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Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday 2011 Observations: NYC Retail Windows

I made it to NYC this weekend to experience the Holiday Retail Windows. Here are my observations for Holiday 2011:

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Car Dealers Connecting With Social Media

My latest blog post is titled Social Media Examples: Car Dealers.

It explores how the automobile industry, a needs-based industry - as are many nowadays - has traditionally communicated with customers and how social media could change customer dynamics and connections -- particularly at the dealer level.

After all, dealers - be they car dealers or flooring dealers - depend on customer relationships for success.

I'd love to hear what you think.



Monday, December 05, 2011

Making the Most of Waiting Time to Connect With Customers

My latest blog article is live and addresses Waiting Time and making better use of it to connect with customers. I bet you have interesting examples - good and bad - you've come across.

Read Connecting with Customers: Maximize Waiting Time and let me know how you might take a negative - waiting around - and transform it into a positive.

By the way, you might also enjoy reading last week's Retail Experience in the News links for 12/2/11.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Evolving Retail Experience - Online, In-Store

Have you thought how your in-store retail experience relates to your online experience? In Retail Experience Evolution: In-Store and Online I offer one scenario, inspired by last week's blog article.

Simply click on the click to read about Retail Experience Evolution. I'd love to hear your suggestions and observations.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Manny Llerena on the Retail Experience, Flooring and Marketing To Women

I'm delighted to share with you an interview with Manny Llerena, 30 year flooring veteran, who discusses with me the retail experience and marketing to women.

Please click on Marketing to Women, the Retail Experience, Manny Llerena and Flooring to read the entire interview.

Thanks for reading!


P.S.: For those of you in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Customers Want Solutions... Right?

If you'd like to read my latest Flooring The Consumer article, please click on Customers Want Solutions From The Retail Experience.

How does what I describe compare to your experience? Do you see differences based on whether your experience is online or in-store? What is your most remarkable experience?

Oh, and which retailers stand apart in your mind?

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 11/11/11

Wordle: #retailexpI've just published two weeks worth of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Simply click on Retail Experience in the News: 11/11/11 for your special fix!

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!



Monday, November 07, 2011

Retail Hospitality Inspired by "Good Tea. Nice House."

Retail Hospitality Inspired by
In one of my very early posts - "Good Tea. Nice House."- I brought up this priceless moment with Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In Hospitality, Trust and the Retail Experience, I explore the important role that hospitality plays in building trust with potential customers. Without trust, there can be no commercial transactions.

I'd love to hear your reactions.

Note: special thanks to Drew McLellan for his comment - one of my very first! - on the original post.

Thanks for reading!



Friday, November 04, 2011

Customer Experiences That Wow: Joseph Michelli

Customer Experiences That Wow: Joseph Michelli
A special Thank You to Joseph Michelli, fellow Zappos and Bathroom Blogfest enthusiast, for sharing with us his thoughts about "Online, Phone, Email, Brick and Mortar – What all Great Customer Experiences have in Common" with special emphasis on the Zappos Experience.

Please read his 5 experience principles to WOW! your customers by clicking on Wow Your Customers, Starting with The Zappos Retail Experience.

Then, let me know how you would create customer experiences that Wow! in your business...

Thanks for reading!



P.S.:  If you haven't already, do check out Joseph's Bathroom Blogfest 2012 blog article titled You’ve been Faced at the Bathroom Blogfest 2011 based on a visit to Zappos.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pink is the New Green - Bathroom Blogfest 2011

Bathroom Blogfest 2011

Pink is the New Green

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2011! I’m so happy to be invited back to Flooring the Consumer to guest blog with C.B. Whittemore, who is one of my very favorite consumer experience experts.

As always, I have a lot to say about bathrooms — retail bathrooms, airport bathrooms, gas station bathrooms, workplace bathrooms — but today, I want to focus on private bathrooms. More specifically, I want to focus on pink, private bathrooms.

Three years ago, my friend and her husband bought an old, renovated farmhouse just outside the St. Louis city limits. They loved every single thing about this house. It had a renovated second floor, an adorable kitchen, a huge backyard… and a sickeningly sweet pink and purple bathroom. They did not love the pink and purple bathroom. They hated the pink and purple bathroom.

But because the pink and purple bathroom is fully functional, it’s still on the bottom of the home to-do list. For the past three years, my friend has rolled her eyes every time she talks about the bathroom.

“We have to renovate this room,” she would say. Until recently. That’s when she discovered an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch titled, “Preserve the Pink: How to Enhance the Retro Bathroom’s Charm,” by writer Amy Burger.

Here in St. Louis, many homes in the city were built in the ‘40s and 50s, just after World War II, writes Burger. And of course, they were built in the style of the time, often with candy colored tile coating a home’s single bathroom. Even more often, this tile was pink. Bright pink. We’re talking bubble gum pink.

It turns out that there’s a huge group of people who adore their pink — and mint green, turquoise and yellow — tiled bathrooms. The article interviews Pam Kueber (RetroRenovation.com), who began a blog called SavethePinkBathrooms.com, which strives to save retro bathrooms.

“The reality is: Pink bathrooms are a wonderful part of our home design heritage,” reads the mission statement of SavethePinkBathrooms.com. “And there is no doubt in our minds whatsoever that they are poised for a comeback — starting here, starting now.”

(You need to check out this website — so much fun! It’s full of photos of pink bathrooms and the owners who love them.)

In the blog post that spawned SavethePinkBathrooms.com, Kueber talks about feeling horrified when an HGTV show ripped out a vintage bathroom to put in a sleek, modern bathroom. What about vintage charm? Doesn’t that have a place in today’s design world? And, she poses, isn’t it wasteful to rip out a perfectly good bathroom?

And so, dear Bathroom Blogfest readers, I echo Kueber’s cry… what about vintage? When you’re helping your customers decide what to do with their bathroom remodels, do you always steer them toward new and improved? Or is there room for reuse and recycling as well? With the economy as it is, with job growth slow and money tight, I ask you… Shouldn’t we be saving more pink bathrooms?

Monday, October 24, 2011

'Climbing Out' Retail Experiences For Bathroom Blogfest 2011

'Climbing Out' Retail Experiences For Bathroom Blogfest 2011
As a keen observer of retail experiences, I find particularly exciting ones that 'climb out' and redefine the status quo and inspire users or observers to rethink, re-imagine and re-experience the tried and true. This is particularly true when it comes to the annual Bathroom Blogfest.

Bathroom Blogfest 2011 takes place this week and includes, for the first time ever, participation in the #KBTribeChat Twitter Chat [read this Bathroom Blogfest 2011 post filled with details].

The theme "Climbing Out" leaves plenty of room for interpretation regardless of one's blog focus IMHO. In fact, I can't wait to read what my fellow Bathroom Blogfest 2011 participants [listed below] come up with.

From my perspective, here are a few of the articles I've come across which have captured this Bathroom Blogfester's imagination:

  • Bill Gates To Reinvent The Toilet challenges the reinvention of the toilet so it turns waste into energy, clean water or nutrients. Furthermore, "the solution must be a stand-alone unit without piped-in water, a sewer connection or outside electricity. The foundation partnered with USAID to fix water sanitation as part of the UN’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals."
  • In Let's Get This Potty Started, Atlanta Watercloset owner describes the business she has created offering "boutique portable restrooms for outdoor events in the metro Atlanta area." I've been amazed at how the port-a-potty business has been transformed!
  • Virgin's Airport Terminal of the Future [pictured above] which "Believe it or not, Terminal 2's bathrooms are fairly inviting, featuring lots of open space. The bathrooms also feature Dyson Airblade Hand Dryers, which scrape water off hands in just 12 seconds (using up to 80% less energy than standard hand dryers), compared to the standard 43 seconds. Eventually, the bathrooms might even use greywater in their toilets (translation: recycled water that has already been used in other places, like the bathroom sink)."
Note: my pet peeve with Dyson Airblade hand dryers is that the water they successfully blow off of hands winds up on the floor where no one seems to have thought about how to contain the resulting puddles.
  • VMSD's February 2011 issue describes in "Unstuffed" White Stuff's newly launched emporium on George Street in Edinburgh. It re-imagines the changing room experience with fitting rooms that are uniquely conceived and all feature vintage wardrobe door entrances and themes - including a bathroom themed room. Talk about 'climbing' in and out!

What comes to mind when you consider 'climbing out' of humdrum experiences? How might you re-imagine your retail experience? Let me know if the comments.

Bathroom Blogfest 2011

NameBlog NameBlog URL
Susan AbbottCustomer Experience CrossroadsCustomer Experience Crossroads
Paul AnaterKitchen and Residential DesignKitchen and Residential Design Blog
Shannon BilbyFrom the Floors Uphttp://fromthefloorsup.com/
Toby BloombergDiva MarketingDiva Marketing Blog
Laurence BorelBlog Till You Drophttp://www.laurenceborel.com/
Bill BuyokAvente Tile Talkhttp://tiletalk.blogspot.com
Jeanne ByingtonThe Importance of Earnest Servicehttp://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky CarrollCustomers Rock!http://customersrock.net
Katie ClarkPractical Katiehttp://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Nora DePalmaO'Reilly DePalma: The Bloghttp://www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog/
Paul FriederichsenThe BrandBiz Bloghttp://brandbizblog.com/
Tish GrierThe Constant Observerhttp://spap-oop.blogspot.com/
Elizabeth HiseFlooring The Consumerhttp://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com
Emily HooperFloor Covering News Bloghttp://www.fcnews.net/category/blog/
Diane KazanUrban Design Renovationhttp://blog.urbandesignrenovation.com
Joseph MichelliDr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog http://www.josephmichelli.com/blog
Veronika MillerModenus Blog http://www.modenus.com/blog
Arpi NalbandianTile Magazine Editors' BlogTile Editor Magazine Blog
David PolinchockPolinchock's Ponderingshttp://blog.polinchock.com/
Professor ToiletAmerican Standard's Professor Toilethttp://www.professortoilet.com
David Reich my 2 centshttp://reichcomm.typepad.com
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley PondScarlet Opus Trends Bloghttp://www.trendsblog.co.uk
Sandy RenshawPurple Wrenhttp://www.PurpleWren.com
Bethany RichmondCarpet and Rug Institute Bloghttp://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com/
Bruce D. SandersRIMtailinghttp://www.rimtailing.blogspot.com
Paige SmithNeuse Tile Service bloghttp://neusetile.wordpress.com/
Stephanie WeaverExperienceologyhttp://experienceology.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreContent Talks Business BlogContent Talks Marketing Blog
Christine B. WhittemoreSmoke Rise & Kinnelon Bloghttp://smokerise-nj.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreSimple Marketing Bloghttp://www.simplemarketingblog.com/
Ted WhittemoreWorking Computershttp://www.kinneloncomputers.com/
Chris WoelfelArtcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co.http://www.artcraftgmt.com
Patty WoodlandBroken Teepeehttp://www.brokenteepee.com/
Denise Lee Yohnbrand as business biteshttp://deniseleeyohn.com/bites/

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 10/21/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 10/21/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Best Buy evolves. Video interview w CMO Barry Judge. Focus on #retailexp experience ow.ly/6YZPN
  • Changing consumer purchase patterns: fun stuff still selling http://ow.ly/6Z1jX #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • How Walgreen, Duane Reade adopt sustainability in #retailexp ow.ly/6Z0PT
  • Color = huge trend in fashion, translating into nail polish [rather than lipstick]. Lot better colors! http://t.co/prEmq1TL #retailexp
  • How Macy's is shrinking its #retailexp footprint ow.ly/6Z0gc
  • More signs of smaller = better #retailexp http://t.co/biJkOVP5 What R U seeing in yr markets?

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Retailers discover useful in-store apps keep shoppers from escaping http://ow.ly/6Z1vt #retailexp
  • Update on @HomeDepot's social media strategy ow.ly/6YYSM #retailexp
  • Learn about Oscar de la Renta, role of social media. Gr8 job @OscarPRGirl ow.ly/6Z0LO #retailexp 
  • How Burberry uses social networking for fashion catwalk show: ow.ly/6YZyG #retailexp

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Monday, October 17, 2011

Disney Times Square Retail Experience

Disney Times Square Retail Experience
Do come check out my latest blog post about the Disney Times Square store retail experience. It's titled Disney Times Square Retail Experience Reflects Modern Brand and includes photos from the inside of the Times Square store.

I've just published it on Simple Marketing Now, my company website.

You see, I'm trying to simplify my blogging [and my life :-)] and have decided to integrate my retail experience observations onto my company site.

So, come visit, look around, read the new post and consider subscribing [see the big orange button below]!

Let me know, too, what you think of it all.

As always, thanks for being part of this adventure and for making Flooring The Consumer so rewarding!




Friday, October 14, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 10/14/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 10/14/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • RT @FCNewsmag: We are loving this blog about the #retail experience and today's #consumer! #retailexp... fb.me/19w3rEetf
  • Why negative reviews are gold & how they improve the #retailexp ow.ly/6VIGi
  • Interesting data about affluent families: time-constrained, connected. How R U adapting your #retailexp? http://t.co/iCgxK90i
  • Wld U consider this a Blue Ocean Strategy for Chrysler: lets customers track production, delivery http://ow.ly/6LDa2 #retailexp
  • Managing customer wait times. What are your strategies? http://ow.ly/6L4Gy #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Nordstrom's Treasure & Bond outlet in Manhattan, donates $ and gathers #retailexp shopper insights http://t.co/qqbpCUG8
  • Lowe's Q&A w Tom Lamb, SVP marketing re: targeting DIY attitudes http://t.co/1AS8ezE1 #retailexp
  • 5 tips for improving marketing mix relevant for #retailexp http://ow.ly/6WLQb
  • Under Armour takes intensely focused approach to introducing brand to Gen Y Women http://t.co/YJPwcEDT #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Interesting use of tablets in #retailexp to speed things up: ow.ly/6UBwz
  • Interesting perspective on store receipts: paper or digital? http://ow.ly/6WLYO What's your take for #retailexp?

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Friday, October 07, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 10/7/11

Wordle: #retailexpHere is the 10/7/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • From @FCNewsMag: My take: The perfect #salesperson makes all the difference http://t.co/qlWpxUgM #salesmanship #retailexp
  • How California Tortilla handles customer feedback online. Notice consistent, co-wide approach http://ow.ly/6L0HZ #retailexp 

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Creating & nurturing amazing corporate culture: Method http://ow.ly/6L2CW #retailexp
  • Fascinating Q&A w Google Retail exec re: online/offline #retailexp blur & digital best practices http://ow.ly/6L3lG
  • Startups democratize fashion using technology #retailexp http://ow.ly/6L3Lv
  • Wow! Lowe's replaces scanner guns w 42K iPhones: http://ow.ly/6L3yE #retailexp
  • Meet Pursuitist. Aims 2B Yelp for luxury brands, affluent customers http://ow.ly/6L15T #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • How social media adds value to Fashion's Night Out & savvy retailers use it to build relationships http://ow.ly/6L0Xn #retailexp
  • Did you catch live streaming of Fashion Week? Making fashion more immediate, accessible http://ow.ly/6L1cN #retailexp
  • Wow: Patagonia promotes used clothing on eBay. Environmental benefit + extends customer base http://ow.ly/6L1rg #retailexp
  • Worth watching: Walmart intends to reshape future of shopping #retailexp by mapping social genome http://ow.ly/6L2iK #practicalmktr
  • Lowe's introduces revolutionary customer #retailexp: "MyLowes" http://ow.ly/6LCqr
For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Monday, October 03, 2011

Making Social Meaningful in Flooring

How to make ‘social’ meaningful in flooring By Christine B. Whittemore
Here follows my article titled "How to make 'social' meaningful in flooring" from the January 3/10, 2011 issue of Floor Covering Weekly.

How to make ‘social’ meaningful in flooring

By Christine B. Whittemore

‘Social’ is happening in flooring and it’s leading to stronger relationships with customers. Imagine, though, making it even more meaningful…

A challenge associated with ‘social’ has to do with how easy it is to set up a basic presence. Creating profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter or a basic blog are almost trivial.  And yet, as easy as the infrastructure is to set up, living, breathing and performing ‘social’ on an ongoing, consistent basis, in a way that truly strengthens ties with customers and delivers business benefits, can bring you to your knees if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The reality is that taking part in social networks takes time. Doing so without a defined business objective can fritter away resources you can’t afford to waste. Furthermore, if you don’t nurture your online content and keep it fresh, it can act against you, sending signals that your business isn’t all that sophisticated and not really serious about being social with customers.

There’s a better way – meaningful, deliberate and strategic – to use social media tools.  One that embraces a well-thought out, sustainable – as in something you can commit to long term – content based strategy that readers and potential customers gravitate towards and respond to. The kind that allows you to establish expertise and demonstrate relevant value, and represents the building blocks for building meaningful trust with potential customers.

Here’s why.

Customers today ask themselves the same questions. The best way to respond is by engaging that potential customer with meaningful content, in person as well as online, and consistently, deliberately and strategically establishing credibility and building trust BEFORE it’s time for her to make her purchase decision.

Establishing trust is why you do ‘social’. Credibility comes from showing up and engaging consistently over time, not just in-store, but also online via social channels where you can be yourself, demonstrate your passion and knowledge, be solution-oriented, approachable, willing to engage in conversation, answer questions, listen intensely and be genuinely interested. Online allows you do to so 24/7, when your customer is searching and your store is closed. Doing so with high quality content means that your content can work for you while you’re off duty. It ensures that the last person a customer interacts with isn’t always ‘at the bottom’ to quote Tom Jennings in his 9/6-13/10 column.  It enables you to make more effective your existing marketing assets.

Casual and superficial social activity – i.e., random tweets, irrelevant Facebook updates, inconsistent blog posts that promote only yourself – doesn’t build trust; quite the opposite. It puts people on guard. It makes them suspicious and unwilling to do business with you.

Better to build trust through a well-thought out, deliberate content marketing strategy based on internalizing what you learn from customers and the marketplace. It demonstrates that you understand the issues they face with your product and category, and enables you to respond with content – information, education, advice – that answers questions, resolves problems, offers advice and provides solutions that existing and potential customers consider relevant and valuable.

Once your content marketing strategy solidly developed, you can easily decide which social tool to use for which message and how frequently to update whether the platform be Facebook, Twitter or your and others’ blogs. You are able to maintain consistency of purpose and presence, able to build off of content created by others in your space – thereby enhancing your and their credibility – and able to do so indefinitely into the future.

As a result of those meaningful social efforts, you are more likely to become a destination that existing and potential customers consider relevant, gravitate towards, and willingly spend money with over time.

The alternative – superficial social interaction – guarantees that you operate in a lonely void, pushing endless messages about yourself that customers consistently shun and mark as spam.

Wouldn’t it be better to make your social efforts meaningful?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 9/3011

Wordle: #retailexpAmazing - the last day of September already and time the 9/30/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • 5 ways customer stories build brands: http://ow.ly/6Ejfw What r your stories? #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Mobile devices in stores speed checkout across range of retailers #retailexp http://ow.ly/6Elk3
  • I love watching Toys R Us reinvent its #retailexp http://ow.ly/6Elx5
  • I do wish Wegman's were closer by so I could experience its #retailexp http://ow.ly/6xSFP
  • The NRF Stores favorite 50: Amazon, WalMart, eBay top list. Notice focus on value & redefining it http://ow.ly/6EleB #retailexp
  • Using nostalgia to connect with customers: http://ow.ly/6EkuI Love Martin Lindstrom perspective #retailexp
  • Innovation lessons imported from Detroit: http://ow.ly/6EjvJ - applicable to #retailexp!

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Imagine: personal food shopping b/c technology enables online customization http://ow.ly/6EkZF #retailexp
  • Retailers, have you considered h2 build social commerce on yr site? Here R 3 ways: http://ow.ly/6El6G #retailexp
  • 7 ways shoppers are getting smarter #retailexp:... http://t.co/AwnPjE7l
  • What Google+ means for retailers fr @retexperience http://ow.ly/6EkbN #retailexp

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!


If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Hidden Power of Your Customers: Book Review

Becky Carroll's new book, The Hidden Power of Your Customers: 4 Keys to Growing Your Business Through Existing Customers, is a must read for any business person serious about growing his or her business. Why? Because Becky focuses intensely on how to build customer loyalty. If you're serious about the success of your business, you need a loyal customer base.

[See The Hidden Power of Your Customers, Becky Carroll Interview for my blog interview with Becky.]

Becky, author of the Customers Rock! Blog, is passionate about customers. As she writes in Announcing my first book: The Hidden Power of Your Customers:

"The Hidden Power of Your Customers is based around the principles of Customers Rock!, and the sections of the book follow the ROCK acronym:

R: Relevant marketing – Organizations need to market to their customers in a way that is relevant to them, including recognizing them as customers, using their language, and meeting their needs.

O: Orchestrated customer experience – Every place a customer interacts with a company needs to provide a consistent, planned experience for the customer that is beneficial to both parties. We can’t leave the customer experience to chance.

C: Customer-focused culture – We can’t just expect that a company will become customer-centric because it hires a few great customer service personnel or states that it cares about customers in its marketing. We need to ensure that customers are part of everything that our company does so that customer-focus becomes part of the company DNA.

K: Killer customer service – Companies need to take customer service to the next level, and it needs to be an integral part of the customer experience. Customer service is where the rubber meets the road, as many buying and renewal decisions are based upon this critical touch point. It has to ROCK."

In addition to detailing the ROCK framework, the book offers guidelines for listening to and determining the customer point of view. Becky then integrates all of the elements to demonstrate how a ROCK based approach to business drives growth.

I particularly enjoyed the range of examples of customer-focused companies that Becky includes in her book - from well known and lesser known companies. Case studies explore best practices from Teradata, Sanuk, Marriott Rewards, Lexus, Urbane Apartments, EMC, Southwest Airlines, Salon Radius and Mighty Fine Burgers representing a wide range of industries and specialization. In addition to these in-depth case studies, she weaves in throughout the book references to other best practices, including ones based on personal experiences. Some of those include Beaver Creek Resorts, Ravenswood, Disney, Spiceworks, Jones Soda and Verizon to name just a few.

With each example, Becky highlights tips and advice on how to unleash the power of your customers. Be human. Be sincere. Listen to your customers. Internalize a customer focused attitude to inspire you and your organization! The methodical format means that you can readily figure out what's broken and how to fix it so you can delight  customers and grow your business.

Two quotes from the book to think about: "it can take up to 12 positive interactions to overcome a single negative one," from page 200 and the Golden Rule for Customers: "it's not who's right, it's what's right" from page 205. Doesn't it seem a lot easier and more productive to focus on the hidden power of your customers and delight them intensely?

Let me know what you think.

To order Becky Carroll's book, click on The Hidden Power of Your Customers

Other posts about The Hidden Power of Your Customers that you will enjoy:
Note: Becky forwarded me a free copy of her book. She also included me in the book's acknowledgements.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 9/23/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 9/23/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Lovely to witness how Domino's is embracing transparency http://ow.ly/6xRyw #retailexp
  • Have you considered how the clues in your #retailexp add up for form customer impressions? http://ow.ly/6xIXe
  • How A&P changed the way we shop http://ow.ly/6xQsO #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Music to the soul of a simplifier: a store w only 3 products & other cases for simplicity http://ow.ly/6tEMB #retailexp
  • How do you factor in the BBB for your online reputation? http://ow.ly/6xR1c #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • How do you see your #retailexp changing as a result of online world? http://ow.ly/6xRQn
  • I love reading about digital innovation at the dept store level http://ow.ly/6xQhX #retailexp
  • This is interesting: Urban Outfitters makes fall catalog available via Facebook: http://ow.ly/6xQKr #retailexp
  • More about Zara as it expands its #retailexp online http://ow.ly/6xQOI
  • How 6 retailers are using mobile to enhance the #retailexp http://ow.ly/6xRC1
  • Great exampls: how car dealerships use social media to reach customers http://ow.ly/6xRNK #retailexp

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Friday, September 16, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 9/16/11

Wordle: #retailexp Greetings! I share with you the 9/16/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week from Boston where I'm absorbing Inbound Marketing Wisdom and attending the Hubspot User Group Summit. Happy weekend!

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Morton's has great attitude about random acts kindness, customers, social media. Bravo. http://ow.ly/6tAym #retailexp
  •  Telling stories, giving back- Toms Shoes buy 1/give 1 model makes for interesting #retailexp http://ow.ly/6qU2g
  • Retailers beware: women's anxiety at unprecedented levels http://ow.ly/6qUdI #retailexp
  • 40% of customers say won't buy brand if can't find right info online http://ow.ly/6qTsV #retailexp
  • From @FCNewsmag: How forgiving are you when a business makes a mistake? How forgiving are your customers? #retailexp... http://t.co/5OGx7zI

Retail Experience Ideas

  • From @FCNewsmag: Five #retail trends to consider implementing http://t.co/Yt5xQSb #retailexp #SmallBusiness #entrepreneur
  •  From TrendWatching: Retail Renaissance & why consumers will enjoy real world shopping http://ow.ly/6qTOf #retailexp
  • Netflix tweaks its #retailexp model: http://ow.ly/6tAdP How much effect will changes have?

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Trying to imagine how Ocado virtual shop window for iphone will work for grocery shopping #retailexp http://ow.ly/6tApQ
  • Retailers take note: Mobile may B primarily 4 research, education, info-yet it draws shoppers into stores http://ow.ly/6qTiQ #retailexp
  • Been wondering about this: Zara play catch-up with online shoppers http://ow.ly/6tAhJ #retailexp

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Monday, September 12, 2011

'Happy To Bed' From IKEA, an Online Retail Experience

'Happy To Bed' From IKEA, an Online Retail Experience
In the spirit of A Fun Digital Retail Experience: HEMA, I share with you the IKEA Happy To Bed campaign from the UK. Have you come across it yet?

If not, check it out.

Go to IKEA on YouTube UK [p.s., if you scroll down on the YouTube page, you'll come across a video of a pillow fight - also part of the campaign].

Next, you can connect to your Facebook profile, select personas for your room and watch a fun virtual interpretation of what 'happy to bed' would look like for you.

IKEA's press release describes the result as the "first ever personalised 3D showroom on YouTube. Drawing on information from Facebook, IKEA’s tool creates a bespoke 3D bedroom that can then be explored and tailored by users to create their perfect bedroom."

'Happy To Bed' From IKEA, an Online Retail Experience - For a Couple
First, I chose to focus on a room for a partner and me, dialed how long we had been together and ... voila! Note the oval on the left: that is where this application selected pictures from my Facebook profile and included them in pictures frames in my virtual bedroom. Very clever.

Next, I decided to focus selfishly just on myself.

I found those results much more interesting, with lots more photos relevant to me: a photo above the headboard, on my laptop screen and on the wall.
'Happy To Bed' From IKEA, an Online Retail Experience - for a single woman
For all selections, your perfect IKEA room visualizer comes with items in the room identified. Per the release, you have "the ability to see detailed product information and to click through to IKEA.co.uk to purchase any home furnishings featured within the bedroom."

Furthermore, "The personalised 3D showroom forms part of a wider bedrooms campaign by IKEA and follows a UK wide study of over 2million people into how Britons live life at home. The 3D showroom creates bedroom experiences based on insight drawn from the study including:

  • Creating bedrooms that support TV and internet for those most likely to use it.
  • Incorporating workspace to reflect the growing trend of working in the bedroom.
  • Smart storage solutions to address the decline in living space across the United Kingdom.
  • Helping customers see the potential to create a happier space in their bedrooms for a better night’s sleep.

IKEA have used the results as part of a £2.5million investment into redesigning the bedroom roomsets in stores across the country. The redesigns will ensure all IKEA bedroom roomsets are locally relevant, specifically reflect the way people live their life at home and showcase the solutions that help people go to bed happy."

'Happy To Bed' From IKEA, an Online Retail Experience - includes product details
I found the "Happy To Bed" IKEA online retail experience absolutely fascinating and enjoyed interacting with it.

The personal touches, in particular, are brilliant! So much so that I wanted to spend more time with them. The flash video format allows you to watch the video, but not to rewind or go back or slow down the viewing. The only way to repeat the viewing is by starting all over again and rebuilding one's room. Couldn't this be a rewindable video?

I love that IKEA has taken research about consumer trends to develop rooms relevant to local preferences and would love to know how the program is affecting sales of these various bedroom products.

Here are a few other perspectives on IKEA's "Happy To Bed" YouTube social experience. You'll notice some issues linking the detailed product information to the purchase process:
What is your reaction to 'Happy To Bed'? As a consumer as well as a retailer? What do you like and not like?

Let me know in the comments!

P.S.: 'Happy To Bed' is best viewed in Firefox. It has issues in Chrome.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 9/9/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 9/9/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience Data

  • I love reports about future of home spaces. This from IFDA: http://ow.ly/6lkGA Reactions? How will this affect #retailexp?
  • Latest Pew data: older users get into social networking groove http://ow.ly/6lkIy - implications for #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • From Knowledge @ Wharton, #retailexp perspective on new retail strategies http://ow.ly/6pa5b
  • Small Business advice re: how to find time for social media http://ow.ly/6eyfZ #retailexp
  • Insight on recommendation systems: counters wrong approach of matching people to products in vacuum http://ow.ly/6paWj #retailexp
  • Whole Foods testing wellness clubs: sounds like gr8 way to enhance #retailexp: http://ow.ly/6lkuz and http://ow.ly/6m8SR
  • Being human is the new black for brands & #retailexp: http://ow.ly/6lMDh

Integrating Online with Offline

  • RT @mauricecflynn: RT @whitehorsepdx: @WhiteHorsepdx visionary @willreese feature in #fastcompany- Wise Up, Retailers: Smartphones Aren't Going Away http://ow.ly/66IHW #retailexp 
  • Wow! talk about making a #retailexp statement: Chipotle, Willie Nelson singing Coldplay, stop-motion video. http://ow.ly/6lMtu

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Simple Marketing Now's eNewsletter for September

Simple Marketing Now's eNewsletter for September
I haven't had a chance to share with you news about Simple Marketing Now in a while. However, I did want to let you know that last week, despite all of the Hurricane Irene Internet issues we experienced, I published the September 2011 issue of Simple News & Insights!

I'd love for you to check it out.

You'll also find an offer I put together for readers of the newsletter... two social media marketing guides [more details in the newsletter].

To read the September 2011 issue of Simple Marketing Now's eNewsletter, click on this link.

I can't wait to hear your comments - both on the newsletter and on the social media marketing guides.

Let me know, too, if you like the changes I've made to the Simple Marketing Now website.

Thank you!


P.S.: I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 9/2/11

Wordle: #retailexp Happy Labor Day weekend to you in the US! Here is the 9/2/11 post-Irene issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

[If you're curious about our Irene experience, here is Hurricane Irene: In Photos; we were very lucky. I hope you came through unscathed.]

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Beware the mobile messages sent to customers: relevant, personalized matter to #retailexp http://ow.ly/6exHd 
  • Consumers get wiser to behavioral targeting: be relevant, respectful http://ow.ly/6exIY #retailexp
  •  Love this approach to building community, fr Chipotle http://ow.ly/68va4 #retailexp
  • DQ owner gives back to community as part of his #retailexp http://ow.ly/6exlh

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Interesting comparison of IKEA to Borders in Retail feast or famine http://ow.ly/68uJF #retailexp
  •  Small Business lessons from hottest retailers http://ow.ly/6exBi What would you add? #retailexp 
  • Lessons for #retailexp success: lean inventory, strategic use marketing $, quick markdown of slow moving items http://ow.ly/6exfI

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Did you know? There's an app for ordering pizza! Mobile & the #retailexp http://ow.ly/6exi7 
  • Fascinating! How shoppers use tablets vs. smartphones for Back2School #retailexp http://ow.ly/6exKq 
  •  Cool! Lord & Taylor focusing on hi-tech customer engagement tools. Check out comment about fitting rooms! http://ow.ly/6exEJ #retailexp

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hidden Power of Your Customers, Becky Carroll Interview

Becky Carroll, Author of The Hidden Power of Your Customers
Becky Carroll from Customers Rock! has great news to share! She has just published The Hidden Power of Your Customers: 4 Keys to Growing Your Business Through Existing Customers, her first book! It celebrates the 'customers rock!' attitude which is all about customer centricity and realizing that customers represent valuable company assets.

Becky has shared her passion with us several times, most recently in Customer Loyalty & Social Media: Customers Rock Video Series and in Becky Carroll On Bridging New & Old: Social Media Series. She's also an original Bathroom Blogfest participant!

In honor of her book, not only do I have an interview with Becky Carroll to share with you, but... Becky has sent me a copy to give away to a Flooring The Consumer reader! Very cool.
Be the third person to comment on Flooring The Consumer; share a story and let me know your thoughts about how to delight and retain customers, and I will send you a copy of Becky's book. [Note: anonymous or spam comments do not count :-).]
And, now, my interview with Becky Carroll, author of The Hidden Power of Your Customers!

C.B.: Becky, congratulations on your new book! Tell us about your background and work experiences and how those led to your passion for customers and your amazing Customers Rock! attitude? 

BC: I have been customer-focused for most of my 20+ year career. It started with nearly 14 years at HP, where I was in charge of the worldwide customer loyalty program for HP Services. My passion for customers continued as I worked with Don Peppers and Dr. Martha Rogers at Peppers & Rogers Group as a senior consultant for companies such as Ford, HP, and Electronic Arts. I have had my own company, Petra Consulting Group, for nearly 6 years helping companies focus on the customer experience and how to improve customer relationships with social media (and other methods).

I really think, though, that my biggest influence on my Customers Rock! attitude was probably HP’s founders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. I was fortunate enough to work at HP when they were both wandering the halls of the company and showing us what it meant to care about others – employees first, then customers. That is why I started my Customers Rock! blog back in 2006, to share the positive strategies companies are using to delight their customers and create rockin’ customer experiences.

The Hidden Power of Your CustomersC.B.: What is most critical about growing your business through customers?

BC: The most critical thing is not taking your existing customers for granted. Today’s companies are so busy trying to woo new customers with deals that don’t apply to the current customer base, or are striving to gain new social media followers that they have forgotten to let their customers know how much they appreciate them. In fact, based on their company’s business metrics, they probably don’t appreciate them. This may seem like a no-brainer (you know, a bird in the hand and all that), but there are still so many companies that are not applying the principles found in the four keys in my book. It isn’t really hard – it just takes a deliberate plan to make it happen!
Why don’t all companies get this?

Not all companies get this partly because they ignore their current customers, as mentioned above. Additionally, many think that “great customer service” is enough to retain customers. It isn’t. Anyone can provide great customer service. From interviewing executive of top-performing companies for my book, I found consistencies across them all. Companies that have a Customers Rock! attitude all have customers “in their DNA”. They speak to customers via the method they prefer, they carefully consider each interaction in the customer’s experience with their business, they create a customer-focused culture, AND they have killer customer service. All of this is part of the strategy to unlock the hidden power of their customers – and it works.

C.B.: You weave social media throughout the book – as it should be throughout a company’s marketing and customer service strategies. What prevents companies from doing so?

BC: Many companies look at social media as only another place to run PR and marketing campaigns. In so doing, they are missing out on the sweet spot for social media – customer retention and loyalty. Social media isn’t just about listening to social media chatter or “being part of the conversation”. It is more than a way to reactively respond to customer issues voiced in this channel. It is a way to learn about your customers and their needs, then apply those insights to helping to meet those needs and growing customer relationships.

C.B.: What’s ahead for launching & promoting The Hidden Power of Your Customers?

BC: I will be speaking at several customer-focused events this fall as part of my book tour. I would be happy to consider expanding my book tour if any of your readers are interested in bringing me to their part of the country/world!

In addition, I have been working with several influential bloggers (such as you, CB!) and have given them each a copy of the book for themselves, as well as one to give away to their readers to help build buzz. Of course, I am sharing about the book in my Customers Rock! blog and with my UC San Diego students, as both of these groups of people helped encourage me to write the book as Wiley approached me about it.

Social media is definitely the main promotion engine for this book!

C.B.: Becky, how can people connect with you?

BC: They can connect through my blog Customers Rock!, Twitter @bcarroll7 and Facebook on The Hidden Power of Your Customers Fan Page.

I've also created a page on my blog for The Hidden Power of Your Customers.

To purchase Becky's book, click on The Hidden Power of Your Customers: 4 Keys to Growing Your Business Through Existing Customers.

Thank you, Becky! 

I'm also honored that you mention me in the Acknowledgements. Thank you.

Readers, let me know in the comments what comes to mind when you think about the hidden power of your customers!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 8/26/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 8/26/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • How retailers can win over consumers: http://ow.ly/68mV9 Note focus on people, simple product choices and access #retailexp 
  • Little details: how Southwest is quietly introducing itself to Atlanta marketplace http://ow.ly/68mRn #retailexp 
  • Nordstrom proves that focus on Customer Service leads to success http://ow.ly/68u5C #retailexp 

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Interesting way to try new #retailexp concept: Nordstrom in NYC w alias store, profits committed to charity http://ow.ly/68uho
  • It's promising to be an interesting NYC Holiday Windows season w/ Lady Gaga at Barneys! http://ow.ly/68uuy #retailexp 
  • Walmart learning that it's not as easy to compete on price http://ow.ly/68uyB #retailexp  
  •  Interesting that specialty smaller grocery stores w/ less choice are so successful http://ow.ly/68ucQ #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Only 6% of US mobile audience uses QR Codes, mostly men: http://ow.ly/68mYD #retailexp So relevant! 
  • Retailers, smartphones aren't going away. Time to adapt your #retailexp, no? http://ow.ly/68npW

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or RSS.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Customer Service Reality Check: Arthur Corbin Responds

Customer Service Reality Check: Arthur Corbin Responds
My recent post - Customer Service Reality Check: Best Quality or Not? struck a chord with Arthur Corbin, retail and lighting wizard. Here is his response. [See Arthur's previous posts.]



This company has been looking at what they do to provide goods as a negative and as a nuisance instead of an essential part of the goods and services they should provide with a smile.

This is a company I would not do business with.

Today's consumer is in the driver's seat with multiple sources for similar or identical products.

The keys to happy consumers are service, responsiveness, flexibility, and a smile. Purchasing must be easy. Delivery must be convenient for the consumer. Delivery people must be clean, courteous, careful when in the customer's home or business, and engaging.

Every person working for the supplier is an ambassador for the company and must act accordingly.

I think of Ironware International owned by Karin Eaton (history and background on the site). She is remarkable, poised, and engaging.

Here is the ordering page link http://www.ironwareinternational.com/content/orderingpolicies. Neutral language in clear sections cover all contingencies.

The key is the showroom that works with the designer and creates the order. The local showroom is Sloan Miyasato. The person working with Ironware is Patrice and she is exceptional.

Ironware realized that delivery times are shrinking as the clients of designers ask for interior design work to be completed in weeks not months. Karin responded by analyzing her sales and selecting 34 items that she guarantees to ship in 2 to 4 weeks. One finish and one style of each item is available for quick ship but this is what most orders have been for. Quick ship has been a big success for Karin and is typical of the changes in what had been a slow moving supply chain with long lead times.

I now work at a major department store in the home department. Consumers are short tempered, and they want the lowest price (they are aggressive with coupons, price adjustments, and telling you what price they want to pay).

This retailer has merged online and location ordering systems into one system. This system can be used to locate an item and can then ship the item (free shipping if order is $50.00 or more). The on line and location pricing does not always match and the store internet system is often not working. I often use customer's smart phones to check the web site to confirm a lower price.

Example: a $150- item was on clearance at $16.00 from the warehouse plus $6.00 shipping. The customer objected to the $6.00 shipping charge and to my failure to apply a posted 10% additional discount (that was the next screen in the ordering process). I politely reminded her that she was buying a $150.00 item for less than $20.00 and she backed off. This happens thousands of times daily in 800 stores and this is one retailer.

Some of this customer aggressiveness can be attributed to this retailer's bewildering number of coupons and offers, rebates, and cash back programs. Consumers are annoyed at the retailer and thus at me for items that do not qualify for a discount, at coupons that have expired, and at coupons with lots of small type (all of them). Yet, coupons, rebates, and special offers pack the stores with buyers.

Service with a positive attitude, easy and free delivery, short or no delivery lead time, and a competitive price are what consumers are looking for. Multiple ordering channels are a must. 24 hour ordering is a must.
  • Services are disappearing. Gift wrap is gone. Local stock of high end goods (fine china as an example) is mostly gone.
  • Trained sales people with product knowledge is the exception and low pay is one of many reasons.
  • Many consumer goods are the same or similar from retail store to retail store. Excitement and enchantment is mostly gone from retail.
That's the report and response from California.

Best wishes,

In a followup message, Arthur refers us to Now what? UPS threatens to return my shipment, won’t let me correct address - a preposterous, real life story affecting a customer's service experience.

Thank you, Arthur.

What's your reaction to Customer Service Reality Check? How do you balance supplier and customer pressures in today's marketplace? What are you doing differently to deliver memorable customer service and customer experiences?

Let me know in the comments.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 8/19/11

Wordle: #retailexp The 8/19/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week is ready for you!

Retail Related Customer Data

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Beware of giving bad service! 2x many peeps tell others about it via @retexperience http://ow.ly/62Vsi #retailexp 
  • Jos A Bank: interesting #retailexp success story: http://ow.ly/62TGm "we let the customer tell us" - Do You? 
  • Car sites turn to social media: http://ow.ly/62VGp Doesn't sound like the #retailexp had been reinvented tho.  

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Brilliant! 5 ways museums R reaching digital audiences [& changing #retailexp] http://ow.ly/62VxO #practicalmktr 
  • 3 terrific suggestions for trends about the future: http://ow.ly/62TnL fr Small Business Labs, also good trends source #retailexp 
  • Simplicity the key to success for back 2 school mobile #retailexp: http://ow.ly/62U7z Note impo of having a strategy. 
  • Nice #retailexp real-life comparison of Apple vs. Micrsoft Stores at Mall of America http://ow.ly/62rDL via @retexperience 

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Have you read this FastCo story about Ralph Lauren's digital evolution? Fascinating #retailexp http://ow.ly/62VNu
  • @AmiMartin: @WhiteHorsepdx visionary @willreese feature in #fastcompany- Wise Up, Retailers: Smartphones Aren't Going Away http://ow.ly/66IAI #retailexp 

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or RSS. download-10-tips-for-getting-started-wit
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