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White House Puts Turkey Pardon to the Facebook Test, With Nate Silver Shout-Out

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 21, 2012 03:02 PM

The White House today was the scene of the annual pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardon, with Cobbler and Gobbler getting a reprieve — along with a shout-out to New York Times stats-cruncher Nate Silver ("once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it") and Facebook, the platform on which (in a first this year) the turkey pardon was opened to public voting. Portlandia-ready infographics (below) gave more details on each turkey's background to help voters decide. The First Family then went to Martha's Table, a food pantry in Washington, D.C., to help assemble Thanksgiving meals to be distributed to the less fortunate this holiday.Continue reading...

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Pee-Commerce: The Curious Places Where America Goes Holiday Shopping

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 21, 2012 01:08 PM

Americans are shopping en masse on mobile devices and increasingly in unusual places, including (ahem!) on the toilet, according to new research from CashStar, the digital gifting and incentives firm. And not because they're supporters of World Toilet Day.

Apparently, more than 38 million online adult Americans have shopped in the can — men, it seems, more prone to that kind of multitasking than women, in case you were wondering — while almost 17 million have shopped on their mobile device while standing in the retailer's physical store.

"Smartphones and tablets have enabled consumers to shop and gift on-the-go in more ways and places than ever before," said David Stone, co-founder and CEO of CashStar.

Other report findings include:

  • More than four million have shopped online while driving a car.
  • More than nine million admitted secretly shopping while in a business meeting.
  • More than seven million have filled their grocery and online shopping carts at the same time.

"The retailers who have been paying attention and catering to where and how consumers want to shop by mobile-optimizing their e-commerce sites and offering mobile eGift Cards will reap the rewards this holiday season and have a jump on the competition going into 2013,” added Stone.Continue reading...

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Apps Help Fuel Black Friday as Cyber Monday Morphs Into "Mobile Monday"

Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 21, 2012 12:02 PM

The annual holiday shopping hysteria is upon us, and this year's Thanksgiving madness promises to be more mobile than ever. In fact, a new survey indicates 28 percent of adult consumers who own smartphones or tablets will use them to shop on Thanksgiving day. That's nearly double last year's percentage.

As 20 percent of shoppers definitely plan to shop on Black Friday, they'll be enabled by QR codes (although almost 60 percent of shoppers don't know how to use them) as well as apps from websites and retailers catering to shoppers with smartphones and tablets. And beyond Black Friday throughout the holiday season, more so than ever this year.

"Apps will play a particularly strong role for driving commerce this holiday season," reports Mobile Commerce Daily. Nearly a third of smartphone owners will download a shopping app to use for holiday shopping, according to a Pricegrabber study and of those, over 80 percent will use their smartphones this holiday season in an effort to save money on purchases. eMarketer puts that figure at about 53%.

This year, retailers have resigned themselves to the fact that "showrooming" (checking out merchandise at stores and purchasing online) is the new competitive environment. "Consumers have been empowered by shopping apps," said Alexander Muse, founder of the Future Of Retail Alliance. "They've been armed with more product knowledge than clerks in most retail stores have. Retailers used to be threatened by this; now, they are finding ways to capitalize on it — such as through aggressive price-matching, as well as ship-to-store and other omnichannel strategies. That's the big difference between Black Friday 2011 and Black Friday 2012."Continue reading...

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Black Friday Watch: Walmart Braces for Doorbusters, Downplays Labor Threat

Posted by Dale Buss on November 20, 2012 06:03 PM

It's the holiday season already, but we're getting a late start on the whole peace and goodwill thing.

Peace? Don't look for it in millions of American homes on Thanksgiving afternoon as household members square off on whether they'll start hitting Target and other chains that are going to open that evening, or forswear what many see as one new intrusion too many on family traditions. Few retailers are as gutsy as Gander Mountain, the outdoor-retailing chain that is going the whole bird on Thanksgiving Day — open in many locations from 9 a.m. to midnight. However, as more bricks-and-mortar retailers invade the once-sacred time-space of Thanksigiving itself, preferring not to leave shopping on that day to the internet realm alone, they also are sparking more protests and regrets from rank-and-file Americans.

Goodwill? There won't be much of that in evidence at some Walmarts around the US on Friday, which is offering price-matching and a one-hour in-stock guarantee to shoppers — and the possibility of being short-staffed to handle the rush. Now that the chain seems to have gotten physical threats to doorbusters under control by preventing them from trampling one another, a new threat looms large: potential walkouts by workers and disruptions at about 1,000 stores across the country, caused by labor agitators who are organizing protests by as many members of Walmart's non-union workforce as they can.Continue reading...

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Free Coffee Not the Only Perk Awaiting Black Friday Shoppers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 20, 2012 03:04 PM

Black Friday is mere days away and America’s (make that North America's) most-devoted consumers are busy doing their stretches, dressing themselves in layers, and plotting their battle plan for early Friday morning.

Retailers, of course, would like to help them in any way possible in order to maximize the amount of money flowing into their cash registers throughout the punishing annual bricks-and-mortar portion of the shopathon. More of that activity, of course, is moving online and mobile — but for those committed to the physical act of shopping, they'll need help — and brand marketers are anticipating their needs.

For these seeking retail rejuvenation on Friday, a host of caffeinated beverages and coffee retailers are throwing incentives their way to get them to suck down as much as possible to refuel while on the run.

For those who tweet #dunkindonuts on Friday morning between 6 a.m. and noon Eastern, they’ll get put in the running to win one of six Keurig brewers and two boxes of Dunkin’s Hot Cocoa K-Cup packs. Meanwhile, 7-Eleven is handing out a free hot beverage for folks who come in on Friday and buy a Red Bull energy drink. Sonic Drive-Thru is opening early nationwide and offering its breakfast burrito at half price all day. What else could a crazed Black Friday consumer want? Continue reading...


UPS and FedEx in Ship-Shop Shape for Holidays

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 19, 2012 01:38 PM

As holiday season is now upon us, the two major U.S. shippers are gearing up as e-commerce and mobile access portend a healthy economic surge this week, through Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and into full-fledged holiday shopping mania.

According to the National Retail Federation, overall holiday sales are expected to rise 4.1% compared to last year – a bellwether for the health of the economy, with electronic items, apparel, and luxury comprising a significant portion of total holiday shipping volumes.

Both UPS and FedEx have delivery contracts with most of the biggest e-tailers including Toys R Us, Kohl's, Walmart, Macy's, eBay and Amazon.

UPS (the brand formerly known as United Parcel Service) expects shipments to hit record levels up 10% from last year and plans to hire 55,000 seasonal workers, and estimates it will deliver 527 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, topping last year’s record of 480 million.

Their busiest day will be Dec. 20, with an estimated 28 million packages delivered, up from the regular 15.8 million packages daily.Continue reading...


Is Coca-Cola's 2012 Holiday TV Campaign a Classic?

Posted by Andrew Chan on November 19, 2012 01:05 PM

Coca-Cola pretty much has a lock on Christmas (or at least Santa Clause) as far as brands go. This holiday season, its holiday campaign features a giant Santa puppet and a catchy tune, "Something in the Air," composed by Grayson Sanders.

Does the campaign stand with the brand's iconic "Holidays Are Coming" campaign with its now-iconic festive red trucks, or its more recent "Snow Globes" holiday campaign?Continue reading...

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UGG Keeps on Chugging with New Tom Brady Campaign

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2012 11:18 AM

A few years ago, UGG was stomping all over its competitors, but these days, the Australian company is just dancing as fast it can to keep consumers buying.

Yes, there are still queues at the UGG store in New York's Soho district, but that's mostly among tourists, which is why the brand is opening in the trendier Meatpacking district, joining Patagonia and Lululemon in cozying up to crowds at the Standard Hotel and upmarket retailers such as Jeffrey in a bid to woo higher-end shoppers.

The brand sparked a sheepskin boot craze more than a decade ago, and while it's trying to shore up its US business with a new commercial featuring brand ambassador Tom Brady ("Pink Slip," above) and a new store aimed at men, its popularity persists in markets such as the UK, where this month, the company is opening its seventh concept store and working hard to woo kids of all ages.Continue reading...

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