Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Cyber Monday!

It's Cyber Monday, the official kick-off to the online holiday shopping season! Many retailers are getting in on the action today, offering online shoppers everything from free shipping on all orders (from companies such as American Eagle Outfitters) to 60% off toy purchases from Toys "R" Us. Who could resist?

It will be interesting to see how consumers will turn out online today. Web sales were already up this past Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, shoppers spent 35% more on Black Friday Web purchases than a year earlier, with the average order value reaching $170.19, according to online retail analytics company Coremetrics. Those shoppers bought an average of 5.4 items per order, up from 4.6 items last year. We'll see how the sites fare today!

Visit the National Retail Federation's site,, for a list of retailers offering top deals -- is your company highlighted this year?

(Image via

Ikea tags its way to the top

Check out Ikea's fascinating use of social marketing via a Facebook photo-tagging promotion that's truly one of a kind. This video is definitely worth a few minutes of your time!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Free e-holiday Starbucks cups for all

You know the holidays are in the air when Starbucks' signature red cups are everywhere -- and they aren't just in the hand's of loyal coffee drinkers, now they're gracing Facebook too.

Facebook members can give the gift of Starbucks to their online friends, thanks to a promotion from the Seattle-based coffee giant. Virtual icons include flavors Caramel Brulee, Peppermint Mocha and Gingerbread Latte. A delicious promotion for sure.

A sweet tweet

Speaking of eBay, here's a smart Twitter incentive the company used to get shoppers to check out its new pop-up location.

eBay pops up for the holidays

I went to check out eBay's first pop-up store on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan e this week. The company's new 5,500-sq.-ft. store in bustling Midtown gives shoppers the chance to browse a sampling of 400 holiday products available from almost 200 million product listings on eBay -- including everything from Zhu Zhu Pets (one of the hottest toys this season) to diamond rings.

Although I was expecting some products would be available for immediate purchase at the store, shoppers were directed to surf and shop eBay via touchscreen kiosks or through eBay’s iPhone application.

It's uncertain how many customers will use the pop-up location to place bids and buy items through the site, but the store could influence shoppers to remember eBay when doing holiday shopping online.

eBay’s pop-up holiday experience is open to the public from Nov. 20 to Nov. 29 (closed on Thanksgiving Day).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

OfficeMax brings back the holiday magic

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

The video is me dressed as an elf doing some pretty awesome break dances. I have OfficeMax to thank for that. 'Tis the season for the retailer's popular free holiday e-greeting,, so let the ridiculousness begin!

Powered by JibJab Media, allows consumers to create free personalized holiday e-cards by uploading their photos and transforming themselves, family and friends into dancing elves. Users can then share their holiday e-cards via e-mail or using new capabilities that enable them to post their creations to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Whether you want your friends or family to be center stage of a hip-hop video or a country hoedown, OfficeMax gives you that chance this holiday season. And it's certainly giving people something to talk about too. A very smart move all around.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ordering in the new world

I haven’t ordered from Pizza Hut in years and now I suddenly can’t get it off my mind. After the company announced earlier this week that it raked in more than $1 million in sales, in just three months, from its Pizza Hut app for the iPhone and iPod, my curiosity has inevitably peaked. What makes the app so special?

Not only is Pizza Hut the first national pizza chain to introduce an ordering app for the iPhone and iPod touch, it's one of the most engaging and uniquely entertaining apps out there.

When ordering pizzas, users can virtually build their own pizza by choosing a type of crust in the scroll wheel, "pinch" select the size they want, and drag-and-drop toppings onto the pizza, all with visual confirmation. If an overeager pizza customer adds too many toppings, the pizza explodes and toppings go flying across the screen with an alert to make their pizza happier with fewer toppings. How fun does that sound?

Meanwhile, the section used to order WingStreet wings starts with a bowl of wings that changes as users choose the type of wings they want. Next they select a sauce and are prompted to "sauce their wings" by shaking their iPhone or iPod touch until the wings are covered. Shake too long and the sauce flies across the screen. As with the pizza ordering, customers finish with a representation of the ir order.

Pizza Hut also has given customers a way to pass the time as they wait for their order with a game called Pizza Hut Racer, in which users are challenged to deliver a pizza quickly while avoiding obstacles in the road. And finally, each time a user orders using the app they get 20% off their entire order.

All that said, it looks like Domino's has lots of strategizing to do ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I always knew you'd be famous one day

American Eagle Outfitters is offering shoppers at its soon-to-open Times Square flagship a chance to see their face in bright lights.

After making a purchase, customers will be invited to pose in a mini photo studio for an experience the company is calling “15 Seconds of Fame.” Moments after, the customer’s photo will be projected onto 15,000 sq. ft. of LCD screens (25-stories high) outside the store for all of Times Square to see.

Customers can also write a quick message with their name and hometown to accompany their image. Since there is no minimum purchase and shoppers can participate as many times they want, I expect this will be a big hit, especially among younger shoppers.

I can just see their excited Facebook statuses now …

(Image via Associated Press)

Let's air a point-of-sale frustration

I understand that Express wants to keep track of its customers by asking for an e-mail address at the register, but let me tell you how frustrating it is to type into a keyboard without seeing a computer screen in front of me. Why is only a keyboard provided? I'm pretty sure I must mess up my e-mail address every time.

That said, the company must be limiting the growth of its e-mail database due to these inevitable typos. If Express wants to save on computer screens, wouldn't it be just as easy to tell the cashier your e-mail address? Just saying ...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Macy's gets ahead of the game (but that's O.K.)

O.K., so this might not have to do with Gen Y, but it does have to do with retail -- and as a Philadelphia-area native, it makes me very happy. (Though, I'm sure it angers a lot of my New York-based workers).

Macy's on Monday ran a pre-mature ad congratulating the Phillies on winning back-to-back championships. Click here for the full story.