Many online merchants have been watching closely the saga of the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) constitutional challenge to a 2010 Colorado law targeting remote sellers. This legislation would require out-of-state catalog and internet retailers that do not collect Colorado state and local sales tax to turn over customer transaction information to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
In the near future, D-to-C selling will be an imperative for manufacturers hoping to compete and grow brand loyalty. Those not offering online shopping invite brand skepticism, if not scorn, among consumers who visit a site only to find that the shelves are bare. The cost is more than a one-time sale lost; it can mean brand degradation that inflicts long-term damage on a manufacturer's fortunes. With concessions to retail partners and the right technology, manufacturers will be well on their way to meeting the D-to-C mandate.
There are seasonal businesses and then there's Halloween Express. The retailer has an eight-week sales cycle (September through October), with 50 percent of its annual business occurring in the last 10 days leading up to Halloween. Therefore, it's critical that Halloween Express is nimble and can make decisions in real time, particularly when it comes to purchasing inventory.
"Hi, I'm planning to launch an e-commerce site for women's apparel. The price point for the merchandise is between $150 and $500. I know the hardest part is going to be getting the website discovered. Could you give some advice on how to do that?" - Dina Agam, Entrepreneur
Subscription commerce — a business model where customers pay a subscription fee and in return receive a product delivered to them on a recurring basis — is a growing trend in the retail industry. Startups like Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club are prime examples of companies that are succeeding with a subscription commerce-based approach. LUSH Cosmetics is the latest company to try to cash in on the subscription commerce phenomenon.
● Office Depot launched an augmented reality/mobile campaign earlier this year with rock band R5 that targets millennial back-to-school shoppers with the hopes of bringing them into its stores.
Jewelry and design have always been a part of Carolyn Rafaelian's life. Her father, Ralph, opened a jewelry manufacturing business in 1966. It was there that Carolyn developed her love of design. In addition to designing pieces for her father's business, Rafaelian began to create her own jewelry line. An overpowering sense of belief in those products led Carolyn to start Alex and Ani, the jewelry company named for her two eldest daughters.
Apple isn't just about cool new gadgets. It recognizes the importance of training employees — whether they're in the corporate office or the corner store — on how to treat customers. Apple is intent on forming relationships with every customer, whether they're buying a new device, getting one fixed or just asking questions. Being customer focused is part of Apple's brand messaging. Apple can teach us a lot about how to communicate that brand message so effectively.
Most retailers today know that mobile is everything. Consumers are increasingly researching products, reading customer reviews and making purchases via their smartphones and tablets rather than desktop computers and laptops. It's a trend that will only continue to increase.
Imagine this scenario: You've thought of a way to reinvent in-home air conditioning. You go through the process of sketching the idea and sharing details of what's going to make your invention a revolution in the product category. However, you're overwhelmed by what the next step could be. Do you have a marketing strategy? How much does it cost to make your idea a reality? Who do you connect with to help put this product in consumers' homes?