Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Speaking of E-Blasts

I love that New York & Co. uses the phrase"Cyber Monday" in its latest e-mail marketing campaign. Although the term is becoming more of a retail-industry staple each year, consumers are still learning that the Monday after Thanksgiving is essentially the Black Friday of the online world. Smart retailers like New York & Co. are taking the initiative to tell its shoppers the name of one of the most busiest online-shopping days of the year. The retailer offers consumers 30% off until Cyber Monday, and then tells them when it is: Dec. 1. So if consumers don't know what "Cyber Monday" is, they do now.

Seamless Propositions

Since my inbox is constantly inundated with e-mail blasts from retailers, it takes a lot for me to even open one. However, an enticing subject line often does the trick.

That said, I love this one I got recently from SeamlessWeb: "We Miss Making Your Life Easier." How nice is that? A quick write-up (with news that they now distribute exclusive discounts through its blog, twitter and Facebook pages) also sucked me in with its relevant messaging. Maybe Seamless Web won't get the boot from my inbox next time after all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Online Retailer Sells Itself... Online?

I recently received an e-mail from Eric Lituchy, the founder and CEO of Port Washington, N.Y.-based DelightfulDeliveries.com, an online gift retailer.

Under pressure from the economy's financial crisis, the company is selling its assets on eBay, and starting bids go for $10,000. Sales for the retailer fell 15.4% to $5.5 million in 2007 from $6.5 million a year earlier. Click here to see the ad. Update!: Five bids, three bidders. Final sale: $50,000.

What the Kids are Watching: Hot Topic Visits South Park

Hot Topic plays a key role in South Park recent spoof of the new vampire-film Twilight. Here's a quick episode background: South Park character Butters thinks he sees a vampire in school. While everyone is up in arms, the Goth kids become frustrated that their classmates can't tell the difference between an actual vampire and just a Goth kid.

In the first clip, Butters undergoes an ancient "Hot Topic" ceremony that transforms him into a Vampire Kid. Watch below or here.

In this next clip, the Goth kids learn that Hot Topic is responsible for turning students into vampires (the retailer entered the South Park Mall just two weeks prior) Hot Topic is sacrificed (they burn it down), so the Vampire Kids can return to normalcy and the Goth kids can go back to just being Goth. Watch below or here.

Although burning down of Hot Topic is a little too dramatic for my taste, young consumers view being made fun of in this capacity on South Park a rite of passage similar to mockery on Saturday Night Live. Comedy Central's message boards have been booming with comments that the scenes were hilarious and that they love Hot Topic "soooo" much. You know South Park fans will remember this episode when they pass by their local Hot Topic... and they might even go in.

The Facebook Effect

Retail-sponsored Facebook pages are popping up now more than ever. According to a new study, 59% of polled retailers are already on Facebook, up nearly 30% from just four months ago. Before we dive in on what retailers are doing online (a topic that will be much discussed over the upcoming months), here’s the bottom line question: Are you on Facebook yet? And if not, what are you waiting for?

Who’s ahead in the game? Read the study.

As a side note, my October column, “Priceless Promotions,” sums up the importance of your Facebook presence. Take a peek:

I was floored last month when I read a CNET report estimating that Facebook racks in an average of $35 million in virtual gift sales each year. These virtual gifts, which can range from an image of a birthday cupcake to a pair of stiletto shoes, can be sent from one person to another for $1. The gift is then placed on the recipient’s profile page for all to see. For example, in May… read more.

Meijer MealBox

There's not even a Meijer location in Manhattan and I’m extremely intrigued by its new interactive MealBox widget. After writing about this new tech tool in November’s issue, I became a little obsessed. It’s a useful resource for meal planning even if you’re miles away from a brick-and-mortar location. And it gives consumers a way to make online grocery lists, swap recipes, and get coupons. Meijer also has a new iPhone application for it so consumers can consult the tool while shopping in a store. This is one one of the first times a grocery shopping experience on the iPhone has been linked to a store. It's too bad Meijer isn't here in Manhattan, my MealBox widget is all ready to go.

Learn guitar from rock gods?

This is so smart. More retailers need to give consumers incentives like this to keep them returning to sites. Click here.

Mobile Moves In

While in Japan this past summer, I was completely astonished how much m-commerce is flourishing overseas. Japanese consumers are already spending millions of dollars in purchases, ranging from movie tickets to apparel, through their hand-held devices, and it's only a matter of time before it hits our shores. Mobile access is SO readily available over there that it even worked 12,388 ft. in the air, on the top of Mt. Fuji). Read more about the state of m-commerce abroad and stateside, as well as my experience with it while climbing Mt. Fuji, here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Twitter Fever

Zappos is already on top of the new trend, so is Whole Foods. So why are retailers jumping on the Twitter bandwagon? It's all about boosting that brand: Click, click, click.

Introducing the iPod Generation

So hi! I'm Samantha (or, well, Sam), an iPhone-loving, text-message addict who does the majority of her shopping online. I'm a product of Gen Y, and it shows. It's no secret that more retailers are starting to narrow in on my Gen Y crowd, and companies are reaching my demographic, a growing segment I like to call the iPod generation, in ways they never thought of before. This blog will discuss those methods (what's working, what's not) in many forms over the upcoming months. I welcome any (and all) feedback, as well as any questions you may have along the way. So thanks for clicking over, and let's get this started.