5 Stories That Generated the Most Discussion in 2015
January 6, 2016 at 9:49 am

What follows is a list of the Total Retail content in 2015 that generated the most reader comments. You’ll see that our readers are highly engaged when it comes to content on shipping rates — who isn’t when it has such an impact on your bottom line — social media marketing, payment options and cooperative…

How to Use Data to Stop the Inventory Guessing Game
August 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm

One of the worst feelings a retailer can have is when a customer is ready to buy a product, but you don't have it in stock. Yes, they can be directed to a sister store or check online, but today's shoppers can easily take their dollars elsewhere. Another real problem is the overbuying of product,…

If You Need More Darned Clutter on Your Site ...
March 27, 2015

You've probably heard this one before: When you're trying to get a visitor to your site, you should be screaming for attention. While they're on your site, you should quietly let them shop. The shouting stops at the entrance. Nobody wants a bazaar while browsing. At least, in theory, nobody wants a bazaar.

The Vendor's Guide to Trade Shows ... From a Retailer
October 2, 2014

I'm at the Shop.org Annual Summit in Seattle and having a great time catching up with old friends and colleagues, meeting new contacts, and learning about new digital marketing strategies and technologies. Also, as usual, as I walk through the exhibit hall I'm being greeted by smiling vendors, eager to share with me information about their latest and greatest shiny new objects. For the most part, I actually enjoy talking with vendors and learning about their wares. But I have noticed many folks — retailers, probably — with their badges turned the other way or tucked into their jackets, and I know why: they don’t want to be singled out and aggressively sold to by vendors.

Why Modnique Launched a Responsive Design Website … And Why it Works
November 5, 2013

Global online retailer Modnique launched a responsive web design (RWD) version of its website this past September in an effort to optimize the experience of visitors using screen sizes as small as the iPhone and as large as 36-inch monitors. Here's a look at the brand's experience with RWD. 

How HalloweenCostumes.com Scared Up Holiday Sales Thanks to PayPal
October 31, 2013

In the spirit of the season, I thought I'd check in with North Mankato, Minn.-based HalloweenCostumes.com, a leading online Halloween costume destination, to see how it was faring this season. HalloweenCostumes.com was started 10 years ago out of a garage; today it receives hundreds of thousands of costume orders during the Halloween season. The company attributes its growth and success to several factors, including leveraging scalable technology from partners such as PayPal, Google and Amazon.com.

Show Me the Data
September 17, 2013

Concerned about privacy? Now you can see what data has been collected on you. I was in for a shock. In an admirable move toward transparency, Acxiom, one of the largest data collection companies in the world, will show you a summary of your personal data. You can see its view into your world at AbouttheData.com. The shock for me? Acxiom got me just plain wrong.

From Game Show Hero to Retail Innovator
May 24, 2013

One of the more interesting developments to come out of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville this week, from which I've just returned, is the launch of IBM Watson Engagement Advisor. The "super computer," named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was designed as a computing system that could rival the human brain's ability to respond to questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence.

How Persuasive Are Your Product Pages?
May 2, 2013

Your homepage — as much as you love it — is basically a glorified street sign. Consumers don't read it so much as glance at it in the hopes that it's clear where they should go. Its job is to get people out of there, into whatever it is they're looking for. And often what they're looking for on your site isn't your categories, deals, and certainly not news releases about you or your awards — it's your products.

8 Ways to Use Parcel Carriers’ ‘Cost to Serve’ Pricing to Your Advantage
April 16, 2013

Just about every day, a shipper asks me what FedEx or UPS incentive they should be achieving for their specific spend level. But it doesn't work that way. While overall volume and revenue certainly play a role in pricing, the discounts you get from UPS and FedEx are largely based on their understanding of your distribution footprint and package characteristics, which are directly tied to the carriers’ "cost to serve" pricing models.