Humanizing the Web
May 1, 2008

As the playing field levels for online retailers in terms of basic transactional capabilities—e.g., fast checkout processes, accurate shipping calculators, e-mail order confirmations—how can we increase sales and build competitive advantage in the years ahead?

Two Businesses to Test
February 1, 2008

I am a new business ideas junkie—businesses that are proven winners and others maybe worth a test. Here‘s two.’s Jacob Hawkins on Customer-generated Reviews
October 3, 2007

Few marketing touchpoints put customers in the driver seat the way customer product systems do. While this tactic has its detractors—those worried about negative publicity and those pointing out the ability for marketers to post fake reviews—consumer approval is convincing larger numbers of online merchants to take the plunge. JupiterResearch reported last year that 48 percent of online shoppers it polled find customer reviews helpful in making online purchasing decisions., the Salt Lake City-based mass merchandise e-tailer, has not needed any prodding on this front. The company launched in 1999 and opened up its site to customer-generated reviews just two years later, says Jacob

Retail Strategies for a Hispanic Customer Base
April 18, 2007

Retailers with stores in California, Florida and New York enjoy the greatest opportunity to capture a valuable share of the Hispanic market. But even though these metro areas feature high percentages of Hispanic consumers, they also are comprised of highly different groups of Hispanics. To serve this ethnic community at the local retail level—or the direct marketing level, for that matter—marketers need to dig deeper into demographic and lifestyle data by country of origin for households in specific geographic targets, posits a recent whitepaper, Breakthrough Merchandising for the Growing Hispanic Community. The whitepaper was developed by several experts at data solutions firm Acxiom Corp., including:

Catalog and Direct SellingL Create in 3-D
November 1, 2004

Techniques to help your products come alive on the printed page Selling a product through the mail is a true art form when it’s executed correctly. While it’s true that many direct marketers successfully sell products with minimal representation of the product, consider how much more response might be garnered if a product were to come alive on the printed page. Direct marketers have to compete against their retail sisters in an unfair playing field, since retail allows customers to pick up, touch, feel, try on or even sample products. You can create products that are three-dimensional in nature using the right creative techniques.

E-commerce Link: Ensemble Selling Online
November 1, 2004

A time-tested merchandising technique gets new vitality through data-driven personalization methods. A longtime goal of online merchants has been to create a pleasant, personalized shopping experience that encourages purchasing and repeat visits. Another goal of direct marketers is to increase average order sizes online. Ensemble selling—otherwise known as selling by merchandise collections—accomplishes both goals, and has seen widespread use because of its ability to get beyond the structured, linear character of the Web and speak to the emotional issues that drive the shopping behavior of targeted customers. Ensemble selling is so widely used and successful that it is becoming a standard

Catalog and Direct Selling: The Selling Season Is Upon Us
October 1, 2004

Here’s a last-minute checklist to see if you truly are ready for the holidays. The fourth quarter’s started, the sales are coming in, the hard work is done and you finally can rest. Well, maybe not. This is the time of year most catalogers enjoy; the time of year when all of the work and effort of the prior seven or eight months pays off. It’s when all of what was learned last year is put to the test in the form of revised marketing strategies, new creative initiatives, more efficient offer rollouts and better tracking methods. But it isn’t a time to

Catalog and Direct Selling: Punch Up Your Product’s Resume
July 1, 2004

Turn a good idea into a best seller Every product is like a job seeker. A product has a resume; it interviews each time it’s shown on a catalog page or Web site; and if it presents its qualifications properly, it has a good chance of closing the deal for the salary … er, price … it demands. So how do you give your product the edge in a market filled with similarly qualified products? The same way you do in the business world: Network your way in the door, present a killer resume and nail the interview cold. Get in the Door If

Catalog and Direct Selling: Dissect Your Catalog
January 1, 2004

In the old days, figuring out what changes to make to the next catalog was simpler. “Metrics” referred to the conversion of gallons to liters; “CRM” was a random sample of the alphabet; and “multi-channel” meant that the one TV in the house had clear antenna reception from all three broadcasting companies. Not so anymore! Now, to keep pace in the complex game of cataloging, procedures such as the post-mortem analysis are necessary. The purpose of a post mortem is to formally review overall catalog results and incorporate the findings into the next catalog. The post mortem does not replace detailed analysis specific to