Archive

Archive for the ‘Business/Marketing’ Category

THE LUXURY BRAND IN-STORE EXPERIENCE WILL NEVER DIE

October 1, 2010 1 comment

Yesterday, emarketer asked how can luxury retailers create a better online shopping experience? While the question focuses on how the current state of e-commerce can be taken to the next level to better meet the wants and needs of affluents, I wonder if affluents will increasingly turn to the internet to south their indulgence in luxury goods?

2/3 of e-commerce growth in Q2 of 2010 is credited to affluents. Despite this promising figure, luxury retailers remain inactive and fail to take advantage of this new breed of online shoppers. Luxury brands are defined by their inaccessibility and exclusiveness which feed our need to look wealthy. While internet usage continues to surge across all demographics, buying luxury goods online can never mimic the in-store experience that’s offered to the affluents. three reasons exist that point to this argument.

1) When shopping in an Hermes store or purchasing a IWC watch from a high-end jeweler, the mere action of walking out with the branded shopping bag creates a sense of pride and self-accomplishment that cannot be replicated online despite all the social sharing tools that exist.

2) In general, women go shopping in pairs. They not only value their friend’s opinion when purchasing a designer garment but also engage in experiences that transcend that taking place in stores. These outings are occasions during which shoppers have the opportunity to catch up with each others’ lives this, usually over lunch, drinks, or the occasional pampering at the local spa. While time has become a commodity for most of us, the occasional getaway with friends on a shopping trip is still of essence and very much valued. Thus, making the complete disappearance of in-store purchasing unlikely.

3)Finally, the white-glove treatment that is customary to luxury brands can never quite render the same way online. True luxury brands not only offer their customers with a certain level of intimacy that exists online but they usually throw in the occasional champagne glass along with other delicacies.

So while the recession has caused affluents to increase their research for deals, value, and quality and has prompt a surge in online shopping, the return to a more stable economic climate will likely see affluents getting together and invading the Fifth avenues of the world and take part in that rich experience that many covet but only few enjoy.

What do you think? Do you see sharp declines in the level of in-store purchases of luxury goods happening soon? Have your say in the comment box below.

Don’t become part of the noise. Do not outsource social media conversations!

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

When asked why they outsource social media, business owners cite lack of time and lack of knowledge as the main reasons. Companies should not delegate all their social media efforts to an agency or a consultants (I’m going to piss a few people off with this one).

Photo credits: met2art's

Social media tools let businesses engage with customers on a wider scale and faster than previously possible. Companies that decide to completely outsource social media are asking vendors to handle their relationships with customers. The primary role of social media vendors is to get the company to a point where they only need his/her assistance for the mechanics. Given that technology moves at the speed of light and no single person can stay informed of all the latest trends, the consultant is there to bring you up to speed on the latter.

Let your agency handle the production aspect of your social presence. Let them design your Facebook page, let them present you with a background for your Twitter account, let them handle updates and the analytics but don’t let them handle your engagement or conversations. The owner and the employees are the best persons to speak on behalf of the brand. They live and breath the brand on a daily basis. They know its voice, its culture, its history.

Agencies regardless of their level of involvement with the brand are not the decision makers. Having had the chance to be in an agency myself, I know that all executions has to be approved by the client. So by the time you get approval and execute, the buzz might have waned.

Finally, outsourcing your social media efforts mean you give up control of your brand’s personality to a vendor. If the relationship goes south and you take back control of your social media presence, you might be surprised to see that some of your followers don’t fit the target profile.

Agencies are the eHarmony of your social media. They ask the questions that let you find the best potential relationships but the decision to engage in a long lasting affair is ultimately yours.

Aside from time and lack of knowledge what other reasons do you see for outsourcing your social media? Have your say in the comments section.

Twitter “paid” the NFL

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Forget your elevator pitch! Can you sell yourself using 140 characters? Every organization can reach super stardom with Twitter, period, full stop. Just look at professional sport leagues. These guys are making a killing with the social network and integrating it effectively in their communications mix, although sometimes not deliberately. If you look at the NFL, NBA, MLB and any other sport association’s income statement Twitter appears in the sales revenue section and rest assured that no sale has occurred.

The number one reason  the NBA and its counterparts has not outright banned players for ranting on the microblogging service results from all the money to be made each time an athlete decides to catch feelings and broadcast to his followers. Can someone tell me how much any of these sports association made in the last year from fines issued to players for tweeting during games, complaining about the officiating, calling out their teammates or coaches? I’d like to see that figure.

The latest incident involves Chad Ochocinco, wide-receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. The NFL  fined him 25K for using an electronic device during a preseason game and posting to his twitter page: “Man Im sick of getting hit like that, its the damn preseason shit! 1day I’m gone jump up and start throwing hay makers, #Tylenolplease.” for his followers’ reading pleasure.

Although I am curious to know where he got the device (Are there hidden pockets in those tights?), it’s clear that all publicity is good publicity. That 25k will be split between the league and the players’ union and benefit some charities of their choice. If that’s not effective PR I don’t know what it is. Secondly, Sir Ochocinco is what we can call a social media superstar. And as such, enables football fans to connect to a human representative of the Bengals creating brand awareness and further engagement opportunities.

Do you see added benefits from having social media celebrities in an organization? Share them in the comment box below.

Facebook Places: How’s your customer service?

August 24, 2010 1 comment

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware by now, that last week Facebook made its anticipated debut into the location-based arena with Facebook Places. while much talk is devoted to the benefits Places brings to businesses, a post by the dudes and dudettes at Inside Facebook titled Facebook Places: The Real-Time Web Without Search, made me think of the implications, negative word of mouth may have on your business. Here’s a little taster from that post:

Using the write API, data from across location services can be aggregated to a Places page. Unlike hashtags, which can easily differ from each other and thereby splinter the data, Facebook keeps everything tidy by suggesting the most popular instance of a Place if you try to create a similar one. While there’s no Twitter integration yet, someone could create a system that converts hashtags into Places API write calls. While Places check-ins are currently only visible to friends regardless of your setting, the fact that there is a privacy option to share check-ins with everyone means Places pages are equipped to become public repositories of real-time information.

Now before you press that “Is this your business?” button giving you admin access to your place, how confident are you about your  customer service level?

Case in point: if my friend Joe visits your location and tells me and 500 million others, that Meg at the reservation desk is rude and just told him that if he’s not happy to wait a few minutes to be seated, there’s a McDonalds down the street that will gladly take his order. Will you have the listening tools in place to take action right away? What’s your game plan? Will you walk to the front and fire Meg? Can you recover from that real-time uppercut in front of the world or will you let me count to 10 and go meet Steph that’s “Nearby”(Pun intended)?

Facebook Places just gave way to free word of mouth and advertising but before you go ahead and launch your Place, tell me how is your customer service?

Endless possibilities are coming with Places but did you see the ditch on the side of the road? Facebook just provided consumers with ammo that can reach far beyond their next door neighbor.

Do you see any other pitfalls that small businesses should think of?