How Good Is the Customer Experience YOU Offer?

For many consumers, the shopping experience is as important as — or more important than — prices in influencing their purchase behavior. And with today’s extensive amount of competition, consumer patience is at an all-time low.

Melissa Global Intelligence is a firm that provides in-depth data quality tools and services. It recently published “What Kills the Customer Experience?” by Nathan Safran:

“Melissa recently commissioned NAPCO Research for a wide-scale survey of 126 E-commerce managers. Participants were asked to speak specifically about their perceptions regarding 1) obstacles to customer conversion and loyalty and 2) the role of improved data accuracy in approaching these challenges. Our findings revealed that in the life cycle of the online purchase, two primary ‘pain points’ are evident: checkout and delivery. For customers, these intersections can yield a sense of dissatisfaction sufficient to cause shopping cart abandonment or even refusal to shop at the site in the future.”

Click here to access an interactive, scrolling version of the article.

Click each image below to access the individual pages of the article in a large format.


Posted in Online Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How Zappos Stays Ahead

Zappos, a subsidiary owned by Amazon, clearly has a unique corporate culture that has helped it to grow in popularity. Today, this online retailer offers shoes, apparel, accessories, and other consumer lifestyle products.

Here are some corporate culture examples that show Zappos’ uniqueness, as reported by Micah Solomon for Forbes:

“Tony Hsieh is sporting a Mohawk, the first I’ve encountered atop a gainfully employed billionaire. I ask the Zappos CEO, who sold out to Amazon for $1.2 billion but continues to run his operation largely without interference, how the Mohawk got there. ‘I try to do one uncomfortable thing every day.'”

“The best way to understand Zappos and its customer service is to study the chalkboard at its on-site contact center. The ‘Daily Breakdown Report’ is simpler than call analytics at traditional contact centers. It lists three categories of customer interaction, each with a Zappos “z”: Phonez; Live Chatz; Emailz. For each, someone has written the number of customer inquiries received for the day (yesterday) and average time to respond.  The volume of customer inputs is heavily skewed to phone: 7,394 calls, answered in 25 seconds on average, 1,656 chats (‘chatz’) answered in 31 seconds each, and 988 E-mails (’emailz’) answered on average in 4 hours and 15 minutes. This final statistic is troubling to Ryo Hanalei Zsun who was guide on my tour. ‘We fell down on the E-mail response. Our goal is to respond in an hour.””

“The chalkboard has a second sector of hand-drawn stats you’ll never see compiled at any other contact center — telling how many flowers, cookies, postcards, and unnamed ‘wow gifts’ have been sent to customers in the previous month and previous year.”

Click the image of Tony Hsieh (with his Mohawk) to read more from Solomon.


Posted in Online Retailing, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Learn More About the Sharing Economy

With the popularity of Uber, AirBnB, and other firms, the “sharing” economy continues to take off.

Listen to this podcast to learn more:

“In the latest episode of eMarketer’s ‘Behind the Numbers’ podcast, VP of Forecasting Martin Utreras discusses the so-called sharing economy. The impact of digital platforms like Uber and Airbnb has been enormous, and likely even greater disruption is on the way. How many Americans will use sharing economy services in the future, and how large will these businesses grow to be?”

Click the play icon to listen to the podcast.


Posted in Global Retailing, Online Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Social Media and Retailing, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Internet of Things in Retail: Engaging the Connected Customer

The International Institute for Analytics has published a good white paper on the Internet of Things — IoT in Retail: Engaging the Connected Customer:

“How do you make your brick-and-mortar stores as smart as your Web site – so when customers walk in the door, you recognize them and cater to their individual tastes? What’s the key to making in-store shopping as frictionless for your customer as online shopping? Read this research summary from the International Institute for Analytics to get started. You’ll learn how to use analytics to gain advanced insight from the Internet of Things: tracking chips, in-store infrared traffic monitors, interactive kiosks, and customer mobile devices, to name a few. With analytics, you’ll identify who’s walking in your store, understand their behavior and preferences, and create engaging experiences for your connected customers at every turn.”

The white paper may be accessed by the clicking the image below and entering your E-mail address.


Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. E-Commerce Projections Through 2021

What’s ahead into the next decade for U.S. retail E-commerce — by product category?

Recent research by eMarketer provides the answer.


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

Video: Lowe’s Innovation in Its Operations

Lowe’s ranks second only to Home Depot in home improvement retail revenues. It has become quite active in developing technology to improve its operations.

As reported by Phil Wahba for Fortune:

“Inside a Lowe’s store in Christiansburg, Va., an employee ­easily plucks a 40-pound air conditioner from a shelf, assisted by a robotic-looking suit that helps with heavy lifting. The contraption, resembling a harness the Terminator might wear, is built with carbon fiber rods that act as extra artificial tendons, giving workers bodybuilder strength and, the company hopes, increased productivity. The so-called exoskeleton was created by Lowe’s Innovation Labs in partnership with Virginia Tech university.”

“Other sci-fi experiments from Lowe’s labs include Holoroom How To, a virtual reality tool for teaching customers to do basic home renovations. For example, people who put on a VR headset can crouch down and

“Yet, no matter how cool all these innovations may be, Lowe’s has, so far, put them to use in a handful of stores. The exoskeleton, for example, is being tested at only one store out of more than 1,800 in the U.S., while the Holoroom How To is available in just one U.S. outlet and another two in Canada. It’s easy to understand why many are skeptical about retail innovation. A lot of store technology pitched as the future ends up being adopted more slowly than expected — or never. Whatever happened to beacons, a technology that lets retailers zap coupons to shoppers’ smartphones while they’re in the store? Or RFID tags, small sensors that were supposed to revolutionize how retailers track inventory? So far, both have failed to live up to the hype.”


The following Fortune video gives an overview of the suit that gives employees super-human strength.


Posted in Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Technology in Retailing, Video Clips (non-career) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Which Retailers Have the Most Stores in the United States?

There are various ways to determine the “top” retailers in the United States, such as based on sale volume or annual sales growth. Another way is by the total number of stores.

The chart below, with data compiled by the National Retail Federation, shows the retailers with the most retail stores in the United States. The list is dominated by high-turnover stores. [Please note: Number of locations and sales revenue are two totally different measures. Walmart has by far the greatest annual sales volume, yet it is not on this list for number of store locations.]

Infographic: The Most Common Retail Stores in the U.S. | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista


Posted in Part 4: Store Location Planning, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 8: Putting It All Together | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment