Microsoft Corp.

How Retailers Can Avoid Credit Card Fraud
February 18, 2015

Once upon a time, I was a young wine merchant in Brooklyn, N.Y. and a new customer came into my store looking to buy several cases of expensive wine for a wedding. I was so excited by the big sale but, for whatever reason, I couldn't connect to my credit card processor. The customer asked me to type in the card number because his card's magnetic stripe wasn't working. And so I did. I put the transaction through, only to find out days later that the card didn't belong to the customer and I was on the hook for the cost and out of the product. I decided then and there to educate myself on everything I could do to keep my business and my customers’ personal data safe from fraudsters. Here are six tips:  

Why Kohl's is an Irrelevant Retailer
November 4, 2014

For many years, Kohl's has struggled with its merchandise assortment. Until recently, management emphasized private labels like Sonoma and Croft & Barrow and Jumping Beans. Now Kohl's is moving away from private brands toward national brands like Nike, Adidas, Keds, Levi, Juicy Couture and Izod, Elie Tahari for DesigNation, Elle, Gloria Vanderbilt, Disney, Arrow, Dockers, Carters and many others. The emphasis on exclusive lines such as Vera Wang, Jennifer Lopez, Dana Buchman and others will continue. 

Has Microsoft Created the Apple Store of the Future?
July 17, 2014

One business segment in which Microsoft is unlikely to announce layoffs this week are its retail stores. The stores, the brainchild of former long-time Wal-Mart executive David Porter, who was brought on board in 2009, number 101 in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Microsoft has 58 full-line retail stores and 43 "specialty stores." According to Microsoft, its specialty stores are located in malls across the U.S. and Canada and are typically a smaller footprint than full-line stores, are located in central locations in the mall and and offer a curated assortment of products.

Microsoft's Retail Stores May Hold the Key to its Future Success
May 28, 2014

In the face of its late re-emergence into the world of mobility, and the real and rapid decline in its mainstay — new personal computer sales — you can't blame analysts for wondering about Microsoft's future prospects. After all, the company is still working to ply users’ fingers away from its now unsupported, going-on 13-year-old operating system (OS) Windows XP, even as its most recent offering, Windows 8.1 has received a lukewarm reception in the marketplace.

Best Buy Signs New Store-Within-a-Store Deals With Samsung, Sony
May 2, 2014

Best Buy will remodel the TV sections in most of its stores nationwide to add dedicated areas for Samsung and Sony. Best Buy said Thursday that it plans a massive expansion of its "store-within-a-store" concept, with Sony opening stores in 350 Best Buy locations and Samsung adding 500 new stores to its presence within Best Buy. Best Buy has been aggressively trying to remake the way it sells products, carving out space for individual brands in its big boxes in efforts to once again become a go-to destination for consumer electronics. 

eBay Signs Retail Chains to Same-Day Delivery Service
April 1, 2014

eBay Now is a same-day delivery service, but not for items offered on by its millions of sellers — at least not yet. Instead, the eBay Now service is exclusively for local brick-and-mortar retailers in certain cities: San Francisco and the Peninsula, San Jose, parts of New York City, Chicago, and Dallas. While Best Buy, AutoZone and Toys"R"Us were among the first retailers to participate in eBay Now, the list of retailers now participating include the following featured stores: Home Depot; Office Depot; Walgreens; GNC; Radio Shack; Macys; Microsoft; Guitar Center; Bloomingdale's; and Urban Outfitters.

Unorthodox But Effective
February 1, 2014

Sometimes an odd suggestion can really turn a company around. Here are three nontraditional recommendations that have significantly improved sales for B-to-B direct marketers:

Microsoft Selling Anti-Google Merchandise
November 22, 2013

After saying earlier this year that it wouldn't give up its anti-Google advertising campaign, Microsoft is upping the ante by selling "Scroogled" T-shirts, hats and coffee mugs this holiday season. Like the rest of the campaign, created by former Hillary Clinton operative Mark Penn, the eight items for sale in Microsoft's online store target Google for what Microsoft feels is its unfair invasion of user privacy in the pursuit of profits. Here's some of what Microsoft is selling:

Taking Page From Apple, Google Opens Showrooms in 6 U.S. Cities
November 19, 2013

Google is opening showrooms in six U.S. cities, promoting its latest products and stepping up retail efforts against Apple and Microsoft as the year-end holiday shopping season gets under way. Called Winter Wonderlabs, the outlets feature products such as Nexus 7 tablets, Chromebook computers and Chromecast video-streaming devices, the company said on a new website Monday. Consumers can order the gadgets online after looking at the wares. The stores also feature a large snow globe that lets shoppers take videos of themselves, complete with fake snow.

HQ Content, Context and Field Truth in the Realm of Inventory Planning
November 14, 2013

I attended Learning 2013 earlier this month, hoping to gain insights on how we at Direct Tech can provide top-notch training to our software users. It was an impressive event with more than 170 sessions, a keynote speech by Hillary Clinton, interviews with thought leaders, and unique insights from the likes of Jane Pauley and George Takei. I came away from the conference with many pages of notes, but my most memorable "learning" came from someone who didn't speak a word: U.S. General Colin Powell, as quoted by the event host, Elliott Masie.