Monday, March 30, 2009

The VIP Twitter: Execs only

Twitter has a new commercial venture, ExecTweets, that allows users to find and follow top business executives on Twitter. (The application is sponsored by Microsoft.)

Think LinkedIn for the Twitter crowd.

Learn more here.

Speaking of technology: The tangible Jetsons lifestyle

Check out this interesting read about the top innovative smart-phone applications that make life easier. The examples range from an app that reminds you of your grocery list as you walk to the store, to a service that actually tests your blood-alcohol content. If this is the now, it's amazing to think how the future is only going to get that much more techy.

Business-card swap 2.0

The new iPhone app Bump is on to something big. Instead of fumbling around for business cards at a meeting or trade show, now you can just bump your iPhone against someone else’s to exchange contact details. It's like a business-card exchange without the cards. If adoption picks up, it could surely change the way we store and collect information from colleagues in the future.

Now, if only everyone owned an iPhone...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lights Out for 'Earth Hour'

By now, you probably know that tomorrow night (from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., local time) is "Earth Hour." This international event encourages households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances during the hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. The Empire State Building and other landmarks worldwide have already promised to go dark for the hour.

It's also great to hear some retailers are pledging to do the same. Walgreens, for example, plans to turn off all exterior signs at nearly 150 locations throughout Chicago and neighboring communities. Lights in the parking lot, entrance and pharmacy drive-thru will remain on for security and safety reasons. Window signs in stores will inform customers of Walgreens' participation and encourage community involvement. Meanwhile, in New York, the Walgreens billboard in Times Square will also go dark.

Let's hope additional retailers jump on board for this important cause.

The lazy lady's dressing room

A giant mirror allows shoppers at a local mall in Toyko to stop and see what Indivi clothing would look like on them.

I love this concept.

Barbie's dream store

Mattel has opened its first-ever Barbie flagship, a fuchsia-inspired 40,000–sq.–ft. destination space in Shanghai, China. The new location offers the world's largest assortment of Barbie dolls and related products, along with a range of services and attractions, from a cafĂ© with Barbie-inspired refreshments to a design center where girls can create their own Barbie fashions.

Sales of Barbie have been slipping even faster than the company's recession-hit revenue, dropping 21% in the fourth quarter compared with an 11% slide in total company sales. Will the store and its new concepts help the toymaker bounce back amid the struggling economy and against tough competition from edgier dolls, video games and electronic toys?

Check out more photos of the beautifully designed space here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rap it like you mean it

This clip of a Southwest Airlines flight attendant rapping an announcement has been making the rounds online. Message boards, radio DJs and YouTube commenters are all saying the same thing: "I want to fly Southwest more often!"

It's amazing what a two minute video can do for branding and business.

Monday, March 23, 2009

'Twouble with Twitters'

This amusing (yet ridiculous) clip shows how a young man struggles against the pressure to Twitter. Take a peek.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Listen to your customers: No, really, just listen

This comes from snarky consumer-relations blog The Consumerist.

A shopper, who recently made a purchase on, did not want to be contacted by the retailer via e-mail in the future (the customer didn’t check the box upon check out). Though, for some reason, J.C. Penney e-mailed the shopper to let him know that they won't be e-mailing him, and asked him to fill out a survey on why he didn't want to receive any e-mails from them.

This is a prime example about how retailers need to take a step back and really listen to what their customers are trying to tell them. “No e-mails” should mean “no e-mails.”

Click here for the story.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Give them Facebook, and they will come

I ALWAYS see shoppers at computer stations logged in to Facebook when I'm in the Apple Store near Central Park in Manhattan. And since the location is situated right in the middle of a tourist mecca, people just love that they can access Facebook (and their e-mail) for free, whenever they want. So, they come in, spend a little time with Apple (even update their Facebook status that they are in the Apple Store), and then leave happy.

That got me thinking: Why don't more retailers offer free computer use? And I don’t mean computers that only allow shoppers to search the retailer’s site. More merchants should offer free-range, all-purpose computer use to keep more people in their stores.

Consider making your retail stores a destination spot where shoppers can relax, social network and spend a little time with your brand. Trust me, if you give shoppers Facebook, they may even stay all day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I want it too...

Street artist Shepard Fairey, the man behind the popular "Hope" poster of Barack Obama used throughout the presidential campaign, has a new gig: designing window displays, catalog covers and shopping bags for Saks.

The company's new advertising campaign, which launched on Thursday, is inspired by the graphic designs and propaganda spirit of Constructivist art. For those in the New York area, be sure to check out its bold window displays.

Smart move, Saks. I'm loving it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Actually, I bet you didn't know...

This video about how the world is changing (thanks to new Web trends and emerging technologies) is worth your time. There are some powerful take-aways. Did you know:

1. The top 10 in-demand jobs for 2010 didn't exist in 2004;

2. The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the total population of the planet; and

3. Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million: Radio, 38 years; TV, 13 years; The Internet, four years; The iPod/Facebook, three years.

Watch, watch, watch.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One Tweet World

Chain Store Age is still learning the ropes to micro-blogging site, Twitter, but we'd love to be your friend. Follow us on Twitter, here.

"Kids These Days"

Field trips have certainly changed since I was an elementary school. That said, what other retailers out there do you think are field-trip worthy?

The Kindle: An Apple App Already?

So wait, refresh my drink, why buy a $359 Kindle when you can download a free app of all that the Kindle has to offer on a more versatile iPhone?

Read "Amazon to Sell E-Books for Apple Devices" via New York Times.

J.C. Penney struts it

J.C. Penney is starting the spring season off right by placing its online shoppers front and center at an interactive, virtual fashion runway show. is bringing styles from its exclusive designer brands to life by creating an engaging Web experience, complete with high-energy music and 360-degree views of models in looks from each collection.

After logging onto the runway at, models appear on the screen sporting different looks, which are categorized by the latest spring trends: maxi lengths, floral, "frill" seekers (ruffles), boyfriend fits and cardigan. Shoppers can also view the outfits by designer or model, or all at once.

Along with product details, each look offers a 360-degree view that enables customers to pause the image, rotate or zoom in and out for a more detailed view. Customers can also easily e-mail the look to a friend, mark a look as a “favorite,” and check to see if the merchandise is available at their local store. As part of the experience, customers are also invited to “Meet Our Designers” where -- via video vignettes -- J.C. Penney’s design partners share the inspiration behind their new collections along with their personal point-of-view on upcoming styles for spring.

The idea of virtual models walking onto the screen is not new, but takes it to the next level by billing it as a fashion show. This is smart: J.C. Penney is creating the feeling that this is the hottest ticket in e-town.

The Web feature comes on the heels of extensive customer research conducted by J.C. Penney that indicated customers were seeking an online experience that would provide a real-world look at the fit and feel of clothing. The research also indicated customers were seeking inspiration for new styles from trusted fashion authorities they could feel confident wearing.

The launch is supported by an e-mail campaign targeting 15 million customers directing them to the online experience on, along with a direct-mail piece to customers that complements its Web experience. Customers can find a link to the virtual runway from the homepage and can expect to see it refreshed with new merchandise several times throughout the year.

Monday, March 9, 2009 throws the baby out with the bath water

Circuit City may have closed up shop for good yesterday, but the retailer shut down its site way back in January. Now, in a similar move, bankrupt retailer Fortunoff is pushing its entire inventory, worth $210,000,000, out of its doors, but it isn't using its site to help get rid of inventory. informs online shoppers of its liquidation sale in big, bold lettering, which is much more engaging than's previous Web announcement, but the company prevents online consumers from browsing merchandise and placing orders directly on the site.

To be more blunt, the company is just throwing away a sophisticated e-commerce set up that could help sell inventory quickly online. Again, I hope this is not because the company is underestimating the power of the Web.

I'm lost: Can someone explain this trend to me?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Twilight: Wal-Mart Sinks Its Teeth In

Wal-Mart is pulling out the stops for fans of the recent cult film, "Twilight," in hopes that the DVD release later this month will be a runaway success at the registers.

Wal-Mart plans to host midnight events and giveaways in its 24-hour stores upon the release on March 21. Details on these events, viewing party ideas, new behind-the-scenes movie footage, and a way to engage friends with a create-your-own electronic invitation ("eBite") is available on The site also features a DVD-release countdown clock and a widget for "Twilight" trivia.

Wal-Mart is smart for cashing in on the "Twilight" phenomenon, but it's taking a lesson or two from Hot Topic, which has already seen a big jump in sales thanks to its "Twilight" T-shirts, sweatshirts and jewelry. In addition, is taking early orders for the "Twilight" DVD.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Let Your Customers Do Some Talking

Plucked from my Facebook account, I noticed a friend posted the above status update on her profile. Nice word-of-mouth marketing for the aerie and American Eagle brands, right?