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e-commerce

Needle Helps Retailers Close Sales with Help From Brand Enthusiasts

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 20, 2013 06:22 PM

Salt Lake City-based startup Needle offers a twist on social commerce, utilizing brand loyalists as shopping guides for curious consumers.

Its workforce, a team of brand experts that operate like freelance customer service reps, earn an hourly rate up to $12 and have a hosted profile on the retailer's website. “They love the products, they want to be in the loop on what’s new,” founder Morgan Lynch told brandchannel. His current workforce numbers about 20,000. “They’re contractors, who can come and go, but we have an extensive on-boarding process—that’s why I think there’s a difference between crowdsourcing and a distributed workforce.”

The service was inspired by Lynch's own shopping experience, in which he struggled to find reliable recommendations online for a product, and instead ended up buying the item in-store. The frustrating experience led to Needle, which gives "consumers the ability to find the perfect item online at the right time."Continue reading...

social commerce

With Cartwheel Beta, Target Tag-Teams with Facebook on Shared Deals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 8, 2013 06:23 PM

 

With mobile a big focus for Target CMO Jeff Jones, the retailer recently announced a mobile incubator to come up with apps to reinvent shopping. Fast-forward to today, with the release of Cartwheel in public beta merging social networking and discounts in the retailer’s latest move to lure traffic to its physical stores and away from online rivals.

As brick and mortar retailers struggle for relevance, fighting the growing trend of “showrooming,” they’re turning to social media to attact consumers with unique deals. Target has been working with Facebook for about a year on Cartwheel—tagline: "A whole new spin on saving"—in order to let its customers on Facebook choose from hundreds of deal items such as Target's own Threshold private label home goods as well as brand goodies like M&M's candy and Coca-Cola soft drinks.

The Cartwheel launch includes 700 new offers, and claiming any one generates automatic News Feed posts on Facebook unless the user turns them off.Continue reading...

social commerce

With Cartwheel Beta, Target Tag-Teams with Facebook on Shared Deals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 8, 2013 06:23 PM

With mobile a big focus for Target CMO Jeff Jones, the retailer recently announced a mobile incubator to come up with apps to reinvent shopping. Fast-forward to today, with the release of Cartwheel in public beta merging social networking and discounts in the retailer’s latest move to lure traffic to its physical stores and away from online rivals.

As brick and mortar retailers struggle for relevance, fighting the growing trend of “showrooming,” they’re turning to social media to attact consumers with unique deals. Target has been working with Facebook for about a year on Cartwheel—tagline: "A whole new spin on saving"—in order to let its customers on Facebook choose from hundreds of deal items such as Target's own Threshold private label home goods as well as brand goodies like M&M's candy and Coca-Cola soft drinks.

The Cartwheel launch includes 700 new offers, and claiming any one generates automatic News Feed posts on Facebook unless the user turns them off.Continue reading...

social commerce

How TOMS Inspired a Generation of Socially-Conscious, Booming Businesses

Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 24, 2013 01:41 PM

Sometimes a brand blazes a trail, only to find itself outrun by the competition. 

Back in 2006, entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, who made his name and a small fortune as a contestant on reality TV show, The Amazing Race, came up with a unique proposition for a new brand, TOMS Shoes. The business model: TOMS would donate a pair of shoes to a child who lived in poverty for every pair of shoes sold. The philanthropic concept quickly became a sensation that catapulted the company's brand awareness to superstar status.

Not surprisingly, other companies started to knock off the idea. The most egregious copycat has been a line of shoes called "BOBS" that Skechers introduced in 2010. BOBS not only look exactly like TOMS signature shoe, right down to the logo stitched on a visible exterior label, but Skechers also shamelessly followed TOMS' "one-for-one" model of giving away a pair of shoes for every pair sold.Continue reading...

brand evolution

American Express at 163: Having Its Cake and Tweeting It, Too

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 18, 2013 04:38 PM

It’s hard to believe that American Express is celebrating its 163rd birthday today, as the iconic brand continues a spry and active presence, pushing boundaries in social media while as fresh and enduring as those half its age. Case in point: its #163candles hashtag on Twitter today.

Just last month, the blue chip brand teamed with that whippersnapper on a social commerce experience that turns Twitter hashtags into purchases. The sync and tweet with #hashtags lets users buy $25 American Express Gift Cards and products from Amazon, Sony, Urban Zen and Xbox 360.

"Based on the initial success of Amex Sync for offers, we know there is significant power in combining our assets with Twitter's platform to bring value to Cardmembers and merchants," said Leslie Berland, SVP Digital Partnerships and Development. "Now, we're leveraging our unique technology and closed-loop network to introduce a seamless solution that redefines what's possible in the world of social commerce."Continue reading...

shopper insights

Facebook Drives More Traffic to Retail, But Pinterest Users Spend More - Study

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 25, 2012 10:03 AM

While Facebook dominates in socially-driven shopping, Pinterest is driving the highest average spending per online shopping session.

RichRelevance, a specialist in dynamic e-commerce personalization for the world’s largest retailers, analyzed nearly 700 million shopping sessions to benchmark the performance of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as drivers of traffic to retail sites.

“Every social network promises a new way of connecting consumers with retailers and brands,” stated Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance, of the firm's latest Shopping Insights report. “However, the big take-away from our research is that not all channels in the social space are created equal.” 

Key findings include:Continue reading...

going mobile

Walmart and Apple Test Mobile Self-Checkouts

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 5, 2012 11:58 AM

Smartphones can do plenty of things. Now retailers are going to put them to work for them. Don’t feel like waiting in line at Walmart? Get yourself an iPhone.

The retail and technology giants have partnered up to create an app that is now being tested, one that will allow consumers to scan goods onto their iPhones and pay for them in a self checkout line, Reuters reports.

Walmart already offers a mobile app (at right) that can scan barcodes and check prices, along with a shopping list and basket, so self-checkouts are a natural extension as the mobile wallet business takes off, along with its @WalmartLabs R&D team exploring social and mobile commerce products and digital innovations such as semantic search.

The retailer promised earlier this year that it would put in more self checkout lanes into its stores as well as Sam’s Clubs, the wire service notes. If the test works out, the test will likely expand beyond Apple devices to Android and other mobile platforms. Apple's former retail chief is also bringing mobile self-checkouts to his new employer, JCPenney.Continue reading...

social media watch

Fancy That: Pinterest Rival The Fancy Passes 1M Design-Savvy Influencers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 10, 2012 11:53 AM

As Pinterest starts to overtake Twitter and other websites for referral traffic, it's a tough act to follow. But The Fancy is ready to give it a try.

Geared at fans of great design who already love to suggest new brands and products to their social networks, Mark Zuckerberg and Kanye West are fans of The Fancy, and backers include Ashton Kutcher and PPR head François-Henri Pinault.

But unlike Pinterest, it's not so much about visual scrapbooking as is about generating sales of recommended products, turning users into affiliates. And unlike Klout, no credit is received for influence, only for actual purchase, rewarding users for their taste and influence. It's powering more than $10,000 in sales per day. Modest, but it's a start for a brand that describes itself as “part store, blog, magazine, and wishlist.”Continue reading...

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