The Fiorentino brothers were aggressive entrepreneurs who grew a small direct mail catalog company into what is now CompUSA, a national electronics chain. Then greed got in the way. Nearly nine months after Gilbert, Carl and Patrick Fiorentino were physically escorted out of the Miami headquarters of the company they started in 1987, the first official account of their transgressions has emerged in a lawsuit that was filed by CompUSA's parent company in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
A solid guarantee is an important part of the selling process. It tells consumers that you stand behind your products and are truly focused on their needs. Prominently displaying your guarantee on your website and/or catalog makes sense, and should be heavily promoted as part of your offer.
The retail graveyard is filled with venerable names that were felled by the recession. Now, some risk-taking companies are trying to profit by bringing brands back from the dead. Systemax Inc., best known as the parent of Internet computer-parts retailer TigerDirect.com, gambled by buying the rights to the names of two deceased store chains, CompUSA for $30 million in 2008 and Circuit City for $14 million in 2009. Now as the economy crawls toward recovery, Systemax is opening CompUSA stores in Houston, Chicago and other major markets after successfully testing the concept in Florida. It already revived Circuit City as an Internet retailer last June, and is contemplating a brick-and-mortar rebirth for that brand as well.
Inventory flexibility is the best way to maximize sales in today’s economy. But many challenges prevent marketers with both direct fulfillment centers and retail stores from maximizing the inventory they have. E-commerce, catalog and retail have different planning methods and accuracy issues. It’s one thing to get the size distribution right for a region and store, but it’s another to plan for the way colors sell.
There’s just too much prime opportunity online — e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc. — for brands to get dinged when they screw up. In the few weeks I've been back from vacation, I’ve been thinking about this as I go about my day-to-day dealings with companies.
B-to-B catalogers always have had several advantages over retailers. They can maintain and offer wider and deeper product offerings as they're not limited to retail space. They can provide expert telephone sales and support, warranty and repair services, installation advice, and other “knowledge-based” services much better than a retailer can. Furthermore, new Web site shopping functionalities make it easy for customers to find, shop, learn, compare prices, order return and access a host of other related services much better than they could if they were standing in a store.
You don’t have to operate any stores to always “mind the store.” For us in the catalog/direct/multichannel world, that means finding time in our 24/7, 365-days-a-year world to step back and ask ourselves a few questions. It’s not an easy task to pull back from our everyday happenings, but it’s mission critical to stop and ask:
1. Are we the company our customers want us to be?
2. Are we the company our competition envies?
3. Are we looking around every corner to see what’s coming next?
4. And for that matter, how can we adapt to meet the needs of
Customer reviews are becoming an increasingly common way to use the online community aspect of the Internet to help convert visitors to buyers. Amazon.com, CompUSA and other sites have been on record as saying customer reviews do lead to increased conversions. Here are four things you’ll want to consider: 1. Allow negative reviews? Absolutely. Including negative as well as positive reviews on your Web site makes you appear trustworthy. 2. Are they important? Heck, yeah. Ninety-two per-cent of online customers rated “customer reviews” as extremely or very helpful (the top-rated Web site feature) in a 2006 survey conducted by J.C. Williams/the e-tailing group. 3. Must they constantly