red·line /’red,līn/ intransitive verb: to withhold home-loan funds or insurance from neighborhoods considered poor economic risks; and transitive verb: to discriminate against in housing or insurance
My six-word definition of marketing:
Find profitable customers; avoid unprofitable customers.
In actuality, that’s redlining.
What triggered this column was Shelly Banjo’s Wall Street Journal story, “Rampant Returns Plague E-Retailers.”
According to the writer:
Behind the uptick in e-commerce is a little known secret: As much as a third of all Internet sales gets returned, according to retail consultancy Kurt Salmon.
Only 1/3rd of stuff gets returned? That’s good.
I come out of book publishing, where all books are fully returnable from booksellers. And 40 percent of all books shipped are returned.
My first boss in business in 1961 was children’s book publisher Franklin Watts. Every morning on his birthday, Frank would storm out of his office. “Don’t wish me many happy returns,” he would snarl (with a twinkle). “There’s no such thing.”
Consultant Bob Doscher once regaled me with the tale of catalog bandits. That’s the woman who (a) orders three party dresses from a cataloger, (b) wears one to the party and then (c) returns all three for full credit.
So this year, chains are digging through past transactions to weed out chronic returners, train shoppers to make better decisions or stem buyer’s remorse.
Takeaway to Consider
- You can’t train weasels from a distance. The only solution is make sure they never hear from you again.
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