Customers and Retailers: Beware of Public Wi-Fi

Have you ever used free public Wi-Fi at the airport, Starbucks, Panera Bread, or other unsecured venues?  Is it safe from hacking, identity theft, and other invasions of privacy? No!! So, why do we use it?
According to Ian Barker, writing for Beta News:
“There’s an expectation that public Wi-Fi will be available pretty much everywhere we go these days. We access it almost without thinking about it, yet public networks rarely encrypt data leaving users vulnerable.”
“A new survey of more than 2,000 business users by networking company Xirrus finds that while 91 percent of respondents don’t believe public Wi-Fi is secure, 89 percent use it anyway. The report shows that 48 percent of Wi-Fi users connect to public Wi-Fi at least three times per week and 31 percent connect to public Wi-Fi every day.”
“When on public Wi-Fi, 83 percent of users access their E-mail, whether it’s for work or personal reasons, and 43 percent access work-specific information. ‘Today, the convenience of using public Wi-Fi, for a variety of work and recreational uses, supersedes security, which puts both individuals and businesses at risk. Most businesses do not offer secure connectivity options for customers and guests.’ says Shane Buckley, CEO of Xirrus.”
Take a look at the following infographic. Still think it’s a good idea to access private information via public Wi-Fi?


Posted in Online Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Privacy and Identity Theft Issues, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upgrading Walmart’s Employment Practices

For years, Walmart has had tough labor practices and been heavily criticized for them. For example, it has been sued by many women for unequal pay and promotion opportunities, fought hard against employees unionizing, paid low wages, etc. But, now Walmart is loosening up; and it realizes that happier employees can mean happier customers due to better customer service. It has even brought back store greeters in many locales where they had been eliminated to reduce costs. Yes, this comes at a time when U.S. revenues have been weak.
As Neil Irwin reports for the New York Times:
“A couple of years ago, Walmart, which once built its entire branding around a big yellow smiley face, was creating more than its share of frowns. Shoppers were fed up. They complained of dirty bathrooms, empty shelves, endless checkout lines, and impossible-to-find employees. Only 16 percent of stores were meeting the company’s customer service goals. The dissatisfaction showed up where it counts. Sales at stores open at least a year fell for five straight quarters; the company’s revenue fell for the first time in Walmart’s 45-year run as a public company in 2015 (currency fluctuations were a big factor, too).”
“To fix the situation, executives came up with what, for Walmart, counted as a revolutionary idea. As an efficient, multinational selling machine, the company had a reputation for treating employee pay as a cost to be minimized. In 2015, Walmart announced it would pay its workers more. Executives sketched out a plan to spend more money on increased wages and training, and offer more predictable scheduling. The results are promising. By early 2016, the proportion of stores hitting their targeted customer-service ratings had rebounded to 75 percent. Sales are rising again.”
“An employee making more than the market rate, after all, is likely to work harder and show greater loyalty. Workers who see opportunities to get promoted have an incentive not to mess up, compared with people who feel they are in a dead-end job. A person has more incentive to work hard, even when the boss isn’t watching, when the job pays better than what you could make down the street.”


Click the image to read a lot more from Irwin. 

A Walmart trainee perfecting a cereal display in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Credit Melissa Lukenbaugh for The New York Times

A Walmart trainee perfecting a cereal display in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Credit Melissa Lukenbaugh for New York Times.


Posted in Careers in Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Better Promote YOURSELF

I regularly ask my undergraduate and graduate students: Why should an employer want to hire YOU? What can YOU offer that is distinctive?
One good way to answer to these questions is by publishing material online through your own blog or at other Web sites. By doing this, you can show off your Web-related related skills, highlight your own expertise on a specific topic, and demonstrate how well you write.
Recently, Mark Miller presented some great observations on this subject for Business 2 Community.
“Writing is one of the most productive things you can do for your career. You don’t have to be seeking attention from creative recruitment agencies in order to benefit from it, either. On a personal level, you grow your personal brand and get an opportunity to show off your communication skills–something that’s valuable no matter your field. From a job perspective, it can help you draw attention to your employer’s company, drive traffic to its site, and have a positive impact on SEO.”
“The advantages to being a published author are many, but getting started isn’t easy. That’s something I found out the hard way working closely with content marketing recruitment. I’ve spent much of 2016 developing my authorship profile, developing relationships, and creating opportunities for myself and others in my business to share our ideas and insights. Now that I finally have some momentum going, I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned so you can avoid making the same mistakes and get a head start!”
Here are a few of Miller’s suggestions:
  • Know “what you bring to the table that’s unique enough to justify being read over dozens of similar articles and posts.”
  • “If you’re first starting out, begin with smaller publications even if they have much smaller readership. You can even self-publish on a personal blog or on a site that allows anyone to self-publish like LinkedIn.”
  • “Most blogs and Web sites that publish regularly and accept external contributions will have easy-to-find, publicly accessible editorial guidelines and directions to submit content.”
  • “Building up a portfolio of published articles and opinions takes time, and a lot of it. And submitting content, communicating with editors, and finally getting published will probably take longer than you think.”


Click the image to read a lot more tips from Miller. And look at the links below the image.



Posted in Career Useful Information, Careers in Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take a Store Wi-Fi Quiz

Retail Touchpoints has made available an interesting online quiz: “In-Store Wi-Fi — Are You Keeping Pace With Your Retail Peers? Take this quick quiz to understand how well you are leveraging Wi-Fi in the race to build your business. See how you are doing relative to your peers, and gain ideas for upgrading your guest Wi-Fi offering.”
Click the image to access the quiz. Good luck!


Posted in Online Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choosing Gas for Your Vehicle Not as Easy as You Think

What factors do you consider when buying gas for your vehicle? Octane rating, emissions, brand name, price? Do you believe that there are differences in gasoline? The correct answer is yes, but not necessarily in the way that you think.
There are actually two points that should be important to you, even if you have been using the cheapest gas you can find:
  1. According to new AAA research, “American drivers wasted more than $2.1 billion dollars in the last year by using premium-grade gasoline in vehicles designed to run on regular fuel. With 16.5 million U.S. drivers having used premium fuel despite the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation in the last 12 months, AAA conducted a comprehensive fuel evaluation to determine what, if any, benefit the practice offers to consumers. After using industry-standard test protocols designed to evaluate vehicle performance, fuel economy, and emissions, AAA found no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that only requires regular-grade fuel.” [Note from Evans on Marketing: There is no need to use premium gas if it is “recommended” by the manufacturer, only if the owner’s manual says premium is “required.”]
  2. A second study by the AAA  uncovered significant differences in the quality of gasoline sold at fuel retailers in the United States. The independent laboratory testing compared gasolines that meet TOP TIER™ standards often marketed to consumers as having enhanced, engine-cleaning detergent additives with gasoline brands that do not participate in the automaker-backed program. Among brands tested, non-TOP TIER gasolines caused 19 times more engine deposits than TOP TIER brands after just 4,000 miles of simulated driving. Such carbon deposits are known to reduce fuel economy, increase emissions, and negatively impact vehicle performance, particularly on newer vehicles. To protect vehicle investments, AAA urges drivers to use a gasoline that meets TOP TIER standards for engine cleanliness and performance.” [Note from Evans on Marketing: The use of TOP TIER gasoline is supported by the nonprofit Consumer Reports!]

Click the image to see if you are buying your gas at a TOP TIER brand retailer.


Posted in Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Strategy Mix | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Uber Drop-Offs Right to the Store

There is now a new opportunity for Uber, the ride-sharing firm: Delivering customers right to the retail store.
As reported by
“The ride-hailing app is partnering with location-data company Yext to let retail brands create in-app campaigns. Uber has already worked with brands like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Casper to deliver on-demand products but now appears to opening up the actual app as a marketing platform.”
“Here’s how it works: Retailers can use Yext’s software to plug Uber’s API into their mobile apps, sites, and E-mails. Clicking on the button opens the Uber app—or prompts people to download it—and shows consumers where the store is located. Retailers can then specify an exact address or location on a map where they want the person dropped off. Macy’s, for example, can ask Uber drivers to drop a rider directly at the door of its Herald Square location in New York instead of dropping them off at the corner (where they’re less likely to walk straight into the store).”
“While consumers still pay for the Uber ride, retailers can set up campaigns within Uber once someone is in the car. In one example, retailers can link a pin on an Uber map to a Web site showing in-store inventory at a shop. Or, a restaurant could pull its menu information into the app. The brands have to be paying Yext clients.”

Click the image to read more.

Brands can link to E-commerce sites within Uber/Yext


Posted in Nontraditional, Online Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 4: Store Location Planning, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Retailers That Millennials Love

Millennials represent a huge, demanding, and challenging consumer segment for marketers. With that in mind, let’s ask: What retail brands are doing best among Millennials?
Recently, Moosylvania — a company involved with branding, digital, and experiential (“Digital connectivity has changed the way we interact with one another – people no longer want to consume marketing, they want to participate in brands.”) asked more than 1,5000 Millennials to select their favorite brands. It then ranked the top 100 brands. The findings are interesting and some rankings may be surprising!!
In describing the 12 retailers among the 25 brands in the 2016 Moosylvania study, Mallory Schlossberg and Kate Taylor report the following for Business Insider. [Note: In their article, all 100 companies are described.]:
2. Target — “owns the intersection of style and affordability. It has been giving its kids’ clothing business a makeover to be more stylish. The company also sells gender-neutral room decor and stopped labeling its toys by gender.”
7. Walmart — “gave its workers a raise and has pledged to adopt more humane standards for the meat it sells. It also opened smaller format stores that resonate with Millennials more than supercenters. Its “Neighborhood Market” stores could rival those of Whole Foods, and its app helps consumers find savings throughout the store.”
8. Amazon — “offers one-hour delivery for members of its Prime service and expanded its grocery delivery business to New York City. The company also announced a new gadget called the Dash Button, which will make it easier for consumers to order household items, such as detergent, when they are running low.”
10. Victoria’s Secret — “is the undisputed leader of the lingerie market, controlling 61.8% of the market. The company’s marketing strategy, which includes its famous Angels, certainly helps.”
12. Starbucks — “has been expanding its menu to include more food options such as sandwiches and salads — and even wine at some locations. It has also added drive-thrus to many locations.” 
13. Express — “rewards shoppers by not just using their store credit cards, but by getting involved with Express in other ways, too — like retweeting and signing up for text message alerts. For every 2,500 points, shoppers earn $10. This helps Express ensure customer loyalty.” 
16. American Eagle — “has managed to avoid the fate of many competitors by not falling victim to the low sale prices utilized by many fast-fashion stalwarts. Most crucially, American Eagle has won the heart of Millennial females with Aerie, its lingerie subset, which proudly boasts Photoshop-free ads.”
20. Old Navy — “has delivered quirky spots starring Amy Schumer. The retailer understands how to market content to the Internet generation, though sales have been slipping lately.”
21. Kroger’s — “loyalty cards track what shoppers buy — so that Kroger’s shoppers don’t just receive random rewards, but rather, rewards that cater to their specific shopping needs. Kroger has been taking many steps to advance its in-store (and delivery) technology.”
22. Chick-fil-A — has a cult following, no doubt. Its zealots show their devotion every year when they have the opportunity to dress like cows to win free food. Chick-fil-A remains a favorite destination for Millennials because the food is fresh and good.”
23. GameStop — “sales have been falling, but it’s been shifting its strategies so that it can win with this demographic. Adage reported earlier this year that the company has been changing up its PowerUp Rewards program to work with how many consumers get their video games by streaming.”
24. Kohl’s — “rewards program ensures customer loyalty without needing a store credit card. In fact, customers can earn points by doing the simplest activity such as pinning images on Pinterest. Kohl’s lower prices can also lure Millennials.” 


Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing, Strategy Mix | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment