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Amazon Appears To Be Inflating The List Prices Of Some Discounted Items (AMZN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-appears-to-be-inflating-the-list-prices-of-some-discounted-items-2012-2

 

Amazon Weird Pricing

You know how when you shop on Amazon there is a price and a then a “list price” which is usually much higher?

The effect is that you feel like you’re getting a big discount shopping on Amazon.

It turns out Amazon might be publishing list prices that are too high.

Mouse Print first noticed the problem with an array of general consumer products such as Kraft’s Mac & Cheese and a 100-count box of Splenda.

As if this afternoon, most of these prices have been fixed, except for a ton of pet food items.

Take for example the dog treats you see above. The retail value of one Merrick Flossies is approximately $4, making a 50-count supply valued at no more than $200. Yet Amazon claims the list price stands at a whopping $422.89, more than doubled what it should cost.

Click here to see more examples of Amazon’s wacky prices >

We tried to contact Amazon for comments, but did not receive a response.

The incident reminds us of last year when Amazon listed a seemingly normal book about flies for $23,698,655.93. Biologist Michael Eisen blogged about the unrealistic selling price, and documented how Amazon’s price for the book The Making of a Fly constantly went up day after another.

Here’s what happened: A professor required this book for a class and students naturally flocked to Amazon to purchase the text. Eventually, only two sellers still had the product available.

Because the book quickly became an exclusive, hot ticket item, Amazon’s algorithm for retailers to competitively price their product catapulted the retail value to more than $23 million.

We’re not sure if this is the same situation with the pet food offerings on the site, but it seems hard to believe the world is running out of doggie treats.

Deli Cat Dry Cat Food

Ok, we know having pets can be expensive but you can’t fool us, Amazon.

Higgins Celestial Blend Bird Food

Who can resist 89 percent off retail list price? Only ten left in stock!

Redbarn Filled Bone – Peanut Butter

Dog foods are getting so fancy these days, but at $6.70, the bone’s a steal.

 

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 news No Comments

Rice University And OpenStax Announce First Open-Source Textbooks

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/07/rice-university-and-openstax-announce-first-open-source-textbooks/

openstax

When we think about the distribution industry being disrupted, we tend to think about music and movies, whose physical media and vast shipment infrastructure have been rendered mostly obsolete over the last decade. To a lesser extent, we hear about print, and the effect of e-readers and web consumption on books and magazines. No one is making the change particularly gracefully, and the same can be said of the textbook business, which does millions of dollars of business every year selling incredibly expensive items to students — who likely consider them anachronisms.

Rice University, which has been pushing alternative distribution mechanisms for scholarly publications for years, has announced a new initiative, by which they hope to publish free, high-quality textbooks in core subjects like physics and biology via a non-profit publisher called OpenStax College. It’s the polar opposite of Apple’s iBooks textbooks, which, while they too help drag this dusty industry into the present, amount more to a new sales vector for the publishers than competition.

Rice and OpenStax aren’t the first people to propose open-source or free textbooks. There are collections here and there, like Flat World Knowledge and Apple’s iTunes U — but they’re decidedly short on the type of books a freshman might have to buy for their year of survey courses: Biology 1, Physics 1, Sociology 1, Psychology 1. And 11 Learning has a similar idea of collaboration producing a book, but their creation model may not be economically feasible.

And of course there are the many companies that want to remove textbooks from the equation entirely. Setting up textbook platforms on new devices like Kno and Inkling, making an environment for meta-curricular activities and non-traditional learning like Khan Academy, or virtualizing the whole education experience, something with which many universities are tinkering.

But textbooks are still big business, and their utility in the education system is difficult to argue with right now. So OpenStax splits the difference: fueled by grant money from a number of private foundations (i.e. not government grants), they’re putting together full-on textbooks, peer-reviewed, professionally laid out, and all that. These textbooks will be provided for free in file form. But supplementary materials — quizzes, videos, presentations, and the like, presumably — cost money.

It would be petty to call this a bait and switch, since the bulk of the material is being provided for free. And a savvy professor or TA can scrape quite a few supplementary materials from the web already, thanks to those post-textbook services already mentioned. Providing the meat for free and the potatoes for a price is perfectly reasonable.

What remains to be seen is the quality of the textbooks. So far OpenStax has signed up “in the low tens” of colleged and universities to use the books. Institutions probably are waiting to see how the next year or so plays out: everything is in flux and to commit to one platform over another when the true costs and benefits are still unclear would be a bad move.

OpenStax’s first textbooks, for physics and sociology, will be coming in March, with others following later in the year. A strange time to make a debut, in a way, as the school year is well underway and many intro courses won’t be offered. But it will give time for the creaking machinery of academia to notice, acknowledge, examine, and judge the OpenStax offering. It may be that they can demonstrate their agility in fixing, improving, and expanding the content on the fly, which could either impress or terrify nodding faculty members who use the same text for a decade at a time.


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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 news No Comments

This Map Reveals The Trick Behind IKEA’s Store Layout

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-brilliant-trick-behind-ikeas-store-design-2012-1


Grocery stores all use some simple tricks to disorient and delay customers, but IKEA takes the so-called Gruen Transfer to another level.

A lecture on the subject by Alan Penn, professor of architectural computing at University College London, has gotten a lot of buzz this year (via Good and WSJ).

Penn found that IKEA customers, following the signature yellow path, walk through the entire warehouse store. They get lost, encounter products they weren’t looking for and spend enough time shopping that they feel justified making impulse purchases.

Here’s a customer heatmap from Penn’s presentation, followed by the video.

ikea

Now check out 15 ways supermarkets trick you into spending more money >

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 news No Comments

On your mark, get set, GOMC!

Source: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/on-your-mark-get-set-gomc.html

Professor registration for the 2012 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) is now open.
GOMC is a global online marketing competition open to professors and their students in any higher education institution. Professors sign up for the contest and then serve as guides and mentors to their student participants throughout the competition. Over the course of three weeks, student teams are tasked with developing and running a successful online advertising campaign for real businesses or nonprofit organizations using Google AdWords. In the process, they sharpen their advertising, consulting and data analysis skills. (Note: student registration will open on January 31, 2012 and students can only enter if their professors have signed up already and must sign up under their own professors).

After running their online advertising campaign for three weeks, students summarize their experiences in campaign reports, which they submit online. Based on the performance of the campaigns and the quality of the reports, Googlers on the GOMC team and a panel of independent academics select the winning teams.

The global winners and their professor will receive a trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The regional winners (and their professor) will win a trip to local Google offices, and the social impact award winners will be able to make donations to nonprofit organizations that were part of the GOMC competition.

Last year’s challenge had 50,000 participants representing 100 countries, and this year we expect even more. For more information, visit www.google.com/onlinechallenge. Professors, here is a chance to help your students sharpen their marketing skills and make a global impact!

Posted by AJ Pascua, GOMC Team


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Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 news No Comments

Free Shipping On The Web Isn’t So ‘Free’ Anymore

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/free-shipping-isnt-so-free-anymore-2011-11


shipping, trade, container

It’s no surprise why online shopping is so popular.

“You get the item quickly, you don’t pay for shipping, you often receive better prices, and you don’t have to leave your house,” said Andrew Schrage, founder of Money Crashers.

Perhaps in response to shoppers like Schrage, businesses have been giving away free shipping with a vengeance.

Some 93 percent of stores will offer at least one free shipping deal this year, which means a six percent increase from last year. Meanwhile 30 percent of store sites will offer free shipping on Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation.

Experts like Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Calif., told Smart Money that free shipping has become an expectation. However, things don’t always don’t always pan out for consumers.

Retailers may raise the price of their products to make up for shipping costs or bar consumers from using coupons. She also warns shoppers to consider the overall package, including whether or not you can combine discounts.

Besides analyzing the overall deal, Schrage advises shoppers to stick to Web-based companies when shopping online.

“Online sites like Amazon almost ALWAYS have as cheap, and usually cheaper, prices than these retailers who also provide free shipping,” he said.

He points out that companies like Amazon even offer two-day shipping for free, and maintain great return policies that prove to be better than those of bricks-and-mortar stores.

From time to time Schrage admits you will seen an online site offer a higher retail price with free shipping. But stay away—you can score a better deal.

Check out 10 FREE Black Friday apps to help you survive the mall >

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Sunday, November 27th, 2011 news No Comments

ClickZ articles by Augustine Fou, PhD

Dr. Augustine Fou is Group Chief Digital Officer of Omnicom’s Healthcare Consultancy Group. He has nearly 15 years of digital strategy consulting experience and is an expert in data mining, analytics, and consumer insights research, with specific knowledge in the consumer payments, packaged goods, food/beverage, retail/apparel, and healthcare sectors.

Dr. Fou has provided strategic counsel on the use and integration of online marketing to clients such as AT&T, IBM, Intel, ExxonMobil, MasterCard, Unilever, Pepsi, DrPepper, Frito Lay, Taco Bell. KFC. Atari, Conde Nast, Hachette Filipacchi, Victoria’s Secret, Liz Claiborne, and others. He has served as expert witness on online payments for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and advised government agencies such as the Norwegian Trade Counsel, the Gouvernement du Quebec, Invest in Sweden Agency, and the Canadian Consulate.

Dr. Fou is an Adjunct Professor at New York University in the Integrated Marketing Department of the School for Continuing and Professional Studies. He also writes a monthly column for ClickZ’s Experts Columns on Integrated Marketing and is a frequent speaker and panelist at online and advertising industry conferences.

He started his career with McKinsey & Company and recently served as SVP, Digital Lead at McCann/MRM Worldwide. Dr. Fou completed his PhD at MIT at the age of 23 in the Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering.

Recent articles by Augustine Fou

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing No Longer Apply, Part 3
Debunking the laws of singularity, unpredictability, success, failure, hype, acceleration, and resources. Last in a three part (3 comments) Apr 1, 2010

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing No Longer Apply, Part 2
Why the laws of duality, the opposite, and others no longer hold true. Second in a three-part (1 comments) Mar 4, 2010

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing No Longer Apply
The game has changed as the balance of power shifts away from advertisers to the very people they used to target. First in a three part (14 comments) Feb 4, 2010

10 Commandments of Modern Marketing
A list of the 10 rules every marketer should follow to meet consumer needs in (18 comments) Jan 7, 2010

Is Believing in Behavioral Targeting Like Believing in Santa?
Should we have grown out of our naïve belief in behavioral (25 comments) Dec 17, 2009

What’s Wrong With the Net Promoter Score
Three reasons why the Net Promoter score is a waste of (19 comments) Nov 19, 2009

How to Do Social Marketing in Heavily Regulated Industries
Financial services, pharmaceutical, and healthcare are ripe for social marketing. Here’s (11 comments) Oct 22, 2009

A New Definition of ‘Digital’
Defining ‘digital’ as the collection of habits and expectations of today’s consumers — and what that means to (7 comments) Sep 24, 2009

Metrics, Metrics Everywhere
Thanks to social networks and digital tools, metrics can provide relevant marketing research in real time and reveal new business (3 comments) Aug 27, 2009

Branding Today: Why It’s Ineffective, Irrelevant, Irritating, and Impotent
Brands must act on real-time consumer feedback to continuously develop awesome (51 comments) Jul 31, 2009

Advertising Does Not Create Demand, But…
It may help fulfill demand. Understand the (18 comments) Jul 2, 2009

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Five ways that consumers have irreversibly altered their expectations online and (7 comments) Jun 4, 2009

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Benchmarks to avoid and others to embrace. (5 comments) May 7, 2009

The ROI for Social Media Is Zero
If social marketing’s done right, the potential ROI could be infinite. Five tips to get you (51 comments) Apr 9, 2009

How to Use Search to Calculate the ROI of Awareness Advertising
Planning an awareness campaign in TV or other media? Advertisers can now correlate money spent on that campaign to a lift in sales — and estimate the return on (4 comments) Mar 12, 2009

Social Intensity: A New Measure for Campaign Success?
A look at two metrics that online marketers should pay attention to today. And they are not frequency and (4 comments) Feb 11, 2009

Beyond Targeting in the Age of the Modern Consumer
Three tips for using “missing link” marketing to solve targeting’s Jan 15, 2009

Experiential Marketing
Consumers are savvy and informed; they won’t just take your word on a product. Experiencing the product is more important than (1 comments) Dec 18, 2008

Search Improves All Marketing Aspects
Search is much more than just an opportunity for marketers to push out another Nov 20, 2008

Social Commerce: In Friends We Trust
How to integrate social networks into your marketing (1 comments) Nov 6, 2008

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Sunday, April 4th, 2010 digital 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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