Friday, July 9, 2010

So long, farewell...

Readers! Today I am writing with big news: After nearly four and a half years at Chain Store Age magazine, I am leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity. I'm so sad! But also excited for what's ahead. Thank you all for reading this blog (and my longer stuff in print!) and I've truly appreciated your feedback over the past few years I've been doing The Y's Choice. I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Please track me down in the future!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Deal-seeking Gen Y wants it through email

Women are more likely than men to subscribe to email marketing messages, according to a new study by interactive marketing solutions provider ExactTarget – and judging by the obscene amount of emails I get each morning from various companies, I can’t say I’m surprised.

But here's the real kicker: The study also found that more than half of online teens are turning to email – not social media -- in search of deals and exclusive offers. Despite sites like Facebook and Twitter being touted as the best new way to reach out to shoppers with promotions and special discounts, it seems as though consumers are mainly looking elsewhere.

“Regardless of age or gender, email is the first place consumers turn when they want ongoing promotions or information tailored to their unique interests,” said Morgan Stewart, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group. “Consumers are turning to Facebook and Twitter to show support for their favorite brands. However, when it comes to on-going deals, email remains the channel of choice.”

In fact, Gen Y is twice as likely to subscribe to email (56%) in search of on-going deals as they are to search for deals on Facebook (28%).

As much as I love social media, I’m with the majority: I’m way more likely to take advantage of an email offer than scrounge around for deals on Facebook and Twitter. This also has to do with the fact that email promotions make it easy for consumers -- you don’t have to search around on other sites, especially when they can come neatly presented in your inbox each morning.

Ice cream for the digital age

It’s impressive how far along vending machines have come over the years. This is a video of a smile-activated vending machine that will be popping up in shopping malls throughout the U.S. in the next 18 months.

The system called Share Happy by SapientNitro senses when people are near and uses face recognition to determine gender, age and if they are smiling. The technology captures and measures the smile and rewards the biggest with a free ice cream from a Unilever brand. With 3G technology, the machine then allows them to upload their picture on Facebook to share it with friends.

Retailers should take note – what a smart way to get the news out about a new product. Offering free samples and using innovative technology to encourage others to spread the word is a very good move indeed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Forever 21 lights up Times Square

Forever 21 opened its new 91,257,-sq.-ft., four-level flagship store in Manhattan’s Time Square on Friday with much fanfare and hundreds of fans lined up around the corner to get in. I went to see what the fuss was all about.

Tourists walked by the scene and repeatedly asked what in the world could be going on, many scratching their heads why a store opening would attract such a large crowd. This wasn't just any store opening though -- Forever 21's Times Square debut becomes the largest single-brand apparel store in Manhattan.

One cranky guy passed by the outside and said his first impression was that the store was nothing special, calling it "The Gap on a Bad Day." But once you got deep within the store it became evident that something indeed special had been created.

The store – which occupies the former space of Virgin Megastore -- boasts a clean, sleek look and features a yellow taxicab and other icons of New York City throughout the space. It also houses all the company's brands in store-within-a-store departments.

Other features include a Stud Room, whose walls are covered with 3,000 gold studs (the area features studded-apparel) and the kids’ department, which has a wood tree house. There are also 150 fitting rooms for shoppers to try on styles.

The doors opened at 10 a.m., but many shoppers took their place in line many hours before. The location’s regular hours will be from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., allowing tourists to shop the store into the late hours of the night.

When shoppers finally entered the store on Friday, dozens of employees yelled, clapped and welcomed each person as though they were a celebrity. The star-treatment continued on each of the four floors when shoppers stepped off of the escalator.

To celebrate the launch, Forever21 featured a live DJ, a free manicure booth and gave shoppers an exclusive Forever21 Times Square location tote bag.

Unlike the guy who didn't even give the store a chance, those that did wait in line were not disappointed. One shopper called the store "hot" and unlike any other Forever21 she'd seen before.

What I liked most about being one of the first people to enter the store was that the floors were relatively empty and it was easy, relaxing and fun to navigate through the racks. That will surely change though.

With the location's first-year sales projections to surpass $100 million, it won't be long before you have to fight your way through the store along with everyone else.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Retailers debate how to get chatty

Last week I attended the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2010 in Chicago and with no surprise, social media took center stage. Many retailers debated the best way to approach the medium and here's a rundown of how some are using the platform to reach out to customers:

“The impact of social media is clear -- it’s not an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘now,’” said Andrew Koven, president of e-commerce and customer experience for Bayside, N.Y.-based Steve Madden Shoes, during a session. “We don’t want to be a general merchandiser that just throws things against the wall -- so we have to make things relevant to audience.”

Steve Madden has already recognized the power of product recommendations via its targeted e-mail programs. Now, however, the footwear chain is taking recommendations a step further by leveraging social networking platforms to draw attention to its products.

For example, shoppers can now like/share/tweet or recommend Steve Madden items and spread the news on social networking sites.

“Social media is an open invitation for those who are interested in your brand -- sometimes the feedback is positive and sometimes it’s not. Either way, it builds customer-brand trust and helps the company know where to make improvements,” Koven explained.

Steve Madden is currently redesigning to make “significant adjustments that make it a more socially minded site,” Koven said. This will include introducing new up-and-coming artists and adding more ties to social networking sites.

It is also setting the bar high for its Twitter and aims to reach triple its follower base in the next 12 months. Not only does Koven and the marketing team send out tweets, so does Steve Madden himself.

As for the frequency of tweets from the company -- a much-discussed topic throughout the conference -- Koven said it depends on whether or not the company has something meaningful to say.

“Sometimes we have a lot of things going on and other times we don’t,” he said. “We keep it natural and organic and don’t say there has to be at least five in a certain amount of time -- though, we do try to send out at least one a week.”

Unlike Steve Madden, however, Palo Alto, Calif.-based -- an online retailer that sells independent designer clothing, jewelry and shoes -- reaches out to its audience via Twitter much more.

“We don’t have the brand recognition yet that Steve Madden so have to do a lot more to engage our customers -- we tend to send out a tweet at least once an hour,” said Julia Kung, director of marketing,

Moxsie -- with nearly 62,000 followers on Twitter -- uses the social networking site to not only let shoppers know about new items and giveaways, it also uses it as a platform to chat directly with customers.

“Like our audience, we watch Glee and reference Lady Gaga,” Kung said. “We go off topic sometimes and this is what keeps people interested -- it’s an authentic voice, and a refreshing and effective alternative to traditional marketing. It also helps us relate and better interact with our customers, and ultimately we get loyal brand evangelizers.”

In fact, some shoppers take pictures or film videos with their purchases and in turn, the company posts them on Twitter. “People like to be a part of our brand, and we’re glad they are active participants,” Kung said.

Its Twitter strategy has indeed helped the company establish its brand presence and get the word out. In fact, 50% of its traffic comes mainly from Twitter. And when Moxie highlights certain products on Twitter, they often sell out fast.

“When something sells out, we usually send out a tweet and let everyone know we hope to get it back in stock soon,” Kung said.

It also gives its Twitter followers a sneak preview of when certain products come into the warehouse.

“We snap pictures and post them on the site,” Kung said. “Even if it’s blurry, we put it up -- it’s not about perfection, it’s about wetting your customer’s whistle and making them feel like they are on the inside.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Social media is not a fad

Did you know that social media tops Google for weekly traffic in the United States, that 1 out of 8 couples in the United States met through social media and some of Gen Y and Gen X consider email passe (in fact, some universities have stopped distributing email accounts -- instead, they are giving out iPads and eReaders)?

I'm at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago this week and just saw Bob Cell, CEO of product recommendation provider company MyBuys, show this compelling YouTube video about how social media is not a fad. It's definitely worth all 4:25 minutes of your time.

Watch, watch, watch.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mastering the art of online impulse buys

I absolutely love, a deal-of-the-day site that offers big discounts on things to do, see, buy and eat in your city. Thanks to its daily e-blast alerts that land promptly in my inbox first thing in the morning, I impulse buy a lot from this site -- which is great but also a problem.

For example, sometimes there's a $50 gift card for Fresh Direct for $25 (amazing, right?) However, there's other times I find myself buying unnecessary but lovely things like sangria flights and salon treatments. The urgent "24-hour only" time period is what sucks you in because, really, who doesn't love a good bargain?

The companies featured on Groupon are basking in big benefits. In one case, a salon received more clients in one day than it usually does in a typical month. Plus, Groupon subscribers often forward the deal to their friends, which creates even more buzz for the company.

The only catch is enough Groupon subscribers have to sign up for the deal (the number needed changes daily) or else the discount is void. This rarely happens though, thousands of people usually pounce on the offer each day.

If you haven't checked it out already, give Groupon a look -- it's worth checking out from both a consumer and a business standpoint.

Why Twitter? Why?

I understand that sometimes way too many people flood Twitter and cause the site to be "over capacity" -- but why doesn't happen to other social networking sites, such as Facebook? And why does it happen at such random times, like right now in the middle of the work day...

And, of course, the Twitter world later explodes with chatter about how the site has been down. I'm curious, what's the deal? You'd think Twitter would have this down by now.

What luxury execs need to know about Gen Y

A few weeks ago I went to L2’s Generation Next Forum in New York City and heard a lot about how brands can better market to Gen Y. This is a rather lengthy clip (it runs about 17 minutes), but it gives great insight into how Gen Y views luxury brands. Sterling Lanier from market research firm Chatter Inc. discusses what luxury marketers need to know about how the group sees the category.

Click, click, click

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stalkers wanted

Like so many of you, it often takes me awhile to go through my crowded inbox. Plus, sometimes companies send such boring emails that it's a struggle just to get through them. Before today, I never heard of a company called LearnSomething Inc. -- a Tallahassee-based e-solution company serving the pharmacy, healthcare and supermarket industries -- but it got my attention earlier when it "cordially invited" via email me to start stalking them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

My initial thought? Don't mind if I do...

With so many companies on social networking sites these days, it's hard to draw attention to your e-media initiatives. But what I love about this email blast from LearnSomething is that it 1) told me in a cute, clever way where to find them online; 2) provided all of the links to do so right in the email; and 3) avoided using overused language -- such as "Follow us on Twitter!" -- and instead invited me to "stalk" them.

Stalking is actually the perfect word to use when it comes to sites like Facebook and Twitter. It shows me that LearnSomething knows a thing or two about social media.

Okay, so it's probably too cheesy to suggest you learn something from LearnSomething, but hey, if you haven't already, consider sending your core audience a clever message like this one to connect them to your company's social networking pages. They might not even know where to find you, so grab their attention and point them in the right direction.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pizza Hut keeps it relevant

I like when companies tie pop culture into its Twitter messaging. It makes me wonder what Pizza Hut thought of LOST.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Target gets 'LOST'

Like many, today I'm mourning the series finale of "LOST." And yes, it was a beautiful conclusion to six chaotic, complicated and emotionally draining years on the island. When millions of eyes were glued to the TV last night to watch the series wrap up -- and to see Jimmy Kimmel's cast reunion special afterward -- Target jumped in with this hilarious commercial about the island's mysterious smoke monster. Perfection.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Google finds a way to keep you on its homepage

It's always exciting when Google switches up its homepage logo for various holidays. But today's celebration of the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man brings search interaction to a whole new level. You can actually PLAY Pac-Man on the homepage. So long Friday afternoon productivity!

People of Walmart are Web celebs

The People of Walmart blog has been around for quite awhile now, but I keep seeing more and more sites linking to it.

I wonder how Walmart's marketing department feels about the existence of a heavily-trafficked blog that pokes fun of its clientele?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When did McDonald's get so mod?

Last week I saw McDonald's testing a walk-thru on 14th Street in Manhattan. Now I'm seeing many locations throughout the city undergoing major face lifts. The chain is certainly on a roll these days. I snapped these pictures last night at its location in Greenwich Village.

Inspired by the company's redesign efforts in Europe, McDonald's customers can now sit in egg chairs, enjoy brightly colored walls and dine at wide tables.

The move is a good one as the company aims to cash in on the "experiential dining" trend. It's also smart for continuing its efforts to reach a new set of customers that may have once avoided fast food with its new coffee menu items.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nordstrom Rack makes its mark on Manhattan

Nordstrom Rack made its Manhattan debut this morning with a 32,136-sq.-ft. store in the heart of the Union Square district – and shoppers didn’t waste anytime, many lining up to get their first peek at the store.

The store takes up 32,000-square-feet in the basement of a former Virgin Megastore. Although the chain’s president recently said that he would have liked to have led its NYC debut with a full-line store, the move comes at an appropriate time when many shoppers are trading down amid the down economy.

As an outlet, the Rack carries a more limited variety of merchandise that includes clearance from Nordstrom's own stores and products from name-brand suppliers.

To accommodate the expected heavy volume, the store features an automated checkout line. A large television screen automatically directs a single line of customers to one of 19 cash registers – similar to what you'd see in various supermarket locations, such as Whole Foods.

With 20,000 Nordstrom cardholders in the greater Manhattan area – and no full-line Nordstrom stores in the city – I’m sure this store will get a lot of play. The next closest Nordstrom is about 25 miles away in the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island.

And finally, shoppers that bought anything from the store today received a free tote bag. (Yes, that's mine in hand -- I couldn't resist).

The New York City location brings to 76 the number of Rack outlets that Nordstrom operates. The retailer has 114 full-line stores.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cupidtino: A dating site for Apple fans. Really.

I'm torn -- is Apple on to something or are they trying just too hard? -- a name play on "cupid" and Apple's "Cupertino" headquarters -- is gearing up for a summer launch to romantically connect tech-savvy, Apple-brand aficionados nationwide. Here is what the Cupidtino homepage says about the new site:

Cupidtino is a beautiful new dating site created for fans of Apple products by fans of Apple products! Why? Diehard Mac & Apple fans often have a lot in common – personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, and of course a love for technology. We believe these are enough reasons for two people to meet and fall in love, and so we created the first Mac-inspired dating site to help you find other Machearts around you.

Cupidtino will launch in June 2010 exclusively on Apple platforms – including sweet location-based social apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple is looking for its slice of the online dating business, and I'm sure it will get its cut.

Click, click, click.

Starbucks pulls the clever card

Starting today and running until Sunday, May 16, Starbucks is cashing in on everyone's favorite time of day: Happy Hour. From 3 to 5 p.m. daily, consumers in need of an afternoon pick-me-up can order any Frappuccino blended beverage for half price at their local Starbucks.

The move is a part of the company's efforts to draw attention to its new in-store customization options. Starbucks' helps customers select and create different orders by selecting flavors, sizes, toppings, milk preferences and more. The site also encourages Starbucks drinkers to sign up for daily SMS reminders, create artwork right on the site and (of course) share their orders with friends on Facebook (or invite them to the closest Starbucks Happy Hour).

With so much personalization out there (and much love for discounted deliciousness and an excuse to sneak out for an afternoon break), Starbucks has a great promotion on its hands and has used the Web (via its site and social networking initiatives) to create great buzz so far. Now let's see how if it helps bring more customers back into its stores!

Uniquely Uniqlo

Seemingly out of nowhere, their cheap, skinny rainbow-colored basics became a kind of New York uniform. Just how did the Japanese discount brand become the hottest retailer in the city?

This is a great read from New York Magazine about how Japanese fast-fashion powerhouse Uniqlo has become the "it" shop in Manhattan. Click, click, click for the round up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The iPad: Challenges and opportunities

There’s been a lot of buzz about the Apple iPad since it hit the market last month, and many predict it could have a significant impact on the way people shop in the future. I spoke with David Fry, founder of e-commerce solution provider Fry Inc., about the probable impact of the iPad and what it could mean for the retail industry.

What has the consumer response been so far with the iPad?
Fry: With about a million iPads sold in one month in the United States alone, you’d have to classify the response as ‘strong.’ However, even Steve Jobs would have a hard time proving that someone really “needs” an iPad, especially with so many iPhones and Kindles already in consumer hands. Nonetheless, it does fill a gap in the electronic-gadget spectrum. It’s a great device for consuming media, in all forms. You can read e-books (both Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle books), watch TV and movies, check e-mail, surf the Web and shop online. Plus, the iPad’s battery life -- at more than 12 hours -- is a game changer and is much longer than a standard laptop.

What is the iPad's potential impact on e-commerce?
Fry: Smaller mobile devices such as iPhones are having an impact on e-commerce already, primarily due to their mobility and ubiquity. Many consumers carry a smart phone with them so they can use it to check prices and availability, comparison shop, find a local store and even place an order. So far, however, a small number of consumers are actually completing a full transaction on their devices. Since the iPad’s usability is far greater, many consumers will complete full e-commerce transactions just as they would on a laptop or desktop computer.

The iPad’s design encourages a more intimate Web experience and newer e-commerce designs. The Gap’s new iPad application is an excellent example. It’s focused on one product line (Gap 1969) and allows shoppers to experience pictures and video in a ‘social’ way and is far more engaging and versatile than any iPhone app would be.

Click to watch a video demo of Gap's innovative iPad app.

How do you see the iPad impacting retail in the next year? Few years?
Fry: The iPad won’t have too much of an impact in the next year, but within two years you’ll see many stores have dedicated iPad applications, and their sites will be changed to reflect some of the design aesthetics the iPad will make popular. This includes larger images and videos, touch interactions and geo-location features. Consumer expectations will also increase. In response, consumers will expect websites to pick up their games.

How could this ultimately change the shopper experience and influence shopper expectations?
Fry: A number of retailers are already making plans to have in-store iPad applications. Imagine a store associate, armed with an iPad, guiding a customer around a high-end fashion store, a furniture showroom or a bridal-oriented home goods retailer. The iPad allows the associate and the customer to visualize products not available in the store. They could configure a room layout together, for instance, at Room and Board. They could make sure a blouse and skirt are the perfect match at Ann Taylor. And the luster of the iPad will be a great reflection on the store’s brand.

In addition, remember that time you went into a retailer about five to 10 years ago and realized you knew more about the TV set you were trying to buy than the store associate trying to sell it to you? Consumers are going to feel that way more and more, and they will no longer shop at retailers who can’t keep up with them. I believe it’s all about how we are going to meet our customers’ increased expectations.

Are people ready to make big purchases on iPads and mobile devices or do you think the wave has yet to come?
Fry: They’re as ready to make big purchases on an iPad as on a desktop -- maybe even more so. The intimate nature of the surfing experience inspires a consumer to do more online research in less time and can add to their confidence about a big purchase. While they may agonize for a week about a large-screen TV purchase, for instance, I think if given an hour with an iPad and the right Web sites and downloadable apps, they could convince themselves to make the purchase while watching ‘Glee’ on their living room sofa.

For the full interview, click here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Because tech nerds need a good cleaning too

How much do I absolutely LOVE these little soaps from For $5, you can take a Facebook, Twitter or RSS feed bar of soap into the shower with you. All of this is, of course, further proof that social networking really is ubiquitous these days.

And just for fun, here are a few more creatively geeky soaps for the tech-minded out there. This batch is from -- enjoy!

The iPhone soap:

Nintendo controller set soap:

Control Alt Delete soap:

Tetris soap:

Is McDonald's testing a NYC walk-thru?

McDonald's is synonymous with drive-thrus, but last week I saw my very first urban "walk-thru" location on 14th Street in Manhattan. I'm not sure if this was location-specific, but customers could freely ordering meals from a storefront window off the street.

Is there really a need for this? I'm not sure, but at least this lady got a kick out of it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

YouTube celebrates five-year anniversary

Things just spread like wildfire on the World Wide Web, don't they? YouTube's birthday may be February 15, 2005, but this past Friday the site celebrated the five-year anniversary of its first-ever video upload. Which begs the question, how is YouTube only five years old? And how did we ever live before ...?

Check out the site's first-ever video above, featuring one of YouTube's co-founders Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sears thinks outside the channel box

Gap isn’t the only retailer learning to adjust to the pace and changing behaviors of the modern consumer. Sears, which has the sixth largest e-commerce site in the country and is the largest distributor of retail circulars, is currently promoting its cross-channel capabilities through a campaign called “Shop Your Way.” Check out its clever TV spot above.

“It’s all about merging channels,” said Richard Gerstein, senior VP marketing for Sears Holdings Corp., during the session “The Shifting Dynamics of MultiChannel Retail” at the recent eTail West show in Palm Springs, Calif. “We want shoppers to shop when they want and how they want.”

The campaign, which has been featured in a series of TV commercial spots, informs customers about Sears’ Web-to-Store free shipping and curbside pickup options, its mobile commerce site and its customer service capabilities. Shoppers can talk with Sears via representatives online chat tools, over the phone or through e-mail.

In addition, the company’s circular is now available digitally. “A digital edition allows us to showcase many more of the products we have on sale at our stores,” Gerstein said.

Sears has also embraced the social networking world by creating a community site of its own. MySears Community encourages shoppers to get advice before making a purchase and leave product reviews.

“People want our brand to succeed and want to be a part of it,” Gerstein said. “We’re trying to figure out how to better reach the multichannel consumer, and this is a great start.”


And finally, be sure to check out this cute commercial of Brett Farve debating a new TV purchase. Sears is certainly pulling out the stops to get the point across (and it's working):

Watch, watch, watch.

Looking to fit in

As e-commerce continues to grab a larger share of retailers’ revenues, many chains are still trying to figure out how to best close the cross-channel gap and reach out to shoppers in dynamic, engaging ways. Indeed, that was a dominant theme at the 2010 eTail West conference, in Palms Springs, Calif., back in February, where merchants across the board discussed how they are adapting to the changing retail landscape.

It's taken me awhile to get up some notes, but here's a look at some initiatives being deployed by retailers nationwide. In this post, let's start with Gap.

Gap has admittedly struggled with altering its marketing strategy to the online world in recent years, according to Keith Mercier, VP of Gap Online for Gap Inc.

“Back in the mid-90s, we were telling shoppers what to wear and when to wear it, and shoppers would then just show up at our stores,” Mercier said during the session “Creating A Dynamic Social Strategy.” “We called it brand communication, but there wasn’t actually a two-way dialogue with our customers. The times have since changed, and we’re trying to figure out how to change with it.”

Looking to become more relevant to modern shoppers, the Gap took a different marketing approach last fall with the launch of its “Born to Fit” campaign, which aimed to reintroduce Gap denim to consumers. Although the company still used traditional mediums, such as print—not TV—to promote the new line, most of its resources were used online.

It launched a “Born to Fit” page on Facebook, where shoppers could discuss what they were “Born to Do.” Videos were also uploaded of Gap employees, community leaders and celebrities talking about their passions.

“We knew we wanted to get involved with social networking, but you can’t buy a timeslot in these online communities like you would for TV,” Mercier said. “It took us awhile to figure out how to make it work.”

Gap also uploaded videos onto Facebook that showed a behind-the-scenes look at its headquarters and featured designers working on different styles.

“Since we usually paint a perfect picture of the company to the public, it took a lot from us to take our audiences behind the scenes and show them we’re not perfect after all,” Mercier said.

Before the launch of its “Born to Fit” campaign, Gap reached out to fashion bloggers and sent them jeans to test.

“We were putting our money where our mouth was like we never had before, and that was scary,” Mercier explained.

In another big first step, launched an online customer reviews feature.

“It took us a long time to be OK with the fact that some people might write negative feedback,” Mercier said. “All of this, however, has been a positive experience, and we’ve learned some great things in the process.”

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reinventing the shopping mall

If you haven't heard of the FastMall iPhone app, released by MindSmack in December, take a moment to watch this clip.

The innovative app really takes the shopping mall experience to the next level. It provides detailed mall maps, highlights elevators, gives the quickest route to stores and lets you make shopping lists and access coupons. It also helps you remember where you parked your car and with one shake of your phone, it points you in the direction of the closest restroom.

How's that for easy shopping?

What a croc!

Crocs Inc. is revamping its love-to-hate-it image by launching a new ad campaign for its shoes. Although the once white-hot brand faded over time – as consumers started to call the footwear “ugly” and “a passing fad” – the company aims to capitalize on product comfort via a new marketing platform.

Its latest "Feel the Love" commercial (see above) pink animated crocs anxiously await their owner’s return to her apartment, adorably run to greet her at the door and then massage her feet as she plops down on the couch. Who wouldn't want the same TLC attention after a long day?

Although I still think Crocs are still a bit unattractive, at least it’s a step in the right direct for the brand.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Old Navy attempts the lingo

I'm not entirely sure how Old Navy got my phone number, but the language they use in the promotional texts and mobile coupons they send cracks me up. I'm glad they think their smocked tube top is "smokin' cute" and would look nice on me though. Oh, LOL.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Inside job: Gen Y guiding the Forever 21 ship

This is an interesting read about the success of fast-fashion retailer Forever 21. The daughters of founders Don and Jin Sook Chang are being called the brand’s secret weapons. Sisters Linda and Esther Chang have the eye and marketing savvy to take the $2 billion brand into the future and make it a competitor worldwide, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Read the full story here.

(Image via

Monday, April 5, 2010

Viral lessons learned from SXSW

This is an interesting read about how to create a viral-video sensation. The advice is from a panel of pop stars, social-media executives and viral-marketing experts at the South by Southwest and Media Conference and Festival in Austin last month. The message should hit home with retailers.

Click, click, click.