“LET ME BEGIN with a disclaimer: I am not your average fragrance consumer. I have been a beauty editor for 10 years, which has afforded me unprecedented access to hundreds of perfumes, often before they come to market. My fragrance affections being fleeting, however, I still find myself in search of that elusive “signature scent”: an early love affair with a cyprus-tinged men’s scent from L’Occitane preceded a brief fling with Costume National’s Scent Sheer, which I recently followed with a multiparty tryst starring Acqua di Parma’s Colonia, Byredo’s Seven Veils and Frédéric Malle’s Geranium Pour Monsieur.” [Continue reading at Wall Street Journal]
“After news broke that The Home Depot is moving from being a primarily brick-and-mortar operation to more of an e-commerce format, investors are probably wondering what this means for the business. According to an interview conducted by Frank Blake, the company’s CEO, opening new retail locations does not make sense due to a combination of growing competition and market saturation. Moving forward, Home Depot’s decision to operate electronically could mean a great deal of profit not only for it, but also for shipping companies like FedEx and UPS.” [Source: The Motley Fool]
“Today’s retail customer is always shopping around, but while price and quality consistently bring customers to the table, it’s increasingly the customer experience that completes the sale and makes all the difference between buy, buy, buy and bye, bye, bye. While it’s becoming harder for retailers to differentiate based on price and product availability, it’s becoming easier to differentiate based on customer experience. Personalization, seamless service across channels, customer-centric engagement; some retailers have it; some don’t. But those who don’t must if they are going to compete in the ever-evolving retail space.” [Source: Business2Community]
“When everything is available for sale on your smartphone, why do catalogs still clutter your mailbox? The old-school marketing format has survived to play a crucial creative role in modern e-commerce. Today, the catalog is bait for customers, like a store window display, and a source of inspiration, the way roaming through store aisles can be. The hope is shoppers will mark pages they like and then head online, or into a store, to buy. Today’s catalogs are no longer phone-book-size compilations of every item a retailer sells. Instead, they have fewer pages and merchandise descriptions, and more and bigger photos and lifestyle images.” [Continue reading at The Wall Street Journal]
“Target has significantly expanded its subscription-based e-commerce service, first launched last fall as a response to Amazon’s popular “Subscribe and Save” program, by increasing the number of online items available for subscription purchase from just 200 to now 1,500. While the company’s original focus was on baby-care items, the now revamped service offers similar savings for other everyday purchases, including cleaning supplies, health and beauty aids, pet treats and training pads, grocery items, home and offices supplies, and more.” [Source: Techcrunch]
“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]
“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]
“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 …
“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]
“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]