4 Cool Retail Technologies 
for the Hot Summer Months

Not sure where you are right now, but unless it's Alaska or Antartica, you're probably somewhere where the air is hot and humid. (I know I am, as I write this column from my home office in Brooklyn, N.Y. in early July.) That's why I thought I'd take a look at some cool (get it, cool) retail technology trends I've heard about recently.

An E-Commerce Holiday Checklist, Part 1

Here's a checklist of some of the most important things you should do with your website to get ready for the upcoming holiday season

Are You Ready 
for Holiday 2011?

Holiday plans, merchandise assortments and inventory purchases are pretty well in place by now for most cross-channel retailers. But since many businesses gain such a high percentage of their sales and profits in the fourth quarter — as much as 60 percent — it's never too late to see what additional things can be done to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

Complete Cleaners Uses Targeted Rewards to Win Customers

Complete Cleaners, a "green" dry cleaner based in Trussville, Ala., gleaned many new customers earlier this year thanks to a targeted rewards program it launched with Regions Bank and rewards provider Cardlytics.

Greener Pastures for Traditional Catalogs

At the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in San Diego this past June, I stumbled upon a new iPad app that’s contributing to the mobile shopping craze. The app is called Coffee Table, and it’s revolutionizing and re-energizing the catalog industry in a very green way.

Incipio Taps Facebook as a Sales Channel

It's not surprising that tech-savvy consumers are likely to spend more time on social networking sites compared to other consumer demographics. This is a big reason why Incipio, a cross-channel retailer of mobile device accessories, decided to bring its online store to its customers rather than vice versa. Incipio launched a Facebook store in January with the help of on-demand e-commerce solution provider ShopVisible.

Letters to the Editor

In this issue's Shop Talk department, we thought we'd share some 
"Letters to the Editor" we received over the past several months.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Fulfillment Operation

While the order fulfillment department of your cross-channel retail business isn’t the sexiest or most fun, it’s arguably one of the most important. Most customer complaints are centered around fulfillment issues, for example. And if your business has even the slightest fulfillment gaffe in today’s social media environment, it’s one tweet away from a public relations disaster.

Sears Drives Traffic to its Stores With Social Gaming Technology

Sears has driven new traffic to its brick-and-mortar locations by partnering with SCVNGR, a social gaming and check-in service. Here's how the partnership works: While in a Sears store, consumers can pull out their smartphone, launch the SCVNGR app and check in to the Sears location they're currently at. These consumers then create a profile and begin participating in various challenges. For example, Sears' fitness and footwear department's challenge reads: "Tread Softly: Make yourself at home in the shoe aisle and find the coolest tread. Snap a photo and then caption it with where you want to leave your mark in the world!"

the Holidays

Cross-channel retailers must focus on acquiring more social visitors this holiday season, as their value to brands is undeniable. According to the IBM Coremetrics Fourth Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, social media users are more than twice as likely than the overall population to convert into customers.

Turmoil, Deals and Sociability

As we prepare for the 2011 holiday season, online and offline data confirm what we already know: consumers willingness to spend this year is up in the air.