Archive for category Retail

ECommerce Success Story

Andrew Warner of Mi just interview the most amazing e-commerce entrepreneur that you have never heard of…

Anthony Bucci is one of the founders of RevZilla and Andrew gets him to tell the story of how he and his cofounders built the most successful e-commerce company that you have never heard of.  RevZilla is a $50 million company that was built over the last 4 years with no outside money.

There are too many lessons to take away from this interview to list them all here so I will just mention one.  Anthony talked about all the ways that they listened to their customers to learn why they came to the site, what got them to buy and in some cases why they didn’t buy.

A great interview for anyone hoping to start an e-commerce company.



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Change from the Inside?

Ron Johnson

Yesterday it was announced that Ron Johnson was dismissed as the CEO of JC Penney.  He came into the company 17 months ago with great fanfare.  Johnson was the genius behind the Apple Store and was going to change department store retailing as we know it.  Opps.

Johnson’s main principle was that he was going to do away with heavy promotion and focus on everyday value.  The lesson here should not be that the strategy was flawed.  It should be that fundamental change like this is virtually impossible in a relatively healthy company.  There is no compelling reason to take the risk.  Employees don’t feel the change in their guts and customers aren’t behind the change.  If this change is to happen it will come from a new entry into the market place.  Only with a new entry will customers be taking control and making a positive choice to spend money there.

Creative Destructionism at it’s finest.


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The Birth of Redbox


Yesterday, I found out that an old colleague of mine is leaving Redbox.  He wasn’t just any old person at Redbox, he was the founder.  He saw the company that he created change an industry.

The way that he built Redbox was inspiring, he started out with one idea, listened to the customer and pivoted based on customer feedback.  Over the last 11 years he has created what is arguably one of the two most important companies in the movie business (Netflix being the other). No they don’t make movies but they can MAKE a movie.  If you can get into their machine your movie is made.  Any where that he goes across America he is bound to run into one of his machines.  I wonder how he feels when he sees that ubiquitous red box.  

Now as he leaves the company I can’t imagine the emotion that he is feeling not only leaving the scores of people that he has worked with, but leaving his “baby”, the idea that became the industry.


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"Honey, I’m Home"

One big advantage that the Web has over Brick and Mortar retail is that typically when someone is in their web store, a retailer knows who it is, what they have purchased before, what they have looked at, and lots of other data about that customer. This allows the web guys to acknowledge their best customers, help them if necessary, and provide offers and recommendations. They can even customize the store, based on their customers’ preferences.

A challenge for retailers in 2012 is: How can we get customers to identify themselves when they come into our stores so we can do some of those same things?

Over a five day period, RetailWire, the retail news service has had stories about two retailers doing just that.

Two very different retailers and two very different programs.

How are you getting your customers to let you know they are home?

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Understanding the Customer – Advanced Analytics

For centuries retailers have been trying to understand what the customer wants (product and price) so that they could win their business. We have used Category Management tools, RFM Models, Customer Segmentation and Customer Personas amongst other efforts. Unfortunately we have been handicapped by imperfect and incomplete data due to limitations in the technology available at the time.

Now, because of advancements in storage and analytics we can read all of the signals that the customer is leaving for us, across all channels and social networks.

Turning these signals into action is a 3 step process:
1 – Gather – We need to gather and clean all of the data. It may be determined that there is additional data that we currently don’t gather that may be useful so we need a strategy for gathering that also.
2 – Analyze – The data needs to be analyzed for trends and actions to understand what influences the customer to take action. We need to understand the customers triggers whether it is product, price, promotion, pacing, peer pressure or some combination.
3 – Deliver – Deliver the results back in an actionable way so that we can influence the purchase decision. This can be on line, in the store or in a call center. This is the most important part yet the hardest to execute.

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