USPS Details Plans for Partnering with Ecommerce Sites

“Nagisa Manabe, the chief marketing and sales officer with the USPS, offered a preview of an array of initiatives that the agency is working on to improve and expand its services through the use of technology, tapping into unused infrastructure and by forging new partnerships. [...] Manabe described the agency’s vision for “forward distribution centers,” a plan to offer retailers access to unused areas within USPS distribution facilities, making it easier to deliver merchandise in short windows, not unlike Amazon’s strategy of opening up new outbound hubs all around the country. Additionally, Manabe said that the Postal Service is working to make it easier to process returns of orders placed online. That starts with the shipping labels, which Manabe says should be reconfigured within the next few months to include return freight that could be activated when a customer needed to send back an order. [Source: Ecommerce Bytes]

Read More

RetailMeNot Acquires Personalized Shopping Startup Pickie

“RetailMeNot announced today that it will be acquiring the team behind personalized shopping startup Pickie. Pickie provides a personalized email newsletter and iPad app to show users products that they would like to buy, based on your interests and mentions by friends on social networks. Designed as part magazine, part catalog, Pickie created a beautiful, shoppable experience for its users. The company is being acquired by Austin, Texas-based RetailMeNot, the online coupon giant which went public last year.” [Source: TechCrunch]

Read More

10 Phrases Customer Service Agents Should Never Use

“Effective training of the customer service staff (or anyone that interacts with customers) is critical for small-business success. This means ongoing coaching on what to say and, perhaps more importantly, what not to say when a customer calls. What are some examples of things reps shouldn’t say, but often do?

1.“No problem.” This is becoming the standard reply when a customer says thank you. Why? It’s silly, because why should helping a customer ever be “a problem”? This phrase is lazy and thoughtless. Instead use: “You’re welcome, thanks for coming/calling.” This shows direct appreciation for the customer patronizing the company.

2. “Please hold.” Putting a customer on hold optimizes the employee’s time. Why should the customer wait to be helped after the phone call has been answered?Instead use: “Thanks for calling, how can I help you today?” Have systems that tell holding customers how long the wait time will be or what number they …

Read More

Ecommerce Beauty Brand Julep Raises $30 Million

“Julep, a cosmetics and beauty brand and e-commerce platform, has raised $30 million in Series C financing; Azure Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Altimeter Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Maveron all participated in the round. The new investment brings Julep’s total venture funding to $56 million. Celebrity backers include Will Smith and Jay-Z. Founded by former Starbucks executive Jane Park, Julep produces its own nail polishes, mascaras, moisturizers, lip glosses, face creams and other cosmetics that are sold on its site. The brand also has a monthly beauty and subscription service, through which it distributes its own products. What makes the startup unique is its social approach to product development.’ ” [Source: TechCrunch]

Read More

Razorfish And Peet’s Coffee Agree To Profit-sharing Ecommerce Deal

“Ad execs have long relied on truckloads of coffee to stoke their creativity. Now one agency is counting on a java company, Bay Area-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea, to help reinvent the industry’s jittery business model. Last month, Peet’s hired Razorfish(PUB:FP), a global digital agency, to revamp its e-commerce business. But instead of working for a fee, Razorfish is earning a share of the profit from the rejiggered site—when and if it rises. “We’re all in,” says Pete Stein, Razorfish’s global chief executive officer. ‘None of our costs are paid for if profits don’t go up.’ ” [Source: Bloomberg Businessweek]

Read More

Retail Sales Surge as Consumers Rev Up Growth

“A measure of U.S. consumer spending heated up in March, an early sign of accelerating economic growth this spring. Retail sales increased 1.1% in March to a seasonally adjusted $433.9 billion, the Commerce Department said Monday. The reading was the best monthly gain since September 2012 and rose above the level of sales recorded in November, before unusually cold weather chilled spending across much of the country.” [Source: WSJ]

Read More

Showrooming Hits Top-Tier Luxury Brands

“Anna Cariati recently spotted a Saint Laurent clutch in a London boutique. Then the 28-year-old marketing coordinator went online and clicked to purchase on an independent website. ‘I like the whole shop experience, touching the fabrics, but I’m not an impulsive buyer,” says Ms. Cariati. ‘I love to wait until the weekend comes, go to the Internet, compare prices and decide in my own time what I want to buy.’ ”

[Continue reading at Wall Street Journal (subscription required)]


Read More

Comcast: ‘It Bothers Us’ That People Hate Our Customer Service

“During a Senate hearing on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen admitted that Comcast could do a better job on customer service.

“It bothers us we have so much trouble delivering high quality of service to customers on a regular basis,” Cohen said. “Sometimes, we need a kick in the butt.”

Cohen’s comments came just a day after the Consumerist rated Comcast the worst company in America, beating out agricultural giant Monsanto by three percentage points.” [Source: Washington Post]

Read More

Retailers Could Soon Be Liable for Damages from Data Breaches

“California legislature is voting on a new law that would make retailers liable for damages that customers incur as a result of data breaches, such as the one Target suffered recently. The new law would shift the liability from banks and credit card companies to retailers. Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association (CRA) says the bill will be one of the year’s biggest disputes over business-related legislation. The CRA includes nearly every national retail chain, which collectively employ 2.8 million workers in California.” [Source: Business Insider]

Read More

Amazon Adds a “Dash” of Convenience with New Magic Wand

“In the last two months, Amazon has spotlighted two new products that allow shoppers to add items to their shopping list without ever typing anything into a search bar. This isn’t a coincidence. The most recent one is Amazon Dash — a thin, wand-like device, revealed on Friday, that includes both a microphone and a barcode scanner. Speak into it or scan a box of cereal or pack of toilet paper to automatically add that product to your AmazonFresh shopping list. For now, it is available only on a trial basis to Amazon customers in San Francisco and Los Angeles who pay for Amazon’s new Prime Fresh membership, which includes grocery delivery.” [Source: Recode]

Read More