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Social means so much more than a Facebook page or a Tweet these days. Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest — to name a few — are making their mark on the retail marketplace. But are they short-term trends or do they have the staying power to become long-term solutions? What are the best approaches for retailers? What does the future hold? These and other key questions are asked and answered in this section.

81% Of Retailers Admit Their Social Media Strategies Fall Short

  • Published in News Briefs
While most retailers have moved quickly to leverage social media to enhance their customers' journeys, more than four out of five admit that their efforts have not yet caught up with their goals and expectations. A new report from consulting firm Boston Retail Partners (BRP) indicated that 81% of retailers…
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Is Good Karma The Newest Customer Reward? Featured

Several years ago I heard a futurist predict what the retail economy would be like by 2020. One of his big ideas was that consumers would begin to monetize themselves, "selling" things such as their private information, their attention to a given marketing message and the right to address personalized communications to them. Now, four years ahead of schedule, some consumers are being rewarded by retailers for actions they take, but the big difference is that they aren't earning money. They're being showered with an incentive they can't take to the bank: good karma.

Gaiam Yoga Doubles Conversions By Showcasing UGC Featured

Social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram have practically turned into forums for consumers to engage with brands and retailers they love. But the constant influx of user-generated content (UGC) that these platforms accumulate can make it hard for retailers to get a full picture of what’s happening on social media around their brand.

Twitter And Instagram Execs Share Social Media Best Practices

I’ve been an advocate of social media since the early days of Myspace, but I didn’t realize how important platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are to brands and retailers until I first started my career as an editor. Social media is, in my opinion, the best way to generate buzz for your brand, engage with customers and gather insight into what your competitors are doing. Not to mention it’s pretty fun, right? I recently attended an event hosted by Women’s Health Magazine, which presented an interesting panel on social media featuring Twitter’s Brand Marketing Specialist Erin Dress and Instagram’s Global Lead Kay Hsu. Both panelists had some fascinating things to say regarding social media content, how brands are using video, and more. I also spoke to Erin Dress after the panel, who provided me with some social media do’s and don’ts for retailers. Read on!

Convenience Economy Fuels Global Estate Sale Segment At EBTH: Exclusive CEO Interview Featured

Every retail segment can benefit from a more convenient way to purchase. That was part of the premise behind the development of EBTH (Everything But The House) back in 2008. Fast forward a few years: with 123% year-over-year growth and $30.1 million in sales in 2015, EBTH is resonating with a global audience, according to Andy Nielsen, President and CEO, EBTH. Recently I had the chance to chat with Andy to find out more about the challenges of building a strong, Internet-based global company. He also shares insights for other entrepreneurs and retailers working to grow their businesses.

New Ways Tech Can Reinvent The Shopping Experience

To some degree, there’s no need to visit a brick-and-mortar store in 2016. In sections of New York City, for instance, you can get everything you need from Amazon, from trampolines to  a T-bone steak for dinner. And yet, late last year the online retailing giant began expanding into brick-and-mortar with a bookstore in Seattle’s University Village. With headlines proclaiming brick-and-mortar stores heading rapidly towards obsolescence, Amazon’s move may seem puzzling.

Olympics Expand Ad Opps For More Sponsors; Under Armour And Lululemon Jump In Featured

At the same time as the Olympic athletes will be running, swimming, hurling and vaulting in their quest for golden glory, there will be another competition going on in Rio. That will be the fight for eyeballs, impressions and marketing leadership. This year, a change in the sponsorship rules has put several well-known brands, including retailers Under Armour and lululemon, right in the middle of this heated contest. Until this year, "rule 40" of the Olympic Charter severely restricted what advertising could be seen or said before and during the Games, which will be held August 5-21. Athletes and their agents lobbied hard for the rule change. Now, companies that have sponsored athletes through years of training and qualifying competitions can share the spotlight during the event itself. Previously, marketing opportunities had been largely limited to official sponsors such as Nike and McDonald's, which pay millions for these rights.

Uniqlo Parent Downgrades Profit Guidance For Third Time In Six Months

Fast Retailing, the Japan-based parent company of Uniqlo, cut its full-year profit estimates for the third time within the past six months. While Q3 income rose 17.8%, net income for the full year ending Aug. 31 is expected to be 45 billion yen ($426 million), down from the 60-billion-yen guidance the company gave in April, and far below the projections of 115 billion yen in January. The severe guidance miss likely was affected by the Japanese yen’s increase in strength over the past year; more than 42% of Fast Retailing's revenue came from foreign markets in its last fiscal year, up from less than 23% three years earlier. The company’s net income forecast accounts for an estimated 37 billion yen in foreign exchange loss.

Brexit's Retail Impact: The Sky Is Falling! (Or Is It?) Featured

One thing is clear about the impact of Brexit on retailers and consumers: nothing is very clear about the impact of Brexit on retailers and consumers. Yes, there have been immediate effects from the June 23 UK vote to leave the European Union (EU), but most of these have been the result of the nosedive that the British pound has taken relative to other world currencies. So while economists and pundits are full of predictions, many of them dire, it's important to remember that at this point the effects are more psychological than concrete. The actual shape and scope of the Brexit is unlikely to be known for at least two years, not least because the UK has not even formally filed for its "divorce." British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said he will resign in October 2016, will leave the invocation of Article 50, which starts the Brexit…

Fender Uses Visual Tools To Facilitate Custom-Designed Guitar Sales Featured

Unless you happen to be a guitar-smashing heavy metal rock star, it's unlikely you'll be buying multiple guitars from 70-year-old instrument maker Fender. So the company has a strong incentive to ensure that customers love the purchases they make, and also that they get exactly the guitar that they want — down to the tiniest detail. This is a particular challenge in serving the shoppers who choose to customize their Fender guitars. With options ranging from the materials used to make various parts of the instrument to color choices for the body, fingerboard and pickguard, the number of possible combinations quickly mushrooms. (For the iconic Fender Stratocaster alone there are more than 50,000.)

Coming To Terms With Millennials: Advice From The Experts Featured

Millennials are mentioned in almost every article related to retail marketing these days. And Retail TouchPoints is no exception. We focused a special report on the topic back in February, titled: Can Retailers Keep Pace With Millennial Consumers?. With that in mind, merchants must take the proper steps to attract more Millennial consumers and motivate Millennial employees to be brand advocates. 

Independent Retailer Month Kicks Off This July

  • Published in News Briefs
July 4 is Independence Day, but independent retailers have an opportunity to celebrate all month. This July marks the return of Independent Retailer Month, an annual national movement that aims to connect consumers and communities to local independent retailers.
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Birchbox Targets Multitasking Women Through Its First Social-Only Ad Campaign Featured

In May, Birchbox kicked off a six-week campaign on Facebook and Instagram to generate brand awareness and further its reach to a new potential consumer demographic: multitasking women with only a casual interest in beauty products. Retargeting capabilities allow the brand to adjust the content it presents, based on how visitors consume the video content. The subscription retailer has suspended its TV advertising while the social experiment runs its course. “We wanted to test a more efficient, targeted way to spend our marketing dollars and effectively communicate our full value proposition to the right people,” said Amanda Tolleson, Interim Chief Marketing Officer at Birchbox “The aim was to use real customers to tell our story and show how Birchbox helped them easily find products that fit into their lives.”
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