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Gilt group is an online retail store that sells high-end clothing and home goods at a discount price. Everyday they have new deals for their customers who have signed up to be a member to shop on their site. The only way someone may shop at their store is if they are a registered member with them. Gilt has used email to their advantage to make it so that they inform, remind, and persuade their registered members everyday. Each day when they post new deals they send an email to their customers of the new deals that are available. This reminds their customer of how they are constantly changing their inventory and persuades them to check out what is new. They also use this email to inform their customers of the new brands that they have up and all the special deals that go along with them.

Customers who receive this email have registered through the website and agreed to receive updates about what new products have come out. In order to even shop on their website you must be registered with them. This gives the appearance of exclusivity because only the people who sign up with them are able to receive these amazing deals. An email a day can be too much to send to customers because it becomes easier and easier for them to put those emails in their trash and then move them to spam to never have to see them again. This is why Gilt started a new marketing campaign that encouraged those who had not visited their website in awhile to come back and shop with them.

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This campaign targeted customers who have not shopped with them in awhile and provided an extra incentive by giving them 50% off their next order. This call to action reminds their members of what Gilt is and also gives an extra perk by giving them more of a discount than they already would have gotten by shopping regularly with them. They are using their already established list of email recipients from their registered customers and inciting them to shop on their website by giving them more of a discount than they normally would have. This not only encourages shoppers to get back on their website but it also encourages them to get back to shopping on their site regularly and making sure they check out the great deals daily so they don’t miss anything.

This strategy is effective in my eyes because it gives an extra push to their customers to go back on their site and shows how loyal the company is to them. It is in their daily emails that their effectiveness drops because receiving them everyday makes the value of their content go down. Even though they are used for notifying their customer about what new deals are available, a loyal customer would already know to check at noon for what new deals are up because they know that is when they come out. As an infrequent customer of this store I do not like receiving daily emails about what is new because I just end up not looking at them and deleting them. Instead I go on Gilt when I am in need of something and am looking for a good deal. Customers who sign up for this website know new deals are going on so they do not need to be notified all the time of it. If there is a great new product that they are selling than that is something they should send an email about but an everyday email will get sent to the trash because it will be considered to be just another spam message that they are sending out about their products.

http://www.bluefountainmedia.com/blog/top-8-email-campaigns-of-2012/

http://www.gilt.com

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Dunkin’s Social Media

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Dunkin’ Donuts has been the coffee that Americans runs off of since 1950 and has grown into a franchise that many people live off of. With accessibility to stores all around the country, Dunkin’ Donuts is also available to their customers through direct contact on their social media pages. They are involved in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram. Their major presence though is on Twitter, which they consistently check and monitor to respond to any customer complaints or questions. This direct connection allows them to not let any problems that their customers have go unseen. With that being said it is vital that they respond to every customers’ issue because if they do not it could create more problems. As a Twitter user, if you see that a company is responding to only positive tweets and ignoring everything else it gives that brand a bad image because they aren’t being truly active with their customers, they are just using it as a promotional tool. Twitter is a great promotional tool, when used in the correct fashion. As long as you accept the fact that bad press will happen and handle it accordingly, publishing good press will enforce your brands’ commitment to your customers.

 

In their new commercials Dunkin’ is encouraging their customers to talk about the experiences that they’ve had with the food and beverages by tweeting about it and using their hashtag symbol #mydunkin. The company wants to get a better understanding of their customer’s experience and allows them to share it with the rest of the country. They ensure that their customers surround their objective and making sure they have a positive experience. Before their my dunkin advertisement they launched a “What are you drinkin’?” campaign on Facebook that asked customers to share their favorite drinks. Each marketing initiative that they produce is surrounded by how their customers implement their product and how it affects their lives.

#mydunkin commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6kJo6vq8rI

Dunkin’ Donuts uses their social media platforms to ensure the interaction between their company and their customers is genuine. On their Tweet log you will see more responses to customers than actual tweets from their brand. They are staying active with their customers and responding to their concerns.  On Facebook they have “fan of the week”, advertisements for their food and beverages, and call to action to like their page. Customers may also post on their wall to share their story or find a store location near them.

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The best thing that Dunkin’ has done with all their social media platforms and advertisements has been to incorporate them all together to make sure they are sending a consistent message throughout. The focus on the customer’s experience and their stories not only helps the customer feel appreciated by them but also helps Dunkin’ see where they need to improve. By having active platforms that people can post on gives Dunkin’ primary data that they can use to help further their brand. Suggestions, comments, and concerns that customers give them allow for future ideas to form and the creation of a better brand.

 

Dunkin’ follows Evan’s model of social feedback by surrounding their social media pages around the customer and not as another advertisement platform. They make the customer aware of their product through commercials and other advertisements and allow for them to consider buying the product. Once getting them to their store it is hard to resist not buying a donut. But it is after their purchase that is the most crucial point. This is when their customers form their opinion of the service and food and either share their experience or keep it to themselves. By being active on many social media website Dunkin’ creates the stage for their customers to directly contact them.

 

I think that Dunkin’ is trying to become more of a creator on the engagement process with their social media. They are asking their customers to be active on their sites and using that to start conversations with them. It is after this step that they must actually use the feedback that they are getting to improve their company. Dunkin’ must not just discard all of the feedback that they are getting but should collect it and see where there is room for improvement. Just getting the content and responding to it is not enough. If they keep with the same process and don’t show improvement than what is the point of customers contacting them in the first place? Their voice need to be heard but they also need to be valued and to do so Dunkin’ needs to show that they are using that input in a constructive way.

 

Resources:

https://socialtimes.com/how-dunkin-donuts-uses-social-media_b100752

https://twitter.com/DunkinDonuts

Did Nordstrom Go Too Far in Customer Service?

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Nordstrom is known as one of the best department stores because of their customer service, but have they taken their service too far by implementing a Wi-Fi tracking device in their store? This device, also known as Euclid, tracks the customer’s individual movements through the store by connecting to the Wi-Fi on their cell phone. The program allows stores to track their customer’s movements and see where they go in the store and how long they spend time there.

The information that Euclid provides companies with goes beyond tracking where customers went in the store and uses that data to help make their shopping experience better. By finding out where customers went in the store, how long they were in each area, and if they purchased something or not can show Nordstrom where most customers focus their attention to and map out how they can make the customer’s shopping experience a better one.

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For managers the data provides overall information about the times the store has the most traffic, which allows them to staff the floor accordingly and make sure that there are not too few or too many employees working. It also shows the foot-traffic that the store gets at their windows and shows how many people enter the store and how many keep walking. But for all the data that Nordstrom collects is it actually benefiting them?

When implementing the Euclid into their stores in 2013 Nordstrom posted signs to warn customers about the activities that are going on. Once customers realized what was going on their sense of security when shopping seemed to lower. Many consumers felt that this was an invasion of their privacy by tracking what they were doing without their consent. Although Euclid is anonymous, consumers still had their worries about what was actually being collected and how it was used. Consumers did not think that tracking their movements in the store would be so beneficial to the company that it would be worth making their customers feel uncomfortable. Even for potential customers who were thinking about going into Nordstrom they might have decided to not go in because they knew about the Euclid.

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It is hard to blame the consumer for feeling uneasy about being tracked because they do not truly know what information is being taken of them and where it is going. This device provides a reason for shoppers to not want to go in the store and makes consumers decide if they trust Nordstrom enough to shop there. This requires a decision process that would not have to be made if the Euclid was never put in the store and allows for another attribute to be compared between Nordstrom and other department stores.

After 8 months of having Euclid in their store, Nordstrom decided to take the devices down and use the data they collected to help improve their service. It was only after the story about their store using Euclid went on national news that Nordstrom took them down. Once their story went national Nordstroms received a lot of negative feedback from consumers and decided that the best way to respond was to take them down. Nordstrom stated that the use of Euclid was purely for testing and it was never going to be permanently implemented into their store. The store stuck by their decision in using Euclid and said it was just one of many ways in which they try to find new ways of seeking out customer information.

I find the use of Euclid to have been unethical and an invasion of their consumer’s privacy. Although there were signs put up there was no actual consent process done to allow them to track their customers. Yes their customers were aware of what was going on if they walked into the store, but were they aware that they were being tracked right outside the store? If Nordstrom had communicated the implementation of the device in a different way and either asked for consumers to participate or put their marketing efforts into sending out the message that they were trying to perfect their service than people may have been more receptive to the idea. But because they quietly placed the devices in certain stores and only put up signs to notify the consumers it came across as a secret mission that was to collect important data from people’s phones.  The consumers reacted the way they did because they felt that Nordstrom was keeping something from them about what they were doing, which is the way it seemed by how they put the Euclid into the stores. If Nordstrom wants to improve their customer service they should include their customers in on the process and make sure whatever method they use is considered appropriate to their customers.

 

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2013/05/09/how-nordstrom-and-home-depot-use-wifi-to-spy-on-shoppers/

 http://www.retailsolutionsonline.com/doc/nordstrom-experiment-highlights-privacy-issue-0001

LinkedIn Freemium

LinkedIn came out in 2003 as a different type of social media site that now contains millions of business professionals who can connect with one another. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; LinkedIn is a social networking site that is strictly used for job related purposes. Users of LinkedIn are more careful and diligent about what they put on their profile than any other social media site because it is based strictly on business. The profile you build of yourself on LinkedIn is not about what music or movies you like but it is about the experience you have had in your life and your goals for the future. No other social media site allows you to display your resume and skills in a simple webpage so that you can seem appealing to possible employers.  This website has created a new way of networking and gives you the platform for starting a conversation. You no longer have to wait for certain events or networking nights to occur to be able to have a chance to talk to certain people. Now you can go on one simple site and look up people either by name, industry, school, or company and send them a message right there. You are able to join groups and organizations that you are apart of and see others who are also involved. LinkedIn has made their website free for all their users and has available options for them to upgrade to different versions.  

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LinkedIn uses the freemium strategy where their initial product is free but there are options for an upgrade if someone wants a more intense version. LinkedIn has focused their company mission on the job-seeking user and has created their premium upgrades around them. LinkedIn members are allowed to upgrade their account by purchasing “LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium” or “LinkedIn Premium Subscriber”. “LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium” is an amazing tool that after reading about it made me want to subscribe. In the first sentence of the Job Seeker Premium explanation they state that it “gives you the tools to land your dream job faster.” The tools that they provide you consist of seeing everyone who has viewed your profile (non-members only see a select group), the ability to send personalized InMails to recruiters, views of salary estimates for job postings, comparison of yourself to other applicants, and the opportunity to have your application be at the top of the list as a “Featured Applicant”. These amenities give those who purchase the upgrade a chance to be ahead of their competition and have more resources to help them get a job. With different annual and monthly costs, LinkedIn has set the prices so that to subscribe for an annual package it would be cheaper than the monthly. This pushes their users to subscribe for a year so that they can get them to be apart of this package for longer and encourage continuous use.

 

Other options that LinkedIn offers to upgrade are geared toward companies and business owners to help find new employees and utilized this social media website for all that it can offer. The options for companies on LinkedIn to upgrade are “LinkedIn Talent Solution,” “LinkedIn Marketing Solutions,” and “LinkedIn Sales Solutions.” The names in themselves describe the type of help that they are willing to give companies. These upgrades allow you to have some of the same access tools that the Premium Subscriber and Job Seeker Premium get you but also come with more direct information about how to compete with other businesses that are on this website and how to utilize all the options it has to offer. In each upgrade you learn specific tips on certain focuses like on finding great talent, contributing good marketing, and making LinkedIn part of your sales business. Each is there to help businesses grow through this network connection in a simple and easy to use manner. With these upgrades businesses are able to get a lot of tools and information about succeeding on LinkedIn and provides them with a good platform to expand their company.

 

The freemium strategy that LinkedIn uses has paid off for them because their business has grown dramatically since it began and is now a $1 billion company. When looking at the company website however it did not show that many people used their updates due to their lack of likes. With over a billion people on LinkedIn their likes for “LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium” and “LinkedIn Premium Subscription” has not reached over 1,000 likes. This is surprising because you would assume that out of all of the billion users more than a thousand would like it. It may be however that people who bought the product did not like the update on the page because they either liked it but didn’t want to like it on the page or actually didn’t like it. It does seem to be the case that people just ignore liking it on the page due to their consistent profit increases over the years but it still is not a big part of their revenue. Most of the money that the company seems to make is from talent solutions that they have for companies. Businesses have utilized the opportunity to learn more about expanding their business online and it seems to be a growing trend for companies to use.

 

LinkedIn will continue to grow and become a beneficial resource like it already has for people all over the world. Being the only social media website of its kind LinkedIn is a reliable tool that business professionals know they can use to connect with others because of selective type of program it is. Not only can you create your own identity on there but you can create a company brand. The usage for both people and businesses allows LinkedIn to be useful to all professionals and keep finding ways to connect them.

 

Resources: http://investors.linkedin.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=738977

http://money.cnn.com/2009/06/02/smallbusiness/linkedin_startup_story.smb/

http://www.linkedin.com/company/linkedin/products?trk=top_nav_products

 

 

Web 2.0

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Shopbop is one of my favorite websites to shop on, that’s only online and has no actual retail stores. This trendy online department store sells high-end women’s and men’s clothing and accessories from all different brands. Their approach to selling clothes to their customers is through their stylish website that provides consumers the chance to look through and find clothing appropriate for their next occasion. Shopbop doesn’t use mass customization since all their clothes come in certain colors and sizes and you cannot change parts of the piece to your standards, but they do practice one-to-one marketing. Shopbop has a tool where if you like a piece of clothing but know that you cannot purchase it right now you can “like it” and have it saved into your personal profile. This allows customers to go back and look at the clothing they saved and possibly purchase it later when they have enough money. You can also share your favorite likes on pintrest, twtitter, or facebook to let all your friends know of the cool clothes you found. My preference is to keep my likes out of social media and only share it with my mom in hopes to buy it!

As a frequent shopper of this site I also know that they send out emails about deals of certain designers that you have bought from in the past to encourage frequent customers to buy again. Shopbop also does many seasonal sales of their clothes that are going out of season. These emails that let their frequent customers know about their great deals encourages them to visit their site and find great clothes for less. The opportunities that are open to them to improve their one-to-one marketing are very big and they could do a lot to make sure that they are keeping in contact with their customers. To do this they can create an online customer service chat or provide suggestions about what other people bought if they bought that piece of clothing.

Shopbop has made their website easy to navigate by the production of their web designer and their in-house employees. Their employees create content for their website with pictures and information about the new clothing. Their wikinomics of peering has allowed them to have their own distinct feature and create a brand around one look. They use their own personal staff who are talented in specific areas to be in charge of certain aspects and layout designs. It would not have been smart for Shopbop to have a wikinomics that is open because then people would be able to change anything on the website, especially the prices.  A retail store should never have an open website because if people were able to change things about it everyone would be buying products for nothing.

Peering is applied to the Shopbop website by having their in-house employees work together to create it. This is shown by just looking at their website and seeing their positions that they have in the company. Shopbop has a completely separate office in a different state than their main office for all of their website design and warehouse logistics. This is where all the graphic design and software development happens and where the collaboration for the website is done. This peering method has allowed them to become the successful business today and keep their reputation as one of the biggest fashion retail stores on the web.

Shopbop began as one of the first retail stores to only be featured online and not to have a tangible retail store. As a personal shopper, I know from experience that their business is primarily focused on what the customer would want to wear and they take it as their job to select the best designer pieces for their customers to choose from. Their selection of what they think the best pieces are of the season brings in many choices and various styles for all types of girls who like nice clothes. Shopbop is now referred to as one of the best online shopping places for women who want to find a stylish and fashionable outfit because of their selection. They are referenced by many fashion bloggers, websites, and magazines as a great place to find certain pieces. Although they have high prices it goes along with their image to provide high-end fashion to women. They have created a brand for themselves like Neiman’s and Nordstrom’s has by selling clothing and accessories that are high-end exclusively online. Since they only sell clothing online they have become masters at shipping and making sure the customers order is on time.

 

Shopbop has become more popular over the years with very little marketing done on their part. With only some advertisements on certain websites their marketing base that they reach does not go far out of their comfort zone. I do think that they could put more money into advertising and getting the word out about their store because I do not feel like many people know of it. Since Shopbop is a type of high-end retail store they must be careful of where they put their advertisements and make sure that it somewhere that a potential new customer would be looking.

 

One thing that they have changed over there 14 years of experience is they put the men’s and women’s clothing as their own separate websites. This allows them to specifically target to one gender instead of two on one website. If Shopbop were to continue to focus their efforts on making their customers happy they should find more ways to improve on their customer service like adding an online customer service representative who is there to answer any questions. This person would not have to even be called a customer service representative but could be named “personal stylist” to go along with the fashion theme.

 

Since Shopbop was bought by Amazon in 2006 they have continued to help the business grow. Hopefully Amazon will add their customer service touches to the website and help Shopbop become the go-to site for people who want to find high-end clothing. Amazon is known for their ability to be a great shopping place for online customers. Their customer service and suggestions of other things to buy is something that could help Shopbop increase their sales. This would have to be done in a tactile way so that it still represented the Shopbop brand. If they were to create a “personal stylist” or “fashionista” to reference to incase a customer comes onto their website with a specific piece of clothing in mind this utility would get them to the clothing faster and easier.

 

I think that Shopbop could utilize more marketing opportunities to get the word out about their site. I also think that if they wanted to branch out more they could create a new website that has less expensive clothes but the same kind of stylish retail feeling. This would allow for a entire new audience that could be customers and it would not cost much to start because it would only be on the web. It would however depend on their warehouse storage space but if they had enough they could start with a small retail site with clothing that was not as expensive. I hope in the future that they come out with some great new partner sites that I can visit so I don’t have to break the bank every time I shop at theirs!