that many of its shoppers had "All -American" values and associated them with Penneys. When the company began its revamp it did more than change its price structure, it changed its identity and association with millions of shoppers. That may be much harder to rebuild than its pricing model.

  • TJ Hudson

    Although we are a new company putting our social media presence together as we speak, I am trying to gather as much information on social media. This is good information to consider whie preparing a strong line of communications.

  • Crea Crazy

    Amazon does that because the bad reviews count towards the sellers account rating. if the customer is giving a bad review for a reason that was not the seller fault, but amazons fulfillment’s fault that is not fair to the seller.

  • Jack Z

    Really enjoyed and learned from these words. Manufacturers and merchants need to work closer through the many changes in the consumer and retiler relationships. Manufacturers are as worried about driving traffic to retailers as retailers are. The ten points are excellent bit need to be more closely knit from a money making proposition between manufacturer and retailer.

  • geodrum

    If the post office was REALLY serious about accommodating customers, and REALLY had to make a serious change like this, then maybe they should consider closing some other day of the week, rather than Saturday.
    It would seem less disruptive to the flow of mail, to close on a Weds or Thurs, and also therefore allowing access by the working class (who would normally be at work during bankers hours of Mon-Friday).

    I have talked to many of the "front line workers" at the post offices that I visit, who do not know what is going on from day to day, can not explain new scheduling developments, and it seems to be a real shame what (middle) management is doing to this organization.

    US bailed out bankers and the auto industry, so is not the mail delivery service, even with reduced activity, a vital part of what has made this countries’ economy and society great? Although there has been some overhaul of the postal system, there must be more done to make this organization more user/customer driven, and it should not be run like a military organization chart.

  • Guest

    Small businesses can not do any of these things. You can’t offer great prices when you don’t have the volume, you can’t set up distribution centers to reduce shipping, you can’t buy expensive software. So how do small businesses compete?

  • J. Tompkins

    Thanks for your feedback. For small businesses, it can be more about how you differentiate yourself. If you have no way to differentiate yourself on price, selection, convenience or experience, you will not attract customers, and thus you will not be a small business but you will be out of business. That is the point, maybe you can’t compete on price or reduced (free) shipping or have sophisticated software, but if not, then you need to find a something that makes you different — maybe customization, maybe in personalized experience, or in other special ways to encourage folks to shop with you. This is the strategy piece. Define the strategy and let this strategy drive the business going forward. You need a compelling strategy regardless of size.

    J. Tompkins

  • Richard Chrz

    I think learning your customers "Needs" and why they are needs is the most important place to start, Once you have learned what makes their business a bit more efficient, you can work on ways to take care of them. I think it is also important to come into this slowly, don’t find there needs and try to say I can make that super simple for you, Little bits at a time, stand behind what you are doing without wavering and eventually they will want your company to take on a lot more. I compete against amazon and other companies on line and from afar, I am rarely the low bidder, but since I have taken the time to go listen, I am mean really listen, I have been able to forcast what they need, Make sure that I am not creating more work on their end and make it seem effortless on there side and I have started to slowy gain some of that business.

  • Toronto

    This is exactly what Dene Rogers did to Sears Canada and his genius has virtually put Sears Canada out of business.

  • Brownie Heaven

    Brownie Heaven Co UK Thank you for sharing ..!! i like it !!

  • Cora

    Well that’s certainly a welcome change from this ordeal two years back: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/nyregion/06about.html?_r=0

  • John Katsantonis

    Sam Walton and Bill Clinton sold us out to China, in the 90s. Follow the money, and you’ll find trillions in trade deficits. "Why?" Gee…….I dunno. So Americans could buy cheap sneakers, I guess.

    Has it been WORTH it, folks???

  • David Apple

    Please site the sources for this content. When searched over 80% is directly copied from pre-existing content. Or take down completely. Thank you

  • John

    Personally, I wonder if Johnson ever even considered that the reason that "a full 61% of the buyers of Joe Fresh are first-time jcp.com customers" is that he, and JCPenney, have done such a wonderful job of throwing their previous client base off the bus, that the PERCENTAGE of new customers now could hardly help but be high! Rather than percentages, which can be very misleading ("I had one sale last year, this year I’ve got five sales – so MY SALES HAVE INCREASED BY 400 PERCENT! ISN’T THAT WONDERFUL??"), I’d personally be more interested to find out, instead, what the total volume of sales from this new initiative has been, and whether the total number of dollars of profit before taxes on these sales has made even a discernable dent in the dollar LOSSES over the last year …

  • YogaOgle

    What? No photos?

  • Ronald Nixon

    Amazon is now in favor of online merchants collecting sales taxes which probably means they have figured out how to make money doing it.

    Instead how about a simple system that levels the playing for EVERYONE and keeps the big players from beating the system?

    *** A Fair and Simple Way to Level the Playing Field for Online Sales. ***

    Apply this immediately to Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and all online sellers whose gross sales exceed one million dollars a year.

    Fine tune the process and then start reducing the annual sales level until EVERYONE who sells anything on the Internet is paying.

    1. Eliminate all online sales and use taxes.

    2. Impose a Processing Fee (PFE) on every sale made – no exceptions. (This is a fee not a tax.)

    3. Every time an online sale is made by Amazon (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.,) a % of that sale is transferred into a holding account. Once the processing fee is deposited in the holding account, it cannot be reversed. PFE is based on the total amount of the sale including processing fees, handling fees, etc.

    No matter what Amazon calls it, PFE is charged for the total amount of money the customer pays for his or her purchase.

    4. At midnight, the holding account is transferred to a Federal computer.

    5. The Federal computer takes the money received and immediately transfers it, less an agreed upon processing fee that pays for the computer, to individual state computers based on a distribution formula agreed to by the individual states.

    6. Once this works properly for Amazon, the one million in sales cutoff should be dropped to 500,000 and then to progressively lower amounts. Within a few years EVERYONE selling on the Internet will pay their fair share in processing fees. Since the PFE goes to a Federal computer, anyone trying to beat the system should be charged with a Federal crime and vigorously prosecuted.

    If elected officials don’t spend the money faster than it is collected, the % should be lowered as more and more businesses begin paying PFE. (Every business selling on the Internet, NO EXCEPTIONS, will pay a PFE.) If you object to paying PFE, for any reason, don’t sell or purchase via the Internet.

    Cost of collecting and processing PFEs should be minimal for both government and private businesses. You won’t need lawyers and accountants to figure out how to beat the system. You sell anything on the Internet and you pay PFE. You try to beat the system and you deal with the IRS or another Federal agency.

    Companies who work with affiliates (Amazon) and companies like PayPal who offer shopping carts, would collect a PFE for every transaction. This would eliminate everyone using these systems from the burden of collecting and disbursing PFEs for those sales. (And collect revenue from small sellers who have avoided collecting and reporting sales taxes on their sales.)


    * Individual states would have a daily stream of incoming revenue.

    * The Federal computer and its SMALL staff would be paid for by an agreed upon processing fee.

    * Amazon and other big corporations would pay their fair share and be prevented from playing games with their books to avoid paying PFE.

    * Each business would decide whether to pass the PFE on to its customers or absorb the fee internally.

    Customers refusing to purchase via the Internet would be subject to brick and mortar sales tax rules and fees. Everyone selling anything on the Internet would pay PFE. (Whether or not PFEs would be a business deduction would up to individual states and the Federal government.)

    Everyone selling on the Internet should be subject to the same rules and fees; but, they have to be understandable, simple to administer and affordable for all businesses.

    This system is simple, easy to implement with our modern technology, and can operate independently of the current complicated sales tax systems that small and big business have to deal with on a daily basis.

    Small businesses are not asking for favors, we just want a fighting chance, a reasonably level playing field, and a collection process that doesn’t cost more than we can afford.

  • Kathleen Schultz

    "Unlearning"–great advise. Thanks for sharing Joe.
    Kathleen Schultz

  • Kerstin Burns

    Jeanne! I haven’t spoken to you since my Patricia Seybold Group days. So great to see you in my inbox! Hope everything is going well with you. We should catch up sometime!

  • JimG

    Customer centric isn’t just a term. It’s a strategic way of thinking that is determined to find positioning beyond the exchange of money for goods or services. As evidenced in this article. I like it. The article challenges my thinking.

  • Jim bowie

    Good read, nicely done! JCP should be a lesson to all marketing classes.

  • Guest

    Interesting article… in my experience in working in promotional analysis for the past 10 years, I’ve often seen that discounting drives much less sales than most manufacturers expect. While volume is indeed generated, it is often in lieu of another product within the manufacturer’s portfolio. And on top of that the dollar sales generated is much less than the volume trends show – and can even drive negative profit for the business!

  • Avendano Designers

    excellent post, very good content.

  • Jacobo Romano

    Is there any software that can help to optimize space on a printed catalog?

  • Avendano Designers

    excellent post, very good content.


  • Scott Conway

    Excellent article, many great points here.

  • djhornsby

    I wish you link worked. Would like to read the ‘rest of the story’

  • Joe Keenan

    The link has been fixed. Sorry!

  • DestinyRoxx

    Great ad, nothing provactive. Really cute bating suit! Hope it comes in different colors :)

  • deusapatucasa

    I loved the very good content congratulations.

  • come on

    This is just sensationalism, not useful information for the retail industry. Come on, people. No need to aggregate articles like this unless you’re looking to lower your value.

    Old Navy sells two pieces. You should know this already.

  • Stephen Evermore

    Nice to see point #10 there. You’d think that SLAs for pixel vendors would be an industry standard, but in my experience you have to pull teeth, jaws, and skulls to get any response commitments from even the larger players in the market.

  • MartyK

    I am not a J.C. Penney customer, but I spent a long career in retail marketing; so I was befuddled why the Board of Directors would choose someone, who had no experience in the department store industry to run a company that trained its customers over many decades to respond to sale events.. Unless they had done a ton of research (something I doubt happened) to validate the EDLP concept, the Ron Johnson experiment was doomed from conception. A Board of Directors should have known that. And if not the Board, then someone within the organization knew it would fail. For the sake of it’s employees and customers, I hope this brand can reinvent itself in a sane manner and return to profitability.

  • Nancy Santiago

    It would be interesting to know if that Pop-up Shop is similar with the digital touch-screen / iPads like the latest Kate Spade store launch in Japan. On the other side please tell me what is the digital innovation here? – I would say ZERO if you just hand out some iPads connect to somehow your online-store … makes totally no sense! Two weeks ago at Demo Mobile San Francisco there was a company which had definitely a great product for brick and mortar retailers. The company’s name is Fiverun and they empower retail sales associates with an iPad to sell from a unified shopping cart online and offline products at the same time including a mobile checkout anywhere in the store. But the very interesting part is, you know who is you customer, what are they looking for to also optimize your local store product line as well as their algorithm gives your staff up-selling recommendations or push individualized promotions. As a retail and IT veteran of over 15yrs industry experience I would say this is a revolution and not just mounting some iPads anywhere in the store to give your customer access to you online-shop!

  • Victor Hammond

    As a retired UPSer I think you are mistaken I here much discontent over this contract

  • Meta Brown

    Oh, cry me a river. Online businesses will handle the tax collection problem the same way they handle providing credit to every customer who comes along – with a service provider who specializes in that particular function. Online businesses who also have bricks and mortars store are dealing with local taxes already, so there’s no grounds to believe this is an intractable problem.

  • Dan

    Shipment delivery signatures are useless. We require them for all packages and even pay surcharge. When presented in a chargeback the credit card issuer will deny card holder participation since you were never able to get the card holder to sign for the package, ie UPS and FedEX do not offer a service delivery for a person but instead a location. We loose chargebacks all the time even with delivery signatures. Credit card issuers rarely side with the merchant because that is not their customer, the cardholder is their customer, and therefore it’s the issuer best interest to pass the liability to merchant instead of having a unhappy card holder.

  • Art

    99% of our chargebacks are due to credit card fraud that, as Dan points out, the credit card companies don’t really care about at all. We always get hit when the package is going to a secondary address other than the billing address. It’s true that some credit card companies will allow the customer to designate another address as a secondary billing address but by the time we get to that point we realize that it isn’t fraud anyway. Plus we are too busy to attempt that on all packages going to another address which is probably around 25% of our orders. We just have to peruse the orders and try to guess whether it’s fraud or not and we’re right 80% of the time. Some still get through however and we are on the hook for the entire amount every time. We’ve contacted the FBI, Secret Service, the online Internet Fraud website, local authorities and nobody can be bothered with "minor" cases of fraud which are actually not minor to us! There should be a better way of detecting fraud in our high tech online environment.

  • Louis Cordero

    Good to have you back even though it’s my first time on your blog.
    I am interested in finding out more on retargeting. Can you help me in sharing a list of some of the best retargeting companies out there. you can email me at uwiniwin3750@gmail.com
    Thanks for your helpful comments and content.

  • Lauren Devine

    Welcome back, Jim! I missed your articles and insight!

  • Alicia

    It’s funny that this article just posted. Customer service for many businesses has gotten so bad that I just cringe when I have to deal with that department. Even the sales department of some companies act like they are doing you a favor when they finally call you back. It’s almost a miracle when they actually respond – and like you said – care. Today, I actually called a rep’s manager to let them know how impressed I was with the service I received. It is sad that service like they provided is so rare.

  • Andrew McMillen

    Would that I could share these points with Cricket management…the only problem is they won’t identify themselves, and trying to talk to a live human being using their public phone numbers is one of the most maddening experiences in the entire world…

  • John Irving

    You Go Jim!
    Nice to have you back on the digital pages of this fine publication. Your insights are always welcomed.

    I wholeheartedly agree about your catalog comments. NOW is the time to be mailing people. Survey after survey shows people LIKE to get mail relating to their interests – and the good impression lingers long after.

    Bang that keyboard until you get blisters on your blisters!

  • Mitch Rezman

    I spend a lot of time looking at big box stores fan pages and I’ve got to tell you Michael’s is pretty underwhelming. Their PTAT ratio is incredibly low and they are getting blasted with a lot of negativity on their posts by others and they are ignoring a lot of it. I see it is a case study on how a big brand is wasting a giant opportunity on Facebook

  • Mark

    Yet a pair of non-white, young(er) people I know — a man and a woman, both masters-degree professionals — walked into an Apple Store with real money to spend on a new MacBook Pro and were treated far more dismissively than the 40-something, white suburbanites that surrounded them. They eventually walked out and bought elsewhere.

  • James Cage

    Interesting strategy..Just read a whitepaper on emerging trends in retail that retailers need to adapt to
    “Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers” @ http://bit.ly/10XoIQa

  • Elizabeth Cobb.com

    7 Customer Service Tactics to Copy From #Apple @DruckerInst @TimCookAppleCEO @TheAppleInc http://bit.ly/14T3mE9

  • Loop Resident

    You should be environmental friendly & save the frustration, i.e. take the Blue Line from downtown to O’Hare. Much quicker than a taxi too!

  • Cindy Marshall

    Thanks Stephen for your support of catalog mailings! I couldn’t agree more – reduction of catalog circ reduces online sales. There are "online only customers" and people that don’t need a catalog to order but generally the customer has already created a relationship with the brand, or they don’t care about brand – only price. Catalog customers also tend to be strong subsequent buyers.

  • Tom Harris

    Great points, Stephen. I couldn’t agree more!

  • vinod kumar

    Interesting article. Mobile and social media paltforms are a good way to attract consumers.Read another interesting whitepaper "Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers" about a few points discussed here that readers may find useful @ http://bit.ly/10XoIQa

  • Rick Wingender, MBA, PMP, AJP.

    It would seem to me that one strike against microsites is that each one you create to match an ad campaign is new – which means it won’t perform as well as an existing product page and/or site that’s been around awhile. Plus, if a visitor bookmarks the microsite URL, now that’s another page you have to maintain forever.

  • They Save Money to Live Bette

    Wow! Walmart will not be selling Paula Dean’s products because of her use of racial slurs. I don’t condone what she did..does.

    What I find interesting is that Walmart took time out to address this situation. You would think that their busy schedules won’t allow time away from their normal "daily routine"s of "muscling" into towns and pushing out small businesses. Well, hopefully, dealing with Paula will make them forget that they were in the middle of completely eliminating Full-Time positions for Part-Time. It’s awesome that their continued mistreatment of their dedicated and loyal associates and the exploitation of new employees who are desperate for work will be put on the back burner for a moment.

    Well, got to go! I’m clocked out for lunch but was told to help this "desperate" customer with finding her favorite hair conditioner that she just can’t go without. Thank goodness she wasn’t wanting Paula’s cooking set or I might not ever get time to take my last break.

  • glenda

    Jim, you are so right! The subject of employee resistance is often in the closet. And when things don’t work, consultants often get blamed! Management often underestimates resistance and passive negativity. And success is tied with every employee at every level. (How often have we seen even junior people undermine activities through negative talk?) I have found ACTIVE PARTICIPATION is a key ingredient for success; that means the clear identification -in writing- of activities that makes (sometimes forces) each person to be a part of the solution.

  • feeling the pain

    At first I thought you were speaking about the company I work for – but we’re 99 years old and in the same boat.

  • Ben

    I am reading a book on Strength Based Leadership and the 4 basic needs of followers are Trust, Compassion, Stability, and Hope. Sounds a little bit weasly for top management to send in the consultant to deliver the message, Instead, leadership should identify the strengths of the followers, those who remain with the company and deliver a message individualized to their strengths to help them feel more a part of the remaining core.

  • Blair van Der Feltz

    Interesting article, but what cloud programs do you recommend?

  • oil paintings

    http://www.tuoilpainting.com/ And suggestion on this website?

  • In the same boat (kind of)

    My company is in the middle of the same type of shift you’re talking about, but what I’m dealing with is slightly different. It’s now always the employees who are resistant to change – in my case, it’s management who won’t budge. As a young marketing professional, this is incredibly frustrating to deal with. My team is 99% Gen Y, and we all have the knowledge and skills needed to fix a lot of the issues our company is experiencing, but because our management doesn’t have these skills and doesn’t understand what we are talking about when we present solutions, they don’t trust our expertise. The result – NO CHANGE.


    Interesting article on combination of cloud technology and payments process. Retailers should give importance to security and privacy issues of customer data on cloud. Came across this whitepaper on emerging trends in retail "Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers" http://bit.ly/10XoIQa readers may find it useful.

  • jpenn

    none of the links to RIS News in your news section are working…

  • Ecomm Queen

    404 Error on the Read Full Article Link

  • Gina Farley

    Thanks for a great article, Jim. I was a copywriter at Best Products, Inc. when it tanked (after 2 bankruptcies) in 1996. Many dedicated people who cared deeply about the company went down with the ship. The company management was plagued by inefficiency and didn’t respect new ideas. Year after year, outside consultants tried to implement change, but to no avail. One sharp designer recommended they begin selling their products on the internet, but he was sneered at! I bet he founded Amazon.

  • oooooo

    Get rid of it.

  • Rich

    Bad advice without an understanding of responsive behavior.
    7 of 10 will visit the website prior to calling a number, most of those enter the biz name into a Google search bar rather than typing the URL, most of those call the number listed on the website. Advertisers and publishers get about a third of credit due if counting a call log only

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    Who cares? Aren’t you shopping there for the low-low-low prices? They’re obviously not paying their employees enough money to care, nor training their managers to help them care.

  • Art Director

    Social media has nothing to do with widget "A" looking great. Its also not about apps that help you put funky filters on that low depth of field shot of your products or embedded links that go to your e-commerce site. Social media is driven by story telling. If there is no narrative to your content you’re dead in the water. This is a perfect example of how shallow marketing strategies that seek short term gains in followers, likes and pins totally tank in the long run. As marketers we need to develop concept and let the content be curated to marry perfectly with this carefully planed narrative. Not short cuts in social media.

  • jhconsultingaz

    Always good suggestions, Mr. Ash! Thank you.

  • Gieo Pensoneault

    Thanks for the facebook update #JimGilbert !


    Interesting marketing strategy. Came across this whitepaper on emerging trends in retail "Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers" @ http://bit.ly/10XoIQa readers may find it useful.

  • Mike Hogan

    Greg – You have summarized where things are going. I have not seen many stats yet about how the consumer proactively adopting these practices? No doubt bricks and mortars are trying to blur the line between themselves and ecommerce. The jury is still out on whether it drives incremental sales or is a "neat" feature. There are technologies available to consumers to proactively use their mobile devices to make purchases ( we have a 2 click technology) where ever they are. The point is that just when they think they have a handle on it there is something new. Mike Hogan

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    Employee morale is low in many Wal-Mart stores as management continues its tone-deaf policies. (You can tell by how messy the stock is on the shelves, for example.) Add to this media stories about the Walton family’s riches and you get a classic stew for union activism.

    It’s too bad Wal-Mart didn’t take the lead in seeking employee satisfaction with better wages, fair practices and shifting the story away from the Waltons’ riches. Had they done this I bet the unions would find it difficult to get into Wal-Mart? Another sore eye for Wal-Mart is how they beat up their vendors, forcing some American companies to send their manufacturing to China in order to kow-tow to Wal-Mart’s demands for lower costs.

  • Cin Full

    If she didn’t name the store, how did anyone find out what store it was? The owner has been interviewed numerous times! BS, she told someone. Let me get this straight though…Oprah can apologize and be forgiven, but others have been ostracized for it. Wrong, on many levels and as high level as she is, she should know better.

  • Cin Full

    Best Buy’s store issue is that it will employ anyone, including those without a care to learn and understand the industry in which they’re a part of. For instance, I went in to purchase a cleaner for a Playstation and was told repeatedly that its perfectly fine to use the same cleaner used to clean a DVD; the cost difference in cleaners was minute and had I bought that DVD cleaner, I’d have ruined the PS and been out hundreds of dollars. My husband was livid the guy was trying to "save" me money and talk me into purchasing a DVD cleaner. The guy obviously doesn’t know the difference in a PS versus a DVD player. Every time I talk to an associate who seems to not know more than I do after googling something, I ask for another and they get pissy and keep trying to help which just ruins my mood and I go home and buy it from Amazon. Educate employees and teach customer service!

  • Cin Full

    Wal-Mart needs to stop hiring people and giving only part-time hours and instead hire full-time workers. Yes, benefits and costs will increase but every company faces that. Maybe if Wal-Mart stepped up and did something, their employees would be happier, they would have less turnover, and then maybe Wal-Marts employees could set the bar so other workers at other places with similar issues now can push forward for change. I’d like to know how many Wal-Mart workers are on public assistance for insurance or food benefits; that kind of thing should be reported to the public because the public shops their for low prices and maybe if everyone sees what its doing to some people, they’d stop. I no longer shop at Wal-Mart because 4 of the 5 people I know there are on public assistance and thats terrible!

  • Joe

    Is is total BS just because she think she is the riches black woman in world has to can like Obama and say anything. Both need to be held accountable for in-siting racism when it is not there!!!! They claim to fight racism but they are truly in disguise to spike up in the world to keep their status as savior of the races. Hypocrites indeed. I don’t believe any of them.

  • Frank

    Charging racism in Switzerland? It’s a phony story to hype her new movie "The Butler". I’m glad to see that the store owners are not backing down, and that they’re challenging her claims.


    Good advice. Adopting new technology will help retailers connect with customers and should evolve to current technology trends to market their products. Came across this whitepaper on emerging technology trends in retail "Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers" http://bit.ly/10XoIQa readers may find it useful.

  • Jon


    It is benign. I get the impression that somehow some parents have have become more concerned and sensitive to "bullying" then kids.

  • PMJ

    Seems like your attitude or reason to Cut the Cord remains intact. You did not feel the $2000/year value was worth it. Looks like you are waiting for another promotion before you reconsider the cable value proposition.

    So would you show up in cable transnational data now? Or would a survey measure your cable attitude as falling short of an appropriate value proposition? Which would be actionable?

    I think business can benefit and perform better from both perspectives. They are complementary.

  • Concerned

    I feel embarrassed for you in posting such a mis-informed and downright deceitful article. It reeks of catalog printers and DM list publishers trying to salvage the mass of business that is being lost to the web and natural and PPC search results that drive substantially more traffic to websites than do catalogs. Catalogs have their place, no doubt, and at least some of the comments in the article are more truthful, for example, catalog buyers do tend to purchase more from a company and are more inclined to be loyal customers. But please, don’t manipulate the statistics to "back up" catalog vs web traffic claims – true analytics shed much more light on the value and attribution of each channel.

  • Damon

    Spot on commentary, on all points.

  • larajf

    Sometimes I think LinkedIn makes up stuff … like they have a thesaurus & if I had one word in my profile, it asks a bunch of other or similar skills….which I don’t like.

  • JRB

    Is there a protocol or etiquette for responding when someone "endorses" you on LInkedIn? Is the implied expectation that you will then endorse them back?

  • Cheryl Rings

    I was compelled to read your article because I can’t stand the feature. You gave me a little respect for it but it makes me crazy to get endorsements from people about skills they have never seen me use, or from people I don’t even know. In theory it’s good but I’ll never use it to gauge a persons actual skill set.

  • Barb Wiseberg

    JRB – In answer to your post, sometimes I do endorse someone, where appropriate. But I always send a polite message to the endorser, just thanking them for the endorsement.

    Is the feature over-used, yes of course. But I do find it useful, overall.

  • Tracey Tanner Holzapfel

    I like the feature, too, but wonder if it will become meaningless at some point, because everyone is just endorsing everyone they know for everything…
    I only endorse if I think the person really has that skill – I think it’s my reputation that is endorsing theirs – something I take very seriously,

  • Emmanuel Kabaale

    This is needed!

  • Rebecca

    I think the endorsement feature is a crock. People I only know through church, for example, have endorsed me for event marketing when I haven’t done event marketing for over 15 years… or people who I barely know endorse me for things they have no clue that I know how to do.

    I think it is a crock. Very misleading, and doesn’t tell me anything about a person.

  • andrew boon

    Good advice. Read this interesting whitepaper on retail "Thinking about tomorrow: Post-recession strategies for retailers" it offers information on trends that are shaping the retail industry, readers will find it very interesting @ http://bit.ly/10XoIQa

  • Daryl Kleiman

    Vendors who want to sell to e-commerce retailers should read this article!

  • Mike Dickman


    Finally, someone else who is asking the same questions!

    What I "love" about this feature is that I have people, I have never worked with, endorsing me for skills they have never persoanlly experienced.

    Thanks for breaking the silence!


  • Marty Kenney

    Personally, I think the endorsement feature is less of an evaluation feature than it is an easy way to stay in touch with people in your network. In some ways, I think it is silly, but I use it to let people know I was thinking of them.

  • Jesse Gainey

    I have people endorsing me for skills I know I don’t have and that somehow have magically appeared on my account based on the industry I’m in. I do not profess to have any of the skills I am endorsed for.

  • Steve

    Yes, it is a crock. Can you encourage your followers to open a support ticket with LinkedIn telling them this functionality needs to be changed. I am OK being endorsed for skills I have but I am tired of being endorsed for skills I don’t even list on my profile. I should also be able to accept an endorsement so I do not get endorsed by people who have no idea what I do.

  • interiorplace

    Great article, thank you Melissa. Very exciting to see how retail is developing, keeping up with tech and, in some ways, getting back to its roots (geofencing). Fun time to be in the industry.

  • Timothy Burns

    How many dogs do you have laying around your warehouse?

  • oldandinthewayinN.Ga.

    Legalized extortion, while California’s law may have had good intentions Corporate Greed rears it’s ugly head, as slick attorneys practice legal extortion, SHAMEFUL.

  • JustLoveDJ

    Thanks for the post Joe. Were their tools that you used to forecast what would sell and what wouldn’t? Did you have your ears perked for the growl before the bark? I’m assuming with a year of product development, you have a solid educated guess, no?

  • Marketing Strategist

    I’ve been working in B2C and B2B for nearly 30 years. In my experience, the psychology of the buyer has remained consistent throughout that time period regardless of sales channel. B2C sells to end users which can be fun and is relatively easy to do, provided you know your market. Niche market B2B, the kind I’ve been doing since 1990, involves selling to retailers who turn around and sell to end users. Of the two, B2B is FAR more challenging because it requires a double sale to get a second order: once by my company to my retailers and once by my retailers to my end users. The retailer won’t buy another one until the first one sells.

    B2C Catalogs need to keep the customer’s attention for as long as possible and to keep him/her coming back to reread and drool again as many times as possible. Most buys these days are NOT impulse buys: hardly anyone can afford to throw money around that way any more. Hence, buyers think long and hard about what they want before spending any money on that item: they want to be sure they’re getting the right item at the best price. My particular B2C Catalog experience was for a high end fretted instrument store in NY. The Catalog brought people into the shop from all over the world to make their final selections — after they had thoroughly studied the Catalog and were sure we had what they wanted or could custom order something that would suit their needs. Some items were true mail order, but most of our sales [including all of our biggest sales] were made in person after the customer had had a chance to try everything we had in stock that interested him. [We also advertised in trade and consumer magazines, both of which were productive.]

    B2B: the catalog drives sales. Period. It does at least 90% of the work. We don’t have outside sales reps. Not everyone goes to trade shows. Instead, we have catalogs, inbound and outbound telephone sales, and a full website [which also includes a downloadable PDF version of the catalog]. Retailers tend to concentrate on the specials. Website visitors check out everything, with an emphasis on anything we are advertising in consumer magazines. [No one channel can do it all.] Retailers have the option of placing orders on the website, but few do.

    A recent conversation with the owner specifically concerned the value of paper catalogs vs other methods of getting the message across. We agreed that there will never be a time when printed catalogs become totally obsolete. People like to handle the catalog. Getting them to pick up the book precedes opening the book to see what’s inside. Once they touch the catalog, your chance of making a sale increase dramatically. Without touching, the sale won’t happen. That bit of sales psychology hasn’t and won’t change.

  • Leslie Mayorga

    A Mommy Blogger is the best friend your company has. Word of mouth advertising is priceless. We’re not divas. Just treat us with the same respect you’d like your mother, sister or daughter to be treated with. You’ll be rewarded in your wallet trust me!

    Leslie Mayorga
    Leslie Loves Veggies

  • Guest

    They had absolutely nothing on me. Kind of refreshing.

  • Abhishek kumar

    Very useful information. Thank you for sharing it. Thanks 99th

  • PJ Stafford

    When I saw the Amazon lockers in my local Staples I really wondered how someone at Staples thought it made sense to promote a competitor like this becuase the accountant calculated that the rental revenue per square foot was more then they make displaying a few more stacks of 3 ring notebooks. If I am a garage owner or a 7-Eleven owner, absolutely, take the monthly rental fee from Amazon. If you are Staples or Radio Shack and sell the same items that are available at Amazon.com , absolutely not : – )

  • gman

    do they intend to give them raises to compensate the workers?

  • Katie @ Fifth Gear

    Although there is still a lot of ground to cover, many retailers are really starting to embrace the operations side of the business as an extension of their brand. Thanks for citing our white paper, Jerry!

  • guest2

    If the site did not have my name and personal information before it would once I entered it all. No thanks.

  • postalwizard

    Some good points, and I agree with your basic premise that raising rates to cover costs will result in less mail in the long run. However, Carrier Route mail in the new automation mail sorting environment is changing, In many cases CRRT mail requires more transportation and processing steps than automation, hence higher costs. The Flat Sequence Sorter (FSS) has changed the landscape for Flats like the MLOCRs and BCRs did for letters.

    It is helpful to understand the Why. The Mail Carrier loads his satchel with 3 bundles: Letters, Flats and Saturation (think PennySaver, Money Mailer etc) So how does non saturation CRRT mail save any workshare time over regular automation when the machines are putting the mail in walk sequence for the Mail Carrier?

    I applaud the Post for trying to right size the mail and make each class carry its weight, so to speak. I agree with you that there is a fundamental disconnect between Operations and Marketing. Cost vs. Volume. Both are important.

  • Itsoktoprint

    Hi Jim,

    Good analysis here and some contrainarian thought. I agree, this is a self-serving analysis that is flawed and begs the question: does a reverse study to see what the impact is of lowering rates yield different conclusions?

    There are of course problems within the current framework no analysis can properly adjust for. Congressional politics provides elasticity problems in downsizing for logical operational reasons. A major change in the law will be necessary if the USPS is to survive long term without tax payer help or privatization. But right now, the USPS is held hostage to politics.

    The current union contract and structure also provides some problems.in making cost elastic and in having very high "exit costs" for changes that are less than predictable. Of course all labor is a bit unpredictable by nature…:-).

    The novel study would be to see what lowering prices, permanently, would do to certain mail types. ROI remains the focus of everyone in all forms of advertising and communication. IF there were significant changes made that marketers could rely on and that were done far enough in advance so real study could be done, then there could be a renaissance of sorts for mail, at least for the mid-term.

    I have seen my mailbox increase steadily in volume from 2009-10 for standard presort and ECR, and even some first class. in spite of all the bumbling and stumbling. We can’t do much about the government’s green initiative until something catastrophic happens with electronic, but we can continue to work towards making first class more relevant, more timely, and more interesting.

    Last thought: How long before mail becomes regionalized? The USPS is still the only organization on the planet that doesn’t get it that a piece of mail costs more to go coast to coast than down the street. What does a UPS/Fed-Ex model look like? Should that be done to bring "fairness" in rates? The regional mail providers are for the most part set up to deal with a zonal approach.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still love mail and I still love the post office. But I just don’t see much rational thought there from top to bottom some days.

  • Reader

    OK, the government is very concerned about the wood coming from a location where a tiger may be in danger but the same government is NOT interested in determining from where the millions of workers installing the floors come from? You cannot make this up.

  • Marty Kenney

    No secret here. It is the same philosophy I attribute to retail print advertising and signage. In either, you have to assume that your audience is not going to have a lot of time to spend, so hit the high points quickly. You do that by creating a focus, keeping the message simple and clear, and being consistent. If someone wants to explore a site further, then leave them a link to do that. Those who want to, will go there, just like those who are interested in the item or topic at hand, will read more ad copy. Those who have no interest in the item probably won’t. In all cases, good design is essential. One other recommendation I would make is try to minimize the need for "fine print," but when you have it, don’t bury it. Fine print with a ton of exclusions and conditions, etc. is just a pet peeve of mine. It’s misleading at best, dishonest at worst; and too many retailers engage in it.

  • Graeme Grant

    Dave, thank you for writing this article. You brought up many of the points we’ve been emphasizing on our blog (http://www.cquotient.com/blog/) based on our work with retailers. We did want to add to one of your points and caution readers that while your advice to “Retarget browser and cart abandoners” is valid, it can not be the totality of their omnichannel personalization strategy. Omnichannel, by its very definition, goes beyond online. Therefore to execute this strategy successfully, marketers need to go beyond online data sources such as purchase history and abandoned shopping carts, and tailor marketing efforts to its customers’ behaviors and preferences across all channels — online, in-store and via mobile devices. Otherwise they risk missing the big picture. We encourage our clients to think bigger and consider the entire shopping lifecycle — including the in-store experience, opened and unopened emails, the use of loyalty cards, purchase history, browsing behavior and social media. All of these touch points tell a customer story, which can in turn help deliver the more personalized experience you discussed in this article.

  • tnugent

    Excellent article. Email matters more than ever in the mobile era, and is certainly both an art and a science.

  • Tia Dobi

    What a rich (and swift) education.As a copywriter writing about my clients’ services, I’ve pinted this as a primer for making that copy more interest-worthy. Susan, is there a way to connect with you/your co. on LinkedIn, Facbook or Twitter? (I looked and might have overlooked.) Thanks again for a super helpful teaching. Squeeze Every Cent From Your Content ~ Tia D.

  • Catherine A. Woosley

    Unethical behavior and business practices is the REAL issue. Settlement is admittance in my book. My perception is Kmart was given a judicial hall pass which by design is how the system fails! Another example of greed and how Corporate America has found ways to take advantage of their customers through Medicare.

  • aBusFullOfNuns

    Hi Samer,

    Your 2nd point about testing could be more detailed to say that there are multiple options such as cloud load testing, stress testing, and performance testing that can be used to gauge the condition of the website.

    Cloud Load Testing can test a company’s scalability to handle anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of virtual users browsing their website depending on the needs of their business. It helps reveal those errors such as which requests begin to slow down or become unresponsive at different levels of load. There are low-cost options like LoadStorm and high-end options like HP LoadRunner that can accomplish this.

    Stress Testing is used for finding the limits of your current setup to know how many users your website can handle during unusually high peaks of traffic. This can also be done with tools like LoadStorm and HP LoadRunner.

    Performance Testing is very useful in measuring the time it takes for an individual page to load. This helps to point out slow parts of a page that can cause poor user experience. There are several studies on the correlation between slow page load times and losing money. WebPageTest.org is a really useful and free tool for performance testing.

    Also there are other performance improvements that could be mentioned such as types of caching like page caching and browser caching. Making use of a content delivery network (CDN). Applying an elastic load balancer (ELB). Enabling content compression for non-media files such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, and more which are usually stored in the form of GZIP files once they’ve been compressed. Using compression techniques on images like progressive JPEGs, zero-quality JPEGs, or lossless compression options like Yahoo’s SmushIt tool. You can minify your CSS and Javascript files to remove unnecessary white space.

    It is usually recommended to apply a culmination of these changes to gain the biggest boost to performance and scalability, but simply making use of a CDN, page caching, and browser caching are good options for quick results.

    Hopefully you and/or some of the readers find this information to be useful.

  • Faye Stamper

    Thank goodness. I have worked for another retailer under the Macy’s name. I understand this is very true.
    I have worked at the company for about 3 years. I would like to put my hat in the arena to discuss this
    issue more professionally and give specific examples on how African American Customers are treated.
    One manager got upset with me when I shared with her, we did not treat African American customers in the
    same high regard as they did other customers. It was like a thing called ‘African American Profiling" based
    upon their race and whether they had money or not. I was told by management, my comments were
    not appropriate. Please put in touch of the lawsuit. I know I can contribute to this Class Action Law Suit.
    Thank you very much. Esther

  • joe

    I’m glad you did not suggest those pesky internet reputation scrubbers that many scammers are using these days. It’s getting harder to find real and honest product reviews due to these hackers cleaning up the reputation of really bad companies

  • MRD

    I don’t understand why this would be offending. I served in the military for 20+ years and these (food drives) were conducted every year for needy families over the holidays. People quickly jump to the conclusion that this is a wage issue, when in fact it may be a family emergency, funds become tighter (regradless of wage) during the holiday season, emergency expenses may have come up, etc. I applaud Wal-Mart (a store I love to shop at) for reaching out to employees in need. Let the negative comments fly…

  • Pam Harrison


  • Jenna

    I’m not a puritan or a prude. That said, I was not thrilled when the commercial came on as I was watching a show with my 14-year-old daughter. Seriously, what were they thinking!

  • Pete Scanlan

    All great points Wacarra. Being with Monetate strategies 1 and 2 resonate with me loudly. Thanks for writing this.

  • Melissa Campanelli

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. Online sales tax is certainly a hot button issue — every time we run an article about it we are bound to get spirited comments! Just to let you know, we routinely run articles with the opposite point of view (we even posted the links to some of them in the body of the article) and we encourage you to read them. Here is a link to one of them:
    Please let me know if you have any other thoughts!
    Melissa Campanelli
    Retail Online Integration

  • Blacklight_Com

    Hmm a CEO of a company that sells software for online sales tax collection submits an article on how it would be good for online retailers to have to collect sales tax for every jurisdiction. Pretty obvious you would have this opinion as it only will help your sale. Nice of you to talk to some of us small online niche business that would have to take on this extra expense to collect sales tax for states that are inept at collecting use taxes. In Illinois they have added something to individual tax returns for taxpayers to pay their use tax either actual or as a portion of AGI. That seems a fair way of collecting sales and use taxes to me. Why should my company have be compelled to enforce another states laws. The Supreme Court has already ruled that nexus needs to be established and now we we’re going to pass laws that go against the Supreme Court decision. When Amazon backs a bill like this, who doesn’t allow for many 3rd party sellers to even collect sales tax through their automated checkout in their home state, backs a bill like this, it clearly is to make their growing presence even bigger by squeezing out smaller retailers. Did you talk to eBay who does not support this bill? Frankly ROI, I’m quite disturbed that you have featured an article like this that is clearly a biased opinion meant to bolster Exactor’s own sales. Hopefully, you will consider posting an equally biased opinion from the other side.

  • girlygirl

    I shop both online and brick-and-mortar stores. You are right that many savvy shoppers do use the store as a showroom for product, myself included. Walking into a retail store where I’m provided help when I request it from a person who knows what they’re talking about, I end up making my purchase at the store itself. However, when I can find nobody to help or explan something to me, I am relegrated to finding information online and then I make my purchase online. I am also a diligent shopper though; I’m okay with paying 15-20% more for a product in the store as opposed to their online site because I understand the value of person-to-person selling and that there are overhead costs to consider when seeing a price difference between online and brick-and-mortar stores. However, if I find the price in the store to be 20% or more greater than online, I buy it online and stop shopping at the store for awhile.

  • Robert Davis

    Drone deliveries: great way to get news coverage on Cyber Monday, Jeff!

  • Victoria Amador

    I agree 100% – Excellent article!

  • Bob

    My wife has always said that you can tell more about a restaurant from the condition of the bathrooms than anything else. I can see why the same analogy applies to all companies. Good observations, Joe!

  • Kathy W.

    I LOVE Zulily! The customer service is excellent and the products they offer are high-quality name brands. Make sure that if you decide to purchase you understand how things ship (it can take longer than just ordering items from an on-line store-the explanation is given on the site- "How Zulily Works" toward the bottom of the page). Also, items can sell out fairly quickly, so you have to keep an eye out for brands you love (they have a feature for that too!) I hope people decide to check out the site-they really have great prices!

  • Jon Berg

    I find it laughable that we excoriate Phil for his religious views, in which he expresses no desire to harm anyone who disagrees with him, while we happily sell products from India, Pakistan, China and other less tolerant nations. These countries exhibit a near enthusiasm for persecution and even execution of homosexuals but it’s the guy in the camo who expresses a love for God and others that’s the homophobic hate monger? It would seem to me that the LGBT community and their supporters need to do a little soul searching about the real problems they face and begin to recognize who their real enemies are.

  • Patric

    I really appreciated how you highlighted how retailers can use more natural language on their sites. Comments on Forums, Blogs, social networks, and search engine suggestions(on the bottom page of a search results page) would also be a good indicator of terms consumers use to describe the products retailers carry and also what they want.

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    Wal-Mart might want to take a page from Henry Ford and pay their employees enough so that they can shop at the store they work in?

  • Kenny

    Jeff Bezos can suck an egg. He’s as crooked as the day is long the way they treat Amazon sellers and deprive them of cash flow.

  • LemonFizzy1

    How about we stop considering ourselves "marketers" and begin referring to ourselves as "people"? After all, we are not only generators of marketing metrics, we are purveyors of them as well.

  • Robert Gould

    Fully agree with this article. I like One King Lane’s approach. Eliminates all coupon, loyalty or any other nonbrand relevant sites from its affiliate program.

  • Thomas (Tom) Smith, III

    To me it’s all semantics — "prospects, cold leads, warm leads, customers, consumers, satisfied customers, detractors, passives, promoters, raving fans."

    The key is to agree on a definition that works in your company, particularly between marketing and sales, and provide an outstanding experience to all of them.

  • chilly girl

    I consider myself a partner to those I serve. We’re here to provide solutions in a way that benefits all parties. Some may consider it semantics, and in a way that’s true. In fact, its difficult to even write this post without trying to assign a label to each person including our own roles. That’s human nature, however, I’ve found that by truly forging close relationships, with integrity and follow-through being at the forefront, ‘partner’ is an apt term. It has served well in winning and growing business, as well as maintaining long-term loyalty.

  • Reggie

    Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard says "we are not citizens anymore, we are consumers". I like him because he also advertises "don’t buy this jacket if you don’t need it".
    Social networking’s influence just adds to the runaway "consumer" train, not slowing it. It’s a consumer world more than ever and if more cash was available, that would be more obvious. Facebook, Twitter, mobile services, Big Data, etc. completely OWN most of you and you don’t even see that. Unless of course you’re making money from it all with so-called "disruptive" marketing to the sheeple providing you income.

  • Barry Dennis

    "Consumers" didn’t start out with a negative connotation, it was actually a positive usage, used to describe loyal users of a product or service, and meant good people, buying good products and services, to enhance personal and family lifestyles. Media has changed consumerism to a negative, giving it a meaning of greed, unbridled enthusiasm for obesity, waste, and other media-defined negatives. It’s time to restore "consumer" to a positive meaning of "looking for, and supporting quality products and services, designed to further the lifestyle, happiness and satisfaction of individuals and families everywhere."
    Oh, and as I’ve noted before it’s way past time for a strong, positive non-government consumer "voice," one respected and credible in the eyes of consumers, one with national reach, one whose quotes and commentary will be considered and utitlized by mainstream media and national and local governments to do their job of enforcing transparency by business and institutions, forcing marketplace competitiveness and free access, and one on whom Citizen/consumers can rely.

  • John

    Or, dare I suggest …

    Error No. 10: Failing to follow "Rule No. 1 of Marketing" – "Make it easy for the customer to buy" …

    Which translates, in this case, to "Make it easy for the customer to ORDER from you" (mail, phone, online, mobile – just about everything but ESP), and "Make it easy for the customer to PAY you!" (credit card, debit card, Paypal or other wallet, CHECK, etc.). In other words, give the customers as many options as possible to order and to pay, and let THEM decide which way works best for them!

    That will ALWAYS, inevitably, bring you more paid business! (And isn’t that the only reason why you started – or are going to start – to sell through a catalog in the first place?)

  • Terry Jukes

    Great article! It applies to B2B catalogs also.

  • Karen Gross

    Insisting upon union participation in retail establishments is impractical. CREATE JOBS instead of playing tough!!!

  • David Anderson


    Great article. The ability for retailers to manage inventory in real-time across suppliers and channels is imperative to delivering an omnichannel experience, especially when retailers are utilizing ship-from-store and/or pick-up in-store fulfillment. We have been helping our clients do exactly what you mentioned – connect the front end channel with real-time inventory management. Thanks for the article.

  • Loeb

    Unless they want to global e-commerce industry to crash and burn they better upgrade credit card technology. Magnetic strips are old tech, unlike the rest of the civilized world that have moved on to more secure forms, the US is stuck in the past, as usual, with the giant banking and financial industries too cheap and stupid to make the necessary investment in security. As usual, US industry will sit on their hands until there is a major breach, or multiple breaches, then they will run around with their hair on fire demanding gov’t action to fix it. IDIOTS!

  • David Anderson

    Great article. Your comments on the "manualness" of how retailers are managing their product information is so dead-on. We hear it all the time. Great insights on how retailers can streamline and consolidate their product data into one system. Our SalesWarp ERP for eCommerce does the same and provides additional order, customer and inventory management for multichannel retailers. Thanks again for the thorough insights.

  • crabjack

    Good for CVS!

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    They should change their name to PhoneShack™ as the brand gets further and further away from do it yourself electronics geeks.

    On the other hand, social media could re-ignite the hacker/mod crowd that used to count on the Shack for parts.

  • Martin Burns

    agree completely

  • jawjagrr;

    Younger audiences are leaving FB in droves for Instagram. This is not new. Once your Grandma sends you a FR, it just isn’t "cool" anymore (even if you adore your grandma). Many employers increasingly research an applicant’s FB presence for clues – who wants to be FB friends with their boss?

    While FB may be making it harder to reach a "fan" base created over the last 10 years, the better questions may be whether or not doing so on the shifting sands of social media is something one’s brand can keep up with and ho wmuch longer will your FB base be there?

  • Angela Slupe

    Great post, Ross. The customer is in control now more than ever. I definitely agree that today’s customer service personnel need to be empowered with more product and service knowledge in order to better communicate with the customer.

  • Dominique Cloutier

    This is an incredibly great post! As a Mommy Blogger myself, I entirely agree and as a consumer, I agree more! I got into blogging after being an avid blog reader for years. That’s honestly where I go before I buy anything. I always search for blog reviews because I feel like it’s the most honest feedback.

  • Nannette LaNasa

    No brainer for a health and wellness company. Sheesh!!

  • jdamkp

    Big difference.

    Container Store – corporate sponsored and funded with $100,000 and available to entire company.

    Walmart – one store in Ohio puts a big jar for people to contribute to. No sponsorship, no oversight. What happens to the jar every night? Is someone in California eligible to apply for those funds?

    What was the entire point of this comparison? A well planned effort to a half-baked effort.

  • VT Cataloger


    Thank you for all the helpful information. The issue for many businesses however is not the cost of shipping the order, it is the cost of getting the order since postage costs are up as much as 6%. With declining response rates, and rising order costs from traditional channels such as catalogs, the postal rate increase is leading to reduced catalog circulation and shrinking sales. As a result, many multi-channel marketers find it too stressful to relax. Efficient order shipping can’t make up for significantly less orders.

  • Ellen

    I agree with Bob below.
    The issue our business has with the USPS increase is the direct affect on our catalog business. We use the catalogs to help drive business to Retail stores, website and phone center. We also have a publishing business affected by this increase. I see us cutting back page count in catalogs again next year as a result of this increase, and also mailing out fewer catalogs overall.

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    We’ll see, I guess. I have grown to be very skeptical of google’s so-called "benefits" to marketers and retailers, especially in the past 24 months. And that’s putting it politely!

  • nigray

    This guy is clearly delusional. Have you ever tried to buy anything online from Sears? Nearly impossible. They have the worst online experience of any retailer. I was a Sears market manager (worst job I ever had), so I know how badly managed the Sears operation is. If they don’t want to spend millions of dollars on new store fixtures, they should at least keep what they have clean & organized. Sears stores are by and large disgusting. The local thrift shop is in better shape.

  • Knife guy

    Be careful when you buy from Garrett Wade. Wood colors are not as pictured and then they blame you for not understanding wood tones. Very weird dealing with a company that thinks customer service is done by letting you buy from them. Also the customer reviews are not all posted. They weed out negative comments about their product. They do have some 1-2 stars posted but they are minor issues. Great products but you can buy the same stuff from other vendors with comparable prices and non insulting customer service.

  • Richard Tworek

    I agree there is a fundamental transformation happening but I see the transformation happening not just at the customer/retailer interface but in the mobilization of traditional back room operations. Based on my work with some of the Fortune 500, the movement is towards leveraging mobile technology (tablets) to automate or extend business process such as inventory control for perishable items or scan based transaction systems providing a dashboard for the account mangers, executives, or distributors to get real time product performance.

    The other macro trend and part of some of my current projects is leveraging new technology like WebRTC, the new built in the browser communications client. This technology is used for apps like customer "mayday" buttons similar to Amazon’s recent offering, significantly enhanced customer support with custom advertising and interactions, to smart shopper tools for high touch customer interactions. Each of these have proven ROI and generally see results in less than 3 months.

  • Katie Guyer

    Great list, Rob! Glad to see Operations Summit on the list. We’re extremely excited to have it in our backyard this year – I hope everyone enjoys Indy as much as the Fifth Gear crew does!

  • Sara Shikhman

    Happy to answer any questions about advertising on Google! Glad you found my tips helpful.

  • Randy

    This article raises some execellent points – I particularly like the focus on the changing sales associate skill expectations and the resulting impacts on training and incentives. I’ve recirculated the link and some of the specific content here at Lowe’s — Thank you!

  • Ed Weiner

    The two restaurants are not under one corporate umbrella. I would think that the company done the most harm by this is Moe’s Southwestern Grill where the customer satisfaction level is higher than Ruth’s Chris.

    There is no excuse for this lapse in judgement as the question I would ask my server is "is that a used take out container?"

  • Susan

    Thanks for your on-target comments Rainer. Totally agree that poor spelling and grammar diminishes a brand. And you’re right that clients love when the agency finds and makes corrections they missed. Clients are tops at proofing for skus and prices but often don’t have experienced staff to do more in-depth proofing — they appreciate a vendor who will proof to perfection for them. Keep up those high standards!

  • Rainer Fischer

    Having been in direct mail for the past 30 years, I found that having these proofreading skills to be a tremendous asset. Clients love the corrections that they missed in their copy. Unfortunately many millennial marketers tend to classify these skills as being too anal, or our OCD kicking in. Poor spelling and grammar diminishes your brand.

  • Katie Guyer

    This boggles my mind – you don’t have to be a "marketing person" to understand why that’s just a bad idea all around.

    I’m a frequent Texas Roadhouse diner (what can I say, I’m cheap and I like throwing food on the floor) and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the server ask if we’d like to start our meal with a "Bloomin’ Onion". That, of course, is the signature term for Outback Steakhouse’s appetizer – TR’s is called a Cactus Blossom. Maybe that’s not noticeable to the average person, but it drives a brand nerd like me absolutely nuts!

  • UtahSaint

    And where is the aforementioned tweet exactly? :-(

  • Frank

    Up to now, UO has managed to offend the Irish, Jews, Blacks, Native-Americans, and Christians. Is there another major world-wide group that will be a target for their humor, or have they ventured into an area that would be just too dangerous?

  • mlb

    We use chat in our website and do not have any of the capabilities you are claiming in this blog.

  • Bill T

    That is precisely why we don’t have this feature with Olark live chat. That and also that we want to promote active listening in one’s cs agents. e.g. taking the time to fully understand what the total nature of the issue/request/suggestion might be before an agents charges off to give an answer (and possible answers a question not really asked). active listening is the foundation of great customer service.

  • David Anderson

    Investing in commerce, not channels – great comment. Whether it’s internal IT or external solutions, retailers need to make sure they are delivering a unified experience regardless of where customers are buying…especially mobile as you noted. It’s all about making easy for the customer. We’re all customers so understanding how people shop is in our reach. Thanks for the article.

  • Jim Gilbert

    Thanks for this great info Paul.

  • Ty Whalin

    Some good advice for maintaining inventory. Keeping only what you need on hand is a good way to reduce the amount of time of upkeep. By creating a good system to maintain inventory it takes less hours when the quarterly inventory comes around. This is why shipping of goods has been relocated to main hubs strategically located in certain areas around the country. Less product is lost and a more stable flow is achieved along with lowering cost.

  • Todd Shimkus

    The LiveChat brand chat client is capable of seeing the chat before submitting. we find it extremely helpful to answer customer questions more quickly. Many online shoppers are not willing to wait more than a few seconds for a detailed response from a customer service agent. Having a sense of the customer’s question or concern before they fully formulate their response gives us some lead time to gather the information they really want.

  • Jordan

    I use to like DBL when they were DBL, mainly because of the personalized service and they were easy and great to deal with. Unfortunately, unless you’re a big customer, I don’t think you will get that same attention from Ingram. I’m now sourcing through a company called Albany Distributing and Petra Industries – both are great.

  • worriedman

    Nowhere could I find a definition or explanation of "PCI" or "PCI compliance" so this article is completely useless to me

  • Linda West

    So sad to hear this news..

  • Deborah Martin ☁

    Great tips for CRM!

  • Deborah Martin ☁

    Great tips for CRM!

  • SocialShark

    Great article Shilpa. Love how you focus on how millennials are "digitally connected".

  • g2gvisions

    Thanks Jim! No disagreement here.

  • Jim

    And most important of all… offer the consumer fair/competitive prices and exceptional customer service.

    One local toy store near me offers pricing as good as the big box stores (and even compares to online giants). Plus they have knowledgeable staff, free self-service gift wrapping and birthday cards, and even a free set of batteries if needed for the toy. AND they support local community organizations like little league teams, schools, etc. I won’t shop anywhere else.

  • A Consumer

    Retailers are missing the point that many shoppers are abandoning brick and mortar shopping due to crowded, messy aisles and lack of sales help. No special events or technology are going to take the place of simply making shopping a pleasant, stress-free experience.

  • David Anderson

    Completely agree. Too many retailers look at the front-end before they have operations in place. Would be very interested in talking about your services to see if we may be able to partner as our SalesWarp is a very complete back-end eCommerce operations software system. Reach out if you are interested. Thanks.

  • Tara

    Gee — they may as well be the USPS. They’re probably doing USPS a huge favor and bringing them back into the game.

  • Amit

    This is very similar to manufacturers trying to do eCommerce. Manufacturing systems and processes are entirely different to those required for retail eCommerce operations. For one, manufacturers tend to work in cases or pallents, whereas eCommerce is a units business.

    Building a website is 10% of the effort, it’s everything else that takes time and effort !

  • Lynn Ava

    Looks like Sylvain seriously failed! Now these companies sell ratty, poor quality, mis represented clothing. They are nice while your ordering and nasty while trying to return them and nave zero compassion for the disabled. Good going Mr. CEO, you brought down yet one of the last places I could purchase clothing online from a rural location. That must make you feel great.

  • John

    I *love* this comment from the article:

    "In the old days, things worked more clearly … Everything was nice and secure."

    The point is, everything WASN’T so "nice and secure" – but CIOs and IT staff happily kept their heads buried in the sand, and said that it was. In FACT, as the revelation that Heartbleed was bleeding companies’ so-called "secure" data for years (without anyone knowing except the crooks!) has demonstrated beyond doubt, the only "real" protection that may exist for ANY online payment activity – despite all the hype and the protestations to the contrary – may be the *prayer* ushered up every morning by every website operator, saying "Please, Lord, let the hackers bother someone else today!" IT people used to say (well, maybe they still do), "There are only two kinds of hard drives – those which HAVE failed, and those which WILL fail!" – there was no third alternative. In the same way, there are actually only two kinds of online payment systems … those which HAVE been breached, and those which WILL be breached! There’s NO third alternative here, either. Heartbleed (and others) have proven that beyond the shadow of a doubt.

    And BTW, can we finally, realistically, stop making all these nonsensical claims about "taking payments (or, worse, security) to the Cloud"? THERE IS NO "CLOUD"! All there is, is a bunch of companies that were offering "offsite back-up facilities", for which there was a relatively small market, until some bright marketing person said, "I know, let’s call it "the Cloud" … and suddenly, those companies had more business than they knew what to do with! Of course now, all the companies who’ve gone "to the Cloud" have to count on someone ELSE’s IT people to protect their (and their customers’) data, which may actually have been an improvement to, or a worsening of, their level of security – but please, PLEASE, let us all not talk about this "magical, mystical THING called the ‘Cloud’" with quite so much reverence – it’s not worth it!

    (Think I’m kidding about a simple coining of a NAME making so much difference in IT work? I lived through a time when computer programmers were only willing to develop systems for "Fortune 500 companies"; they would literally turn up their noses at the prospect of doing useful work for smaller companies; I assume that was because they didn’t think it was "cool" enough to warrant their attention, but whatever. But then, someone coined the name "SOHO" ("Small Office – Home Office") … and suddenly and magically, all those self-same programmers were falling over themselves to do work for the "SOHO industry". This was real, I assure you – and, for some reason I personally never understood, the name really DID make all the difference to the IT people, and their whole industry changed. I have to tell you that I see the current "Cloud" phenomenon being one of the more recent perfect examples of exactly the same nonsense!)

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    Why do some companies feel as if they have to own you?

    We talk a good game about "diversity" in the workplace, when in fact it looks like Zappos only wants to hire people who are Zappos-worthy? Is this another spectrum-y gimmick, another unfortunate example of computers changing human behavior and not the other way around?

    What a sad, sad, predictable world Zappos is creating for itself. Kool-aid, anyone?

  • Dubguy

    Great, except that delivery times are extended – your item just doubled it’s chance of getting lost in route, and in most cases you are NOT getting the postal method you selected at checkout. Seems like the postal service is simply eating up the fuel surcharges, so I’m not entirely sure how it’s helping their bottom line any.

  • Bushwood Smithie

    "Jonathan Barsade is the CEO of ExactorOpens in a new window, a provider of automated systems to calculate sales and use taxes for online retailers. "

    Nothing like a un-biased source.

  • mark

    I agree, there shouldn’t be special laws just because a business is internet based. Brick-and-Mortar stores collect sales tax based on the stores location (not the customer location). Internet businesses should also collect sales taxes based on their location.

  • CarolinaRustica

    Nice quick summary of a huge and impressive conference. Of course, pages could be written about any of these aspects Jim summarized above. My recommendation….just go! There are supplier options to fit almost any budget or organization. Also, its held in Chicago in June, which is a lovely time to go!

  • Sick and Tired

    No, actually we should eliminate sales taxes along with all the other 932 asset seizures the government constructs. The revenue earned by most businesses is spent again into the economy and taxes are collected anyway.

  • Frank Bennett

    Wow, big hikes!

  • Santa

    I guess grammar isn’t a factor at all…………

    ". It’s even good for your employees to be paranoid of what their putting on social media"

    I think the proper word is "they’re" not "their".

    Welcome to social media.

  • Joe Keenan

    Thanks for pointing out this miss by us. It’s been corrected.

  • Ty Whalin

    It’s starting to sound like something right out of Star Wars or Terminator. I just read an article about Google and Sky Net coming in 2017 revolving around the NSA and the G.O.V. Was interesting because it seems like the same thing as drones flying around delivering packages like the movie’s depicted above.

  • Keith Taylor

    I just finished my second one hour session with Brylane Home “customer service” and have had two miserable experiences in a row. Someone ordered almost $500 worth of merchandise through the internet without my authorization and was able to do so without any security. On my first call of 5 transfers, I was assured that I would receive a credit and all would be taken care of – but no one could tell me how my account was comprimised. Then I got a bill for the $500. On my second call, I was told that this wasn’t fraud because the orders were shipped. OUTRAGEOUS! The credit to my account that I was promised never happened.
    After my second experience of five departmental transfers, I was told that until I received and returned an “Affidavit of Fraud” that I would not receive credit – all for an unauthorized internet order that had no preventative security.
    If Brylane could charge for frustration, they would never have to sell anything. Brylane Home? – never again.

  • Mike Lorrey

    Given McDonald v Chicago established that the right to keep and bear arms is a civil right, protecting the 2nd amendment under the 14th amendment, establishing that gun owners are a protected class under civil rights law, this means that open carry is a protected civil right under Public Accommodations law, and that “gun free zones” signs are as unconstitutional as “gay free zones” (i.e. the gay wedding cake case) or “whites only” signs. Target’s gun ban is therefore unconsititutional.

  • Miriam O. Frawley

    Excellent article! I believe catalogs and the folks who produce them lead the way in many of the industry’s advancement.

  • Texzilla

    This is another example of the stupidity of major retailers having a wide open marketplace section on their site. The reason they do it is the CFOs love these things because the rev share is pure profit, and on competing goods they might be making more on the marketplace sale than their actual net selling it themselves online or in store.

    The real question here, unasked by the reporter, goes beyond the corporate apology and removing it from their site. If the third party sold any of these then Sears, WalMart, Amazon, whoever would receive a rev share. Ask them that question…are they willing to report the sales of these items transacted on there sites and are they keeping the money?

    On allpasters.com one can not only buy this poster but place in a room configurator to see how it will look in your living room, and see it with a variety of frames.

  • Guest

    Are these posts picked up by the Google search engine? Have you tried doing a search for keywords or your complete title to see if it’s been indexed in Google?

  • Ruth Stevens

    Hi, Jim. How timely. I just published my first long-form LinkedIn post today! https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140710142943-89522-b2b-marketing-is-falling-down-on-the-job?trk=object-title Can’t wait to hear your tips on how to do it better. I stand in awe of you, Jim!

  • Ginger Stuart

    You’re going to see online sales take a BIG hit when e-sellers are forced to charge a sales tax. Of course politicians and big online companies (like Amazon) are pushing for this tax saying that it will “level the playing field” when in fact it will tilt the field in favor of tax collection and also in favor of those companies that have physical locations in many states where they already pay tax. This is just another way of making the small businesses carry an unfair burden. FIGHT IT!

  • Sabine Lenz

    Love your post and potential opportunities. I might be missing something though. You mention: If you have the pencil, you’re ready to start publishing. If not, click on the pencil and you can submit a request to post.
    I do not have a pencil and as such cannot click on it to request… ?

  • Evan Weber

    Nice article…love the points!

  • Robert Bly

    Thank God my clients market to mature, boomers, and Gen X and Y.

  • Inga Bowyer

    Very helpful article. Great tips. Thanks!!

  • jdomeniconi

    I’m wondering if the service is free? The subject is not discussed, so I suspect not. Driving customers to stores to pick-up their online purchases ( and perhaps buy other items) seems like a more direct way to assure the survival of the shopping mall.

  • mike

    Hi Tom – regarding #4. Isn’t it the case that many ESPs use shared IP addresses for sending out email? How do you recommend dealing with that issue if having a dedicated IP address is not an option. Thx. Mike

  • Jim Gilbert

    And thats not even discussing the analysis side, more rocket science! Great article!

  • Joseph

    I do belief that this new same day shipping program is going to “FAIL” big times, because, customers will not put up with extra shipping charges, they barely are willing to pay for the initial freight, period.
    even the new prime membership is a “TOTAL SCAM” in order to squeeze more money out of the consumers

  • JDA Retail Ready Design

    Great article! Brick-and-Mortar isn’t going away. Even Etsy is opening a brick-and-mortar store front. Our hope is that retailers continue to make shopping an experience. A sterile shopping environment where all the brands look alike is hurting the shopping experience. A brand should be able to tell their own story at retail not look like a commodity in line with every other brand. People still like instant gratification so picking up in-store is a great value add plus it gets the consumer in the store!

  • RealTVCritics

    Shocking right? Nope. Black males can’t walk in to a cemetery without being racially profiled.

  • FoolishMortal

    If they continue down this path, Uber may go Under.

  • tmana

    While I’d love to see cryptocurrency and currencies NOT regulated by governments used for payments, the inherent risk retailers (and wholesalers) face in accepting these is that one or more governments will declare them illegal and seize the servers, and the places where the currencies standards are warehoused, and the values themselves as they did with Norfed (Liberty Dollars) several years ago. For a small retailer, that seizure could mean forfeiting the business (as well as prison time). For a large retailer, that could mean serious legal issues, costs, and potentially being shut down by the government(s) in question.

  • My2cents

    Not sure if their target market/demographic would view home delivery as a necessity.

    One benefit of the driver service is that it’s a convenient cost savings for the urban metro-ites… just don’t know if they would justify even the slightest premium for product delivery.

  • Stephen Yu

    I totally agree that clean data leads to more accurate analytics and targeting. All good points but the importance of identifying duplicate records cannot be overemphasized. Too many marketers and database administrators do not even know exactly how many customers that they have in their databases. Without clear and consistent definition of an individual, individual level analytics and targeting become simply impossible.

  • sjk

    I know one thing they could do……fix the call center customer service. Calling and dealing with them is generally a nightmare of epic proportions. The store and service team are very nice. The call centers damage the brand, alienating customers with their absolute uncaring attitude and rude behavior.

  • jimmy

    I’m not familiar with the ads…would need to see them before castigating anyone !

  • jimmy

    Walmart should look elsewhere if the purpose is to “raise” image. Plus to pressure low paid employees
    to invest in special ( to them ) wardrobe stinks ! Walmart sells many collarless shirts. I buy and wear them .

    What’s next. Does Walmart plan to emulate Club Efite Soir and turn would be shoppers away if they arrive
    wearing their Hanes or Fruit of the Loom collarless t-shirts they recently purchased there ?

    I believe Mr. Sam is looking down in disgust and dismay at how his semi-hapless successors have been
    chipping away at the edifice he spent his life building.

    I believe I can see slight ( for now ) resemblances to Korvetts and Two Guys creeping into the mix.

  • KGD

    The buying process is still completely different in the B2B vs. B2C channels.

    In the B2B space generally: fewer available vendors, highly technical products, often very expensive capital expenditures, multiple decision makers, service and supply considerations, etc. etc. E-commerce technology changes none of those differences.

    While e-Commerce may facilitate the final transaction in the B2B world going forward, it won’t transfer buying power to purchasers the same way it’s happened in the B2C world.

  • jill

    Good for IKEA. Advertising photography has always portrayed an idealized concept of the product being sold. You NEVER get a burger or pizza that looks as good in real life as what is advertised.

  • Mary Golden

    With the increase in the drastic competition in the online marketing sector, individuals have started choosing for customized products while buying varying items via online store. Hence, in order to stay competent and provide an exclusive shopping experience, it has become the prime responsibility of every e-commerce portal owner to perform varying online marketing activities to highlight about personalization feature in the available online products. Therefore, I should say thanks to this portal, as it would obviously help in giving the right direction to webmasters.

  • Matthew Weller

    You saw a different keynote than I saw. I saw a bunch of announcements that mean the iPhone is now almost as good as Samsung was 2 years ago — all catch up, no innovation — and a long discussion on a pay system that is still 5 years away from real mainstream use. Credit cards/debit cards work because any body can get them and because there are only 4 businesses left in the country where they can’t be used. Until we come up with a payment system that can be used on any phone and is accepted at 99% of all retailers; until I can completely leave my wallet at home and not worry about not being able to pay for something at any of the places I stop on my trip; until then, it’s just a novelty and wishful thinking. And having it proprietary to a device that is only a fraction of the cell phone market and one that is beyond the reach of the majority of the population is not the fastest route to achieving that ubiquity. Apple Pay is neat. So are QR codes.

  • Mark

    This just happened yesterday, so yeah, either you were living under a rock, or maybe busy with work, maybe visiting a loved one in the hospital, maybe reading the 80+ blogs that I read everyday as part of my job who didn’t mention apple pay. Don’t invite your email subscribers here just to open with an insult.

  • Nathanial Poling

    wow, how to alienate a ton of paying customers… ban Redskins and leave up Nazi stuff… #StupidManagement

  • DeeDee

    Guess I don’t need to shop Etsy anymore!

  • Nigel Gray

    Sears? Seriously? I challenge you to make a purchase on one of their websites. In fact they’re an inside joke among e-commerce site designers.

  • Christian Feuer

    It is the product offer in an appealing store environment that counts first and foremost for Sears. A great site and great marketing will not be able to overcome the under-investment into the store experience or stripping the assets out of Sears to finance the ongoing business. There might be a Sears 2.0 online only, after a chapter 11 filing and the liquidation of the stores.

  • Just Me

    If Sears puts back the old Sears catalog product lineup online, and offers free shipping to the stores, diversifies its store products. Then Sears not only can survive, but they can put a serious dent in Walmart’s market share. Sears still has name recognition, so does their Kmart brand. A combo store Sears-Kmart with both quality and bargain products can get local market share and with an online you need it we got it site. I can see the possibility for a big resurgence of the company. Now whether that happens depends on a great many things. First and foremost a management staff that looks at more than how much profit they make on products. One of the things that hurt Sears over the years is management not understanding that some items while they don’t do high volume or make huge profits; they do get people to pick going to Sears over another store.

  • Dee

    Fire Mountain Gems

  • Brian Kelly

    The great irony. Up until Sears sold the catalog business, it was Amazon. In 1992, it couldn’t see far enough ahead to hang on to its national network of 4,000 catalog distro centers and the critical back end fulfillment.
    Now a days, the brick and mortar brand experience is problematic. I don’t see how the consumer can separate one from the other so that the overall perception is great.
    In so far as the L2 methodology is concerned, I am skeptical that the “searches” are for Sears. I would expect Kenmore and Craftsman drive site traffic. Sure they are ingredient brands, but what of their category market share over the past few years; its dwindling. Brand Sears remains compromised due to the regular sell off of other ingredient brands. Next to go DieHard, when Sears Auto Centers are spun.

  • simplytsl

    All I can say is that is so distasteful I will be hard press to support them as a retailer.

  • Truth

    What is the chance that this was done on purpose?
    Studies have shwon negative publicity is good marketing publicity. Their name awareness goes up, people forget about the reason, and they end up selling more items

  • cjdc

    This is absurdly sick. We really have become “The United States of Amnesia”…for those of us who lived through this tragedy of our nation’s degeneration into a consumer military industrial cesspool that put profits over people, it is a sad day indeed. My only guess is that these UrbanOutfitters folks have no clue what this really means and where we were as a country when this happened

  • Brian

    Par for the course. This is the same company that brought you the “Voting Is for Old People” shirt in the midst of the 2008 presidential campaign. I’m sure Republican Richard Hayne still wishes that were true. I, for one, will not buy from them or their associated companies. Anthropologie, Free People, or Terrain.

  • Mark

    As I’ve already said elsewhere… at this point in time, the reasonable part of me believes that this could not possibly be unintentional. Every marketer for a brand that large is aware of what time of day it is,they ahve all heard what happened to others and they all got the memo from their bosses. They knew exactly what they were doing, 100%.

  • oldandintheway

    as someone who was there as a freshman student enrolled and studying at KSU I have seen different reports as whether this was advertised as ‘a bloody’ sweatshirt or was that just the inference of the viewers. I have seen Outfitters apology elsewhere and it’s seems viewers of ad made the inference. While i am offended personally if intentionally set up to be seen as a bloody sweatshirt I stand by their right to do so. Viewers of ad might have contacted company to inquire if this was just a used faded sweatshirt and maybe what year it came from. This is more of the way our society reacts before thinking or researching something and just taking the social media posts as fact. BAD taste yes, insulting to those families of the dead and wounded yes , but the outrage seems more in the minds of viewers who made assumptions.

    or course if original ad alludes to bloody sweatshirt then forget every thing i said

    PS after the may 4th shootings, the ‘bloody sweatshirt or tee shirt with a bullseye” could be seen worn by protesters across the country..

    every body chill if you need to NOT spend your money with UO then good but this is a borderline call.

  • PastUO

    As a buyer who has recently left Urban, I can say without a doubt that this was unintentional. This is a very unfortunate situation, but this is purely accidental on the buyer’s part. Most of the company’s buyers are well under 30 and are sadly unaware of this moment in history. Shamefully, myself being one of them. This coupled with the fact that as a member of the buying team you merely select the product idea in bulk, this case being vintage sweatshirts from multiple colleges (images for Iowa State and Penn State were still available as of yesterday) and have no say in overall image aesthetic. The sweatshirt clearly was red, with wear over years becoming a faded look only to show true original pigment wear it is fraying, ie alluding to blood in many’s eyes.

    Do I agree that a old ratty sweatshirt should be sold for $100+? No.

    Do I believe that this is in ANY way a publicity stunt for attention? Absolutely not.

  • Bruce

    “Freedom of Speech”, also carries both the good and the bad,
    The only way to stop retailers from using death and ugly happenings, is to boycott
    their stores.
    Both Lulomen, and Abercrombie, both found out when their CEO’s made ugly remarks about their customers.
    This practice will only stop when their customer stops buying.
    Bruce Berton
    B&B International

  • Eric Shelander

    This is news? Our Wal-Marts here in Texas have been doing this for years, if you do not watch and call them on it, nearly every item will ring up for more than advertised, tagged or marked on the shelf. Most of the grocery store chains do the same thing. Have to watch them like a hawk.

  • Thomas (Tom) Smith, III

    I’ve been using a Chipotle gift card on my iPhone for the past couple of weeks.

    So much easier than carrying and repurchasing cards — especially given the short lifespan of the magnetic stripe.

  • Marketing Guy

    Thanks for the article Melissa — good introduction to Alibaba. But please don’t rely on Fox News for much of your information. I think Alibaba’s U.S. and worldwide potential impact is grossly underestimated. Have you shopped it? I have for several years. I can get most anything made in China — shoes, clothing, industrial goods and more — directly from Chinese producers and resellers at nearly ‘wholesale’ prices a fraction of the U.S. imported cost, paying nothing or only a tiny premium for shipping (costs maybe subsidized by the Chinese government?). With their ‘escrow’ feature, I don’t pay until I’ve received and accepted the quality of the goods. This is a game-changing business that is going to challenge all size retailers, large and small. Alibaba’s impact will be noticeable and measurable in the next 12 months — count on it. P.S. They don’t need ‘branding’ in the traditional sense, since they are just the middle-man. Once the Alibaba name gets known — and it is already — with proceeds from their IPO certainly earmarked for building worldwide awareness, look out! The earth just got smaller for business.

  • Catalpha1

    Companies need to distinguish themselves and design does that. I am so bored with all the “flat” sites that look like templates. I am a designer and a customer. A templated site that looks like everyone else makes a bad impression on me. It does not present unique company values that compel customer loyalty. Programmers and designers need to work together to deliver a website that has design and content that sets the company apart and has high SEO and speed functionality. From a marketing angle, those sliders are needed to cue visitor to other pages that are relevant to their interests. They would miss those pages without the sliding header which looses a sale for the company. E-commerce sites want to sell and the slider is an important tool helping move product and extend customer engagement on the site. As a designer, I find fault with other designers and programmers who are just out to create a pretty or suitable site without really building the site to deliver leads and sales to the company. You have to understand what triggers that company’s customer, what helps push the customer through the sales funnel. This may require pushing back on the company who just wants a brochure.

  • AustinDJudge

    You have great perception and I will definitely be reading your other Blogs!
    inbound call center

  • kbakek

    Mr. Brown, please be fair and tell both sides of the story.
    What are the added compliance costs to banks for the regulations contained in the Durbin amendment? Billions.
    When these major compromises occur (Michaels, Target et al) who absorbs the losses? Consumer? No. Merchant? No. MSP? No. Visa or MasterCard? No. It is the banks.

  • Dave Sims

    I think these numbers are wrong. Numbers you have for my company (GNC) are pretty far off – for pinterest, instagram and vine…

  • Christian Feuer

    Very interesting spin on Apple Pay! Very interesting.

  • Terri Ghio

    Great article – thanks for sharing Jim

  • DABrandMan

    Shame on Macy’s and all other retailers who think opening on Thanksgiving is a good idea.

  • Robert Bokor


    Currently, if you use Fedex packaging, dim surcharges don’t apply. Will that change or stay the same in January?


  • Susan H

    I love Sears, in San Diego where I live, our Sears stores are well stocked with nice employees. In addition to Land’s End, which I live in, they have some excellent in house brands of clothing for men (Covington, Outdoor Life) which are of excellent quality and better value compared to the name brands like Haggar and Dockers, which they also sell.
    The women’s clothing is on the quality and style level of Kohls, sold at better prices than Kohls, but the difference between Kohls, JCP and Sears is that Sears stores do not seem to be an “exciting” environment for shopping, Sears also needs to start having these fake sales that have turned JCP around and which Kohls has always done. The uninformed consumer does not know a good deal and likes to think they are getting one, and JCP and Kohls have mastered that.

  • Jay

    Any store located primarily in malls with a product mix geared to the 40+ market is not going to last long today. To survive, Sears needs to change its inventory and image to attract younger shoppers or rethink its location strategy and keep it same demos.

    Last time I visited a Kmart, I could not get out of the store fast enough, just a depressing place to shop. This is a shame, as Kmart used to be the place to shop back in its day. However markets and competition change, Kmart did not change fast enough and is probably past the threshold of turning it around considering the money it would take to both rebrand and restock.

    One thing going for the stock is the real estate holdings.

  • Pundit

    Unfortunately, it is probably too late. Most prudent leaders would have taken the necessary steps long ago to effect a turn-around. “Problems are rarely solved with the same level of consciousness in which they are created”
    …”Everything rises (or falls) on Leadership” “Innovate or Die” “”Things just don’t happen, they are allowed to happen” Painful to watch.

  • Steve W

    Sears in Thousand Oaks has already closed the automotive and is planning to reduce it’s current location in half by leasing it out to someone else. Why don’t they convert the other half to K-Mart. The K-Mart store closed many years ago and the only one around is 15 miles away. They already have a prime location so why not try it. At this point they have nothing to lose before both have disappeared.

  • Steve R

    Even with all this bad news I still think Sears is going to be around. They are shedding some older stores. There will be several Sears Hometown Stores opened around where the larger stores are closing. They sell almost double the appliances per stores as Lowes. They sell a huge amount of lawn and garden equip.They have the largest service organization in the country

  • David Dietel

    no return, they are doomed to fail. Stale stores, stale merchandise. Only reason I would walk in there is I need something specific related to Craftsman tools.

  • Cindy Wright

    Sears is the store my dad and grandpa once shopped in but mostly for Kenmore applicances and Craftsman tools, both of which you can buy online today. People are brand-loyal, but to the manufacturer, not the store. Unfortunately, Seara realized too late who they should be targeting and lost millions keeping their brick-and-mortar megastores open. As a near-40-year-old, I DO still venture in to Sears and KMart a few times a year, but nothing like the generations before me. Sears could survive in certain areas but I think they would do better having a small satellite store like what is in Escanaba, Michigan – which is geared to appliances, garden items and order pick-ups — in place of all their large department stores. Honestly today, I don’t know how stores in the mall survive. I’m a big-time Amazon buyer because I can get everything there, in one location, at 2am if I so choose. Plus, its cheaper and with Prime on most things, I get what I want in 1-2 days.

  • Luis Rodriguez

    If I’m the CEO of Sears Holdings Corp.; I create a new name with a new retailing concept (more aggressive environment in the store) and focus on youth people (the ones entering in the buying market). Make a deep survey of what this generation want. The trade names of Sears and Kmart are obsolete. Remember, the “baby boomers” are more but they are very conservative buyers.

  • D Kroger

    Good for Costco. They are thinking of their employees and trying to treat them as people with family needs.

  • FormerFatGuy

    This looks like a lot of sour grapes to me. If a woman chooses (or allows herself) to be fat, that’s her right and her choice. Shame on her for complaining about those who have a different standard. This is like high school kids complaining that the SAT is too hard.

    There is nothing more beautiful than a beautiful woman. Not all have the gift of beauty, but most can be beautiful in their own way if they choose to work at it. Not everyone is intelligent, but can be their best with effort. That is their choice. Live with it and get over your excuses.

  • Malcolm

    Why is the author surprised that white males are the large majority at an innovative and leading tech. company? Are whites or males thought to be incapable of this accomplishment?

  • Gus

    Let’s see as of the 2010 census anyway 74.8% of the USA population is white so I would say that may be why 60 percent of Amazon’s USA workforce happens to be white. in 2013 White males made up 69.7% of the work participation rates, again may explain why 60 percent of Amazon’s workforce is white men. Something I like to call math. But hey what do I know i am a white guy.

  • Leo Femedlers

    Very smart people at Amazon. Those I have worked with were not white male either.

    I’m still wondering what Joe’s point is. Are companies that are comprised with mostly white males somehow bad, unsuccessful, or?? If you don’t like it don’t shop it.

  • A Relic cataloguer

    Thank you for admitting the ’emperor has no clothes’! Nothing replaces good old fashioned analysis of all the pieces you have and then making decisions on which levers to pull to build the business. There never have been easy answers, and no matter how fancy or expensive the software, you need to put the pieces together yourself.

  • Christian Feuer

    Omnichannel is about allocating resources to achieve the best ROI across all channels. Customers are channel agnostic, retailers have to finetune their strategies to achieve the best synergies.

  • John

    The managers should be working with the employees to clean up the stores and present a more professional image overall to the customers.

    Starting with pride at working at Walmart.

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    Shrinkage can also be a problem at warehouses, where employees also aren’t paid much. My gut says the causes can be low pay, poor management, “pay-back” against management or the company, and simple irresistible opportunity.

    I also wonder if theft occurs where employees get an employee discount or not?

  • Rachel Thomas

    Great post just in time for the holidays! Friendly reminders and useful tips! Thanks for sharing :)

  • David

    Is this a sales pitch for Dynatrace ?

  • Patrick Hull

    I agree with you and stick to the same point that website and customer monitoring can be of great help and is the way to save your website and a lot of nerves in the future. The only trouble is to choose a reliable website monitoring software which is able to see not only how the website works but how visitors behave when they come to your website. I can recommend the software Anturis which seems to be the only adequite tool in terms of price and options.

  • anon

    I’m in marketing, but as a consumer, I unsubscribed from every email list that sent me more than 1 email a day over the past two weeks. As did most of the people I spoke to over that time period. There were a lot of you. Maybe check your unsubscribe rate against your frequency rate.

  • gilbertdirect

    I Love it when ROI Mag does their year end tips! Thanks. Much to learn here.


  • Karen Kerski

    Thanks for your insight. Many companies are caught up in doing business they don’t have or take time to see the big picture.

  • John

    Wait a minute – ApplePay was a HIGHLIGHT of 2014>? Perhaps Ms. Sullivan lives in a different world from the rest of us! In *our* world, fewer than 5% of iPhone owners made purchases since ApplePay was introduced, and more than *90%* have never even LOOKED at the ApplePay capability of their phones! No part of those ACTUAL FACTS match up with the introduction of ApplePay being a highlight of ANYTHING!

    And combining that with the fact that using one’s *fingerprints* to identify oneself for remote purchases is just about the STUPIDEST idea ever in the payment field – because if the “Fingerprint points” database is ever stolen, that would be ‘WAY worse than just a file of credit card numbers, which the hackers seem to be be to grab without problem, since they could then BE the people identified by those fingerprints in all subsequent remote purchases!

    Again I ask – a HIGHLIGHT?? It was one of the *worst* and non-far-seeking developments of the payments field in 2014!!

  • Bradley Jones

    Hi Jake, it would be great to have some visual examples to along with the article so we can get the gist of it visually.

  • Rob

    I do hope that President Obama will find the hackers as fast as the ones at Sony’s.

  • gilbertdirect

    Thanks for including me ROI gang! Happy holidays!

  • Brad Cooper

    Place = Proximity (the “place” of the business in relation to the “place” of the customer). Don’t need a 5th “P” in this case.

    As much as we try to re-invent the wheel, most of our classical marketing terms, strategies and techniques still ring true today in the digital, connected era.

  • Timothy Holody

    how can UPS or FedEx possibly justify a fuel increase, given the cost of oil recently?

  • david

    To increase shipping fees because of fuel cost seems to be a farce. With fuel now $3.00 and below, it seems that shipping cost SHOULD GO DOWN! , I understand an increase when gas prices were getting close to $4.00, but to raise prices when gas is coming down in price can not be justified!

  • John

    Are these people CRAZY? With fuel prices dropping through the floor, these people are INCREASING fuel surcharges? What possible lame excuse could they use to justify such a stupidity? Even if they legitimately need to increase prices (above and beyond the dimensional weight nonsense), to maintain their profit levels or whatever, what truly DUMB person said, “I know! Let’s call it a ‘fuel surcharge’ increase – maybe no one will notice that fuel prices have actually dropped sharply.”??

  • Rob Martinez (author)

    UPS hedged on fuel when it changed its fuel surcharge table in Nov 2012. If fuel prices went down, they’d charge a lot more than FedEx for fuel. But if fuel prices sky rocketed, they’d show customers an advantage over FedEx. So FedEx just went through 2 years (2013 and 2014) of taking less FSC than UPS, and they had enough. The new FedEx FSC tables are more closely aligned to UPS, which gives FedEx the opportunity of capitalizing on greater profits without losing customers while still showing customers and prospects a slight advantage over UPS. That’s up to a 4% increase in revenue without having to incur any costs. Pretty nice deal for FedEx shareholders, but a lousy deal if you’re a shipper.

  • Charlie Lunan

    Who is the source for these return estimates?

  • AuthorDavidEH

    I will be astonished if there’s any improvement in customer experience in 2015 or 2020 or beyond. The largest corporations that control consumer products and services have down-scaled customer service to near-zero levels of satisfaction — because their concern is not for customers, but for stockholders. And that’s because so many employees participate in company-sponsored investment programs. Thus, dividends and profits are more valuable to corporations than customer loyalty. I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon.

  • Fred

    So following this model will get the public to hate all the other companies as much as they hate the airlines? And there are very few airlines that make money. I saw a report that said Southwest was the only airline to make a net profit, that all the others cumulatively lost more than they cumulatively made.

  • Danny

    Moving from 1% to 4.5% is a 350% change in the index isnt it? But it DOES mean they are slathering an additional 2-5% price increase on top of the already announced GRI….which magically is less than real life price increase.

    In essence, it looks like FedEx waited until all the renewal contracts for Jan 1 were negotiated and finalized, then pulled the switcheroo on Fuel…….and gave themselves ANOTHER 3-5% revenue gain. The timing is disingenuous at best. Again, this will be on top of the DIM changes. It must be nice to be a monopoly.

  • John

    Wait, didn’t Fedex “shift” %% points from FUEL SC to core price starting in 2013? So to say their FSC was less than UPS in that time period forgets the fact they pushed the cost into core cost. Now, they are going the other direction except they aren’t sliding points OUT of the core cost column to balance the shift this time. Their SEC filings say they don’t hedge fuel. But it sure looks like they got caught with a “long” buy that is working against them while the market falls and they are taking the bite out of their customers to pay for it. It’s an unannounced GRI grab.

  • Jose

    Great content, but I hope you realize how horrible the audio and background noise was. I suggest finding a private room to do your videos in going forward.

  • EdW

    One of the things i think you missed is that currently 3D Printing costs are higher than producing goods in quantity. As the cost of the printers and additives comes down, your predictions may very well come true. Don’t know if you are aware or not since you didn’t mention it, is that 3 D printing has come to food. MakerBot has a printer than can print food. What will that portend for the average baker versus Carlo’s Bakery (Cake Boss); I would assume a giant boom in high margin, customizable baked goods.

    Good article and some welcome insights.

  • Joel Arndt

    Is it really a good thing that brands are “dominating the conversation?” Don’t we want customers to dominate the conversation? We need to be involved and responsive, but I don’t know that we need to dominate social media.

    And of course more tweets will show up when more people buy TVs. Social media has been a western lifestyle for at least 5 years now, if not more. People share when they get shiny new toys. I would be careful to give too much praise to Twitter for increasing sales without more data.

    That being said, the power of social media as a channel for people to become brand advocates is demonstrated well.

  • yucca13

    This person heads the worst shoe buying site on the Internet. Their return policies are the biggest joke I’ve ever seen.

  • Evan Weber

    nice tips…

  • Jeffrey Allender

    ok so I totally agree with everyone about surepost, and fed ex smartpost. One package shipped UPS surepost, the other shipped fex ex smart post (Both EXTREMELY STUPID services). So get this. The UPS package actually arrived at my home town in Myrtle Beach, SC. My UPS driver drives by my house every day as it is, so its not like he has to go out of his way to deliver my packages. So instead of just throwing my package on his truck today and delivering it, they are delivering it to the local post office instead so now i have to wait god knows when for the post office to deliver it. How is that cost effective to them at all? I dont get it. Seems to me they would have saved more money just throwing my package on the UPS truck and having them deliver it since my driver goes right past my road every day as it is. Apparently adding more legs and another shipper onto a delivery, and inconveniencing customers is somehow better.

  • Turlough

    I can understand the drive for cost effective communications but that’s not ROI. The most cost effective medium, digital or otherwise, advertisement, engagement etc does not necessarily produce the highest ROI. They might, but without consideration of the revenue generated, the total costs incurred and the nett revenue produced you can’t have an ROI the C-Suite will recognise. That’s also assuming a linear customer journey which we all know is unlikely. So we have to add in attribution before we have an insight into ROI.

  • ray

    Without any notice to customers, the USPS stopped delivering first class packages as a next day objective and convenience to the customers. Now what used to be first class delivery to local areas, is now 2nd and 3rd day delivery and at times of a Monday holiday, such as Martin Luther King holiday, it was 4 days before the 1st class postage paid envelope or letter was delivered. So what was paid for on Thursday as 1st class postage, finally made its destination on Tuesday. So with this in mind, I think the USPS should stop promoting their next day delivery with 1st class mail and also stop charging for that service. This postage needs to be lowered since we are not getting what we paid for. After all, all types of lying and cheating should be punished. The USPS is no exception. Kansas City, MO customer

  • P.O’d at NHP P.O.

    I think a big part of the reason their first class mail volume has declined is due to the fact that ( in our area, at least ) what is called “first Class Delivery Service” has steadily gone downhill to 5th class delivery service. New Hyde Park post office has got to be one of the worse on Long Island, NY. Their “tracking” is as inaccurate as is my aim in shooting baskets and, frankly ( don’t call me frankly-:) their excuses, when we call to complain, are simply lies.

    They tell us we received the mail when I know for a fact that we didn’t. How? Because I am home all day and usually take the mail out of the delivery person’s hands or out of the mailbox immediately upon hearing the mailbox close. Yet the tracking showed it to be delivered. Two weeks later, the item arrived , when all mail was to be held due to our being away, and sat in our mailbox for 3 days until we got home. This was valuable mail and was not the first time this has happened. Still, this kind of delivery service goes on in this area and we get no satisfaction or justifiable reasoning why. packages also being left on front porch overnight as if they were just thrown there are not out of the ordinary either. Delivery service is inconsistent and we must routinely check our front porch until we go to bed, just in case a package was left after 6pm. THIS is NOT ANYWHERES NEAR 1st class service. Maybe if the postal workers stopped chatting on their phones as they work, they could actually pay attention to the 1st class job they’re supposed to be doing and what they USED to be known for. Maybe then, mail delivery can be “like your father’s oldsmobile.”

  • Catherine

    How can I protect myself from fraudulent online orders. The credit cards go through, the cvv matches, the customer claims they never placed the order. We cannot locate any insurance coverage for such problems. Currently I do call customers on orders that seem strange and ask them questions, did they place the order, why the bill to and ship to are different, I will ask the usage of the item, etc hoping to feel out a bad one. But most don’t show any sign of fraud.

  • Bob

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. When will it ever end?

  • catalpha

    Yet another indication of the failure of government to run an agency that should be able to cover its costs. Honesty in pricing will go much further than calling it a fuel surcharge. Historically that term is used to cover an unexpected increase in fuel costs.

  • Timothy Mauch

    I worked as a driver for a UPS competitor 20 years ago. They were arrogant jerks back then. I see nothing has changed!

  • Shipping Mgr

    You begin the article with “UPS just changed the tables used …. New, higher fuel surcharges for UPS Air, International and Ground products will change effective Feb. 2.”
    However, when I look at the UPS website, the fuel surcharges for February have the Ground fuel surcharge remaining the same, at 6.5% and Air/ Int’l fuel surcharge lowering by 2% from 7% to 5%.

    Am I missing something? How is this an increase?


  • Greg Schutta

    Observation: many brands find it hard to justify the spend in creating a omni-channel experience because, by the numbers game, they’ll dilute their overall efforts and not create any critical mass. Contrary, being in a few channels (where critical mass can be reached) leaves many holes in the consumer journey (their personal ecosystem) and lots on the table where right message/right time/right place is concerned. If all the brand dollars and resources were focused on building out a plan, we’d see the effort get much easier to justify — and execute. Today, omnichannel translated for many brands is Latin for paralysis.

  • lumiary

    Great article. We started our business purely on the belief that the independent sellers can own the next decade of E-commerce.

  • lumiary

    Dan makes some great points here. The new channels (like social) combined with making it easier to complete transactions (desktop to mobile) are giving retailers so many new ways to increase conversion by meeting shoppers where they are. The technology providers that support these retailers just need to keep improving the tools to help them manage sales and customer data across all these new channels.

  • Sergio Freddson

    These are some great suggestions! I love your suggestion to have the senior reps walk through the call center each day. It can seem like a waste of time after a few months of the ‘same old’, but it really does keep efficiency and quality up. Just knowing that work is noticed does a lot for quality as well. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us! http://www.apello.com/Live_Answering_Service.asp

  • s3rndpt

    That article on Buzzfeed is from last year.

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    Welcome to creative job destruction. Ever notice the advocates of this concept rarely suffer it themselves?

  • Jorge Fernandez

    I wish the author could offer some real life examples of monetizing IoT.

  • PaulBobnak

    I’m glad I just saw this, because I like looking at connections between brands all of the time. I completely agree – would have been a big fail even if Moe’s and Ruth’s Chris had the same ownership. This is akin to discovering that your Mercedes dealership switched out one of your parts with one from a Yugo during your last service call … only far more noticeable. If you can’t takeaway boxes, then go to a warehouse store (BJ’s, etc.) and get a few crates of them really cheap. This isn’t rocket science.

  • manesandtails1

    I have left Facebook as it is populated by Groups that have the funds to pay for advertising. Furthermore, the site has pages depicting animal torture and cruelty to animals. I find that repulsive and illegal. Torture is NOT protected speech!

  • manesandtails1

    I have left Facebook due to this pay or play stuff. Furthermore, the site has pages depicting animal torture and cruelty. Torture is NOT protected Speech and Zuckerberg is too busy enjoying the benefits of the ‘Nouveau Riche’ to care at all about any of this. Twitter is far better.

  • not-click-happy

    It would be nice if the entire article appeared from the email link, instead of another click. Poor user experience.

  • Grahame Palmer

    This article matches our experiences in almost every way. About 50% of our visitors are on laptops and desktops and the other half on mobile devices – chiefly iPads. But mobile visitors spend considerably less and are reluctant to be tempted by up-selling and cross-selling. We agree that trying to shop on a mobile device is often frustrating – regardless of the “device-responsiveness” of our websites, and that people will use a mobile device to target a single item that they are really keen to purchase. To shop on a more “leisurely” basis is a bit of a hassle on a mobile device. Interestingly however, many of our customers tell us they initially found us on their iPad, but waited until they got in front of a conventional computer before they began to shop with us…

  • Ry G.

    Today, there’s no such thing as “e-commerce,” there’s just commerce — or perhaps the “e” has come to denote “everywhere.”

    Ryan, I really hate this sort of unjustified, and unsupportable, generalized statement. While it is true that many merchants (notably the larger ones, with greater access to development money) have moved (or, at least, TRIED to move) to what is today being called “omni-channel” (something more often expressed as a desire than a fulfilled dream, honestly), it is *equally* true that a very large number of companies are continuing to experience what they themselves would classify as a “satisfying” level of success, SELLING SOLELY ONLINE – i.e. through “traditional e-commerce”. In other words, contrary to your sweeping dismissal of the idea, “traditional e-commerce” is STILL – and every sign seems to indicate that it will *continue* to be! – a perfectly viable marketing channel … and NOT one to be dismissed by every person who has a tendency to look ONLY to the “next great thing”, while instinctively undervaluing the “CURRENT great thing”! To put a point to it, you may want to think twice, the next time you start feeling the urge to make a sweeping statement that contradicts easily-observable facts!

  • Scott Connors

    My Two cents…

    Ryan’s thoughts are close to the bulls eye of the 1000 yard target. And that’s his point really. There is no more here and now. If your thinking in those terms every one of your competitors will blow right by you.

    Think about it from a consumer retail prospective. Not a bad idea since its accounts for north of 70% of U.S GDP.

    We don’t go to stores anymore to “look around”. We do that portion of the process online. That is where competition begins today. Not the signage at your local mall.

    Instead of driving 10 mins to the parking lot and getting cut off by the mini van who just took our space from us because their life is more important than ours, we open our web browsers and retailers spend money today on programs like pay per click etc. not upgrading store front signage.

    If store A has a better presence on the shopping tab of our browser than company B, B is probably done forever with this customer if A does the job right. Now the essence of Ryan’s article take shape… You better own the interface and have a soup to nuts program that builds a repeat and lasting customer experience. Retailers think like this far more than they do about programs on how to be better store greeters.

    In today’s commerce we want to see the item and only the item. We want size, shape, color choices etc. and that is all we want. If its not seem less we don’t leave the store that took us 20 mins to get to, 5 mins to park after putting the kids….you get the point… we just hit the back button. So to say there is no fusion between the E and the C like Ry G. does is incorrect.

    Ryan’s vision, which I stated above is certainly upon us, Looks like this to me… If my experience with company A, ( notice the elevation from the word store ), is seem less, I buy. If they capture all of my information, analyse it , get ready for my next visit, send me email, ( from time to time only please ), thanking me for my purchase and send me suggestions for products from my click habits analysis they have my loyalty. And my truck continues to stay in the garage.

    Compare numerically my experience above to yourself. Think about the number of times you pulled into a parking lot to “go shopping” over the past 60 days vs. buying online and you get the point.

    Now back to loyalty. Loyalty is a word that both commerce and e commerce have in common. Like dropping the “The” from The Facebook, ( see the movie ), just drop the e and admit that it is all one seem less marketplace.

    Thank goodness we have evolved to the point where “there’s just commerce”. Because if we hadn’t our landscapes would be nothing but strip centers and “shopping” malls.

    Scott Connors
    VP Sales & Business Development
    Velocity Werks

  • Ty Whalin

    I’ve worked for several flooring companies and done plenty of research on Lumber Liquidators and always wondered how they offer such a low cost to customers. What I realized was that the manufacturing process is streamlined and the products are produced in bulk which allows for lower pricing.

    I also found out that when Lumber Liquidators air’s the commercials in fine print it charges for installation and also charges for other materials such as floor padding and additional items. As for the chemical problem being discussed, it’s not the first time a country such as China has had issues with chemicals in their products. It seems to be a problem with several companies being run by China.

    The standards of the manufacturing plants should be looked at thoroughly because of growing concerns with manufactured products being contaminated or not of quality standards.

  • Nikki

    Nice article. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Georgene Harkness

    Who is the idiot that wrote this story? Did she actually LOOK on Amazon to see whether these products are selling there? I didn’t think so.

    Also: gauge. Not “gage.”

  • Chris

    Something is wrong with the link to this webinar. I missed it yesterday, but is now unable to view it, as the link just refers to something that looks like a reposting with a new date:

  • PepperSeth

    Some good advice for catalogue and mail order businesses

  • UberOnTime

    Speedy delivery is strongly needed for online shopping locally.

  • reciprocity

    I love companies that focus in on quality and attention to detail. It’s refreshing, coming out of the post recession doldrums with the accountants and lawyers running things, hopefully a harbinger of things to come: Spring!

  • Lois Brayfield

    Thank you Jim, for your perspective. Well said.

  • Robin McArdle

    Another great addition to mobile apps is the use of a voice powered virtual assistant like Dominos and USAA has. Worth checking out.

  • Dana Pappas

    Great insight on the topic!

  • Ed Larkin

    A thoughtful article on membership co-operative databases; good points and good questions. I will take exception with a few points because they do not distinguish B2B membership co-ops from their B2C counter-parts. 1) Lack of Transparency: Experian’s b2bbase and Merit’s Pinnacle both provide members with the participant roster, open profile reports and clear reports for all models. 2) Same Segment Sizes … And They’re Too Large: b2bbase scored in 20k name cells, Pinnacle custom adjusts Decile size based upon universe size 3) Lack Flexibility and Push Catalogers to ‘Let the Models Do the Work: 30% of Pinnacle usage is Boolean selects, 20%+ model outputs are customized with mailer-driven post-selects and 4) Demographic Overlays Are a Valuable Pre-Select That’s Overlooked by Co-Ops: both b2bbase and Pinnacle utilized vertical market models and other model pre-selects based upon mailer needs and penetration. That all said, you are 100% on target it behooves the mailer, and their broker, to get involved, ask questions and provide give and take to maximize these relationships.

  • Avril Haynes

    I have laminate flooring that was purchased from Home Depot, and wonder if they all have the same problem. I am having some health issues and wonder if the laminate flooring can be a cause of my medical issues. was a normal healthy person, working out at the gym 5 days a week, doing yoga and weight lifting, and all the other healthy activities, now i am having pain from my feet, and throughout my body, sleeplessness and weight loss, because i also walked around the house bare footed. I would like to have my house tested to see if formaldehyde can be detected

  • Diane Kamer

    I wish I could take your insights and zap them into my bosses’ brains via telepathy or something.

    This is such great stuff. Wish we could actually implement it.

  • Guest

    Please include articles in their entirety, or at least from sources that don’t require a paid subscription to read the story.

  • Karen Bezemek, PDM

    Great article! Words of wisdom and I’ll be sharing this with many. Thank you!

  • datadale

    Jim – you are On Target, as usual.
    Great article!!

  • Bob Klaas

    Jim, the second paragraph of your article really hit the nail on the head!
    “Digital marketers have done a great job of discrediting “traditional” direct marketing in an effort to make what they’re selling (pure digital) more palatable.” I’ve had clients drink the digital and social Media marketing Kool-Aid, only to realize years later that the ROI for acquisition is better with direct mail than social or digital. Social/digital is great for activation and retention of existing accounts, but when it comes to acquisition, direct mail still can’t be beat.

  • John

    Jim, your article was like a breath of fresh air, blowing away the smell of the crap from some of the “marketing gurus” who have just rediscovered things that we more experienced folks knew decades ago!

    My ONLY problem with any part of your article was the line, “Digital marketers have done a great job of discrediting “traditional” direct marketing”. I’ll give you that they’ve certainly TRIED to discredit “traditional” DM, but I will disagree to the end of time that they’ve done any kind of “great job” – to my way of thinking, they’ve done a *lousy* job of discrediting anything, as they try to repackage old truths in new, shiny wrapping. To anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about in this field (read, “experienced”), they have failed abjectly with the discrediting, and just proved themselves (proudly, apparently), to be shortsighted people who may have heard that old cliche, “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it”, but don’t really believe it or think it relevant in their ridiculous “new world of marketing”.

  • Durk Price

    Chip, Well done. In stressing the complexity you get to the core of the “issue” with attribution. We do the digital marketing for a customer who does a lot of TV advertising. If they aren’t running TV ads, digital sales are directly affected. So how do you calculate the attribution of TV in a digital/trackable world? In early days we’d ask simple questions like: Are sales up? Are costs of sales down or up?, and then see our customers make adjustments to their spend accordingly. Now with the overload of information available through many vendors and tools the job of making sense of the digital spend doesn’t seem as simple anymore. The idea one vendor or bundled services is definitely a good one and one that some digital agencies are trying to tackle…

  • Zo play

    Acknowledging past purchase behavior and suggesting other relevant purchase ideas is one of the easiest ways to convince your customer you know them, and therefore are able to make relevant and meaningful offers to them.

    Zo play

  • Robert H Saquet

    Stop the whining. The biggest scoflaw of them all, Amazon, is on board with support for the Main Street Fairness Law. People shop in catalogues, and on line, for the convenience–not to beat anyone out of the fair collection of sales tax. Cataloguers still have some great advantages–they are open 24/7 and you don’t have to get dressed up to go shopping. The only cataloguers who will be effected are those that depend on “no sales tax” to make the sale.

  • Dick Goldsmith

    Megan Brennan brings an intelligent, insightful, experienced and exciting hand to the helm of the USPS. It will be exciting to see how such a capable person will get this job done.

  • MAD about this

    you as…… that think this up should all be lined up and shot. Our DATA is OURS not yours to “mine”!!!! I am sick and tired of unasked for ads popping up every time I turn on my computer !!!

  • James Farmer

    Totally good advice all around. I got a phone call on my new land line number the other day. It was a guy with an Indian accent who said he was calling from Microsoft tech support. I told him, “there is no reason Microsoft would call this number, you’re full of it” (well, I added a couple of letters to “it”) and promptly hung up. Years ago I also got a call from someone trying to tell me I had randomly won a $100 gas card. All they needed were my bank account number and routing number. Yeah, *click*. I don’t give my full social out over the phone unless it’s someone I have called directly and I know they need it.

    Come to think of it, I need to go to the DNC registry website real quick…

  • joyce

    This conversation is a waste – not Target or any only retailer can control what gets purchased online or how many. Unless you want the disclaimer set that of limits on your purchase, which I personally do not want. If I want to save shipping and buy the same garment, same size for myself and my sister and my two friends, then I should be able to purchase 4. They WANT to sell all of the product, that is why they bring it in to the stores! Suggestion: be quicker next time.

  • ruhi

    catalogs will not help a failing postal service! usps needs major reform now!

  • Not a Happy Customer

    The rates are outrageous!! I had a 2.2 lb / 8″ X 8″ package sent from Buffalo to Mississauga and was charged over $120 dollars… I almost fell off my chair when I saw my Visa Bill. I called into Customer Service and was told this was not a mistake. There were fuel surcharges etc. I wonder if I was paying the fuel surcharge for the entire truck… will never us them again for anything. I could have driven to Buffalo and back 4 times for this crazy rate.

  • magentodev8

    Wow, the biggest load of BS that can be made all on one page. Purely written for the sake of selling a textual search (keyword matching) that is no better than a free extension such as SOLR etc.

    A. Most people do use “natural language” when they search for products – thats how people communicate
    B. One of the biggest reasons retailers leave SOLR and other textual search providers is for the exact reason that people mostly user natural language in product search and not keywords as suggested above. Yes. keywords are used in search on Google when people are looking for information, but when people shop they are indeed expressing what they are looking for such as “red skirt size m” etc. You cannot ask for a shoe, shirt, pants, skirt, tv, ring or anything else by using textual search – it does not work
    C. There are a few search providers that provide natural language search services that I have integrated in the past and they have by FAR outperformed any textual search that I have seen
    D. Learning search on a textual engine is a misconception. The reason is simple. It learns from the mistakes of showing the wrong SKU’s – over time. So basically the merchant who is paying X dollars for service is paying for the wrong results to be shown in hopes that the machine learning will pick it up – over time if not manually fixed by the merchant. Which basically means natural language search wins!

  • Tony The Pitiful Copywriter

    Our company did something like this in the late 90’s. No more middle managers, and more money for the remaining handful of “coaches.” I predict Zappos will thrive and those making good money there will only make more. As for everyone else, too bad for you. Wait ’til they cap your salary, because you can’t get promoted, because, well, no more middle management. LOL.

  • http://www.aull.info/ Diane Aull

    Or flipping the story just a bit — almost 1,300 (86%) of Zappos employees think they’ll get along just fine without a boss, thankyouverymuch. Zappos has a good reputation for treating both employees and customers well, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Frankly, if I worked there, I’d be among the ones who opted to stay.

  • http://iownmyownname.com/ David Petherick

    Great new features, and an excellent concise round-up of the benefits, thanks for this Jim.

    • Jim Gilbert

      My pleasure @david!

  • Steven

    Yeah, but: how about Wal-Mart had stores across Canada and many or most were closed down, Then Target Corporation based in Minneapolis opened a 100 plus stores after the Wal-Mart fiasco. And now they are closing their physical retail stores too. That has NADA to deal with shipping online to Canada. What I have heard is the Canadians would rather cross the border and shop In US than buy the product in Canada. Please explain that difference in cross border taxes?

    • Marcel

      Target will definitely be a case study in Canadian retail failure for many years. Walmart has been much more successful but that has more to do with an integrated “bricks & mortar” strategy than online shopping.

      Canadians crossing the border to do their shopping stems mostly from the frustration they have with trying to buy online as I discussed. The key is transparency.

      Canadians are willing to pay an extra few dollars at the time of the transaction if they know their products are properly cleared through customs and will not arrive at their doorstep with an invoice from the Government. As a retailer. the best way to do this is set up a Canadian fulfillment center and ship your product from within Canada.

      With respect to taxes, Revenue Canada will charge HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) for goods crossing the border. As a US retailer, your choices are to
      1) collect it at the time of purchase which is cumbersome because you have to remit it back to Revenue Canada
      2) leave your customer stuck with the bill.
      3) bring the goods into Canada wholesale and fulfill your orders domestically and build the HST into your price.

  • John Ferrari

    I was surprised to see a package from Amazon, delivered on my doorstep this past Mother’s day. Happy, but surprised. Especially since these last couple of years, getting our regular weekly mail was turning into a nightmare. THIS ought to be investigated thoroughly also. Numerous times we’ve received mail belonging to other homes nearby and afar. A few pieces were supposed to go to Michigan which is quite a distance from New Hyde Park, N.Y. Hopefully, the postmaster will do his job as if he cares about it. Obviously, our many complaints kept falling on deaf ears.

  • Agent Red

    Where is the rest of the article? Or, is that all there is?? Seems incomplete…

    • JustSayin

      Google deleted it?

  • Keli Colbert

    This seems totally invasive and I for one am sick of Google. The way our retail world ‘seems’ to be heading is that ALL shopping will one day be done at WalMart, Google or Costco. Is the yuppie generation really THAT narrow minded that 70% of them feel the need for instant gratification shopping?

    To me the idea that you buy on Amazon to have ” drop out of the sky delivery” is the biggest line of BS I’ve ever heard. So sad. No wonder they call it the “dumbing” of America.

  • connie marucci

    California judges and lawyers will look for any reason they can to file law suits that put good companies out of business……and for what? Is this to protect the average person…..No, they could care less about anyone but themselves and their bank roll. Just look at all the PROP65 Legal teams which are the equivalent to Ambulance Chasers to see perfect examples of this. This is just another scheme to fatten their own greedy pockets. This in no way benefits the consumer like they want you to believe. All retailers mark their products up to unrealistic retails so the markdowns look more attractive. As a consumer, you should know how to research costs yourself and determine value. Is Judge Olguin going to make sure Mrs. Smith…. who only bought that sundress for little Sally at the JC Penney store because the savings were so attractive….. gets her money back. No. Why does the government need to get involved at all? Pure GREED as usual!

  • tina bopper

    crappy customer service…. no refunds…. don’t reply to the emails so they are all pointless DO NOT ORDER FROM ROXX.COM

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  • http://revlio.com Todd Weider

    The revolution is definitely happening. Before Revlio was developed, I personally know that a considerable amount of time was spent observing and learning about the retail marketplace and consumers.

    Studies proved that people want to shop when idle or when winding down from their day. It was also learned that retailers do indeed want traffic, but specifically they want high quality traffic that they can continue a relationship with. We are on the verge of a huge shift in retail and early adopters will be the ones to benefit the most. Full disclosure: I work at Revlio.

  • Robtechno

    US Airways as I remember well has the flag reversed on its tailwing. No one is offended by that. What a BS

  • Robtechno

    Maybe the shirt really reflects how the USA is perfoming now a days. Think about that.

  • Jeri Lucco

    Excellent article! I can’t wait to read more of Susan’s posts.

  • Small_Businessman

    Ebay is just trying to cover their backsides. Otherwise you’d have unscrupulous sellers who would advertise something for $0.99 plus :$98.99 S&H.

    An extreme example, I admit – but similar things were going on and led to the policy change. Unfortunately, it hurts the honest sellers more than the dishonest ones.

  • Kathleen Hillman

    Piddle place is making a comeback here!!!! Much better than the NY times article about Skymall. We loved working with this company.

  • Norman Rosner

    Go Go Chaim. Cab’t wait to fly and see the new skymall

  • David

    Aggressive is a good choice of words in this case. I just unsubscribed from their email marketing because I would receive a new ‘25% off everything sale!’ email every other day from them.

  • http://huntfishads.com wildbrands

    There needs to be a delicate balance between sales and dumping merch. I agree with David – whom wants to get a new sales flyer everyday from the same retailer.

  • FrankLuska

    Why shouldn’t they be, only catering to a fraction of the market. Will the cost outweigh the benefits?

  • brian kelly

    Lots has changed. That’s for sure. And its never going back to where it was. Consumers are now in control. Individualism is at an all time high. The US is a lot less “e pluribus unum” and much more “pluribus por pluribus”.
    Yet here’s the reality: Target’s most interesting shift is redefining its customer based upon the people who shop the store. Store portfolio segmentation is not new. However technology now can manage data base marketing so that the chain can drive a positive comp. Sears is close to 80% of its sales coming from the database. That’s where retail CRM is headed. The diversity of the customers within the data base can now be more directly managed to drive a positive comp.
    The tactics have changed. Knowing who your customer is and giving her what she wants, is not.

  • Akbar Jaffer

    The subscription economy has been a tremendous force in software industry and some others. However, not every type of product or service is ideal for subscription. For some products it just feels forced and price gouging. Look at Adobe Creative Suite. Sure its a monopoly so they can do whatever they want. But I don’t see a point in buying subscription for PhotoShop. For such products I prefer Apple’s model. You pay the price once and pay for upgrades when they are available.

  • Robtechno

    29 bucks for a grill. That is what I pay as small biz for a 4 Lbs package cross country. They should indeed get rid of these low prices but give better prices to small businesses.

  • http://www.realtvcritics.com/ RealTVCritics

    Good Lord what was this fool thinking of? Or just another moron stupid enough to ruin his career via social media. Yeah, that’s it.

  • Ciall

    One must question the values and wisdom of the top management of the company to have promoted someone like that to such a position. Time for a thorough housecleaning.

  • http://www.jerrybirnbach.com Jerry Birnbach Assoc. A.I.A.

    J.C.Penney’s should become a Harvard Study on how to accellorate putting oneself out of business. It wasn’t bad enough that under the Johnson “apple” era, when JCP knew it was heading to the world of Montgomery Ward, W.T. Grants and Mervyn’s the plan backfired. No coupons for you must have skipped the focus group rounds and went right to impliment and was called “Strike One” Back came the coupons, back came the old CEO, and onward to regain customer confidence. Apparently if you cannot gain confidence with tried and proven retail strategy, pull the cotton, wool, and synthetic material over their eyes.
    Well that looks like “Strike Two”. You know where I am going with this,
    If they survive this allegation it appears they ran out of good ideas and might as well stand still and take “Strike Three”

  • kkerski

    Is this affordable to the small retailer?

    • Bill Siwicki

      Yes. A small chain can build a basic app and selectively install some beacons. A single-store retailer (or a small chain, or a large chain for that matter) can install a beacon through the app of a large shopping app (not a retailer app but a shopping app run by a third-party, like a rewards app) and experiment. E.g., my hair stylist (four chairs) uses a beacon, and rewards me with points every time I walk in. Mind you, points are mostly good toward hair product, and I don’t have a lot of hair, and it’s Johnny Carson white, but I’m not her typical customer. 😮

  • http://www.jerrybirnbach.com Jerry Birnbach Assoc. A.I.A.

    It never is a good story for retailing when Chapter 7 is filed. The Dabah’s were pioneers in apparel starting from the Gitano days when they installed extravagant concept shops into retailers and got every kids attention as cool. As the brothers separated the Gitano Brand, each taking a division, Ezra held on to Children and used his genius to start what became a great kids apparel retailer, The Childrens Place. As a Store Planner in the early days of concept shops and assisting him, Dabah knew the importance of creating an image that kids would want to associate with. Shopping up until then was not a cool experience for kids but with the “attitude” of his departments he turned around the image of mass retail apparel for kids. Success is dangerous and all too often they lose track of what got them there, so trouble loves misery which was repeated with every success. I hope there is still gas in his tank to rethink the concept and resuscitate the concept in another shape, size or form.

  • Rygrourl

    This piece of cr@p is the exact OPPOSITE of a “success”, by any rational measurement – except his own totally-delusional one, of course!

    • KathyC

      He is just saying what everyone else is afraid to say! I don’t think I would vote for him but I applaud his honesty.

  • Nathanial Poling

    this President is a fool…

    • Small_Businessman

      You shouldn’t disparage fools that way!

      • Nathanial Poling


  • Brenda

    Another leftist wimps out…

  • Maxella Eva


  • http://www.experienceadvertising.com Affiliate Management

    David, you don’t spend much on paid advertising on the top of the funnel? why?

  • rjim

    Why are they doing that? A person should be able to express an opinion. I guess I will just dump them by my buying.

  • J Thompson

    Yes, everyone should be able to express their opinions including the number of growing “DO NOT TRUMP” supporters who do not share his arrogant ways of dealing with the world we live in today!

  • Sara Montclair

    Corporations should stay neutral and not get involved. They are there to employ. Once companies start to get involved we will see how many people would really want to work in that kind of an environment. Customers will stop spending money and shopping and doing business with companies who do this kind of stuff. I am one of them along with many. Donald Trump only had a few things with his name on it big deal. He has also made lots of money from departing from Macys in return. Good Job Donald!! WE BELIEVE IN YOU.

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  • http://www.myliftkits.com LiftKits Shoe Lifts CEO

    little late for this post don’t you think?

  • Patrick

    Comparing with Black Friday rates over Cyber Monday… seems like an easier target to hit, but perhaps I’m being cynical and don’t see (within the campaigns I manage) the same BF/CM results that Amazon is seeing.

  • FrankLuska

    Wheres the other article, “Customers cut up credit cards due to Trump Firing”

  • Jesus

    I saw a lot of great things along with everyday items for sale at really reasonable prices. A lot were sold out quickly! I enjoyed the sale

  • islandgirl23

    I’m sorry, but shipping costs is a big factor for me.

    • http://www.revlio.com Todd Weider


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  • Todd Weider

    This is a great article. When we set out to build Revlio, it was critical for us NOT to require the consumer to adopt yet another technology / app and or have to sign up for anything to engage and utilize the service. I think we did this well and would suggest if your looking at options that this point be heavily weighted in your decision making process.

  • http://www.revlio.com Todd Weider

    I like the idea of engaging a customer. I often use the analogy of why people gravitated towards Howard Stern. It was not because of what he had to say, but what it was he was going to say next. Would it be as shocking as his last statement? I feel people also apply this to engagement of technology. People want to know what happens next, Tinder is another example. You want to see who shows up next. With Revlio, we used SMS because people want to interact and see what will happen next. They crave the anticipation of what will be returned. The bottom line is ads and products need to engage the consumer. Once they are engaged, the ability to establish a two way mobile relationship for pre-sales, announcements etc is automatically born.

  • http://www.jerrybirnbach.com Jerry Birnbach

    Retailers have often said success is about location, location, location. When if comes to internet retailers, in my opinion success comes from credibility. Although a brick and mortar have so many factors that must be successful and well planned as a Store Design Firm we know if you build it right, they will come.

    In the case of Amazon, they have written a new chapter in the retailers guide to success. The fact that it took an online retailer to come up with an event that generated such success is an eye opener. The fact that Walmart followed the concept is a wake up call that brick and mortar retailers are up against some worthy competition and better not fall asleep at the switch.

    What makes the Amazon July 15 event a success is that it was credible. There were no rain checks, the product was viable and appealing in spite of some customers comments that the product resembled a garage sale.I for one based on my experience with Amazon fell hook line and sinker for the sale.

    The smart tv that I ordered at a very low price and high quality arrived in my house 18 hours after the item was ordered. The bottom line is they made a promise and kept it. This ingredient to success is essential for any retailer because with that trust is the ability to create special days and get this kind of response.

    In conclusion, Brick and Mortar invented Black Friday and allowed that to be the great contribution for two decades without another innovative idea. I do not consider Xmas set up on Oct 1, or Halloween starting Sept 1 a great concept or innovation. So apparently it is up to the online retailers to pave the way forward to capture customers attention and dollars, while traditional retailers scratch their heads and wonder where they went wrong. So yes Rob, this is the next craze.

  • Halina Zakowicz

    I think that’s what the MSRP is all about- manufacturer’s suggested retail price. As in, suggested.

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  • Chuck Thomas

    and EMV stands for what?

    • Danny Huff

      Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, the three companies which originally created the standard

      (Copied directlyfrom Wikipedia)

      • Chuck Thomas

        Great – thank you

  • Natalie Green

    Some great points here Angelica. If last year taught us anything it’s that even the largest online retailers can get it wrong. With an increasingly crowded ecommerce market the need to ensure a clearly differentiated offering and smooth, streamlined purchase process has never been greater – from product research, through payment down to the actual delivery of goods. Preparation is going to be key for Christmas 2015.

  • http://www.experienceadvertising.com Affiliate Management

    nice tips…thank you.

  • http://www.experienceadvertising.com Affiliate Management

    Thank fot the tips Tyler!

  • http://www.realtvcritics.com/ RealTVCritics

    The outfit she wore…completely inappropriate for work unless you’re a server at a cafe on the beach. Good job JC Penney. Other businesses should do what JC Penney did…either send the worker home or fire the worker.

    I’m a hard core liberal but having worked with Fortune 500 clients that are liberal as well. Most lean conservative with issues of what their employees wear, what their do and say on and off campus and they also lean conservative when it comes to the activities of their vendors.

    All you need is one customer complaint and someone’s career is over at JC Penney or any where else in America.

  • dnheise

    Mobility has completely transformed the online shopping experience. What was once a static, largely transactional, presentation of the product catalog, has become a dynamic multi-dimensional experience that combines products with user-created content, rich media, editorial content and product recommendations. That’s not even taking into account the omni-channel experience that shoppers now expect – engagement across social media platforms and different brand properties online. Successful e-Commerce shops should be able to engage with a customer on any device or platform, providing a unified and personalized experience. It is a tall order, but very possible, when it is addressed as an organization-wide goal and approached in an incremental fashion. -Doug Heise, CoreMedia

  • dnotes

    I did not know Trump still had a clothing line and thought it was discontinued in the 1990’s! While Macy’s,TJMaxx,Marshall’s and others are dropping Trump’s clothing line who is deciding to carry it? I just checked and Amazon has Trump clothing and accessories on it.

  • EDG

    These guys (Sen. Blumenthal & Sen Murphy) just don’t get it.
    1) Common sense would say that the FBI should do their job and process these checks in 3 days as proscribed by the law the congress passed. It isn’t a loophole — it was the clear intent of the law.
    2) Most people believe the 2nd Amendment is an important freedom. What part of “shall not infringe” is hard to understand?
    3) People who shop at Cabela’s and Bass Pro, are probably more likely to believe that and hold that opinion with more conviction than many Senators who have sworn to uphold the constitution.

  • Nathanial Poling

    this is just plain stupid

  • Bob Martin

    Doesn’t matter- the boys will become girls and vice versa, to much media fanfare as political correctness continues…

  • Rufus P. Gurney

    No wonder Mr. Dayton died today. He’s obviously ashamed of what his successors have done to his company.

    Taking Target’s approach to it’s logical conclusion, if you can’t distinguish between boys and girls toys, how could you ever tell the difference between boys and girls clothes? Pink is the new blue! Since they may be scarred for life by needing Xtra Xtra Large clothes, let’s remove the sizes from the clothing, too. Just take all of the boys and girls underwear and pile it up on one big table, so that no one is offended.

    First, WalMart supports some rainbow thing, now Target does this. Let’s boycott them all until they replace their current management with people whose intellectual capacity resides somewhere where it wont be sat upon.

  • WillTHISNameDo

    Know of several people who were made “salaried” employees so employers wouldn’t have to pay them the overtime. However, they didn’t get the benefits afforded salaried people. For everything else they were considered hourly and made under $30,000.

  • Fastpack

    Great Article, thanks! I like to think I have stayed on top of this topic, I thought I knew everything about from June of 2014, before it was even implemented. But it must have slipped by me that FedEx Home Delivery was not impacted by the dimensional weight rate change in January? Through all of my research I thought the only UPS/FedEx service not affected was Smartpost? Thanks for the info!

    • http://www.myljm.com Thomas A

      Home Delivery is impacted by dimensional weight. FedEx SmartPost currently is not. Rob’s point was that shifting from HD to SP was one method that shippers could consider to mitigate the impact of dimensional weight. One point that I would add related to the gap in dimensional weight is that UPS has been much more flexible with dimensional weight concessions since making the announcement about the change in practice more than a year ago. That could support some of the findings, although the gap seems a bit extreme. Good info Rob.

      • Fastpack

        Sorry, I didnt understand it that way. After re-reading it, I see it now. Thanks!

  • http://www.mygrandma.com bobkats

    How about if they start selling edible food, like they did back in the 90’s?

  • Jim G

    All we need is kids that can be reliable and trustworthy to show up for work when they’re scheduled. Anything else is not doing them or our future as a country or a society any favors.

    No wonder the US is in the dismal shape it’s in, and why we elect and admire the jail worthy politicians we put in office.

    Time to raise our standards, not define ourselves down to mediocrity. Is that not obvious?

  • Fastpack

    Headline reads “Jet.com CEO: We May Have the Lowest Prices, But Many Shoppers Can’t Figure That Out”. Not the best choice of a title in my opinion.

  • UtterOtter

    In my reporting on COSTCO, I learned they rarely lose these challenges in court thanks to the “First Sale” doctrine, but knowingly selling counterfeit goods is another matter entirely.

  • Fastpack

    Very Interesting! I wonder if we will see alliances like this happen more and more. Very Interesting!

  • Fastpack

    Smart. If your not changing, giving the customers what they want… Well, let’s just say it’s not good for business. I think people will still buy physical books, but no doubt ebooks is the future… Adapt and overcome, and do it quickly!

  • http://www.realtvcritics.com/ RealTVCritics

    Great idea.

  • http://Yourdigigirl.com/ YourDigiGirl Media

    Yes! Advice w/actual tips..thank you! Way too many ‘idea’ posts leave out any specifics. Since all 5 points do describe the majority, makes sense if retailers include as many of the 5 in a campaign, as long as it’s as streamlined as possible. What if…

    At POS, there’s 5 mins of happy customer w/smartphone, and her boyfriend’s text can wait. Visible at register is a slick emblem/placard announcing 10-15% off today’s purchase, once they scan the handy QR code that’ll preload the following FB post or tweet: “Remind me to tell you how to get the secret discount at [your store name], since I just snagged it!” Bonus points for alluding to next month’s campaign will be Instagram/Pinterest. Decent odds they go home and engage those channels.

    Ms. Miglucci, please forgive my rabbit trail, but I promise it was spurred by your own ideas! :)

  • Steven Kranz

    This is useful information to know. Thanks. Doesn’t the DMCA safe harbor only apply to content posted to a site by third parties/users of the website? … or maybe I am thinking of a different section? It would be great to have a little more detail such as what type of OCILLA statements need to be on a website and what you mean by “registration statements” (are you referring to registering an agent?)

  • brian kelly

    JCP will not return. Its as simple as 1-2-3.
    One. JCP has too many stores which are unproductive and must be closed. Even if they are “DCs”, they cost too much.
    Two. JCP in a mall anchor and what we are learning from Sears and Macy’s is that the total SF is too great and filling it with inventory is too expensive.
    Three. B, C and D malls are doomed. Millennial behavior in general and middle market in particular no longer find the assortment and price relevant.

  • Bob Batz

    How is that $15.00 working out for you?

  • wolf1254

    This is just one more ridiculous example of political correctness and idiotic offensibilities. It’s halloween. Does this mean we can’t dress up as nuns or gangsters or the franenstien monster because some idiot without a fully developed sense of self worth thinks it offends them? Give it a break.

    • Jim

      I think they just needed to one up themselves for the “Fat Girl” costume last year

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  • Jed A. Peeler

    What about Zorro or Pancho and Cisco costumes! We saw those as kids. Who cares! At least this costume looks comfortable. My costumes and makeup were horrible, when I was a kid.

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  • Jim G

    ISP DNS servers hacked, I presume? If so just a common goof by their IT crew.

    Even if the cause wasn’t a DNS hack that point of failure remains an unnecessary weakness.

    There are service providers smart enough to mitigate the weakneses, and configure best practices for secure access to the host(s) references.

  • http://www.benpowis.net Ben Powis

    Interesting article, where would be the first place to start with integrating data into on-site search? Is this something that can start on a smaller scale and build up, or would you be required to start at a certain scale to provide an acceptable level or relevance in results?


  • Bob Martin

    Dept of Labor would be interested in this…

  • Andrew Van Noy

    Thanks for the article Lance. I totally agree with you. Brick and mortar Retailers are definitely falling behind e-commerce technology because they are not able to personalize shopping experiences as they do online. Online personalization continues to revolutionize how online merchants interact with their customers and makes for a much higher-target shopping experience. More and more these days, shoppers want to get in and out of a transaction as fast as possible. Personally, I hate wandering around big box stores looking for the one item I know that I need. I know retailers want me to wander because it may increase my order value with the “spur-of-the-moment” buy, but my time is valuable and if they want my business over my e-commerce shopping, then make my experience more enjoyable!

  • http://www.thethoughtfulcoalminer.com/ Nick Mullins

    I love the e-mail signature your friend came up with “No trees were killed in the sending of this email. However, a whole bunch of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.”

    With regard to your justification of e-mail vs, direct mail.

    First, each piece of direct mail undergoes electronic scanning and
    mechanical sorting that consumes more energy than an e-mail that is sent
    and received. That could be considered the break even point between energy consumption. Going beyond the energy consumed in the construction of the devices and infrastructure involved in direct mail and e-mail (think post office vs server room), I think we’ll find that the energy costs incurred in harvesting and manufacturing the material that constitutes direct mail itself (paper, ink, cellophane) are enough to tip the scales towards e-mail being more energy concious. Then we must also make a comparison between electron use versus oil consumption for delivery vehicles and the delivery scale for each. Lastly, recycling of direct mail requires energy for pickup and eventual processing, and lets not forget the energy it takes to grow, transport, and plant trees in reforestation efforts.

    So, while you do have a point that e-mail still consumes energy, which can be from any number of sources to include coal and natural gas, direct mail is much more energy intensive on the whole.

    Nick Mullins

  • http://www.bragbags.com.au David

    Great list!

  • WillTHISNameDo

    YEAH! I know too many people who have been taken advantage of with the old policy. Treated as a salaried worker on overtime and treated like an hourly person for everything else – just not fair.

  • Geodrum

    hhmmm fuel charge “increase” What world are they basing these statistics from ??
    Seems that a government agency ought to be investigating this “deception” in marketing, or is it an outright lie?

    • http://www.shipware.com Rob Martinez

      I hear your frustration. Many shippers are very upset that fuel surcharges continue to be increased in spite of the fact that fuel commodity prices are at the lowest level in several years. To be specific, Ground fuel surcharges are going up .5%, Air & International up 1.5% on Nov 2, 2015.

      In its press release, UPS justifies the rate and surcharge changes as necessary due to increased
      costs, changing demand for select UPS products and other market
      factors. Mostly, ecommerce growth is forcing UPS to transform itself as it seeks to find ways to drive down costs per residential stop. One initiative is to use software to speed up or slow down deliveries by creating “synthetic densities”. In other words, if UPS has a SurePost package scheduled residential delivery today, but it knows that 2 additional packages are in the system to be delivered to the same residence later in the week, they reserve the option to hold the first package and deliver all 3 at once.

  • http://www.fastpack.net Fastpack

    Thanks for the heads up!

  • http://www.purakai.com/ PuraKai

    The photo above is a model and a prop. They’re using the ocean lifestyle for marketing and I think people are looking for authenticity these days.

  • http://www.fastpack.net Fastpack

    FedEx and UPS are raising rates in January, USPS might as well follow :(

  • Ted Kulpinski

    Priority Mail is the best deal in town … Saturday included, 1-3 day and no residential or fuel charges.

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  • http://www.fastpack.net Fastpack

    Great Tips, we will put these tips into action in our next newsletter.

  • http://www.fastpack.net Fastpack

    We have software that sends emails to those shoppers abandoned a cart, and we offer a small % discount if they come back and complete their order. This has been very successful for us!

  • Ragavi Roy

    Today many ecommercesites have emerged. In such case price or offer is not the only consideration to customers they look for looks for sites accuracy, fast, security and its usability.

    Ragavi form Ecbilla

  • http://www.mglitho.com/ Carole Maclean

    Lewis, I could not agree with you more!! As a member of the commercial printing industry, I certainly understand the new avenues of marketing that have come to fruition over the past several years, and that is exciting!! However… I also knew that print would find its home!! The value of fondling a catalog is still inevitable… we are STILL humans, who appreciate our ability to feel!! Thank you for this!!

  • TBone

    I am outraged that something this innocuous could outrage someone

  • jbdial

    How do you determine/get/find read rates and deleted-without-reading rates?

  • http://www.rddassociatesinc.com/ RetailDesignExpert

    Have Department Stores lost their way? Is opening off price retailing by department stores giving the wrong message to their customers who wrestle with price verses current fashion?

    It was not so long ago that Walmart and Target saw a big opportunity as discounters to introduce food into their offering. Ask A&P what that did for business, who was one of the behemoths in the food business. People knew Walmart and Target as Quality, everyday low prices and value.

    Macy’s and they are not the only ones testing this concept to open off premise freestanding stores dedicated to off price items. There is a difference between close out items to clear your stores inventory for new season and fashion. It is another thing to open as store to try and fool the customer into thinking they are getting designer brands at a marked down price.

    We saw outlet stores as a success in the beginning of their origin as a place to get damaged, or out of season branded items. The customer knew the downside but willing to accept the lower standard for the price break. But over time, the clearing house became a level of retail that brand buyers started to actually buy new goods into at break point pricing and the outlet store has lost its credibility. Few shoppers believe that the items in an outlet store are from a home store or retailer carrying the items as current stock.

    So why would the department store want to get into a price war with mis retailers if the product offered is not going to come out of their store to begin with. And why send shoppers away from their home store where impulse buying, branded image, service, positive values of the retailer cannot be duplicated at a lower margin off price venue.

    If all goes to plan, and department stores start to buy new goods into these stores to keep them stocked, and these items are price driven in design, how different is the offering going to be from Walmart and Target product selection. If that is the case, I for one do not see Macy’s winning that contest.

    My suggestion is be as good as you can be on your home playing field and concentrate on what got you to that level.

  • http://www.rddassociatesinc.com/ RetailDesignExpert

    originally stated July prior to Trumps success in the poles, but more so true today than before
    Two brands or iconic symbols shot and now missing in action this week.
    First the confederate flag became a topic that most retailers and media dropped like a lead ballon. Why?
    The topic has been debated back and forth by many this week.
    Perhaps we need to revisit the American Flag and remember “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the U.S.A. And to the Republic, for which is stands, ( and goes on to define what it stands for )
    Now here comes another flag,a symbol of another nation who at the time had a specific “for which it stands ” and for over 160 years our nation has worked to put that behind us. Any reminder of that mentality apparently promotes feelings in the ignorant individuals that cannot get over the fact that they lost the war and the “one nation under god” got the help from a higher power which assisted in the victory. So retailers, I salute you for a quick and decisive move to eliminate one more reminder of what should not have been and to support what we are constantly striving to achieve in our society “for liberty and justice for all”.
    As for the Trump brand, well that is another story. Can’t argue honesty is the best policy. Can’t take away anyones right to say what they believe to be true. What concerns me and remains a gray area, is that several high end apparel designers recently came out with anti gay and anti transgender comments which were meant to be hurtful. Yet D&C, and others are still on the shelves of certain retailers in spite of crossing the line of decency. So why was Trump removed. Having been actively involved with Licensing and Brands, it could have been the easiest way to get out of a non lucrative contract due to poor performance. Just a guess, because the world in truth will not miss seeing Trump product in the stores. What will become interesting is if by some weird set of circumstances if a peanut farmer could win, Trump could win the White House. If Trump wins will retailers make bottom line decisions disguised to be made for hot topic and will this product find itself back on the shelf? My guess is yes.

  • http://www.rddassociatesinc.com/ RetailDesignExpert

    Will Trump have the last laugh as Macy’s continues to flounder because they cannot take a stand on the brands they carry and should support!

  • http://www.rddassociatesinc.com/ RetailDesignExpert

    I am very surprised that Target go it wrong. Their ad campaigns are so well thought out and it is obvious they pay attention to detail. This isn’t the first recall they had of recent and someone in their merchandising area needs to realize they walk a fine line when it comes to religious symbols.
    Christmas and Hanukah fall out often at the same time of year, but represent two different story lines. Confusing these story lines is being insensitive to their customers in this case the Jewish sector of their business.
    The sweater sends out a wrong message and certainly not a statement that parents want their children or companions flaunting around town. It stereo types the religion, offers no comical relief and is in poor taste.

  • Simon Barley

    This will severely damage the Ebay business model. We ship 50+ small packs a day using USPS

  • islandgirl23

    Shipping is going to increase by $0.50 +/- for Flat Rate Priority. That’s not a huge increase. People will know that USPS shipping/rates have gone up.

    Current prices: https://www.usps.com/business/prices.htm

  • Mark N Ianne Almeda-Alpapara

    The benefit of online shopping is very obvious, it is
    more convenient, easy and fast! If you want to shop at an actual store
    literally, you have to fall in line, walk and shop with so many people in the
    mall, most of the time, it is just so frustrating and you’ll end up not buying
    anything. Online shopping is great for busy people, those who like to purchase and get it for a lower price. For me, purchasing online is greater that going to the mall.

  • Kevin Hill

    christmas ahead amazon will be busy http://kevinhill.shopregal.ca/MySite/Story.aspx

  • http://www.fastpack.net Fastpack

    Great tips thanks! We have see a big boost to mobile sales even in our industry. Very important!