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Do YOU Understand YOUR Credit Report?

27 Jun

As shoppers and as marketers, we know that an individual’s credit score is very important in determining the rate of interest a person pays for a credit card or loan transaction, how much they are able to buy on credit (the spending limit), etc. An excellent rating is an important guide for both shoppers and buyers. But, do we know how a credit rating is computed?
 
Here is a good video overview from Barclaycard U.S..
 

 

The Unique Back Story of Warby Parker

12 Jun

Warby Parker is a highly successful online — and now store-based — marketer of eyeglasses and sunglasses (“Prescription eyeglasses, starting at $95, with free shipping and free returns.”). As it notes on its Web site:

“Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty goal: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. The rest of us had similar experiences, and we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare. Where were the options?”

“There was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry is dominated by a company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no options. We started Warby Parker to create an alternative. By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, we’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price. We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.”

“We also believe that everyone has the right to see. Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.”

 
Take a look at this Inc. video featuring Warby Parker founder Neil Blumenthal.

 

What’s the Most Expensive City in Which to Live?

29 Mar

Believe it or not, worldwide there are many cities that are more expensive than New York City and San Francisco — or any other U.S. city — in which to live. The most expensive U.S. city (New York) only ranks as the ninth most expensive.

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently published “Worldwide Cost of Living 2017: A ranking of the world’s major cities”:

“Singapore retains its title as the world’s most expensive city for a fourth consecutive year in a top ten that may have a familiar feel to it. Not only has Singapore stayed top but Hong Kong remains second, closely followed by Zurich. The latest survey has also seen a return to the top ten most expensive cities for Tokyo and Osaka. The Japanese capital, which was the world’s most expensive city until 2012, has moved seven places up the ranking owing to a sustained recovery in the strength of the Japanese yen.With Japanese cities returning to the fold, Asia now accounts for half of the ten most expensive cities ranked. Western Europe accounts for a further four cities, while New York City is the lone North American representative. The Big Apple, which rose to seventh place last year, has fallen to ninth owing to a slight weakening of the U.S. dollar, which has also affected the position of other US cities. For New York, this still represents a comparatively sharp increase in the relative cost of living compared with five years ago, when New York was ranked 46th.”

 
Here are the 10 most expensive cities in the world as charted by Statisa.
 

 

What’s Ahead for the Subscription Box Service?

13 Mar

Are subscription boxes a fad or sustainable business model? According to Jameson Morris, a specialist in the field: “A subscription box is a recurring, physical delivery of niche-oriented products packaged as an experience and designed to offer additional value on top of the actual retail products contained in a box.”

Morrison further notes that to be considered a subscription box service, these elements are needed: 

“Must be a physical delivery (digital subscriptions can’t be classified as a subscription box). 

Must be a recurring subscription/membership (of any term or frequency). 

Must feature one or more of the following value propositions:

Surprise (at least 1 or more items in the box must be unknown to the customer before delivery). Discovery (slightly different than ‘Surprise’. Discovery-oriented subscriptions don’t have to have ‘mystery’ items, it’s more about consumers ‘discovering’ items they’ve never seen before).

Curation (a thoughtfully picked variety of products related to a specific niche or category). 

Savings (a clear savings on the price paid for the box versus the total retail value of the items inside). 

Thoughtful Presentation (From custom packaging to the way products are arranged inside the box). 

Convenience (convenience cannot be implied solely by the fact that it’s a recurring ‘auto-delivery’. Rather, think of the fresh ingredient subscription boxes like Blue Apron or Green Chef–they deliver convenience in the form of pre-prepared ingredients and recipes).”

 

According to eMarketer:

“A March survey from AYTM Market Research of 1,000 US consumers showed that while a little over half of respondents said they have used at least one subscription service, almost two-fifths who had used one said they had canceled.”

“’To stay the distance, brands using a subscription model need a very strong point of difference and superior customer service,’ said Sarah Boumphrey, global lead of economies and consumers at Euromonitor International. She added that subscription services also need to come up with other avenues of revenue. For instance, Birchbox, a leader in the space, has brick-and-mortar stores.”

“Differentiation will be even more crucial, as there are signs that suggest the industry’s growth is slowing. Traffic to subscription service sites in January rose 18%, according to Hitwise. Though that’s healthy growth, it’s well off the 56% gain registered a year earlier.”

 
Click the image to read more.


 

Great Books to Read in 2017

26 Jan

As we continue to look ahead to 2017, there are various books that provide valuable information and that are highly rated by reviewers. Here are a few sources for YOU to check out, by topic.

Click the images to read the reviews.
 

“5 Must Read Books That’ll Inspire Entrepreneurs in 2017”


 

“12 New Books to Help You Build Wealth and Get more More Done in 2017”


 

“11 Great Business Books to Read Right Now”

 

“20 Books Every Marketer Should Read in 2017”

 

“Top 15 Best Books on Social Media Marketing for 2017”

 

Customer Service Means a Good Return Policy

3 Jan

Now that the 2016 holiday shopping season is over (except for spending gift cards), a vital question to consider from both the customer’s and retailer’s perspective is: What kind of return policy best serves my needs? For many consumers, the answer may be: an unlimited time frame to return a purchase. For many retailers, the answer may be: holding down costs as much as possible. In either case, the return policy is a key element of customer service.

These are some return practices disliked by consumers: [Note: Many good retailers do not follow these practices.]

  • An overly short time period to make a return for a full refund.
  • The amount of the refund for a gift item when the gift recipient does not have a receipt.
  • A discounted refund merely for opening the product’s box.
  • The time to process a refund for a return.
  • Items excluded from refunds, such as computer software.
  • The shipping fee to return a purchase made online.

 
Two of the acknowledged leaders are Amazon, whose return policy is easy to use and consumer friendly, and L.L. Bean, whose return policy has received various honors and awards.

As a prelude to a YouTube video about returns at L.L. Bean, Business Insider’s Sam Rega recently stated: Here’s what makes L.L.Bean’s ‘100% satisfaction guarantee’ the best return policy of any retailer.”
 

 

Ethically, Should There Be a “Pink Tax”?

5 Dec

Did you know that there are several instances when women pay more than men for the same goods and services? For example, nationwide, many dry cleaners charge a higher fee for a woman’s “blouse” than a man’s “shirt” — even if the items are exactly the same. This practice has become known as the pink tax. We’re at the end of 2016, and this practice is still in effect.

Consider the following excerpts from a report by Glenn Taylor for Retail TouchPoints

When Boxed.com lowered the costs of feminine products sold on its site, it brought awareness to the issue of the ‘pink tax’ — the higher prices charged for female-marketed products such as razors, deodorants, and body wash compared to similar marketed-to-male products. But Boxed.com hasn’t been the only brand seeking to raise awareness about the pricing gap.”

A recent RetailWire article spotlighted the actions of New York City pharmacy Thompson Chemists, which charged a one-day 7% ‘man tax’ in response to the pink tax. Although the drugstore didn’t actually add on a tax for male shoppers, it did give females a 7% discount on all items throughout the store. The 7% discount reflected a study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs indicating that women’s products across a wide range of hygiene categories cost 7% more than men’s products sold in the city. As if this added tax wasn’t enough, feminine hygiene products also fall under the ‘luxury’ tax designation in 39 states, which means a 9% sales tax is charged for items such as pads and tampons.”

“Like many politically sensitive or gender-charged actions, the pharmacy’s tax was met with sharply divided opinions from consumers. While the move was reportedly received well in the store, it resulted in a flood of largely negative comments online as the story went viral.”

 

Click the image to read more on this topic from Retail TouchPoints.
 

 

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