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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.
 

 

What’s on Your Shopping List? Part 2

29 Nov

Yesterday, we posted about the most popular gifts this year. Today’s post focuses on gift cards. These cards are easy to purchase and enable the recipients to buy what what most interests them — while also being somewhat impersonal.

Based on the recent survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, these gift card findings are clear:

“Holiday shoppers are planning to purchase an average of three gift cards with an approximate value of $46 per card, the second most-popular gift after clothing. Spending on gift cards is expected to reach $27.5 billion, up from last year’s planned $26 billion. The most popular types of gift cards include those from restaurants (35 percent of buyers), department stores (33 percent), Visa/MasterCard/American Express (22 percent), coffee shops (21 percent) and entertainment (17 percent).”

 
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What’s on Your Shopping List? Part 1

28 Nov

What do YOU planning on buying this holiday season?

As Ana Serafin Smith reports for the National Retail Federation:

“With shoppers eager to take advantage of early promotions from retailers, more than half of consumers have already started making dents in their holiday gift lists, according to the annual mid-season survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.”

“NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said: ‘This time of year is about finding the right gifts while staying on budget. For those looking for anything from toys to apparel at retailers large and small, in-store or online, retailers are ready with great merchandise at affordable prices.’”

 
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