merchandise

How Restoration Hardware Made ‘Showrooming’ An Asset Instead Of An Enemy

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/restoration-hardware-uses-showrooms-2012-12

restoration hardware furniture

Many retailers are terrified of turning into a showroom. They fear consumers will come only to test out the products they’ll later buy online. 

Furniture store Restoration Hardware decided to approach “showrooming” differently by accepting and encouraging it, reports Joan Solsman at The Wall Street Journal

Many stores, including Restoration Hardware’s rival Pottery Barn, fought showrooming by “rushing to lower prices,” Solsman writes. 

But Restoration Hardware decreased its number of physical stores and used the remaining ones as showrooms. Sofas, tables, rugs and other decor were meticulously arranged with an emphasis on the aesthetic. Customers could find even more merchandise online or in catalogues while shopping in the stores.

The tactic is working. Direct-to-consumer now makes up half of Restoration Hardware’s business, and the retailer has reported double-digit sales growth for 10 quarters, according to Solsman.

Restoration Hardware’s model probably wouldn’t work for Best Buy, the most prolific victim of “showrooming,” Solsman cautions. 

Furniture and decor, unlike consumer electronics and other items, aren’t easily searchable by specifications,” Solsman writes. “A highly fragmented market, home furnishings sellers benefit from many players having proprietary merchandise, which stunts online competitive threats.”

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Thursday, September 27th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s How Oracle Is Helping Apple Store Guru Ron Johnson Turn JC Penney Around (ORCL, JCP, IBM)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/oracle-ron-johnson-jc-penney-2012-7

ron johnson apple store

Ron Johnson is best known for creating Apple’s retail empire. He’s now CEO of retailer JCPenney.

This week, he detailed his amazing vision for turning JCPenney into a techno wonderland in Apple’s image. And he’s turning to Oracle for help.

Apple’s store design gets almost all the attention. Not as flashy but just as important is the software that does everything from tracking inventory to letting salespeople ring up purchases with iPhones.

Like a lot of retailers, JCPenney has old, proprietary code. Johnson is yanking out about 500 applications, nearly all of them custom applications created over the years, and having Oracle be its one-stop shop.

This is a big win for Oracle, since its archrival IBM has been entrenched with retailers for decades. (Look at this 1976 article about JCPenney installing IBM cash registers, for example.)

Neither company disclosed the size of this deal for Oracle, but it’s easy to see that it’s big. JCPenney already used quite a bit of Oracle software (its database, some retail and back office apps, an HR app). But they are buying a handful of new Oracle apps.

More importantly, Johnson is trying to create a whole new kind of retail store that’s never been done before.

“We’re going to treat it like a startup,” Johnson said at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Aspen earlier this week. “We’re going to create an entirely new retail model that’s built for the next 100 years.”

He’s going to eliminate the person at the cash register, going with 100 percent self-checkout by the end of 2013. But it’s going to be far more sophisticated than the barcode-scanning self-checkout you see at some supermarkets and drugstores.

Johnson’s going to put RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags on every piece of merchandise.

“You’ll be able to check out anywhere anytime,” Johnson said said. “You don’t have to scan an item. You just throw it down and there’s the price.”

Johnson has been trying to eliminate coupons and JCPenney’s famous sales, though he’s had a lot of trouble pushing those changes through.

Eventually, items will simply be priced low, like Walmart, he promises. He also eliminated commissions for 300,000 employees. This makes RFID self-checkout easier, since the same item won’t have multiple prices.

RFID chips are a lot more expensive than barcode labels, though. Right now, they cost 10 cents apiece or more. For a retailer like JCPenney, with millions of pieces of merchandise, that’s a big investment just for a price tag.

“RFID clearly is a technology that’s been waiting for prime time based on the cost of the ticket,” Johnson said. “The increase in the ticket cost versus UPC label is now at a point where the benefits way outweigh the cost of doing it.”

He wasn’t specific on the benefits, but Oracle says that JCPenney will roll out a product called Oracle Retail Merchandising Analytics, which will give the store realtime data about everything including where the merchandise is located. That could give insights into items that customers pick up, try on, and put back on the rack, for example.

Johnson sees all this tech making JCPenney more like an Apple Store, where salespeople roam the store helping customers one on one, with instant mobile check out, instead of spending their time at cash registers or restocking merchandise.

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Saturday, July 21st, 2012 news No Comments

Zynga Is About To Lose Its Global Director Of Brand Advertising

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/sources-zynga-is-about-to-lose-its-global-director-of-brand-advertising-2012-2


manny anekalManny Anekal, the global director of brand advertising at Zynga, is leaving the company to become COO of Kiip, a firm that operates a network that places branded rewards inside mobile games for advertisers, according to two sources.

Anekal’s Linkedin page currently states he has been on extended medical leave from Zynga. He is expected at Kiip next week.

Kiip has 20 employees, is based in San Francisco, and its clients include Best Buy, Disney and Sony. The company inserts branded rewards inside mobile games for advertisers. When players reach a new level, for instance, Kiip can reward them with free merchandise from advertisers.

Anekal leaves Zynga after its sales and marketing budget rose to $234 million, according to its Q4 2011 results.

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Sites like Kickstarter and many others all cater to people with ideas they believe can make it big, but who need money to get them off the ground. The community supports the idea, everyone chips in, and with luck and enough interest and the right amount of money, the product gets made and the contributors usually get first cut or a special perk. Still, even though Kickstarter gets a lot of press, it’s not necessarily the best one for your idea.

Photo remixed with an original by dinadesign/Shutterstock.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For The Most Attention: Kickstarter

Kickstarter is the major player in this space, and for good reason. The service gets a lot of media attention, and even though the majority of Kickstarter projects don’t go anywhere, it’s become the go-to destination for anyone looking to crowd-fund their projects thanks to a few high-profile projects that managed to raise a lot of money. It’s not the biggest crowd-funding community, and it’s not even the one with the best track record, but it’s incredibly easy to use, popular with angel investors and people looking for the next big idea to invest in and get behind, and well organized. Idea creators can set up their profiles for free, founders can pledge as much or as little as they choose, and no money changes hands until time runs out or the project is fully-funded. If the project is fully funded, Kickstarter takes 5% off the top, and the rest goes to the inventor or creator to make their idea happen.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For App-Builders, Game Designers, and Developers: IndieGoGo

IndieGoGo is actually larger than Kickstarter, and more people there use it for more types of projects. The site takes 4% off the top of your fundraising if you reach your funding goal, and encourages creators and developers to offer perks to the community for funding their projects. Unlike some of its competition, IndieGoGo also has its doors open to charities and non-profits. The site is particularly popular with software and app developers, although all sorts of creative projects are up on the site for funding, including documentary and independant films, education projects, and international aid projects. IndieGoGo also has the benefit of being a global site, available to users around the world.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Inventors and Gadget Creators: Quirky

Quirky has an excellent track record, and some of our favorite gadgets started as Quirky ideas. The process of getting your idea in front of the Quirky community is a bit more involved than at other sites. You submit your idea, the community weighs in first on whether or not it’s an idea that could be made into an actual product before it goes in front of the world for fundraising. That’s the key, while other sites focus on creative endeavors, most Quirky projects are tangible products that can be manufactured and sold. The Quirky community is active and engaged in idea building and product design and development, and a lot goes on long before the idea ever gets on the site for presale fundraising. Pricing is on a sliding scale—people who get in early can get lower prices than people who get in later, and once the product is made, Quirky can work to manufacture it themselves, or work with a major retail partner to get it on store shelves everywhere.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Musicians: Bandcamp

We touched on this topic a bit in our previous story on how to release music online so music-lovers can get to it, but while SoundCloud was one of our favorite options for releasing your music for free, allowing people to remix it, and comment on it, Bandcamp is another great solution for musicians looking to set up a free storefront on the web to allow people to buy and download their music directly. Artists and fans both love Bandcamp, and the service handles the entire payment platform, from set-your-own-price albums and songs to artists with a mix of free and paid songs in their discography. Artists can also sell merchandise through their stores, and Bandcamp takes a slice off the top depending on the artist’s sales. Fans and music lovers on the other hand get a social platform where they can follow and interact with their favorite artists, get alerts when new music is released, and discover new artists through their friends.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Crafty Types: Etsy

Crafty types are already well aware of Etsy and how the platform works. When people who made their own hand-made goods, arts, and custom crafts wanted an online storefront that catered more to their needs than a general auction site like eBay, Etsy was born. The site has dozens of categories, including clothing, art, jewelry, household accessories, and more. While most people know Etsy as a craft-lovers haven, the site is also home to a number of stores that manufacture products you wouldn’t associate with “arts and crafts,” like wall decals, custom motorcycle helmets, and even edible crafts like homemade cookies and beef jerky. Where other similar sites help you get seed money for an idea, Etsy is more of a traditional store, meaning you have to have your idea off the ground and your product ready for sale—even if it’s a single item—before you can sell it.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Global Users: RocketHub

Many of these sites limit their membership to users in the United States, but RocketHub is one of the largest global communities dedicated to crowd-funding new ideas. RocketHub combines a traditional crowd-funding site where individuals can promote and raise money for their own ideas and pet projects with a funding bank where people with inspired ideas can connect with sponsors, non-profits, and funding groups who are willing to share some cash with a particularly motivated or passionate individual. The service works much like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo—sign-ups are free, and the site takes a 4% cut.


Different crowd-funding sites have different goals and different audiences. Depending on the type of idea you have and the audience you want to reach, you have an array of sites to choose from, and this is just the beginning. For example, if you have a random request or want to get the crowd’s help in funding a life event like a wedding or a vacation, you can try GoGetFunding, and if you’re an industrial designer, Yanko Design is a great resource for like-minded designers.

Whichever site you choose to get your ideas off the ground, make sure it’s one where the community is aligned with and supportive of your ideas, and you’ll have no trouble raising the funds needed to make it a reality. Have you used any of these sites to crowd-fund a project or idea? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Target Realizes There Are Only Two Ways To Compete With The Internet (TGT)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/target-realizes-there-are-only-two-ways-to-compete-with-the-internet-2012-1


Target

Target is sick and tired of customers who browse its stores and then go and buy products for cheaper prices from online retailers.

To reduce so-called “showrooming,” Target has asked its vendors to adopt one of two practices, according to the WSJ:

Last week, in an urgent letter to vendors, the Minneapolis-based chain suggested that suppliers create special products that would set it apart from competitors and shield it from the price comparisons that have become so easy for shoppers to perform on their computers and smartphones.

Where special products aren’t possible, Target asked the suppliers to help it match rivals’ prices. It also said it might create a subscription service that would give shoppers a discount on regularly purchased merchandise.

Target’s troubles with showrooming are shared by brick and mortar stores everywhere. Unfortunately small retailers may not have the clout to demand special products (see: Missoni) or help in price matching — and price matching without support from the supplier can be a losing proposition.

Don’t miss: See how big retails stores are spread across America >

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Monday, January 23rd, 2012 news No Comments

What do I see? Utter, Unfathomable Inefficiency – that is retail as we know it

Have a look at the 2 pictures below taken at a mall-attached large chain retailer.  Not a SINGLE customer in the store.  Practically every rack had a red and white sale sign on it.  Look at the multiple sizes of each item that have to be made available.

Now consider this.

What is the probability of someone walking through the store to this location, finding an article of clothing that is subjectively pleasing and desirable enough for the person to pick it up and consider the price. Consider if this is a nice to have or need to have item. Further consider the price and whether it is higher or lower than the clearing price — the price at which the user (in that particular user’s mind) thinks it is a good deal and decides to buy it. What is known is the quantity of work needed to inventory, merchandise, display all the products. What is not known very well is the probability of a sale for any or all of the items in the store.

Further consider the redundant inventory of similar (or the same) generic products — redundant because multiple stores attached to the same mall carry pretty much the same generic stuff. Even brand names provide little differentiation or value add. And celebrity designers and endorsers such as Kimora, Cindy, Kathy, or even Jaclyn Smith don’t help. The entire Kimora section was just as deserted as the second photo in this bunch.

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010 integrated marketing 1 Comment

Google Places’ camera exposed in the convenience store wilds

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/google-places-camera-exposed-in-the-convenience-store-wilds/

That right there friends, is a real life Google employee and his trusty camera capturing the internals of a fine New York City bodega. It’s all part of a pilot launched back in April to photograph the insides of businesses for Google Places. The idea here is that by seeing the actual facilities, merchandise, layout, and decor Google can help consumers make a better decision about which businesses might best suit their particular needs. First our WiFi data and now the fetid bowels of our snack shops… oh Google, is there no data left that’s sacred?

Google Places’ camera exposed in the convenience store wilds originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 24 Jun 2010 07:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, June 24th, 2010 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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