Flooring The Consumer on Simple Marketing Now

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Retail Experience In The News

Wordle: #retailexpI've come to a realization. With so many marvelous retail experience related articles and links surfacing in the news, it's just plain wrong not to be sharing them with you in real time.

Do you agree?

Although many may yet wind up in future blogposts, I'm seeing my stacks of good ideas grow and I'm just not keeping up...

I've realized that I need to take action. Quickly so I stop depriving you.

Consequently, I've decided to start sharing these delicious retail experience related links to articles and resources on a daily basis on Twitter [follow me on Twitter @CBWhittemore:], most of them tagged with #retailexp [I'm trying to be consistent].

I'm also capturing them here, organized into categories, on a weekly or so basis. It's a record and also a reference.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

I also hope you'll let me know which you find most interesting.

Customer Service & Retail

  • When consumers collide with wrong info from Knowledge @ Wharton http://bit.ly/aBSWcL
  • Love hearing about using data to make smart dcsns that improve returns and #retailexp http://bit.ly/93znXE
  • Which do you opt for? Simplicity or variety - article re: store assortment #retailexp http://bit.ly/bt6lbB
  • Funny how impo it is to focus on employee satisfaction for exemplary customer service & #retailexp http://bit.ly/9g1Abw
  • What's yr take on responding to customer complaints on web via traditional? Definitely a big divide looming http://bit.ly/bHwXus 
  • Oooh. How Sbux PerfectForms PepsiCo Meredith turn digital convo into loyalty http://bit.ly/bd9mCo 
  • Is customer service buzz the new marketing? http://bit.ly/bVeotB

Retail Experience Ideas


Mobile Retail Experience


I'm curious, too, to see how this evolves.

Please do share feedback!

Many thanks for reading and being part of Flooring The Consumer!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The New Consumer Frugality on Floor Covering Institute Blog

The New Consumer Frugality and Flooring by C.B. Whittemore
My latest post has been published on the Floor Covering Institute Blog.  It's titled The New Consumer Frugality and Flooring.

Based on several articles I've come across that address the consumer marketplace in view of the Great Recession, I offer my interpretation for what all of this means for flooring.

I believe it goes beyond flooring and has relevance to the consumer retail experience across the board.

You be the judge.

I'd love to hear your reactions to the New Consumer Frugality and how you see it affecting your business.

Thanks for reading.


For links to the other articles I've written for the Floor Covering Institute Blog, click HERE!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Flooring Affects Retail Buying Experience

Flooring and the retail buying experienceIntuitively, it makes sense to me that flooring would affect the retail buying experience.

However, it's just been proven by new research from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management in a recently published Study:  Store flooring can affect purchasing decisions. Consumers' subconscious attitudes influence buying behavior.

More specifically, "the feeling customers get from a store's flooring can affect how a product makes them feel, which in turn determines whether they buy it..."

I'm biased in favor of plush carpet with intensely delicious padding. It's gentler on my body and allows me to focus better on what I'm considering.

I'm certainly aware that in a retail environment many elements come into play - including flooring - with the ultimate goal of positively affecting customers so they spend more time in-store - which in turn increases the likelihood that they will buy.

However, I had never considered, as the study suggests, that "flooring acts as a frame of reference" for consumers.

I need to talk a walk through an Urban Outfitters or an Anthropologie and consider.

At the same time, I'll examine the ceiling height, which according to the same research professor Joan Meyers-Levy influences thought process.

Meanwhile, would you let me know how you decided on your store's flooring? How has it affected your retail buying experience?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Zappos: Where Happy Employees Deliver

Zappos celebrates happy individuals
Have you noticed how organizations with happy employees have a vibe unlike other places of work? They are encouraging, supportive and fun.  Employees walk with an undeniable bounce; their humor is contagious, their energy levels inexhaustible, their enthusiasm boundless and they deliver on business goals. That's what I experienced when I visited Zappos HQ in February 2010.

[Previous posts in this series about Zappos include Zappos Embodies Customer Service and Zappos and Service.]

Not that I felt that those I encountered had been brainwashed. Quite the opposite. This was the real deal: happy, grounded, self-confident and highly motivated employees determined to deliver on 'powered by service' to customers.

Perhaps you're aware that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has just published Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose [here is one review: Delivering Happiness – The Key to a Great Company].  Happy @ Zappos, an interview with Hsieh, provides perspective on "the science of happiness which infuses the Zappos culture and explains its astonishing success."  More specifically, "one of the frameworks is that happiness is about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (meaning the number and depth of your relationships) and being part of something that is bigger than yourself that has meaning to you."

 Zappos' fun office environment
The interview explains how connectedness goes hand-in-hand with company culture which leads to employees being more engaged and happier.  "... Employee engagement leads to better productivity."

I love Hsieh's statement that "the best social media is the telephone and yet that's boring so no one wants to talk about it.  People tend to refer to 'social media' as a technology, but that skips over the actual benefit or purpose of it.  For us, it's more about forming personal and emotional connections."

That relationship building is a big deal inside the company as well as with customers.  This article Tireless Employees Get Their Tribute, Even if It's in Felt and Polyester gives a taste for how unique Zappos' culture and approach to people are. Customer loyalty team employees stay on the phone with customers "for as long as you wanted to talk. They would talk about anything."  The Zappos "customer loyalty team is not scripted and is not measured on time of calls."  The end result is fierce customer loyalty, strong company growth and passionately motivated employees...

who are encouraged to be themselves as On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Weird Are You?, another interview with Tony Hsieh, explains.  One of Zappos' 10 core values is "create fun and a little weirdness" which celebrates individual differences and personalities.  Personality is what comes through in those customer loyalty conversations...

The company's yearly Culture Book project where everyone contributes his/her perspective on the 10 core values is what creates commonality of language and experience and consistency of commitment to 'powered by service.'

I can't help but contrast the Zappos celebration of individuality to what I have observed in my workplace travels... That combined with perceived control, progress, connectedness and being part of something bigger than just you makes for a powerfully motivating and happy work environment.

What's your reaction? Are you happy in your workplace? Are your employees? How well do you all collaborate to deliver on results?

Monday, June 07, 2010

How Do You Cut Costs?

This WSJ.com article titled Luxury Chain Cuts the Flowers, Sends Out Wash at Some Hotels had me thinking about cost cutting and how to do so intelligently without negative repercussions on the business. Particularly the customer experience.  According to the article, the Four Seasons uses as its barometer whether the decision will affect the customer service experience.

The result for the Four Seasons: laundry is being outsourced, high-end restaurants may close on slow days and opulent, over-the-top flower arrangements may simply disappear.

I will miss the flowers, but I've often been concerned about  the wastefulness of them given how little time I spend in a hotel lobby. Empty restaurants aren't all that enticing to dine in. As long as the laundry is clean, where it happens is irrelevant to me.  Right?

However, the Four Seasons quickly halted an experiment to combine concierge and check-in duties at dead times [i.e., middle of the night] and refused other changes that hurt service.

In an age where the once-glamorous airline travel experience [remember those days?] now has us jammed tighter than sardines in flying tin cans yet requires us to bring on board pillow, blanket, food and drink while charging us for both checked and carry-on bags, I find it admirable and encouraging to hear of a company using the customer experience as the ruler for cost cutting decisions.

We definitely live in challenging times. But, why not use these times to rethink paradigms, reassert what's important and reinvent our customer retail experience?  Don't you think customers appreciate intelligent yet practical decisions that respect customers?

How do you determine how to cut costs?

Image credit:
Hotel Bel Air Lobby Flowers originally uploaded by Al_HikesAZ.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Simple Marketing Now - May 2010 Update

Simplify Your Marketing!


For those of you in the United States, I hope you spent a lovely Memorial Day weekend! For those of you in other parts, I hope you had a wonderful a summer-like weekend as we did in the NYC area! For all of you, here is the latest update from Simple Marketing Now for May 2010 with posts categorized into Social Media Marketing Resources and Simple Marketing News.

[If you are new to Flooring The Consumer, I also write the Simple Marketing Blog where I discuss marketing strategy and creative, practical, simple marketing approaches and share best practices - many of which may be relevant to you and your business as you consider what's possible. The blog also acts as newsroom for Simple Marketing Now.]

Simple Marketing News

My big event - details here: Press Release: How To Manage Social Reputation and Social Media Club North Jersey: 5/25/10 Customer Feedback in a Social World. - took place last week. I've just published a recap of it which you can go check out right away or wait until next month...

I already shared with you the news about Age of Conversation 3; here is the official Press Release: Age of Conversation 3 Highlights Social Media Marketing Best Practices
Simple News & Insights - Spring 2010.

If you've never been to a MarketingProfs event, you might enjoy my MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2010 Recap.

Social Media Marketing Resources

I have several gems to share with you on the Social Media Marketing Resources front. My friend Toby Bloomberg just published Social Media Marketing GPS: A Must-Read Guide. It's a business book based on interviews with 40 prominent marketers [myself included ;-)] that took place on Twitter.

I published notes and the slides from my presentation at Right Management: Simplifying Social Media. For Research, Connection & Differentiation.

I have captured in one post all of the entries to date in my "How Do I?" - The Social Media Marketing Series. I'll add links to new posts once I publish them.

Finally, a link to the latest in my #TalkFloor Series: Twitter & Social Media conducted with Dave Foster! [By the way, part 3 should be coming out any day now!]

Thanks for reading!
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